It was funny to see her embarrassed face as soon as I poked her weakness
“What do you mean? There’s no problem—as soon as our ships arrive carrying goods from the East, we will be in the black again.”
“Well, if you want to come from the East to the Empire, you have to go through the Kent Strait, and by this time of the year, the Kraken often appears in the Kent Strait. Don’t tell me you didn’t even have that basic level of common sense?”
Rachel’s face turned pale.
No way. I knew they were stupid, but I really didn’t think it was to this degree.
I said, holding back my laughter.
“It doesn’t matter to us because we aren’t in the trade business but to your family that does… it’s going to be a big blow.”
I pretended to be apologetic and concerned. Rachel’s face twisted even more.
It was ugly and distorted.
Rachel, who was struggling to find a proper retort, eventually just shouted.
“It doesn’t matter! Because the Prince is interested in me, not in my family! Do you know how many times he has asked me to dance with him at the ball?”
It was a fact that Rachel’s appearance was so beautiful that the Crown Prince showed interest. That’s why she thought the Prince would propose to her.
I decided to enlighten her about the cold reality.
“His Highness wants the daughter of a powerful and wealthy family to support his bid the throne. But I don’t know if your family will be enough in his eyes,” I said with a big smile. “His Highness has no intention of taking you in as his fiancée anyway. So why don’t you give up now?”
Rachel’s eyes were burning with rage, and her hands on the hem of the dress trembled violently.
But I didn’t care. If you were going to provoke a tiger first, you had to be ready to accept the consequences.
“If you have nothing to say, I’ll go first.”
I decided to put an end to this childish exchange. I got up from the drawing-room couch.
“Where are you going? I’m not finished talking!” cried Rachel ferociously.
“As I said, I’m busy. If you have any business, send a calling card first and ask for an official meeting.”
“No. What am I supposed to do if you don’t meet me next time?” (Wtf chica ever hear of boundaries???)
Rachel was a petulant child.
Right after I called the knights to escort this immature girl out, someone knocked on the door.
“My apologies for interrupting, ladies.”
It was Albert, the butler, who showed his face as soon as he was allowed in. The fact that he took the liberty of cutting in meant that something important had happened.
“What’s the matter, Albert?”
“The Duke is requesting your presence.”
Prince Ashford suffered a sudden stroke two years ago and withdrew as head of the dukedom.
He knew that his health would not recover and appointed me as acting Duke.
After that day, documents requiring the approval of the Duke poured on to me.
Fortunately, Olivia has been trained as a successor since she was young. The use of her knowledge did not impede my practice.
The handling of issues without mistakes, plus my knowledge of the future courtesy of the original timeline, earned Lord Ashford’s trust and confidence.
Unfortunately, his condition didn’t improve, so he had to lie in bed all day.
He used to call in the butler only on days he felt good enough to be briefed on what had happened.
I knew that the butler recently visited my father. Now he must have known all my recent movements. I had ordered the butler to tell him everything, not to hide it.
There was no reason to be embarrassed.
Prince Ashford had risen from his sickbed after a long time and was neatly groomed.
While reading the documents with glasses on, he felt my presence and raised his head. He put down what he was reading and opened his mouth.
“I’ve heard everything from Albert.”
He said in a voice of disappointment.
“I can’t believe you spent 100 billion gallons on a slave. Olivia, have I misjudged you?”
Lord Ashford was a strict father to his daughter with a clear-cut character. He is a man who will pass down the title to others without hesitation if he judges that I’m not qualified to inherit the duchy.
It’s difficult if that happens because I need the status of Duchess to protect Kian.
I calmly brought up the prearranged words.
“Four years ago, when I said I had to buy the Eastern Centriol area, you were absolutely against it. Centriol was a wasteland full of mana. But what did you find after we drove out all the monsters there? The largest gold mine in history was unearthed.”
The first thing I did after I was possessed this body, and retained information from was to increase my family’s wealth.
I used that knowledge to push out my relatives who were eyeing for my position and strengthened my claim as successor.
“What about my prediction that fur would be in vogue that upcoming winter? At the time, I insisted on buying huge quantities when the price of fur was declining. Everyone thought I gone mad. That winter, our company made a huge profit because of my ‘mad’ choices.”
A hidden gold mine; a prediction of fashion. Besides that, if I were to list everything I’ve done for my family, my mouth would hurt.
But I can’t believe he forgot all that.
Clearly, that saying that even if I did well a hundred times, I would be remembered for one mistake held true.
“What should I do, should I say more?”
Ashford, who was listening to me quietly, fixed his glasses.
“So, you’re saying this is because of your precognitive dreams again?”
Like the butler, Lord Ashford knows that I have precognitive dreams.
“Is it worth investing in that slave, Kian?”
“Yes. Kian will wake up as a wizard in a year.”
“That’s ridiculous. Wizards are born with that ability. Hasn’t he shown it?”
Kian was only sealed for twenty years for some reason but he was born a wizard from the start. But I can’t tell you the truth because things get too big if I untie the novel’s setting.
I brought up my premeditated answers.
“Kian is a unique case. When he awakens as a wizard, he will be the most powerful wizard in all of the Empire or the Continent.”
The wrinkles deepened around Ashford’s eyes.
He had that look on his face before making an important decision.
“Believe in me, Father,” as you’ve done so far.
After much thought, he finally opened his mouth.
“······ Okay. I’ll trust you one more time.”
I said with a bright smile at my wise father, who made the right choice:
“You will never regret today’s decision.”
“Olivia, what are you doing?”
“…. I’ll go now.”
I let out a tiny sigh as I climbed up the carriage with my father.
It was good that I persuaded him. But then there was a problem.
He said he would have to check the company’s operations at this point, in case he was about to fall down again.
-What are you talking about? You should come with me.
-If you go on an inspection tour with this father, you’ll get useful insights. Use my knowledge while it’s still available.
I had to give it to Lord Ashford, he was calculating, and I had no choice but to agree with him.
-I will have to postpone our picnic, let’s go next time.
-Don’t mind me, Master.
Kind-hearted Kian understood my situation. I left the mansion, leaving my regret behind.
I followed my father as he began his inspection at one of our companies. We had a meeting and tour to examine the atmosphere and listen to our employees’ suggestions and concerns.
That’s how we surveyed several business sites, and the sun quickly went down.
It wasn’t until late at night that we returned home.
The butler greeted me when I returned home and said:
“While you were away from the mansion, your items arrived.”
It was the ointment for scars in a small medicine bottle the butler handed to me.
I wanted to give it to Kian as soon as possible, so I went up the stairs with quick steps.
“Kian, it’s me. May I come in?”
The door opened, and Kian in his pajamas appeared. His room over his shoulder was dark, with only one lamp alight on a desk.
Did I come too late?
I smiled awkwardly and asked, “Did I disturb you?”
While taking a step back from the door to let me in, Kian replied. “No, my Lady.”
“You weren’t getting ready for bed?”
“I was, but I was tossing and turning.”
What made him restless? What is he thinking?
I was curious, but I thought it would be too much to ask that question.
Instead, I took out the medicine chest.
Since I saw the scars on Kian’s back, it has been on my mind.
If possible, I wanted to heal and erase his wounds.
The most extensive scar was his old burn scar, so it would be hard to get rid of it completely. So I had commissioned an expensive salve from a wizard, it’s bound to have some effect.
This time I explained myself so that Kian wouldn’t misunderstand the situation like last time.
“I’d like to put some medicine on your back. Is that okay?”
At my question, Kian nodded.
When he rolled up his clothes, I saw the rippling of strong muscles beneath his pale skin.
I found my face heating when I saw his sleek idyllic form without an ounce of fat.
“Would you like to sit there?”
I pointed to the chair, pretending to be calm.
Kian turned his back gently and sat in front of me.
I opened the medicine bottle’s lid, scooped the ointment, and applied it carefully on Kian’s back.
He flinched whenever my fingers touched the skin.
The accompanying manual did say that when the medicine touched injured skin, it could be hot.
I stopped applying medicine for a moment.
“Are you okay? I’ll stop if it hurts.”
“It’s only a little hot, so you can continue.”
“Then···· I’ll put on a little more.”
The whipped scars on Kian’s back and looked like a frozen entanglement, like a net.
Seeing all the terrible scars and imagining the hopelessness and pain that accompanied them made my heart pang as if stabbed by needles.
I made myself stop speculating on the magnitude of Kian’s pain and suffering. But still… somehow, I was silently choking with emotions, so I just applied for the medicine without daring to say a thing.
There were so many scars that it would be too painful if you apply ointment on them all at once.
When I gathered my emotions and was able to speak without my voice cracking, I told him that I would apply more of it to other areas in a few days.
Kian shook his head.
“You’ll be busy, so I’ll do it by myself next time.”
“It’s difficult to do it alone. Don’t worry; I want to do it for you.”
I quickly closed the lid of the medicine chest so that he couldn’t protest.
Then I pulled the string to call a maid for tea.
After a while, the maid put the teacup down in front of Kian and retreated. “It’s Lavender tea. They say it helps you sleep well.”
Kian looked down at the teacup with soft-scented liquid and said:
“You don’t have to bother yourself for an insignificant slave like me.”
Insignificant? Rather, it’s the opposite.
“Kian, you’re the most special human being in the world.”
I know it sounds strange. Kian doesn’t realize he’s the main character of the novel.
Still, I had to say it.
I didn’t want Kian to believe and say such a hurtful thing about himself.
The main character of this world is you.
Should I tell him the truth even if he thinks we are crazy?
I looked at Kian with those thoughts.
I could see his eyes swaying like waves.
He looked at me with slightly enlarged eyes. I could see through the twinkling sky-blue eyes as if they were watery.
His blush spread with a smile, his eyes curled gently, and he said,
“You’re the first one to say that to me.”
His words were like a bolt of lightning.
In the original story, those were the exact same words Kian had said to the only woman he had ever loved.