It wasn’t just nobles and Sisi’s vassals that attended the exhibition. As a businessman, the first thing I did was have the enthusiastic suppliers and retailers that sold to commoners come to the come to the exhibition. If I were to evaluate it against my original plan, then it was immensely successful. I scored lots of agreements with various businessmen, granting them rights to purchase products from our factory at a low price. Essentially, the retailers had already taken up half of the empire’s territory. In other words, half of the entire empire’s commoners would soon be wearing clothing made from our fabrics.
Subsequently, I had the entire factory rapidly produce products, pushing for twenty-four hours, seven days a week. After switching out employees, the wages we paid commoners was so low that a part of me felt bad. Moreover, due to paying based on volume, everybody worked as hard as they could. The cheap material would soon hit all markets, and I’d soon have everyone working manually in my employment. Once I reached that point, I could consider opening another factory.
The military’s weapons factory also officially commenced operations, following the same route as the previous factory. Because I had no income from the military factory, I convinced Sisi to allow convicts to work there and to promise them that they would have their sentence reduced based on how earnest they toiled as well as how much they produced. We also recruited refugees to join, significantly reducing the cost.
My jobs at the imperial capital were basically done, and Achilles’ company didn’t have much business to attend to, so I could leave it in the hands of his sorrowful pupil.
Over half a month had gone by, which was longer than what I expected. Leah and Veirya had adapted to life in the imperial capital. I was worried Veirya would be bored at the imperial capital but underestimated how ostentatious Sisi could be. The property she provided us with in the imperial capital stuck out as a misfit; it was even larger than our property in the North. As soon as we entered the doors, there was a lawn on par with the one in the imperial palace. There was also a large fountain that screamed capitalist’s property. Next was a mansion, structure that was square with a flower garden to relax in, that was essentially the miniature version of Palace of Versailles.
I didn’t feel any joy living in the mansion. To the contrary, it was spooky. I always felt that there was someone outside the door when I was in bed at night… Leah also quivered on our bed. I then hired lots of trained maids. Lots of them were former ladies-in-waiting for Queen Sisi. Hence, they were the best maids anyone could ask for.
Every morning, we had breakfast with the young maids who also hailed from families with high standing. Only children of noble families qualified to serve as Queen Sisi’s ladies-in-waiting. When it was time for tea, seeing the maids’ bodies and calves made me think that I was finally living life.
I then wrote a letter to tell the people back home to come over. Tomorrow, I was going to head South.
I planned to shave tomorrow morning since I still looked acceptable based on my appearance in the mirror. Albert might’ve thought the matter was done and dusted as half a month had gone by. He probably didn’t think I was going there for revenge if I visited him that long after the debacle. Ross had definitely arrived there and spent a while with them. That being the case, Albert had to have the impression that he was safe.
Veirya folded my cape and put it in my bag: “… When can we. Have our wedding?”
“Sorry…” I had no response.
I was busy with the assets Achilles left behind me for the last two weeks and a bit on top of Queen Sisi’s assignment. I also had to meet with various individuals. As a consequence, I had no time to discuss our wedding. I proposed to Veirya already and promised to marry her as soon as possible. While I did all that, Veirya was understanding and didn’t pester me. Now that things had gradually settled down, the promise bloomed in her mind again. Sadly, I still needed to go to the South, and I had no idea when I’d be back.
I turned around to meet Veirya as she ambled over to ask, “Do you. Not want to. Marry me?”
“Of course I do! Veirya, I told you that I love you!” I nervously grabbing Veirya’s arms.
Veirya silently leaned in and gently caressed my face: “They say. I’m your wife. But why. Haven’t we gotten married? I want. To get married. I don’t want. To continue lying.”
“There is no lie. You, indeed, are my wife. You’re the count’s Madam Veirya. It’s just that we still haven’t held the ceremony. Veirya, I’ll definitely hold the ceremony with you. Trust me. When we return to the North where we met, I’ll give you a perfect wedding. Veirya, I’ve never lied to you. We’ll get married when I get back from the South.”
I felt a tinge of sadness because of Veirya’s gaze. Despite being Veirya, even she grew disillusioned after I kept delaying our wedding. She shifted her gaze away, not because she believed me, but because she knew I’d say that.
I pulled Veirya into my arms, and she silently let me hug her. Next to her ear, I loudly promised, “Veirya, I won’t go. I won’t go to the North. Let’s get married. We’ll go and find someone to help us set it up. We’ll get married this month! I won’t go, Veirya! I won’t go!”
The injustice Achilles suffered was pitiful, yes. I knew that spending his money without helping him made me a scumbag, but I could do anything for Veirya. How others viewed me was of no importance to me if satisfying their standards made Veirya said.
“What about. Achilles?’
“It doesn’t matter. I won’t bother with Achilles’ matter again, either…”
“You’ve already. Planned it out. So. You should go,” opined Veirya, as she gently brushed my hand off. “I don’t want. To disrupt your plan. Also. I can wait. Because. You will definitely. Be by my side.”
Veirya turned back around to finish packing for me and set my bag aside. Then, she turned back to hug me and gently touched her forehead on mine. I lowered my head as my tears began to course down my face, while Veirya patiently wiped them for me.
I was and am so glad I fell in love with Veirya.
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