Seeing her sullen appearance, Sebastian asked, “Milady? Are you all right?”
“Ah, I’m fine. Any other reports?”
He bowed, “Because the late lord has passed away, it has been decided that the top-tier household will be closed.”
Adele looked at Sebastian and remembered the last two years of working with him. It felt very disappointing for the work she had been painstakingly cultivating for two years to suddenly end, just like that.
But she could very well understand the reasons behind this decision. “I know you’re closing it because it no longer makes any profit.”
“Did the new lord tell you to do that?”
Sebastian clicked his tongue. As expected of the lady.
Adele smiled bitterly when Sebastian showed no signs of denying. “As I’ve thought.”
As soon as he became the head of state, he arranged everything in his way. All right. If it doesn’t make a profit, then it’ll surely be closed. It was really like him to be this decisive.
Actually, I should have closed it earlier, but because of Enon’s greed…
Adele gave a mocking smile. “Any other orders from him?”
“Then make preparations to provide a bonus wage to those who work there. If they suddenly lost their job out of the blue, they would have hard time finding another one. It is also for their services so please, in honor of the duke, do not be stingy and give them a generous amount.”
If their job was suddenly taken away, even peasants would protest. If they held a grudge and spread malicious rumors, the reputation of the duke would be damaged and public disorder may ensue. Of course, Noah, who gave this order, would not have cared about such a problem because he was a man who solves everything with a sword.
Sebastian admired Adele’s wise measures that complemented Noah’s decision.
“Then I shall follow milady’s instructions.” Then he took out another document, “The lord told me to give this to you.”
Adele’s eyes almost bulged when she saw the amount written inside. “What is this money for?”
“It is your allowance, madam.”
“M-my allowance?! But, it’s such a large amount…” Adele couldn’t keep her mouth shut as she recounted Noah’s notes on a piece of paper. Why was he giving such a large sum? There was no man who would give this amount as his wife’s pocket money. Even her mother-in-law also complained that her father-in-law gave her too little money.
Of course, she wasn’t that worried about him giving this much money to her to the extent that she would worry about their financial stability. She knew fully well that the Maktus’ family would never run out of money but… what the hell was he thinking? They weren’t a sweet and loving couple and their relationship was just plain awkward.
Suddenly, this piece of featherweight paper felt heavy in her hands. Adele let out a sigh and as her eyes met Sebastian’s. She quickly opened her mouth.
“This amount is too much. Don’t you think so?”
He made a bowing gesture, “I am only following what the lord has ordered me to.” Frankly speaking, Sebastian thought so too. But he could not go against Noah’s will, as Sebastian witnessed how he murdered all the nobles this morning.
Adele was confused by Sebastian’s stern expression but thought she could just ask Noah later. “All right, you may go.”
After Sebastian left, only Adele and her maids were left in the room. In the silence, only the sound of her examining and signing her papers could be heard. Her maids, who had been listening to the vassal and Adele earlier, were relieved at the words that Adele would continue to be in charge of the staff.
Everyone was worried inside that new lord would make a change to the staffing. However, if the lady took care of it, they could continue to work in this castle. Frankly, there has never been a better place to work than the castle of Duke Maktus.
There were many reasons why they enjoy working for Duke Maktus, but the most important reason was the gentle nature of the lady. The people who worked here wanted Adele to remain in the duke’s house.
“Any other documents?”
“Yes? Ah, no more, milady.” The maid, Lina, eventually lied. Although Adele has put on a calm expression, her heart probably wasn’t. It was just a few days ago that her husband and former lord died which resulted in her collapsing.
Yesterday, she reluctantly got married to the new lord, and stayed up until midnight. She seemed to need a rest. Lina sneakily changed the topic. “Madam, the peonies have just arrived.” She hurriedly clarified, “That flower, the one you found last week. How about taking a bath with it today?”
At Lina’s words, the other maids also fussed quickly.
“Your fatigue will be washed away, milady!”
“You should try admiring its fragrance too, milady. The peonies smell so good!”
Adele pondered what to do with the girls’ obvious behavior. She quickly got up from her seat with a faint smile, a helpless expression on her faces. Her maids had wiped her body with wet towels while she was in bed, but she hadn’t gotten the chance to wash herself properly.
As she entered the bathroom, peony petals were floating in a bathtub big enough for ten people. Adele took her clothes of as usual, but she abruptly remembered something and hastily tried to put them back on.
But it was already too late. When the maids saw Adele’s body, their faces turned red.
Kiss marks and bruises due to Noah’s strong grip were all over Adele’s body. From the nape of her neck to her ankles, there was nowhere on her skin that these love marks didn’t claim. Her face heated up, she covered her body with her arms and turned her head away.
“Go. I will wash by myself today.”
“Yes, milady!” The quick-witted maids said in chorus and withdrew from the bathroom. Embarrassed, Adele quickly poured the water in a wooden gourd all over her body. In an instant, the scent of peony flowers sprang up. After being comforted for a moment by the sweet scent, she entered the steaming bathtub.
Even when summer was coming to an end, the water was too hot. But Adele hoped that the heat would make her shameful marks disappear.
She looked down at them as she washed herself and bowed her head in embarrassment. Then she heard the lively voices of the maids over the bathroom wall.
“I heard you’re getting married next month?”
The maids were cleaning the men’s bathroom beyond the wall. They were unaware that Adele was just behind the wall. She thought of giving a sign to let them know she’s there, but their babbling voices were just so excited that she decided not to.
“Congratulations! But have you done that with your groom?”
“Oh my, then I can’t wait for next month! Your first night!”
“Oh, you pervert!”