“Very good, very good, Edward. All else aside, you completed your job splendidly this time. I now have what I want, so you can take a break,” complimented Sisi, chuckling as she crossed one leg over while sitting on her throne.
Edward respectfully bowed and inquired, “Thank you, Your Majesty. Then, may I ask what plans you have for the coal mine and steam engine?”
“I know what you want. I approve. I’ll officially appoint you as the department head of my business department when I get married in a few days. In saying that, the rights to the coal mine are still mine. You can open your own factory. I won’t ask for a single dime. I will have eighty percent of the net income from the steam engine, and you shall have the remaining twenty. However, only I can produce steam engines, understood?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
On the surface, it sounded as though Queen Sisi gave Edward unfair stipulations. In reality, though, it was a blessing for Edward. The only reason Sisi was willing to share the income from the steam engines was because he did a decent job deceiving Dongqing. All of the scientists now worked at her science department. Edward, therefore, no longer had the right to produce steam engines. Still being able to have income from them wasn’t bad.
Steam engines were bound to instigate a revolution. Twenty percent of the income produced from them was just a drop in a bucket for a nation. Having said that, it was an enormous sum for a businessman, no doubt. As the department head of the business department, Edward would be able to check on the factory. He could start factories. He would be first to know where there were business opportunities. On top of that, he would also have control over the factory Achilles started. As such, he was able to boss Achilles around.
Queen Sisi couldn’t possibly let Achilles be the first to enjoy the bonus produced from a steam engine factory. Consequently, someone had to go and put a spoke in his wheel. In turn, the two would have to remain loyal to her forever. She could always use one of them to check the other.
“… Umm, Your Majesty, I have another question.”
“Oh?” Intrigued, Sisi switched legs. “All right. Speak. Let’s hear it. Bear in mind, however, I’m neither a generous nor patient Queen. If you make a greedy request, I might take back what you have, got it?”
“No… I have a question, not a request,” replied Edward. “Dongq-”
“Since when did you have the right to address Dongqing by his name?!” thundered Queen Sisi, springing to herfeet. “He’s my fiancé. In the future, he’ll be my husband and this nation’s Prince Consort! Is he someone you can address by name?! Do you really think you tricked Dongqing?!”
“Sorry… I did not… Your Majesty…” Edward quickly and obediently bowed his head to apologise.
After a short breath, Queen Sisi huffed and sat back down: “Now, ask your question. Let’s hear what it’s about.”
Edward looked up at Queen Sisi again: “Mm… Your Majesty, it is about L-, Lord Lin’s daughter…”
Queen Sisi tilted her head ever so slightly, “Are you talking about Leah? I don’t know what’s happened with her, but I haven’t seen her recently. I don’t know if she came to the imperial capital with him. What, what are you asking about her for?”
“Oh!” Queen Sisi revealed a pejorative smile: “I never expected you to be that sort of man. Leah is still a child, yet you already want to do that already. You sold your wife and daughter, yet now want to marry a child?”
“It is different this time. I genuinely want to live a proper life with Leah. I will treat her as well as Lord Lin does. I no longer need my sold off wife and daughter, either. I think I have found true love.”
Queen Sisi chortled in a condescending manner. Edward never even mentioned Leah, yet suddenly mentioned love. As if anybody would be convinced. It wasn’t love; it was a twisted creep’s fetish. Queen Sisi didn’t plan to say anything. She didn’t like Leah at all. As a matter of fact, she considered Leah someone who would eventually threaten her. She didn’t view Leah as a daughter but a woman. There was no way she’d let there be another woman around her man. It was in her favour to get rid of Leah.
“I don’t mind. With that said, you must realise that Leah has yet to come of age. If you want to marry her, you must have her parent’s signature on your marriage certificate. Otherwise, it is a criminal offence. What’s your decision?” asked Queen Sisi, folding her arms. “Do you think that Dongqing would sign now? His daughter is his last family member, and you deceived him. If you ask me, I would imagine the first thing he’d do upon seeing you is strangling you to death.”
“Don’t place your hopes on me. I won’t help you. That’s Dongqing’s trigger. I wouldn’t possibly trigger it. I won’t provoke him as he currently is. Be patient. Wait until I am married with Dongqing, and you will have your way. After we’re married, I’ll be Leah’s mother. My signature will be equally effective. Before that, though, don’t provoke Dongqing, understood? Don’t provoke him! He hasn’t completely broken down. If you provoke him, I’ll kill you!”
Queen Sisi’s particularly ferocious gaze made Edward judder. Trembling, he replied, “Yes, Your Majesty…”
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