Chapter 23

Translator: Alice

Editor: starrie


Startled by the sound of the door, Dahlia pushed him away hastily. But Isaac was faster and grabbed her hand, hiding Dahlia behind him.


Other than Dahlia, there was only one other person that had a deep and lofty voice, and could enter and exit the room freely without Hoover’s permission. Isaac quickly regulated his messy breathing and moved towards the door. 


“What brings you here at this hour?”


Dahlia instinctively bowed at the sight of Isaac bowing in greeting. When the door opened and she glanced at the person entering, Dahlia realized that her premonition wasn’t wrong.


“Some strange documents related to protocol were sent from the capital. I wanted to ask for your opinion.”


The Duke, Gehern Eufgenschult, Lord of Helman and the Master of the mansion, entered the room with parchment paper in hand, and sat before the chess table naturally. His gaze remained fixed on Dahlia from the moment he entered the room.


Was it with interest, or lust?


As Isaac was trying to discern which of the two was the emotion contained within his eyes, he moved the hands that were clasped at his back, pointing towards the door. Dahlia noticed his intention and bowed, before moving towards the door hesitantly. 


“It’s the first time I’ve seen Isaac so close to a maid. You over there, what’s your name?”  


The Duke fiddled with the parchment and spoke to Dahlia while staring at her. Dahlia’s eyes widened and she raised her head, not expecting that he would talk to her. 


“Yes, Master. I– I’m assigned to the main building.”


“Dahlia Beroch is a maid that’s around the same age as me. Recently, she has been running errands on behalf of her senior maid, Thelma.”


Isaac stood in front of her and cut off her words with a fluent introduction. He then looked back at Dahlia with cold eyes, and indicated towards the door again.


“Leave us.”


As the Duke watched Isaac coldy draw a line with a face of interest, he waved his hand to stop Isaac. 


“No. We’ll take a while to finish, so it’s best to prepare tea. Where… Dahlia? Hoover has gone to fetch a cigarette, so would you prepare some tea?”


“Ah, yes. I will prepare it immediately.”


Dahlia bowed and replied politely, before leaving with quick steps. At the edge of her jumbled awareness, the conversation between Isaac and the Duke resounded vaguely, before disappearing instantly. 


“Oh, Mr. Hoover!”


When she reached the hall, she met eyes with Hoover, who just happened to carry the tray into the hall.


Hoover gave Dahlia a distasteful glance and a raised eyebrow, before looking back at the tray he was carrying. A tea set and a cigar case was placed on the tray.


“What is it? I have to bring this to them, so move aside.”


“He told me to bring the prepared items. I’ll bring it there.”


Hoover’s eyes contorted slightly. 


Tsk, the way he clicked his tongue was full of emotions.


“Oh, right. I was wondering why the Master was standing there blankly without entering the room, but it seems that he came to see you.”


“Me? Why would the Master come to see me?”


“Do you know? Even the Master knows about it whenever you flirt with the Young Master. What a vulgar greenhorn that doesn’t know her place.” 

Whenever he flirts with the master, even the master. Because there are no snobs on the subject of a young kid.”


“I beg your pardon?”


“You should give up the thought of seducing an aristocrat to turn your luck around. In any case…women are.”


The annoyed face that he had daily twitched, and the intensity of his irritation was deeper than usual. As Dahlia stared back at Hoover’s eyes with a frown, she spoke in a hardened voice. 


“What do you mean everyday… And, when did I seduce the Young Master? The one that started the flirting was Young Master.”




“I can just take this with me, right? I will serve tea in your stead, so Mr. Hoover, take a break.”


As Dahlia snatched the tray from Hoover while staring at him strongly, before heading back to the second floor. Grumblings such as being rude and arrogant could be heard from behind, but she ignored them and moved forward silently.


“I don’t know why he gets angry every time he sees me.”


Whenever Hoover encountered her, he always clicked his tongue with a displeased face. In other words, whenever she meets him every other day, she’ll have to face his displeased face. 


At first, she thought that she had done something wrong so she was on tenterhooks, but when she heard that he treated all the female servants similarly, she gave up.


“Is it because he hates women?”


Well, as everyone had their own taste, so it was possible.


Still, the words he said earlier had crossed the line. She thought if that was the case, she should have spoken more firmly, before organising her thoughts and opening the door. 


“…With adjustments according to the situation, it means that the tariff only applies within the territory of the Republic. In other words, the High Lords will be taxed an additional 2.12%. If the iron ore’s tariff-free rate written below is applied…”


The two of them spread out the parchment on the chessboard and were in the midst of a serious discussion.


As she was curious about what was written on the parchment, she sneaked a peek while pouring tea, but she couldn’t figure out what it was about as the parchment was full of dense and unknown characters.


Seemingly conscious of her gaze, Isaac continued to speak in a light tone while looking towards Dahlia. 


“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the sacred language, so I was also confused, but the outline is simple. The fact that it had to be written on parchment instead of paper and written in the sacred language, seems to imply that it’s a document handed over to the High Lords only for formality.”


Those squiggly words were actually sacred language.


As she covered her mouth in silent admiration, Isaac closed his eyes slightly.


He looked at the teacup, the floor, and the Duke in turn while explaining naturally, as if he had never looked at Dahlia. 


“Rather than for religious purposes, the fact that it was sent here with the upcoming Spring Festival in mind. But…the fact that the tax rate, which has always been applied simply must be subdivided, makes me worried.”


“Although it’s slightly complicated, it doesn’t seem to cause much change. Wouldn’t it be better to just follow the instructions of the Central government?”


With his head tilted in thought, Isaac pulled out a book from the bookshelf.


‘Study on the changes brought about by compound tariffs on the tariff rate system.’


Although the words were clearly written in Heidven, the only words she could understand were, ‘change’ and ‘study’.


Isaac’s eyes, which had been scanning the book, stopped at a certain paragraph. Isaac rubbed the book’s corner with his index finger and glanced up in the air with a face of puzzlement.


“…I heard that bringing about tax reform in this manner is only used to retrieve additional profits. How about reviewing the areas where compound tariffs are suitable with the legislative staff first? And after, you can ascertain whether the other territories can handle the burden of such a tariff rate with an insider.”


The Duke, who was listening quietly, asked a few questions.


Isaac continued his answer while staring in the air. Ever since then, questions like how to utilize the insider, what to do if there’s a problem with the tax rate, and how to raise an objection for this issue kept the discussion flowing.


Dahlia stood behind the table, quietly listening to the sound of the father and son’s speaking.


When the conversation ended, the tea poured into the teacup had already cooled. The Duke beckoned at Dahlia with a light face.


“I should return to the mansion. You. Can you follow me with these books and the parchment?”


“Yes, Master.”


Dahlia, who was standing idly, picked up books and parchment that were lying on the chess table, and gave Isaac a greeting with her eyes.


Isaac, who stood there with an indifferent look, moved his lips with a voice that was almost inaudible.


At his words to return safely, Dahlia left with a bright smile, following behind the Duke with light footsteps. 


The sun in the sky started to set, causing the surrounding to become yellow. The only thing that disturbed the silence of the forest was the footsteps of Dahlia and the Duke.


With a face in deep contemplation, the Duke remained silent. Then, just as the forest path was about to end, he spoke to Dahlia.


“So you’re the maid that Isaac cherishes these days. Well, what thoughts do you have watching from the side?”


Not realizing that it was a question directed at her, Dahlia looked at their surroundings, before answering belatedly. 


“If you’re talking about the Young Master… he’s kind and wise, and his attitude and appearance are both cultured, so he’s a flawless Young Master.”


The Duke shook his head with a subtle smile. From his expression, Dahlia realized that the answer the Duke wanted was not such a pretentious speech, so she quickly changed her tune.


“Can I… can I be honest?”


“As much as you want.”


As Dahlia hesitated while she touched her lips, she looked at the Duke’s calm expression and summoned up her courage.


“It may be rude of me to say something like this to the Master, but the rumors amongst the servants about the Young Master aren’t very pleasant. So, I was quite worried when I met him for the first time.”


The ghost of the annex. 


Filthy b*stard child. 


The Young Master, who was known for his bad reputation rather than his name, was not very welcome to Dahlia.


However, contrary to such rumors, her experience with the Young Master told her that he was a very beautiful and noble man.


“In reality, the Young Master I’ve observed was a friendly and caring person. He was willing to reach out to a servant like me, and even asked after me… there’s a lot of things that can be learnt from him as a person.”


“Many things to learn…quite so. Even an old man like me learns from him often, but a child like you will benefit more.”


The Duke grinned as used his hand to scatter the dried leaves hanging on the crevices of the branches. 


“Whatever becomes of the Eufgenschult’s bloodline, Isaac is such an outstanding kid that it’s a pity that he’s not the legitimate eldest son. If he had been born first, this family wouldn’t have been in such a mess…it’s a bit bitter, isn’t it?”


The Duke’s true intentions were revealed in his words that flowed out. Dahlia asked unsurely.


“…Master. You must care a lot for the Young Master.”


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