It's been a few weeks since my encounter with Fyn. I expected to receive a warning for what I said, but no one approached me. I wondered if this meant that Duke Pendel didn't care about minor conflicts between his children, or he didn't care much about Fyn and I. Either way, it benefitted me.
After finishing my morning routine, I left my room to visit the prison. However, as I was leaving the mansion, I was intercepted by a butler. He was the same butler I saw by Duke Pendel's side years ago. Perhaps I jinxed myself.
The butler stared at my attire for a few seconds, then began speaking.
"The duke is requesting your presence."
"Yes, someone has come to see you."
"Who would visit me?"
"My apologies, but I was told by the Duke to keep it a secret. You will also need to change into formal attire."
A couple of maids handed me some clothes and I went inside my room to change.
It was easy to conclude that someone important wanted to meet me, but I couldn't think of anyone who fits that description. If Duke Pendel referred to them as important, the person could be either a noble, someone from the royal family, a prominent magician, or a prominent martial artist. However, I couldn't figure out why someone like that would come to visit me. Unless...
My heart started pounding.
No, there's no way, I should still have at least a year left.
No matter what kind of genius she is, there was no way Kasa could become a prominent magician in just a few months, that's impossible.
But what if it wasn't Kasa who came, but someone she knew. Someone like a teacher, who Duke Pendle would have to treat with respect.
'She did say she would come back for me but isn't this too soon?'
If someone really did visit because of Kasa, I have no options. All of my preparation would go down the drain.
It wasn't fair, I just wanted to run away and live a peaceful life on a farm. I haven't done anything wrong to deserve this.
I tried to calm myself down by putting on my new formal shirt.
"Damnit, why are these buttons so hard to button up."
Unfortunately, these buttons had other plans, I couldn't help but curse at them in anger.
My screams alerted the butler.
"Is everything alright?"
"Yes, everything is fine. I just had a small problem with the buttons."
"I will send in a maid to help you."
Before I could reject, a maid opened the door, walked over to me, and buttoned my shirt with incredible speed.
By the time I realized what happened, I was already on my way to the Duke's office.
I was wondering if I could run away right now. The only person with me was the butler, if I could somehow knock him out, I might be able to slip away undetected.
I laughed before shaking my head, it was impossible. I was in checkmate.
When we arrived at the Duke's office, I accepted my fate and entered without hesitation.
Being an imperial guard was a comfy job. The pay was good, the benefits were great, and the work was minimal. Perhaps the hardest aspect of being an imperial guard was the acting.
You had to act like you were doing work to not get fired, but if you acted too well, you could get chosen to guard a royal. Sure, those guards get a higher salary and more honor, but the work increases tenfold.
As a result, it's a running joke between us guards to start an acting group when we retire.
I considered myself to be a decent actor, my superiors thought I worked hard but not too hard, I was friendly but not too friendly, I was decent at fighting but not too decent.
At least, that was what I assumed. My dreams of a comfy life were shattered years ago when I was chosen to be one of Princess Ailsa's guards. Rejecting would mean the end of your career.
I can still see the faces of defeat on the guards that were chosen.
We had 12-hour shifts and had to stay in a certain range of the princess on our off time. My girlfriend broke up with me because of how little time I could spend with her. Though, in hindsight, that might've been a good thing.
The only good part was the royal we were guarding was Princess Ailsa. No one believes the stories I tell about the princess frolicking in a field of red flowers without a care in the world, but that princess existed once upon a time.
It was only after her majesty passed that she changed into what she is now. I guess the gap in her heart never closed. I do remember his majesty trying to fill that hole, but he could never spend enough time to become intimate with her. As a result, he tried to make up for that time by doting on her and giving her free reign in the palace.
Unfortunately, the end result was the slow creation of the blood princess.
We were all saddened by what was happening, but all we could do was watch it happen.
At the very least, even after her transformation, she treated us decently.
Currently, we were returning from a successful, months-long monster hunt. The princess was in a good mood since her efforts in training were yielding results.
I was thinking about what I would do on my break when the princess asked a strange question.
"Witnessing the results of your action is refreshing. I now want to see the results of my corrections on the would-be scum of our society. Which one would be appropriate to visit first?"
I laughed internally. Her corrections, more like her bullying. The only thing anyone got out of those encounters was hatred towards the princess. Well not all of them. There were a few people who didn't care or just got annoyed. As I went through the exceptions in my head, I remembered the son of Duke Pendel who couldn't use magic. Although he was the weakest out of the exceptions, he was also the most interesting.
I think his name was Rorik.
He didn't act his age at all. I expected him to be one who detested the princess the most, but all he showed was annoyance. I can still recall the conversation we had when I took him to jail. He said he wasn't mad at me and even told me to hold onto some money for him.
Come to think of it, I never returned him that money did I? Now I feel a bit bad.
"Your highness, I believe visiting Rorik Pendle would be a good option."
"Him, why would you say so?"
"Out of everyone you've corrected, his location is the most static."
"Hmm, that is true. He also had the most potential to be dangerous, it would be wise to check up on him. Does anyone else have any suggestions?"
"Very well, then we will follow Saven's suggestion."
As we got prepared to move, a buddy of mine approached me.
"Why'd you suggest that kid? You could've suggested someone close to the capital so we didn't have to travel."
"I owe him some money."
"Wow, you? Did you gamble with him or something? I didn't believe it at first, but maybe the princess was onto something about him."
"Shut up, it's not that complicated. I'll explain it on the way there."