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The Saga of the Great Duchess Crusch Begins:
Days Without Her Follower


The Karsten Duchy in the Kingdom of Lugunica was known for its excellent governance and was one of the best domains in the kingdom. The ducal family there had been serving the royal house for generations, going all the way back to the kingdom’s founding, and the current head of the House’s—Meckart’s—governance was highly regarded by both the kingdom and the people of his domain. For that reason, people had mixed feelings about his successor, who would have to carry on his legacy: his daughter.

The people of the kingdom that believed the rumors about her thought that she was a sword freak. And the people of the domain who didn’t know her well thought her an odd girl, but the people who knew her true self had a different opinion altogether.

She—Crusch Karsten—was the only one who was of worthy enough character and skill to carry forth the ducal family name. She never stopped working hard and improving herself. She was uncompromising and hard on herself, so the people who knew her considered her a true noble. She was still so young, yet she shouldered such heavy burdens.

—Due to her status, the change in her was immediately felt by everyone close to her.

“It seems like she hasn’t been sleeping well at night,” commented a servant.

“She hasn’t been able to eat much,” another servant added. “Lady Crusch used to eat a lot, but she’s been leaving leftovers a lot lately…”

“She seems inattentive even when swinging her sword, which is dangerous,” a third servant said.

The servants working in the ducal household were troubled by the change in Crusch, who they had known since she was but a babe. Meckart’s influential servants, both the military personnel and the civil servants, had sensed the change immediately.

“I haven’t seen it during her general culture lessons or while she is studying military strategy books, but…” said one of them.

“Her only acting like that during her free time makes it even more painful to watch,” added another.

Everyone close to her agreed that her behavior was typical of her since she didn’t try to cause trouble for others in spite of it all. And it rather impressed them. It was an attitude that was very reliable to have from a person that stood above everyone else—a ruler—but it wasn’t something a 14-year-old should be prepared to do, much less an only-daughter.

Meckart, after listening to the opinions of the people who cared about her, slowly got up off the chair. It took him a while to get up, not because he didn’t want to confront her, but due to being old and having weak joints.

“I have been acting strange lately…you say?” said Crusch, who had been summoned by Meckart, while furrowing her well-defined eyebrows.

She was a beautiful fourteen-year-old girl who looked mature for her age. Her amber-colored almond-shaped eyes and her lustrous, beautiful hair—both were like her mother’s, which Meckart saw as his wife’s mementos. His wife also had a fierce personality like Crusch’s. It would be no exaggeration to say that winning her over and marrying her was the bravest thing he had ever done.


“Hm? Oh, yes, sorry, sorry. Well, it is just that I was thinking that you were starting to look more and more like Helena… Oh no, that is something unrelated. Well, yes, it was about how you have been lately.”

“No, I am happy that you said I am becoming like my mother, but I cannot agree with what you said about me acting strange. In what way have I been acting strange?”

“I do not see any problems with how you conduct yourself, your studies, or your noble duties. We still need to talk about you dressing as a man but…the topic is different this time.”

Crusch narrowed her eyes in the middle of his reply, giving Meckart the chills.

Crusch had started dressing as a man a few years ago; wearing men’s clothing she liked and using strong and hard words. It was around the same time that she began devoting herself to the art of the sword.

Meckart had been trying to persuade her to stop for several years, but he had yet to succeed. However, that wasn’t the issue here, and Meckart crossed his arms. “I have heard that you haven’t been sleeping well lately. I hear you haven’t been able to finish your meals either.”

“That is…a periodical thing. Father, you also know that girls have such a thing that occurs each month.”

“Huh!? Oh, aah, yes, of course, I know that, but…”

As a father, he could do nothing but lose his composure when a woman’s issue was brazenly used against him. He was aware that he was being deceived, however, so he used that to press her for an answer.

“Crusch, stop lying. I know that, your periodical thing, has no relationship whatsoever with how you have been acting. I have already looked into it.”

“Father, I can see the wind of lies blowing around you without having to look…”

“Any-Anyway! You are acting strange! And I know what is causing that!” Meckart just came out and said it since it seemed like he was easily going to lose the argument.

Crusch seemed somewhat dissatisfied, but it seemed from her expression that she was now curious about the cause. Meckart, feeling like his stomach was churning after being stared at silently by the almond-shaped eyes that were like his wife’s, then spoke about the cause of her current change. Which was—

“Crusch…you are in agony now because you are separated from Felix.

“───” Crusch’s eyebrow quivered when Meckart pointed it out. Conversely, as it was the only reaction she showed the whole time, he silently praised her willpower.

Felix Argyle—AKA Ferris—was Crusch’s retainer, and he didn’t serve House Karsten but Crusch directly. Just as the name suggested, his sex was male, but the way he spoke, dressed, and acted were all very feminine, so it was really hard to tell that he was a man at first glance.

He is greatly indebted to Crusch for a certain reason and is serving her with all his heart. Crusch reciprocates his subservience with an equal amount of kindness. Calling them an ideal master and servant—would be an exaggeration, but there is no doubt that they have an ideal relationship.

“Said Felix is mastering healing magic in the royal capital now. How you’ve been acting recently coincides with the amount of time he has been there.”

“Father… I was wondering what you were going to say, but it seems like you are just overthinking things.” Crusch smiled slightly and shook her head at Meckart’s point. Seeing as her attitude remained unchanged, he was afraid he had missed the mark.

Crusch started speaking to Meckart, whose stomach was hurting, with a sigh:

“It is true that I have been worried about Ferris often while he has not been around. He went there due to the recommendation of His Highness, Fourier, so I am not worried about how they are treating him. It’s just that the work at the clinic is extremely rigorous. But if we want Ferris to truly improve, then we need to let him stay there and gain experience in treating people who are close to dying. He is the kind of person who is prone to putting on a brave face. I do feel concerned that he will put others before him and wear himself out. If his healing magic’s usefulness gets noticed by the clinic, then they might pull him away from my command…no, I do not think that something like that would happen, but it is obvious that they would want a highly capable healer like him…”

“Hold your earth dragons. I get it, you can relax. I know how much Ferris means to you.”

Having talked more eloquently than he had expected, Meckart was overwhelmed.

He faced a similar situation when he made Felix talk about Crusch, but he did not think that he would receive the same passion from her.

It seemed like Meckart’s daughter was head-over-heels for that cat-eared retainer—more than he had imagined.

“I hope you understand now.”

Looking relieved, it seemed like Crusch was satisfied by Meckart’s reaction. Her somewhat happy look wasn’t something he could see often on his daughter. So Meckart smiled with a bit of jealousy towards the boy who was her retainer and said:

“Yes, I do. —I understand, so let’s go to the royal capital soon to see how things are going there.”

And he set off to take care of Crusch’s anomaly once and for all.


“Ooh! Crusch! Over here! It is I! Glad you came!”

She immediately heard an enthusiastic voice when the dragon carriage pulled up to the main gate of the palace. Meckart leaned out and saw a blond-haired boy—the Kingdom of Lugunica’s Fourth Prince, Prince Fourier—welcoming Crusch, who had stepped out before him, with a broad smile.

Meckart, a duke, and his daughter, Crusch, were both in a position where they ought to show him his due respect, but they felt relaxed around him because he had always been friendly with them over the past few years.

“Thank you for taking the time to welcome us, Your Highness. I cannot express my gratitude enough for accepting my father’s request even while being so busy,” said Crusch, who wasn’t all too happy about visiting the royal capital, in a passive aggressive tone that was hard to catch.

“It’s nothing. I could never turn down a request from you. You can continue to count on me from now on! You can contact me if you have any business in the royal capital! Yes!” But the broadminded Fourier accepted it generously. More like, it was written on his face that he was extremely happy to be able to interact with Crusch.

The fourth prince has a crush on my only daughter, and if you were to ask me, ‘What’s so scary about that?’ I could only tell you: everything. But as a father, there is a part of me that honestly feels like it’s a lovely thing. If their relationship continues to grow, them standing side-by-side one day won’t be an impossibility. If that were to actually happen, I would at least—

“Meckart! I appreciate your effort! It seems like you were also worried about Ferris. Well, it is obvious since you are his father figure!”

“Huh? Ah, no, Your Highness, it isn’t like that...”

Fourier talked to Meckart who was pondering, with an unreserved expression and nodded. He tried to correct it but…

“That is right, Your Highness,” Crusch interrupted him. “Father forced me to come here with him this time. I told him that we should wait for Ferris and look forward to seeing how much he has grown when he returns but…he did not listen to me.”

“I see, I understand. But you should try to understand Meckart’s feelings. Parents will always love their children. In cases where someone is entrusted with a child, such feelings might fade away over time, but in Meckart’s case, his feelings only grew in strength, so there’s nothing wrong with what he did. That is what I think!”

“How profound,” Crusch replied. “A great insight indeed… So, where is Ferris?”

Meckart was baffled since a rare thing had occurred during that conversation. Crusch unintentionally hiding her true feelings, Fourier making false inferences as usual but was touching on the core of the matter, and Crusch not being able to hide her true feelings.

Maybe it is due to my age, but I can’t keep up with the pace of young people’s conversations. Perhaps a change of governance in the ducal house might not be too far away.

“The clinic is really busy today, but Ferris is probably working at the training ground. People get hurt all the time there, so it is a good place to go if you want to improve your healing magic. Now, this way.”

As Meckart was feeling like throwing in the towel, Fourier started making his way towards the training ground while explaining things.

Crusch was nodding along, but how much she was actually taking in was a mystery. Meckart followed them and noticed a subtle change of heart.

He wasn’t aware of it till now due to being worried about Crusch, but there was something inside of him that was looking forward to seeing Felix at work. It was a surprising finding for him.

“Though, I did not intend to belittle His Highness’s words.”

Meckart had never had the nerve to think of himself as a substitute for Ferris’s father, but Felix was a lovely family member for him.

A daughter that acts like a son and a son that acts like a daughter—it is somewhat of a strange combination, but I think I’m starting to accept them deep down.

“The brave men from the order of knights cross swords every day in the training ground. I also join them from time to time so that I might best you with the sword one day.”

“That must be…very stressful training for the soldiers.”

“That is right, that is right! Oh, it’ll come into view any moment now!”

The three of them reached the training ground without it being clearly stated what made it so stressful for the soldiers.

The training ground adjacent to the royal castle was a simple structure, it was just a stone wall built in a circle. The purpose of it was clear due to its simplicity, and the soldiers training there had high morale.

The environment in which steel clashed against steel and voices like angry shouts were exchanged seemed to be free of petty pride and laziness.


The passageway that Meckart and the rest went through led to a service entrance where they could look down over the entire training ground. Meckart looked down at it from there and searched for Felix. He was a boy who stood out no matter where he was, so he thought that he could find him quickly, but…

“There,” Crusch declared.

As one would expect, there was no one better than Crusch when it came to finding Felix. Meckart spotted the cat-eared boy immediately after following her line of sight.

Felix had taken off the girly clothes he usually wore and was wearing the healer uniform of the clinic, which was white and had blue lines. He placed his hand on an injured person and activated his healing magic with a serious face.

“Ooh, so he was there. Then, let us talk to him as soon as he is done with heagah!” Crusch came up behind Fourier, who had noticed Ferris a bit later, and covered his mouth. He squirmed, his face turning red. He did so not because she had covered his mouth, but due to the sensation he felt when she rubbed up against him.

“Your Highness, thank you for your consideration. But…”

“We were thinking of heading back without interrupting his work. Right, Crusch?”

Crusch, who was holding Fourier down, widened her eyes at Meckart’s words. She relaxed her lips and nodded.

She then released Fourier, who turned around with a still-reddened face. “I-I-I-I do not get it but…are you both fine with that?”

“Yes. —This is enough. I shall reflect upon the tastelessness of my actions.”

Crusch bowed her head to Fourier, admitting honestly that she was worried about Felix.

Fourier looked troubled, but when he saw Meckart bow too, he said, “Al-Alright, I get it. Your feelings were conveyed. That is enough. I will keep what happened today a secret from Ferris. That is what you want, right?”

“Yes. As expected of you, Your Highness, you are indeed most wise.”

“Ha-ha, that goes without saying. But if you truly do intend on returning now, then you obviously have plenty of time to spare. Crusch, accompany me. A rare flower has bloomed in the garden.”

Crusch glanced sideways at Meckart after getting invited by Fourier.

Meckart smiled gently at his daughter’s gaze and nodded. “You can go. Do be careful not to bother His Highness.”

“Alright. Then I shall accompany you, Your Highness. Do show me those flowers.”

“Sure, sure! Then let us go. It is this way! Follow me!”

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Fourier started trotting away, and Crusch followed after him, albeit walking at a slower pace. As he watched the two wander off, Meckart felt like everything was going to be okay.

Crusch will go back to normal now. My daughter’s ability to take care of herself is topnotch to begin with, so if the cause of her change gets dealt with, she’ll easily be able to go back to her usual self. That alone would have been quite the harvest, but I got twice the yield this time it seems.

“Best of luck… Do your best.”

Meckart, his back facing the service entrance, narrowed his eyes and looked down at Felix working.

It was as if he could see all the hard work Ferris, his son that he was proud of, was putting in.

I feel like the servants’ lukewarm eyes were not only directed at Crusch when they were seeing us off. I see, so Crusch was not the only one who felt lonely. Like daughter like father, we cannot look at ourselves properly, Meckart thought, his shoulders shaking from laughing uncontrollably.