Updated: Mar 17
Andrei answers Tara's request and the Elias Family starts planning their next moves.
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Episode 10. 90kg (8)
"That's interesting. Very interesting. You're saying, Lady Elias, that there is going to be a competition for the position of next head of House Elias based around becoming a Palace administrator. But in order to win this battle, the fifth child, a young noblewoman, came to me, huh? You want me to take you as my disciple without seeing the other potential sprouts? Whoo."
Andrei Pitt rose from his chair and circled the storage room.
The one minute he allowed had already passed.
As time went by, I felt more and more anxious. The silence stretched on mercilessly, and the room felt full of tension on the verge of bursting. I was convinced he would say no.
"Ha... I'll agree on this condition. The exam is only a month away. You’re not asking to be my disciple for only this period of time, correct? You're saying you want to use me for three years, right?
I nodded cautiously.
"Alright. Then I will assess your abilities, Miss Sprout. I will visit the mansion every day starting next week. If I don't think you have potential while teaching you, I'll either transfer my interest to another or quit. I'll do this for a month, and I'll decide once you've passed the Administrative Exam. Whether you will become my true disciple."
Why did I always feel like I was walking on thin ice…
Bernard, my father, and Andrei all wanted to assess my skills. And all of them were making the decisions.
Perhaps that was why I suddenly felt a new surge of desperation.
Alright. I'd show them. I'd show them within the month that I had 4x the work ethic of your average person!
"So, how is your future looking?" Bernard asked in the carriage as we made our way back.
"Um, well. I think it went well?
"Ah... Well, yes. It went well. For now..."
Still, I’d thought I would’ve had to plead my case at least two more times. Well… it still wasn't confirmed.
"Oh... I don't know. I’ll just have to live with this."
Andrei Pitt had been busier than ever since Tara's visit. He had a pretty appealing disciple candidate.
Moreover, her interest in gaining an exclusive position as a noble administrator also coincided with his to some extent. However, he had no doubts about the future ascension of the Second Prince, who was currently attracting attention.
He didn't even think his stance on that had been shaken.
The main thing he and Tara shared an opinion on was that the Emperor had never before decided to make a show out of selecting new administrators.
That indicated the battle for the throne was about to begin. In a way, her predictions could have some truth to them.
He had to gather information. A lot of interesting things were about to happen in the future...
"I have a chubby new disciple. And she's clever, hehehe. But teaching alone is no fun, hehe. It’s strange to receive a blank check for something like this, hehe. What will I need to help her sharpen her skills, hehe? She's going to become the next head of the House? Her family is going to be ruined? This is going to be very interesting. Very fun indeed. Kekekeke."
It would be. And Andrei was the right kind of person for the job.
In fact, it could be said that the reason he accepted Tara as a disciple was almost entirely because it stimulated his curiosity.
There was no need for the blank check. The Black Society rivalled even House Elias in terms of wealth.
He simply savoured the situation, intrigued by this unusual young lady and her way of thinking.
With his distinctive insidious smile, Andrei called in the bartender to hand down her orders.
"Tell me your orders, Master."
Cezanne Miller, the female bartender, had a completely different smile than she’d had earlier.
Cezanne, one of the two current disciples of the Black Society, bowed deeply and waited for her instructions.
"Go underground and find me some information. Let's get a look at the sprouts Elias has to offer. Oh! And put someone on my adorable new student who was just here!"
When the bartender tried to leave, Andrei called her back in a hurry.
"Oh, also one more thing. Go to a lawyer and get this notarized. That feisty 18-year-old noble lady brought a blank check with her, so I might as well use it. Kekekeke. Let's see how she handles this."
Lloyd, who had been on a week-long inspection of one of the Elias lumber yards, was half-heartedly listening to Dylan's report, but interrupted him when he got to the section recounting Tara's schedule.
"What? She went where?"
"Yes, she went to a tavern on Lackton Street. She got into a bit of trouble on the way there, but the knight she was with managed to solve it. And as of this morning she has submitted the name of the person who she wants as a teacher in the future."
"Don't tell me. If she went to Lackton Street... The Black Society?"
"Yes, that's right."
"Is there anyone in the Black Society suited to be a mentor...? What do we know about the organization?"
"Honestly, there is not much known about the Black Society. They’re a very independent bunch. The organization is mainly divided into a secret intelligence gathering division and an operations division, but we know nothing more detailed about the organizational structure or subdivisions."
"How did she manage to find a mentor in that kind of organization…"
Most of the teachers employed by aristocratic children to advance their careers were old aristocrats who had served as high-ranking officials before retiring.
"I–That would be… Sir Pitt."
"Who? Sir Pitt?"
"Ah, yes. Sir Andrei Pitt, who recently received the honorary title of Count. He heads the Black Society. Didn't you know?"
"... Of course, I knew that... I did."
"He said that starting next week he will be visiting the mansion to begin teaching."
Andre Pitt. What was known about him?
He was the person who had disgracefully published a book titled [To Be a Monarch], and had somehow avoided punishment for it.
It was common knowledge among the Ocerian people that their ruler was like a God and that it was not their place to judge which path he should take.
He had challenged common sense and carelessly broken that unspoken taboo. And yet, he still hadn’t been punished for it.
Curiously, the Emperor appeared to have no objection to the book.
It wasn’t only that. Despite being a man who possessed a great deal of information about the Empire, he did not treat the Emperor's will lightly.
He was not the kind of man who would accept payment from just any noble family, even if he was presented with a wagon full of gold, yet he had agreed to teach Tara and make her his disciple. Lloyd couldn't believe it.
This was already the third time Tara had managed to surprise him.
He was the kind of man who would refuse to meet anyone, even if called upon by the Emperor.
He hand-picked each of his disciples, and many of them later held important positions within the Empire or travelled abroad to make a name for themselves. And of course, he was involved in the Black Society.
Furthermore, the kinds of disciples he accepted fell into one of two categories: eccentric or extraordinary.
"There's no way..."
He wanted to believe it was the latter even though he thought it more likely to be the former.
Once again that sense of anticipation rose in him, the anticipation of seeing the same thing he once saw in the eyes of his dead son before his pointless end.
"Ah. And this is an urgent telegram from the attorney’s office in the Capital.”
“It’s about Miss Tara.”
That was surprising, it was still early. Lloyd opened the telegram Dylan had given him with oddly trembling hands.
The telegram delivered by the lawyer was quite surprising. It all began and ended with Miss Tara and Andrei Pitt.
“… What is this...?”
Tara was the only person who could answer that question.
"Let's go. I need to see that child again."
A week later.
I stopped losing weight when I was exactly 89kg. But I wasn’t discouraged.
This was something I'd been through countless times. However, of course, I was dealing with a different amount of weight this time.
The stagnation phase was just a part of the process where the body adapted to the diet.
There was no need to be impatient. Wasn't it getting easier to move day by day?
Now I could swing my axe quite easily at Bernard's command.
Bernard was still nagging that I had a long way to go, but I was proud of myself for making steady progress.
Even now, when I asked him if he was willing to accept me as his Master, he still shook his head in response.
He was stubborn…
"Hmmm... Beth is taking longer than I expected…"
As if she had been summoned by my words, Beth came in, panting.
"Whew… Miss. You were right. An elderly lawyer visited this morning. Cindy, who’s in charge of the hall on the first floor, said they had a long conversation in the office."
Before sending Beth, I tried to go to the business offices to find out the Count's schedule, but I was told that they would not disclose the schedule of the Head of the Family. So I ordered Beth to investigate.
"Alright, I see. As expected, my teacher is good. Was my father also looking for me?"
"Oh, yes! Sir Dylan's servant asked me to bring you. How did you know, My Lady?
"Just... because you were late. Shall we head to the office?"
"No. They want you to come to the meeting room in the main building."
The meeting room? That was out of the blue. It wasn't a place I had gone to yet. If that was the location he chose, both my siblings and the family business leaders were likely to be gathered there as well.
But I had been summoned there, so I went to the meeting room.
"Now that we're all here, let's get started."
Only one seat was empty, the one facing my father. The meeting started as soon as I sat down.
Jason, who had been sitting among the business leaders, stood up and spoke with a trembling voice.
"There has been less and less conflict on the borders and the amount of violent incidents has gradually decreased. Of course, it’s only April, so it’s too early to judge, but the situation appears to have improved a lot. So I think it would be a good idea to slowly resume production in our distilleries from now on. I also think it would be a good idea to build more ties overseas and gradually increase our alcohol imports."
A grey-haired middle-aged man sitting diagonally across from Jason objected.
“It is still too early to make a decision. Although it’s said that friction on the borders has decreased, it’s unknown when the barbarian invasions will start again. Also, the prohibition was decreed to ease the burden on the people of the Empire who were struck by frequent droughts and famines in addition to the border conflict, by reducing food and money waste. However, there is no indication that the prohibition will be withdrawn so easily.”
He was one of the businessmen in charge of Elias's wheat farming operations. Jason's face reddened slightly at his words.
Distilleries? Import? Prohibition?
This seemed to be about the family businesses.
Why was I here?
"What do you mean ‘it’s too early to make a decision’? It's already been two years since the alcohol prohibition was declared, and there are plenty of black market bootleggers secretly selling alcohol scattered all over the city. His Majesty is not unaware of this."
Various businessmen voiced their opinions saying things like, 'It's too early for prohibition to be lifted'.
After some time had passed.
"There's a rumour being spread around in secret."
It was Chloe, the third child and eldest daughter.
Her head was lifted proudly and she pronounced each syllable triumphantly and haughtily. She was very aristocratic and elegant.
"Of course, these rumours are the kind that had to be obtained at a considerable price."
Chloe was indicating she was about to disclose this costly information. I concentrated on her, curious about what sort of information it could be.
Editor’s Notes -
Andrei I love you, but you need to reduce your use of weird plant metaphors and laughter at the end of each sentence for my own sanity, lol.
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