I asked back without realizing it.
It was an unexpected answer.
Food is scarce because it is barren land at best, farming takes precedence over using people as employees of the Count, and more central support is needed. I was expecting a problem with that…
“You mean they’re moving somewhere else?”
The Count shook his head.
“No, they disappear overnight as if they were kidnapped. Without their family or friends knowing. The number of such missing persons reached hundreds last month.”
It was unusual for hundreds of personnel to disappear at once from the territory guarding the border.
“I looked everywhere, but I couldn’t find them, at least within the territory. There’s not even a tip-off that they’ve been seen somewhere.”
It didn’t make sense that hundreds of people would disappear so perfectly. Unless they’re really kidnapped.
“They must have been taken to another estate.”
It was the only conclusion that could be reached.
The Count nodded.
“But we can’t go to other territories and search for them. It’s frustrating.”
I suddenly remembered a slave market from the original.
In the original book, slave traders kidnapped ordinary people and sold them as slaves.
It was secretly operated in the shadows, but gradually grew bigger under the rule of the incompetent tyrant.
Eventually, the number of serfs was as large as that of ordinary commoners, leading to an uprising by commoners who were unfairly reduced to slaves.
The slave uprising and the war with Esland broke out at the same time, and the empire quickly declined.
What if the count’s missing people were the work of the slave traders?
“I’ll look into it.”
When I answered right away, the Count seemed a little surprised.
“Are you sure? Can you really do that?”
“Yes, I’ve come up with a good place to look.”
I made up a sales smile again.
“Thank you for sharing your precious concerns. I will try my best to solve it.”
In the end, the Count even shed tears. Then he grabbed my hand.
“Thank you very much, Duke. Thank you very much.”
I tried to get my hand out of the count’s grasp, which was on the verge of necrosis because of lack of blood, but the Count wouldn’t budge.
“I mean it. I was wondering if I should just let it go, but thanks to you, the Duke, I’m hopeful.”
At last, he shouted.
“Hey! We’re having a big dinner for the Duke tonight! Get ready!”
Although there was only an old butler to listen to it, I didn’t bother to point it out to Count Gesban’s excited expression.
The excitement of the Count continued at the dinner table.
“Here’s the finest wine for the Duke!”
“What do you mean alcohol in the early evening? Haha, it’s okay.”
Even in my previous life, I didn’t drink well, but it sounded like a bolt from the blue.
In addition, the slight chill in my body seemed like a cold.
“If you don’t drink in the evening, when do you drink? No need to say no, duke. Leave it up to me.”
When the maid delivered the freshly opened wine and wine glasses, the Count held the wine bottle high.
“Take it. Let’s drink and die on a good day like today.”
“Ahaha, from early evening.”
The count hurried to pour wine into my glass, wondering if he could see my bitter expression.
“Oh, wait a minute.
And suddenly he paused. I swept my heart inside.
“You should refrain from drinking for your health”
“I wonder if an old man like this would just throw away the Duke’s taste if I pour your wine. The drink poured by the tall young man will suit your taste better.”
It was a count who made quite an anachronistic remark.
But before I could stop the count, he pointed to someone nearby.
“Hey, you there. Come and pour some wine.”
I didn’t even have to look. There was only one tall young man with them.
I shook my hand in haste.
“No! He doesn’t have to do that!”
But before I knew it, Cardan stood next to me and the count laughed loudly.
“Hey, I think you’ll be pretty handsome if you take off the loose clothes.”
I was astonished as I reached out to Cardan whose hood was about to be taken off by the Count.
I hurriedly grabbed the Count’s hand and he looked back at me with a puzzled face.
“It’s much better to wear it!”
“Oh, I’ve never been as wrong as I am in terms of beauty, but I guess he’s uglier than he looks.”
I was about to faint when the count, who was excited like a fire moth even if saved, flew toward the fire pit again.
“It’s because I like his jawline more than his entire face.”
No, don’t look at me like that. Don’t be surprised like a pervert.
I sobbed inside, but it was already spilled water.
Fortunately, the solemn Count asked Cardan again in a more subdued atmosphere.
“What’s your name?”
“My last name is Roaniya.”
Cardan, whom she thought would be angry at any moment, replied in a fairly calm voice.
“And my first name is Nan.”
“I’m not a stove.” (T/N: Nan Ro-aniya = I’m not a stove)
I copied him without realizing it.
‘I’m not a stove.’
‘I’m not a stove…’
The name lingered in my head unpleasantly.
At that moment, an indescribably strong murder was felt from Cardan. And something hit my head.
‘Don’t go to the stove.’
It was a vague afterimage like last night’s dream.
The firm touch that rubbed my cheek. Something warm that I hugged with all my might.
Then the count roared with laughter.
“I’m not a stove! It’s a unique name.”
(T/N: Cardan gave a name that translates to ‘I’m not a stove’)
“Oh my god!”
I swallowed my breath without realizing it. Cardan’s mouth was seen with a thin smile with his molar firmly clenched under his hood.
That means I’m screwed, right?
“Yes, I hope you don’t forget it as it’s unique.”
At first glance, it sounded like he was talking to the Count, but I knew it. That’s the threat of remembering that she treated him like a stove. It’s for me.
Only the tactless Count nodded excitedly.
“Good! I’ll remember that. OK, Nan Roaniya. Go ahead and pour the wine.”
Instead of flinging the bottle, Cardan poured wine with a beautiful gesture and handed me the glass.
As Cardan nodded, I had no choice but to accept it with trembling hands.
“Hurry up and drink, right?”
It wasn’t the Count who’s recommending it this time, but the smiling Cardan.
I was forced to take a one-shot. The alcohol went down her throat with a burning sensation.
I felt like my whole body was burning because of the alcohol I drank at once. My head was spinning and my vision was blurry.
“How does it taste?”
The count laughed loudly.
“Ah, it’s great.”
I couldn’t speak, so I managed to whisper.
And I threw up right away.
I realized a few seconds later in a coma. It’s not wine, it’s blood that’s turned my shirt red.
Plus, the strange sweet taste that lingers in your mouth.
If I hadn’t swallowed the wine all at once, and if my physical condition wasn’t this bad, it might have been okay thanks to the tolerance of poison I had built up over the years.
The Count tried to catch me falling sideways.
But sooner than that, Cardan hugged me.
As he said, she tried to come to her senses, but her vision was blurred enough that Cardan’s features could not be distinguished.
“Doctor! Call the doctor!”
People’s voices sounded like they were heard in the water.
The cry of the count. The sound of Cardan calling me.
But it didn’t work anymore.
The view flashed and completely cut off.
“Lord, she’s dead…!”
When Erina, who fell sideways, did not move, the Count was contemplative.
As Cardan shouted, the Count, who seemed to have forgotten that he was even a soldier, shut up like a clam.
Erina’s pulse in her arms was still beating slowly. However, she was so cold that he thought she was really dead.
Without hesitation, Cardan picked up the knife from the table and put his palm down.
And he let the blood ooze through Erina’s teeth. When his immune-toxic blood went in, her irregular breathing, which seemed to be cut off at any moment, stabilized a little.
“What are you doing?!”
The Count was surprised and tried to stop Cardan, but he faltered due to the horrifying scene.
In the meantime, Cardan picked up Erina and began to move quickly.
“Get the doctor’s fever reducer and send it to the Duke’s room.”
The butler, who was hovering around the naturally ordering Cardan, left in a hurry, forgetting that he was not his master.
With worried eyes, the Count looked at the Duke, who turned pale as a corpse.
“Will she be all right?”
Cardan glared at the persistent Count.
“It’s your maid who served the wine, isn’t it?”
Naturally, the count nodded without realizing it.
“Isn’t it serious if the Duke wakes up and misunderstands that the Count is the culprit?”
Byun hurriedly ordered the users with a strangled sound.
“Search the whole castle! Find out every one who touched the wine!”
Leaving the chaotic dining hall behind, Cardan moved quickly.
However, he couldn’t shake the feeling that the body in his arms was getting cold every step he took.