The Head, accompanied by Carola, entered the temple at that time.
“Elisha, to even hold a memorial service for a child who died so disgracefully. No matter how much I think about it, you really are a child with no shortage.”
“You’ve already told me that many times.”
“Besides, the butler informed me. Didn’t you instruct them to clean the annex in advance in case distinguished visitors might come? You are really good at treating guests. You are certainly a faultless talent with the ability to run this duchy.”
The Lord continued,
“I brought you a present to comfort you during your hardships.”
Soon, Gail came with a small box. Carola’s eyes flashed. When she heard Gail had entered the duke’s storage room, Carola hovered around Gaju. She was restless that the family head would give Elisha a precious gift.
“It… … . It is a very beautiful object.”
Elisha opened the box and marveled at what came out. It was a small platinum tube. In the center was a diamond in the shape of an elongated waterdrop, about the size of a child’s hand.
“This is your grandmother-in-laws’s favorite item. It’s an ancient princess’s platinum crown. I was told that you brought no property with you when you got married. So I’ll give you a fortune that will last a long time. Keep it well.”
‘Can this turn into cash?’
she wondered indifferently as she said thanks with her mouth.
If it were too precious, ordinary jewelry stores or pawn shops would be unable to afford it, so they would never accept it. Obviously, it had to be sold at an auction, but auctions are not often held.
So, to Elisha, the gift was worse than a gold coin. However, she knew what the duchess’ keepsakes meant to Gaju. It was undoubtedly a cherished item.
‘I suppose it’s a good thing.’
More than anything, the measure of the preciousness of these objects could be judged by Carola’s expressions. For a moment, she could not tolerate her envy and glared at Elisha with naked, malevolent eyes.
“My Lord. Carola is not feeling well, so she can’t pray all night like Elisha. You know what? In fact, Carola has prayed for Arien every time she enters the temple with her maids. The high priest of the family must know… … .”
It was a blatant lie. But it was true that Carola often came to the temple. It was mainly to pray for her own desires. Elisha knew her grotesque temper. She was extremely obsessed with divination but also greedy, so she frequented the temple.
‘Actually, there are other purposes besides that.’
Elisha thought. Inside the temple was a space managed by the family’s women from generation to generation. Besides, no one came in. So, for generations, the temple has been a place of rendezvous for the women of the duchy.
“Elisha seems to be struggling alone, so Carola did the preparations for today’s ceremony. Actually, we’ve been thinking about preparing a memorial ceremony for a long time. She was very grateful to Elisha for speaking up for her first.”
Elisha was dumbfounded.
“You’re the one who prepared this, Carola?”
“Oh, that’s right. Elisha had prepared her ceremony incorrectly..… .”
“Looks like you’ve seen the thesis on the rites written by the High Priestess Primera. However, the ritual I prepared is ancient, so the preparation for this ritual does not fit. You need three kinds of flowers, and all the fruits for the ceremony are wrong. Above all, this ritual is to comfort the dead by lighting candles all night. But you have already lit all the candles.”
Caroline’s cheeks turned red.
“When it’s this bright that even the dead will be startled and run away,”
Elisha remarked softly.
“Primera’s thesis is good, but you didn’t know that most of the nobles’ temple ceremonies are ancient. I was genuinely worried about who had such false knowledge. I’m glad I could correct it.”
“Yo—you… … .”
Cold, thrilling loathing flowed from Carola’s eyes. When Elisha saw her true nature, she felt better. This was the Carola she knew.
Then, for some reason, Lucerne opened his mouth. She wondered why he would interfere with this petty squabble.
“Elisha has been painstakingly preparing for the ceremonies since a few days ago, so she must be tired today. But I can’t believe she’s interfering with her work. You foolishly annoy people.”
Lucerne really looked at Carola as if she were a bug.
The Head now grasped the situation. Gaju thought of his daughters-in-law’s quarrels as the barking and hissing of dogs and cats. So, he felt very aggravated towards Carola, the cause of the dispute.
“Carola, you don’t know much about this ritual, do you? Tea party preparation is suitable for your level. Don’t interfere with Elisha’s work!”
Carola’s face went white. She lowered her head, gave her pitiful victim look, and bit her lip. She was very talented in acting.
“Yes… … . My Lord. Carola is trying to help… … . She was wrong… … .”
He ignored Carola when he would normally soothe her. And instead, he comforted Elisha.
“My child, unfortunately we’ll be troubling you today.”
“Thank you, my lord.”
Elisha curtsied and greeted him politely. Carola creepily glared at her as soon as the patriarch’s eyes fell. She pretended not to notice her stare.
At least when Lucerne looked at her, Carola lowered her eyes. Perhaps she would have done the same even if Jacob had been present.
“Are you really going to spend all night here?”
“Yes, I’m really alright.”
He escorted Elisha to the shrine one last time.
“If anything happens, scream.”
“You won’t hear me. The soundproofing in this room is perfect. Temples built a long time ago are usually like that.”
“… … .”
In truth, Elisha was well aware of that fact. The temple was so soundproof that Carola would often have her maids beat Elisha in it. The memories of being hit enough to make her nose bleed at that time were still clear to her.
“… … It’s okay. Lucerne, even if you don’t believe me. Just trust in me today.”
“… … .”
“Have my plans ever failed? Not even once.”
Lucerne reluctantly nodded at those words. He sighed and closed the door of the temple behind him.
Lucerne stood in front of the temple gate for a long time. Then, as the night dew began to gather, he reluctantly left the place.
A lady-in-waiting was watching the scene. Mimosa hurried off and reported to her master what she had seen.
“The general has left the room.”
“Really? All right.”
“It’s Zain’s turn.”
Carola was amused. Now, Elisha will collapse. When she thought of her messed up appearance tomorrow morning, she was so excited.
Zain would break into her temple where Elisha was tonight, commit his crime, and subdue her until morning.
‘Thanks to you, we’ll have a good show, huh, Elisha?’
“Mimosa. Don’t forget my orders, got it?”
“Yes, I’ll cause a big commotion in front of the temple tomorrow morning. And I will send people to the temple.”
Carola nodded in satisfaction.
“Are you ready?”
“Yes, as you asked, I have also spread rumors. They say that the duke’s temple is a good place for her men and women to have sex. It had been used that way for decades. I’ll say this.”
The rumor was one of the tactics. If Elisha was found the following day, it would have been better if it was orchestrated as if she had been having an affair.