YCKTML Chapter 23
I think I scribbled it down in one corner of the paper I wrote when I took note of the events that happened in the novel.
I couldn’t help but notice it because it was a very detailed and long chapter in the novel. Of course, hunting competitions in novels like this were significant. However, rather than the hunting competition itself, what happened there was more important.
Chloe’s performance was outstanding, and it was also an episode in which her presence as the main character stood out.
I took a deep calming breath, took out a new piece of paper, and began to write everything I remembered.
‘Monster hunting competition.’
To sum it up, it was a competition where the Imperial family and nobles went together to the northern mountains and defeat monsters.
It wasn’t fun to just catch monsters, so there were corresponding points earned for each catch. Those points could be transferred to someone, usually to the lady they liked.
So while men competed, women did too in their own way. The scores reflected their popularity; it also showed that the lady had strong knights, and such facts boosted their pride. Moreover, it took quite a lot of money to prepare to participate in such competitions.
That’s why Erin had so far given up participating. It wasn’t mandatory.
“It would’ve been nice to get Rupert’s score…”
That didn’t mean I wanted to get it this time. But, following that train of thought, I remembered him.
Enoch, he would certainly participate. How was he doing? The letters that often arrived hadn’t been coming for days.
“It’s been a long time since I last saw you.”
Just when a corner of my heart was getting crushed, something suddenly popped up in my mind. In fact, I’ve been thinking about it all along, but this could be my chance.
“Northern… Northern Mountains.”
It was an opportunity to settle the debt in one shot and divorce Rupert immediately. I grew excited.
I looked at the map on one wall of the study. There was something very important in the mountainside, a spot on the map where nothing was marked.
I drew a plan in my head, then winced at a sudden thought. If I used my knowledge in this novel, it was like stealing Chloe’s chance.
Was it… really okay? But honestly, I wasn’t in a position to worry about her. Chloe was the ‘heroine’ when I was a reader, but now I was the main character of my story.
It was foolish not to take advantage of the things she knew. The present Erin Spilet was desperate enough.
After organizing my thoughts to a certain extent, I casually turned over the books Rupert had thrown at me earlier. I couldn’t help but laugh.
It was more like a child’s pocketbook than a ledger. The people just wrote down what they spent at that time. They didn’t even sort nor count it.
“Did you write down your expenses properly?”
I walked out of the library with the books in my hand. And I called Jenny right away.
“Jenny, did you get paid this month?”
Jenny answered honestly even though she was visibly flustered from the sudden question. “Not yet. They said it’s going to be a little late this month.”
“…Is that so? Just you?”
“No, my roommate said so, too, so she probably hasn’t been paid yet either.”
The book clearly stated that maids’ salaries were paid this month. However, I found the discrepancy so quickly that I wondered if I misunderstood something.
So I decided to check on other things as well.
“Were flowers planted in the garden?”
I went out right away and looked around the garden. It was a pretty familiar scene now. I circled the garden, but nothing looked new. I asked the servant just in case, but he confirmed that nothing new had been planted.
“What, this… embezzlement?”
Did Chloe really manage it? Then she stole the money?
Was Rupert not involved in this? But if the final verifier of the book was supposed to be the Duke of Clifford, perhaps Rupert was aware of what was happening.
Did Rupert not think I’d discover this? No, this wasn’t the realm of accounting knowledge. Anyone who’d take the time to read and check the ledgers would know.
He gave it to me, knowing I’d notice. Was he testing me to see my reaction?
If so, it would be useless to point out these inconsistencies.
Honestly, I didn’t care where the money in this house went. If the situation doesn’t work out and we get divorced after a year, all I’d need is the alimony.
However, my conscience and pride did not allow me to turn a blind eye to it.
I went back to the study. It was just a ledger for mansion management, so there was no need to make it complicated.
Intuitively, I started drawing compartments on paper and filling them out. What I did wasn’t much. Then, after classifying it by item and period, I wrote down the details of the expenses. Then, at the end of each day, I added the total.
The income section was also empty in the ledger. As for the income, a portion of the tax collected from the estate would probably be set as the townhouse’s management fee.
I left blank the things I didn’t know.
It was a simple task, but it took time because the list was quite extensive. When I was done, there was ink all over my hand, but I was quite proud.
I packed up my things and went down to the first floor.
“Where is Rupert?” When I asked a passing servant, he said Rupert and Richard were in the drawing room, so I went straight there.
I was going to brag about my achievements there, but I could hear the two of them having a conversation. So I instinctively silenced my footsteps and listened to them.
“Young Master, I have come to see Madam, but truthfully, I also came because of strange rumors.”
“The Duke himself asked the Young Master to confirm it. Is everything all right with the Crown Prince?”
“…What do you mean?”
Richard seemingly hesitated before answering. “The Clifford Duchy is a family that has produced the Crown Princess and Empress for generations. Unfortunately, this is impossible without a daughter, but it will not change the fact that we support His Highness the Crown Prince. That’s what His Grace the Duke means.”
“I know,” Rupert replied in an annoyed voice.
“I’m glad you know. Recently, there has been a rumor that the Young Master and the people who support the Second Prince have been seeing each other…”
“That’s nonsense. Don’t you know my friendship with the Crown Prince? We grew up together and have been friends since childhood.”
“Yes, but your beloved Lady Verezian is one of the supporters of the Second Prince.”
“…Are you suspicious of me because of a Baron’s daughter?”
When he did not hide his displeasure, Richard brought up a different topic this time. “The Earl of Spilet also has a close connection to the Duke of Clifford. Please don’t neglect your wife.”
“Father has always liked Earl Spilet. More than me.”
“Don’t say that. His Grace the Duke…”
“Who is there?”
I thought I could hear Erin’s family story, so I got a little closer, but Rupert must have noticed.
I walked down to them with a casual face as if I had just arrived. “I looked at the books. It’s a real mess.”
“Do you know how to look?”
I answered him bluntly, “I reorganized it because I knew how to look at it.”
I tossed both the old and newly organized ledgers on the table in front of the sofa where they were sitting.
Rupert looked at me in surprise, and Richard muttered as he looked at it, “Madam… this is great.”
Richard’s admiration made me a little flattered, so I sat on the edge of the sofa. Rupert then took the two ledgers from Richard’s hand and looked them over.
I sneaked a look to see his reaction. It was hard to find any emotional change in the expressionless face. What, don’t tell me you don’t know what’s changed?
“There will be no problem if Madam takes care of it from now on. I have to tell the Duke this fact. The duchy is now too much for you to take care of alone.”
“Why should I when Rupert’s here. I’m overwhelmed with just managing this townhouse.”
“But the next time you come, His Grace the Duke will tell you. Think about it. Wouldn’t it be better for someone good at it to do it?”
I just smiled at Richard. I was more concerned that Rupert didn’t say anything.
“Sir Richard, before you go, I have a favor to ask of you.”
“Can you recommend a weapon to me?”
Rupert frowned and asked, “What do you mean, a weapon? Don’t tell me you’re going to carry a sword?”
“No way, what’s the use of learning swordsmanship now? I’m talking about a weapon with a magic stone.”
“Oh, if that’s the case…” Richard nodded convincingly. The weapon embedded with the magic stone has a particular function, unlike ordinary weapons. It had functions like flame magic, anti-gravity, and the like.
“Well, I’ve heard that even ladies carry one for self-defense these days.”
“If that’s the case, there are several in the basement of this house.” Rupert, who was listening, jumped up and nodded as if telling me to follow him.
I already knew there were such things in this house, so I brought it up. But I didn’t expect Rupert to tell me himself.
I chased after him before he changed his mind.