Carrying on a family business was quite daunting. Most of the cases where young family heads appeared were in very special circumstances. It was a case where the seat was empty due to a sudden death of a family member or the seat was given in advance because of outstanding ability. Young or not, in order to inherit the family, I had to come into contact with many people.
Even when simply transferring a small territory, they had to go through numerous legal procedures. Instead of stopping there, he had to meet the local residents and the leaders of each district and face to face with influential people in each district. In addition, it was necessary to look at items that could generate direct profits and to plan businesses that could be competitive in the future.
Things like setting financial indicators, accounting, and human resources all depend on individual capabilities. Hiring servants and placing guards were all costs the lord had to bear. So, the stronger the lord’s power, and the more money he had, the more the size of the manor was different. Since there were no restrictions according to the title, even the nobles with a lot of money tended to have a lot of servants and guards, but the Ajstain family was a bit of an exception.
Ajstain was the first finger of the empire with only its externally exposed assets. However, even though they were a wealthy family, they managed the mansion and castle by hiring a minimum number of guards and servants. Of course, the knights to protect the territory were operated separately, and a lot of investment was made in the public sector for the people of the territory.
“It’s been a while, here too.”
Thanks to this, even though it was a self-governing territory, it was a territory with a fairly large population in the empire. A place that was chosen as the best place to live in a poll by Imperial Newspaper. If there was a paradise on earth that people in the world often say, it is the Viscounty of Ajstain.
Although they possessed enormous wealth, they should never wield it at random. We must share with others and we must hear their voices. We have to be frugal and humble. We must do our best so that people do not envy and envy us. Those were the words my grandfather always carried in his heart and put into practice. Although he went through the sad event of the death of his child and his wife, the people of Yeongi loved my grandfather who stood firm and the Ajstain family who did more than duty.
I felt welcome when I saw the outer appearance of the drawbridge coming down in the distance. Before returning to the past, it was almost untrodden ground. I entrusted full authority to my agent and traveled all over the continent to save the dying family. I covered my ears, blaming myself for my incompetence. Not knowing what’s going on behind the scenes.
‘This time it’s different.’
There were times when people often imagine that if they go back to the past… Then, some people may want to make a lot of money, while others may want to change what they were ashamed of or did in the past. And for me, the coming-of-age ceremony was one of the latter. Ever since I was young, I had been concentrating on studying to become the owner of the Ajstain family, saving time just to eat. From the age of thirteen, I personally experienced harsh things, such as running on my feet and entering a mine. Only then could I know my grievances.
I also made concessions. I was always forced to since I was an older sister who was born 3 minutes earlier. So I had to cherish and care for my sister. My parents before they passed away said the same thing. The words they left me before they died in a landslide caused by a sudden heavy rain were, in the end, not for me, but for my younger sister. Still, my parents’ last words felt like a will in the end, so I held on to them until the end. Even before my grandfather passed away, I was worried about Ersia. In the end, all my attention and love went to Ersia.
Turning my head to look out of her window with a slightly tired face, I looked at Ercia. She smiled as if she felt my gaze, slightly avoiding my face as she looked at me, and I also looked out of her window. That kid always had a smile like that. Whenever that happened, I thought I had to be strong. What was he thinking towards me behind that dirty mask?
I wanted to ask. I wanted to ask why did she do that, what did I do wrong that she did such a terrible thing to me and to our family. But even if I were to do that now, I would be the only one hearing harsh words in the end. That’s why I held my heart even more firmly. Coming-of-age ceremony up close, even grandpa’s death a little further. I want to put everything back.
Now that 10 years have passed again, I never wanted to make concessions a virtue.
“He is coming!”
A gentle smile at the distant voice was heard.
As we entered the castle through the gate with the carriage drawbridge lowered, we heard cheers. It was a tribute from people who respected and genuinely liked the Ajstain family as a family member who was visiting after a long time.
“So many smiles, don’t they all welcome us?”
I followed my grandfather who invited me in a soft voice, and I also smiled and shook his hand lightly. In the past, there were many times when I was shy and hid. Being cheered by so many people was both happy and embarrassing. But now, when I thought about it, was there anything more overwhelming and thrilling than their cheers? I waved my hand and enjoyed the cheers of the people.
“Young lady! Please marry me!”
“You are so beautiful!”
Umm, were my ears equipped with a filter that picks out and listens to only good words? Very good. As I smiled more and shook my hand, the cheering grew louder.
“You’ve changed a lot.”
Had I changed? My expression did not change despite the sudden words. My gaze and hands were directed outward, but my mind was fixed on my grandfather.
“You used to be shy and hide, but not anymore.”
“It’s a thing of the past.”
Grandpa smiled softly.
“Certainly it’s been a while since you returned to the manor, two years?”
“It’s been two years since the whole family officially returned. My grandfather went back and forth a few times for work, but it took me about two full years.”
As always, Ersia stepped on her eyes. If both of them were away, they might not be able to handle important tasks, so it was possible for one person to stay, but that was for a secondary reason. In the end, I couldn’t leave Ersia alone. After all, I was bound there.
People said Ersia was a poor little girl, her frail bird behind bars, but I thought differently. I didn’t want to miss the love, warmth, and sympathetic gaze that was poured out on her. Knowing that, I cared for her even while my family was on the decline. I considered it my duty and her love my treasure.
I was stuck. It was the same as the bird that Noah and Canary put together so that they would not die of loneliness inside the cage. A place where I couldn’t come out even if I struggled to get out, that was my nest. A place that kept warmth and at the same time turned into hell due to Ersia alone.
“What do you feel about coming back after a long time, Ersia?”
“I’m a little tired, Grandpa.”
I rubbed my head lightly and looked at Ersia, who had a weary expression on her face, with disgust. About three years ago, when I was twenty-five, I remembered the moment I received Ersia’s looking at her medical records. I couldn’t believe it. Ersia’s disease was by no means incurable. It was a written opinion that the treatment was already nearing completion. However, the opinion was written at the same time for each hospital and temple. Therefore, Ersia’s behavior of holding her head while pretending to be sick could only be seen as a pretense. After all, Ersia’s abomination and disgusting behavior did not happen suddenly. It was a very deliberate and long-term planned action.
“Let’s go in quickly.”
When my grandfather heard Ersia say that her head was about to explode from the loud cheers, he hurriedly closed the carriage window. And I closed my eyes in silence.
* * *
Returning to my hometown, I immediately went into the office and asked the butler for the budget for this coming-of-age ceremony. I felt it before, but the cost of the coming-of-age ceremony was not that much. I didn’t know what it was like in the past, but as the times changed, the coming-of-age ceremony became more splendid and grandiose. However, our coming-of-age ceremony was very simple and received a lot of criticism. It was shocking to hear in person how miserable the Ajstain family was.
We said we were going to have a simple coming-of-age party, but there were strangely many words. And the action that I thought was no big deal eventually spread to the point where my grandfather sold his pain and went to apologize. I didn’t know the details, but I vaguely guessed, my guess was that there might be the Marquis of Akfensia in the background. Beralt neither loved nor liked me. What he had his eye on was the property of the Ajstain family.
Poor Ersia. Thinking that he loved her, she fall for Beralt’s tricks and led the family to ruin. Poor but hateful little sister. Beralt may be eager to see our family fall. No, it was clear what he wanted. That way you could swallow it whole.
Ten trade contracts between the Akpensia family and the Ajstein family. If the Ajstein family fails to fulfill the contract one by one, Beralt will swallow us with his big mouth. He wanted to cancel those contracts right away, but unfortunately, the family of the Marquis of Akpensia was a pretty good business. If the contract was terminated right away, it would not end with an appropriate blow, but some businesses were on the verge of bankruptcy. In particular, banks holding the capital of all businesses would fail one after another. In that case, the damage spread throughout the area, so we had to avoid it as much as possible. So, while keeping a distance from Beralt, at the same time, it was necessary to produce enough results that it would not matter if the engagement story with him was dismissed as nonexistent. It’s complicated and there were many ways to go back, but it couldn’t be helped. If only I could stop seeing that disgusting face.
Fievel was a young butler. How old was he? I didn’t think he was over thirty. That man was a very capable man brought in by my grandfather. He was a man who currently served as the deputy of the original castle, and he was said to be from a baron family.
“Speak, Lady Laurencia.”
I quite liked this man who looked at me politely and answered me. In the past, thanks to this man, I was able to defend the viscountcy until the end.
“Don’t you think this budget is too small?”
“This is the order of Viscount Ajstaein.”
“That’s not what I mean.”
I pointed the pen at him who asked, twitching his horse’s tail.
“It means to increase the budget.”
“But this budget bill is the viscount’s coming-of-age ceremony.”
“It’s not my grandfather’s coming-of-age ceremony, it’s my coming-of-age ceremony. I don’t want to go through this coming-of-age ceremony being called a miser because it’s shabby and simple.”
He listened to me quietly. It would be difficult and confusing. It must be embarrassing to hear that the family of the heir of the Ajstain family would overturn the agenda decided by the head of the Ajstain family. But this man had sense and thoughtfulness.
“Then how should I proceed?”
“It’s simple. I’ll run all the budgets tenfold…”
“Are you saying…?”
“Yes, ten times, prepare the largest banquet hall. As you can see, our castle is not that big. It is said that there is a banquet hall recently built with great care by the Countess of Caronia. It is not far from here. Ask for it and rent it. The price doesn’t matter.”
It was common for the coming-of-age ceremony to be held in a large banquet hall or castle, rather than in their own manor. Sometimes it’s done in a territory located on the opposite side of the continent, so that’s about it. Well, it’s no big deal.
“And send out the invitations with the corrected location. I’ll manage each and every one of them myself. So, please tell the people in charge to come see me by tomorrow. Also, regardless of the amount, everyone who attended the coming-of-age ceremony, we will give out gifts: pocket watches for men and brooches for women.”
Brooches and pocket watches were both expensive. A brooch cost about the price of a small house just by cutting and inserting each jewel, and a pocket watch was about the same.
“Set the brand to the highest quality. This, too, does not matter its price.”
“If that happens, you can place more than a thousand gold coins as a gift.”
“I told you before? Money doesn’t matter. Whether it’s a thousand or ten thousand, use as much as you need. If the budget is ten times less, use twenty times more, thirty times, even a hundred times! Did you understand?”
The FL surname was like Hell to me and after 9 chapteers I decided to translate it as ‘Ajstain’. Maybe it’s not the best translation but… until someone show me a better option that would be.
Hello there! This is RJR. Thank you very much for reading.
Next post will be released on March, 7.
If you like my work please support me in Ko-fi or Patreon.
Want to read more?