ll be leaving first.
You can have your meal slowly…”


“Wait a minute!”


Then, Dooha followed the duke and sprang up from her seat. 


“Layla, come on in.”


Layla, who had been standing outside the dining room, came in with hurried steps at Dooha’s words.


She easily ignored Claude, who was looking at her with an unfriendly gaze, and approached her master. 


Layla handed the package she was holding to Dooha.


Leonhart raised an eyebrow at that scene.


“What is it?”


At the Duke’s question, Dooha seemed rather embarrassed as she held the package out to him with lowered eyes.


“…It’s an outer garment.”


Leonhart opened the package and an outer garment appeared as she had said.


It was a long winter cloak decorated with cream coloured and soft goat hair.


The goat hair, which seemed to only be attached around the shoulders, was also overlaid on the inner lining made of black woollen cloth.


On top of that, there was delicate embroidery at the edge of the cape.


It was truly a beautiful and practical garment.


Leonhart’s eyes widened slightly.


“In Bashal, the bride would present her groom with handmade clothes as a wedding gift.
I was originally going to prepare it before coming, but the wedding date was set quite hurriedly, so I came here and made it hastily.”


As Dooha was unwilling to do sedentary work, Dooha’s skill in making clothes was much lesser than that of a bow.


Although she received Layla’s nagging and help, was it because she had only seen handicrafts that were made by artisans in Bashal?


To Dooha, the clothes she made looked more unseemly than she’d thought.


Her voice, which seemed less confident than usual, became smaller and smaller.


“I was going to touch it up a little more, but I thought that I should give it to you before you went on the monster subjugation.
I hope that you like it…”


Before Dooha finished speaking. 


Leonhart wore the cape over his armour and moved his limbs little by little. 


“Your hands are injured, when did you make something like this?”


“I’ve been making it before that happened.
I finished it a few days ago, and all that’s left is to deliver it.”


The fur cape wound gently around the Duke’s movements.


Dooha stared blankly at her husband in the cloak.


She thought that his delicate face wouldn’t match with animal fur.


On the contrary, the oddly tough atmosphere seemed to fit him more than the Empire’s formal uniform. 


For some reason, Leonhart remained still with a firmer face than usual.


She thought that he’d at least give her words of thanks. 


Just as the smile on Dooha’s face gradually faded, the duke slowly opened his mouth. 


“I heard the snow has yet to melt in the subjugation area, so I won’t be shivering in the cold.”


Leonhart added a blunt remark.


“I’ll make good use of it.”


“…Don’t mention it.
It’s just a belated wedding present.”


Dooha’s voice subsided slightly due to the unexpectedly lukewarm response. 


However, unlike the atmosphere between the duke and his wife, which was rapidly turning awkward, Claude couldn’t help but be stunned by the duke’s lie that he wouldn’t be cold.


“What are you doing blankly standing there for, Claude? Aren’t you going to take the lead?”


“Huh? Ah, I’m going!”


After rebuking him for standing with a gaping mouth like a fool, Leonhart turned his head around. 


“Then I wish you the best of luck, wife.”


“…you too, Duke.”


The two people that wished each other the best of luck in their upcoming battles turned around without hesitation.


When the duke turned around, a faint smile was on his face. 


* * *


“How arrogant.”


A lady that seemed particular threw an invitation to the outing onto the table.


It was an invitation with the Duke of Esbaden’s emblem.


“Your invitation came very early.
Isn’t it?”


“I guess it’s because she hasn’t learnt everything yet.”


“I’m not exactly happy either.
If she wasn’t belittling us, she wouldn’t have extended an invitation to us after being a duchess for a long time.”


The wives of the vassals that served the Duchy of Esbaden were present in Count Jive’s reception room.


They were dressed in luxurious silk dresses, drinking the finest of wines, and belittling the new Duchess, while half-lying on top of a fluffy sofa.


“I can’t believe that a lass from a barbaric tribe is occupying the position of mistress of one of the Empire’s most prestigious families.
This tragedy wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for the alliance.”


“In the first place, if those barbarians hadn’t made such a big fuss about establishing a kingdom all of a sudden, His Majesty the Emperor wouldn’t have made the Duke into a pawn.”


“Those savages will become slaves when they’re caught anyways, and does all sorts of things.”


“That’s enough, everyone.”


The crisp voice caused the ladies, who had been chattering to their heart’s content, to close their mouths quietly.


The voice belonged to ‘Leoni Jive’, the mistress of Count Jive.


“I was worried that she wouldn’t be able to read the Imperial language as she’s from Bashal, but she had even personally penned the invitations.
Don’t you think she’s quite sincere?”


The corners of Leoni’s lips curled up as she glanced at the invitation card that was thrown onto the table.


“However, she doesn’t seem to know about the Ducal house’s etiquette yet, so we should educate her.”


She looked at ladies that were watching her mood, and smiled quietly.


“I’m sure you ladies will assist as well, right?”


“Of course.
If she behaves in such an unreasonable manner, she must be educated, even if she’s the duchess.”


“Isn’t it too wasteful for that barbaric lass to be taught by the most senior lady amongst the vassals’ wives?”


Leoni listened to their flattery and turned her gaze away instead of bringing her glass of wine close to her mouth. 


“Come to think of it, you’re unusually quiet today, Young Lady Blair.”


She spoke to the young lady that hadn’t spoken for a while with a voice that held a hint of laughter.


“I can’t even describe how you, who had almost become the Duke’s fiancée, would feel.”

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