4 (1) – 7
The head of the Lörrich family, Rudolph Lörrich, had two sons.
One was the prodigal son, Klaus.
He was twenty years old, a raucous playboy that Rudolph always found difficult to rein in. Always out in the town playing around and chasing skirts, sometimes not coming home for days at a time. Abandoning the studies he was expected to take up as a noble, he instead indulged in practices frowned upon by the deeply traditionalist Mohnton territory, such as poetry and music. Constantly and irritatingly arrogant, he was always disdainful of people who stood at a higher station than him. It was as if he made a sport in mocking and treating high ranking nobles and others older than him flippantly, always earning their ire.
No matter how much Rudolph reprimanded him, he would never pay any attention, only further fuelling his father’s indignation Two years ago, it was finally decided that his disrespectful and irresponsible behavior could no longer be tolerated, so he was kicked out of his family home. As he made to leave Mohnton entirely for new pastures, he was eagerly stopped by Alois before he could reach the border and was convinced to work for him.
The second son was a very serious and studious young man named Franz.
Franz, a year younger than Klaus, was almost his exact opposite. He was honest and hard-working, always carrying himself with pride and dignity as a noble. He had a deep respect for his elders, honoured the old histories and traditions of the land, and his conduct resembled a true leader of the future.
He never hesitated to make decisions, even if they were hard ones, always valuing the good of the many over the benefit of the few. He had earned a deep sense of trust from the rest of his family and was seen as an ideal candidate to inherit the position of the family head when the time came.
In fact, Rudolph himself wished to name Franz as his successor. He may be slightly willful and overconfident of his own abilities, but he was far more capable than Klaus and exceptionally easier to manage as well.
However, Franz has not yet been named as the successor to the Lörrich family.
That is because Rudolph’s older sister, Gerda, strongly objects.
A few days after the two of them were expelled from the kitchen.
With things as they were, it would be hard to practice cooking. In Mohnton, a land with little in the way of entertainment, Camilla was struggling to find ways to pass the time.
Sitting in that dim room of hers was bad for her health and talking with Nicole wasn’t nearly enough to properly occupy her. The only other thing she could do was learn more about the territory of Mohnton from Alois’ study sessions.
Thanks to that, Camilla had become familiar with the circumstances of the Lörrich family these past few days. Specifically, the situation around the two brothers and the matter of succession. It had become quite a popular source of gossip, apparently. Alois did his best to lay out the matter in an objective way, but it was obvious that he favoured Klaus with the way he talked.
Camilla herself didn’t really understand just why Alois took Klaus’ side so much. From Camilla’s point of view, Klaus was lazy and irresponsible, not to mention utterly disrespectful.
No matter how much he said he didn’t care for them, everything he did reflected back on his family’s name. So whenever he played around and made a fool of himself, it would drag the honour of his house and its vassals through the mud. Not to mention Alois, who always had to cover for him.
Not that Camilla was really one to talk when it came to shaming a family name.
– No, no, just why am I even thinking about that man!?
After finishing her study session with Alois, she returned to her room. Camilla found it hard to rid herself of what she had just learned about the House of Lörrich from Alois, shaking her head furiously.
– In the first place, just why am I going along with all this studying!? I haven’t even decided on marriage yet!
She didn’t have any desire to even think about marriage until Alois was a man she could stomach to kiss. Even if he had slimmed down somewhat, he was still larger than the average person by quite some degree. All that useless fat of his must be chiseled into muscle.
– At any rate, I need to get him exercising.
Despite having spent over seven months in Mohnton, Camilla had never seen Alois run or train as any sort of exercise. When he was in a panic or an emergency, Alois did sometimes run. But from what she could see, he was winded almost immediately by the effort. Thinking back, she had never seen him on horseback either. That said, the reason for that might be that there wasn’t any horse that could support his weight.
Needless to say, Alois was completely unfit. When she saw just how passionately his eyes lit up when he was busy lecturing Camilla about the history of some house or town, a good part of her wished that he would devote that drive to getting outdoors every now and then.
Camilla could only think that it was such a shame. If only he’d swing his sword around a little bit, it would be good exercise… No, would he even be able to practice with a sword as he is right now?
– Next time we talk, I should invite him to take a walk with me.
If he can’t even keep up a run for a few seconds without losing his breath, she probably couldn’t expect much out of his physical stamina, so the best thing would be to start with simple walking.
That way, eventually she could tighten up that body of his. Taking her time, slowly but surely.
And with that, the decision of marriage could be put off.
“I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times. I don’t care about the succession.”
It was the voice of a clearly irritated man that broke Camilla’s line of thought.
“I’m leaving all of that to my little brother. He wants to inherit anyways, so there’s no point in me getting in the way.”
“We cannot afford to let an incompetent inherit the House of Lörrich.”
As soon as she heard that cold voice, Camilla instinctively hid behind a corner.
One of the halls of the Montchat manor. There weren’t many people around. Yet standing imposingly in the middle of the hallway were Gerda and Klaus, talking face to face.
The two of them were merely servants. Whereas Camilla was their master’s… for now, a guest. She was irritated that her first instinct was to stay hidden, but both of these people truly were hard to deal with for vastly different reasons, and the two of them in one place spelled trouble.
As she stuck close to the corner, trying to keep herself in the shadows, a scullery maid that passed by looked at her suspiciously.
Camilla realized just how suspicious she must look to any passer-by. She could have just taken another path to get back to her room, but the idea of being forced into doing that was annoying in of itself.
Since she was standing like this now, she decided that she would at least listen to what was going on.
Seemingly not noticing Camilla’s presence, Gerda and Klaus continued their serious looking discussion.
“Incompetent? Aunty, don’t you just hate him because he doesn’t listen to you? That guy is different from father, he actually has self-confidence.”
Klaus kept up that frivolous attitude as per usual, but there was a definite undercurrent of displeasure in his tone of voice. On the other hand, Camilla could only see Gerda’s back from where she was peeking. But, that taut back and cold voice seemed like the usual Gerda to her.
“But even if I succeed for some unknown reason, it’s not like I’d listen to you either, aunty. I would liven up that dull town and have parties in the street every day.”
“Even if you never listened to me, I have no doubt you would do the job well.”
“Well, thank you for that.”
Klaus laughed jokingly, but he didn’t seem to be happy at all.
Then, trying to put a full stop on the conversation, Klaus tried to slip past Gerda.
As he did, she spoke quietly, her voice devoid of emotion.
“In Blume, Franz is reportedly building up a force in secret.”
“He’s an ambitious person, so he has decided to make his move. He intends to rule Blume with an iron fist. Apparently, he’s extorting young people and pressing them into his service, as well as rounding up anyone who goes against him and keeping them captive. The rumours haven’t leaked out yet, but that’s likely due to the influence of the Lörrich. If they possess any wisdom at all, they would keep this story secret.”
Klaus stopped in his tracks, looking back at Gerda. Gerda’s voice may have sounded as cold as usual, but as she spoke more and more it was possible to hear a vein of feeling running through it.
“He intends to turn Blume into his own personal treasury. He’s already begun to eye the profits from the manastone towns enviously and wants to convert Blume into such a place.”
“…That town, it isn’t fit for something like that.”
“And because he does not know it, that is why he is incompetent.”
Their conversation really was very serious. Aren’t they worried about being overheard?
Despite Camilla thinking that, although neither Gerda nor Klaus raised their voices, they didn’t seem to have any issue with being seen talking either. In fact, some busy looking servants had passed right by them during their conversation.
– Perhaps she isn’t concerned about rumours being spread?
Of course, she wasn’t concerned. If her goal was to keep Klaus in place as the successor, she ought to be protesting as loudly as possible. Having a few more servants spread helpful rumours could only help her in that.
Not to mention, despite how hostile she was to Camilla, she was utterly upright. Considering how rock solid her position in the Montchat household seemed, she had little reason to be concerned.
“Well, y’know, I am a genius, so… I really don’t think it’ll turn out the way you think it will, aunty. If you don’t get that, there are going to be some problems.”
“That doesn’t matter. All I care about is aiding the Lörrich family however I can… Although the opposing party is troublesome to deal with, certainly.”
Gerda sighed. Then, for a moment, keeping her back straight, she turned away from Klaus.
Her eyes were gloomy and without much life, yet somehow filled with a quiet determination, as she glanced towards the corner where Camilla was peeking out from. She didn’t glare at her like before, but Camilla still felt her heart rate double.
“Incompetence is truly unforgivable, all the same.”
As if declaring that was truly the end of the conversation, Gerda turned back to Klaus. Then, she continued back down the corridor without even offering him a farewell.
Klaus, now alone, simply shrugged as he watched Gerda walk away. With a final, quick glance, he went down the hallway in the opposite direction to where Gerda left.
In other words, right towards Camilla.
“…What’re you doing?”
Right in front of the corner. As he came across Camilla, who missed her opportunity to escape, he muttered in amazement.
A bad situation somehow got even more awkward.
Does Camilla eavesdrop on someone every single arc?
Edited by: ApoPie