On my way back to the Imperial Palace this morning, I opened the newspaper without much anticipation. I thought my face would appear on the front page.
But unexpectedly, the front page of the newspaper was empty.
It was the same in any of the papers.
I thought it was strange. I’m sure Jason Evanders wouldn’t miss a story like this. It was useless gossip that was up on the front page.
There must have been a very large number of witnesses, but there was no way that information that expensive could not have been sold to numerous newspapers.
From what I heard, my information was expensive.
Most of the nobles wanted to know.
So who got their hands on it?
It had to be someone who could influence the entire empire.
It also had to be someone who would be harmed by this gossip.
There was only one person who met both requirements.
“Let me ask you a question. Jason Evanders. What’s the headline on the front page of Velvet Daily today? The Velvet Daily is under your command, so you can’t possibly not know.”
“It is that I have presented Her Imperial Highness, Princess Stella, with the most rare emerald necklace.”
“‘Then I will ask you. Why did you get your hands on the article?”
“…… you need me.”
His eyes twinkled with interest as he heard that.
The look on his face says that he was glad that I had figured out the answer.
Yes. This man must have wanted to test me.
And yet, he had the temerity to put Karen under suspicion and leave the table.
If I wasn’t perceptive enough to notice his ulterior motive, he was going to make a fool of me.
“As a businessman, you wanted to take advantage of me.”
“My support and influence would be useful to you. That’s why I prevented the scandal with the Duke and instead stuck your face next to mine. That’s why you gave me the money in the first place. It was much more profitable to have a solid connection with me than not giving me dividends. I was a business to you, businessman.”
The long silence was an affirmation.
“In the first place, my family, my anger, and my existence were goods to you. You gave me the mine because you had a use for it, and—you’re threatening me by grabbing my family’s necks because I have no use for you.”
“The message was delivered clearly. I’m sure you want me to be a useful person. But then, you are. How useful can you be to me?”
“Yes, the warning was uncalled for, sir.”
Jason Evanders informing the imperial family of my family’s location was an obvious warning.
If they don’t do what I want them to do, it means I’ll have to deal with my own important matters in a selfish way.
If I can’t get my money’s worth, the deal is off.
It was clear that the imperial family would not be able to touch my family even if they knew their whereabouts.
The Empress had in fact sent assassins to my family, but they ended up in the hands of my mercenaries before they could reach my family.
So, this is a warning.
Because the next step is for Jason to get his hands on them directly.
It was stupid.
I trusted this human, even a little, before I knew him perfectly.
“But your biggest flaw is that you need me.”
“It’s obvious who the winner is. You’re the one who told the Empress the other location of my family. Jason Evanders.”
He silently rose from his seat and turned to face me. The man’s hand grasped mine, and one of his knees slowly lowered, reaching the floor.
His red eyes filled me completely.
He slumped down and placed his lips against the back of my hand. His devilish lips bent gently.
The man was laughing. He has the marvelous face of someone who gazed at something too brilliant and dazzling to be true.
It was not a humiliating sight.
Rather, it was a look of rapture, of discovering something more precious than his knees.
He adjusted his expression before speaking.
“I do not kneel to anyone. Princess.”
He rose from his seat.
“But the reason I am doing this is because I want you so badly…I wish to clear your mind. There are so many things I would like to do with you.”
He gently holds out his hand to me. It’s as if he was going to shake my hand.
I stared at his hand and he smiled.
“Yes. I didn’t pay for no reason. You’re worthy of gold, so I just decided to leave you the legacy of the family. The Princess is certainly the right person to enhance the value of the Evanders name, and she’s a wise person to keep around.”
“So I made an investment. It’s what I’m good at. Please don’t hate me too much. I had to have something to show my father and the heads of the family. If I lost that much money for no reason, they would have reprimanded me.”
It seemed that there was a high level of rounding people up at this point. It was a gentle, soothing attitude and plausible rationalizations.
Calm down and convince.
I wasn’t fooled by him, but I did acknowledge the fact that he was a smart man.
“I admired Princess’s judgment. Therefore, instead of leaving here in six months, why don’t you become the apex of the empire?”
I wondered how fast he was informed, as he even knew the fact that I would be leaving the imperial palace in six months.
“Your Highness is too good to live as a duchess or any other vagabond. Take your seat at the Emperor’s table and stand before your family with dignity.”
“And what will you get?”
“One pretty picture of me buying the emperor with gold worth the price of a mine will suffice. It is worthy of satisfying the people of my family. And it’s perfect.”
“And it’s perfect,” he said, leaning toward me with his elbow on my chair.
“I am the …… helper.”
“What if I accuse you of treason?”
“Is that so?”
He smiled generously.
I felt awful, but for now, he and I needed each other.
“What can the Emperor do, if I may say so?”
“The people are on the side of the Imperial family.”
“The people are on the side of faith, but they are slaves to money.” Then there’s me.”
Jason came closer.
“It belongs to the Princess…it’s not so bad if I’m her helper.”
“…… If you work according to my plan, and not go against my expectations, I am a loyal companion of Her Imperial Highness. It’s a good deal for us both.”
I thought as I stared at his hand that stretched out to me. Before, I would have never imagined such a moment.
When he came to visit the “commoner” Ethel, he had a much higher status than me.
So I think the partner proposal as an equal position was a whole other world.
“You’ll be making your debut soon. I’m saying I’ll help you.”
His face took on a satisfied hue as I held out my hand as if to shake his.
I quickly retreated my hand.
I rose from my seat and looked straight into his eyes.
“I don’t know what your good family thinks of you, but to me, you’re just the most incompetent and incapable of doing even the easiest and simplest things I’ve ever told you to do.”
Jason’s perfect smile disappeared.
“You can’t even do what you’re told, so what more do I expect from you? I’m not going to accuse you of treason, as you said. But if you want my approval, you’ll have to try a little harder than that.”
I walked past him.
It was a shame that I couldn’t see his distorted face.
For Jason Evanders, life has always been a privilege.
Everyone he met liked him as a matter of course, and he was always welcome.
Fortunately, he had no brothers or sisters to compete with over the family business.
And so it was the same with his father’s and grandfather’s generation. So there were no troublesome relatives.
He was articulate.
When his father entrusted him with a business, the first thing he launched was the Velvet Daily, the largest newspaper in the empire.
Before the newspaper opened, people had talked a lot about Evanders finally losing his senses.
To make a newspaper that large, publishing the imperial newspaper that the nobles despised so much!
It was an idea beyond common sense.
Claude Evanders, father of Jason Evanders, was said to have been the only one who quietly watched over his son.
And the newspaper was very well received.
Jason Evanders was an excellent reader of the market.
He took perfect advantage of the fact that the aristocrats liked to make a lot of noise, and at the same time, they valued reputation more than anyone else.
The daily papers of the “cultured” for “high-class briefings” on gossip sold like hotcakes among the aristocrats.
Some critics were cynical that putting lace on newspapers, which the aristocracy despised so much, and calling it luxury was a big hit, but the aristocracy was “enamored with the premium newspaper.
The Velvet Daily seemed to say this to the hitherto thirsty nobility.
“I’m looking for an interesting story, and I didn’t really like the commoners or the low-priced newspaper.”
“But I’m sure you’ve all had the experience of forcing your nemesis to fill a seat at the Tea Party for fear of being less than well-informed.”
“I’m sure you’ve paid high prices for informants, but have often gotten cheap information that hasn’t been verified. I know, I know. I understand.”
“This is a special daily newspaper where you can feel the tradition and expertise of Evanders, the man who founded the first newspaper.”
“It’s like velvet for the honorable one percent.”
The perfect solution, put forth as understanding all the complaints of the nobility, quickly became the talk of the Empire.
A sociologist who analyzed the success of the Velvet Daily also opined.
Considering that the educated people of the empire proudly refer to themselves as “Velvians,” the name “Velvet Daily” was very familiar to the nobility.
When the high aristocracy tried to buy it, it was a planned procedure for the bourgeois to imitate them, and the newspaper was even exported to other countries.
Some princes of other countries even came to study abroad to learn the pronunciation and “Vian accent” of the nobles of the Velvians.
Velvian’s clothing style and tea culture were becoming popular all over the world.
Why not their gossip?
The gossip was successful and lucrative, as other nations, eager to catch up with the Velvians, were also willing to spend on the Velvians’ style of fashion.
Having created one craze and successfully taken his father’s place, Jason’s life was solid.
That was, until Stella Ethelanche appeared in front of him.
“Your knees are not just a body part of one person, but the face of Evanders.”
Jason’s aide said after Stella had left.
“It doesn’t matter if she was Stella Ethelanche, you shouldn’t have given up your knees so easily. Evanders men don’t kneel when proposing.”
Jason had been his father’s aide since he was a boy.
The aide called Jason, and he finally looked over at his aide.
His master seemed to be in a state of shock.
This was because he had never been rejected in his entire life.
Besides, his master had never had a private relationship with any woman, so the aide could see how deep his shock and despair was when he was rejected.
His master had always had many women around him, but none that he would place on board his ship.
This time, however, Jason Evanders was the one to be rejected.
“Did you intend to support Her Imperial Highness as Emperor?”
“..No. It is indeed the status quo that makes her listen to Evanders so closely. She has no head for politics, but if you throw money at her, she is suitably obedient.”
“Making Her Highness Princess Stella, who is both wealthy and prosperous, the emperor is certainly damaging to Evanders. That’s what I thought, too.”
“So, to add to my lack of opinion, I am truly fortunate that Her Highness has no desire for power. If she had any ambition, she would have been the one who managed to use the young master to rise to the top.”
“I see. Good.”
“But what’s wrong with you? It is more valuable to confirm that the Princess has no desire for power than to lose the corporate muse.
We’ll also cause a scandal at the appropriate time. Once Princess Stella makes her debut, the world will take notice of Evanders.”
Jason Evanders did not answer. The aide looked at Evanders’ successor as if he didn’t understand.
It was some time later that Jason began to speak with a confused expression on his face.
“…… if I want her.”
“I don’t know what I’d do if I want that woman more than the business wants her.”
“You’ll have to decide yourself.”
The aide replied without hesitation.
“Doesn’t Evenders name solve everything?”
His name had always been the perfect answer to this kind of riddle, but never more so than at this moment when Jason Evanders thought he didn’t know the answer.