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Episode 43. Trade and Alliance (2)
Kang Chul-In had no intention of meeting Lee Chae Rin for free.
If she wanted to meet him this bad then, there must be a reason or she wanted to depend on him so badly.
If Lee Chae Rin was a commoner, it wasn’t a problem, but she was a lord which made him act colder against her. That is why he had to set a term on this meeting, even if that was a minor thing. And that term was… BBQ.
Kang Chul-In has no talent in cooking meat or in preparing a nice meal.
How was he supposed to respect his parents if he was not good at these things? I had to use whatever was available, and that was Lee Chae Rin.
Park Soon Ja called Kang Chul-In in the most subtle way.
“Where did you meet her?”
“We used to work together.”
“Did you notice that she is so bubbly and pretty? I guess she would be a perfect fit for my son’s bride, don’t you think? Oh my… I would like to have her as a daughter-in-law this instant.”
Park Soon Ja’s eyes were locked on Lee Chae Rin who was washing the vegetables at the sink.
“It’s not like that.”
Kang Chul-In shook his head.
“You may know her as a close friend. We are not involved romantically in any way.”
“But still. I hope you try, ok?”
He did not answer.
‘At least there won’t be any mention of blind dates anymore.’
He felt relief.
‘Funny, how this tedious problem can be a burden.’
Kang Chul-In could not believe the difference between a lord and Chul-In, his mother’s son.
Even so, he had no intention of boasting his position as a lord in front of this mother.
He was a bad son to her in the past.
He was so into money and power that he was neglecting his one and only blood family in this world. A son who could only send his mother thousands of dollars but never show up for 10 years. He had to feel guilty on his actions.
“Mother, it is ready. Please sit here.”
The dinner was set and Lee Chae Rin led Park Soon Ja to the table with an amiable attitude.
“I told you to just sit here, you shouldn’t have done anything!”
“No. Mr. Chul-In’s mother is my mother too, so how could I just simply accept the dinner table? Don’t think about it and sit here.”
“Oh~ you adorable one.”
“Please, sit here~”
The two women were having such a nice time. Kang Chul-In was the only one who could not get used to this atmosphere. What would Lucia think if his merciless strong lord was in this situation…
‘But… It is not a bad deal.’
Even if he could not be used to the scene, he was satisfied by the deal he made with Lee Chae Rin, as he looked at his smiling mother.
He set his term to meet his mother, set a dinner table and cook the meat for her instead of him. Also, he asked her to hint as if they were seeing each other.
If was also a big lie to his mother, but it was a reasonable choice.
Losing her husband Kang Han in the early stage of marriage and to raise Kang Chul-In alone, Park Soon Ja wanted her son to get married fast and start a family.
Maybe it was an obvious thing.
To the Kang Chul-In family, there wasn’t a lot of cousins and the ones who were there were trouble. The caused stress and acted worse than a bad neighbor. That is why Park Soon Jan wanted to have a daughter-in-law and a grandchild.
The thing is, Kang Chul-In didn’t want to date someone, nor go on blind dates. That is why his mother was so keen on this subject.
So, the only option that he could think of was, to put Lee Chae Rin before him, giving his mother false hope and escape the deadly marriage pressure. It was as if the pressure was the spear and he dodged it with the shield called ‘Lee Chae Rin’.
At least she won’t mention it for another few months.
How knows? He might actually have a girlfriend by then.
“What kind of meat is it?”
Tasking the well-cooked peacock dragon meat, Park Soon Ja was surprised.
“Son, where did you get this? It is something I’ve never tasted before?”
Of course, it was a meat of a dragon, so she would never have tasted before.
He gave an excuse.
“I went to Japan and the owner there gave me bear meat… It’s supposed to be a special type of meat so, I brought it for you.
“That is delicious… but why aren’t you eating?”
“I don’t like it… There are some people who like it and not. If it’s ok, please have some more.”
“But still… You should try some.”
It was a meat for Park Soon Ja so, he wouldn’t eat a piece. Lee Chae Rin also did not touch the meat.
Park Soon Ja sighed after finishing the meal.
“Why is it so hot in here?
She was flapping her hands as if the meat was working.
“Ms. Stay with my son. I feel like I’m overheating so I want to go outside. I guess that bear meat really worked. Why do I feel so good?”
She should be.
Eating a peacock dragon’s meat is like the neck chain of a cow. So, she won’t feel sick for a good 1, 2 years.
“I’ll be back, my son. Spend a little time with this young lady, will you? Have a good time! Ok~??”
She hurried off after leaving some hint in her words. She must have liked Lee Chae Rin so much.
‘I should get her a good item.’
Kang Chul-In saw the back of his mother and thought of items that could protect her, that was at least over the Unique level. If he got her something like a ring or an earring, 2, 3 of them will be able to protect her from any harm.
Lee Chae Rin was struggling to start a conversation.
“Let’s talk, shall we?”
Kang Chul-In started.
“No, let’s talk. Lord Lee Chae Rin.”
She startled a bit to the change of the tone of his voice, but she realized that he was addressing her as a lord, so she accepted it.
“Ok, lord Kang Chul-In.”
The two talked on the roof of Kang Chul-In’s house. This was to prepare from when Park Soon Ja coming in without a warning.
She spoke bluntly.
He answered in short.
“I am under attack.”
“Already… Well, that can happen.”
He realized that her land was located in the same Pandemonium region. Kang Chul-In held his face with great stress.
While the lords of the mainland were all concentrating on the inside, the lords of the outskirts of Pandemonium region was starting a war already. This could only be explained by the sanity of their leaders.
‘As I thought. The reason why I don’t know Lee Chae Rin.’
Now he knew why she could not show up during the Lord Union meeting.
She already lost.
The longest she could survive was probably until right before the first Lord Union meeting on 25th December 2012. She will be stripped off of her title before then… Or worst be killed by the other lords.
“How am I supposed to help you?”
After listening to him over the phone, it was clear that she was trying to express herself as a lord.
“If you are trying to act like a lord at this point, it is too late. Just tell me. This will not be done in a day.”
Kang Chul-In smirked. She already begged to him. There was no dignity to be protected.
“Send… Send me a supporting army. You are a lord too. If you send me the troops…”
He cut the conversation sharp, declining Lee Chae Rin’s request.
“If what you want is supporting troops, then there is nothing to be discussed further. It is a waste of time.”
“Why? You said you’ll help!”
“I can give you personal advice for help. But sending troops is a different matter.”
A simple advice and sending a whole army was different in scale.
A War is not a joke.
Asking for a troops was not to be said even as a joke. Even if Kang Chul-In wanted to help her, he had to put things straight.
“Lord Lee Chae Rin.”
He looked at her straight into her eyes. Clear to the point.
“Think about it. The meaning of asking for troops.”
“Is there a reason why my people have to spill their blood to protect you and your land? Of course, they will die for you if I give the right orders. But where is the meaning in that? Have you ever thought about the blood my people will have to spill because of your request?”
His cold answer made her freeze. She didn’t expect him to decline the request like this.
But she didn’t give up.
“I’m not asking without a price.”
This showed how desperate she was.
“Let’s make a deal.”
She finally showed her side of the card.
“I will pay for the troops you send me.”
“What kind of payment?”
“I have a lot of money. A lot.”
“Then why don’t you buy troops with your own money?”
“That.. is not that easy. To be honest, even if I have the money, I can’t win this war.”
There must be a reason for this.
Otherwise, the equation of [Money = troops] should have worked. Like the politician and father of the Latin language, Cicero said ‘A War’s never-ending engine is the infinite fund.’
“So, you will give me money if I send the troops?”
“Fearless, you are.”
“There is almost no interaction between the lords and you are here asking me to welcome my troops to your land. I don’t know why you would say that in this kind of situation.”
“What… do you mean?”
“A bloodless victory, and betrayal.”
“It’s only going to take about 30 minutes to get to the headquarters. Then your head will be paraded on top of the castle wall and I will take your land as a whole. No aftermath. Nobody is looking over you and me, so there is no need to make a valid reason for it, don’t you think?”
“How can you be so cruel…!”
“Don’t act naïve. A lord’s enemy is a lord. You can always be betrayed by the one that you believed the most. That is a lord.”
His words were harsh but right. What would you do about it? That was the life of a lord.
“Are.. you going to do so? Will you pretend to help me and march in with your soldiers, cutting my head off? Taking everything that I have?”
Her voice trembled. How she sobbed while saying these words was so pitiful that most of the men would become soft.
“If necessary, yes.”
But Kang Chul-In was not one of those men.
“But… I would look over this if that person is the one who helped a clueless newbie.”
He thought of the old days with Lee Chae Rin.
There was one woman who looked after Kang Chul-In, while he was working for a human garbage, psychotic bastard boss. It was over 10 years ago, but thinking about it, he had some affectionate feeling to Lee Chae Rin.
“So… Will you send the troops?”
She asked as if she was hanging from a cliff.
“Of course not.”
He still had no intention of sending the troops. He had his own problems.
Laputa’s army was only about 100 men. He had no treasury to back him up to buy units or expand the land.
What if he landed the troops and other lords attacked?
Thanks to the dragon-safe buff, there might not be another dragon, but what if another kind of monster attacked?
“Then… That will not happen. I understand now. How you feel.”
“Aren’t you saying that you will not send me troops? I need those troops. If you can’t send me them, then I have no business with you anymore. Huh… It is my fault. I tried to lean on you. I’m sorry, to show such a disappointing side of me…”
Her tears dropped as she spoke those words. The tears looked frozen after being swept by the cold winter night’s breeze.
“Too fast. It is too soon.”
“What.. do you mean?”
“Don’t you think that there is a way, even if I did not send you those troops?”
Lee Chae Rin lights up at the slight chance of hope.