Desian and Aaron met in the drawing room after a brief luncheon.
The three chairs from their past gatherings remained.
All the rumors about you have spread across the continent.”
There were times when rumors were maliciously inflated compared to reality.
But in fact, most of the rumors about the young Duke Pietro were true.
Aaron laughed quietly.
Duke Pietro had done various things to smooth Citrina’s path and make sure she wasn’t bothered.
This had done quite a bit to increase Desian’s notoriety.
“I can silence them.”
Desian replied simply.
Silencing them meant killing them.
Aaron laughed and asked back.
“Brother is infamous to a lot of people.
Then are you going to kill everyone on the continent?”
“Since she’s stuck in the atelier right now, Citrina must have not heard the rumors.
But she’ll find out all of the rumors when she returns to the empire.”
“So what am I supposed to do?”
Desian’s head was full of complex thoughts about the situation.
He couldn’t let her go.
However, from time to time, she looked happy.
“First of all, we need to get rid of the rumors.
And you need to change your attitude.”
“When we were all together, Brother’s attitude towards Citrina was very good.
But there’s still room for improvement.”
Aaron’s eyes sparkled.
He seemed to be extremely happy about this situation.
Desian raised his eyebrows.
He didn’t like it.
Nevertheless, he could not get up from his seat hastily.
Because Citrina was a part of this story.
What would you say if Citrina asked you what happened to the previous duke?”
“I killed him.”
Aaron’s face turned red.
Desian thought for a moment.
Now that he thought about it, Citrina hated murder.
What he said was too gruesome.
“Ah, he’s dead.”
Desian corrected himself.
However, Aaron’s frown did not clear up.
He shook his head.
“Brother, kind men don’t say that.
First of all, Citrina said that murder was bad.
And she will be suspicious about how he was killed.”
In response to Aaron’s logical words, Desian asked.
“Then what should I say?”
“He died after a long illness.
Talking about it makes you a little sad.”
Aaron pretended to wipe a tear from the corner of his eye.
He looked exactly as if he was grieving.
Desian’s eyes rested on Aaron.
Could he manage to act like that?
He suddenly felt skeptical.
“Do I…really have to do all of that?”
“Even when I don’t feel sad at all?”
“Yeah, normally people are sad when their father dies.”
Aaron smiled and continued.
The academy’s vacation is long, and we have plenty of time until Citrina returns.
In the meantime, you can restore you reputation.
The image of the Pietro Duchy will improve!”
Negative talk about the Duke of Pietro would affect him as well.
And Aaron also liked his older brother.
“That’s not bad.”
“Right, let’s start slowly by donating money and doing good deeds.”
Desian didn’t care much about the title Duke Pietro.
But he knew that he needed to keep up some appearances in order to have a firm position of power.
“Let’s get started.”
He didn’t trust his younger brother.
But his younger brother always reached out to him.
This feeling was not intense, but strangely subtle.
Whenever Aaron spoke to him, he could feel familial love behind his words.
“What’s the first step?”
Desian replied as he stared at him.
“Then let’s start with donating money.”
“Are you only going to make donations?”
“I will also start with urban renovations.”
Desian’s mind began to form plans.
“Wow… Brother, were you originally planning this sort of scheme?”
Desian answered simply to Aaron admiring question.
Desian’s attention focused back on the documents.
In order to proceed with this new plan, this old business needed to be wrapped up.
Make some contributions..some slight changes to your personality and it will be perfect.”
Aaron suggested with a small smile on his face as he looked at his older brother.
“Pretending to be friendly and pretending to be a normal person..”
Desian’s face hardened.
Aaron smiled radiantly.
This seemed like the only thing he had that his perfect older brother lacked.
“Everyone is afraid of you.”
He didn’t really mind if that’s what people said about him.
Ever since he had taken over the magic tower, his bad reputation had been rising.
There was only one reason that it bothered him.
“You looked sweet when you smiled at Citrina.”
“…that’s only for her.”
“You need to relax a bit more around other people too.”
“That way, Citrina will misunderstand and think you are a ‘kind person’.”
Desian lowered his eyes.
He seemed to have a point there.
Aaron nodded his head like a gym teacher.
“Um… maybe you can smile with your eyes too?”
“With my eyes?”
“Yeah, with your eyes.”
Aaron smiled as bright as the sun.
Looking at his face, Desian curved his lips.
” It’s difficult…”
Aaron laughed breathlessly at his straightforward complaint.
He couldn’t believe it was like this for his older brother.
‘I hope this will make Citrina like you.’
That would make them the perfect family.
It couldn’t be helped if Citrina didn’t like it…
Aaron was determined to shape his older brother to fit Citrina’s ideals.
“And why don’t you sponsor a talent as well?”
“Yeah, that way some good rumors will spread about you.”
“Then I’ll do that.
Aaron looked up at him.
“I have something to do before that.”
Instead of answering Aaron’s cautious question, he laughed loudly.
He knew what Citrina wanted and what her dreams were.
Therefore, he intended to cooperate.
That way he could hold Citrina in his arms.
And she would come back safely and intact.
“I’m going to buy all of the mines.”
“…are you serious?”
Aaron’s startled face hardened.
Desian ignored the startled Aaron to pick up a fountain pen and sign a contract.
He spoke in a strange manner.
“I’ve already bought up all of the land on the famous jewelry streets.”
He had done it in a way that no one could tell it all belonged to him.
He was obviously talking about the land, but Aaron started to get goosebumps.
… Citrina would have no idea about this.
Setting such a beautiful trap, his older brother would be waiting for her.
Aaron prayed briefly for Citrina.
Desian’s reasoning was truly beyond imagination.
Naturally, time flew by for Citrina who was unaware of Desian’s circumstances.
Eventually four years had passed since Citrina first began at Ronata Atelier.
Citrina was now 20 years old and an adult.
News of a good deal of gemstone mines being found in Petrosha Empire came almost immediately after she became an adult.
For this reason and a few others, Citrina decided to return to Petrosha Empire.
Citrina learned of the discovery of some jewel mines in her empire.
What caught her eye in particular was a mine owned by Count Hailey.
There was said to be some top-notch Silmaril that Citrina wanted.
Adilac Antigone, who was working beside her, whispered quietly.
“Citrina, did you hear about the jewel mine discovered in the empire? All kinds of minerals and gems were found.”
“You’re going back, aren’t you? You packed up your things.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Then let’s go together!”
Before Citrina could suggest the same thing, Adilac said it right to her face.
Through all of that time, the bond she had built with Adilac was not in vain.
Adilac had sincere trust in Citrina.
She nodded her head.
“Are you going to set up an atelier when you get back?”
“Yes, that’s right.
In regards to that, I’ll need to negotiate with Oslo.”
Now, she was going to set up her own business.
-Then we’re going on a trip?
We’re going on a trip.
Gemma spread her beautiful winds and flew around in the sky again.
Looking at the lovely spirit for a few moments, Citrina turned her head.
She noticed Oslo working on something in the distance.
Citrina approached him and broke the silence.
“What’s going on?”
“Well, I have an offer for you.”
Oslo frowned slightly.
He seemed to have a hunch that something was up.
Oslo and Citrina sat across from each other with a table in between them.
Oslo was lost in thought after hearing of Citrina’s plan.
“Yes, Oslo nim.”
“You’re going to leave and sign a direct contract with the mines in the Petrosha Empire.”
Oslo’s eyes filled with wonder.
He was fond of his disciple.
However, the dwarf was still aware of his profits and losses.
The calculator in his head must have been running pretty fast right now.
Citrina looked at him with a composed face.
“It’s interesting, but there are many people who want to sign a contract with me and add my name to their business.
What do I get out of it?”
The dwarf asked Citrina with wily eyes.
“You get fame.”
“All the other dwarves moved underground, so there must be a reason why Oslo decided to stay above ground and train disciples.”
‘Dwarves value honor more than anything else.’
Oslo was a man of honor rather than money.
While he had secluded himself in the atelier and taught his disciples, his reputation had risen around the world.
“Yes, that’s right.
You certainly have a good eye for people.
And you’re not stupid.
It will be fun.”
Oslo said to himself, rubbing his mustache.
Citrina faced Oslo.
The four year period had passed in a blink of an eye for the dwarf, but it had been a long time for Citrina.
The dwarf preferred a proud disciple.
“So one more question-what do you get out of this deal?”
“There are two things I want.”
“The first is that I want to borrow the basic funds to set up an atelier, and the second is that I want to borrow Oslo’s name when I set up the atelier in the Empire.”
What she wanted was to set up a franchise.
It would be based on the atelier that Oslo set up in the Drip Empire, and Citrina’s atelier in the Petrosha Empire would be a branch location.
Oslo obviously understood what Citrina was trying to get at.
He wrinkled his brow.
“Loaning out basic funds is something I often do for disciples, so that’s not a problem.
But borrowing my name? You, a human?”
No matter how much he cared for his disciple, he drew a line here.
Citrina had guessed as much.
She was an ordinary disciple to the dwarf.
“It’s quite nice, not not that special of an offer.
Do you believe you can be a disciple that can further my name in the human world?”
First of all, I will bring Adilac with me who is an amazing craftworker.”
“Adilac is competent, but that’s all.”
“And then there is me.”
Citrina calmly took the pendant necklace off her neck.
Slowly, light began to leak out of the pendant.
A small spirit rubbed it’s eyes and blinked quietly as the light spilled out.
“I have a spirit.
That’s not such a bad deal for Oslo nim.”
The dwarf caught on at once He knew it was a gem spirit that had come out of the necklace.
“…It’s a gem spirit? I thought they were already extinct?”
In a world where the variety of species had dwindled, the dwarf’s voice raised in affinity for the species.
As Citrina had ordered her last night, Gemma remained quietly on the pendant.
Her innocent face stared up at the dwarf.
Oslo looked stunned as he looked into Gemma’s big eyes.
“Cu, so cute and small.”
In addition to offering their blessings, spirits had other talents related to jewels.
The dwarf understood better than Citrina about this.
“Then, can I borrow your name?”
The dwarf stopped marveling at the spirit.
He nodded slowly.
Citrina smiled brightly at him.
“I won’t let you down.”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
The dwarf slowly stroked his coarse beard.
When Citrina and Adilac left, Oslo sent them away with the basic funds to start the atelier as well as some gems.
He then handed Citrina a small video sphere.
“You can contact me with this magic instrument.”
“Yes, I understand.”
“Oslo nim, thank you so much! May all blessings be sent to Oslo nim!”
There’s no need to be so polite.
I’ll see you again.”
The dwarf waved them out.
The parting of teacher and disciple who had spent four years together, came easily.
Over the past four years, Citrina had become a bit more mature.
She took energetic steps, recalling that Gemma was sleeping in the necklace at her throat and Adilac was walking behind her.
Citrina, had nothing when she left the Pietro Duchy, was returning after mastering her trade in four years.
Adilac and Citrina left the atelier and returned to Petrosha Empire.
Their destination was Dartrin Street in the capital, the most well known jewelry street there.
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