Adele was stunned, “What? What do you mean?”
Ellie wiped her tears and spoke, “My father received a superior-grade bottle of wine before the former lord boarded the boat. He had never received a gift like this before and my father said it was a waste to sample such a good drink alone, so he thought the lord should taste it as well.”
She sniffled, “He took some secretly when he got on the ship.”
In Astria, drinking alcohol while sailing was strictly prohibited. If you drank, you might get muddleheaded and get into an accident that ranged from miscalculation of routes, to causing a shipwreck from neglecting jutting rocks.
Even if this was the case, everyone pretended to be ignorant and still drank. Although it’s usually just enough that they could remain sober. Adele thought mournfully, “If he really had responsibility as the duke in mind, he wouldn’t drink alcohol even if he was offered some.”
But if Enon truly had some to drink, Adele was certain he had only taken a sip, barely enough to make someone tipsy.
Point is, it wasn’t Arthur’s fault, but he truly was irresponsible in that regard.
However, Ellie thought differently. Her heart had been wracked by guilt ever since she had learned of the news.
“The reason the former owner died alone is probably because he drank the alcohol my father gave him and fell off board!”
Adele didn’t respond right away. She stared at the maid silently before approaching her and squatted down to her level. “I am disappointed in your father for not telling me any of this.”
Ellie bit her lips to hold in her tears. “After the lord died, he quit his job because he felt guilty.”
“I am aware. But Ellie,” She started.
“I’m sorry to be saying this with my own mouth, but your father was a careless man.”
She decided to be blunt with her words.
“The day before he left for sea, he needed to prepare a few important things, but upon inspection, it was discovered that a lot of items were missing. I even had to personally interfere to take care of that matter and create a more comprehensive list to double-check everything.”
Ellie, who didn’t know what to say, stopped crying and carefully raised her head. With her back to the moonlit window, Adele had a gentle yet bittersweet smile on her face. Ellie was amazed by her elegance and dignity, even in the midst of an emotional situation.
The maid kowtowed heavily and her whole body trembled. “My father has already died, so please punish me in his stead!”
“Your father is dead?” Adele felt a little surprised in her heart.
Ellie nodded tearfully, “After he left, he resigned himself into drinking alcohol and got struck by a wagon.”
“Why did the butler not tell me any of this?”
“At—hiccup—at that time, you had just gotten married to the new lord…”
The butler, James, was worried about her and remained mum about this matter. If Adele had found out that Enon’s closest companion, Arthur, had died the same time as her former husband, her condition would’ve gotten worse.
Was that the reason why a lot of money had been spent under guise of the welfare of the servants? Was the money for Arthur’s funeral?
She contemplated for a bit.
The butler had no reason to lie to her, so she decided to ask him about it later. Adele was comforting Ellie when a thought suddenly struck her. She anxiously questioned after the maid, “Ellie, did Arthur’s lips turn black?”
“Uh… I can’t seem to remember. But from what I know, the lips of a corpse usually become darker.”
As Ellie shook her head, Adele breathed a sigh of relief. Dead people’s lips are truly pale and black due to the loss of blood.
Mm, I overreacted too much.
She struggled to calm herself down and spoke to the sobbing girl in front of her, “There is no need to punish you, your father had a sad end to his life.”
“I-I can only say sorry.”
“Then, work harder as the logistics head after learning the Nammon language. This is the best way you can atone for your father’s sins.”
Enon’s death is to be mourned. But it was too much to ask of Ellie, who had just become an adult, to be held fully responsible. Thinking about things subjectively, it was rather sad that she had lost her father at a crucial age.
As far as she knew, Ellie also lost her mother at an early age and lived with her father thereon. In this regard, Adele could sympathize with the maid as she also lost her mother when she was younger.
As Adele smiled gracefully with her eyes closed, reminiscing some fond memories, Ellie parted her mouth in disbelief.
“C-can I really do it?”
“You don’t want to?”
“No!” she unconsciously increased the volume of her voice and kowtowed deeply, “Milady, thank you so much! I promise I will do my best!”
This was the effect that Adele wanted. She needed a person who swore allegiance to the duke’s family, doesn’t take bribes nor harbor evil thoughts.
Arthur was a trustworthy person, but he must’ve laid his hands where he shouldn’t and had been getting this and that from merchants. Adele expected his daughter to be different, and from the look of things, she was.
Ellie was sincere and guileless. Since she feels guilt over her father’s deeds, this may indicate that her sense of justice was also uncorrupted. Adele slowly got up on her feet.
“The night is already deep. Rest first, you can choose a Nammon book tomorrow.”
“Yes, milady! Thank you!” she nodded, deeply grateful for this favor, “I won’t let you down! I refuse to be the same as my father and won’t accept any gifts!”
Adele smiled. “Then you may go.”
When the maid was already halfway to the door, Adele spoke out, “Oh, and about that wine…”
Arthur was ultimately, a commoner. No matter how much the merchant bribed the duke’s servants, high-quality alcohol was just much too expensive.
Something was fishy about this whole matter.
“Yes, milady?” Ellie paused, waiting for her to finish her words.
“Do you know who gave the bottle to your father?”
“Err… no, I can only guess. My father play cards sometimes, but he had never won it big. My best guess is probably the alcohol came from one of—”
“Find out who gave him the bottle.” Adele watched her with an unwavering gaze, challenging her, “Can you do it?”
The maid’s eyes shone with determination to prove her worth, “Yes! Of course! I will definitely find it out!”