TWB (Novel) Chapter 56

C56

While the cold winter was long, the warm spring days flew by in an instant. It has been a month since spring arrived.

Slowly, the time for Zachary and Bianca to depart for the capital was approaching.

Originally, the vassals would not have headed to the capital because the king would have traveled the country with thousands of servants and knights to tour his territory. The king used to display his dignity as king and confirm the loyalty of the lords through itinerant performances.

However, the current king was elderly and unable to endure the wandering life, so he used the engagement of the crown prince Albert as an excuse to invite all the lords except the margrave* to the capital.

There was no need to say that the lords went to the capital. It was not solely out of loyalty to the king. As the king grew older, his eyes were focused on who would succeed the king, and since it had to do with their future, they had to feel the weight of the scales tipping even if it was just a little.

Of course, the official heir was Gautier de Sevran, the first prince, but Jacob, the second prince, could not be ignored either. While Prince Gautier's temperament was quite fragile and gentle, Jacob explicitly revealed his greed for whatever he wanted. If it had been a peaceful era, everyone would have pushed Prince Gautier to the throne, whether they desired peace or wanted to seize power and shake the weak king, but in times of war like now, the story was different.

Lords who had already chosen a side went to the capital to be the strength behind their prince, and lords who had not yet chosen a side went to the capital to find out which prince was closer to becoming the king.

And Count Arno's carriage was also getting ready to join them. In the castle, the supplies were steadily being loaded, and under Vincent's command, the servants loaded them onto the carts. The knights were checking their weapons and horses, and some were bidding farewell to their families.

When it came to luggage, it was, of course, Bianca's luggage. Dozens of dresses for Bianca to wear in the capital, the accessories that came with them, and her essences were lined up in fifteen trunks.

Fortunately, this was also greatly reduced because Zachary said that if there was anything she wanted or needed, he would buy it for her in the capital.

The servants clicked their tongues at Bianca's extravagant load. All of Bianca's belongings were precious, so Yvonne widened her eyes and watched the servants to make sure they didn't drop the trunks.

While Bianca's luggage was enormous, Zachary, the owner of the estate, had only five trunks. However, most of the items were weapons, books, and items presented to the king instead of clothes. Firstly, Zachary was used to packing his luggage compactly as he used to travel to the battlefield.

Still, he would be staying in the capital for almost half a year, so five trunks were too few. Zachary's luggage, prepared by Vincent, consisted of eight trunks. It was entirely thanks to Bianca that Zachary's load was reduced so much.

How was Zachary's load lightened?

It started with Vincent, who went to move Bianca's luggage and expressed his dismay when he saw the trunks piled up like a mountain.

"Are you planning to move the entire castle as it is?"

"I only take what I need. Do you want me to go to the capital and be laughed at?"

"Even the Count only has eight trunks. The lady's load is too much. Could you reduce it to less than ten trunks?"

"Ten? Don't be ridiculous. It's absurd that the Count only has eight trunks. What the hell is he taking?"

"Just the necessities."

"Let me see."

Having said that, Vincent was surprised by Bianca's sudden request. If it had been the previous Bianca, she would have insisted that she couldn't reduce the amount of her luggage no matter what Zachary's luggage was like, but seeing that she even cared about Zachary's luggage, she seemed to have changed.

Perhaps because he had the expectation that she might have changed, Vincent began to admire every little action. One reason might be that Vincent's expectations for Bianca weren't very high in the first place.

Silently, Vincent led Bianca to Zachary's trunk. Bianca crossed her arms and lowered her gaze to the trunk with Zachary's luggage. Her pale green eyes told him to open it. Under Vincent's direction, the servant opened the trunk. Bianca's face distorted at the same time the trunk lid opened with a loud sound.

"What is this?"

"... Is it the Count's clothes?"

"... Let's open the next one."

Bianca lifted the tips of her fingers to the trunk beside her, her brows furrowing. Unable to understand why Bianca suddenly became so serious, Vincent looked at Bianca and nodded. The servant immediately opened the second trunk.

But Bianca's face grew even more serious. She squinted her eyes and shook her head as if she had seen something she couldn't see, then looked inside the trunk again and sighed repeatedly. After a while, she suddenly looked at Vincent and asked abruptly.

"Butler."

"Yes, madam."

"Be honest."

"Yes, madam."

"Is the estate poor?"

"Yes... What?"

Vincent, nervous about Bianca's harsh interrogation, waited for her to continue, but he made the mistake of stuttering at her absurd and unexpected words. He didn't know what on earth made her think that way.

Vincent shook his head to grasp Bianca's intent, who was looking at him with an extremely serious expression. But no matter how much he thought about it, he couldn't figure it out. While Vincent was left speechless, Bianca continued.

"The last time you said I could use beeswax candles as much as I wanted, did you really compensate for the lack of household income?"

"Oh, no. Why would you think that...?"

"Then, what is this clothing of the Count?"

What Bianca's slender and well-groomed fingertips pointed to was Zachary's clothing, neatly folded in the trunk.

After discovering Zachary's clothing, Bianca couldn't believe it. Zachary had a good physique and an overwhelming presence, so she normally didn't pay attention, but the clothing she saw separately was disastrous.

It was impossible to tell when it was in fashion, the fur was worn out, and the embroidery was a simple and outdated design.

He could use this clothing on the battlefield, but aren't they heading to the capital city now? As a member of high society where all the nobles gather, no matter how much of a war hero Zachary is, wearing such low-quality clothing will only ridicule him. And Bianca as well.

Bianca, terrified at the mere thought of it, shuddered. But Vincent just tilted his head, as if he hadn't realized what the problem was.

"This suits the Count..."

Bianca, having decided that there was no need to listen to Vincent, pointed to the rags in the trunk.

"Take out that garment, and those, those boots, that coat, all of them."

"M-Madam."

"If I go with the Count dressed in those rags, I will also be ridiculed. I cannot allow that. It is much better to go to the capital and have him dress accordingly."

Indeed, "rags" was a somewhat distorted expression from Bianca's perspective.

It was only because it wasn't elegant, but rather neat and tidy. Even non-wealthy barons and vassals wore similar clothing to Zachary's.

The delicate embroideries placed on high-quality fur, silk, and golden thread were as valuable as they were expensive. For poor aristocrats from the outskirts, it was a much wiser choice to invest in buying an extra horse instead of having to renew that kind of clothing every time.

But Zachary was a Count and an upwardly mobile noble aristocrat. Moreover, his wife, Bianca, was the daughter of the noble Blanchefort family, and Bianca couldn't allow him to wear the same clothing that poor nobles wear to go to the capital. As a knight on the battlefield, Bianca was determined not to take a step back.

Vincent, silently listening, agreed that Bianca's words were true. Until now, it was Vincent who had bought luxury items for Bianca, and as a result, his standards were somewhat elevated. However, it was something he was forced to elevate in order to keep up with Bianca's pace, and Vincent wasn't very sophisticated in the first place.

In particular, Zachary didn't pay much attention or interest to his garments, so Vincent chose "moderate," "reasonable," and "efficient" clothing for him.

Vincent was a skilled master of economy, but Bianca was a skilled master of luxury. Clearly, Bianca was the right person for this job. After all, someone who has tasted meat eats well, and someone who has lived in luxury does it well.

Just like with the lace business, Vincent was recently surprised to discover that Bianca was so useful for the territory.

Vincent silently nodded his head to do what his lady asked of him. Anyway, in the capital, the lady will stock up on clothing as she pleases, and even if the Count's clothing is added to it, the budget won't change much.

As a result, the trunks were reduced to five. She wanted to leave everything, but she had to have clothing to wear until it matched her clothing in the capital, so this was the result of choosing and selecting, leaving only a little decent clothing. Bianca, who removed all the rags, raised her hand to her forehead with a frown.

It was only under these circumstances that Bianca herself decided to pay attention to Zachary's clothing for a while, even during their time in the capital. As Zachary was the sole owner of the estate, it didn't matter what he wore, and it had nothing to do with his reputation or fame. But the capital was different.

In the capital, which is the territory of the king, everyone was invited, and at the same time, it was a place of socialization where everyone's values were measured and judged. Zachary had a strong army and territory. Objectively, it was a condition where he couldn't be ignored, but since people are snobs, they tend to judge others based on their outward appearance. Especially the authoritarian aristocrats with a strong sense of belonging. Of course, Bianca was also included in the story.

Thanks to this, Bianca could see what the nobles of the capital would think as if she were looking at the palm of her hand. She didn't know it well, but during this time that Zachary went alone to the capital, he must have been the subject of rumors about his attire. She couldn't let him be treated like that.

Isn't Bianca's husband Zachary? Still, his figure is good, and he looks great, so if he combines some plausible garments, it will be fine for a while.

If she hadn't seen Zachary's garments separately, she wouldn't have easily realized what was wrong with his clothing for a while. It was a great relief to have discovered it before reaching the capital.

Bianca let out a sigh of relief.

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