I Became the Madam of the House - Chapter 7
The old mansion of the Zenat family was quiet. Most likely because those who knew Gael Von Zenat’s temper wouldn’t dare to run around unless they wanted to taste The Duke’s agitation.
The Duke of Zenat was a decent nobleman, but he wouldn’t hesitate to give out severe punishment to those who failed to retain their courtesy.
The Duke who governs both the land and the sea has often been away from the mansion, but there are no servants who dared to be rude to him. Those who acted carelessly will have their eyes gouged out, their tongue cut, and then either sent to prison or kicked out from the mansion.
That was Gael Von Zenat’s notorious conception across the land. This young ruler will turn 20 this year. He’s the one who beheaded all the vassals who wanted to covet his place and took over the dukedom.
He’s the one who remains unnerved with the blood-spilling slaughter, and now his figure was seen looking out the window. He fixed his eyes on the distant sea as if he was longing for his real home that was set in the middle of the ocean.
“Archel De Leire.” There’s no way he heard that name for the first time. He’s certainly done studying the state of each noble family around him. Not long ago, Leire County had an obituary and he knew that it wasn’t long after the funeral.
If he estimated the time when she arrived, he knows that she came here as soon as the funeral ended in order to talk with him. Not to mention, they came without servants. If so, it means that Lady Leire already knows the situation around Leire County well.
He squinted his eyes. If Lady Leire was outstanding, there’s no way he didn’t know. It was his priority to banish those who might bring trouble for his ‘family business’ around the Zenat estate.
But until a few years ago, he never heard the talks about Lady Leire’s excellency. She was an ordinary young lady and her relatives preyed on her innocence, joined hands with each other to covet the property and legacy of the Leire family.
Of course, there’s no need for Zenat to interfere. Instead, he accepts the deal. Since Leire was the strongest family around here and the one with the most disruptive sea territory, naturally this division was beneficial for Zenat.
“You need our sea and I need a strong shield to protect me and my brother. Is there any perfect deal more than this?” Archel De Leira spoke so confidently.
It was certain that Leire’s water territory was the most irritating obstacle for Zenat’s family business, which is piracy. Just like a huge block of reefs that was emerging in the middle of the sea, it was the number one contributor to making things troublesome.
Nevertheless, the pirates could not invade Leire’s sea and become the enemy of the empire, nor could The Duke of Zenat waging a battle against Leire County without any particular reason. So he had no choice but to stay still, even if he lost a lot of money…
“It’s a deal.”
‘Did she say that she wanted to divorce?’ Gael silently lifted the corner of his lip. She said she’ll give everything she had in exchange to ensure their safety as well as her little brother’s enrollment into the academy until he graduates.
‘Michael, you say?’ He didn’t seem to be so well-versed in magic.
‘Have you ever used magic?’
‘No.’ The child who was speaking so confidently, even went as far as to glare at him.
It was like the eyes of a young beast and Gael could sense a murderous look from him. It wasn’t the energy that was supposed to come out from a 13-years-old. He was convinced that the child has a knack for swordsmanship rather than magic.
However, as for now, he was just a child with a leash attached in his sister’s hand. As he bared his teeth, it’s obvious that he would protect his sister, no, his master at any cost.
It will certainly be amusing if he really becomes a wizard. That way, Leire’s property wouldn’t be easily seized and became Zenat’s property. It was also the biggest stumbling block in Leire’s sea, and nothing else became a threat to Leire.
But it was meaningless antagonizing over a loser, rather, it was better to be invested in the future enemy. If that Leire kid who graduated from Temila Academy could become an excellent wizard, he might be a good opponent. That was all he had in mind for Michael.
“Your Grace, Michael De Leire is ready to go to the academy.”
It was faster than he thought. Gael looked at his knight who just entered the Oval Office. Even his most devoted right-hand knight possessed an appearance that was close to a pirate rather than a knight.
A knight and a pirate. He was one of a few who held the privilege to visit both Zenat’s mansion and Zenat’s island.
“Proceed to send him off.” Gael beckoned right away.
If the order was finished, it would have been good to leave. But the knight hesitated,
“Elaha, you look like you have something to say.” Eventually, Gael looked back at his devoted knight, and the knight bowed his body deeply.
“…it wasn’t my purpose to question your noble intention, Your Highness. However, are you really going to marry Archel De Leire?”
‘That’s what he wants to ask?’ Gael smiled silently.
All his devoted knights who would be traveling between Zenat’s mansion and the island seemed to be uncomfortable with Archel De Leire. It’s only natural, because the moment someone becomes the Duchess, she naturally learns various internal circumstances of the family, whether she likes it or not.
Particularly, because the Duchess was in charge of household finances and she had no choice but to know about the wealth-income that came from a pirate job. How do you explain to her about the Zenat family’s income that was several times higher than what was reported to the imperial household? Moreover, a noble lady? It was annoying because you can’t just cut off her throat and shut her mouth.
“I’ve promised her a marriage, so I should do it,” Gael answered calmly.
*Thud* Then Elaha kneeled in front of him and bowed his head.
“Please reconsider, Your Highness!” He knew it without a doubt that Elaha was asking him to reconsider. Gael then gave Elaha a side-eye.
“If it’s because of the sea, you don’t have to worry.”
“….But, Your Grace,” Elaha hesitated. He was a prudent man who served the family for so long and willing to throw himself away for the sake of Gael’s safety.
“I was informed that the lady seemed to know a little about the sea.”
“Yes, she did,” Gael answered casually. Elaha bowed his head deeper.
“I’ve already checked through numerous informants, but there’s no way that Lady Archel De Leire could know about the sea. And most of The Duke has a secret, perhaps Lady Leire…”
In short, he wanted to tell that maybe Archel was just spouting out nonsense. But Gael shook his head.
“I don’t think she’ll speak without strong belief. More than that..” He took a few steps closer to Elaha. As his master approached him, Elaha stopped breathing and became nervous. Gael leaned over him.
“Why should I reject those who know my secrets?”
“…Pardon?” Elaha’s body stiffened and Gael laughed, “Why should I be afraid of Lady Archel? If she’s willing to marry me even though she knows my secret, shouldn’t I welcome her?”
“That’s…” Elaha stuttered, but he managed to pour out his words, “But it’s a secret that shouldn’t come out from the mouth of an outsider. Besides, don’t you come into agreement to divorce? Then surely one day, she’ll be part of another family. That way the secret will…”
“Elaha.” Gael shook his head. His straight gaze and faded smile overwhelm his opponent instantly.
“If she opens her mouth recklessly, I’ll shut her up. Then how do you think inland people would know about what is happening in the sea? And,”
At last, Gael tilted his head slightly. “Do you think I will lose the fight in my own territory?”
This sea was his territory and not even The Emperor could invade it.
“…No. It’s my false judgment.” Elaha slowly bowed his head. It’s understandable that he would be worried, but Gael was so confident.
Besides, wouldn’t it better to keep someone who claimed to know the secret in the territory rather than let them run loose outside? When it comes to fighting, he can’t lose. Because he’s the owner of this sea.
Gael smiled clearly. He recalled Lady Archel who looked confident.
The woman who looked unfamiliar with the sea. The woman who flinched at the small waves tickling her feet. But despite that, she’s still come to him. She was able to finish what she had to say even though her voice trembled. She claimed to know the secret, but it didn’t feel like a threat at all.
‘Did she really know about Zenat?’
The sea-robbery, or a pirate, was Zenat family business which should be done discreetly. The moment it was revealed to the public, it will become a crime of having unreported troops besides the regular knights, and in extreme cases, it could be regarded as treason. Moreover, the reported income is heavily manipulated which makes the crime more severe.
‘But she knows about it.’ The moment he heard it, rather than feeling agitated, he felt intrigued that she would keep his secret.
‘Do you really know about me? Will you boldly approach me and the runaway in fear later?’
Her eyes trembled when he spoke. It is clear that the lady is not used to seeing blood at all, for some reason was so confident to visit him in person.
‘If you really knew me, if you knew my secret, you would know it would be a deathwish to suddenly approach me like that.’
Gael laughed. She was such a strange woman. It was so strange, so it bothers him so much.
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