The Strange Man (1)
The next morning.
Elusiana couldn’t shake the constant feeling of discomfort while going to work in the ‘Fragrant Garden’.
Last night, she looked for Astein in his room.
If she pretended not to know this awkwardness, she would burst into anger sooner or later.
But when she visited, his room was already empty.
She decided to wait for him, hoping he won’t stay out overnight.
She fell asleep and woke up surprised to face a bright morning sun.
Just in case, she hurried down to the dining room.
but only Simon was sitting there.
“Father, what about As?”
“He said he has an urgent matter.”
At this point, Elusiana thought, ‘Is he avoiding me on purpose?’.
She let out a long sigh after swallowing a weak laugh.
The anxiety that she had been struggling to push away, raised in her head.
It was as if protesting what she was going to do now.
“It’s just my guess… That’s all.”
She couldn’t have left Astein deceiving her.
As a caregiver, one person who supported him so far, she must have built up that much trust.
Why don’t I do something so that I won’t care about it anymore?”
Ha… Elusiana sighed a little and stopped in front of the store before she knew it.
“Huh? Is there someone inside?”
Elusiana’s forehead narrowed on the silhouette of the adult in the store.
Trisha was the only one who had the key, and she contacted her two days ago that she wouldn’t be able to come in for a while.
Elusiana opened the store with a curious look on her face.
Trisha, who was picking out flowers, exclaimed joyfully as she heard the bell.
“Lady!” She jumped from her seat, ran quickly and grabbed Elusiana’s hand.
Her plump, cute face in her early thirties was quickly stained with concern.
“Oh my God! Our pretty Lady’s face is half messed up.
Why didn’t you listen to me when I told you to take it easy on that side?”
Elusiana calmed down and asked Trisha, who was making a fuss.
“Trisha, what brings you here? You told me that you were so busy with this contract.”
“Oh, don’t even talk about it.” At Elusiana’s words, Trisha shook her body as if her teeth were shaking and she was sick and tired of it.
“Is it because you’ve never seen such a terrible person in your life?” Elusiana asked, putting the excited Trisha in a chair.
“Because of the butler, who is called a deputy?”
“Yes! There is no such thing as that perverted grandpa who bullies people very intelligently.
It’s natural that each color is different, but if you take that into account—”
Trisha chewed hard as if her anger had accumulated a lot.
Elusiana recalled memories from five years ago, as she listened to Trisha.
Before Viscount Waieos’s total collapse, Elusiana bought a building in the center of the island.
Of course, it was with Trisha’s name, not hers.
At first, the rent was set, but after the butler’s death, she couldn’t cover the monthly fixed cost.
So Elusiana asked Trisha, who had a good knowledge of flower arrangements, to run a flower shop.
The flower shop was called ‘Fragrant Garden’.
She didn’t expect much.
Just, she thought it was enough, even if she didn’t have enough to live on.
However, in five years, Trisha has made the Fragrant Garden the most famous flower shop on the island, and expanded it to the point of opening three more branches.
Not only was she talented in flower arrangement, but her business skills were also exceptional.
“Lady! Lady? Are you listening to me?”
“Yes, I’m listening.
But isn’t it better to break the contract if there’s that much nitpicking?”
If it was only once or twice, continuous protest would be a problem.
Furthermore, it was difficult to understand beyond the difficulty level, which had room to claim damages even after the contract was fulfilled.
Seeing that the schedule is tight, I don’t think it was intentionally delayed— Where did you say the contract was signed?
It was time for Elusiana to narrow her forehead while tracing her memory.
Suddenly, Trisha jumped up from her seat, screaming.
“Ah! It’s crazy!”
Trisha, who contemplated, took a breath as she stared at the clock above the door.
“Why? What’s wrong?”
“I’m screwed, Lady.”
Elusiana, who was stuck with Trisha trying to leave the store in a hurry, said, “Calm down, Trisha.
What’s wrong with you?”
“No, it’s too late.
Lady, we have to go now.”
“I don’t believe I have to go.
Where? Where did you sign the contract this time?”
Trisha staggered, evading her words.
Elusiana let out a low sigh and said, “This is more than once, isn’t it?”
“Never mind, Lady.
I will take care of it.”
“If it’s hard, let’s cancel this contract, Trisha.
There is no need to overdo it.”
If I could do that, I would really like to.
But I think that’s going to be a little difficult, Lady.”
“How come you’re in trouble?”
Trisha, who was worried before, smiled bitterly as if she had swallowed a handful of salt.
“The contractor…is the Grand Duke of Sestain.”
Elusiana was speechless at the completely unexpected name.
The Grand Duke of Sestain.
All of them were crazy about magic, and they were an insurmountable family that even the emperor couldn’t ignore if it was related to magic.
So how can the contract they brought with them be like an ordinary contract?
As you might have guessed in advance, there were countless unheard-of taboos attached to the contract with the Grand Duke Sestain.
Horrific clause that started with ‘cut off the contractor’s finger’ and ended with ‘throwing a piece of filth as dog food for 25 days’.
In addition, there were also minor clauses such as repeatedly soaking and removing a bucket of water until you die, or pulling out your fingernail one by one over a period of five minutes.
Nevertheless, the payment handed over was just as appetizing and desirable as the forbidden fruit.
Trisha couldn’t resist the temptation of the glittering gold and signed the contract as if possessed.
So who is to blame?
“It’s all my fault, Lady.
I should have noticed that it was a strange contract when they said they would pay ten times the down payment.”
Elusiana shook her head, and gently grasped Trisha’s hand.
Where is it her fault? It was because of the poor reality of the Waieos family.
Trisha wouldn’t have been greedy for a contract like this if I hadn’t burdened you.”
The salary Simon received while working at the imperial palace was enough to take care of the children in the Angel’s house.
In addition, Simon’s remoteness was a bonus.
If it wasn’t for the income of the Fragrant Garden, the Waieo’s family title of nobility would have passed into someone else’s hands.
Because the only thing left after making the money was a title.
Elusiana swallowed a word she couldn’t bear to say and bit her lips.
Recognizing her inner feelings, Trisha spoke as if to comfort her.
“Don’t worry, Lady.
I will finish this job well.
I will do everything they ask me to do.
But can’t they cut me some slack?”
Elusiana stopped crying at Trisha’s playful eyes.
It was Trisha who stood by her from the day she fell into the strange world until now.
Even after her family fell, Trisha tried to help her somehow.
Thanks to this, the flower shop that had one branch was reborn as a large store with three branches.
She was thankful for that and she was so sorry that one side of her heart felt heavy.
“Thank you, as always.”
“My lady is doing it again.
You said it was too much for me to treat you like this, right? But Lady, why are you crying again? You will get wrinkles on your pretty forehead.”
“Who said I’m crying? Trisha saw it wrong.”
“Yes, yes, Lady is right.
I saw it wrong.”
“I’m not kidding, Trisha.
Tell me if it’s hard.
Don’t try to solve it alone, okay?”
“Hoho, I get it.
I will keep that in mind.
Then I will be going now— Gasp!”
Trisha’s body, who had turned around with a bashful smile, suddenly stopped.
“Trisha, why… are you being like that again?”
Just in time, Trisha turned her head and looked at Elusiana.
As if she had found delicious prey, her eyes were shining.
Without realizing it, Elusiana involuntarily stepped back from her.
“W-Why are you looking at me like that?
Trisha, who approached her as if not to miss, grabbed Elusiana’s hand.
“Lady asked me to tell you if it’s hard, right? And said to never solve it alone!”
Never? I said that before? Elusiana nodded without realizing it.
That was because Trisha’s eyes were sparkling more unusually.
They look like they’re really going to eat me up.
Trisha took a step closer.
“Please do me one favor, my Lady.”
“F-Favor? What kind of favor?”
“Please deliver these!”
“…you want me to do it?”
Trisha, who tightened her grip as if she was her only hope to stay alive, appealed with a grim face.
“The only one who can solve this is Lady! No, it’s something that must be done by Lady!”
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