Huge thanks to winkie for the kofi! (2/2)
“How does Madam know Paul?”
When the maid became surprised and asked, Dooha smiled.
“I heard what the people who gathered here said earlier.”
She remembered everything the stable keepers had said earlier.
To be exact, “Paul, I will allow him to pay a lot.” It was just that one word that she noted very well.
Picking out only the important and main words among the many words was one of Dooha’s many abilities.
“So, who is Paul?”
“He is the manager of the stables. He maintains the facilities and supervises the stables.”
Dooha looked around following the maid’s answer and tilted her head as if something was strange.
“It seems that there is no one named Paul here. His subordinate got hurt and yet the manager is nowhere to be seen? That’s strange.”
Before the maid was able to finish her sentence, one of the stablekeepers suddenly raised his voice and complained.
“That’s right, there’s no Paul because he’s not interested in this place!”
“Hey! Being rude in front of the Duchess-”
“Get out of the way! I have something to say.”
He stood in front of the Duchess, shunning fellow men who disapproved of him, the man that stepped forward.
“Duchess, please listen to me! Paul… he carries Sir Nate on his back and plays with money every day, doesn’t pay for repairs, and eats up our salaries!”
The man frowned, he was angry.
“Even if you get kicked by a horse’s hoof, like what happened today, you couldn’t even get medicine, let alone a doctor, most of the time! He’ll never do anything that would cost him money!”
Dooha, who was quietly listening to him, turned her head toward the maid.
“I want to meet Paul, Sylvia.”
When she said she wanted to meet Paul, the maid’s face was colored with embarrassment.
“What? Why is the Duchess meeting him?”
“From what they are saying, I think Paul has a lot of problems.”
“But Paul is favoured by Sir Nate. If you try to deal with him…”
Dooha wrinkled her forehead because of that name that had been mentioned earlier.
“Who is Sir Nate?”
“…He’s the Duke’s uncle. He’s also the oldest man in the duke’s family.”
After the death of the predecessor and his wife in a mysterious carriage accident, he was the only one who could be called an elderly man by the nobles, the uncle of the Duke, “Nate van Esbaden.”
“His favorite stable keeper is Paul. Thanks to Sir Nate, Paul was able to sit in the manager’s position by gaining his trust…”
“Then it’s even more problematic.”
How could a worker, who does not do their job properly, hide behind their owner’s authority and damage the workplace?
“The problem needs to be corrected. Isn’t that the role of the hostess?”
“Madam, but Sir Nate…”
“Get Paul right now.”
Due to Dooha’s determined instructions, the maid alongside the stablekeepers gathered to find Paul.
“What are you doing? Why aren’t you calling him right away?”
Only her maid, Layla, with her carefree face, chased the stable keepers.
The stablekeeper of the Duke’s Castle, Paul.
He was the most trusted servant of Sir Nate and was a stablekeeper who had worked for the Duke’s family, and the uncle of the Duke, for a long time.
With a low status and skills that were not proportional to his career, Paul was only able to become the manager of the stables because of one reason.
The ability to understand the other person’s mood as if he were a psychic.
In a good way, it could be said that he was good at tactics, but in a bad way, it could be said that he had a natural talent for pleasing others.
It was certainly a beneficial ability to have to live in a tough world, but the downside was that his talent was only exercised in front of someone who was of higher status or stronger position than his.
“Did you find him?”
He used the same ability in front of the Duchess who came from a country of barbarism.
“It’s amazing that the Duchess walked all the way to this shabby place, but it’s even more amazing that you were looking for someone like me yourself.”
Paul, who was called in front of Dooha, was a giant old man boasting generous belly fat.
Dooha frowned unconsciously. With a body so voluptuous, he did not look like a stable keeper who worked hard at all.
Meanwhile, Paul moved his eyes up and down, observing her.
‘Hey, I thought that the prestige of a duke was not that important because they sent an ugly woman from that barbarian country…’
Contrary to the rumors that spread throughout the empire, Dooha was so beautiful that even he, an ugly man, was too embarrassed to speak to her.
Rich silver hair that flowed down to her waist, bright skin with beautiful, elegant features, and a slim, solid body that could not be covered by clothes.
Whatever it may have been like in Bashal, it was a figure that could be called beauty among beauties in the empire.
Paul clicked his tongue while appreciating the beauty beyond imagination of the duchess.
‘Well, all she is is a little savage girl who by chance got picked up by the duke. A duchess in name only.’
After stamping “No value” on Dooha’s forehead in his mind, he put on a nice smile.
“So, why did you look for me?”
“I wanted to ask you something.”
Dooha smiled, hers reflecting his, and held out her hand.
What Layla politely placed in her hand was a sheet of paper.
Seeing this, the maid raised her eyebrows, slightly startled.
“Paul, this is your spending budget for the stables for this year.”
Dooha waved the spending budget sheet that was delivered by her maid in the air.
“You asked expenses for the maintenance of the facilities, the salaries of the workers, and to buy the horses.”
“Yes, that’s right. Is there a problem? I’m not good at making budget plans.”
Paul scratched and tilted his head.
As anyone could see, it was the appearance of a simple servant. The stablekeepers around him, on the other hand, wrinkled their face at his arrogance.
She seemed to have been offended by the vicious performance of his handiwork.
“Should I call it a problem or a mistake?”
Dooha looked at him and spoke kindly.
“In fact, I thought it was necessary to review the budget because the expenses were set too high.”
She smiled after looking around the stable keepers gathered around her.
“I don’t think it is. It seems appropriate to pay according to the expenses listed in the budget.”
…On the premise that the records of last year’s books were not wrong.”
Paul glanced at the words full of meaning and hardened his face.
Dooha erased the smile from her face and her eyes darkened.
“Last year, you received 20 golds for the repair of the facility in the name of renovating the old facility.”
20 gold. it was well over what a stable keeper’s two-year salary would amount to.
“What? 20 gold?”
“You said you only received 10 gold for the repairs.”
“He took it away from our paycheck because it wasn’t enough to pay for repairs!”
Paul frowned, looking at the stable keepers bursting into anger.
“Do you really think I stole any money? No, even if I did…”
He looked down at the Duchess, who looked one head shorter than him, and lowered his eyebrows in regret.
“The person who did the budgeting last year was the Duke of Esbaden. I don’t understand why Madam is upset over what the Duke allowed.”
It was not Dooha, but rather the maid and Layla who were angry at Paul’s confident attitude.
“What is he saying to our princess, no, duchess?”
Unlike Layla, who was outspoken, the maid kept her mouth shut and only stared at the floor. “Since the Duke is a busy man, he must have had no time to pay close attention to the stables’ situation.”
Meanwhile, Dooha felt slighted by the way he looked down at her but continued to talk regardless.
“But if you knew it was wrong, shouldn’t you have corrected it? It’s not right to pretend that you hadn’t seen it…”
“Well, I didn’t know if it was a mistake. Madam can rectify it now.”
“….I beg your pardon?”
“Well, what do you know? You’re someone from a country where all they could do is be archers and shoot. I understand.”
Dooha’s calm face was finally cracked due to the intended ridicule that crossed the line.
“What did you just say?”
“What? I didn’t say much…”
“Then did I hear it wrong? Or is it that you simply didn’t have any conscience? It’s either one of the two.”
“What? What do you mean I have no conscience?”
“But I couldn’t have misheard what you said, so then I’m sure you don’t have a conscience. Aren’t you talking too carelessly…”
With a dull sound, Paul screamed and fell forward.
The Duchess had kicked the area between the legs of the arrogant manager.