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Common Sense of a Duke’s Daughter

Chapter 91: The Man’s Anger

 

“If this is all you’ve got, then you can’t even afford a single thing once! Penniless peasants need to get out of my shop!” With a furious voice, he was driven out of the store.

He frantically tried to reenter, but the door was firmly shut without any sign of opening again.

“…. Shit!” He began angrily cursing.

This small street was quite dark even though it was daytime…. No, actually the avenue was brightly lit by the sunlight. But passerby’s eyes were lifeless, emitting a depressing, glum ambience.

In the past, this area was a commons for those who weren’t wealthy, but also not dirt-poor. It was a pleasant facility full of laughter—though this was a bit of an exaggeration, at least people weren’t as spiritless as they were now.

When did it become this way? The atmosphere dropped like a rock from a cliff, tumbling down, down, down. Since when did I begin seeing so many shadows and darkness?

This kingdom was slowly rotting.

The tax rate hadn’t changed a bit, even with the decrease of wages. Average goods consumption of families will fall, resulting in lower budgets for guilds. Unable to sell off their inventory, businesses will in turn provide less stock. This chain reaction will echo in an unstoppable wave.

Although economic relief and damage control for citizens have become commonplace, they were no more than facades of the upper-class.

If they actually wished to help the lower and middle classes with good intentions, they should have given us jobs and money. Though everyone needs food and sustenance, if we kept relying on their short-term solutions, what would happen when they stop providing relief? Furthermore, humans need more than merely food.

So foolish, the man laughed bitterly.

Even if one were not to work, there would be people providing food, which wasn’t a bad notion…. By providing effortless living, this kingdom was so considerate of its people.

However, I believed…. This was no different from being kept as livestock by the superior, and I simply could not accept that. Has nobody realized the unstable situation? Or is everyone just pretending to be blind?

The kingdom was rotting slowly.

Nevertheless, people will ultimately become weary with the ruler’s decisions and actions. The populace were always the ones who paid the price of the nobility’s mistakes.

To put simply, I didn’t have any money. Without money, I couldn’t buy medicine. Under these circumstances, no matter how much food I received, it wouldn’t help me at all.

“You, over there.” A voice called out abruptly nearby. I looked to the direction of its owner. A cloaked figure stood in my way. Although I couldn’t see her face clearly through the hood, I could determine that the person was a woman.

“Yes, you.” What does this finely-dressed woman want with me? “Your name is….” The name she spoke was indeed mine. How did she know my name? “Is that right?”

“…. Yes, it is. What do you want from me?”

“Hm, well, do you feel remorseful?”

“…. Ha?”

“Everything you had was stolen, and you’ve even been driven to this pitiful state…. No, not everything. What you protect still remains by your side.”

My mind settled quickly, and immediately I crossed distance between us. This should be fine if I’m not cautious, right? It’s only a woman after all.

“Don’t be deceived by appearances…. I understand this so fully it’s annoying. Unfortunately, I don’t trust anyone anymore. Especially those of you who appear out of nowhere.”

“Indeed. If you haven’t learned your lesson after being betrayed, then you really are an idiot.”

My face soured at the woman’s words. “Although I don’t know how or where you discovered this information, I’m not interested in whatever you want.”

“But I need something from you.”

“Then find someone else.” I turned my back to her. Although, I would become angrier passing that closed shop door once again, it was better than speaking to this woman.

“Alright, I’ll cut the nonsense. Do you not want to reclaim everything you lost?”

“…. Not interested.”

“Really? I believe that if you did, your brother might be in a better situation than he is in right now.”

With that sentence, I stopped in my tracks. “…. What do you want from me?”

“Everything. Your name…. Existence, and all that lies behind it.”

“Do you want me to wag my tail and beg like a dog?”

“I don’t need pets. What I need is for you to become my hand and foot, and work for me.”

“Ha…. What specifically are you asking me to do?”

“I’m not planning to make you do anything weird, you know. I only wish to help you reclaim what you lost. It is shameless work that will help return you to your previous situation, and nothing more.”

“How could I believe something like that? Such innocent ambitions don’t exist.”

“…. That man is standing in my way, too.” Compared to the sweet, soft tone she spoke with before, her voice sounded icy and crystalline. “He flies around like a gnat. He sticks his hands into the path of my conglomerate, and that buzzing sound in my ears has been nonstop. It can really rub people the wrong way. So, I too wish for that man to be gone from my sight.”

With a whoosh, she peeled her cloak away. Long, silver hair glittered under the sunlight. I had never seen such a beautiful lady before.

“…. My name, is Iris. I’m the head of the Azuta Conglomerate.”

Listening to her words, the questions in my head grew more and more. Say, isn’t the Azuta Conglomerate one of the largest businesses in the Royal City? And the head of that group… Is a young woman?

“It doesn’t matter if you believe me or not, the gears have already begun to turn. Even without you, things would not be affected that much…. But, if you do work under me, it’ll truly make matters easier. I don’t prefer to increase my workload.” With those words, she smiled bitterly. That harmless grin nearly stopped my heart.

But, we weren’t finished yet.

“So, this is an exchange. You will…. Use my name and power properly. And, I will also use your name and power…. How do you wish to do this? For me, I would be perfectly fine with running away with my tail between my legs.”

With my response, she smiled in a different fashion. Her expression seemed to say: If you run away now, then you’ve lost…. Do you want to be defeated like this? Indeed, indignation sparked to life in my heart.

“…. I, will not perform any work not agreed upon.”

“That’s enough. We have a deal…. Come with me.”

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