Be the Householder - 2
There was a moment of silence on the terrace.
Grandfather was looking at me without blinking.
And the moment I thought I was slowly getting a smile in my eye.
Grandfather burst into laughter.
"That"s so...... hahaha!"
It was a big and cheerful laugh that the wine in his hand flowed out of the glass.
I waited quietly until my grandfather"s laughter died down.
"That"s the gift you chose, Florentia."
"Yes. It"s an adult birthday present, so I was greedy for something nice, grandpa."
Grandfather murmured, rubbing his trim beard.
"It"s a right that anyone in my lineage has. Even if you don"t want it as a birthday present, it"s already yours."
I shook my head firmly to my grandfather.
Since my return I"ve had more Lombardi-like childhood than anyone else.
Therefore, as in my previous life, I"m in a situation where I am criticized for having a mother whose origins are unknown.
But that"s not all I have to go over.
"What I want for my birthday is not just an exercise of rights, but my grandfather"s support for it."
"Why do you think you need my support?"
"Of course, I"m fully qualified to exercise my rights. I"m an adult, your granddaughter, and I"m pretty smart."
My grandfather laughed low as if he agreed with me.
"But at the same time, I"m a woman. I"ve only become an adult. I"m well aware of the obstacles in my way, Grandpa."
I looked straight at my grandfather.
"If I invoke my rights and touch the business, there will be resistance."
That"s exactly how Viege would turn out.
Up until now, he has considered only Shannanet to be his rival and has been growing his strength outside Lombardy, but he will try to cut the buds for fear that even his young nephew will stand out.
"Just once, please support me. I don"t need any other help."
I"m already all set.
A strange smile bloomed on my grandfather"s face, who was silently listening to me.
"Okay, I"ll do as you say. You want it as a birthday present. I"ll have to pay for it."
My grandfather"s love for me seems to spew out many times more than usual.
"When are you going to get your birthday present?"
"Yes, very soon."
I must have gotten my grandfather"s promise.
Just in time, there"s no need to wait any longer.
Grandfather smiled at me and said.
"I"ll be looking forward to it."
One corner of the banquet hall full of people dressed up.
There, raucous with music and all sorts of noises, Gallahan sat with his chin resting on a fluffy sofa, silently lost in thought.
Lombardi"s 3rd sons, and the owner of Gallahan clothing store that stretched throughout the empire.
Although he was a man who followed such a great modifier, it was not that he caught the glances of the nobles who were glancing at this moment.
It was the face of an outstanding Gallahan, lost in thought with his long legs folded loosely.
It was when Gallahan blinked slowly and sighed low.
"Do you have any concerns?"
Gallahan"s expression brightened with the appearance of Clarivan, who had been talking softly.
"It"s Lady Florentia"s birthday banquet, and Sir Gallahan doesn"t look the best here."
"Oh, is that so...Mr. Clarivan is right. I should think about it later and enjoy Tia"s birthday."
Gallahan scratched his cheek, awkwardly.
Looking at the figure, Clarivan shook his head as he sat near Gallahan.
"We should share our concerns, rather than procrastinate. If you tell me what"s going on, I"ll think about it with you."
Gallahan was briefly in conflict.
He"s sure there"ll be a good solution if he can think with Clarivan about it together.
He didn"t doubt it that way.
But he couldn"t bother him, who was busy leading Pellet"s business.
"It"s all right, Clarivan. I"ll figure it out on my own......."
"Now, don"t you need my help?"
Gallahan jumped and shook his hands.
"But I"m sure you"re busy with Pellet"s business, and I"m too embarrassed to put a burden on you when Tia owes you one."
"Don"t say that."
Clarivan said in a low voice.
"You are not only the father of Florentia. You were also a partner who once founded the Gallahan clothing store."
"You"re already a special person to me like a family. But if you say that, I"m rather disappointed."
"......thank you for saying that."
Gallahan laughed helplessly.
"Now tell me what you"re worried about."
Clarivan said, with ease, raising one foot and crossing his legs.
"It"s not about a fancy clothing store. The clothing store is stable enough without me. It"s just that the Chesail estate......."
"You mean the southern lands awarded with the National Foundation Medal. I know you"ve been told you"ve been on Chesail land a lot lately."
"Yes, it"s a relaxed and peaceful place, as Aunt said. But......."
Depth reappeared in Gallahan"s face.
"It"s hard to finance the Chesail area, perhaps because I haven"t been given the estate for a long time because of the work of the clothing store I"ve been doing."
"How much do you want to win?"
"Oh, of course, the people of the land don"t get hungry. But that"s all."
Chesail was not a small estate with a population of tens of thousands.
In other words, the lives of tens of thousands of people now depend on Gallahan.
And for Gallahan, who has recently begun to look after the Chesail area, the burden has come too far.
"It"s okay in the year when the farming is good. They have something to eat. However, in the years of famine, hundreds of people die. It is the result of the entire estate dedicated solely to farming."
"To be honest. It"s not uncommon for the common people to live that much in the Empire."
Clarivan said coldly.
"I know. But......."
There are deep wrinkles on Gallahan"s frown.
"I"ve seen my father run Lombardi all my life. Although Chesail doesn"t want to see Lombardi growth in the short term. At least there is another way for people of interest to earn a stable return. Like the citizens of Lombardi."
At the words of Clarivan, Gallahan burst into a sour laugh.
"Ha ha. I"m a little bit like that."
"But now that you"re in charge of one estate, it"s a wonderful concern."
"Tha, thank you. I can"t believe I got such a compliment from Sir Clarivan."
"......I think I"m a cold-blooded person who doesn"t say good word."
But Gallahan smiled awkwardly and avoided answering.
Clarivan looked at such Gallahan a little unhappy and said.
"There"s one more asset on the Chesail estate other than the open plains to farm."
"What is it......?"
"It"s a river. Isn"t the Chesaille area located at the bottom of the great Nocta River?"
"And a little way down the Nocta River."
"Crossing the Elby River to the eastern Luman Territory!"
A faint smile hung over Clarivan"s face.
"Finally, it"s the main point of land transportation between the central and southern regions. There seems to be ample potential as a starting point for a good water trade route to bypass the rugged mountainous terrain to the east."
"As expected of you, Clarivan!"
At Gallahan"s cheers, Clarivan shrugged briefly.
It meant, "What the hell is this?"
Then, Shannanet"s twins joined the two.
"Why did you come here?"
"It"s a crowded place, so you"re here to show off."
"What do you mean, Gillieu, Mairon?"
When asked by Gallahan, the twins exchanged glances briefly and answered.
"The empress...... she"s picking a fight with Tia again."
"To kill Tia"s spirit every time she run into her at the banquet."
"Why does she keep doing that when she"s never been successful?"
"And so did my mother. She... she didn"t attend the banquet because she was bothered by the empress."
"Ugh, I hate it."
Gallahan"s complexion darkened when he heard the twins talking.
His hips were already half way off the chair.
"Maybe it"s a good idea for me to go......."
"She"ll be fine."
Clarivan said, dissuading such Gallahan.
"Don"t worry too much."
It would be better to worry about the empress who had a quarrel with Florentia.
Clarivan thought so and swallowed his laughter.
"Lady Florentia is a wise and smart person, so she will pass it well without bumping into the Empress."
Gallahan sat down again, nodding at Clarivan"s words.
But that"s also for a while.
Gallahan jumped out of his seat, unable to resist.
"I"m afraid not."
"I"ll have to go check on Tia and come back."
"Tia is fine."
There was one more voice that stopped Gallahan.
It was Perez who was deprived of his time with Tia by Lulac.
"......Your Highness Second Prince?"
Gallahan, who only remembered Perez"s childhood, asked in a voice of doubt.
"Long time no see, Lord Gallahan Lombardi."
"I, I don"t recognize you."
Gallahan stuttered in surprise.
So much so that Perez"s change was surprising.
"I"m on my way back from meeting Tia. Tia is talking to the Patriarch right now, so you don"t have to worry too much.
"Is that right......."
Gallahan"s complexion, hardened by concerns about his daughter, has become noticeably brighter.
Meanwhile, standing next to Gallahan, Clarivan opened his eyes wide and could not take his eyes off Perez.
He knew that Florentia and Perez were constantly exchanging letters.
Thanks to this, he often heard from Florentia about the Second Prince.
But the news was mostly just "who did you get along with" or "what test did you get first place" or something like that.
As time passed and watched Florentia grow, Perez in his head was just a child who always left for the academy.
But Perez, who appeared six years later, was beyond imagination.
"It"s a lot of pressure."
Clarivan thought so and looked at Perez.
Now he"s talking to Gallahan in a gentle manner, but if that person stares at him with hostility.
Clarivan frowned unconsciously.
To the best of his knowledge, Lulac was the only one with this level of charisma.
Although he had faced Emperor Yovanes several times at imperial banquets, he had no such strong influence as Perez.
The moment he thought like that.
Clarivan and Perez"s red eyes met head-on.
"There you are."
And in it, Clarivan could read some of the fast passing emotions.
"Lord Clarivan Pellet, owner of Pellet Corporation."
It was an incomprehensible vigilance mixed with a little curiosity.