Chapter 22

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Although Ana wished Garcia had been more attentive, it wasn’t uncommon for busy men to be somewhat negligent of domestic affairs. Feeling a pang of regret for not having paid more attention herself, she reached out and took Eliza’s hand, which trembled slightly with anxiety and sadness in her eyes.

 

“I actually came to ask for a favor.”

 

Surprised, Ana immediately offered her assistance with a reassuring smile, subtly signaling to all the servants in the vicinity to give them privacy. It seemed clear to Ana that Eliza had a significant reason for seeking out her sister-in-law rather than her own brother.

 

After some hesitation, Eliza finally spoke. “I’m ashamed to say our family is facing financial difficulties. So, with great reluctance, I’ve come to ask for help…”

 

Unable to finish her sentence, Eliza bowed her head in shame. Coming from a noble background and living a life of privilege, it must have been incredibly hard and humiliating for her to ask for money from her sister-in-law.

 

In fact, Ana was also taken aback as this request came from none other than Eliza, sensing that her reasons were less about personal issues and more related to her marriage and her husband’s family’s circumstances.

 

Eliza’s family, though not as prominent as the Tudors, held a respectable lineage with no known financial troubles. All Ana knew was that Eliza’s husband, who was the same age as her, had worked in iron ore and the arms industry and was known as a kind and loving man deeply devoted to his wife.

 

However, Ana quickly masked her shock and responded with understanding, aiming to ease Eliza’s discomfort.

Ana spoke in a tone that was neither light nor heavy in response to her sister-in-law, who bowed her head. “Doing business sometimes requires a sudden need for a significant amount of money. Garcia often faces headaches managing funds too.”

 

Of course, Garcia, the head of the Tudor family, had never gone around borrowing money from relatives. And for an introverted person like Eliza to take such a step indicated a serious situation. Ana considered her own personal assets that she could lend without Garcia knowing as she contemplated Eliza’s dignity.

 

“How much do you need exactly?”

 

“About three thousand rubles.”

 

Ana’s hand paused as it reached for her teacup. She slowly withdrew her hand, carefully observing Eliza’s desperate and anxious face. “Eliza, may I ask what happened?”

 

“I’m sorry. I know it’s abrupt and shameless to ask for such a large amount of money suddenly.”

 

Eliza’s face was near tears. Ana sighed softly, wondering if this was how it felt to have a younger sibling. She reassured Eliza. More than feeling embarrassed or frustrated, she felt worried and pity. “I’m not trying to pry. I just want to know what’s happening to Eliza and Lanten.”

 

“I heard… Lanten’s invested in a trading company, it went bankrupt. A foreclosure notice was sent to our mansion. If we can’t pay the money within a fortnight, he might go to jail. What should I do?”

 

“My goodness, Eliza.” Ana was shocked, grasping Eliza’s trembling, cold fingertips. Trying to calm her, she squeezed her hand harder.

 

Eliza, barely holding up, spilled everything, “Lanten just tried his best. It’s not his fault! He felt a great burden because he inherited the family name and property at a young age, which should have been inherited by his older brother. He wanted to prove himself as the rightful owner of the family but fell for the deceit of a bad friend. That person ran away with all the money… Anais, please understand. Lanten just…”

 

“I know, Eliza. How could I not know what an honorable and diligent nobleman and husband he is?” Ana whispered soothingly, and Eliza finally shrank back, chewing her lips.

 

Ana stood up first and went over to hug her trembling shoulders. “It’s going to be okay. Nothing will happen.”

 

“Anais…”

 

“As you said, Lanten is a moral and excellent gentleman. He has friends in this capital who will help him, including me and Garcia.”

 

At the mention of Garcia’s name, Eliza blinked and nodded cautiously. Ana then asked what she had been wanting to say, “Does Garcia know about this? If it’s such a serious situation, Lanten could have gone to Garcia…”

 

Or perhaps he already knew?

 

As one of the nobility’s pinnacle figures and the owner of various companies, Garcia had access to vast amounts of information. The social circles and secret rumors within the noble families were complemented by Anais’s social activities.

 

Hesitantly, Eliza responded, “He’s ashamed to be dependent on his wife’s family. He said it’s shameless as he already has the precious daughter of the family as his wife and then extends his hand, asking for help. Lanten still seems concerned about the betrothal that passed between his late brother and me.”

 

Ana sighed. She understood the young man’s torment.

 

Viscount Hector Sibil, the original fiancé and future son-in-law to the Tudor, died in a sudden carriage accident. His place was taken by his younger brother. Despite the engagement’s natural dissolution, Eliza requested that her father, the Marquis Tudor, keep the promise between the families, merely changing the groom.

 

Marquis Tudor’s decision to engage his daughter to the Sibil family, despite being able to match her with a more prestigious suitor, was purely an investment in Hector Sibil’s capabilities. He was young, capable, bold, and ambitious. The marquis saw potential in his future.

 

Ironically, the person Eliza loved wasn’t Hector but his gentle younger brother, Lanten. Fortunately or unfortunately, Lanten inherited all his brother’s wealth, the family, and the woman he loved, bringing happiness but also guilt over his deceased brother.

 

“It’s not entirely his fault. Society has always jeered at Lanten as the lucky man, comparing him unfavorably with his deceased brother.”

 

Ana frowned.

 

The world of nobility is elegant yet cold-blooded, fierce, and sometimes downright vile. Hector, a rising star, left a void filled with low and playful scrutiny.

 

For a young man who dreamt of a quiet life, possibly as a missionary, these were overwhelming challenges. Additionally, his beloved wife was a direct descendant of the great Tudor family, nobility among the nobility, sister of Garcia von Tudor, favored by the Emperor, and a close friend of the Empire’s only Grand Duke.

 

Being Garcia’s brother-in-law alone was enough to draw the Emperor’s interest. Lanten, distant from politics and business, struggled under the weight of these grand names and his brother’s shadow.

 

“Don’t worry. We’ll find a way.”

 

“Thank you.” Eliza gradually calmed down, sighing in relief for the first time. She took Ana’s hand first.

 

Ana thought Eliza was too gentle and kind-hearted, embarrassed and guilty about asking her own family for help. If Ana were in her position, she might feel burdened and earnest but wouldn’t be as hesitant and lost as she was. Perhaps because Ana was closer to her brothers, or maybe a bit more shameless?

 

Three thousand rubles was indeed a large sum, but not too much for a noble family to give to a relative in urgent need. Garcia wouldn’t ignore his sister and would likely offer help willingly.

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