Chapter 22.
Are you disappointed in me?


Could it be that the Griffin’s appearance in the orchard of Gallard was all plotted by Altair?

When Nadia’s eyes widened at the profound conversation between the two, Altair ignored her gaze, pretending nothing was wrong and raised the count, who was lying flat on the ground.

“I guess it can’t be helped then, since you have apologised this much.
I will accept the quest to clear the beasts for the count’s sake.
I suppose my wife would think the same.”

“I-I’d appreciate it if you could!”

“However, as promised, you will have to pay for it.
We are solving a request that no one else accepts after all.”

“Of course, of course!”

The count bowed his head to thank him multiple times, completely forgetting the pathetic appearance he bore just now.
It was to the point where it’s hard to believe he had once used his status as a count to arrogantly show off his power.

From how he’s been humiliated today, I don’t think he’ll ever pick a fight again!

In addition, because of the fear that the beast problem might arise again at any time, it would be impossible to turn Aylesford into their enemy.

If this was all planned by Altair…

It’s amazing!

With that thought, Nadia turned to look at Altair in admiration.

Altair in the novel was a character who boasted of strength.
She didn’t know that he was also the cunning and calculative type that could pull the strings from behind like this.

 Being able to discover the hidden details of the novel was quite interesting.

“Don’t worry! I’ll give you any amount of money you desire if you kick out the griffin!”

“Money… well, I don’t know.”

Altair tilted his head, still avoiding Nadia’s gaze.

“As the Count knows better than anyone else, the situation in our estate is very different from before.
Getting paid in remuneration doesn’t sound all that attractive.”

“Well, then…?”

“Hand over a portion of the orchard.”

“Wh-wha-what did you say?”

The Count was staggered.

“Are you getting back at me for asking you to give up your stake in the Magic Stone Mine?”

“Get back at you? I’m merely asking for fair compensation.
The Count happened to let me know that handing over a share of a property is also a way of compensation, so I’m putting it to good use.”

“Th-that-that’s nonsense!”

“Oh? Well then, you can refuse if you think it’s nonsense.
That way, we don’t have to accept your request either.”


“That…”

At Altair’s calm reply, the Count shuddered.
It was not an easy situation to decide whether to  withdraw or accept.

Altair did not rush and just stood still, waiting for his answer.
It was an attitude that only those who had the upper hand in negotiations could show.
That alone showed how much influence each of the two had on the other.

Eventually, everything came to an end.

“How much… do you want?”

“Since I don’t have much greed, let’s just go with twenty percent.”

“Twen-twenty percent?!”

“If we leave it be, you’d have to abandon the entire orchard.”

“But twenty is too much… If it’s t-ten percent…”

“Is that so? Then let’s go with ten percent.”

Altair nodded as if there was no problem.
He seemed to have thought of ten percent from the beginning but called for twenty.

Count Gallard must have noticed that as well, since his face screamed ‘damn you!’, but the words did not come out of my mouth.

“Then, shall we document the conversation between the two of you?”

When the deal was concluded, Pavel, who had been quietly watching the situation from the side, stepped forward, adjusting his glasses.
Through his spectacles, his eyes scanned through Count Gallard coldly.

“A contract is essential for a request.
The last time we made a verbal agreement, someone betrayed our trust and threw us some useless land instead of the promised reward.”

“I-I didn’t know there was such a terrible person…”

Count Gallard cleared his throat awkwardly at Pavel’s statement, which anyone could see that it was a criticism directed toward him.
He did not want the onlookers to know that he was the main character of the mentioned incident.

“Well, that’s fine.
Thanks to that, our territory has been very lucky now.”

“Th-that’s right… congratulations…”

At the mention of the fortune he had missed, Count Gallard turned depressed and his shoulders drooped.
It was his complete defeat.

Count Gallard trudged into the castle, following Pavel, who guided him in an elegant manner.
The sight of the count’s back from behind though seemed large but felt strangely pathetic and small.

What do I do? It’s so refreshing!

It was the first time Nadia experienced such exhilaration because she had never been able to say what she wanted properly and had always kept it in her heart.

She was in a very good mood.
It was so joyful that even her face seemed to heat up slightly.

Unable to express such joy in words, she held on tightly to the hem of her skirt, and Altair, who was standing next to her, frowned and leaned over.

His eyes, which had come closer, meticulously examined her complexion.
At that, Nadia’s already flushed face turned even redder.


“Wh-what is it…?”

“By any chance, are you not satisfied with what I did?”

“Pardon….?”

As she blinked blankly at what he said, he rose again and ruffled her hair.

“I can’t stand being picked on.
I don’t like it when anyone touches my family, and I know it’s not classy and noble by any means, but… this is just how I am.
It can’t be helped if you’re disappointed in me.
I will still continue to get rid of anything that bothers you.”

Disappointed? What on earth is he talking about?

While Nadia was still processing what he said, Altair sighed and turned around.
Thinking that she shouldn’t let it slide like this, her hand swiftly grabbed the hem of his clothes.

“I’m not disappointed!”

If Altair had cut people’s throats with a sword, she might have thought, ‘As expected, that’s the villain I saw in the novel!’

But wasn’t this kind of revenge rather elegant?

She was even a little excited because it was a cool way that she, a timid person, could never try in her life.

However, Altair narrowed his eyes, as if he was not entirely convinced.

“But you’re angry, your face is red…”

“Oh no, that’s just…”

“Just?”

“I feel refreshed…”

Her voice grew smaller at Altair’s stare.
Before long, she took a deep breath and raised her voice.

“It’s because it was thrilling to see such a mean person be put to shame!”

“…It’s thrilling?”

“I guess I’m not that noble either.
It was really gratifying to see Altair overpower Count Gallard.”

Altair’s mouth slightly fell loose at her unexpected words.

“Are you disappointed in me? Because I’m not the noble wife you think I am?”

“Nonsense.”

At the cautious question, Altair burst into a small chuckle.
It wasn’t a graceful smile like the decent knights of the capital, but that awkward smile wasn’t bad either.

No, it wasn’t that it’s ‘not bad’, but rather…It’s quite nice…?

❈❈❈


The manastone mine development was going smoothly, and they even got a stake in the rich orchard of the Gallard Territory.
The joyous news that came one after another kept Aylesford in a festive mood.

Perhaps this news had spread throughout the empire, as soon as they announced that they were looking for servants to work in Aylesford, people applied from all over the country.

Maybe it’s because I set the pay a bit high?

Since most competent servants tended to already belong to a particular family and had worked there for a long time, it was difficult to hire them unless they were presented with advantages that exceeded that of their current job.

The merits that a small eastern baron household could offer were limited.

Thus, she had no choice but to offer a considerable level of pay, but fortunately, when she looked through the resumes of the applicants with Pavel, there were many people with notable careers.

Among them, there was one that stood out in particular.

Marie!

Marie was a lady-in-waiting who had always followed Nadia in the Marquis of Vine.
Even when her situation changed and everyone turned their backs on her, Marie did not betray her and stayed by her side.

She even said she’d follow me when I left the marquis, but…

Her stingy uncle did not allow her to take people or money along.

Therefore, she had no choice but to come to the East with only the property that her mother had left her.
But now, she came across Marie’s name again!

Pavel looked at her complexion and smiled, as if the pleasure had spread to his face.

“After the Vine, she was a maid for a writer.
She seems to have a connection with the madame, so I put her resume up.”

“Yes.
Even after my parents passed away, she was the only maid who didn’t mistreat me.
Had it not been for Marie, I wouldn’t have been able to hold on.”

“…Mistreat?”

Pavel mumbled softly, furrowing his brows as if he had heard something implausible.

But Nadia was so excited at the thought of seeing Marie again that it didn’t seem that important to her then.

“I really want to bring Marie.
She might be acquainted to me, but she’s also very competent.
She’s still young, but she’ll do just fine if you entrust her with being the head maid.
She’s meticulous and calm, so she could be trusted wherever she goes!”

When she listed Marie’s strengths in case Pavel objected, he returned to his usual expression and occasionally nodded at her words.

“Since the Madame had said so, you should hire her first.
I will entrust her with the position of head maid and lead the other maids.”

“Yes!”

The moment she smiled and nodded in agreement, the door burst open and Anna rushed inside.

“Madame!”

Pavel looked at her with disapproving eyes, then lightly clicked his tongue and shrugged his shoulders at Nadia.


“I hope that Marie can control her as well.”

“Um…”

In Nadia’s mind, she tried puttiing the calm Marie and the bright Anna side by side.
It was very contradictory, but she thought that it might fit surprisingly well.

But before Nadia could draw her conclusion, Anna stamped her feet and raised her from her seat.

“Madame! Now is not the time to be here! Come on!”

“What do you mean it’s not the time to be like this? What’s the matter?”

“Did you forget? The tailor was supposed to visit today.”

“Oh, that was today?”

She had completely forgotten about the castle’s maintenance and spent time frantically hiring servants.

Anna threw a glance at Pavel to get comfirmation, and he nodded too.

“Yes.
Even if she didn’t come, I was thinking of guiding the madame there myself after reviewing the resumes.
But I see that she couldn’t stand it and came running right away.”

“You can review the resumes later! I’m going to go get some pretty clothes right now.
How long has it been since a tailor came to the castle… I haven’t slept well for a few days now.”

Anna seemed to be looking forward to it even more than the person involved.
At that, Nadia didn’t refuse and followed Anna’s guidance.

❈❈❈

“Thank you for inviting me, Baroness.”

The tailor had already arrived a while ago and was waiting for Nadia in the drawing room with all sorts of samples perfectly lined up.
She really liked the thorough preparation, but there was an unexpected problem.

“Why…”

…are all the hanging samples women’s clothes?

She couldn’t even enter the room, and just stood blinking blankly with a troubled mind.
Briefly after, she felt an imposing presence behind her back.

“Are these all the clothes you brought?”

Turning her head, Altair could be seen staring at the hanging clothes with his sharp eyes.
She had called a tailor to tailor Altair’s clothes, but he seemed upset because there were only women’s clothes hanging there.

“Well…”

She tried to cover the tailor, saying that there was a misunderstanding and the clothes were prepared incorrectly, but Altair wrapped his arm around her shoulders and walked inside, bringing up a rather unexpected matter.

“I have asked them to bring various samples of women’s clothes because besides the riding clothes you will wear at this meeting, you should also bring some casual clothes.”

Huh…?

Women’s clothing, not men’s?

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