translated by Tianic, edited by MadSnail.
Note: Please click on the character name for their illustrations.
Characters in this chapter:
- Cohen Kheda: The main character.
- Iva Merlin: A down frustrated nobility in Winper City, a gambler.
- Dior Merlin: Iva Merlin’s daughter, a business whiz.
- Fischer Summers: Cohen’s friend and a prince of the Swabia Empire.
Dior Merlin went back into the hall. She threw the big pile of weapons on the floor and settled herself in a chair.
She took a deep breath then a storm began to stir in her tiny brain. First of all, five thousand pieces of gold was way beyond her family’s ability to pay.
Dior Merlin had no comment on the man now she called ‘father’. If killing him could cancel the debt, she was willing to get everything for her father to die. Nevertheless, it was a matter of family reputation.
The family’s reputation was about everybody in this House, including her mother’s. Dior Merlin’s mother had left nothing but this barely noticeable goodwill to this world’s memory.
Dior Merlin was able to leave her family, or her father, or even herself, except for her mother: the only person worthy of her love.
She straightened herself and wiped the tear from the corner of her eye. She then began calculating all of her possessions.
“Miss.” A servant came nearer, “There’s a letter for you.”
“Thanks.” She took it, nodded and said, “Please tell everybody that my family is having some issues in the house… we’ll be moving very soon. Please tell them to get ready. By the way, ask them to collect their stuff and get packed tonight.”
“Miss…” The servant looked astonished, “Is it that serious?”
“Indeed, it is.” Dior Merlin said, “Still, we need to face the fact.”
She opened the letter, it was from the credit holder. This bastard called October had prolonged the date for another ten days, as well he had repeatedly stated that Mr. Baron was so drunk that he and his friends all agreed to forget his deeds during the last few games.
“Asshole!” Dior Merlin cursed, “I will kill you after I pay back the last coin!”
However what she was about to face was the tauntings from whoever that held grudges over her as well as the fingerings from the commoners. In the meantime, she came to understand that her life in Winper City was over.
Dior Merlin rose to stand and left the letter on the table while saw a gold hair twisted on her left hand.
“Oh, is it from the robber?” Dior Merlin recalled his evil smile and the fact he ended up close to her but did nothing rude to the lady. She wondered if the smell of her lipstick was left in his palm? Dior Merlin forced a smile, then put the rolled hair away.
The next morning, a piece of news spread across every street and alley: Iva Merlin’s family went broke. All his possession including the mansion, luxuries, furniture, his daughter’s store and merchandises, were being auctioned.
Dior Merlin held a padauk case containing a set of sapphire jewelry that belonged to her mother: A necklace, a pair of earrings and a ring. They were the only things her mother had left for her other than love.
“Hope you can help me to sell for a good price…” She closed the case and went heartbreak at the moment it was handed into the dealer’s hands.
Cohen Kheda stood at a distance to look at all these silently.
“Buy that case!” He told the people besides, “Buy her real-estates, clothes store, buy everything.”
“But, Boss!” Jack who stood beside said, “That’s lots of money!”
“Buy’em!” Cohen Kheda said, “They’ll bring us even more money!”
“Yes, sir!” Jack said, “However, Boss, the dagger she’s holding looks familiar…”
“That’s not mine!”
“But, it looks exactly like yours…”
“I told you it’s not mine!”
“Yeah? But only you know how to sew that halt thread. Ah! I know I’m wrong, don’t stare at me like that, Boss!”
“Go work…” Sounds of Cohen Kheda cracking his fists echoed.
“On my way!” Jack dashed off arranging for payment.
Dior Merlin watched the dagger in hand as well as the fine making and she touched the handle sewing. She eventually gave up on auctioning the dagger. At this moment, she did not know that the owner of this very blade was watching her even more nervously than herself.
The auction was successfully finished. As Dior Merlin had wished, all were sold for a good price. She entrusted the auction dealer to hand over all money to the creditor, for she honestly did not want to face such a disgusting man.
“Please inform him that we did our best.” Dior Merlin told the dealer, “Given time, I won’t be owing him a cent!”
A carriage drove Dior Merlin home, where tons of family affairs awaited. Her father left his mansion this morning for his villa by the sea, which was the only shelter wherein to stay, though he had been complaining about its bitter living condition.
A man was waiting in the house that had once belonged to her family. He was Mr. Prie’s butler.
“Ms. Merlin.” He said, “I’ve brought you a message, which I think you’ll be needed anxiously.”
“I’m all ears.”
“Look, this message is from my master.” The butler cleared his throat, revealing that it was not the first time he did such job. He said in an orderly way, “Sure, you must know who is my master. He wants me to inform you that he’s honored to ride on a travel with you. If you promise, he’ll be wherever you want to go. You will be able to buy anything or purchase real-estate at anywhere. My master will cover your cost. I assume you understand me.” The butler said.
“Loud and clear.”
“So, Ms. Merlin.” The butler said, “When are you setting off?”
Dior Merlin did not reply at that moment, instead, she approached the window and looked at the street outside.
“I know I must look down and out. And I admit that I’m in a difficult moment.” Dior Merlin tightly held the dagger, “But that doesn’t mean I’ll put a price on myself like a bag of bread!”
However, she knew clearly that for one moment, this very thought did subdue her mind.
“Still, my appreciation for your master, for he would consider trade money for me at this moment. However, most of my appreciation is reserved for myself.” Dior Merlin turned and said, “Thankfully I’m strong! I’m faithful! Both of them are much too precious for him to buy!”
“Ms. Merlin, I’m afraid I don’t understand.” The butler said, “If you’re not satisfied with the offer, I assume we could negotiate on it.”
“This isn’t about money, it’s about your master.” Dior Merlin listed her chin instinctively, “There isn’t a single thing about your master I admire. He wants to buy me merely in order to meet his disgusting lust. He’s not even matched to a whore!”
After saying this, Dior Merlin stepped up and kicked out the butler as hard as she can.
Sailing on the blue ocean, a few ship were traveling rapidly towards the coast, reaching their maximum draught.
Looking at his smuggling ships returning safely, Cohen Kheda’s lips curled up, viceroy of Dark City, who has been standing on the castle tower. He tapped Fischer’s chest and went for quay.
“Boss!” Marfa yelled to him from quite a distance, “We’re back! Big catch!”
“What did you get?” Cohen Kheda asked with a smile.
“High-end wines! And all kinds of most valuable stuff!” Marfa laughed, “Boss, let’s not do the viceroy stuff. Smuggling is much, much lucrative than that!”
Cohen Kheda watched as his men unloaded the goods and were busy loading into the carriages quickly. Suddenly, his memories of the days on earth came back.
“Marfa, although it looks that smuggling is profitable.” His arm intimately climbed onto Marfa’s shoulder, and he said, “Difficult times called us to do this in such ways. It’s after all a cheap shot. What we want is a truly safe life.”
“Ah…?” Marfa froze for one second, “Like… smuggling is not liable as one’s married yet he’s cheating around in the whorehouses, dangerous!” He nodded and said.
“By the way, Marfa.” Cohen Kheda said, “I want you to get all necessary intels on the other end, by the next shipment.”
“Roger, boss!” Marfa said, “I live for prying. These ships brought us almost four hundred golds in profit. Pity that we don’t know what they need most on the other side or our profit will definitely be more.”
Cohen Kheda nodded and said, “In this case, we need a dedicated man to tend all our businesses.”
Fischer who has been standing aside came over and whispered, “I heard our target is working hard on fruiters and seasons. Looks like she’s planning on running a farm.”
“Oh, is that so? Let’s wreck her plan!” Cohen Kheda clenched his fists, “Tonight, we’ll trash her orchard!”
“You… why?” Fischer said in dissatisfaction, “You’ve already caused enough misery on her!”
“It’s not me that’s causing misery! You are her creditor…” Cohen Kheda said, “To make one follow you wholeheartedly, you can’t stop shocking her! By using the countless shocks, you’ll find her bottom line and thus save her ass at the moment she’s about to crumble, which will make her grateful and you memorable! This way, she’ll know that I’m stronger than she and I’m the one to rely on! So, she’ll be most willingly to do anything for me…”
The ones who have been standing beside Cohen stepped ever so further. Everybody felt a chill, extreme chill and in the meantime congratulated that their viceroy was not targeting anyone here.
“Are you mad?” Fischer said, “She merely sold you three pieces of clothes for fifteen golds…”
“Cut the crap, brother!” Cohen Kheda said, “Can you set up my room? I’ll live here for today, thank you!”
Fischer watched as Cohen Kheda went further and exclaimed to the rest, “Did you all hear? He said ‘Thank you.’!”
“Maybe Boss’ been eavesdropping way too far…” Jack, who had been spending these days with Cohen Kheda, said, “Look at him, off on the job again…”
“O! Ms. Merlin…” Fischer sighed, “Please forgive me!”
The next day, Dior Merlin rose as early as possible, and after the breakfast, she went on a field trip with a few servants to her newly built garden, which was scrambled using what was so little left of her savings. She was counting on it whether to stage a comeback.
However, the garden was savaged. She could tell that whoever did this were abnormally sick, for all the trees were cut down and lined in perfect shape like marching soldiers.
“I’m not tearing. I’m not…” Ms. Merlin warned herself with caution, “It’s only an incident. I will make it through. My plan went so well up until yesterday. I’d even learned how to identify different trees.”
Nevertheless, tears did not shape up and went down Dior Merlin’s cheek. She knew that her savings were almost depleted.
“Fine!” Dior Merlin turned to a servant beside, “Tell me again what you saw yesterday.”
“Smuggling, Miss!” That servant said, “They rendezvoused at the coastal portal. I saw it myself!”
“Forget everything you’ve seen!” Dior Merlin left after her last word.
The servants gazed at each other without the least bit of idea what was on their lady master’s mind.
(That night, Dior Merlin’s room.)
Dior Merlin dressed in a loose cloak tied firmly with a belt, then hooded all her hair in a lady cap.
“Smuggling, easy job!” She hid the black dagger on her body, “I’ll learn all the tricks by one look!”
She opened the window and disappeared into the night.
“Jumped out without a sound… crap scary! A man in a black suit who was hiding under the window and nearly gotten stepped upon by Dior Merlin, eased his chest, “You owe me one!”
The man in black followed Dior Merlin on her way.
Ms. Merlin had no idea that she was being followed. She dashed through the woods and close to the abandoned castle built by the coast.
“I’d be cautious…” Dior Merlin told herself, “It must be occupied with guards since they post in here.”
She gradually moved to the port and hid at a dark and unnoticeable corner. What she did not know was, in order to let her successfully infiltrate the port, the black man who followed not only gestured his men to act innocent but also did they pretend she was invisible.
By the time Ms. Merlin’s feet started to feel numb, the long-awaited smuggling started. Several heavily loaded carriages drove into the port and people started to load the goods onto the ships.
Ms. Merlin tried hard not to laugh, because she still, by all means, considered herself not so stupid as to smuggle those heavy yet unprofitable stuff. They were rustics, though their moves seemed professional.
By the time these people had finally sent their ships and put out the lights on the port, Dior Merlin crawled off the place on her nearly numb feet. Yet she was already brainstorming on sending how many ships per trip, whichever servants to come with. Even by the time she ran back home in the woods, her smuggling outfit was ready in her mind.
Seeing Dior Merlin went back into her room through the window humming a lovely song, Cohen Kheda felt serious about a crisis. He turned around to Fischer who stood beside.
“Not good, buddy. We need to start the plan ahead of time!”
“No but! No whatsoever! If she pulls that out, we are screwed!”
“Fine! Should anything to occur, it’ll have nothing to do with me…”
“Say that again?”
“Okay, okay… I’m on your side…”
The two dark figures left.
Dior Merlin did not light any lamps, instead, she took off the cloak and went to her bed, then cast a mini illuming spell in the quilt.
By the weak white light, she reached for the black steel dagger and played with it. She touched the threads intertwined on the hilt, gradually drew the blade then slid it back in little by little. Dior Merlin had been playing like this for some time, but she was never getting bored with it.
“You’ll see! Disgraceful guy, clumsy robber.” She proudly said to the dagger, “I’ve found my way back to Winper, fair and square! By that day, I’ll catch your right hand and seal your mouth then fix your left hand with my head… If you dare to drag my hair one more time, I’ll make you regret for life!”
She fantasized for a good while instead of coming up with a satisfying method to regret a man for life. Thus Dior Merlin decided to sleep anyway. She reached for a casket to contain the dagger only to discover that the twisted golden hair was gone.
“Ah? Gone?” She thought for a moment, “Did you run away from home?”
The next moment, Dior Merlin gaped, her eyes were open widely and she fetched a ball of black hair.
“What’s going on? I wasn’t even close to how to make you regret for life, then you’re too angry and turned black?” She recalled that face-covered robber who took her hairband before fleeing, “You are as petty as your owner, ahhhhh, headache!”
The lovely Dior Merlin would not know that there was only one man on this continent had a hair color like this. At this very moment, this very man was feeling terribly nervous in this very same room.
Probably last night was spent wearily, Dior Merlin slept through her internal clock and was woken up by a maid by almost noon.
“How’s the weather today?” She bounced off her bed and walked with bare feet while asking a maidservant questions, “Where’s my father? He was awfully quiet today.”
Baron Iva Merlin was indeed not quitting on cursing stuff since day one. He often will describe all things with extreme lowbrow words.
“Mr. Baron has guests today.” The maidservant replied, “They were enjoying a conversation in the garden.”
“Guests? And he’s enjoying?” Dior Merlin yelled, “Is the conversation still going on?”
“Yes, Miss. They are still there.” The maidservant watched as her Miss cracked open her wardrobe and pulled a piece of random clothes on, then fetched a dagger from under the pillow crasket. Then Dior Merlin left, door slammed.
“Dear Protoss.” The maiden said, “If only Lord knows, she keeps that under the pillow…”
Dior Merlin was well aware of what kinds of people her father would enjoy a conversation with. She was furious at this thought. Her ridiculous father was fooling around with the gamblers once again after they merely got out of debts.
The rundown house stairs crunched as Dior Merlin went off to the first floor, passed broken hall and crossed the corridor. After a turnover saw the garden entrance, Dior Merlin decided to teach these two men a good lesson!
At the entrance, Dior Merlin saw a girl with a delicate face instead. The girl was gazing at her curiously with her innocent eyes, her arms holding a cute white puppy.
“You are?” Dior Merlin inquired, she felt familiar with this stranger’s face, “This puppy’s adorable, does it have a name?”
“Hi, I’m Lily. My Master ordered me to wait here.” The girl said, “This is a magical puppy. It’s My Master’s pet. His name is Arnold.”
“Yes, he’s in the garden.” The girl said.
Dior Merlin felt ever so weird about this and the need to enter the garden to have a look.