Episode 29


“It wasn’t that perfect, but it didn’t look out of the ordinary either.”

“The estate manager said she saw a pigeon.”

Faust exclaimed softly.

Strangely, whenever he left the place, he made wolf-like sounds, waking up chickens and ducks. Maybe he was trying to hide the sound of a pigeon by his howling.

“There’s a good chance a pigeon is hidden near the ranch cabin.”

“I’ll tell Arette.”

“Have you already put surveillance on him?”

“I told you earlier. Nell-, I heard it from the estate manager’s report.”

Leonel was about to call Nelly’s name, but he frowned and changed his words.

Faust noticed Leonel’s reaction, and at the same time, Leonel’s left eyebrow twitched.

“Your expression is impolite.”

“Ahem! No, it’s not.”

“It’s not that I don’t trust the estate manager. Both the ranch keeper and the estate manager seem suspicious.”


The response wasn’t from someone who truly understood.

Leonel realized that trying to explain would only make it stranger.

With his large hand, he wiped his face a few times, as if tired, and then spoke again.

“What did the estate manager say to Roman?”

“She didn’t say anything special. I accidentally mentioned your eating habits and got his attention.”

“Eating habits?”

“I mean, how you eat all the salad.”

“Don’t let Levance catch on. If he finds out you misspoke, there will be trouble.”

“Please be careful when you eat salad as well, Your Grace.”

“If we have any plans, wait for the right time when he lets his guard down. It’s fine for now. We’ll have to be careful after the ranch keeper leaves.”

Leonel got up from his seat and picked up the lamp as he spoke.

Faust stood up and followed Leonel as he opened the door, adding a comment.

“In reality, you trust the estate manager, don’t you?”


He replied coldly and took a step forward. He heard footsteps behind him. It seemed like an uncomfortable conversation might happen if he left it as it was.

Before Faust could speak, Leonel changed the subject.

“Do you have any thoughts of returning to the Knights?”

“Enough, do you know I’m 14 years older than you, Your Grace? What am I going to achieve by returning to the ranks in a few years when I’m forty?”

“Do you not miss your sword?”

“Do you miss it, Your Grace?”

Answering a question with a question is quite impudent.

Since Nelly Pepper came, it felt like the lower ranks were slowly crawling up. Leonel remained silent.

The heavy silence pressed upon them and then departed.

“Not at all.”

“Me neither. And farming has its rewards.”

“That’s fortunate.”

“All thanks to the estate manager.”

“I’ve already heard enough to be fed up.”

“It means you can loosen up a bit.”

“That’s because people’s reactions are too enthusiastic.”

“That’s because you suppress the people around you too much, Your Grace.”

It was an unexpected statement. Leonel looked at Faust with a shocked expression.

Faust debated whether he should stop talking. But Leonel had to realize his situation and reality, for Nelly and the estate’s sake.

“Your Grace, don’t you monitor the estate residents individually? Especially those working under you, they already know that they watch each other.”

There was no way they wouldn’t know about it when problems were resolved before they were even spoken.

“Moreover, the workload is quite heavy. We understand it’s for the estate, but honestly, the people working under you feel suffocated.”

Faust shuddered, remembering Arette’s silent visits to the fields.

“But with the new estate manager, people have hope because the tension has eased.”

He wanted to deny it, but it made sense.

Until now, Leonel had questioned Arette about Levance’s suspicious points and Levance about Arette’s suspicious points. He reflected on himself. Would Levance and Arette betray him? Sophie and Gerald, Tom? Faust?

The answer was obvious.

‘It’s not going to happen.’

He knew it in his head. But as the dawn deepened, he was haunted by a nightmarish past.

He couldn’t bear it without repeatedly confirming the fact that he wouldn’t be betrayed.

After spending several years like that, monitoring and receiving reports became a habit. He hadn’t thought it would hurt the people around him.

Suddenly, it felt like he had been slapped in the head. It also felt like he had abruptly woken up from a deep sleep.

‘I’ve been tormenting these poor folks for no reason, thinking they’d betray me when they won’t.’

Leonel stopped in his tracks. And he admitted it. He trusted his subordinates, even if he tried not to.

But not Nelly Pepper.

Could he entrust Nelly Pepper, whom he had known for a short time, with even a fraction of what he could entrust to his subordinates? To Nelly Pepper, who engaged in suspicious activities?

‘It’s not going to happen.’

The answer came out like a question about whether his subordinates would betray him. But the meaning was exactly the opposite.

Amid Leonel’s thoughts, Faust’s voice intruded again.

“So please, Your Grace, go easy on the estate manager before she runs away. Where can you find someone like her?”


“As someone who has lost a valuable person, I’m telling you. You should treat them well while they’re still here.”

“Me and the estate manager aren’t like you and your wife, or anything like that.”

Faust didn’t understand Leonel’s words at first. Then, belatedly, he scratched his head.

“I meant it as someone who has lost a competent subordinate, not as someone who has lost a lover. It seems you unconsciously think of the estate manager that way—”

“Get out.”

Leonel cut off Faust’s voice sharply and added one more word.

“Out of the castle.”


Faust got up from his seat with a mocking laugh. Leonel handed the lamp to Faust and returned to his room.

The room that always exuded coldness now felt somewhat livable.

There had been times when Leonel hadn’t entered the room for a week when Nelly wasn’t there. There was always a pile of work in his office.

Leonel sighed and sat on the sofa.

‘Don’t regret it after losing them…’

It was a funny saying. There was no need to lose or possess from the beginning. Leonel sighed and closed his eyes.

Nelly’s face came to mind.

The first thing he thought of was her wounded eyes. Trying to think of other expressions, he could only imagine her getting angry or glaring at him.

Even without looking, he could feel the hostility.

‘How can I trust someone like that?’

Of course, it was different from the hostility he felt on the battlefield or in the palace.

But he couldn’t pinpoint exactly where and how it was different, so it frustrated him.

Acknowledging Nelly Pepper’s competence was one thing, but trusting her was another matter. It seemed impossible to trust her until there was some clear evidence.

‘Still, she is competent, and as Faust suggested, it wouldn’t hurt to treat her better before she leaves.’

Giving her important tasks or treating her more comfortably wouldn’t be a bad idea. If she thinks she has gained his trust, she might reveal her true colors.

He decided to treat Nelly Pepper more favorably for a while and headed towards the bed. After a brief nap, he went straight to his office. He was reviewing some documents when Levance walked in not long after.

“Your Grace, you’re up early.”

He nodded lightly and continued reading the documents. After signing a budget report, he raised his head.


Levance, who had been about to sit down when Leonel gestured for him to come closer, stood up again. He stood in front of Leonel and waited for him to speak.

Leonel put down his pen and raised his head.

“I met Faust last night.”

“Is that so?”

Levance recalled the report he had heard from last night.

It had been when Lizzy had finished for the day, and Leonel and Levance were wrapping up their work together.

Arette had come in and reported that Nelly Pepper had brought alcohol and meat to Roman’s cabin. Faust was also there.

Therefore, Levance hadn’t been worried about Nelly’s safety. Leonel didn’t seem worried either, but his concentration had gradually waned.

It wasn’t for romantic reasons.

He was simply concerned about what Nelly Pepper, who was drunk, might say. When he finally heard from the butler that there was a carriage coming to the castle, he left immediately.

“Weren’t you going to pick up Nelly?”

“I’m sure you said you were going to get some fresh air before you left, right?”

“You said so.”

Levance chuckled ruefully.

Leonel deliberately ignored his smile and got to the point.

“Roman seems suspicious.”

“Based on the reports, there doesn’t seem to be any specific reason for suspicion, does there?”

“He lied.”


“No. Roman. Every time he left his seat, he told Faust he was going to the restroom.”

However, according to Arette’s report, Roman went out the back door and headed to the warehouse. If he had something to retrieve, there was no need to lie.

“He must be hiding something in the warehouse.”

“There haven’t been any reports of modifications to the cabin or the warehouse.”

“He’s probably using the basement.”

“That’s possible. What would you like to do? Sending knights now could apprehend him.”


Leonel let out a peculiar sigh and rubbed his temple with a clenched hand.

“If we apprehend him now, can we find out who’s behind this?”

“Well, shall we consider torture?”


Leonel frowned.

He didn’t want to get involved in bloody affairs, not when his life had finally found some peace. If possible.

The morning birdsong was enough for him; there was no need for screams or cries.

“Most likely, it’s relatives eyeing the Duke’s seat unless it’s the prince.”

“That’s right.”

“It’s fine even if it takes a while; resolve it peacefully.”


Levens chuckled awkwardly.

“Then how about we just leave it alone? If we feed false information and keep an eye on the situation, won’t we eventually figure out who’s behind this?”

“Alright. Tell Arette he doesn’t need to keep watch.”

“Who should we use to disseminate false information?”


Leonel’s contemplation was interrupted by the sound of the door opening. Both of them turned to look at the door simultaneously.

Lizzy, who was on her way to work, hunched her shoulders for a moment under their focused gaze.

“I guess you were in the middle of an important conversation. Should I leave?”

“It’s okay.”

When they granted permission, Lizzy approached her desk. However, as she did, Levance reached out and stopped her.

“Miss Lizzy, please stand there and wait for a moment.”


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