Volker: A Fox Borrowing the Power of a Tiger
A cup of fragrant tea sat before me.
There was a man sitting on the other side of the table wiping his sweat with a handkerchief.
His behaviour was very suspicious.
I wondered if he was like this with Miss Fredericka, and became anxious.
When we returned from the Castley residence, there was a man waiting for me. He shouted at my carriage in a rather embarrassing manner as we passed through the gate.
I looked at Xavier; the person seemed to be a messenger from the Duke Cajes residence.
He had waited all afternoon, he said, because of my absence, time had been wasted. What should he do if he was scolded by the Duke? He cried, while looking angry.
When Xavier and I did not say anything, he fell silent. I wondered if he noticed his own rudeness. He gave his name and said he had important matters to discuss from the Duke, so a maid directed him to a drawing room.
Xavier had an appalled expression as the man walked away.
‘Do you think he is really from the Duke? It is rather unbelievable,’
‘Lack of talented manpower…?
’Xavier went to check details with the house keeper. I handed my coat to my footman, and walk unhurriedly to the reception room.
It seemed in the mean time, he remembered his position. The recent abominable manners were put aside, and the messenger was wiping his sweat nervously. He gave a nervous smile as he accepted tea from the maid.It just seemed unlikely that this person was a messenger from the Duke.
Something felt off.
He was behaving like a commoner confused by the sudden acquisition of power they were not accustomed to.
He began by saying using the Western army as security detail last night was a waste of troops, and I should have thought of my position as a general. As he continued, his tone got more arrogant.
When he finally concluded, I was annoyed, ‘I was asked to assure security last night by the West General as a favour. It was a last minute thing. I do not understand what the Duke’s concern is.’
But the timing…it is probably related to Miss Fredericka, that the Duke would come to see the security officer for the ball last night.
As I spoke, the messenger drank his tea casually.
‘Last night, Eugene the heir to the Duke of Cajes broke his engagement with Fredericka.’
I raise a brow, ‘So I’ve heard.’ I replied.
He leaned over and said in a conspiratorial tone, ‘Actually, the engagement was a conspiracy by the Viscount Castley. The General may not know this, but Fredericka is a spend thrift. A wasteful woman. She spent the Duke’s money without end, claiming it was for her bridal trousseau.’
‘The nouveau riche Castleys are a vulgar clan. She goes about wear gaudy jingly jangly jewellery about showing off their so called wealth. Isn’t it all a lie?’
‘She was the one who tempted Lord Eugene in the first place, showing off her chest with low cut dresses. And he was tempted enough to propose!’
‘Eugene is young, so who could blame him? He was deceived by her ample charms. The only thing good about that girl are her breasts. Hahahah’
I growled but he didn’t notice.
‘But Lord Eugene eventually became wise to her fox like ways. There was numerous evidence of her true common behaviour. So finally he broke off the engagement yesterday. But that sly fox girl played the pitiful victim.’
The messenger’s face was flush with excitement as he recounted this tale. He took a sip of tea to calm down.
‘So what are you trying to tell me?’ I asked. The only evidence of my rage was my hands gripping the armrests tightly.
‘Well, the duke wants the truth of the matter to be known, since you may have received a biased report from the guards at the party, so as not to be embarrassed later.’
The messenger said with a smile.
‘It was strange in the first place for a duke’s son to marry a viscount’s daughter. Their family status is too different. It’s like the stars compared to stones. Besides, they only bought their title with gold in the turmoil of the last great war. Such low blood people should not mix with a Duke’s noble blood.’
‘That girl is a vulgar woman, like a prostitute that invites men in the back streets.’
I shot out of my chair,
‘I will not listen to any more of this for I fear my ears will rot!’
The messenger jumped at the tone of my voice.
‘Er, yes! That’s right, that girl is…’ it seems the messenger was taking my words at his convenience. He was rubbing his hands together like a little housefly, laughing. So I pulled out my sword and held it against the messenger’s pale cheek.
‘Shut up, you cretin!’ I growled, ‘I will not listen to you malign that woman any longer.’
The messenger sputtered, he began retreating, keeping his eyes on the shiny blade,
‘Why are you attacking me so suddenly? I am a messenger of the duke! Can such a thing be forgiven?!’
‘Be quiet, or I will sew that mouth closed so that lies may not pass from your lips.’
The messenger paled. His mouth gaped open like a fish.
‘I believe what I see with my own eyes and Miss Fredericka is not the kind of woman you are maligning her to be!’
The messenger scrambled out of the reception room, stumbling on all fours.
‘Weren’t you too patient?’ Xavier said as he entered the reception room.
‘I was about to choke from anger.’
I took a deep breath and exhaled.
‘Aren’t you worried about the House of Lords?’
I did not spend a lot of time in court due to military duties. I had to patiently listen to confirm that Cajes had definitely cancelled the engagement with Fredericka.
I was nearly dizzy with the ridiculousness of the whole situation.
‘I do not care about the Lords.’
Xavier gave a small laugh as he packed up the tea things.