Melissa had gone to the imperial capital. Sure, she had to take off to the North right after arriving in the South, but she knew what she had to do to get out of her plight. I taught her what to do. What happened next wasn’t for me to think about.
Albert had completely taken the bait, assenting to my suggested method. The next step he was going to take was to gamble with his entire fortune. Whether or not he’d made a lot of cash depended on him.
“Lord Lin, will your method really work?” nervously asked Ross, jogging along behind me. “By asking to reduce the price and then repaying it after, would that not result in a loss? If Mr. Albert fails to acquire the rights to the shipyard… Wh-what would he be able to do?”
“Don’t worry. That had nothing to do with us. Ross, you don’t need to be nervous. Think about it: who has the most shares at the moment? Albert and the other businessman, correct? The two of them are competing to see who can put more assets on the table. If we can offer, we can buy the shares. As long as we become the majority shareholder, we’ll be the authority.”
Ross nodded but wasn’t relieved of his concern.
I tugged up the corners of my lips: “Ross, should you be my pupil? Why are you worried for Albert? Ross, you won’t betray me, will you?”
“No! I would never! Ross will be loyal to you forever, Lord Lin!” Ross then checked the left and right of the corridor before falling silent and laying his ears down. Ross warily looked at me, seemingly afraid I was angry.
Seeing Ross’ pitiful expression made me laugh. I scrubbed his head as I expounded, “I was just joking. I know how you feel. Your sister is Albert’s wife, which means that she’ll be in an unfortunate position if a problem arises in Albert’s business. I can understand that, especially since your sister is soon scheduled to give birth. I agree that I probably shouldn’t encourage Albert to take the risk; however, you need to bear in mind that all of his efforts up until this point will have been for naught if he doesn’t take the risk. If he succeeds, you know what he would be able to provide his family with. The entire colony’s population would have to bend to Albert’s will. Ross, you need to know that there is no end to how much a man wants to provide his family with. You’ve seen me; you know what I want to provide my family with.”
Ross nodded: “… Do you think that Sir Albert will succeed this time, then? I am not too sure… Lord Lin, do you think Albert will succeed?”
“I merely offered a plausible plan. Whether or not it succeeds doesn’t have much to do with me. Furthermore, you must always keep one thing in mind: there are no fool proof plans. Even if it’s a good method, if the competition comes up with a counterplan or you fail to enact it properly, then nobody knows what will happen. I am not the one operating the machine this time and, therefore, cannot tell you if it’ll succeed or not. There are too many variables to account for. If Albert is good enough, he should be able make it a success.”
“Is that right? … Lord Lin, you are here to help Mr. Albert, correct?”
“No, I’m not purely helping Albert. I think you’re already aware that I’m not such a generous man. I approached Albert solely in hopes of making money from him.” I went to the room Albert prepared for me. With a smile, I expressed, “Goodnight, then, Ross. Once this matter is settled, come back together with me. I believe Lilia would’ve given by then.”
“Yes, Lord Lin!” cheerfully replied Ross, bowing out.
Lilia happily sat on the bed and told her husband, “It’s fantastic that Lord Lin came to help us. While I’m not sure what you’re doing, you did diligently go to the North for his input, which proves that you evaluate him to be an amazing man. Now that he has come to assist you, I would surmise that you can do what you want now.”
Albert, in contrast, didn’t appear too excited. Instead, he silently peered out the window. The sound of drizzle on the leaves usually would’ve calmed and soothed him down. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very relaxing to Albert. If anything, it drummed up his heart rate.
Albert didn’t know what Lin Dongqing was after. He repetitively pondered what Lin Dongqing said. Lin Dongqing didn’t reveal any oddities. As a matter of fact, he gave the impression that he came to help. Having said that, Albert didn’t believe Lin Dongqing would help him. He wondered why Lin Dongqing would choose him even if he needed money.
When he revisited the idea, though, he couldn’t find much fault with the method. It theoretically allowed him to collect lots of cash in a short period of time, and he could easily fill the gap afterwards. There didn’t appear to be any problems with the method, and there didn’t seem to be any hidden schemes.
Albert asked himself, “What did he come here for? Could he really be here to help me?”
The more and more he was confused as to what Lin Dongqing stood to gain, the more nervous he himself felt. He had no idea what Lin Dongqing was after and how to guard against him. The uncertainty was what troubled Albert the most.
Lilia innocently believed Lin Dongqing. If she looked at his records, though, she’d find that Lin Dongqing had never helped anyone. His track record only had names of people he brought destruction upon. He destroyed the chapel, the imperial capital’s economy and Edward. There was never a case of him helping anyone.
“Would he really help me? Would he?” wondered Albert.
Perhaps Lilia gently hugged her husband from behind in an attempt to ease his nerves. Next to his ear, she whispered, “Albert, you don’t need to worry. Even if you don’t succeed, it can’t be that bad, can it? At the very least, I won’t leave you.”
Albert chuckled softly and turned to hug his wife: “I know. Lilia, I will always be by your side. I promise.”
In his mind, Albert established a resolution: “No matter what he wants, I might not lose to him.” Every man who ever challenged Lin Dongqing thought the same thing.
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