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.
- Lily: Cohen’s maidservant.
Dior Merlin collected her thoughts and gently pushed the door. She presumed that this so-called guest of her father was a noble or at least rich since he was both a magic and maidservant owner. Dior Merlin would not want to act rude in front of such people.
The door opened, first, she saw Iva Merlin: her father’s face full of joy, then the sight of the guest’s back. From Ms. Merlin’s angle, she could only catch his silver hairband and well-tailored clothing.
“Oh, here you are.” Baron Iva Merlin said loudly, “Mr. Turner, I’m honored to present my daughter, my jewel: Dior Merlin.”
Her father’s every word was utterly energized, which made Dior Merlin very confused.
She was about to consider a formal curtsy for this young man who seemed nice, instead, she saw his face that turned.
“It’s you?” Dior Merlin immediately straightened her knees, “You bounder! What’s your business in my house?”
“Yes, it’s me!” This Turner guy gripped with his teeth, “I’m here for a business with your father! And I’m not a bounder. I’m a businessman!”
“Oh, really?” Dior Merlin showed no respect, “We don’t do business with men like you! Don’t think you’ll avoid the fact that you’re bounder by putting on any decent wearings!”
“The business is between me and your father, who I think is the lord of your house. As for my new outfit…” Turner carelessly dusted the jacket lappet, “They were bought in your old store. The new owner cut my price for fifty percent, you like that?”
“Fancy clothes, terrible man! Your jacket must feel wronged.” Dior Merlin said, “What business?”
“My business is none of your business, and we’re done talking.” Mr. Turner stepped outward and turned back to the Baron at the door, “I’ll wait for you, you know where to find me.”
“Farewell! Mr. Turner. Oh, heads up, the muddy lane by the door is slightly uneven, which I hope you don’t mind.” Mr. Merlin smiled like a blooming flower, if dog tail grass would count as ‘flower’.
Dior Merlin gazed at her own father in confusion after the Turner disappeared from sight.
“What were you talking?” She asked, “What is this all about!”
“O! My dear daughter, sweetheart.” Baron said joyfully, “We won’t be staying this hell place for long!”
“And why is that?”
“That Mr. Turner took over all our debt! He wants to trade this villa with a mansion in Dark City! He’ll pay us a fortune as well!”
“Did I hear that right?” Dior Merlin asked yet again confusedly, “He’s a rustic, bounder and a stupid? That’s a lot of money!”
“He’s not stupid at all. He’ll take my most precious thing!” Mr. Baron had a letter, “See! Our debt is taken over! This is the letter!”
“Dark City isn’t that good per se, it’s so much better than here.” Dior Merlin’s eyes lit up, “What are we waiting for? Pack your stuff!”
“No, honey. It’s not us, it’s I” Mr. Baron watched his daughter, “You’re not going.”
“You go, and I don’t?” Dior Merlin did not get what his father was up to, “What do you mean by that?”
“Look, my deal with Mr. Turner has a clause attached…” Mr. Baron turned to another direction, “He… wants you to marry him.”
“You didn’t say yes, do you? Father!”
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“So you are saying, you sold me…”
“It’s not selling!” Mr. Baron said loudly, “It’s not! It’s… right! A girl at your age should be getting married immediately. I wasn’t paying attention, which is my fault! Now I have to assume a father’s responsibility. Face that fact that I selected a good husband for you, a rich one!”
“You! You! You…” Dior Merlin cannot hold herself together and retreated to the wall side, “I worked so hard to make money… pay your debt. I tried every way to earn every penny. Yet I was careless for one second, you sold me without hesitation…”
“We won’t have good lives with your method! Mine is so much better. You’ll have a good husband. I will be able to, every now and then, hunt on the Dark grassland, make some friends. I could even play for a few rounds in the good days…”
“You’re not my father, you’re an animal!”
“Say whatever you like… I’m writing the letter. Mr. Turner’s waiting for my reply!”
“I’m not doing this… I won’t!”
“I am your father! That’s by law and recognized by the Light Temple! I’m the one to make decision.”
Dior Merlin knees weakened. She fell down by the wall and fainted.
Cohen Kheda rested in the castle hall and was ready to enjoy his lunch. The whole castle was redecorated by Fischer. The bedroom, study, garden were all well presented in a rich, elegant and artistic tone.
“Hell, big time!” Jack rushed in, “BOSS, not good!”
“Your boss IS good as hell.” Cohen asked, “What’s so rush?”
“That woman! The one’s house you visited!” Jack was sweaty all over his forehead, “She found us here!”
“What the heck!” Viceroy Kheda was startled, “Where’s she?”
“She’s about to reach the gate!”
“Get away all these! All away…” Cohen stepped on the stairs, “If she comes in, tell her to meet me upstairs!”
“Dior Merlin rode the only one horse that belonged to her family and buzzed toward the castle like a soldier on battlefield.
She woke up soon after she fainted, then quickly interrogated her father by grabbing his neck about the bounder’s address. So this was the man who has been smuggling! Thus she decided to fight for her destiny for one more time.
The gate was open. Dior Merlin threw the rein to the keeper and entered the garden without a word.
In the lobby. Dior Merlin did not have time to appreciate the presents in the room, though it has been long since she’d entered a room like this. Her eyes focused on the young warrior in the lobby.
“I’m looking for a Turner.”
“Turner? Oh, he’s in the study.” The young warrior said, “Upstairs! First room on the left.”
Dior Merlin went upstairs immediately, recalled in the halfway that she did not express thanks to that warrior. She quickly forgot about it since it was not a time to be particular about politeness.
“BANG”, she slammed the door open.
Turner was sitting behind a desk. He noticed the sound and lifted his eyes.
“You should knock.” He flipped the pages carelessly, “Rough woman!”
“Man like you knows politeness, I wonder?” Dior Merlin was beyond anger, “I’m talking to you, put down your book and look at me! You’re reading it upside down, dumbass!”
“Spit it out.” Turner threw his book out of the window, “Do you care how I read? I want to read it upside down, downside up or above my head or under my feet, that’s my thing!”
“I’m here,” Dior Merlin steadied her emotions, “to ask you to take back what you’ve proposed to my father!”
“And you knew it’s an agreement between your father and I.” Turner said, “You’re not a decision maker.”
“But I’m involved!” She paused for one second, “You can’t leave me out of this.”
“That’s not for me to care about.‘ Turner gazed at her, “I’m concerned solely about what your father would say.”
“What exactly do you want?” Ms. Merlin said, “Even if you marry me, you can’t hide the fact that you’re not born in a noble house. Actually your pathetic thoughts are not helping you at all!”
“That’s my business.” Turner maintained his composure, “I take that you father is ready to say yes.”
Turner’s saying was right in Dior Merlin’s pain point, however, she was not giving up.
“Listen, can you drop this, or trade something that’s not involving me?”
“No meaning.” He said, “Or to say, by doing this makes me happy.”
Dior Merlin glared at Turner and was almost mad.
“You… You! You!” She launched her fist on the desk, “You rustic! Redneck! Layman! Smuggler!”
Turner fiercely stood up and he too launched his fist on the desk.
“Ya right! I am a rustic, redneck, layman and smuggler! So what? You still have to marry me. You should blame yourself.” He was angry, “The day you sold me three pieces of clothes for fifteen pieces of gold has changed your destiny and fate! What do you want? I’m going to marry you! I’m going to curse you every day! You are gonna do heavy labor every day! I’m gonna rape you every day!”
”Pooh! You grudge holder.” Dior Merlin was not stepping back, “I’m not afraid of you!”
“You don’t? Alright, try me!” Turner clenched his fists, “That way, I’ll curse you, make you do heavy works, put dirty mud on your face and never rape you!”
“I’m not taking it!” She said proudly, “I’ll run away from home immediately! You’ll never get me!”
“Oh, is that so?” He said, “Be my guest, but on your own risk.”
“Not my risk!” Dior Merlin walked toward the study door and was ready to exit, “My father is all yours.”
Turner said nothing. He merely reached a drawer and fetched a large box, then he threw it onto the desktop. Dior Merlin glimpsed on it and her eyes stayed on it.
“You wanna go! Just GO!” Turner looked like a total asshole.
“How could you have this?” She looked at the sapphire necklace in the box and said.
“They are gorgeous. I paid a fortune for it!” Turner sat down, “But I don’t care that much. If you, Dior Merlin, would not wanna marry me, I’m gonna find a few women who want to wear it.”
“Nothing particular!” Turner said, “I’ll find some dirty hookers, ask them to wear the necklace, earrings and rings to serve their customers! Then tell every guest who the previous owner is!”
“I’m entirely capable to do that.”
“I will despise you forever!” Dior Merlin welled her eyes, “Even if you get me.”
“It never occurred to me.” The man put away the jewels, “I’m not lying. I have wives. Two of them are biological sisters, the third is an elf with wings. You will be the fourth.”
Dior Merlin exited the room before he finished. She did not care about how many wives he had. All that was in her mind were her mother’s sapphire jewels. She knew that he will do what he said. And as her mother’s daughter, Dior Merlin would never let anything capable of disgracing her mother’s fame to happen.
By the time she was out of the castle, one of her family’s servant passed by her and entered the building. A letter was in his hand, which Dior Merlin knew exactly what was written on it.
A drop of tear fell as Dior Merlin passed by the servant, as well as she passed her fate.
In the room on the second floor, Cohen Kheda read the letter from Ms. Merlin’s father. He told Jack who stood beside, “Bring your man to her home. Let her take a shower and dress in evening robes. Bring her here!”
The wedding was extremely simple. Let alone temple priests, nor did any guests were there. Baron Iva Merlin did not even leave a word to his daughter, then left for Dark City escorted by a few warriors.
Dior Merlin sat in her assigned room in a suit of dark blue evening dress, wearing her mother’s set of sapphire jewels. The Lily girl was there by her side the whole time.
She had been keeping the black steel dagger all the way along.
What a proud lady she was, Dior Merlin, she thought. In her hometown, in Winper City… at every banquet, she left with a bunch of broken hearts. There was not even once that she would look up to anyone of them. As of now, she had to settle with this man!
“Madame.” Lily smiled and said, “Young Lord wants you to join him for dinner.”
“Fine, even if you marry me, I’ll not give you an easy time!” Dior Merlin had her strategies in mind.
“Lily, why did you end up being with this despicable man? Or were you also forced?” Dior Merlin arranged her hair while asked this maid girl. Lily was the only one she would talk to in this castle, including the Arnold magical dog.
Lily took a while to understand what Mrs. Merlin said ‘despicable man’ was her Lord.
“I wanted to be there with him.” Lily said, “Master intended to send me to Dark City. He freed me.”
“Did he threaten you, in any ways?” Dior Merlin was surprised, “That doesn’t sounds like him.”
“No.” Lily shook her head.
Dior Merlin was even confused.
“Tell me about it.” She took Lily’s hands, “How did you two meet?”
Arnold jumped out of Lily’s arms and flapped its wings to float around Dior Merlin’s eyes, then finally landed on her shoulder. Arnold’s naive charm made Dior Merlin giggle.
“I was born a slave.” Lily said, “My fate was to be sold between masters. A year ago, my former master traded me to another rather portly lord in Winper City. I had no idea, at that time, what he wanted with me. Actually, I could have never known.”
“I didn’t know where I was. I was locked up with other girls. By that time, I came to know my only friend: a relative same girl slave. We don’t need to do anything, however, every once in a while, there will be a few ones taken away and never to be seen again.”
“At first, I thought they were sold. Until one day, a girl came back… thus we knew, we were kept as materials.”
“Material?” Dior Merlin asked, “I don’t understand.”
“Material, for wine goblets.” Lily said, “Made out of our skulls.”
“My gosh!” Dior Merlin said in astonishment, “I’ve never heard of it…”
“This was our fate, nothing more.” Lily’s hands turned a bit cold, “Until finally one day, my friend and I were taken…”
“They washed our bodies, and men with grim smiles stood around us… I was about to be tied up on the station, my master set me out…”
“He dressed me in an almost see-through black veil and demanded me to serve his guest.”
“Bastard!” Dior Merlin cursed lowly, “Then what?”
“Then I carried the wine decanter and sat beside Young Lord…”
“That rustic? He must act rude to you, didn’t he?” Dior Merlin gripped firmly on the dagger, “Goat!”
“I thought so.” Lily said, “But he didn’t.”
“When I arrived, he was eating chicken leg.” Lily recalled, “I cried as I poured wine for him. He instead put his cloak to warm me and shield my body. Right, he gave me Arnold. Right, Arnold?”
Arnold barked and nodded.
“What happened next?” Dior Merlin put Arnold in her arms.
“Then, my friend was made into goblet and sent to my Lord…”
“I was right! He IS such a man!”
“No! Young Lord didn’t know it’s made from human beings. I told him later…”
“What did he do after you told him?”
“My Lord and his friend, the mister who host your wedding the other day, killed my master… and freed us all…”
“I guess. Young Lord told me that he was a very kind bad guy… I had no idea what it meant. But Young Lord hugged me while killed every men under the previous master’s command. I saw his eyes, dreadful eyes. But his hug was so warm. Young Lord put back my friend’s skull. He gave my friend a proper funeral and buried her. I’ll never forget, that he prayed for my friend. It was the first time that we were treated with dignity…”
“I’m sorry.” Dior Merlin said sincerely, “I didn’t know…”
“It’s okay.” Lily wiped the tears, “I don’t know why my Lord treated you like this. But he is not a man like your words.”
“Let’s go down!” Dior Merlin said, “No matter what, I’ll try not yield to him!”