10. The Count of Orfels’ Objective
After eating only some sweets, Irena casually went home.
I invited her to stay and eat, but she refused.
It seemed that she wasn’t interested in the simple dishes served at our house.
Well, less food to prepare, then.
But… how tiring.
I put up a strong front before Irena, and because of that, I no longer had any energy to stand.
While I was leaning against my chair, Alves and Phil returned.
I was truly glad they hadn’t come into contact with Irena.
“Lucia, I heard from Yurana! Irena came to visit, didn’t she? Why didn’t you call me?”
“…I mean, it’s not like you like Irena that much, brother…”
“Besides, I’m glad you weren’t there. Even I’m on edge, here…”
I forced a smile. All I managed to muster was an empty one.
Alves turned towards Phil who furrowed his eyebrows. Phil stared at me and sat on a chair.
“Lucia, I know you’re tired, but can you tell me what you guys talked about?”
“…Do you want to hear it that much?”
“Please tell us so we can prepare for the future.”
Phil spoke kindly, but also resolutely.
He had a serious look on his face, which was unusual.
Alves was also sitting on a chair, waiting for me to speak.
I sighed for along time then briefly explained the conversation I had with Irena.
Alves, who folded his arms, muttered a word and then became silent.
I intended to sugarcoat Irena’s words, but my brother may had guessed her original words.
His impression was’—preposterous.’
I had the same impression.
Even though she knew Gorman had annulled my engagement, she still came to our house.
My wedding dress, which should had been prepared by the Orfels family, hadn’t yet been tailored.
The annulment seemed sudden, and appeared to be the fruit of Gorman’s selfishness, but in truth had been underway for many months.
Everything was preposterous.
However, it was unlikely that the Orfels family only did that to humiliate me.
Gorman seemed to despise me. I wondered what exactly I had done to turn the entire Orfels family into my enemy.
“…Are they planning to crush the Ragulen family?”
Alves, who was staring at the ceiling, muttered.
To my shock, my brother suddenly slammed his fist against his forehead.
“Not only did they make it impossible for me to attend, they also plan to thoroughly humiliate Lucia. They want to drag our reputation through the mud and spread rumors to other aristocrats. As a result, borrowing money will become difficult for us, which might make it impossible for us to repay our debts. At the end of it all, we’ll lose everything—no, we might be destroyed by bad publicity before any of that can happen.”
That kind of aftermath was within the realm of possibility.
I wanted to laugh, but I honestly believed that was their true intention.
As I began to turn pale, Phil, who was silent, shook his head.
“The purpose might not be crushing the Viscount of Ragulen family. No, Count Orfels is more wicked than that. Although the territory of Ragulen is small and is currently in trouble, it’s still worth something—and Count Orfels knows that.”
What does that mean?
Phil’s expression suddenly relaxed as he smiled at me.
“The territory of Ragulen is close to the royal capital. Is also has good climate. While it is too small to be run as an independent territory, it has many advantages.”
Phil laughed bitterly.
“Isn’t this the first time your two families have attempted an arranged marriage? If they can’t get rid of you, then they’ll try to set someone who has the blood of the Viscount of Ragulen as a puppet lord… Indeed, Count Orfels intends to upsurp the Ragulen territory.”
It turned out that a massive conspiracy was hidden within my annulment.
“I see… that’s how it is. Well, they got me.”
Alves groaned in a low voice before leaning back on the chair.
“I can’t do anything. Lucia has to attend a malicious wedding. Everything is going exactly as the count has planned. I wish I could at least go with Lucia…”
“I will do my best to confront them…”
“That’s right, Lucia is formidable. Two can play this game. Still, high-ranking aristocrats are too cunning, I don’t know what to expect… dammit, what should I do?!”
My brother clutched his head.
That day, I couldn’t afford to be energetic.
***T/N: Holy…! So it isn’t just the simple matter of ditching the girl who’s taller than me and make me look bad in term of Gorman…! Such intrigue, now, doesn’t that make this story right up Baldingere’s alley?