Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
Dior Merlin’s eyes again were wide-open and glittering. Her vision was so piercing it nearly saw me through.
“Humph, petty thief, what are you up to this time? Let me hear it.” She successfully read between my words.
Seeing that I did not scare her, I shrugged. As a matter of fact, I could not think of anyone that can deceive her now, for she had been tricked by me so many times.
“You know, the businessmen I met today have asked me to police the smugglers in the city. And I intend to further extort money outta them. Thus I will require a fixed amount of money turned in each month if only you cease all activities in the city.”
“I can’t imagine how much money they’ve promised that made you value these people so much.” Dior twitched her lips, “What then? Where am I going?”
“You’ll see yourself at my parents’. Are all your future businesses planned and allocated to your most trusted subordinates?” I offered her the sweetest smile.
“Absolutely. I have 3 men who have been following me since day 1. Because of your special requirements, it took me a while to settle all the candidates.”
“Thank you, my dear.” I poured a drink for her, “I have to say sorry in advance. Your fleet and guards are waiting for you. Ready yourself to set off tonight.”
“Tonight? This hurry?” She frowned before sipping the liquid.
I could only understand her feelings because we have only met yesterday after a 2-year gap.
“I… I am sorry. Dior, I wish I could spend more days with you.” I took her hands, “But I hope you understand because very soon, enemies’ spies will be all over this place. I don’t wanna put you in a dangerous situation.”
She swept her eyes over my face with bitterness hidden within, “I know. I just want to stay a bit longer.”
“When this war is over. After I help Raven take back his empire. I will have time to be with you until the day you’re tired of me.” I approached and embraced her.
“Liar, petty thief.” She talked and smiled.
Lily was long out of the room with Arnold.
“There’re 2 more months till the New Year. I have to get presents ready for my lord father and mother.” Dior toyed with a cloth over my chest.
“Is it too soon to call them that?” I chuckled.
Her soft-touching body suddenly hardened then she bounced off from my arms, asked coldly, “Why can’t I? Tell me, am I not Cohen Kheda’s wife?”
“Hold your fury, let me explain.” I was half annoyed, half amused, “I meant you will visit Dark City as my fiancée, it’s too soon to call them your father and mother.”
She grew even angrier and was on the edge of an eruption.
I told you to hold your fire.” I complained secretly, “You know I love you right? If I settle you into the family without proper procedure or a ceremony, imagine what your status will be, a concubine? No, I’ll not allow anyone thinks you like that.”
“Humph, I can’t care less about being a concubine. Either way, you tricked me into marrying you from the beginning, and our marriage is linked to this god-forbidden smell of money nevertheless.”
“That is why I want you to be there ahead of me as my fiancée.” I took Dior Merlin’s shoulders with both hands to be face-to-face with her, “Listen to me, I’m gonna throw you a grand wedding to let everybody know that I am deeply in love with this girl, and you are no different than my 3 other wives. No one will underestimate who you are.”
After a brief moment of silence, Dior Merlin gazed back into my eyes, “You were saying you love me for who I am regardless of the money I have?”
“Yes and that’s it’s unrelated to anything regarding money. I love you for who you are.” I nodded and nodded sincerely, “Even if you’re a money-spending silly girl, I’ll make you my wife with everything I have.”
Her eyes dampened and she went back to my hug.
“You should have told me that earlier, jerk. I’ve been self-doubting, that you marry me solely for smuggling and money” She nipped my forearm, said with tears.
She did have spent 2 years in hardship. Smuggling was only a petty and easy business for her. What she really cared about was how I look at her despite she came from a noble house at its downfall and for the fact that we did marry for money from the start.
It was not an odd phenomenon on this continent for nobilities or even royal members to marry for money and fame. Every nobleman and woman was valued on a money and power basis. Serving for his or her house is the only thing they need to do. If one aristocrat was e reckless or womanizing, his partner usually ended up in dissatisfactory. Among which, the most miserable type was if one of the couple fall for the other and the other person did not share the same love.
Truth be told, I deeply loved Dior Merlin, that was not a lie. I had intended to let her know that on my way to Winper.
I expected she treated me gently.
However, the pinching, nipping, and fisting were hurting me, and I pretended to not care but I cried a little nevertheless.
“P… please, I… I told you… I was… b… busy…”
Only after all of my visible skin was black and blue did Dior Merlin ceased torturing me.
“If you continue, I’ll be dead for real this time.” I hissed, “Why can’t you thank me for something I did?”
“I did, just now.” A smile was still on her face decorated with tears.
I nodded to surrender.
“Petty thief…” She gave me a quick look, blushed and landed a kiss on my cheek with lightning speed.
“Come back, you. How dare you sneak up on me!.”
“I did! So what?” She covered her eyes with both hands but let a thin gap to see through between her fingers.
I took advantage of the moment and touched her bright-red lips with mine.
After a long kiss, she was out of breath.
“Didn’t feel right, let’s try again.” I pretended dumb, “I was told a kiss is supposed to be sweet. You were not 100% into it. Again, Dior.”
“I was… ah…” She kissed back as counter-strike, “Okay, I can’t, you petty thief.”
“No, I was also told a lady’s lips are cool and soft. Why does yours so hot?”
“How do I suppose to know that?” She was still out of breath, “Who told you that? I’m coming after him!”
“Can’t tell you. And let’s try again.”
She finally straightened up after I was done kissing.
“Young Lord, Captain Malphite wants you to know the fleet is ready.”
“Good, come in, Lily.”
“Are you seeing me off?” She asked, “Listen, the waltz is playing.”
“I’m seeing you off.” Said I with a smile, “All the people in the front hall worth less than one of your single string of hair.”
With a little smile, she adjusted her garment with Lily’s help.
After exiting the mayor mansion’s back door, Dior boarded the carriage.
“I will try visiting you as soon as possible.” I touched her hand for one last time, “Behave yourself in front of strangers. I have told my parents, they know about you. Therefore they will treat you like their own daughter. Don’t panic.”
“Can I count on your words? I shall see you again soon?”
“You take care.”
I squeezed her hand then let go and closed the carriage slide door.
I kept my eyes on the vehicle as it moved forward onto a turning route.
“Sir, your wife will be safe with our protection. We’ve made a thorough cleanup job of the city 3 hours ago. There are 10 IGT’s best soldiers both in the front and back of the vehicle. After exiting the city gate, there will be an entire battalion’s extra guards for her.”
“I know.” Exhaled I, “I’ll be back to the party.”
Party in the front hall was halfway through and the music has become smooth.
My re-appearance brought the second round of salutes and courtesies. I returned the manner then I gazed over only to find the dancers were either lesser characters or bored ladies. Influential individuals have formed little circles, immersing themselves in hot discussions.
I assume my decision to strike smuggling activities have circulated.
As I approach one of the circles, I found Kirk laughing to the ceiling.
“What’s with the laughter?” Asked I.
“Lord Viceroy, it’s about your intention to purge the smugglers.”
“It’s a thing I should have done years ago. It actually gave you this much happiness? I am astonished.” I joked, “How flourishing, you flowers.”
“Purging smugglers is not all, Lord Viceroy. Here in the city, there is another equally important lady beside the one who smuggles.”
“Oh, and who is she?” I leaned aside my head.
“And of course the answer is the beautiful and graceful Ms. Lucy.” One laughed, “Hey, Lucy, Lord Viceroy wants to meet you. Over here!”
(What a rude guy.)
She elegantly stepped back into the hall with a lady friend of hers from the patio.
“Apology for my ignorance, Lord Viceroy.” She said, feathered-fan fluttered before her. Her demeanor has put most men around half on their knees.
“We were talking about you, Lucy.” A man’s voice talked, “You’re to be told, the most special merchant in the city.”
“Eh? May I ask why?”
“You’re the only one unaffected by smugglers.”
After the statement came laughter only men could understand.
She heard and blushed, for most of her business were done in pleasure houses, of course, it was not affected by smuggling.
I intended to see how she handle these boring businessmen so I watched.
Lucy’s eyes glinted. She first eyed around all the men near her then made a quick smile, “I suppose I am. Thanks to your generosity, my business thrived. A well-thought gift was ready for each of you frequent-visitors.”
“Can I not have that? If my she-tiger knows, she’s gonna swallow me alive.”
“You’re joking, my lord.” She said with a cute voice, “I suppose Lord Viceroy thinks it’s laughable.”
“Have you had the time to enjoy Winper’s local culture during your visit here?” A man’s voice asked.
I subconsciously nodded, “As a matter of fact, I haven’t. No time, no guide.”
“We’ve made time for you, right?” The voice came from a businessman who I had the private meeting earlier, he continued, “As for a guide, Ms. Lucy, she’s lovely, and she grew up here. She’s the perfect guide. Her tenderness’ gonna melt your heart, right, my friends?”
“Is that so?” I wouldn’t reject such a proposal, “If Ms. Lucy could spare the time, I’m open to tour the city.”
“Sure she could, every single day!” All said.
My brain spun quickly. I had the feeling that these men were intentionally urging me and Lucy for a day’s outing.
“Let us give them some space to settle an itinerary.” A man voiced.
“Good, let’s go.”
Thus they left quickly, including Kirk and Lucy’s lady friend who gave me an ambiguous smile. Could it be that they thought I need a female’s company to ease all the fatigue accumulated on my way?
(Whatever their intentions are, Lucy is my subordinate.)
I approached her. Her face was so ablush that she had to shade half of it with a fan.
“You got a minute? I’ll be in the chamber at the mansion far behind.” I said softly, “Use the pathway by the patio, I have 2 big guards there.”
“Uh-huh.” Lucy nodded without turning a hair, then raised her volume, “Excuse me, Lord Viceroy, I shall run my errands.”
Therefore she summoned her lady friend and left, her dress hem nipped between her right fingers.
“Lord Viceroy… may I have a word with you?”
A rather weak voice echoed behind me.
I look around and discovered the merchant who I had been calling ‘Small-Business’ standing behind.
“I… Lord Viceroy, I’ve come here to recognize my mistake.”
His lips shivered. Buds of cold sweat begin forming on his forehead.
“<Lord of Light’s Analects> told me: ‘A child who acknowledges and repents his mistakes will be forgiven by men.’”
(I don’t seem to recall reading his work.)
“I acknowledge my mistake and wish to sincerely repent.” This poor man gazed at me, “Please pardon me. I have a big family. They all depend on my work.”
“I recall telling others to write a guarantee paper and sign.” I stroked my jaw, “So long as everyone thinks your mistake occurred unintentionally and recoverable, I will not punish you. Even if you leave Winper, your fortune is enough to buy a considerable large piece of land and live the rest of your life happily.”
Anger grew on his face after I said my judgment, though I concur the facial expression was most probably faked. But I silently commended his acting skill.
“They told me to beg. So I begged each of them but no one listened. Gosh, they used to flatter me all the time. I was so wrong.” Suddenly he leveled up his eyes to face me, both hands on the sides shivering, “Lord Viceroy, with all my pride, I came to beg you. You are always so kind. You will forgive me, right?”
I laughed and exited the dancing floor to the front courtyard. The latter man followed.
“Small-Business, do you regard yourself as a man who said the wrong thing and did the wrong deed? No one is wrong about that, is it?” I glanced at him.
“Then I have nothing to say. You’ll have to live on with it.”
“B… but, Lord Viceroy. They set me up. They said ‘at least someone has to object’…”
“You do not get to talk about others. You think I don’t know what you’ve been doing with your buddies?” My scowl made him tremble, “You’re mean, greedy and you want to earn my money without a cost?”
“I… I was so wrong.”
“As for you saying I’m kind…” I nip-picked a young leaf from the bush beside, crushed and squeezed the fresh juice out dripping along with my fingers. Then I lowered my voice, “This Lord Viceroy once defeated the Asmodian United Forces, slaughtered all injured, surrendered soldiers without a spare. You think you’re better than them?”
He trembled even harder and out of speech as I gazed him with eyes of apathy.
“Nevertheless, I cannot spare you…” I trashed the leaf, sniffed the fresh smell of a plant, “… unless you can prove you’re valuable to me.”
“I… your humble servant will be of your service till the end of time.” He tried his utmost to normalize his facial muscle, “If Your Lordship drives me away from here, I’m a dead man. If I were to spend the rest of my life in the countryside, I’d rather be dead.”
I did not say a word save for a hint of a smile.
He knelt and kissed my boots.
“Rise.” I tapped his head, “Deliver your guarantee paper tomorrow. You know what to do.”
“Good.” My eyes caught Lucy by the pathway, “Remember, all the men you’ve fooled in this world, you’ll never fool me.”
“With all my life. I won’t. Your Lordship.”
(Hmm, called me lordship, he’s learned.)
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.