Chapter 352: The Sinister Goat (1)
Chapter 352: The Sinister Goat (1)
Chapter 352: The Sinister Goat (1)
A huge thank you to George Parremore for their generous support
Chapter 352: The Sinister Goat (1)
Flora needed great courage to convey this fact to Rudger.
And that’s because it was related to the Lumos family.
Normally, Flora would have lost interest the moment she heard the name Lumos.
In fact, she would have deliberately ignored it.
Even though it was her own family, it was nothing more than a facade.
If she got involved, she would only become exhausted.
However, if it was closely related to Seron, or rather, Rudger, the story would change.
“At first, I didn’t know either. I only found out because Cheryl told me.”
“Cheryl Wagner, you mean?”
“Yes. Does Mr.Rudger know the Wagner family?”
“I heard that the Wagner family is the vassal family that has served the Lumos family for a long time.”
“Cheryl is the only person who approached me from the Wagner family.”
While the Wagner family serves the Lumos family, Flora’s case was different.
She wasn’t acknowledged by her own family, let alone receiving support from the vassal family.
Flora considered it natural.
Until Cheryl approached her, that is.
Cheryl, who wasn’t her brother or sister, became her friend.
She provided Flora with a lot of help, big and small.
And it was Cheryl who informed her about the recent events unfolding in the Lumos family.
“Cheryl told me. She said that our family recently met with the leaders of several companies.”
“Isn’t it common for noble families to meet such people to establish connections?”
“Yes, that’s right. It’s very common for influential people to meet each other to promote friendships.”
Just by going to the banquet halls organized by the nobles, you would find many influential figures.
Famous actors, millionaire entrepreneurs, nobles, and so on.
Ironically, wealthy companies often hold higher social status than most nobles.
Therefore, it wasn’t surprising that they forged close bonds with Lumos, one of the three dukes of the empire.
“But what if all the people they met were the ones providing funding to Seron?”
Flora’s words caused Rudger’s eyes to shake momentarily.
“In the current situation, such coincidences are unlikely.”
“Moreover, the meetings took place just before this incident erupted. Doesn’t that increase their suspicion?”
Flora’s tone was filled with conviction.
Rudger didn’t casually dismiss her words either.
The source of the information was Cheryl Wagner.
‘I don’t know why Cheryl Wagner, who is member of the Lumos’ vassal family, would care so much about Flora, who was abandoned by Lumos. But I can trust the credibility of that information.’
Cheryl was known among Seron’s students as someone with significant intelligence.
She was friendly, always smiling, and amicable to everyone.
And it wasn’t limited to her fellow students.
Seniors, juniors, Seron’s staff, and even teachers.
Cheryl was close to Flora, but she also built many connections and received various news from them.
‘In a way, she can be considered an exceptional information source, different from Sedina and Hans.’
Sedina and Hans use their individual magical abilities and traits to gather information.
Hans has the ability to communicate with animals.
Sedina has paper magic.
But Cheryl was different.
She gathered information purely through her connections, without any magical abilities, innate traits, or talents.
Rudger thought that was impressive.
Building relationships and listening to people while intertwining with them is mentally exhausting.
“Yeah. I understand that you came to inform me of this news. However, I don’t feel like praising your actions.”
Flora’s eyes widened.
She thought she would receive praise, but Rudger’s reaction was different from what she expected.
“Flora, I know why you came. But there was no need to do this. Your actions only invite trouble.”
“Is it because it involves my family?”
Flora may not be acknowledged by the Lumos family, but she is still part of the Lumos lineage.
“Flora, your actions are too reckless.”
Flora’s current actions could be seen as betraying the family.
If this news somehow reaches Caiden Lumos’ ears, Flora will be in danger.
Even though he had only met Caiden once, Rudger was well aware that Caiden was the kind of person who would do such a thing.
“Are you worrying about me right now?”
Unlike Rudger’s reproach, Flora showed a slight but joyful expression.
A subtle smile, like that of a cat, appeared on her lips.
“Flora, this matter shouldn’t be taken lightly. You don’t need to interfere.”
“No, this is also my responsibility because it’s an incident involving my family.”
“Your actions are no different from betraying your family.”
“Is it betrayal to do what is right?”
Flora said confidently.
If it were the old her, she wouldn’t have even thought of saying such words.
But Flora had changed.
Rudger felt that way, even if Flora herself wasn’t aware of it.
“Besides, you also know, Mr.Rudger. How I’m treated in the family.”
“…But you could have turned a blind eye. Lumos family is where you were born and raised. It could have been a situation where you pretended not to see or know. No one would have blamed you for that.”
“Actually, at first, I did consider doing as teacher said.”
Flora sighed softly and candidly revealed her inner thoughts.
“Well, that’s how it is. It’s an incident that happened in my family, but it’s a place that discarded me as if I was nothing. No matter what they do, it’s unrelated to me. I prefer not to care.”
“Because that’s what Mr.Rudger taught me.”
“…Did I say that?”
Rudger blinked his eyes as if he couldn’t recall.
No matter how much he thought about it, he had no memory of saying such words to Flora.
“You didn’t say it directly, but you showed it through your actions. Even if you didn’t feel that way, I thought so when I saw it.”
“I appreciate your concern, but instead of such words at a time like this, shouldn’t you have something else to say?”
“Something else to say?”
When Rudger asked because he genuinely didn’t know, Flora narrowed her eyes as if urging him and spoke.
“You should say thank you.”
Rudger unintentionally let out a laugh at Flora’s boldness.
However, Flora’s gaze, intensely fixed on him, was not that of someone joking around.
“You’ve definitely changed.”
“I’ve grown. Thanks to someone.”
Rudger shrugged his shoulders as if admitting defeat.
“Yeah. I’m grateful for your help.”
“What’s that? I don’t feel your sincerity at all. You should be bowing down to me.”
“Expressing that it was helpful is sincere enough.”
“Well then, can I ask you for one more thing?”
Rudger twitched his eyebrow, seemingly unexpected of such words coming up all of a sudden.
Is that what she was aiming for?
“It’s nothing special. I just want to see Mr.Rudger’s magical beast once again.”
“My magical beast?”
“Yes. I’ve summoned my own magical beast, but I still don’t know how to handle it. So, if I see your magical beast, maybe I’ll get some sense of it.”
“Is that not possible?”
Rudger shook his head.
Since there was no particular reason why it couldn’t be done, he summoned his magical beast according to Flora’s whim.
A crow made of shadows appeared above Rudger’s shoulder.
The crow stared intently at Flora with its red eyes, then turned to face Rudger.
─Is it a different woman this time?
Rudger blatantly ignored the gaze of his own magical beast.
Flora looked at the magical beast summoned by Rudger in fascination.
She saw the color of magical power with her two eyes and sniffed the lingering traces of magical power with her sense of smell.
When she sniffed it again, Flora realized that she hadn’t been mistaken.
This deep flavor she felt was not something easily forgettable.
That night, Rudger had been sneaking in the silent forest.
“Is that enough now?”
“Yes. It’s enough.”
However, even though Flora knew that, she didn’t show any signs of it.
“Thanks to you, I feel like I have some idea.”
“Well, that’s a relief.”
“Sorry to bother you when you’re busy. I’ll be going now.”
Flora stood up from her seat with a cheerful smile.
As the visitor left, Rudger prepared himself to get back to work.
That is, if the next guest had not come.
“…What business do you have here?”
* * *
Lumos Manor is located on a high plateau to the north of the capital city of the Empire.
It is a harsh place, but the natural landscape is so intact that it becomes a picturesque scene from any angle.
Especially the view outside the office window, designed for the Duke, was truly breathtaking.
Caiden Lumos had a daily routine of looking out at the scenery of the manor.
It was a kind of a habit formed by repetition.
However, in this peaceful time, there was a guest today.
“Duke Caiden, what is happening ?”
Caiden averted his gaze from the window.
His cold eyes were directed towards the guest who had entered the office.
“Didn’t you say that by doing just this, you can seize control of Seron?”
Chairman Drahin Ranpaltz of Ranpaltz Corporation.
Perhaps due to recent events, his complexion was pale.
He seemed to have had little sleep, with dark circles under his eyes, and even his hair seemed disheveled.
“Chairman Drahin Ranpaltz. Why are you blaming me for that?”
“W-What do you mean?”
“I merely gave advice. It was entirely your choice to listen to those words and take action, wasn’t it?”
Drahin widened his eyes at those words.
In other words, according to Caiden, it meant that he had no responsibility in this matter and would keep quiet.
“A-Are you saying that now, in this situation?! Don’t you realize how dire the situation is for our Ranpaltz family?”
“Why should I know?”
Drahin was left speechless by Caiden’s shameless response.
However, Drahin couldn’t argue any further and trembled with clenched fists.
“Duke Caiden, I have been proud to consider myself quite close to you. Close enough to call us friends.”
“Yeah. I feel the same way.”
“We have exchanged many conversations. The benefits I have given to Lumos Family is not insignificant. This mansion! This office! There is no place here that my money hasn’t touched!”
“I appreciate that aspect as well.”
“But you are abandoning me?”
Despite Drahin’s outburst, Caiden didn’t respond.
With an empty gaze that didn’t even convey any emotions, he simply waited to see what Drahin would say.
Drahin became even more frustrated because of that gaze.
“Wouldn’t it be nice if you could help us, even just a little? At least make a statement supporting us…”
“Why should I do that?”
“Well, we’ve been allies for a long time…”
For the first time, Caiden showed a reaction to those words.
It was a mocking response, as cold as a northern wind.
“Alliance is when there is a mutually beneficial and equal relationship. But it doesn’t seem like Ranpaltz is capable of that now.”
“Are you going to abandon us now?”
“You’ve clearly failed, yet you’re blaming me for it.”
“It was you who instigated it!”
Veins protruded from Drahin’s neck, pulsating with intensity.
An overwhelming urge to clutch his collar and collapse to his knees consumed him.
Even though he was alive, he didn’t feel alive.
It was as if his soul had been sucked out.
“You said that seizing power by taking advantage of Seron’s weakness was the way to go! Wasn’t that your instruction, Caiden Lumos?”
“That’s an awkward thing to say. Chairman Drahin Ranpaltz. We were in an equal relationship until now, so how can there be instructions given?”
In the end, Chairman Drahin Ranpaltz had no choice but to kneel before Caiden.
“Lord Caiden, please help us.”
“Just a moment ago, you were angry and shouting, and now you’re kneeling?”
“I’m asking for help because of the trust we’ve built over the years. I don’t ask for much. Just a little help.”
Drahin is the chairman of a major corporation.
Even though Caiden was one of three dukes of the empire, kneeling to him was not something that could be done easily for Drahin.
He, who always looked down on others, lowered his head for the first time.
But Caiden wasn’t surprised by that sight.
He already knew that Drahin had no choice but to do so because of the rumors that had spread in the industry.
‘I heard that the news had already spread in the industry, and the stock price was plummeting.’
While several companies, including Ranpaltz, dropped out, the problem was that the gap in funding created by the sponsorship was being covered partly by the imperial family.
That action was practically supporting Seron behind the scenes.
In other words, Ranpaltz had taken a course opposite to the imperial family.
Although the status of a major corporation in the empire was impressive, it was still not comparable to the imperial family.
‘But you’re not entirely useless. I’ve discovered a new force that supports Seron from behind.’
Currently, there is a rapidly growing street in Letherbelk with a tremendous momentum.
Rather than being led by a single company, it was a collaborative effort of numerous small business owners.
But Caiden knew.
That alliance of small businesses was created by one person alone.
‘The owner of the Royal Street, Oliver.’
They were diligently selling Ranpaltz’s stocks and contributing to its downfall.
But they alone couldn’t bring down Ranpaltz.
The difference in scale couldn’t be ignored.
Yet, the situation of Ranpaltz was so serious that Chairman Drahin himself had to come seek help.
The reason was that another invisible giant had intervened.
‘Heibaek Kadushan. That cunning old man.’
That was why Caiden didn’t immediately help Drahin.
That old man, who had always been quiet, started helping Seron for some reason.
* * *
“Did I come to a place where I shouldn’t have come?”
The old man with a kind demeanor smiled cheerfully at Rudger.
Rudger silently stared at him.
A formidable figure highly regarded in the Empire had inexplicably appeared as a guest.