The Belf Marquisate entered the textile business through an agent, and it took them only six months to get into a crisis already.
Louisa appealed to Erich, and he lent the money. It was a large sum of money, totaling up to fifty million gold.
He still gave it knowing he wouldn’t get it back. Relatives were relatives, and he only did his filial duty.
And cut cleanly with it.
Marquis Belf must have thought it was an investment on Erich’s part, so he kept bringing stories about the business.
It was mainly talks to ask for Erich’s power to knock down competitor guilds. Erich made his secretary answer all the letters from Marquis Belf.
He didn’t bother to check after that, but it was clear that Marquis Belf’s condition was not good.
Wilhelm called him to urge him. Erich concluded.
“It’s something that can’t be helped. Even if Mother sells her jewels to help her family, I have nothing to say.”
Wilhelm looked rather bitter. The Belf Marquisate was nowhere near worth the support, so he’d rather Erich spread the money around than to waste it.
Right now, they were buying from the guild at a high price and selling it cheap. The money was going to the wrong places.
“It’s not fair to the guild there either to release things cheaply with your money. There have been cases where they have been sued for trying to forcibly take over a retail store located in the Duchy.”
“Is Mother buying from the Weaving Guild?”
“What? Ah, yes.”
Since he didn’t expect Erich to know the name of the textile dealer, Wilhelm looked at him in surprise. Erich said with a cold face.
“Leave that alone too. Anyway, the Belf Marquisate will be severely beaten anyway.”
“Don’t pay attention anymore about the money Mother can spend on clothes and jewelry. Think of it as a way of preserving the stability of the household’s internal affairs.”
Erich did not want to quarrel with Louisa over such a matter. Anyone who was part of House Klausener’s main family could use that much.
As Erich already said, Wilhelm couldn’t help it. It was wasteful, like burning and scattering money on the roof, but it wasn’t that it actually hurt the Klausener family’s finances.
Erich nodded, telling them to dismiss now. Wilhelm and the accounting administrator stood up, bowed politely to him, and left.
Erich sighed and covered his eyes with his hand.
‘Of course it’s only right to confront the person who starts the fight.’
However, Erich was well aware of who the real owner of the Weaving Guild was. So he was even more unwilling to get involved.
As Wilhelm said, it was not fair. If it had been someone else, he would have sent a letter of demand to apologize for putting his money in such a disorder.
‘I should have forgotten.’
He would have forgotten if she didn’t stand out.
But he knew. Even though Claire was a mere Baron of the southern domain of Arren, she would eventually pop out of somewhere like an awl in his pocket.
He never thought it would be a mechanical textile business. This was unusual for Arren nobles, who tended to look down on industrial work.
Yet, it was also just like Claire to do so. She thought in such a way that no one else could, did it calmly, and went all-in in a good way.
‘Well, she does like money.’
She hated Erich, saying that he was no different from a golden spoon. When he told her that the first spoon he was given as a baby was made of silver, not gold, she looked at him with an absurd face. So, on the contrary, it was Erich who was dumbfounded. She must have had at least a silver spoon.¹
He had no intention of forcibly visiting a woman who hated him so much.
On that day five years ago, he wrote a letter to Claire right away when he went to the palace after the Crown Prince’s assassination.
Originally, he was going to visit her in the evening, but there were circumstances that prevented him from doing so. Thus, he planned to go the next day. The situation was going to get messy, so he wanted her to stay home quietly for a few days.
But the letter never reached its recipient. The errand boy said that Baron Delford had already returned to their estate. They packed up their belongings in half a day and left, leaving only the lower-ranked servants.
What was the probability that she was not running away from Erich himself?
In a way, what she did was wise. Erich originally intended to properly propose that evening. He told Pavel called the jeweler as well.
Rumors would spread once she received the marriage proposal. Even Erich did not deny that.
So she must have run away before it got too noisy.
He never thought she would hate him that much. If she didn’t like it, why was she willing to fall into his embrace that night?
‘As expected, I still don’t understand.’
It was impossible to chase and catch a woman who hated him so much. It wouldn’t be impossible to force her, but the future after that was obvious.
However, Erich could clearly recall the heat behind her gaze towards him. Her lips, which were soft as if they were about to melt.
He muttered to himself and got up. Thinking about it was useless.
Anyway, he has to say something to Louisa. Although Erich didn’t mean to nag her like Wilhelm nagged about the spending, he still had to let her know that he knew where the money was going.
As he came out of the study.
Pavel waddled over. His face was red from running.
“What is it?”
“It’s a big trouble! Trouble!”
“Calm down. What is it?”
“That, that, haaahh!”
Pavel caught his breath. Erich waited until his face changed from red to blue.
“She, she’s back! We met by chance in front of the hotel!”
“Who do you mean by her?”
“H-Her! The one who I bought you a dress for.”
Pavel lowered his voice to a whisper. Erich frowned.
The name that he didn’t want to think of came out. He responded bluntly.
“Is that so. Why is that?”
It wouldn’t be unusual for Claire to come to the capital. Rather, it was more surprising that she hadn’t stepped foot in here in the past five years.
But Pavel was so flustered that he forgot to maintain proper decorum. He grabbed Erich’s arm and pulled him down. It was just too serious a problem to talk about.
“She has a child.”
“A very cute little boy, about four years old—with golden hair.”
Erich’s face hardened.
¹ Golden spoon vs silver spoon – they basically mean the same as a metaphor, but because ‘golden spoon’ is more of a Korean term and ‘silver spoon’ is more commonly used in the English language, Claire and Erich had a small misunderstanding in that brief flashback.
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