The Aspencers’ mansion was always the same. Nothing had changed, except that the exterior was cleaner and there were now people to take care of it. Given the astronomical amount of money Eisel made, she could afford to live in the largest mansion in the capital, but she didn’t feel the need.
She looked up from her papers as the carriage came to a stop. The butler, Kronbe, who had been waiting for her at the entrance, opened the door as the carriage stopped.
“Good day, Count.”
As Eisel stepped out of the carriage, Kronbe was the first to bow, and he followed suit as they made their way to the mansion. Eisel removed his coat and hat and handed them to a servant before turning to Kronbe.
“Any word from your master?”
“Tell me as soon as he does.”
“Okay, I’ve got some warm water for you, would you like to come in?”
“That’s for later. Let’s get some food first.”
Kronbe nodded briefly. Eisel waved Kronbe off and returned to her room, where she opened her papers.
The end of a long journey was approaching. Eisel looked at the Carl papers and pushed her lips together in a pout.
“Fifteen years already.”
It had been enough time for that shy, shy boy to become an icy man, and it had been enough time to change Eisel.
Fifteen years ago, Bahidman’s challenge led to Eisel’s major expansion. She organized the haphazard mills and malt stores into a guild and brought them under the Aspenser umbrella. With the money she earned, she acquired more grain and increase her market share.
Bahidman, seeing that she solved her task perfectly, personally backed Eisel. This allowed her to make a fortune with his information and Bahidman’s authority.
And with that money, Eisel prevented the end of the world.
“I didn’t mean to do that.”
She just wanted to make a lot of money and live at peace with her family, but it didn’t work out that way.
It wasn’t Eisel’s plan to save the world in the first place, it was Bahidman’s. When Bahidman envisioned the project, Eisel was one of the key players, but now Eisel was the one leading the charge.
Eisel looked up from her papers at the voice at the door and said simply, “Come in.” The door opened and Kronbe entered.
“The meal is ready.”
“I’ll be right there.”
“Okay. And, shall we have a carriage ready?”
A carriage? Eisel tilted her head. “Ah, the Yellow Castle.”
‘ I let out a small sigh as I remembered something I’d forgotten.’
“No, no. Never mind, things are going well and I don’t need to go. More than that, I need you to get me Bethmere, because when I came in a little while ago, I noticed that there were some people on the streets scrawling things about the end of the world, and I need to deal with them.”
It wasn’t just Carl and Eisel that changed in 15 years. As in the original, Bethmere, with the Nine Tails in hand, controlled the capital’s information under Eisel’s orders. It was her job to ensure a more peaceful and positive narrative was spread.
Eisel rubbed her chin, thought for a moment, and frowned.
“How’s my mom?”
Kronbe shook his head at the slow question. Lily’s health had declined since she collapsed two years ago. The bitter cold had taken its toll on her body, and even with the most effective medicines and fittings, her health hadn’t returned.
The reason Eisel stayed, unable to leave. It was because her parents couldn’t leave.
“Please take care of her. My father is with them, but he can’t do it alone.”
“I see. Oh, by the way Her Highness, Lady Ermund, came by this morning.”
“Yes. I’ve invited her to a luncheon tomorrow, would you like to attend?”
Eisel nodded with a slow smile.
“I’ll be ready then.”
With that, Kronbe bowed and left the room. Eisel sat back in her chair, staring at the door as it closed and the room fell silent. Staring wordlessly at the map spread on the table, Eisel squeezed her eyes shut.
“We’re almost there.”
“I can’t wait to retire from this tedious routine. If I could retire, I wanted to leave the capital and live in a secluded place. This was so Lily’s illness could be cured and I could rest. And…….’
Blinking slowly, Eisel looked up at the voice from outside and opened the door. Kronbe, who had left the room a moment ago, had returned and was standing in the doorway.
Eisel tilted his head, and Kronbe looked at him with a puzzled expression.
“You have a visitor, …….”
‘I don’t suppose you have any visitors today?’ Kronbe knew Eisel wouldn’t see him unless he made an appointment, so he didn’t bother reporting to her first.
However, the fact that he had done so meant he was someone who could not be ignored. Eisel stared at Kronbe, then pulled on her thin coat.
“Show him to the parlor.”
Eisel pushed past Kroenke and reached the parlor first, where the unannounced visitor was waiting.
“……His Excellency, Archduke Byron?”
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Carl, whom she had met earlier, opened the door and entered. Eisel’s eyes widened in surprise at Carl’s sudden appearance.
Is there a problem? Eisel got up from her seat to meet him.
“What’s wrong? Is there something you didn’t tell me earlier?”
Eisel invited Carl to sit down, recalling her speculations. But instead of sitting down, Karl took out the cross Eisel gave him earlier.
The silver cross Carl gave Eisel.
Eisel narrowed her eyes, and Carl grabbed the cross.
“Eisel, Countess Letania Aspencer.”
“You don’t need to call me by my full name.”
“Of course, Eisel.”
Eisel? That’s too short. Eisel stared at Carl as he said her name out of nowhere. Her furrowed brows reflect her deep sadness.
“I know it sounds like an excuse, but it’s better than being misunderstood, so here I am.”
Carl nodded as he handed Eisel the cross.
“Five years ago, I had a serious accident that put me in a coma for a while, and I lost some of my memories due to the shock. My memories of you, including this necklace, were also lost then.”
“Is that so?”
Unlike Carl, who found the story shocking, Eisel’s reaction was less exaggerated.
“I have the same necklace, and before I lost my memory, I always wore it. I think the necklace is very precious, so I think the memories associated with it are also very precious, so I try to remember it, but no matter how hard I try to think about it, it’s like swimming in the deep sea, but now I can’t.”
“I’m glad to hear that.”
Eisel laughed softly, the sigh of relief on her face showing her true satisfaction. Karl smiled slowly, matching Eisel’s smile, then held out his cross again.
“I really wanted to meet you. Forgive me for not remembering, Eisel.”
“It was an accident, I understand.”
Carl looked at Eisel with a nostalgic, yet still awkward gaze, meeting again after fifteen years.
Her appearance seemed unfamiliar, as if her old memories hadn’t fully resurfaced.
In fact, Eisel wasn’t too impressed either, as he thought Carl would forget him even though he hadn’t lost his memory.
Well, if he forgets, so be it, she thought.
“Even if I understand, that’s no reason to make a heavy promise and not keep it.”
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Eisel blinked, and Carl gently parted his lips.
“I made a promise to you for the rest of my life. I want to keep that promise. If you allow me, Eisel.”
Eisel looked at Carl as he said his promise. He was so serious, and the look in his eyes was so sincere, that Eisel felt embarrassed, and she quickly opened her mouth to speak.
“No, wait, that was …….”
“I know you don’t care. I understand that you’re angry because I made Eisel wait all this time and I don’t even remember. But that promise is mine, then and now, not a child’s empty words.”
“Oh, okay, I understand, but for now …….”
Eisel paused for a moment to consider how to react to Carl’s words. Her eyes were blazing with determination, but the answer was already there. Eisel looked at him and sighed.
“……Haah, Your Excellency. Thank you for your words, and thank you for recalling something so long ago. This must have been difficult for a man so beloved by all to have to remember a promise made to a mere merchant nobleman like me.”
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“But, Your Excellency……. I’m Count Aspencer.”
So what? Carl looked at me questioningly.
“Being the Countess of Aspencer…..”
Eisel smiled slowly at Carl, whose brow furrowed.
“It means I have an engagement, Your Excellency.”
Carl’s face was colored with embarras