Tara tries to convince Bernard to testify against corruption, while jealousy brews amongst the Elias siblings.
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Episode 32. 85.5 kg (5)
"If you're going to testify, you have to have evidence, you have to have powerful people to support you."
"Yes. I understand that. But do you think the other knights will support me, assuming you get the evidence?"
"I don't know. But why do you think I went through all that trouble on Lackton Street? It was for these kinds of situations."
"Are you saying that Andrei can help us gain support?"
"He can, if you make up your mind about whether you want to do it. I can't be certain, but I will help you as best I can. But I know you don't deserve to be sent away in disgrace like this."
"The choice is yours, Bernard, and I won't push you any further. I'd love for you to stay as my knight, but I can't force you to follow me for the rest of your life."
"But know this. Whether you testify or not, I'm going to get to the bottom of this, because it's something the House needs to know."
"Give me some time to think about it."
"Okay. Master Andrei said that he won't have the information I need until after the Imperial Interviews are over, so let's wait until after that."
Now everything was out of my hands. Both Andrei Pitt's decision about accepting me as his disciple and Bernard's decision about pledging fealty would be made the day after the Administrative Exams and Interviews.
I struggled to my feet, holding my increasingly aching head.
As I approached the door, I knew I had accomplished one of the things I had come here to do. That was enough for today.
"Morning training... We can continue to do it if you'd like, but we can't use the Elias training grounds, so come to the park a block from the mansion. If you don't mind, we can do it in the clearing there."
"Not until the day after tomorrow. I think I'm going to be a little bit sore tomorrow."
<One day before the written exam.>
After being fined 100 gold by the Second Prince, I only had 30 gold left. Seriously. I was a daughter of House Elias and I only had 30 gold to my name.
Wait... Could I get an advance from the Second Prince?
I quickly shook my head. Andrei Pitt was not the kind of person who would accept a delayed payment.
I sat on the sofa outside my Father's office and waited for the meeting to end.
I couldn't ask for a lot of money out of the blue, but he might give it to me if I explained it right.... I also couldn't simply expose the problem with the Elias Knights without having any documentation. Haa....
Finally, the meeting ended, the doors opened and the business leaders rushed out of the office. The merchant group shareholders were followed by the family elders.
I greeted them politely as they exited, then timidly entered the office.
My father and Dylan were busy reviewing the meeting documents.
I waited a moment.
I didn't know how to ask, it had been a long time since I'd actually gotten an allowance.
As I sat on the sofa and waited, my father glanced at me, pushed the papers to one side, and came over to the sofa to sit across from me.
Dylan stood by the desk, still sorting through the papers.
"What's the matter?"
"What? Are you worried about the test tomorrow?"
"No... it's not that, I wanted to ask a favour."
"Really? Oh! Dylan, have you forwarded it to Tara?"
"No, I haven't. I was going to do it today, and this happens to work out. Do you want me to tell her now?"
"Yes. Bring me what you've put together. Unless you're in a hurry, I want you to listen to Dylan first."
I breathed a huge inward sigh of relief. It was just as well, since I still had no idea how to ask him.
Then Dylan's words blew all my worries away in an instant.
"You’re being given 5,000 gold."
Wow! That was a lot of money!
I swallowed hard. 5,000 gold. Two gold coins was a maid’s monthly salary, and a small house in the city cost 200 gold. For 2,500 gold, you could buy a large mansion in the provinces. That was hundreds of millions of Korean won.
But Dylan's next words chilled me to the bone.
"... You will only be able to withdraw money from this account after your 20th birthday."
Ha ha.... What the hell? I couldn't spend any of that money in the next two years? It was a prize dangling just beyond my reach.
"We've already paid all the taxes on the gift, and you’re also getting the rights to the Gollucus Platinum Mine, all you have to do is sign these papers and the transfer will be complete."
Ah.... The Gollucus Platinum Mine. To think, I'd actually get to own a mine... Wait a second, the Gollucus Platinum Mine?
After trying hard to hide my initial disappointment, I jumped at the mention of the mine’s name.
Even though I had read the Chronicles of Oceria a long time ago, I still remembered the platinum mine with great clarity.
Seeing my excitement, my father smiled broadly and explained.
"The platinum mine hasn't been excavated yet. But it's been assessed by experts and it has significant reserves, so we can start mining it in earnest later. Of course, you could also resell it."
‘Nonsense. Why would I sell it when it contains something more valuable than platinum!’
The words stuck in my throat.
Ho ho.... If I was smart, I'd be able to use this mine to my advantage quite soon.
After my family's demise, the property confiscated by the Imperial court could be handed down to Imperial vassals by the Emperor. These gifts were typically handed down to nobles who contributed significantly to war efforts.
There was no mention in the novel of the Elias properties being passed on, except for one Author Kim mentioned at the end of the series. The platinum mines of Gollucus.
[... The discovery of the rare metal ruthenium in the platinum mines of Gollucus, a former Elias Family holding, made the Baron a very rich man after he was granted the mine by the Emperor. The discovery of ruthenium was a large enough breakthrough to turn the Empire on its head, especially since it provided a cure for tumours and modern-day cancers, which were previously untreatable.].
After doing plenty of research, Kim knew she wanted to use ruthenium, element number 44 on the periodic table, in her book.
I vividly remembered how excited she was when she first found out about the rare metal. I could still see her freaking out next to me as she flipped through the pages, scrawling down words.
Ruthenium had nothing to do with cancer in real life, it was just a fictional device used to embody the author's imagination.
I realized that this was one of those few times when I was truly speechless.
But I couldn't sit here surprised forever. How would a good noble daughter react to such a big gift?
"I–I had no idea, I never expected this."
"Well, at least you're happy to have it, hahaha."
I didn't want to pour cold water on my father's joy, but I couldn't help it.
Determined, I forced out the words, "Thanks, Father, but I...."
"I see. Do you have any questions about it?"
"Uh, Not really. I'm sorry, but could I have 90 gold in advance?"
The small parlour in front of Jason's room.
Jason's maid, Michelle, prided herself on being one of the most competent maids in the Elias Family.
This was evidenced by the fact that she had been the personal maid of Master Jason Elias, the most demanding man in the Elias Family, for an entire year now.
Not all maids were of the same rank: some were in charge of the main house and outbuildings; some were in charge of the hall and some were in charge of the laundry, mending, or the pantry; some were dedicated to specific masters and some were not.
Servants were also treated and paid differently depending on whether they served a male or female master. Michelle believed she was known and envied among the other servants as a very capable maid.
Michelle thought that a day like today was a particularly good day to show off her competence.
"She's a half-wit, yes, she must be, there's no other explanation! Five thousand gold for that dull thing, the disgrace of the house! How on earth does any of this make sense?"
When Lady Victoria finished her angry tirade, Michelle carefully set a wine glass and a bottle of 52-year-old Bordeaux down in front of her.
Then, Garcia, Lady Victoria's dedicated chambermaid, approached and quickly popped the cork off the wine.
‘The servants of the higher nobility truly are special. Look how quick she is...'
Lady Victoria poured herself a glass of wine, gulped it down quickly as if in a hurry, and then poured herself another glass of the expensive Bordeaux, clutching it so tightly in her trembling hands that Michelle was concerned she might break it.
She was used to Countess Victoria’s anger. But today she seemed especially angry.
Michelle, priding herself on her competence, tried to stay as close to the wall as possible and out of sight.
She concentrated. Almost all of House Elias's real power players were in this room right now, and their individual wealth alone would place them among the top twenty in the Empire.
Their conversation today might prove invaluable to her, and she might be able to line her pockets for the first time in a long time.
‘Anyway, why is everyone so serious...?’
Michelle pricked her ears, listening to their conversation.
"That's it? He’s just giving her the Gollucus Mine? I mean, she was locked in her room for seven years, and then all of a sudden she climbed a tree, fell down, woke up, and now within three months wants to call herself the next Family Head? Why is Father so suddenly humouring that bitch? What in the world does he think that fat idiot could possibly offer to make him willing to hand over so much money and a mine?"
"That's what I'm saying. I don't like the fact she’s allowed to do the exam under the Elias Family name. He's treating her like a valuable asset. Doesn't that mean he's officially recognizing her as a proper heir of House Elias?"
Victoria gulped down her wine like it was water and her throat was on fire.
"Argh. I should have kicked that fox-like bitch and her insignificant child out the moment they appeared on my doorstep. Damn them!"
Curiously, in contrast to the boisterous matriarch, the rest of the family appeared relatively calm.
"I'm sure you know this... But she is a true child of House Elias."
Michelle looked at Master Logan and smiled inwardly.
‘He's so handsome, but he also has a big heart...'
Master Logan and Miss Aria were certainly different from Mistress Victoria, perhaps because they came from a different mother, the Count's deceased first wife.
"Oh, come on... Of course I know that. But what on earth could you know? All you talk about is military exercises. Hmph."
"But, honestly! She’s received a private audience with Prince Kyle, gets the study guide, and then gets all that money and a mine. Why is she so lucky all of a sudden?” Miss Aria complained loudly, “Haa... But at least she only gets 5,000 gold."
Suddenly, a look of realization dawned on her face and she looked at the people gathered in front of her.
"Hmm, come to think of it, I'm supposed to get 10,000 gold, but how much did my brothers and sisters get? Hmm? Much more than 5,000 gold, right?"
At Aria's question, the Countess grabbed her temples and leaned heavily on the back of her chair.
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