The Incident That Occurred At The Outing (2)
‘What is that?’
Dooha looked at the strange creature that was before her, and tried her best to swallow the breath that was leaking through the gaps of her teeth.
That thing looked like the root of a plant, but it was swimming in the water slowly.
No matter how she looked at it, it didn’t seem like an ordinary plant
Dooha struggled trying to rip off its stem, which had wrapped around her ankle.
However, it was so strong and durable that no matter how hard she tried to pull and tear it off, it only tightened even further.
For some reason, it seems to perceive Dooha as a prey.
From how it had no intention of letting go.
She wouldn’t have been so helpless if she had a sword in her hand.
‘…Not enough air.’
Dooha’s eyes closed slowly as she reached for the receding water surface.
Her consciousness gradually faded away.
She didn’t expect that she’d meet her death so abruptly.
While someone was dying, every moment of their life would flash past their eyes.
But why? At this moment, there was only one scene that came to her mind.
“I’m very grateful to you.”
As she recalled his formal yet amicable voice, Dooha frowned.
The time spent with the duke was ridiculously short compared to her lifetime.
However, she didn’t have time to find an answer to her consecutive questions.
As even the pain of suffocation became distant to her.
Her body rose to the surface rapidly, along with a powerful vibration that was transmitted through the water.
Along with a warm feeling, cold air was pushed into the deepest parts of her lungs, and she gulped for air roughly.
The water that she was yet to spit out rose up her throat.
Just then, an unknown warmth encircled around her body.
Someone was holding her in their arms.
When Dooha spotted golden coloured hair with her blurred vision, she mumbled.
“Oh dear, my apologies for not being a duke.”
The familiar but unexpected voice caused Dooha’s eyes to widen.
Soon after, her blurred vision returned to normal.
Bright blond hair that was similar to the duke’s, along with vivid green eyes.
A dangling red earring hung from a single earlobe.
The one holding Dooha in his arms was none other than Daniel, the duke’s cousin.
“Have you finally come to your senses, Madam?”
He looked downwards at Dooha with a radiant smile as always.
* * *
“Why are you here…”
“There was such a huge fuss while I was passing by, and it seems that Madam was in quite a lot of danger.”
Daniel looked at her and smiled.
“Madam told me to not appear before you, but I had no choice.”
“What? When did I say something…”
“Didn’t you send a note through your handmaiden?”
Dooha’s eyes widened at Daniel’s reply.
She did send him, who was waiting for her in the library, a note through Layla.
However, she had never told him not to appear before her.
“I did send you a note, but I’ve never said something like that.”
“I said that it would be hard for us to meet alone in the future.”
“Doesn’t that mean the same thing?”
“Not at all.
Why would I tell you to not appear before me?”
Her answer caused Daniel to smile even more brilliantly.
“In that case, it doesn’t matter if we ‘happened to’ run into each other alone in the future.”
“There’s nothing we can do if we happen to meet.”
Dooha looked at Daniel, who looked happy for some reason, and gave a baffled expression.
Come to think of it, Daniel’s complexion was oddly paler compared to the last time they’d met, and it seemed as though he wasn’t feeling well.
“Daniel, are you perhaps feeling unwell…”
But she wasn’t able to finish her sentence.
It’s due to the terrible sight that appeared before her eyes.
It’s because of the body of the monster, which she’d seen earlier, that was floating on the lake.
It was even charred in several places like it had been burned.
“What the hell is that?”
“Oh, it must be your first time seeing one, as Bashal doesn’t have monsters.”
“…That’s a monster? That?”
Dooha stiffened at Daniel’s answer.
Just as Daniel had mentioned, she had never seen a monster before.
That’s because monsters had never appeared on Bashalian territory.
This was the reason why the Kingdom of Bashal is called a blessed land, despite its merciless climate.
‘So those are what the duke fights against every time?’
She had always thought that it’s like a wild animal, as he’d always return like not much happened.
“That monster falls under the category of plant-type monsters.
Although it has weak combat powers, it has strong prolificity, so it would occasionally appear in places abruptly like this.”
That thing is even considered to be on the weak side?
Dooha bit on her lip.
“Of course, I didn’t think that it would make an appearance in the ducal castle.”
“Was that caught by Daniel?”
“Yes, it can be easily caught with simple flame magic.”
Dooha closed her mouth at the emptiness and sense of defeat at the answer he gave.
No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t even escape it, let alone defeat it.
It’s also because he said that so nonchalantly, as if it wasn’t any different from catching a fly.
Meanwhile, like Daniel didn’t know what Dooha was thinking, he continued indifferently, as if it wasn’t a big deal.
“I think it’ll be better to drain all the water out of the lake.
It’ll be a disaster if it spreads its spores on the floor.”
“Plant-type monsters spread spores around them just before their death, leaving behind their descendants.”
As spores were so small that they can’t be spotted without close inspection, it was hard to handle them in advance.
“If the spores of a monster that lives in water are exposed to sunlight, it would all dry up and die.”
“I’ll inform the servants.”
“Can I leave it to you?”
“It’s something that I have to do.”
Dooha let out a sigh and recalled the existence of others.
What happened to Layla and the head maid? Did the wives of the vassals manage to evacuate safely?
She didn’t expect such an accident to occur at the occasion that she was hosting, of all things.
Dooha bit her lips and got up from her position.
“I have to ensure that the others are safe……”
Just then, something slipped from her shoulder.
It was a colourful light-red outer garment, which clearly belonged to Daniel.
Dooha took off his coat quietly and handed it to him.
“I’ll return this to you.”
Daniel coughed dryly with an awkward look.
“Ahem, but I think that it’ll be better if you wore it.”
“Don’t worry, I’m quite resistant against the cold.
And I think you need to drape something over yourself more than I do.”
Dooha was quite worried because of his haggard-looking face.
Although his behaviour was occasionally incomprehensible and quite annoying, he would render assistance to her whenever she required it, and thus was someone she should be grateful for.
She didn’t feel good when such a person had a poor complexion.
“No, I still think that the Madam should wear…”
“I said that I’m fine.
It’s not good for you to dress so exposedly when you look as though you’re on the verge of collapse.”
“Do as I say and wear it!”
“Madam, I think you’d better listen to me this time, even if I’m not trustworthy.”
“Why won’t you just listen to me? I heard that you had a weak constitution! Do you want to catch a cold?”
Just as the two were about to have an untimely squabble.
“Madam, you’re safe and sound!”
Dooha turned around joyfully at the welcome voices of those searching for her.
Fortunately, the ladies and the servants, including Layla and the head maid, all seemed to be alright.
But it was odd.
The gazes of Layla and the head maid, who ran towards her, the wives that followed behind them, as well as even the servants that were huddled together, were filled with astonishment instantly.
What’s wrong with everyone?
Mystified by their behaviour, Dooha tilted her head and heard a sigh from the side.
“…Didn’t I tell you that it would be better if the Madam wore the coat?”
Only then did Dooha realise that she was only wearing a half-loosened corset and knee-length underpants.
When she let out a short exclamation, Layla was the first to come to her senses and ran over hurriedly.
“Goodness, Madam! I can’t live!
Layla wrapped a thick fur blanket around her master’s body like it was a bandage.
“Please don’t be so wilful from now on! I really thought that the Madam was about to die!”
“I wouldn’t have dived in if I knew that something like that would pop out, Layla.”
“You’re only saying that.
Oh goodness, look at how your lips have already turned blue.”
“Are you certain that you’re fine, Madam? I thought my heart was going to fall.”
The head maid, who approached belatedly, also asked after her.
Sylvia wasn’t hurt either, right?”
Come to think about it, to think that a monster appeared in the ducal castle.
It’s the first time something like this has happened, and it’s quite bewildering.”
The head maid looked at the remains of the monster floating on the lake and turned her gaze to Daniel, who was standing next to Dooha.
“Greetings, Lord Daniel.
Although I had known about your return from the Eastern Empire, I was unable to give you my greetings.”
“Who wouldn’t know that the head maid is a busy person? Please don’t worry about that.”
The two people exchanged greetings familiarly like they already knew each other.
“Was Lord Daniel the one that defeated the monster?”
“Isn’t that what I’d learnt magic for?”
The head maid stared at Daniel, who was smiling with his hands clasped behind his back, and bowed her head.
“Thank you for saving the Duchess.”
“Don’t mention it.
I’d only done what I had to do.”
Upon hearing his response, the head maid stealthily cut in between Dooha and Daniel.
“In that case, I’ll be attending to the Duchess from here on, so will you please return back?”
For some reason, she seemed to be wary of Daniel.
“Madam would be quite troubled if a strange rumour arises from being together with another man while dressed like this.”
“Sylvia, Daniel saved my life.
Saying it like that is a little…”
Just as Dooha frowned at the head maid’s excessive response and was about to quibble over it.
“It’s not that I don’t know about the head maid’s concerns, but I don’t think that this is time to quibble about that.”
Daniel continued in a rather firm tone, which was unlike him.
“Isn’t finding the identity of the person that dared to unleash a monster within the Ducal castle and make the Duchess look like this the priority?”
While the monster that caused the disturbance has died, problems that have yet to be solved still remain.
“Daniel is right.”
Dooha clutched the blanket that was wrapped around her body and opened her mouth with a solemn voice.
“Where’s Young Lady Pauline right now?”
A pointed gleam entered her golden eyes.
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