After the not-so-happy conversation, I went out to the entrance to get some fresh air. That was when Oaksvid approached me. Apparently disillusioned, he said, “Count Lin, I have something I need to talk to you about.”
“What is it?’
Frankly speaking, I already had a suspicion as to what he had to say, and the way he broached the topic got on my nerves. If you have something to say, tell it to me straight. Although I was only a count, I wasn’t going to take any attitude from Duke A, Duke B, all the way to Duke Z. Why go through someone else to speak on your behalf? It gives the impression that I don’t have the right to speak you. You know what I mean?
“It is about the colony… I am not asking you to do. I am merely delivering Duke Alexis’ will… so I hope you do not vent on me.” Oaksvid was bound to be in dilemma as he was stuck between us, especially when his rank was worthless. “Everybody knows that you went to the South during such a sensitive time, and you had a businesswoman from the South distribute the so-called bonds in your name. The money was then used to help them with a business. There is an obvious big problem with that. The merchants in the imperial capital and South are not in the same boat. The merchants in the imperial capital represent the profit of nobles in the imperial capital. As a noble of the imperial capital, you went and involved yourself with a merchant in the South. Accordingly, that manoeuvre is detrimental to you for you are a resident of the imperial capital. Furthermore, you provided information, which proved that you helped a merchant in the South. Therefore, Duke Alexis is bound to be unhappy. His family has a long history. If you and he do not get along, Queen Sisi will not be happy.”
It was a misunderstanding… I didn’t go to the South to research the colony but purely to avenge Achilles. They thought I went to conduct research at the new colony, forge relationships with businesses in the South and provide them with financial support to increase my profits. The businesses in the South and the nobles weren’t connected whatsoever, meaning that the nobles wouldn’t pocket a single penny. Since I didn’t speak up for them, they developed the idea that I wanted to climb on the heads of the businesses in the imperial capital. As a result, I’d be considered the traitor to businessmen in the imperial capital. In other words, I would even be considered the nobles’ enemy.
I was certain that the nobles, including Alexis, wouldn’t impact my stance or rank for the reason that Queen Sisi wasn’t the type of woman who would believe the claims of one or two individuals. With that said, it wasn’t a good thing for me to clash with a family that had a long history in the imperial capital. They say that no matter how strong one may be, never pick a fight with the local. Putting it simply, I couldn’t stick out too early and too obviously. Surely Queen Sisi didn’t want to be involved with our conflict. If it was inconvenient for her to step up, I should avoid giving her grief.
The issue was that I had no means of clarifying the misunderstanding. What would I say? “Oh, I went to go crush Albert purely to avenge Achilles?” Lilia would quickly find out what I did. I spared no effort in trying to cover my tracks. If Lilia found out, then all that effort would be wasted, which I couldn’t accept. Never. Then, there was the merchant from the South who came back to sell bonds in my name. Do I tell them she was my mistress? Get real. Veirya would ensure I died in bed the same night.
I didn’t trust Alexis, so I wouldn’t tell him the truth even in private. In saying that, I could provide him with an acceptable explanation.
“Oaksvid, you should be aware that this is not the appropriate time and place to talk about this. There are too many people present. If I tell you now, the entire empire will know what we did at the colony. I don’t talk about things before the dust settles. I’ve always been cautious. I’m aware of what Duke Alexis is getting at; however, you have to understand my position. I can’t talk about it here. If he’s interested, he can speak to me in private.”
“You are right; you have thought it through thoroughly. I am sure Duke Alexis will understand. I shall head back, then, Count Lin. If you feel better, how about you come back and join us.”
“I know.” I sighed as Oaksvid took off.
It really was an eventful night. I swear I never imagined so much would happen solely out of my collaboration with Madam Melissa. I overlooked the nobles and businessmen in the imperial capital. Unlike me, they were drooling and eyeing the new goldmine. They were sensitive to things pertaining to the newly discovered land, and I happened to poke them where they were most sensitive. That being the case, I needed to look into the colony.
I saw Duke Alexis raise his glass for a toast to indicate that he finally understood the actual situation when I headed back in, so I smiled back. Then, I went to Veirya. Upon seeing me return, the statue with the glass in her hand asked, “Did they. Need you for something?”
“Yeah, something very troublesome.”
“Will it affect. Our wedding?”
Evidently, Veirya cared about the wedding a lot. To reassure her, I resolutely answered, “No.”
Veirya nodded to indicate she was reassured – at least I believed so. I wouldn’t leave the imperial capital no matter what I needed to do for my investigations, so our wedding agenda was safe. I felt that Melissa had the highest authority when it came to the South. Therefore, figured I’d make it her repayment.
In the end, it seemed that I had to dip my hands into the South despite not wanting to be involved with it. I couldn’t say for sure it Sisi put them up to it. If she did, then she was a monster.
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