Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
The gate shut close. I made one step closer towards Dior Merlin.
“Arnold, come, good boy!” I rubbed my fingers and reinstate my voice, “How’s everything going, buddy?”
Back when I was on the pier, Arnold had been talking to me with the special psychic power between a eudemon and its master. As soon as I called him with my voice, Arnold, with his fluffy body, barked out of excitement, broke free from Dior Merlin’s hug, both wings flapped, flew over to me.
Dior and Lily were both dumbfounded.
I caught Arnold with the right hand, using the left the remove my helm, revealing my face.
Both girls gasped. Dior Merlin blinked twice with a face full of astonishment. Lily held her mouth, still baffled.
“Have you been a good boy? Did you sneak out to pick up girls?” I teased as I approached Dior, “I’m back, my love.”
“Who… who are you?” Her face turned pale, “Identify yourself!”
“I am your husband, didn’t recognize me?” I passed my helm to Lily and fetched the latest letter she wrote me, “What? Are you planning on throwing me out?”
“But your… your hai…”
“You meant my hair? It’s simple. On this continent, I am the only one with black hair.” I chuckled, “If I keep it the way it is, anyone could recognize me, including my enemies.”
Nevertheless, she would not believe me, so I had to alter my hair color to gold and repeated things only known to me and her.
“So… you’ve been lying to me.” Her angry eyes were still fixed on me, “How… how could you do this to me!?”
Dropping that, she turned and stormed upstairs, leaving me and Lily in the lobby.
“Well, I don’t know what to say, Lily. This woman’s husband is certainly facing an income tough life.
She took over my jacked, still trying to hold the laugh.
I set Arnold wondering by himself and went up to Dior’s room. As I suspected, the door was not locked. Dior Merlin was behind her dresser, mopping.
I seated myself onto the bed, observing her pretty face through a mirror, “I mentioned before I left that I will reveal my true identity to you in times appropriate. And don’t tell me you’ve never guessed. That blatant smuggling activity, you did that way purposely for the City Hall to discover, am I correct?”
“Uh-huh, and I did that purposely for you keeping me here all by myself!” She toyed with a comb, replied, eyes rolled, “I had a huge amount of time free. And you did a bad job trying to cover your identity. I researched and put all the evidence together, guess what I found.”
“Is that so? Then how did my all-time smart Mrs. Merlin deduct my identity?” I laughed.
“Simple, you left me here for 2 years straight, and not even so much as to bother asking about how did things go. No women’s husband in this world will do the same.” She gracefully turned to me, “I’ve made money, a lot of it, and I’m a pretty lady. Despite all that, you left me here nonetheless without the least bit of worry someone might put me in danger or steal me away. Therefore left only one possibility, you’re absolutely certain about my safety here.”
“But what makes you so sure I’ll be safe? Frankly, anything could happen for commoners. All the guards you put here cannot guarantee that. What about the mayor before Kirk, he faced me like facing his master. Later on, Kirk was assigned, to my surprise, my good days actually became better. If you and the city bureaucrats were merely colluding, I doubt all this could happen.” The girl said the words, her eyes glinted, “So, tell me, how many options are there regarding your identity?”
“Impressive, please go on, dear.” I clapped.
“Amongst all the families of nobilities, the ones who had a son close to your age are numbered. If I add your style to the criteria, the answer is extremely obvious.” A hint of proud was added to Dior Merlin’s tone, “And you forgot the most obvious one: only Cohen Kheda, viceroy of Dark City has 3 wives, a pair of sisters and an elf.”
Shit, my wives are incredibly smart, one over another. I can’t vouch for my future happy life now.
“Correct, but I heard a smart woman makes a lousy wife. Her husband is going to be jealous.”
“I can’t care less about you being jealous or not. Oh, and I guess your secret identities don’t stop here.”
Dior Merlin darkened her face, which made me flinch about what she was about to say.
“Where is my dagger, petty thief?”
“What…thief?” I winched and I did not feel good about it, “What are you talking about? What dagger?”
“You look surprised. Were you always treating me like I’m some stupid vixen? Hand it over, the black-steel dagger!” Dior Merlin’s sharp vision hurt me, “You gave it away the moment you entered the door.”
“I… I don’t quite understand what you were referring.” I assumed my face showed traces of panic but I held on to my lie.
“Just stop it, Viceroy Cohen, since the moment you started talking, your voice reminded me of a certain man with this weird Divine City accent… your black hair, hmmm. If you can forge one ID, you can forge more.” She approached the bed I sat on and humphed, “Busted, right?”
Despite all the anger written on her face, I read more of a complacent eager. She must be so proud of herself to have found my secrets and gained upper hand on the duel between us. Well, this reminded me, I was the one who crafted the grand plot to trick her into marrying me. I bought today’s confrontation for myself.
Dior Merlin was certainly happy for herself. I grew a wry face. My wives together were no less than the collective minds of the entire Asmodian Alliance.
“Okay, okay! Dior, my love.” I retrieved the black-steel dagger from my right boot then put the handle on her tiny hands, “Let’s call it a tie.”
“A tie? You lied to me and that’s it?” Dior grinned, she shoved me lying on the bed, one elbow against my neck.
“Put it on my tab, all right? Come on, my wives kicked me out just a few days ago!”
“I suppose I should do the same.”
“I was kicked out because they knew I was coming to see you. Gosh, this fragile soul of mine can only take so much.”
“Humph, I’ll let you slip this time.” She let loose of me and tied the dagger to her belt, “Remember it won’t end this easy next time.”
“Please, please be gentle to me. I’ve been missing you.”
“Stop giving me the puppy eye. I know you can’t get away during the war, but what was that about earlier?” She gazed at me fiercely, “How could you ask such a question earlier? I cannot take the insult. I need an answer, explain or I’ll never forgive you.”
“Calm down, I didn’t wanna do that either.” I sat straight, with a smile, “I can’t risk exposing our relationship when so many covet eyes watching here in this city. I can’t make sure there were no spies here in the castle and neither could I put you in any sort of danger for saying nothing in front of my guards.”
“No, is there nothing else to say between a viceroy and a businesswoman? Why do you have to poke me with that proposal?”
“Because you’re breathtakingly attractive and I was tempted. I can’t help it, hey, that’s your fault. In order to not fall into an awkward silence during the inspection period, I’ve prepared a huge amount of necessary crap, but all that was forgotten the moment I saw your deadly beautiful disposition.”
“So you mean, you do miss me?” The girl gazed at me with her playful eyes.
“I doubt it. Humph, as I said, you can’t get away this easily. Viceroy Cohen, the P/A War has ended and how many days since you were back to Dark City? If what you said were true, you won’t wait a day to not see me.”
“I wished I could.”
“Petty thief, that was your fault. Even your friend Raven didn’t remind you. By the way, who is this Raven, exactly?” Dior pinched me.
I grew gloomy as she mentioned Fischer, so I took her in my arms and whispered, “Before I left here, he was Prince Fischer; and now, he is King Fischer, my king.”
“Wait, you meant the one whom you bullied all the time and me sometimes, Raven is King Fischer?! King Fischer Summers?” Dior Merlin exclaimed, “Gosh, rumor said King Fischer is currently in Dark City and Luhrmann is on his way attacking us. Are we in such a hostile moment?”
“I’m glad everybody knows that.” I nodded, “King Fischer had lost his parents. He is under pressure and he is in grief. I, being both his friend and his subject, must be on his side.”
“If you were a man who cares less about friendship, I won’t marry you anyhow. And if I find out afterward, I will leave you.” She blushed and said.
“I am truly regretful for my absence and lying to you. Do you hate me?”
Dior Merlin shook her head.
“I knew you didn’t have time for me, neither did you have time for your other wives during that time. You didn’t lie on this, I’m truly thankful.” She laid her head onto my chest, said wistfully, “A good man aims the world. My only regret is not being able to be with you when you were in danger.”
I could do nothing but to hold her tightly.
“And I don’t want to stay here any longer. Whatever it takes, I’m not!” The next moment, she pouted and complained.
“I agree. Safety aside, I want you to meet my families.” I nodded.
“It’s all your fault!” She raised a pinky fist but it never hit me, “You have 3 wives at home, how could I face them?”
“That shouldn’t be a problem because you’ve worked one of them out already. Flynn did notice your unusual activities very early on. Have you received the ingenious gift they sent you?”
“I did and I responded the favor.”
“Couldn’t be better. Once this war is over, you’ll see yourself in Dark City.”
“This war? Did you come here to fight a war? Where is the enemy?”
“My love, you do your best working in business and let me mind the war.” I stood up, “Tonight, I’m putting on a show and I need your help.”
“How intact is your business network? I mean if you leave here, will it work as if you were here?”
“Absolutely, I have made the arrangement the moment I confirmed your identity.”
“Fantastic, this war will last a few months and I have a plan.”
“A plan to turn you from a smuggler into a viceroy’s wife and at the same time, keep the smuggling business.” I laughed, “As for the rest of the businessmen, don’t hit them too hard.”
“Try not messing around with them. In a warring time like this, everybody is on constant watch of the situation, if businessmen don’t feel secure here, they might flee.”
“I understand. I won’t kill a chicken that lays golden eggs, but it’ll have to offer something in return.”
“That is allowed. What is the plan?” Dior nodded carefully.
“The war is imminent, and I’m here in Winper to distract my enemies. There will be a ball in the mayor’s mansion tonight. I need you to calm them down and let my enemy’s spies know I’m here. The moment they message their masters, I’ll have to be on my way.”
“What else can I do?” Dior asked.
“You must splice your smuggling business into chunks. Find men with unfamiliar faces and let them take charge of the smuggling. And I will declare to the world you are arrested for illegal activities, all possessions confiscated.”
“Er… you… what am I going to do if I give all games to my subordinates?”
“Let me finish. I know you love doing business. Isn’t it better than just smuggling if I put you in charge of the entire business activities of 2 provinces?”
“Fine, since you’ve asked nicely, I’ll grudgingly say yes.”
“Thank you. And did you just tell me you’re too high-up for 2 huge provinces.”
“Of course, now wait here, good boy, I’m off to tear that freaking smuggling business. I’ll be right back.” She stood up and proudly gathered her loose hair.
My wife’s speed of action is truly awesome
(Same night, Winper city Mayor’s mansion)
The front hall was abuzz with talking noise. The place had been well-lit, fully-decorated. Where eyesight reached, renowned nobilities, celebrities, businessmen followed.
Good work, Kirk.
On the land of Peace, noblemen and merchants were like fire and water, unable to tolerate each other. Nevertheless, the two coexisted harmoniously in the city of Winper. Therefore, most nobilities found in Winper were fallen aristocratic families who wanted to gamble their way back to prosperity through merchandising. They were not hard to invite to a social occasion if you had gold in your hands.
As for those pure businessmen without aristocratic background, it had been difficult for them doing business in the city considering Dior Merlin’s smuggling empire. One had to be extremely skillful to survive in such a hostile environment.
However, later on, Dior had told me she purposely let a small portion of the merchants to live just to be her camouflage. As of now, she intended to let me take over her resource once she was gone to be the 4th City Hall supervisor and my wife.
“Sir, all the guests are here waiting for your presence. Shall we begin?”
“Uh-huh. Is everything ready?” I finished a cup of wine.
“Positive, sir. And the ones who have been colluding with Luhrmann were here early.” Kirk lowered his voice, “All of them already know that you’ll be here at this ball.”
“Good, let’s go.” I tightened my outfit.
We passed through a corridor and entered the front hall.
Presenting Viceroy of Dark City, Earl Cohen Kheda!
The moment my boot touched the blood-red carpet, one attendant chanted loudly and clearly.
The buzzing calmed, all heads floating among bodies neatly turned towards me.
Men bowed, ladies curtsied, all hailed, “Evening, your excellency!”
“What a wonderful night. You are very welcome, all.” I removed my white gloves then adjusted the ring that contained the ice-tear stone Winslet gifted me on the right hand, “It’s a social ball, keep it cool, guys.”
“Yes, Your Excellency.”
My most casual way of talking might just work.
“Someone once told me the City of Winper never stops buying and selling, I have to agree on that. And this prosperity can not be done without your good work.” A servant brought a glass of wine, “This first toast, I propose to our King Fischer Summers, long may he reigns!”
“Long may he reigns!” Glasses after glasses, all but none drank up the delicious wine. Their faces were radiant with vigor. However, all of them knew that Fischer fat chance of taking back his parent’s kingdom. Only a few here were willing to acknowledge Fischer as their king.
Too bad, Winper is a part of my territory so at least they’ll have to pretend he was.
“Cheers!” Hailed I.
“Cheers!” All emptied their cups.
I let a servant took over my glass and approached my guests.
Here standing in the hall, whoever they were, with a title or not, immediately splitter into 2 rows in the manner of higher to a lower status. The action was rapid, in good order. God knew how they managed to achieve it.
Kirk stepped ahead of me as I walked near the row of well-dressed men, he started the introduction.
Lengthy titles, verbose addressing, Mr. blah-blah and Mrs. Blah-blah, I had to pretend, show courtesy, say bureaucratese, well and in shape.
I put on a smile and did as expected. Who said the only thing I knew was fighting. My gracefulness of posture was no less than any high-born sons.
“Pleasure to meet you finally, Lord Viceroy.” A mercer who had 9 stores in Winper said with a flattering face.
“Disappointed, right?” I joked, “Rumor has it I’m as high as 2 orcs combined, weighs 3 barbarians and as cunning as 10 schemers together.”
“That’s nonsense.” Merchants here, though purposely adorned wording, their abrupt nature was hard to alter like this one who stood in front of me said his words so loud that everyone could hear.
He continued, “I bed all rumors will collapse with Lord Viceroy’s elegant presence.”
“Elegant?” I grinned on the inside though I made a superficial reply.
This man was one of Luhrmann’s eyes in Winper. I intended to show him what ‘elegant’ really was once he let Luhrmann knew my whereabouts.
“Lord Viceroy, this is Miss Lucy, prettiest of the pretty, young and promising. She’s the owner of all casinos and hotels in the city.”
Kirk purposely categorized brothels as hotels.
“Isn’t it? A pleasure to meet you, beautiful lady, Lucy. May beauty long be with you.” I took her hand and shook it.
After a clear look of my face, a hind of astonishment quickly flashed through her eyes. I said as I tightened my hand that held hers just to confirm her guess. Hence her face slightly blushed.
“Your Excellency!” Lucy curtsied, “My greatest appreciation of being invited here. If Your Excellency will spare me some time, allow me to return this favor.”
Lucy was indeed used to slip her line of business into the conversation. What she said to me was implicit but appropriate. As the owner of all hotels, brothels, and casinos, ways of approaching high-powers were not solely confined to money-offering.
‘I would love to if I had the time.” I replied with a smile and let go of Lucy’s tiny hands, “I’m a busy viceroy.”
Lucy returned me a sweet smile. I continued to the next lady. After about 15 minutes, I was able to finish the introduction.
A nobility rose his cup one more time, “Everyone, let us give another toast to our beloved viceroy.”
“Cheers!” Seeing that I showed such a rare kindness to all, many people let down their guard and swallowed a cup of wine.
“Now, ladies, gentlemen, let us dance, welcome His Excellency to our city!” As mayor, Kirk declared, “Let the stars bright as jewels, wind soft as silk witness your best dance!”
Men and women applauded, hailed and the music began.
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.