But for holding the reins, this was the best. The key to the repository was power.
“Always remember to watch your eyes, mouth, and ears. You know better than I do what it means to be Klausener’s in-laws.”
James didn’t say a word. Claire sighed and took Elliot outside.
“Auntie, you are angry.”
“Are you afraid because Auntie is angry?”
“I’m sad. It’s because I’m afraid it’ll hurt to be spiky like a hedgehog.”
Elliott hugged her neck tightly.
“I hate seeing my aunt get hurt.”
“It doesn’t hurt.”
“I want to kiss you.”
Elliot kissed Claire on the cheek and tried to kiss her, but he was a little lost, not knowing where to start.
Still, the fire burning inside was hardly extinguished, so Claire hugged the child and rubbed her cheek against his soft hair.
And she took Elliot’s hand and went to the playroom.
‘I hope this doesn’t spread further.’
Judging from Iris’ attitude, that’s a mere wish on a star.
No, to be honest, she didn’t really care what Iris was going to do next.
Anyway, the most important thing in this marriage was to protect Elliot. All other emotions were secondary.
And it’s not like she didn’t know. Didn’t she think that he must have had a woman since a dress came out of Erich’s bedroom?
She didn’t know what it might have been like at that moment, but at least maybe he’s dated her before, so the clothes are there…
‘No, but you proposed to me, didn’t you?’
Then, was she stealing someone else’s man?
It’d be funny if one or two of his exes came back and argued.
‘No, but really.’
As she thought of that again, there was a knock on the door.
“Who is it?”
Claire asked in a sharp voice.
“Ah, is it already time?”
Claire took one look at the watch and stood up. It was time to go see her mother-in-law’s good friend who happened to be a man.
* * *
It’s the season when the sun was getting longer, but it was dark enough at eight in the evening. Gas lamps dimly illuminated the stone-paved road.
Johann got out of his carriage, shining a lamp under his feet. The coachman of the hire carriage drove away, showing no interest in his customer.
Few people came and went. As soon as the sound of the horses’ hooves from the carriage Johann had been riding left, only silence filled the air.
Although it had already been ten years since street lights were installed on the main streets of the capital, most people had yet to return home before sunset. The trend of having dinner in elegant restaurants had been around for a while, but it’s far from this district.
The only things moving on these streets at a time like this were the homeless and the drunkards. If not them, then the night watchmen.
Johann stopped for a moment in front of the headquarters of the Weaving Guild. It was the only building on this street, scattering a faint light from the top floor.
Once entered, there was no going back. Even if the negotiations broke down, it was the same in that he tried to betray. The Empress would not forgive him.
But even returning from here was dangerous. The Empress was suspicious, and would not believe him even if he made excuses.
Then he shouldn’t have come.
Johann stuck his hands in his pocket. The note hung on his fingertips.
『 Noi Diamond. 』
Just thirty years ago, diamonds were the most precious gems in the world.
Among them, the diamonds from the Noi mine were the best and finest. The amount of mining was gradually decreasing, and in the meantime, the quality was also declining.
Other mines could not compete with the diamonds of the Noi mine from the beginning, or their profitability itself was too low.
The price of a gem depends heavily on its rarity. If Noi Diamond had stopped mining, the price would have jumped.
In anticipation of that, Johann’s grandfather cornered the market for Noi diamonds.
This was the moment when the flow of wealth started to move from primary industry to a manufacturing industry. House Krozik, realizing that they could no longer maintain the wealth befitting their family just by being landowners, bet their fortune on it.
And the development of technology has spurred the development of new mines.
Huge diamond mines were discovered one after another in the Klausener Duchy. The profitability was better than that of the Noi mine in its heyday, and the quality was similar.
The strategy of cornering the market by controlling the supply of diamonds against the Klausener family… only rendered them unstable.
Johann’s grandfather suggested adjusting the production, but the absolute amount they had kept in the storehouses was too high.
A gem without a rarity was no longer valuable. And the nobility, the main consumer class, didn’t want anything that was not rare or special.
As diamonds were no longer precious gems, the investment in the future of the Krozik County was destined to rot in the vault.
‘But the owner of the Weaving Guild couldn’t have entered the diamond business without thinking. She must’ve delved into it.’
Johann clenched his teeth and knocked on the door. Soon, Guild Master Roger Carson opened the door.
He said cheerfully. Without asking who Johann was, he led the way with a gas lamp.
Claire Delford was sitting in the furthest office on the second floor.
Before entering the door, Roger turned off the gas lamp. And as though it was an excuse, he said,
“She hates the smell of gas lamps.”
If it was like before, he would have stored that in his head as information, but now Johann couldn’t afford to do that.
In the office, there were plenty of candles lit instead of gas lights.
Claire was sitting on the sofa, looking at the papers, then looked up.
Behind him stood a gray-haired lawyer. On the left, a strange man with curly cream hair sat in a respectful pose, then stood up seeing Johann.
Claire sat down and offered Johann a seat.
“Nice to meet you, Sir Johann. We must’ve met before?”
“I remember taking a liberal arts mathematics lecture together at the academy. It is a pleasure to see you again, Baron Delford.”
Johann greeted her as friendly as possible, but plainly and politely. Claire was a Baron, and there was no disrespect because he was from a household with the rank of count.
Not because Claire was the future Duchess Klausener, but even as a Baron she deserved his respect.
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Comments for chapter "Chapter 48"
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