I was thinking of running away right now, but Lizzy smiled and loosened her grip on my waist.
My waist… feels like it’s about to break…
As I tapped my pelvis and headed for the desk, Lizzy finally handed me some documents.
“Oh! And this is the budget proposal. Mr. Levance asked me to give it to you.”
“Thank you, Lizzy.”
“Is there anything you’d like to request?”
Request? I hesitated and stroked my cheek.
Come to think of it, where did they plant those exotic grains?
Before I died, they planted them in the most fertile soil.
But this time, I entrusted that land to Faust. He had even finished sowing the seeds, and they had sprouted.
‘Since I won’t be harvesting the crops myself, they’ll probably plant them somewhere else, right?’
It’s likely to be a secret from me. After all, I didn’t find out last time until after the seeds were planted and sprouted.
“Then, can you find out where the grains sent by Her Majesty the Queen are being cultivated?”
“Of course! Just leave it to me!”
Lizzy clenched her fists and confidently walked out of the office.
And then, some time passed.
As soon as the work was done, I got up from my seat. I quickly left the office, changed into comfortable clothes, and filled myself with determination.
This task is different in importance and in the need for expertise from the revenge I’ve been pursuing all this time.
I need specialized knowledge because I have to mess it up professionally!
I walked briskly and entered my quarters. The maids who recognized me greeted me, and the butler approached.
“You seem unusually spirited today.”
“Well, uh, yes.”
I suppressed a laughter that almost burst out awkwardly and looked up at the main staircase.
“Could I use the study today?”
“Only those with the permission of the estate owner can enter the study.”
It was obvious who the estate owner being referred to here was, even without looking.
Would Leonel grant permission if I asked him?
I highly doubt it.
As I let out a deep sigh, the butler glanced up briefly. I was about to turn my head to follow him when the butler spoke again.
“However, I can secretly open the study for you.”
“Is a study different from a library?”
The butler lowered his voice, as if he were looking at a cherished granddaughter, and nodded.
“The study contains the collected books by the Duke, but the library contains the family records, diaries of past estate owners, and ancient documents.”
“Then I’ll go to the study!”
I shouted, smiling broadly.
The butler nodded and gestured for me to follow him, then led the way.
We ascended the main staircase, passing by the front of the office without making a sound. A little further down the corridor, the butler stopped.
Seeing him pick out a key made me suddenly anxious.
“Is it okay to open it secretly like this?”
I hope Leonel won’t scold him later for this.
I watched with concern, but the butler shrugged as if it were no big deal.
Well, even if it’s Leonel, he wouldn’t do anything to someone who has been the butler since he was a child. It’s just opening the study, after all.
I took a deep breath to calm my nerves, and the butler asked while gripping the doorknob.
“But why are you suddenly looking for the study?”
“Oh, I’m an estate manager, but I realized I don’t know much about farming. I want to do some studying.”
…My conscience is bothering me after such a long time.
I awkwardly chuckled, and the butler opened the study door. The interior was pitch black, with no hint of light. There were only a few small windows for ventilation, so not even moonlight penetrated.
I blinked in surprise, and the butler handed me a lamp.
“Do not light any candles due to the risk of fire. Be careful when using the lamp.”
“Yes, of course.”
“After you’ve finished looking around, please find me before leaving.”
The butler gave a slight nod and then left the study. The door closed with a soft click, and I was alone.
I lifted the lamp and took a quick look around. The walls of the circular room were lined with bookshelves from floor to ceiling. The bookshelves had ladders attached to them that moved left and right on rails.
In the center of the room, there was a large mahogany desk that looked sturdy enough to withstand a bear climbing on it.
‘I should start by looking for books!’
I wandered around and pulled out all the books related to plants. Once I stacked them on the desk, it amounted to roughly the size of a young bear.
As expected, the desk remained unyielding.
‘Alright. I’ll study late into the night and plan my revenge.’
I opened the thickest book among the ones I’d brought. It had that old book smell, and simultaneously, dust covered my face.
I coughed and waved my hand, closing the book.
There are plenty of books, so I should start with something else. I picked up a relatively clean book and read the title.
‘Surefire Ways to Kill Plants.’
I liked the title from the start!
Somehow, I have a good feeling about this revenge. I hummed softly to myself as I opened the book and looked at the table of contents.
- Understanding Plants – What kind of plants to grow?
- The Deadly Pot for Plants
- The Soil that Kills Plants
- The Light that Kills Plants
- The Water that Kills Plants
Just reading the table of contents makes my heart race!
I calmed my pounding heart and slowly read through the book. To sum it up:
Plants need enough space for their roots to grow, good-quality soil, the right amount of light (not too strong or too little), proper spacing between plants, and the right amount of water. These were all methods for helping plants grow well. It seems like the title was just a catchy way to grab attention.
But that’s okay. I can just do the opposite!
The soil in the estate was of good quality, and I couldn’t do anything about the sunlight unless I were a god. So, the only things I could control were water and space. I would have to secretly obtain seeds and plant them in the dead of night.
‘While planting grains in pots is not the same, if I sow the seeds densely, it will be difficult for them to put down roots.’
It’s a bit risky to have only one option, but I found a section that resonated with me as I carefully read through the book. I touched that part with my hand and read it several times.
‘When there is too little water, the symptoms show quickly. In such cases, adding water can save the plant. However, when there is too much water, the roots rot. By the time symptoms appear, it’s already too late.’
When Leonel plants crops, he’ll have to draw water from the river and pour it over the fields.
I kept these two methods in mind and then proceeded to open other books.
‘I should prevent any possible failure in my revenge by checking if the cultivation methods for crops and ornamental plants are completely different.’
Unlike the books I initially chose, these books were filled with technical terminology. As a result, some parts remained incomprehensible no matter how many times I read them.
Nonetheless, I persevered and read through all the books, but gradually, drowsiness overcame me.
‘I should go back to my room and sleep…’
My eyelids felt heavy. I glanced around, but I couldn’t see a clock.
‘Since I haven’t been here for long, I’ll just rest my eyes for a moment and continue reading a little longer.’
As I lay down on the desk, sleep seemed to be about to take over. Then, as if waiting for me, drowsiness enveloped me.
My eyes closed, and a cool breeze from the desk brushed against my cheek. It was slightly chilly, probably because it was not well-lit.
‘I wonder if I should ask for a blanket?’
The thought crossed my mind, but my eyes refused to open.
‘I don’t know. If I catch a cold, I can use that as an excuse to take a break.’
I was just about to fall asleep when I heard a faint sound of a door opening. A heavy and precise stride approached.
“Sleeping here… again. Surprisi…ng.”
What? What are they saying?
I mumbled, turning my head in the opposite direction.
Suddenly, something soft completely covered my body. With that, the chilly sensation vanished entirely.
It seemed that the butler had brought a blanket. I could feel the warmth, and my lips curled up involuntarily.
‘I should say thanks when I wake up.’
With that thought, I succumbed to sleep completely.
And when I woke up, the view outside the small window had turned a pale blue.
It seemed that the lamp had been turned off when the butler came in yesterday.
Still half-asleep, I stretched under the blanket. To dispel the drowsiness, I blinked my eyes, and then I heard the sound of the door opening.
“Leo-, no, Your Grace.”
He caught me in the study! Startled, I hurriedly got up, but Leonel approached calmly.
What is it? Is he going to scold me? Am I in trouble?
I tightly closed my eyes and turned my head slightly. My body felt stiff with excessive tension.
“If anyone sees, they’ll think I’m hitting you.”
I heard Leonel’s voice right in front of me.
I cautiously opened my eyes just a little, and he extended his long, elegant hand. Naturally, he took one of the books I had piled up. My eyes inadvertently glanced at the title.
[Theory and Practice of Cultivating Special and Rare Crops.]
It was a book that I tried to read yesterday but gave up because there were more than five unfamiliar words in one sentence.
Leonel flipped through the book without saying a word. Then he turned around.
…He came into the study without anyone noticing, and he’s just leaving?
Is he trying to scold the butler?
“Excuse me, Your Grace!”
When I stood up from my seat, Leonel turned his head.
“I entered the study without permission…”
“I already heard it from Roger.”
He said he would open it for me secretly!
No, he must have mentioned it because I use it for studying. Leonel doesn’t dislike people who work hard, though I doubt it.
Since it’s been brought up, I should ask for permission to come here often.
I stood politely with the gentlest expression I could muster.
But for some reason, Leonel frowned and took a step back.
“What’s with the strange act?”
“Strange act? No, I just wanted to use the study occasionally.”
“…Do as you wish.”
Leonel turned around again and walked toward the door. Then suddenly, he turned back.
I stared at him, wondering what was going on, and he hesitated and spoke.
“In the future, you don’t need to report what you hear in the square or the tavern.”
“Does that mean not to investigate the actions of the estate’s residents?”