Poor Edmund stammered.
“Oh, right. I am.”
“The place where heavy rain swept the entire land. Have a lot of people die there? You went there a while ago with the crown prince, right?”
No matter how deep this world was fiction. After all, it was a flood that happened because the heroine’s life had been under threat for a while. She was an extra player who didn’t even know her name could come out a drop of ink for stabbing her, but she was worried about the people affected by the flood.
‘I don’t know who’s watching Gloria from the sky, but I think her personality is quite eccentric and deviant.’
Of course, Haley also bought people and sent them to the scene to investigate. There has been no detailed report regarding it yet.
Edmund frowned sharply and said bitterly.
“The local officials built a bad dike. One of the villages sank. Most of the bodies were washed away, and the number of victims has not been known.”
“However, something must be different since the Crown Prince went down himself, right?”
Edmund turned away awkwardly at Haley’s words.
“The Crown Prince has no real power yet. Moreover, the prime minister of this country still has massive impact. The emperor has no interest in the affairs of state either. It’s safe to say that the empress barely obtain any power. The official who doesn’t have that ability is people from the empress’ side, so I think he probably won’t be punished properly.”
While evaluating himself, his father and his mother, he showed a cold demeanor. He had felt helpless at her father and mother’s behavior for a long time. If it continued like this, the officials were so rotten that he couldn’t even say anything even if the empire were to collapse tomorrow.
“Hmm, I see. What did the local official say about this?”
“He just complained that it was a natural disaster that happened during the rainy season.”
Haley wrote in her notebook with sparkling eyes unknowingly. Edmund was amazed to see her. It had been a long time since Edmund had met her, and everything was related to this woman. He tried to change the subject. It was not the kind of story that could be told when he seduced women.
Before going up to the roof, Edmund gave command to his bodyguard, Ciel, to keep the woman in front of the fountain entertained. That was to know the location of his friend in case he missed Haley. Fortunately, Ciel couldn’t take his eyes off the silver-haired Baroness from the start.
“Are you busy? Why not stop investigating and enjoy the festival with me?”
“I’m occupied. I have a lot of work to do.”
“Really? Didn’t you come to play with your friend?”
“Just now, I saw your friend leave after she exchanged a short eye contact with a man. Is it fine to interrupt a good time by getting caught between them for no reason? What do you think about hanging out with me today?”
Edmund tilted his head slightly. He flashed a pretty smile and thought that Haley would feel quite guilty if she refused his offer, and he seemed to not know the myth that he would not have a partner for three years if he was rejected by a woman from day one in this world.
Although the grain wouldn’t work, Haley’s heart fluttered a bit when the mature and handsome man clung to her while showing his cuteness. After all, the affairs of the newspaper were left to be handled by Mary, and the article that would come out tomorrow has already been submitted ahead of time. Haley felt like she could fool around for today.
“Is there an interesting place? If you’re going to take me to such a place, let’s play together.”
Haley replied calmly. Edmund’s eyes sparkled as if he had been waiting for those words.
“There’s a place socialites often go to these days. How about going there with me?”
Edmund decided to take Haley into the gambling arena. Usually when he came out of the imperial palace, he usually would go to the bar. However, the red-haired woman could not be taken to a bar filled with womane. So, he thought about a place that could be enjoyed when going out with women. When Edmund thought of a good place for it, he only came up with Hyron’s gambling place.
‘Other noblewomen like to gamble while pretending not to. How about you?’
“Where is it?”
“You know a place called Hyron?”
Hailey was thrilled to hear that.
“Oh! I know that place. It’s managed by our newspaper advertisers!”
After the gambling arena became one of their sponsor, several companies, such as small food companies to famous factories, kept asking for advertisements at the Golden Wild Goose Daily’s office. This led to Haley getting money from the newspaper company and even betting on articles about hiring a few more reporters.
“I have asked for many interviews with advertisers, but they didn’t even listen to me. Are you close to the owner of the gambling arena? If you are the one guarding the crown prince, you must have a confidant, right?”
Haley’s hopeful gaze was directed at Edmund. She looked at him with a hint of expectation.
“You only think of business when you ask me to hang out together. Do you like business that much?”
Hearing those words, she looked down and played with the back of her head as if embarrassed.
“Oh, no. Well, now I have a family to feed.”
A self-employed woman had to live anxiously every day. The imperial palace’s servants, who received regular weekly salaries even if they fool around, also said that they would never understand such a life. It might be because she was mad that she grabbed Edmund’s wrist and led him along.
“Oh, alright. We can just hang out. I’m also a fun person to be around with! You don’t know who wants to be a workaholic.”
Edmund still stared at Haley even though he was angry. It was strange. A woman who kept drawing his attention. Did he ever feel such a strong attraction in his previous life?
‘If I don’t see this woman’s face for even a day, my back would probably begin to itch.’
‘Isn’t this woman feeding me some kind of love potion?’
Or this woman might be an wicked witch.
He was someone whose heart never fluttered at the sight of any woman. But strangely, when he stood in front of this woman, his heart was pounding. The small hand held his wrist firmly.
The atmosphere of the festival was boisterous and the light smell of fireworks gunpowder spreading from all over the place. Was it because of the decorations that giving off the colorful vibes all around? The excitement of the people had started to rub off on Edmund.
He didn’t even hide his excitement during his way with Haley to the gambling arena. One silver piece even for the children selling flowers on the street. Buying food that looked sweet and tasty turned out to be quite fun to share with her as well. Before he realized it, he was already immersed in the atmosphere of a regular date.
‘If I stay with this woman, can I continue living like this?’
It was impossible. His mother, who was greedy for power, wouldn’t stay still. Even now, she was treating herself like a good-blooded stallion and trying to imprinted it to her noble children. Would a woman who lived freely like this come to him after he told her everything? Edmund was not sure about that.
The dark shadow grew thicker on her small smiling face.
Upon their arrival at the gambling are a, they entered after wearing masks that covered their faces. The people in the Morris Empire was fond of entertainment more than any people in this land. At the same time, they were ashamed that they liked to play such a dirty game in a place like this as a way of expressing their desires. They deemed it vulgar to gamble, drink, and have dirty relationships with the opposite sex. However, at the same time, they enjoy it.
The Hyron gambling arena delves well into the psychology of the guests. After entering this place, everybody would wear a mask that covers half of your face so you can hide your identity. Thanks to this regulation, the gambling arena has always thrived so much that it has more than three branches in the capital and provinces. It was the thing that were to be achieved after the boss changed.
“You know how to play this?”
There were crowds everywhere. Unable to take her eyes off the colorful roulette spinning, Haley shook her head cluelessly at Edmund’s question.
“From the numbered playing cards depicting members of the imperial family to the newly added cards with the red side from the eastern region. I’ll be telling you about the rules. Do you want to try it?”
Haley quickly extended her hand as the response. Edmund smiled at her shameless attitude of openly asking for gambling funds and handed a few gold coins. Of course, Haley secretly kept three separate gold coins in her pocket.
“What’s the easiest game here? I don’t like complicated rules when playing games.”
Edmund pointed his finger at the roulette while explaining.
“The roulette game is one of the way to bet money, in which you will anticipate where the beads will stop. You can hang it with just red and black, but the win rate is a bit low. Dividends are best when betting with numbers to stop the beads. You can bet with even and odd numbers as well.”
“Oh, I think I can do that.”
Haley approached the roulette with curiosity. A red-haired woman with a white mask on walked over, pushed Haley’s shoulder and grabbed the ear of the man sitting beside her.
“Oh, who are you?”
The man who had his ear plugged shouted, and a sharp voice came out of the woman’s mouth.
“Teo Fiddler! Hey, Fiddler! What do you think you’re doing here?!”
“Oh, oh, oh. Big brother?”
“Even if you study at the academy, it won’t be good enough. Why are you doing this kind of stuff?”
“Let go of me. Akh! This is the right atmosphere right now, and I can raise our family with this! Do you even know how much I earned last time from here?”
“Does it matter now how much you earn from winning here? You know how hard I worked to get you into the academy. How can you hang out in a place like this?!”
After roughly pushing away the angry woman, the man anxiously cleaned up his crumpled clothes.
“Ha, because of this I can’t communicate with women, something that I can’t learn from the academy! The chance of getting rich is greater through this. You don’t know anything, so just shut your mouth. Shame on you!”
“Come with me now, you idiot!”
Haley tilted her head in confusion after seeing the masked woman and man.
‘Isn’t that Emily?’
* * *
A few days ago.
Emily hasn’t been feeling well lately. Haley, who was in the same age as her, was successful in her job as the president of the newspaper company, and she heaved out a sigh because she had to live with stupid and drunk men. Recently, the experience that was taken advantage of last night by the man she liked also provoked her anger even more.
‘I should go and see my younger brother.’
Every time she visited her younger brother at the academy, her confidence has always came back afterwards. She wanted to feel proud that she was different from other bar employees because the reason she worked at this bar, which was to send her younger brother to school.
In front of the academy dormitory, Emily asked the caretaker to call her younger brother. Shortly after, the dormitory guard who came downstairs told Emily that her brother Theo Fiddler was currently out.
“Do you know where he went?”
“Hahaha, you should just find out by yourself.”
The manager seemed to know something, but she just brushed it off as if she wasn’t sure to say anything in response to that.
After that, she visited the academy for three consecutive days, but Emily did not even see one strand of her brother’s hair. The already anxious Emily grabbed the guard by his neck and begged him to tell her where her brother had been going. The guard could barely opened his mouth with a confused look.
“About that… It seems that he went to one of the gambling arena in Hyron. You should go and look for him there.”
“What? A gambling arena? Geez, my little brother is very diligent and only knows about studying. What did he do?”
Emily turned around angrily. However, the uncomfortable feeling did not dissipate on her way back to the bar.