Lucas woke up lazily, ruffling his bedraggled hair, to the sound of heavy rain hitting the window.
And not being able to immediately remember where he was, he looked around vaguely with blurred sleepy eyes.
He found himself in a corner of the eight-person room allocated to his colleagues of the Order of the Golden Eagle, on the top bunk of two bunk beds, one on either side of the room.
(Ah, yes... that's right)
Yesterday, because of that crazy perverted princess, he had a funny atmosphere when he was with Valerie.
They were getting nervous as the night goes on. And if the situation continued, he would make a move on her.
So, Lucas, who left the room without Valerie, ravished Millie, a maid he happened to meet, with his lustful desire.
He was satisfied after he had released inside her four times, and after that, he rolled into his colleagues' room, leaving the maid asleep without her.
Just before he fell asleep, he vaguely recalls the exchange he had with his colleagues.
That was happened in the middle of the night, when Lucas suddenly came into the room and rolled into the empty bed, and his colleagues looked at him with interest.
"So, did you get kicked out for displeasing the Commander?"
Eudin, the third son of the baron and the spoiled son, teased him with a happy smile.
When Lucas turned away annoyed, Ernesto, the most devoted husband in the knight order, looked like a preachy monk and opened his mouth.
"Lucas, if something goes wrong, just apologize. It doesn't matter who's at fault. Don't fight against your wife. Your wife is a deity. Smile and treat her like a princess no matter how unreasonable she is. And it'll make her happy. Then, if she's in a good mood... you'll be happy too."
"What's that? Is marriage hell or something?"
Ernesto looked like an enlightened priest in a holy temple and held up his index finger.
"It's both heaven and hell, probably. Well, it's not wrong to call it the graveyard of life. But it doesn't matter. My daughter's cute. And all is well in the world."
Then Julian, a scholarly man who was lying on the lower bed, interrupted the conversation.
"It's been about three months now, isn't it? Although I don't know because I'm still single, I hear that if it is your own child, it is quite a cute one?"
"Oh, yes, they are adorable. I'm afraid they'll grow up while I'm away and I'll miss the cutest time of their life. I just want this war to be over and I want to go home."
"Here it comes... You really are a foolish parent, aren't you?"
This is what his colleagues were saying and laughing just before Lucas fell asleep.
Just to be sure, he looked around the room again, but they were not there.
Anyway, he got off the bed and opened the door.
But, suddenly, a spray of water splashed against his face.
He peeks out, his cheeks contorted, and sees that it is raining heavily outside.
The streets, the plain, and the mountains in the distance, as far as the eye can see, are all behind a white, smoky haze.
The sky is covered with thick clouds, but it must have been dawn long ago.
"Ah, I must have overslept..."
Thanks to Valerie waking him up before, he haven't been late for a while now, but this is what happens when she's not around.
Lucas wondered in his heart why his colleagues didn't wake him up, but he simply got ready and walked out into the corridor without much haste.
The corridor is quiet.
But if he listens carefully, he hears a high-pitched female voice in the distance.
It is not Valerie's voice.
It is probably the voice of that female knight named Olga.
The morning assembly, which is usually held in the courtyard, is useless in this rain. It is probably being held in the entrance hall.
"That Olga was a troublesome person..."
If it's Valerie, even though he is a little late, she would forgive him with just a look of dismay, but he has a feeling that this lady knight Olga would take this opportunity to yell at him.
But when Lucas arrived at the hall, there was an air of tension in the air.
(What? Is something happening?)
His colleagues and the knights under the direct command of the princess were standing in a line, and behind them were Olga and Valerie.
They were in full armor and looked at each other with a serious look on their faces.
As Lucas was about to quietly get in line at the end of the line of his colleagues, he happened to meet Valerie who looked up at him.
At almost the same time as he said this in his heart, Valeris opens her eyes wide and comes running toward him furiously, pushing aside the knights.
When Lucas almost ran away from her, she held him in her arms as if she did not want to let him escape.
"Are you all right, Danna-sama?"
"C-Commander! What's wrong? Everyone's watching! Let go of me! Let go of me!"
Lucas is struggling desperately. Upon coming to herself, Valerie looked around and jumped out of the way in a panic.
"I-I'm sorry, but..."
"What's the matter with you?"
When he asked this question, Olga, who had walked up to him before he knew it, opened his mouth in a puzzled tone.
" Valerie, you're such a foolish one. Why are you doing this... Oh, well. One of the prisoners escaped last night. And four knights... or three if I exclude Lucas. I can't find them."
"Escaped...? That doesn't make any sense."
There are five prisoners of war in the prison dungeon, but they are all low-ranking soldiers, so they cannot be used for hostage exchange.
Therefore, after Her Highness returned to the capital, the prisoners would be released with a letter of surrender.
Since the prisoners of war had been informed of this, there was no reason for them to take the risk of escaping now.
"They may have been on some important mission. The three missing people may have seen them escape and are chasing them... maybe that's what happened."
Valerie said this, and Olga shakes her head.
"No, I think those three are the ones we should be looking for."
"What do you mean?"
Valerie's eyes turned sharp, and Olga stared back at her as if challenging her.
"I understand your desire to trust your men. But aren't these three defectors? It makes sense if you think they're using the missing prisoners as guides."
Valerie shrugged her shoulders in exasperation, and Olga faced her. Lucas, who was caught between the two, couldn't stand it and shouted.
"Please wait! So, who exactly is missing?"
"Yan, Julian, and Ernesto..."
At that moment...
'I can't wait to get home.'
Ernesto's words came back to Lucas's mind.
While Lucas was stunned, Olga looked at Valerie and said.
"I have already confirmed that the number of horses and carriages aren't decreased. If they are planning to flee back to the town, they should go in the direction of the capital, north. If they are pursuing escaped prisoners, then south toward Ternoir. So, I'll lead my men north and if you trust your men, then go south."
"Very well. If they're really on the run, which is unlikely, I'll accept the blame for my lack of supervision."
"Don't misunderstand me. I'm not trying to put you down in any way."
Just as the two people turn their backs to each other and are about to call out to their respective subordinates.
A high-pitched female scream echoed from somewhere in the distance.
The knights were in an uproar.
Valerie and Lucas looked at each other involuntarily.
"Oh no! That's the direction of the guest room! You two come with me. Everyone else stand by! Watch the perimeter!"
Olga rushes out with some knights, and Lucas and Valerie nod to each other and follow her.
The guest room is at the far end of the first floor. When they turned the corner, they saw a silver-haired maid, Stellanova, sitting flat in front of the room used by the princess for storing her luggage, staring blankly into the air.
"What's wrong! Stellanova!"
Olga rushes to her side. She shakes her voice and points a finger at the ceiling.
She points to the other side of the open door. Olga, Lucas, and Valerie gasped as they looked into the room.
Raindrops pour in through the open window. Outside the window, a flash of lightning ripped through the sky. Three figures emerged from the lightning.
They are men hanging upside down from the beams of the ceiling.
Blood dripping from their slit throats splattered on the floor, and in the reverberations like the low roar of a thunderstorm, Valerie's faint murmur spilled out.
"What... What is this?"
The people hanging there are the colleagues of the Order of the Golden Eagle, who had disappeared from sight.
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