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At least it was a much more agreeable contract than being with Jacob. She would be fine as long as she didn’t do anything stupid.
“You don’t want a wife for life anyway.….’
To the people of the Cartier family, the wife was nothing more than an exchangeable part. There was only one exception.
‘If the wife’s parents are powerful.’
For example, Carola had imperial blood. Marco’s wife was the granddaughter of the former pope. Or Arien.
Such people could be tenured wives—a real wife with a permanent and stable position.
By the time Jacob was 30, he had changed his wife four times before marrying Carola. Jacob’s life-long wife would probably be Carola.
‘More and more the value of titles and statuses of aristocrats will diminish.’
The Empire’s wealth would grow exponentially in the years to come. There is much more money in the city, so there will be a migration of taxable residents to urban areas from rural areas. There will be a series of nobles who cannot maintain their territories.
‘Eventually, money is king.’
The reason why aristocratic names were now valuable was that with titles, they had certain business advantages. In order to suppress the newly rich, the Empire granted nobility perks when they were involved in business. There were numerous tax exemptions, exclusive contracts, extensive distribution laws, etc.….
So all the newly affluent wanted to marry into nobility. Rich men married into a noblewoman’s family and used her identity. The same was true of noblemen in particular circumstances like Lucerne.
A noble’s status was a valuable product. That’s why in her previous life, Jacob did all of his illegal businesses under Elisha’s name.
‘A Countess who never had a penny to her name.’
When Elisha thought about it, she laughed disparagingly at herself.
In any case, fallen noblewomen who sold their titles were subject to ridicule. The derision also extended to their married lives, where their husbands secretly ignored them who had only their titles and their wounded pride. The shunned wives of fallen aristocracy. These women were treated like ghosts in the house they lived in.
They were called ‘contract wives.’
High-ranking women like Carola were named ‘new wives.’
Elisha knew only too well to which group she belonged to. She was a ‘contract wife.’
“If Lucerne divorces me, he will find his wife for life.”
Too many thoughts crowded her turbulent mind. Marrying Lucerne had not even been a perceived possibility for her in this life.
“Madam, are you all right?”
Elisha felt Nora’s gaze and looked up. Nora’s expression was composed. Elisha noticed that Nora was ignorant of the contents of the contract.
“I’m fine. Do I have to sign now?”
“It’s better to do so. He finds negotiating bothersome.”
Nora answered without blinking, but there was no sign of urgency. Elisha asked softly,
“If I don’t sign, will I put the lady knight in trouble?”
Nora looked like she doubted the words of consideration she heard.
“Ah, no……, but…….”
“Then I’ll sign when he comes. Well, there’s something I’d like to say on my side.”
Nora nodded her head.
Elisha had already returned to her doll-like look as usual.
‘The Black Lion Knights are important.’
Besides, Nora was an acquaintance.
Once during her previous life, she was caught by Carola, disciplined, and beaten in the Cartier castle.
Not knowing that she was bleeding, Elisha was on her way back to her room. A dignified, beautiful woman held out a handkerchief to her.
‘You’re bleeding. Use it.’
There was the initial ‘L’ on the handkerchief. Nora was a gallant woman who knew chivalry. Elisha remembered that remarkable kindness with great gratitude.
“It’ll take some time for the General to arrive.”
“Where did he go?”
“He went to the bank. He said he needed a large sum of money in a hurry, so they’re going to issue a check.”
Nora answered briefly. Elisha realized that he had gone to pay her ransom. Elisha suddenly touched the pattern on the neck. As long as she had this seal, she would never be free from debt.
“Don’t worry; the General will fix your seal. You’re going to be his bride.”
Nora added softly after she had paused and pondered for a moment. Elisha smiled briefly and nodded.
“It would be better to put on makeup and get dressed and ready.”
“At this hour?”
Was Lucerne already ashamed of her appearance? Elisha suddenly thought.
“No, Jacob’s people are coming for further negotiations. The General said so.”
“You should be in better shape than when you were with Jacob. Everything—from head to toe has to be new.”
Elisha’s cheeks turned slightly red. Ah, she knew where this comment was coming from. Elisha recalled the shabby underwear she wore last night.
Nora, who did not know what was going through her head, only made a curious expression.
You can read unedited advance chapters here.