Marquis Reholas.

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Things might have been different in the past, but now they were a much wealthier and stronger family than the Valrugas.

In terms of power, he was one of the most powerful men in the empire!

Unlike Frug and the Fox Merchant Association that I’ve dealt with before, he was a man worthy of being called a tycoon.

“Huu– Haa– Huu– Haa.”

I took a deep breath for a while.

Compared to the small-fry Frug, I couldn’t calm down at the thought that I was suddenly about to deal with a powerful man.

“Madam, here’s a tea to help calm you down.”

Bella noticed and quickly served a warm tea.

“Yes.”

I reached out to pick up the teacup.

The teacup trembled as if I was in the middle of a typhoon.

“Sister, are you okay?”

Luc[1] held my hand.
The moment I saw those red eyes staring at me worriedly, the trembling stopped.
I made up my mind.

[1] TL/N : I changed the spelling Ruth to Luc (pronounced as ‘Lus’ from ‘Lucian’).

I have to do this.

Right now, I was the only person who could protect Luc.

Luc’s cheeks have become plumper these days and his body isn’t as thin as it used to be.

He began to read and write the country’s official language, and on the training grounds, he would run ten laps effortlessly.

If I fall now, Luc would fall along.

I have to protect him.

“Luc.
Come here.
Give your sister a hug.”

When I stretched my arms out, Luc fell into my arms.

He was slightly taller, but he still perfectly fitted my arms.

I hugged Luc tightly, feeling the warmth in my arms.

I could feel Luc’s pounding heart.

“If you’re having a hard time, you can just let it go.
About this……I’ll be fine, sister.”

“What do you mean it’s fine?”

If Luc had dared to rebuke the Marquis for ignoring the Duke, I would have ignored him as well.
Do you know how much hair I lost over worrying about that debt?!

If I simply let it go this time, I would have thought ‘I should have gotten that money!’ even after 10 years had passed by.

“Luc.
Don’t say things like that.
Instead, cheer for your sister to do well.
Or is it because you think I’ll lose?”

“Unh-uh.
No!”

“Then, do you think sister will win?”

“Yes! Sister is the strongest person in the world!”

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“Perfect! Luc’s support has given me strength! Sister will be back after everything is settled!”

“Okay!”

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Read only at Dropped Inks.

With Luc’s support, I headed to the office.

If he feigns ignorance, the answer is to simply move on.

I sat down on the chair in the office and pressed the button on the communication device.

Communication devices were magical items that enabled people to communicate with others over a long distance.

However, it was only available in certain regions and installing one was expensive.

Moreover, it was practically a money-eating ghost that lasted for only 10 minutes, even if you used a million mark mana stone.

Fortunately, the one that was installed back when the dukedom was rich, still worked well.
It’s a little old, but it should work just fine.

Thanks to the letter I sent in advance, Marquis Reholas’ face soon appeared.

He was an old elderly with grey hair and held a strong aura that flowed throughout his entire body.

“A pleasure to meet you, Marquis.
My name is Felia Valruga.”

“I am Tallin Reholas.”

When I greeted him first, he returned the favour.

“I had heard that the new Duke of Valruga was married recently, but I did not expect to be greeted like this.”

He said and smiled with a friendly expression.

As he was a sharp person, he might have already guessed my intention for contacting him.

“The duke has yet to come of age, so he hasn’t been able to hold a wedding.”

“Is that so? Do invite me to the wedding later.
Hahaha.”

We looked at each other and laughed.

What a pleasant atmosphere……

“So, what brings you to the Reholas?”

“As a Marquis, you must be a busy person so I’ll get straight to the point.
I’m not sure if you’ve heard about it, but recently, I caught a merchant association that was trying to scam the Valruga.”

“Hmm? But I don’t know why you have contacted the Reholas.
Isn’t that a matter between the Valruga and the merchants?”

His innocent acting was truly top-notched.

Had a bystander seen it, they would really think that I was bothering an innocent person.

“I am contacting you to solve the issue.
According to the merchants, they claim to be taken advantage of, and the mastermind behind this was the Marquis of Reholas.
Therefore, according to the Empire’s Law, the Valruga demands a compensation of 2 billion marks from the Marquis of Reholas.”

Don’t be scared.

You can’t be scared.

Debating is all about confidence!

I pretended to not notice my heart that was pounding again and smiled calmly.

“Did those merchants say that? They said that I had scammed you and so, the Valruga believes them?”

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“Yes.
With clear evidence and witness, what reason is there to not believe so?”

“Do you have any evidence?”

“Would the Valruga contact the Marquis without any evidence?”

“Considering the Valruga’s situation, it’s quite possible.”

That old man.

Are you saying that because our family doesn’t have any money right now?

A fire lit inside of me, but I remained smiling calmly.

The smile in front of a terrible customer in my previous life~ I love you customer~ 

This was the experience of working in the customer service industry that I had been through.

“If the Reholas does not intend to pay the compensation, we will handle this matter in accordance with the Empire’s Law.
I believe the Marquis is well aware of how frauds are handled.”

Despite my provocation, Marquis Reholas smiled calmly instead of being angry.

Since he was a prideful noble, I had thought he would definitely become angry.

Did he think a child’s provocation was ridiculous?

He certainly looked like an old man who had been dealing with politics for several decades.

“Would the Valruga be able to handle that matter?”

It was a piece of advice to stay silent and not do anything ridiculous.

“The Valruga is only following the Empire’s Law established by His Majesty, the Emperor.
Everything would be up to His Majesty, not the Valruga.”

Yes, I had a feeling this would happen so I followed the law and wrote a complaint letter.
I raised the document that was stamped with our family seal and presented it to the Marquis.

As I turned the pages of the document, testimonies written by the merchants from the Fox Merchant Association could be seen.

They wrote a long statement of how vicious Marquis Reholas was, how hard he tried to trick the Valrugas, and lastly, how they were threatened by the Marquis and had no choice but to do what they did.

Rwan and his men had refused to testify to the very end, but the remaining eight members of the association combined their heads together in order to survive.
Resulting in a wonderful story.

Perhaps, the calculator in Marquis Reholas’ head was working hard by now.

As he said, the Valruga was within his control.

But, what about the Emperor?

A nobleman who holds too much power is bound to be restrained by the Emperor.

It just so happens that there has been a minor dispute between the Emperor and Marquis Reholas these days.
Therefore, if this matter was informed, the Emperor would be delighted and start to pressure Marquis Reholas.

“His Majesty will not be able to protect the Valrugas.”

That is also true.

There was no way Marquis Reholas would be ruined over such an issue.
Since he couldn’t relieve his anger on the Emperor, Marquis Reholas would vent his anger on us.

At that time, I wasn’t sure if the Emperor would choose to protect our family.

“Isn’t that why I’m having this conversation?”

I tapped my lips with my index finger.

“It’s the information that the Marquis would be willing to pay more than His Majesty.”

It meant that we were willing to close our mouths if we were paid adequately.

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Would you use money to end it, or would you give the Emperor a card?

Marquis Reholas was clever.

He replied with a big smile.

“Haha.
Good.
Alright.
If something can be solved with money, then it’s best to do so.
How much do you want?”

“3 billion marks!”

I replied with a large smile.

“According to the national law, the compensation would be 2 billion marks.”

“A billion marks is for silence.
After all, we would earn 2 billion marks anyway if we file a complaint, so you have to pay more than that.”

For the first, the Marquis’ poker face cracked. 

I asked with a smile.

“What will you do, Marquis?”

Please do not repost.
Read only at Dropped Inks.

*  *  *

A cold expression appeared on Marquis Reholas’ face, who had ended the communication.

“What a smart girl.
I was defeated.”

“I’m sorry, Marquis.”

The subordinate knelt down and begged mercy for his mistake, but his expression remained unchanged.

“Where did you say she was from?”

“I heard a butler named Treon, who works for the duke, brought her from an orphanage.”

“She’s well aware of her place and knows how to use her cards wisely even in an unfavourable situation.
She achieved everything she needed.
She has a mind that is unlike a child.
Had it been my child, I wouldn’t have minded.”

It was the best compliment uttered by the Marquis.

The plan had failed, but the Marquis seemed quite amused.

The subordinate looked at the Marquis and said,

“It’s a ruined duke family anyway.
You can ignore her.
If you are concerned, shall we send an assassin now?” 

“Nevermind.
There’s no need to nitpick over trivial things now.
It’s better to pay 3 billion marks than to deal with the Emperor over nothing.
If it was that sly snake, he might use this as an excuse to investigate the family’s property.”

The Marquis replied, recalling the snake-like Emperor.

“But if that duchy comes back to life……”

“If they were able to save that castle with only 3 billion marks, they would have survived a long time ago.
It’s just a fluke anyway.
The Duchy of Valruga is a place incapable of surviving that long.”

The Marquis spoke resolutely.

“More importantly,”

The Marquis’ cold eyes turned towards his subordinate.

The subordinate held his breath and bowed his head.

His disposition for failing his task was far from over.

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The fraudulent scheme using the Fox Merchant Association was his responsibility.

“You better handle that money.”

“Yes!”

That’s a relief.

His life was saved.

The subordinate’s back was damped with cold sweat. 

“What is the situation of the treasury?”

“It’s going smoothly.
If nothing special occurs, the Archduke will take control.”

“Hmm.”

When the Marquis beckoned for him to step back, the subordinate backed away and observed the Marquis.

“By the way.”

“Y-Yes!”

“Don’t forget to deal with that person you entrusted with this task.
You won’t disappoint me this time, will you?”

The Marquis’ eyes, which resembled blades, stared at his subordinate.

“Don’t worry.
I will take care of it swiftly.”

The Fox Merchant Association has now disappeared from the world, but it didn’t matter.

They were simply one of the many trivial humans for the Marquis.

Fan translation by Dropped Inks.

*  *  *

“Marquis Reholas sent 3 billion marks to the Valruga?”

Treon Ivaropa asked his servant again in disbelief.
He was the man who had gone to the orphanage and wedded Felia to Luc.

As soon as Felia stamped the marriage certificate, he headed to the Capital to report to the Emperor, while Felia was sent to the Duchy of Valruga.

The news that Luc was officially recognised as the Duke was shocking.

“Has Marquis Reholas gone senile? What on earth happened?”

When Treon asked the servant again, the servant mumbled.

“Well, they said they’ve received some kind of compensation……I don’t know of the details either.”

“Receive compensation? Who handled that? Frug? Or Duke Lucius?”

“No.
I heard it was the duchess……”

“What?”

The girl he brought to play as a scarecrow?

Something was odd.

He had intended to stay for a few more days and observe the situation in the Capital, but he thought he should return.

Treon faced north to where the Duchy of Valruga was located and gave out an order.

“Head back to the castle as soon as possible.”

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