14.1 [Day 1 (11)]
“It has been a long time, Count.”
Shesam bowed deeply to the count.
This was his first time in a few weeks meeting Count Ruth. Despite being the lord, he spent most of his time in another villa.
In the villa that Shesam arrived at, there were a lot of intimidating men. Despite having not done anything, Shesam felt crushed by his intimidation.
The drawing room he was guided to was decorated with armors and weapons. He was struck by fear, one born from having stepped foot into an enemy’s domain.
The appearance of the count who had just appeared also preyed on Shesam.
Perhaps because he had been crying, his eyes were red and swollen.
Despite that, the count seemed wrathful. It was as if he was going to get vengeance on the enemy general.
Shesam sat down in the seat opposite to the count. He suppressed the trembling of his entire body.
“What’s the accounting situation?”
“…Well, has the count heard of Lady Lorona’s death?”
“Shouldn’t that be obvious!? She’s my daughter!!”
“Hyii—! I’m sorry…”
Fury was emanating from the count. Its intensity was enough to shake the air. Shesam trembled.
The soldiers who were present—the count’s subordinates—were also shocked by his loudness.
“Lorona…! Lorona is dead…! What do I do now…?!”
The count, who screamed while stomping his foot on the ground, appeared just like a child having a tantrum.
His subordinates stared at him with painful expressions. It was as if they resonated with his sorrow. At the same time, they were in awe over his display of grief.
However, Shesam was unimpressed.
If you truly cared about Lady Lorona, then why did you abandon her?
Shesam knew that in reality, the count was a truly selfish father.
The count abandoned his responsibilities as a noble and withdrew from the social circles. He remained hidden away in his villa and would spend his money like he were drinking water. It was all for the sake of reliving his former glory.
When it came to territorial management, he left everything to Lorona and Shesam. It went to the extent that all he needed to do was sign documents.
He gave up on his difficult wife who made lavish spendings on luxuries and his youngest daughter who continuously overstepped her boundaries with Lorona.
Despite praising Lorona to the utmost, the count didn’t even attend her graduation ceremony.
It was a well-known fact that praising Lorona was the best that the count would do for her.
Whether it was as a human being or as a father, the count couldn’t be respected. Regardless, he was still Shesam’s lord, so he couldn’t complain.
“Count, it’s natural to feel sad for the death of the young lady. As for me, I was at a loss…”
“…What? Are you trying to imply that you’re even sadder than I am?”
A sharp, cold, glint dwelled in the count’s eyes.
Shesam shook his head in a hurry.
“Of course not. I’m but a servant. I couldn’t possibly live up to the sorrow that the count—her real father—feels.”
“I want to inform you of the financial difficulties the count family is currently having…”
“…What? So, this is about money?”
The count’s facial expression changed from anger to embarrassment.
“Yes, in truth, the count’s family has been in a dire financial strait for the last few years. Thanks to Lady Lorona’s efforts, we managed, but as you can see…”
“…What do you mean?”
The count, who had no clue in the slightest, leaned forward.
Shesam brought out a pile of documents from his bag and spread them across the desk.
After picking up a document, the count desperately tried to understand it by flipping the paper and squinting his eyes.
“…Is this a loan book? Why would my house need to borrow money?”
“I’ve told you many times, the count family doesn’t have a large territorial income. It’s already considered fortunate that we still have the annual allowance from the royal family.”
“What happened to the bounty I obtained?”
The count’s complexion changed.
Just like Shesam, he believed that the bounty earned from his achievements would last for the next few generations—only if managed properly.
However, said bounty had been used up long ago.
“W, who on earth…?”
“I apologize, count, most of it was used to maintain this villa.”
The count’s face lost all of its color.
“It’s not just the weapons and tools here. The cost of buying and managing this villa, not to mention the surrounding land. The amount of money the count invested in all of this has exceeded the bounty.”
Indeed. Dozens of former soldiers would gather at that villa.
Count Ruth seemed to believe that they were gathering for the battle that they longed for—but reality wasn’t so.
After the war had ended, they had lost their positions. As of the present, they were nothing more but a bunch of unemployed men.
If they went to that villa, they’d be guaranteed food, clothing, and shelter. As such, they could laze around all day.
They conveniently spent their time under the count’s patronage, consuming all his assets.
“It’s the truth. Moreover, your wife…”
“What’s with Belverassa?”
“…I am asked to buy various jewels and dresses every day for her social events… As of the present, her requests are no longer feasible.”
The speechless count stared at Shesam in a daze. He kept staring at the pile of loan books on the desk.
“For up until now, Lady Lorona had drafted a monetary policy. In addition to the businesses in the territory, she was earning income from new businesses, and arranging business partners to resolve the debt… However, with the lady’s death, we can’t expect any new income in the future. Therefore, we might end up in debt…”
“What are you trying to say…?”
The count didn’t think he could understand the implication. He kept gasping, his mouth fluttering like a fish washed ashore.
***T/N: Yeap lady and gents, this gonna end badly.
Please also consider donating to my ko-fi! It’ll greatly support me in action, no matter the amount!