Be the Householder - 2
I first brought Larane into the house.
"Drink this, Larane. Wipe off some tears."
Larane, who is already shedding tears with her swollen red eyes, seemed about to collapse.
"Thank you, Tia."
Larane"s fingers were shaking lightly as she accepted the cup I handed her.
"Tell me if you"ve calmed down a little. Are you getting engaged?"
Larane"s long lashes trembled with a small sigh.
"I overheard a conversation between my mother and father a little while ago. I think it"s over to some extent."
It"s an engagement that the person concerned doesn"t know.
It sounds ridiculous, but unfortunately, it is common in the Empire.
Especially, the more powerful noble families are, the most comfortable and good way to protect their power is to marry their children.
Of course, if you care about your children, you can give them permission to get married or give them the right to decide before marriage.
Such expectations are a luxury for Viege and Serral.
"What do you want to do, Larane?"
I asked carefully.
Oh, damn it.
Larane"s tears, which had stopped, began to flow again.
I handed over my handkerchief quietly.
Said Larane, who had shed heavy tears without a wordlessly.
"......I thought this day would come one day. I"ve been learning it since I was young. Someday I have to marry someone my parents decide."
Unlike her sad face, Larane"s tone was calm.
"But then I met Sir Avinox. I knew I could be so happy just by being with someone. So I was going to tell my parents about Avinox......."
Larane squeezed the handkerchief.
"My father and mother were very happy. My marriage will be of great help to my father."
"It would be useless to tell them that I don"t want to get married."
Laughing blurryly, Larane looked so small today.
"What should I do because I feel sorry for Sir Avinox? It"s going to be a big shock. He"s more tender-hearted than he looks......."
It was then that Larane"s face, which seemed calm at first glance like a resigned person, was distorted.
Tears flowed faster as if they were bursting with emotion as they recalled Avinox.
"But I really don"t want to marry anyone other than Sir Avinox, Tia. If it"s not him, I don"t want to......."
I gave Larane a big hug.
And I waited, sweeping her back until her crying ceased.
In the meantime, I was able to feel the conflict of Larane clearly.
The thought that she have to go on a set path for her family and want to be with the person she loves.
How painful it must be to not be able to choose one of those two things or abandon the other.
The trembling body of Larane was speaking.
I said to Larane, who was calming down a little and wiping away tears.
"For now, no matter what happens, wouldn"t it be better to convey Larane"s heart to Sir Avinox?"
"Can I do that? Wouldn"t it be careless?"
"Sir Avinox would rather be worried about Larane. And this kind of thing is bound to spread quickly. I think it"s better for you to say it yourself than to let people know by gossip."
"Tomorrow, then, ahh, what should I do."
Larane realized something and stamped her feet.
"Tomorrow is the day of the reading meeting with Sir Avinox. But I think my mother is thinking of taking me to marriage meeting tomorrow....."
It so fast.
Usually, when a family gets married, they adjust the conditions one by one over time.
It"s literally a marriage made like a contract.
Perhaps the details have already been said.
Then all that remains is to make an official announcement.
"As Tia said, the rumor will have spread by tomorrow."
"The meeting place is the Ecliptic, right?"
"Yes, it"s Caramel Avenue in Sedacuna."
It"s kind of coincidental right.
I can"t believe the place is there again.
I nodded and said to Larane .
"Larane first writes a letter to Sir Avinox. I"ll go to the book club and deliver it to him tomorrow."
"Really? Ahh, thank you so much Tia!"
Larane gave me a big hug.
She"s not usually like this.
It seemed that she was very worried about Avinox.
"Then I"ll be right back and write you a letter. Wait a minute, Tia."
Larane leapt out of her seat.
I asked in a sudden curiosity as I saw Larane off.
"But who"s your opponent?"
In my previous life, Larane married a cousin of Patriarch of Ivan in the north.
Ivan"s vassal and Migente Ivan"s cousin, to be exact.
Perhaps it was the Empress"s arrangement to secure votes in the North.
I don"t think it"s him again.
I should have buried him when I went to Ivan.
Larane said to me, muttering so inwardly.
"......Your Highness First Prince."
Excuse me, the First Prince?
"Wh, what? Who?"
"Your Highness First Prince......."
I didn"t hear it wrong.
I grabbed the back of my neck that was getting stiff.
I was going to sublimate the boiling anger with a deep sigh, but I can"t believe it.
You"re both crazy.
How dare they bring a dog like Astana to Larane.
Looking at Larane, who is still neat and beautiful, although her eyes are red and swollen, I solemnly declared.
This marriage, I"ll stop it.
* * *
At the same time.
Emperor Yovanes and Empress Lavini met face to face after a long time.
Yovanes, who could not take a nap because of this schedule, yawned loudly because his mouth was torn.
"Why did you ask to see me face to face, Empress?"
"Shouldn"t we celebrate together, Your Majesty, because the marriage of the First Prince is going well?"
"Why do you connect Viege Lombardi"s daughter with Astana?"
"Yes, her mother is also my cousin, and we are very happy to be in-laws with the imperial family, so marriage is going smoothly."
"So she is Astana"s cousin, isn"t she?"
"Under Imperial law, more than an uncle can marry. Cousins often get married."
Yovanes had an uncomfortable cough.
"There"s no way the Patriarch of Lombardi would agree to that."
Marriage, a union between families, ultimately requires permission from the household owner.
And Yovanes knew Lulac"s personality well.
How terrible is the love of the blood and flesh of that stubborn man is.
Empress Lavini sneaked a glance at Yovanes and said.
"It"s nothing else, it"s a national marriage. Everything should be done according to Your Majesty"s will."
"Rejecting an imperial marriage is clearly crossing the line, no matter how Lombardi is. Only when they do not ignore the authority of the Imperial Family and His Majesty...... Isn"t that right, Your Majesty?"
"It should be."
Empress Lavini, who smiled inwardly at the scene, added another word.
"These days, Lombardi has opposed the imperial development of iron mines and said it was a headache."
Emperor Yovanes wanted to make money by developing a huge iron mine owned by the imperial family.
However, it was obvious that the iron market, which is already saturated, would be released further and the price of iron would fall further.
This is why Lulac Lombardi has expressed widespread opposition to Yovanes" plan.
As the Patriarch of Lombardi comes out like that, the number of nobles following it is considerable, so even the emperor cannot help but notice.
"If the imperial family and Lombardi had in-laws in this situation, Lombardi would no longer be able to stand against it."
Yovanes" ears were tempting.
"It would be even more useful on days when Viege"s daughter is Lombardi."
"I"m so glad you know what I mean."
Empress Lavini smiled beautifully.
And she poured her favorite solo before Jovannes, she said.
"You don"t have to decide right now. Talk to the Patriarch of Lombardi tomorrow, Your Majesty. It"s something that he might not be surprised to disagreeably."
Of course Lulac Lombardi will jump.
She has asked Serral not to tell anyone in the Lombardi family about this.
It was already decided how the old man, who usually belittled the imperial family and did not like Astana, would react to sudden marriage.
And that would touch Yovanes" pride.
Empress Lavini smiled secretly.
With a small bell, I entered Caramel Avenue.
It was full of the sweet and delicious smell unique to the dessert shop.
It wasn"t enough to soothe me today.
Maybe today is a working day at the store, but Bate approached me with a smile and said hello.
"Are you one?"
"I heard there"s a book club here today."
I answered Bate with a grin.
Showing a small collection of poems in my hand.
But why are you looking at my face?
"......reading club. I"ll take you to the second floor."
Bate and I started climbing the stairs together.
"Who is it?"
Bate asked with his voice down.
"The one who made Lady Florentia so angry. I don"t know who it is, but I think I should take time for mourning in advance."
"......I"m not mad."
"Look in the mirror and say, I got goosebumps looking on your smiling face. Look at this."
Bate said, showing his arm turned chicken meat between his shirts.
In the meantime, we arrived on the second floor and I pretended to look around and asked.
"......Avinox Luman. Where is he?"
"Ah, it"s because of Lady Larane"s marriage."
Bate clicked his tongue and pointed up with his finger.
"Young Lord Luman is alone on the terrace on the third floor. Just looking at the expression, I felt like he would jump down, so I wanted to give it another seat, but there seemed to be someone waiting separately, so I gave it."
I grabbed my dress hard and said, climbing the stairs again.
"Then make sure no one enters the third-floor terrace from now on."
At the end of the sentence, he glanced at Bate, who clicked his tongue, saying, "Oh, tsk tsk!" and I came up to the third floor.
Fortunately, there weren"t many people on the third floor.
As Bate said, Avinox was on the terrace.
The book of poems, which is the theme of the reading group, was thrown away on the table, while sighing completely.
Though he looked up at the sky wistfully.
I don"t see that in my eyes right now.
I went out on the terrace and immediately closed the door behind my back.
At the sound, Avinox turned his head and his eyes were round to see if he recognized me.
And I wielded a collection of poems in my hand.
Avinox"s shoulder, hit by the book, shook greatly.
"Flo, Lady Florentia......."
"That"s why you should"ve proposed to marry earlier! I told you to express it like that!"
When I saw the blonde hair and the gentle face shining under the sun, I felt how well Avinox looked with Larane , making me bloated.
"Our Larane, take responsibility!"