Sirka gulped and turned to Elody.
The performance of the medicine was spectacular and he’d be a fool to decline the offer.
“Alright… I’ll accept the deal,” Sirka said.
“Perfect!” Elody smiled as she pulled out a contract.
“After the contract is signed, you shall pay the down payment for the first batch.”
Sirka checked the contract as his nervous gaze flickered to Elody.
He had to pay a lot of money. Fortunately, it wasn’t that much as the cost of each pill was relatively low.
“If you distribute it at a different price, then the deal is off and I won’t provide you any more supplies.”
“Understood.” Sirka nodded, once again amazed at how meticulous she was.
Elody held out her hand, and he held it back. He had impossibly enormous hands – his over-enthusiastic handshakes could definitely snap her wrist in two.
“If the deal goes well, please leave it to us to distribute your other medicines,” Sirka grinned.
“Alright. Would you like to test the medicine on your body again, too?”
His forehead wrinkled at her words in a little frown of obstinacy.
“No… I will bring my brother.”
“Great.” Elody smiled.
Suddenly, Caville snarled, “Don’t hold her hand.”
Caville, who had been sitting next to Elody the whole time, was staring at Sirka with an unsettling gaze.
Sirka was startled and immediately let go of his grip. He concluded from Caville’s gaze that he was vexed with him holding her hand.
“Caville, this is just a handshake.”
“Well, l shall get going. Thank you for your hospitality today, your graces.” Sirka said as he hurried himself out.
“A pleasure to do business with you.” Elody smiled.
As he walked out of the mansion, Elody was deliriously happy, giddy even.
She bounced on her feet and rubbed her hands together.
“Hurrah!” she cheered.
Truthfully, Elody set the price much higher than the original price.
‘I’d never thought he’d say yes!’
She was glad that her hard work was crowned with success.
“Caville, you don’t have to worry about anything! I’ll make you rich.” Elody said cheerily as she pulled him into a hug and gave him a kiss in the forehead.
In contrast to Elody, Caville needed nothing else as long as he had her by his side.
* * *
The trees whizzed by as dirt kicked up from behind them.
“Madame, you’re very talented,” Solar said.
Currently, Elody was taking horse riding lessons from Solar.
The horse she rode was not above medium size, but he was a beauty, glossy as silk, and as white as snow.
Elody started learning horseback riding because of Caville. Caville has shown great promise in sword fighting. However, he was afraid of horses. Elody was worried about him so she thought, ‘Why don’t I teach him horseback riding myself?’
Thus in hopes of teaching Caville, Elody practiced every single day. She was not able to teach him sword fighting, but she wanted to do at least this much for him.
“Madame, your skills are incredible!” Solar complimented as she clapped her hands.
“Oh, you flatter me. But I still have a lot of room to improve.” Elody said knowing that Solar was clearly over-exaggerating.
“Madame, you need to stretch your back a bit more.” Ren nagged as he looked away when Solar glared at him.
Elody was afraid at first, but after several days of practice her skills improved and her nervousness was gone. She had grown fond of horse riding. She liked listening to the steady hooves, the gentle tail swishing around, and the wind in her hair. It was more fun than she had expected it to be.
“Caville, would you like to ride with me?” Elody said looking at him, he frowns at her and shook his head anxiously.
“Some other time then.”
Elody let out a chuckle, while Solar and Ren smiled at the two.
Suddenly, Elody saw a certain butler rushing from afar. His voice started out very faint but grew louder as he approached.
“Madame! Madame! We’re in trouble!” Norman panicked.
Elody slipped off her horse and asked, “What’s going on?”
“That… huff…, the brother of the former Lord…, C-count Borque…. He’s here!”
“The Count of Borque?” Elody said as she retraced her memory.
“What’s his reason for visiting?”
“That I do not know…be careful madame… he’s a difficult person,” Norman warned.
“Caville,” Elody said as she approached him, “your uncle came to see you. Let’s go and say hello.”
“Yes, your father’s brother.”
Caville tried to remember his father, whom he had only seen in a portrait.
He had feather-like black hair and his eyes were pink, so much like Caville.
“Come,” Elody said.
Elody took Caville’s hand and headed for the mansion with Norman.
Norman was anxious, he was afraid that the count might harm the young duke and duchess.
In the first place, Norman desperately searched for Caville, the illegitimate son of the former Duke, because he did not want to give dukedom to Count Borque.
Count Borque was a fool, even worse than the former duke.
He was a man of uncouth manners and appearance. He drunk every day and treated women like they had an expiry date. Then, he spent his money on gambling and drugs – while others starve in poverty.
Furthermore, he was never less than arrogant. If he could do half the stuff he thought he could maybe ‘confidence’ would have been a better word. It wasn’t though. He’d been brought up with a belief that he was superior to everyone else by virtue of his birth.
If such a man had come to inherit the duke, the duchy would’ve fallen to ruin.
Even Caville’s grandfather made a request to ‘Never let the dukedom fall into the hands of his second son, Count Borque.’
‘He’s a nightmare.’ Norman thought.
* * *
While on the way to the capital, Count Borque decided to visit the Duke of Cernoir’s mansion.
A few years ago, he shouted with joy when he heard that his brother had died. His brother’s death meant that the duchy belonged to him.
“Finally! I have the land…Hahahaha!” he laughed.
His heart swelled with hope.
If he gained the title of the duke, he would become a very powerful aristocrat and no one would ignore him anymore.
Sadly, however, he didn’t get the land nor the title.
The son of Duke Cernoir suddenly appeared and took the inheritance right before his eyes.
Count Borque was stunned by his nephew who popped out of nowhere.
‘I will not let him, the son of a maid, become the duke’s successor!’
At first, Count Borque had an audience with the emperor to protest, however, his plead was denied.
The emperor did not want Count Borque, who already had enough power, to have a larger territory.
If the land falls into the hands of the Count, then he will be established as one of the greatest aristocrats in the entire empire and it would result in an imbalance in the aristocratic faction.
In the first place, the emperor wouldn’t be able to give him the title. Those that had the rights to the inheritance were only the family of Cernoir.
As the Emperor’s troubles deepened, Norman sent a document about Caville’s existence and he immediately approved of Caville being the successor to the dukedom.
Other aristocrats also did not refute the emperor’s decision. Like the emperor, they thought that it would be better for the illegitimate child to inherit the territory.
To Count Borque, Caville was an eyesore.
“The mansion is a mess. Tsk….” Count Borque clicked his tongue as he looked around the parlor.
A moment later, Elody entered the parlor with Caville. The count glared at them in disgust.
‘I can’t believe these children are the ones who took over the duchy! How dare they take what’s mine!’
He was going to take this opportunity to vent his anger on them.
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Count Borque.” greeted Elody as she dropped a curtsy.
“Ha!” he snorted and glared at Caville who hid behind her back.
‘What a lousy bastard.’
His face mottled with anger, crude words flew from his mouth, but Elody was calm. She smiled and gestured Caville to greet the count.
“A pleasure to meet you, your excellency,” Caville said.
“Ha…… this is insane.”
Elody continued to ignore the count and sat down with Caville.
Soon, the maid brought in tea and refreshments.
“What brings you to our territory?” Elody asked as she grabbed a cup of tea.
“What do you mean? This is my home! Is there a reason as to why I can’t come?”
Despite the rude answer, Elody calmly sipped her tea while Caville continued eating his snacks.
Count Borque’s appearance was similar to the former duke, but he had a short in stature and is rather fat.
The count was speechless.
‘The nerve of them!’
He wanted to scare the kids by scolding them, but they were surprisingly undisturbed.
He spoke, “Although you have been approved by the emperor, I have no intention of handing over the land to you bastards!”
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