Episode 156

Visiting Relatives (1)
1 week ago
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As magical seals chased the carriage, members dressed in black outfits jumped across rooftops.

A humble cargo wagon carrying commoners quietly exited the city gate.

The wagon rattled towards Cornel, outside the capital.

Soon, a woman dressed in a nun’s habit disembarked there.

The nun’s habit, seemingly unfamiliar to her, clung tightly around her waist.

Even her pale thighs were slightly exposed on the side.

She didn’t look like a nun deeply devout in faith at first glance.

“I finally arrived.”

Irina removed the stifling veil.

And she comfortably let down her tied-up silver hair.

“Phew…”

A faint, fruity fragrance emanated from her fluttering hair.

The empire’s 2nd Princess enjoyed her freedom, strolling through the quiet countryside streets.

Eventually…

“The Owl’s Pub.”

The representative pub of Cornel she had visited with Vail before.

She arrived at the Owl’s Pub.

“Shall we go in?”

Irina, with a relaxed smile, pulled the door handle.

However…

“…!”

The door was firmly closed.

And the windows were covered with thick curtains.

The Owl’s Pub, always open till dawn, had closed its doors at 6 p.m.

“Are they closed for the day…?”

A woman in a black nun’s habit lingered outside the pub.

The countryside folks looked curiously at her.

“This is strange…”

Irina, folding her arms, looked up at the sign of the Owl’s Pub.

As she imagined places where Vail might be, she suddenly remembered that the orphanage where he grew up was also in this area.

“Right, that place existed…”

The princess-turned-nun quietly wandered the nighttime streets.

She thought that, being a nun, people would mostly not bother her.

After all, it was rare for anyone to dare trouble a noble woman of faith.

However…

“…”

Men glanced at her, disguised as an ordinary nun.

Some even whistled, taking in Irina’s figure.

It was inevitable.

Because the nun’s habit she wore was too small.

The hastily obtained clothing didn’t fit her size at all.

Thanks to that, her prominent bust and hips stood out despite the clothing.

No matter how devout she was, such a woman was bound to attract attention.

Irina quietly slipped into an alley to avoid the gazes cast upon her.

There, she encountered young boys smoking cigarettes and hiding from adults.

“Hello, boys?”

The boys were approached by a nun in an unusual outfit.

At her sight, the boys swallowed hard.

“Wh-who are…?”

Standing taller by a head and with a sturdy body, she instinctively made them tense.

Moreover, an inexplicable noble charisma emanated from her.

“What brings a nun to a place like this?”

It was enough to fluster the boys.

“I was wondering if there’s an orphanage nearby.”

Originally, Cornel was a neglected area with wary residents.

Especially the children, needless to say.

However, the silver-haired nun they faced.

Her pale face and the oddly fitting habit clinging to her body seemed as comforting as a saint nurturing children.

“If it’s an orphanage you’re looking for… there is one.”

“Could you tell me where it is? I need to ‘volunteer’ there, but I’m lost.”

As if enchanted by the gentle voice of the woman, the boy extinguished his cigarette.

Then, clearing his throat, he said,

“Follow me. I’ll show you the way.”

The little one led the way.

Sister Irina responded with a merciful smile.

“Thank you.”

The boy coughed and led the way.

His face turned red at the sight of the young nun, something he had never seen before.

‘Ugh… the waist is too tight…’

However, Irina’s situation was different.

The fabric of the nun’s habit, a size too small, was so tight that the contours of her navel showed.

It was torture with every step she took.

When she arrived at the orphanage, she felt an urgent need to change right away.

However, the consequence of pushing ahead of all princesses was dire.

Because…

After passing through various streets, she arrived at the small orphanage.

Other nuns had already arrived in front of the stone building.

They were even sweating profusely, indicating they had already done the cleaning.

“Here it is.”

The boy pointed politely at the entrance of the orphanage with his palm.

Seeing this, several nuns glanced at Irina, and their eyes sparkled.

“There she is…!”

The women, who had struggled due to a lack of help, expressed their happiness at the sight of the late-arriving silver-haired nun.

“Are you the sister from Ludwig?”

Irina stared blankly at the approaching nuns for a moment.

She had never dreamed that there would be other religious people here.

The nuns had thoroughly cleaned every corner of the orphanage.

They were able to enter every part of the orphanage while volunteering.

“Yes, that’s right. I’m sorry for being late.”

Irina smiled softly at the approaching middle-aged nun.

And she approached leisurely.

“There’s no need to apologize. Coming from Ludwig, it’s understandable you’d be late.”

Since Cornel was a remote place, most of the nuns dispatched for service had come from far away.

Thanks to that, the 2nd Princess was able to join naturally, without any suspicion.

“Thank you for coming, even if it’s late.”

The nuns greeted her with compassionate expressions.

Irina chuckled behind her hand, half-convinced of her success.

However…

Thud!!

An old rag was thrust into her delicate hands.

Her beautiful princess smile vanished entirely.

“Shall we start cleaning now?”

“Since you’re late, you’ll have to work even harder.”

Irina’s eyelids fluttered nervously.

Even in her previous life of poverty, she had never had to clean herself.

Cleaning an orphanage, of all things.

“Yes, I understand…”

However, she soon pursed her lips and accepted the grim task.

Was it because of Rea’s bombshell statement earlier?

The 2nd Princess thought she had no more time to waste.

“Let’s go. I’m exceptionally good at cleaning!”

Thus began the Princess’s lessons in household chores.

“Once you use a mop, you have to wash it before using it again!!”

“Yes, yes…!”

She kneeled down, scrubbing the old wooden floor.

Following the Mother Superior’s orders, she mopped laboriously, lifting her hips.

“It’s strange. I’ve never seen a sister who struggles with mopping like this before…?”

“I-I’m so sorry…!!”

Just until the afternoon, she had been teasing the 1st and 3rd princesses and had escaped.

But now, she finds herself embarrassingly engaged in household chores.

“When washing the children’s clothes, don’t use your hands; step in and trample them with your feet.”

“Understood…!”

Irina went to the orphanage yard, gazing at the sunset.

There, she trampled on the clothes piled in a large basin with her feet, lifting her skirt high.

The lengthy cleaning continued until dinner.

All the work was finished only after the sun had set.

“Good work. It’s almost dinner time, so just dry off and come.”

“You’ve worked hard…”

She was completely worn out after just a few hours.

Her sticky sweat clung to her body, soaking into the tightly fitting nun’s habit.

Sigh…

Irina trudged into the orphanage’s dining hall.

And then…

She was met with the bustling of young orphans.

Their faces were fresh, perhaps having bathed for the first time in a while with the help of the nuns.

However, their clothes remained as tattered as ever.

“Hey, why are you eating mine?!”

“Weren’t you not going to eat it anyway?”

“I was saving it for later!”

They argued even over a single meatball.

As one of the empire’s leaders, Irina felt a bitter taste watching them for some reason.

“Sister Istina, please come this way!”

A young nun with black hair called out to her.

The nun coming from Ludwig was named Istina, or so the Princess was called.

“Yes…”

Irina naturally joined the serving line in response.

Then, she returned to the table with soup and steamed potatoes.

‘I’m hungry…’

She was hungry from working all day.

Still, as a noble princess, she did not immediately eat her food but watched the nuns seated beside her.

“Let’s pray before the meal.”

As expected, the nuns prayed together before eating.

Irina, having no choice, closed her eyes and silently waited until the prayer was over.

However, the Mother Superior’s prayer seemed endless, no matter how long she waited.

It was almost five minutes later when it finally ended.

‘The soup has cooled down…’

Irina slowly sipped the cooled soup.

It was watery and had a bitter taste.

Her eyebrows twitched at the taste, but she forced herself to swallow it.

She was that hungry, after all.

In the meantime.

The orphanage director entered the dining hall in time for the meal.

“You all have worked hard. Thank you for your direct service.”

A large, burly man.

A middle-aged man with scars on his face, as if he had been a soldier or mercenary leader in a past life.

He came to the nuns’ table, greeting each one and expressing gratitude for their volunteer work.

“Certainly, there seem to be many domestic issues, perhaps because the orphanage director is a man.”

The Mother Superior said solemnly while ladling soup.

Then, Director Hans scratched the back of his head and apologized.

“I’m sorry… It seems we’re short on help…”

The stern-faced Mother Superior glanced at him with a wrinkle at her mouth.

Then, pretending to grumble, she spoke in a kind tone.

“Well, it’s alright. It’s not easy to run a facility like this on your own.”

The Director bowed his head in apology to each one.

Afterward, he also approached Irina to express his gratitude.

“Even such a young and beautiful person… I’m truly grateful.”

“It’s nothing. I just did what needed to be done.”

Irina, disguised as a nun, smiled sweetly.

Having done everything from cleaning to laundry, she had become very accustomed to acting.

Moreover…

If this was the place where Vail grew up, then this man, Director Hans, was probably like a father figure to Vail.

In other words, he was a very significant person to Irina.

“By the way, Director.”

Irina looked up at the brown-haired man with a clear and kind smile.

And then, she asked carefully.

“Are there any children who grew up here and returned after making it big?”

Hans pondered for a moment, surprised by the nun’s unexpected question.

Then, he smiled and nodded.

“Yes, there’s one ‘son’ who has recently returned after achieving complete success.”

“Complete success?”

Perhaps her intuition kicked in, as Irina’s eyes sparkled sharply like a wolf’s.

“Yes, he received a noble title from His Majesty this time. I couldn’t believe it at first, but it’s true, you know?”

The Director prattled on proudly about his ‘son.’

“Ah, I see.”

Irina’s lips curled into a smirk.

And then, with her eyes narrowed, she gave a mischievous smile that did not suit a nun.

Like a demon disguised as a nun.

“Is that person here by any chance?”

At Irina’s question, the Director crossed his arms.

And then he answered calmly.

“Yes, he just returned and collapsed from exhaustion. Even after becoming a noble, old habits die hard.”

Upon the large man’s words, Irina slowly nodded her head.

“Hmm.”

Someone who recently received a noble title from His Majesty.

Moreover, coming from an orphanage.

Realizing who that man was, Irina smiled secretly to herself.

“Is that person staying here as well?”

“Yes, on the upper floor of our orphanage…”

The Director was reflexively about to answer to Irina’s gentle smile.

However, he caught himself and furrowed his brows.

“But why are you interested in that child, Sister?”

“Oh, just because… Since I’ve come from afar, I was planning to stay the night here.”

She naturally intended to stay at the orphanage.

The other nuns chimed in to support her.

“Indeed, it would have taken at least 5 hours to come from Ludwig.”

“Right, it would be hard to return in such a tired state.”

Perhaps it was thanks to cleaning together.

They took Irina’s side.

“Ah, you’ve come from afar. Then, it can’t be helped.”

After the meal, the Director asked her to follow him.

Thanks to that, Irina was able to naturally secure a room at the orphanage.

“Come, follow me.”

After the dinner, Irina followed the Director up the old stairs slowly.

He glanced at Irina, seemingly embarrassed by the creaking sound of the stairs, and said,

“If it’s too difficult to stay in such a humble place, please let me know at any time. I’ll arrange for an inn nearby.”

“No, if a noble is staying here, who am I to go to an inn?”

Irina answered with her eyes narrowly open.

Then, Hans laughed heartily and shook his head.

“Haha, that guy is quite unique. He’s the type to fall asleep anywhere you leave him.”

The Director spoke boastfully, as if he knew everything about Vail.

He talked a lot about the baron, as if he truly thought of him as his own son.

“He probably wouldn’t notice even if someone carried him away while he is asleep.”

“Hmm. Is that so?”

He wouldn’t notice if someone carried him away.

Irina quietly nodded at those words.

“Here, this is the room.”

As the old door opened, a dust-covered room was revealed.

Irina swallowed deeply at its shabby appearance.

“The bed and blankets have been washed recently, so they should be fine.”

“Thank you.”

The nun expressed her gratitude to the Director.

After he kindly closed the door and left, she could finally rest.

Sigh…

The nun’s habit, tightly clinging to her body, was soaked in sweat.

And she felt hot.

The Princess desperately wanted to take a shower.

The fragrant fruit scent lingering on her body had already turned rancid.

However, there was no way this place had such shower facilities.

Irina, having no choice, sat on the bed and spaced out for a moment.

At that moment.

Zzzzz.

A faint sound of snoring came through the wall.

Due to the old building, the sound clearly reached Irina’s room.

“…!”

Most people would be annoyed by such a disturbing noise.

But Irina was different.

“This sound is…”

Because she knew to whom this small, snoring sound belonged.

As if she had heard his drunken snoring before.

Irina’s lips curled up into a smirk.

“Found him.”

The nun rose from the bed.

Then, following the source of the sound, she opened the door and approached the adjacent room.

Creak.

Due to the orphanage’s nature, the door had no lock.

Thanks to this, Irina was able to carefully peek inside after opening the door.

“Indeed.”

A man’s figure appeared on a shabby bed.

A fox-like man, vulnerably asleep with his shirt unbuttoned.

“Cain, I can’t drink anymore…”

Irina swallowed deeply, glimpsing at his partially exposed body.

And…

Quietly entering, she closed the shabby door behind her.

Soaked in sweat, emanating an intriguing scent.

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