How to Survive as the Wife of the Monster Duke - Chapter 129
“You must tell me if you have any difficulty, ma’am,” Mary urged her, excusing herself.
Delrose was more familiar with Divine Power than the other houses, and especially more familiar with using it without having to resort to a divine object. Their Master, the Duke of Winter, could boast the strongest divine power in all the winter region.
Yet even among Delrose, little was known about it. The Duke of Winter seldom spoke on the subject – or on most others, honestly – so there were few if any who understood what using it required.
“Strength, perhaps?” Maid Dell whispered. The maids were huddled a distance away from Ilyin’s room – close enough to respond, yet still far enough away that they could whisper amongst themselves with no chance of being heard.
“What kind of strength?” asked Maid Nina.
“This?” Dell replied, flexing her arm, faintly outlining the curve of her bicep through the thin clothes they wore inside the mansion. Nina squeezed her arm, shaking her head.
“You couldn’t burn firewood with this,” she said.
“True enough,” replied Dell.
Nina scratched her head. Even between the two of them, they couldn’t work out how using the divine power was done.
“Hey, come here,” whispered a voice nearby. It was Annie, a Delrose maid from the 6th floor, just peeking out from the stairs – the one who’d taught Ilyin the ways of Biflten when she’d arrived.
Nina and Dell scurried over. Though she was technically a maid just as they were, Annie came from a notable family in Delrose and commanded a certain status as a result.
“Yes, Miss,” they said. The honorific was allowable in this case, as there was no “Miss” in Delrose’s direct line.
“Make the Mistress feel good,” she said to the two 7th floor maids.
“Pardon?” they answered in unison. Annie glanced back down the stairs and pointed down toward the 6th floor.
“The Lady Mille from downstairs told me. One’s stamina with the divine power recovers more quickly if you feel comfortable. So do the best you can for the Ma’am,” she said pointedly.
They nodded, still not quite looking as though they fully understood.
“Make her as comfortable as you can,” she emphasized again. “See to it. I’ll be downstairs.”
She turned and, with one last pointed look at the two maids, headed back down to watch over the Lady Mille and keep her company.
It was Ilyin herself who had assigned her that role. In all of Delrose, Annie was the only one other than Ilyin who could hold a decent conversation with Rippo.
The two maids scurried down the hallway back toward Ilyin’s room, muttering amongst themselves how best to follow Annie’s advice. The one who made the Lady feel best had left for Elo.
“What else does she like?”
Fortunately, the two of them had served Ilyin since the day she arrived. With a shared glance, they came to the same idea and set to work.
“Ma’am,” Dell said as the two of them stepped into her room.
“What is it?” Ilyin asked, blinking in surprise at the maids. They seemed to each be lugging some sort of awkward load as they entered. Then she saw more clearly what they carried and laughed.
“Oh, dear,” she said, as the maids – remembering that their Mistress enjoyed soft bedding – began to pile up cushy pillows and blankets beside her.
Emil was a cautious knight, by nature. As the reinforcement hunkered down, hiding at the entrance to the pass, he called a few of the faster knights to scout about quickly. He set one out in each direction along the mountains, just in case, and a third up the pass itself.
“Nothing to report,” the first two had reported. The area around them on this side of the mountains was secure, as expected. Biflten mansion wasn’t far from here. Emil hadn’t expected they would venture too close by it. Perhaps the red-scaled Molly tribe who’d recently allied with them would be more daring, but Emil had no expectation of seeing them, either.
Were they really coming? Emil felt doubt creep in again but held it at bay for a bit longer. The third knight still had yet to return.
Emil only had to wait a little longer for the knight, in white armor to blend in with the snow, to reappear. He hurried up to Emil.
“They’re coming,” he said. Emil exhaled and felt a strange relief in the words.
“The Yesters,” he said, less to the knight than to himself.
“Yes,” he replied, “coming through the pass from their base.”
“A few hundred.”
Emil sighed. He took out the lamp. Though the wind was fierce here, the flame still burned.”
“Everlasting fire. . .,” he said.
Divine power. In the winter region, the divine power made the impossible real. A fire like this one could still burn strong, even in a storm such as this, only through it. And through the power of the human that wielded it.
But that power didn’t come without cost, he knew. He had kept the lamp shield for as long as he could, protected it from the wind and cold, just to limit the strain. But he could delay no longer.
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