I reached out and waved Dimitri’s signature on the ring finger of my left hand.
“I have this, so what are they going to do to me Even though they’re going to bother me terribly, if they don’t want to go to war with Blois, they’re just going to act within our expectations.”
“I’ll clean up quickly and follow you, Rowaine.”
“Before that, I’ll come back first.
I’m going to come back soon since I don’t plan to stay long.”
In the end, Dimitri, who thought that I might be captured by Count Larscel, left me with five elite knights.
I was very grateful.
Still, although I saw him off with a smile, my heart was heavy as if it had been carrying a large burden.
‘It is not that I do not believe in Dimitri’s knights…’
It could not be helped that it was not pleasant to deal with the Counts of Larscel and his wife alone.
The couple played as villains throughout the novel.
How smart and quick-witted when it comes to bad things… Their desires were simple and intense.
…To gain power and wealth and to stand above people’s heads.
Now, the Count couple could not understand why their daughter, who had the same determination as them, suddenly did something incomprehensible and worried them.
‘They have no intention of understanding it, anyway.
They are just frantic about not being able to dedicate their daughter to the Emperor…’
Since they had such clear and simple desires, it was obvious how they would turn out.
‘Somehow, they are going to use an excuse and try to drag me to the Emperor.’
In fact, even if that were the case, the Emperor could not unilaterally take me as I am the Duchess of Blois.
Even the Emperor was not an absolute power, so he could not ignore the attention of great nobles like Dimitri.
It meant that he could not do anything that would turn the nobles’ backs on him.
‘It is just going to annoy me immensely.’
…Imagine your ex-boyfriend calling you out persistently.
Would you not like to avoid the situation where the two of you were just facing each other somehow
That was just how it felt…
‘I wanted to make it simple, but now that this has happened, I have to solve the problems myself.’
I have no choice but to come up with ‘Plan B.’
‘I told them that I was going with Dimitri, so they must have been well prepared.’
To stand against a cat that wields a demon, they need something comparable.
‘If that was the case, would it be a hunting dog’
The last time I met Herman, I remembered the dog shapeshifters I had seen briefly.
When I recall that time, my legs still tremble.
…The pride of the Emperor and the foundation of his power.
Hounds are the name of the Emperor’s ‘hunting dogs,’ although they are practically well-trained elite soldiers.
I have heard somewhere that the ability of one military dog is equivalent to the combat power of one company.
If so, what was the fighting power of dog shapeshifters who have received military training while possessing both the level of human thinking and the fighting ability of dogs…
‘Perhaps, the Emperor sent hounds to meet Rowaine somehow.’
…Then, no matter how many knights I took, I would have still been a very easy prey.
While trying to figure out how to get out of the hands of Count Larscel safely, I eventually came up with a great idea.
‘I have no choice but to use that method…’
* * *
Getting into the carriage, I promised Coco and Sasha that I would be back in the evening.
“Wouldn’t it be better if I go with you and be your companion”
Agwen stomped her foot as if she felt sorry for me because I was leaving alone without being able to go with Dimitri.
“It’s okay, Agwen.
If you use the moving magic circle, it will be quick.”
It was already an enormous burden on my own, so I could not bring Agwen with me.
“Please, take care of the children, especially Sasha.
She’ll be very anxious.”
For several days, I did not leave Sasha’s side as I tried to soothe her fear that she might be abandoned again.
Perhaps, she might feel that way again when I am gone.
Still, it was impossible to take her in a situation where I did not know what would happen.
So, I was so sorry that I inevitably had to leave her.
“Play with her while I’m away so that she doesn’t have time to think about it.
I’ll be back soon.”
Soon, the carriage departed.
I spoke to the coachman just before the carriage left the main gate, “There’s a stop I’d like to go to along the way, so please go to the place I’m talking about.”
* * *
The place where the carriage stopped was a rural village that arrived after teleporting through the magic circle four times.
Even though it was a rural area, it was close to the capital, so the retail district was quite developed even though the city was not significant due to the large floating population.
I walked around the street in the carriage before circling the same road several times and getting off in front of a shop.
‘Is it here…’
The place I found was a supply store.
This place, which was shabby on the outside and had a few items on display inside the glass door, unlike other handicraft stores, was actually quite special.
It was a place that produced products on its own without the procurement of goods from hunters who make a living by mistreating shapeshifters without any connection with the shapeshifters’ traders.
Here, there is a person who later becomes an assistant to the female protagonist, the Princess.
I was going to buy something very useful from that character today.
When I opened the old wooden door and went inside, I could hear a clear chime.
Then, the woman, who had been dozing at the cashier, woke up in surprise.
The wind blew away several sheets of paper and notebooks that were scattered on the checkout counter fell to pieces.
“Ahh! I’m sorry.
Please, wait a minute.”
“It’s okay, take your time.”
Saying so, the woman flopped down on the floor and picked up objects that had fallen everywhere.
I quietly observed her, reassuring her.
She was a woman with voluminous red curly hair, which was very impressive to look at.
I was convinced that she was the woman the heroine was looking for when I saw the huge, thick curly hair that was tied up high and sticking out at random.
‘I have come to the right place.’
Her name was Avila Teruel.
At the age of eighteen, she was the youngest member of the imperial wizards, although she was a fairly famous eccentric sorceress who, after four years, suddenly resigned from her dream position as an imperial wizard.
While specializing in studying the abilities of the shapeshifters, she became furious when she saw the Emperor abusing numerous dog shapeshifters to train them to be his hounds.
Thinking that this was not the case, she had turned around several offers of scouting and set up her own private laboratory after resigning from the imperial wizard.
Even though it was known that she conducted various studies in the direction of increasing the convenience of humans by studying the abilities of the dog shapeshifters, she was actually studying the weakness of hounds trained by the Emperor.
Later, she succeeded in various studies that neutralized hunting dogs, such as creating a magical artifact that could easily break the chain of the hounds and their master.
She believed that weakening the power of the shapeshifters would reduce their popularity in the slave market and, as a result, reduce the number of shapeshifters being abused.
However, there was no research cost now, so she was able to cover his living expenses by setting up a supply store like this.
“What are you looking for Even though there are not many products, if you look closely, you can see that there is nothing missing!”
She came closer to me with her friendly, business smile.
Somehow, as if she gave off the impression of a dog with good social skills, she was happy to see people.
‘She did not recognize me…’
I was a little relieved as I had given a lot of thought to what I would say and convinced her if Avila recognized me.
I thought I might be kicked out somehow if she found out that Rowaine, infamous for being a shapeshifter abuser, had come to visit her.
Because of that, I was making up all sorts of words that would distract her.
However, in the end, because there was no plausible story, I was so nervous that I bit her lip to the point of making it tattered.
‘Well, Avila was a researcher locked in the heart of the Imperial Castle, and Rowaine’s main stage was a crowded party hall… The two would never have met.’
It was just like because they went to the same university, that does not mean they all knew each other.
No matter how famous Rowaine was, her red hair was not such a rare color in this world.
So, she may not be able to recognize her if she had not seen her in person.
‘I am glad I left the carriage a little farther away just in case.
For now, let’s not say things like names…’
Thinking that, I glanced around the store slowly with the most innocent face possible.
“I’ve adopted a young dog, a shapeshifter, and I’m taking care of it.”
With my careful word choice, Avila’s expression became more gentle.
It was because by using the friendly word, ‘adoption,’ I secretly appealed that I was someone who cared about shapeshifters and shapeshifters’ rights.
“It hasn’t been long since I adopted him, and I wanted to get closer to him.
I heard they sell magic perfumes for dogs here”
Turning around, I looked to see where I could find what I was looking for.
“If that’s the case, it’s over here.
The glass bottles you see here are just that.”
“There are more types than I thought”
“Let me explain.
This blue bottle is a magical scent that gives psychological stability, and this pink bottle is a magic scent that has a calming effect on sensitive dogs.
While this orange bottle has an appetizing scent.”
Avila carefully explained the effects of magic incense to me one by one.
“They’re all made with natural materials.
In addition, by using white magic-type spells, they’re made to reduce the objection to the dog shapeshifters and are harmless to their body! Perhaps, the perfume you’re looking for is a magical fragrance that lowers the vigilance of the dog and raises their intimacy.
How about this”
“There are so many fascinating things.
I’d like one of those first, and…”
I asked her without missing one thing she did not explain.
“What’s the effect of this transparent bottle”
“Oh, this is…”
Avila’s expression became slightly awkward at my question.