"I suppose you could say we are to a degree. But I'm much more rugged, and my skin is not fair like that."
"No. You are beautiful. With some proper make-up and clothing, none would take their eyes off you. And you're an owner of dazzling intellect. To a certain group of men, you would be even more attractive. And although I don't have the right word for this, most importantly, your aural presence is quite similar."
"I'm very honored to hear your flattery. But, I see. We look alike. Which means, lady Heles also resembles me?"
"I have yet to witness lady Heles. But you two are probably alike. That was likely the reason both marquises are convinced lady Heles is a descendant of princess Lorecia."
The gear in Norma's brain turned at high speed.
Putting Norma's and Heles's names together is their way to make a threat, 'We know the truth'. Choosing Snow Flower Arbor as the place of the meeting is also a way to indicate the fact they know about <White Snow Flower Princess>'s secret. They know how the royal family, Prime Minister Office, and House of Rainzats colluded together to tamper with Royal Family Tree Records and Noble Family Tree Records. They know how they promised to marry a princess to Marquis of Gido or Marquis of Smarc, yet lied to all kingdom's nobles by saying the princess was dead while in fact she was married off to Wazrof. Then a member of Rainzats married a daughter of that princess. And they tampered with Noble Family Tree Records again for her mother.
It's unclear how far they investigated and how many evidences they have acquired, but it's safe to believe that they now have a good grasp of the truth on the important points.
Bringing this matter into light would make the royal family, PM Office, Rainzats, and Wazrof altogether lose their credibility. Objectively speaking, canceling a promise of marriage by lying that the bride has died is way too cruel and dishonest.
Norma isn't privy of the situation the whole kingdom is facing, but she's at least aware that neither Gido or Smarc Marquisatte is a small time noble that can be crushed to silence, and had both joined hands, they would turn into an existence impossible to crush. Were the two harbor towns decide to revolt, the royal capital would go bankrupt economically.
But what does that relate to Goncourt. Their region is located in the northernmost region of the kingdom, unconnected with the economic bloc around the capital. Doesn't matter if the capital flourish or flounder, Vouka will just keep on being Vouka.
And besides, the other party's target is most likely lady Heles. Since she was chosen as the escort knight of a daughter of the king, she must be quite beautiful. She's not like Norma, an inconspicuous late to marriage woman, thus Norma herself believed.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"Hm? What is it."
"How old is lady Heles now?"
Manfrey turned around and looked at his butler. The butler answered.
"She is 22 this year."
She's young. Both houses must be aiming for lady Heles. They only brought up Norma's name as a threat. Though there's no guarantee it won't turn to be a trap for some sort of revenge directed at her, there's a good chance she and Goncourt would come out of this unscathed if she managed well.
This was when Eda who had been keeping silent spoke up.
"Umm. Isn't Heles-san."
"Hm. Is something the matter with lady Heles. Eda-dono."
Manfrey who's aware of Eda being the <Healing Hand of Herb Saint> spoke to her courteously. Guide Skalabel had made a stop at Mashajain when his entourage was on their way back to capital from Vouka, and personally asked Manfrey to take care of Eda.
"I'm wondering if she's the knightess Heles-san who was with us at Ninae... perhaps."
Norma said that without thinking. She's also heard it from Lecan. A knightess by name Heles joined Lecan's party during their conquest of Dungeon Ninae. But she never could have imagined that was a daughter of the marquis herself thus she never connected the name Heles Rainzats until now.
"Fumu. Lady Heles wished to attend the royal palace as a knight but her father the marquis was against it. But he yielded to her plea, and after a consultation with his younger brother the prime minister, he came up with a condition that she must conquer a medium sized or bigger dungeon if she wanted the permission. However, they had made an arrangement with the royal capital Adventurer's Association so that lady Heles would be unable to hire powerful adventurers there. But defying all odds, lady Heles found herself strong allies in the locals and succeeded in conquering Dungeon Ninae. Right now, it appears the inner palace has Queen Spider's head and legs as decorations in the central venue. What about it?"
"Umm. Lecan, Arios, and I went to Dungeon Ninae. Then we got a new friend there, a knightess called Heles, and four of us conquered the dungeon together."
"What! Ah, excuse me. Conquer? You, Dungeon Ninae? My goodness."
"Yes but I was just in charge of shooting stuff from afar with my bow and healing others with <Recovery> and <Purification>. Heles-san was really amazing."
"I see. Lady Heles is a grandkid of my grandfather, as well as my cousin. She could only go back from Dungeon Ninae with all her limbs intact thanks to you. You have my gratitude."
The marquis expressly stood up and bowed.
"Oh, no please. Heles-san was a great help and we had fun together."
"You are pure down to your heart."
Thinking again, lady Heles would be Norma's cousin. Norma knew that her father had a younger sister by the name Lilia, but she always thought her mother was Kicchina, and had no idea where she was married off to. To begin with, she was wedded into another house before Norma was born, the two of them never met.