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After a week of funeral procedures, it was the day when Yustaf returned to the Imperial Academy.
Ran knew that the moment he left the mansion, her every move would be watched by Sir Ross.
Ran sighed as she watched him say something earnestly to Yustaf several times.
It was not until Ross finally got away from Yustaf that Ran could approach him.
“Have a safe trip.”
“Yes, I wish you well.”
Ran looked at the ring dangling around his neck and grinned at Yustaf again.
“I want you to graduate at the top of your class.”
It was a nasty remark, but he answered without a blink of anger.
“If that’s what you want.”
“Is it something you can achieve just because you want it?” Ran asked again, Yustaf grinned and went into the carriage.
Ran stepped back, and the Footman politely closed the carriage. The driver slightly raised his hat to greet her and whistled.
The horse started to run briskly and the carriage moved away in an instant. It was not until the carriage was gone that Ran sighed and turned away.
Hazel-colored eyes looked straight at Ran as if they had something to say.
“While Yustaf is away, I’ll be in your care”
Ross, who already had a talk with Yustaf about the current situation, bowed his head without a reply.
Ran sighed again. “Then let’s get to work.”
Ran was ready to work and she asked the butler to bring all the accounting documents.
This situation is bad. It’s worse than I thought.
‘You’ve got a mortgage on your estate to a private lender, haven’t you?’
The Duchy of Lachia is wide and has a lot of useless land.
But there’s no way useless land could have been mortgaged.
‘The only granary has been mortgaged. We’ll starve without this. I’m starving.’
Of course, the repayment period is still about half a year away, but the interest was paid monthly.
In addition, the finances are in a negative state.
A negative state.
A negative means that there is no large amount of money available at the moment, and even a visionary like Ran knows that it will cost a lot of money to develop a mine.
“Should we sell a part of the mining rights?””
We need to find the mine first.
Baron Lindbergh refuses to leave the mansion. As soon as Yustaf left, he wanted to see Ran right away.
“I put off a lot of work.”
Ran hit her head with a pen.
The Duchy is big, and of course, there are many working people. There are four main agents working for a duke.
A deacon, maid of honor, and servant-general are all, in charge of all the affairs of the mansion.
An administrator in charge of territorial affairs.
An accountant in charge of accounting.
A knight incharge of arms, such as soldiers and knights.
Among them,accounts are trash. They were people who pocketed public funds into their own pockets.
‘Why did I make the accountant a scum in the original novel? Oh, come on.’
It’s the most important part.
Well, it was so easy for a Duchy to collapse.
Fortunately, the rest of the people were deeply loyal to the Duke.
“In particular, the Knights Leader.”
Ran saw Ross. The Knight was his eldest brother.
“Would you call the Administrator and the Knights Leader?”
At Ran’s command, Ross ordered the two men to be called and asked.
“What are you going to do?”
“The accounting is terrible.”
“The Duchess was extravagant.”
Ran nodded softly at the sarcastic remark. After all, it’s true that her mother did something wrong.
“The problem is that selling such jewelry is a bargain. It’s expensive.”
After a pause, Ran continued.
“How much do you know about the financial situation?”
“I know it’s tight.”
‘It’s not to the point of bankruptcy,’ Ran knocked on a bundle of papers.
“I think our accountant certainly cheated us. Well, he wasn’t the one who looked in the books.”
I’m sure you thought that he was honorable. If the accountant said he could borrow money, or that he could finance it, you would have thought so.
You didn’t think it was such a big deal to use a private loan.
‘Scary, you have no sense of crisis.’
Ross’s expression hardened slightly at her words.
“Did the accountant commit fraud?”
With a nod, Ran swallowed a bitter smile.
Maybe they thought it is okay to do it since he’s an aristocrat and I won’t say anything about it.
This is the North, and they are honorable men.
We can’t accept the fact that you deceived your boss right in front of them because you were tempted by money.
There are also some rare honorable people, but without good connections to act as their protective shield, they will disappear.
Yustaf is a great shield.
Ross frowned at her smile and there was a knock on the door.
Ran said clearly, while slightly pushing the chair back.The administrator opened the door. She looks like a woman in her forties.
The knight was in his early thirties and dressed in armor.
“I see the Lord.”
Elizabeth, the administrator, greeted first, and Blaine, the head of the Knights, followed.
Ran felt relieved. They seemed to follow her directions to not address her using the official greetings.
“Both of you, sit down.”
Elizabeth and Blaine glanced at each other.
They met at the door, but neither of them knew why she called them.
‘Of course, it’s not that they don’t have a clue.’
Elizabeth looked at the young lady before her eyes.
Elizabeth was also there when Ran put on the blue flame.
‘I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m sure the blue flame is in her hands.’
‘She didn’t even get burned.’
Ran said so many times that she is just a temporary housekeeper. But, what if she’s just being humble before grabbing the opportunity to take the position?
As soon as she ascends to the position of a Lord, she looks at the accounting books and calls the administrator and the head of the knights.
‘It’s not something a normal 19-year-old girl would do.’
Elizabeth thought so and gently lowered her eyes as she met Ran.
“I’m sure me calling you all of a sudden makes you wonder what’s going on. To be blunt,”
Ran touched the pile of papers with her fingertips.
“The Duke’s debt is enormous.”
“How bad is it?”
Elizabeth asked back.
Ran said with a wry smile. “To put it simply,we have to sell out all the territory and title. Do you have any idea how bad it is?”
All three people in the study held their breath at Ran’s words. But soon Elizabeth protested.
“Young Lady I think you are mistaken. I saw the accounting data, too. Of course, it’s tight, but the benefits are –”
“It was fraudulent accounting.”
Blaine asked back. “To put it simply, it’s fake”. Ran said, gathering her fingertips and raising them like a tower.
“For example…” Ran thought for a moment and gave the simplest case.
“I did not buy it, but I wrote it down on the financial statements as if I bought it.”
Ran opened a sheet of paper and gave it to Blaine.
“Last year, 3,000 Verats were paid to equip the Knights.”
Blaine pulled the document in a hurry at the word.
It really said the payment is 3,000 Verats.
He protested without realizing it.
He, himself, had never received a penny. On the contrary, he had brought up changing the tattered equipment countless times, but no money had come in.
“I thought so. Besides, if you look over here, you’ve spent a lot of money buying horses, but we don’t have that many horses, do we?”
Elizabeth’s face turned pale.
“I’m sure there will be something similar on the administration side.”
“I know. Elizabeth wrote down her request for funds. Thanks to you, it was easy to compare. But…”
Ran smiled coolly.
Fraudulent accounting is always accompanied by embezzlement, breach of trust, and forgery.
It is not in the inventory, but it says that I purchased it. The financial statements are a mess.
If it was back then, I wouldn’t know what to do.
Of course, that idea follows. “But my lord, do you believe me?
At Elizabeth’s words, Ran pointed her finger at her own eyes.
“I believe what I have seen with my own eyes.”
Elizabeth shut her mouth. It is strange to believe that Ran observed and made a decision on her own, while I didn’t notice it.
In addition, I don’t have to hate myself for believing in her.
“So, I’m going to fire the accountant.”
She gently waved her palms from right to left in front of her neck.
“But that doesn’t mean the debt is gone. The good news is we can pay it back in six months and it hasn’t been decided whether it’s a split or a lump sum payment.”
“So what are you going to do?”
At his question, Ran took a moment and said,
“First of all, we need to get rid of the accountants, investigate them and confiscate their assets. But, there’s something we need to do before that.”
“Yes, my lord.”
“I’d like to investigate the North Mountains.”
In this situation?
He looked shocked.
But Ran just smiled and said while writing, “Yeah. So…”
Ran traced the location of the mine. It was discovered while wandering through the mountains after Yeoju fell in there. So, it wouldn’t be that far from the gate.
“I want you to concentrate on finding the cave near the door.”
“By the door?”
His face stiffened.
“Yes, I wish I could come with you.”
Ran said so and shrugged her shoulders.
It is the origin of this story and the beginning of the Lachia family.
There are three things that Ivrea, the great wise man, made by sealing the darkness.
First, is the mountain range called the Ice Wall.
Then, the gate at the heart of the mountain range.
Lastly, the Sky House, which was built for the Lachia family, the gatekeepers.
So the door was a symbol of fear and awe in the north.
Of course, the Knights of Blue Flame, the Knights of the Duke of Lachia, were close to the gate, but he would not be willing to investigate the area.
“Do a thorough investigation. The cave contains a secret artifact to save the Lachia family.”
“Is that so?”
Blaine nodded his head without much trouble.
“Okay. I will make a team.”
“I’ll leave it to you, but I’ll only ask you to be discrete and keep whatever you find in the cave a secret.”
At Ran’s words, Blaine looked at her and bowed his head.
“I’ll be very discrete.”
When Ran said so, she motioned Blaine to go out. He got up, bowed politely, and left the study.
And Ran looked at Elizabeth and said,
“In fact, there’s no proof to gather evidence. Just looking at it makes me feel like I’m in a hole. You’ve been doing it for years, and I’m sure it’s been annoying lately.”
“But you still want to document it.”
At Elizabeth’s words, Ran nodded. Elizabeth looked at the papers on her desk and spoke forcefully.
“I want everything sent to my room.”
Ran said so and told Elizabeth to go out.
Then she rang the bell to move the documents to Elizabeth’s office, and collapsed
I looked at Ross, but he had a face that would remain unchanged.
“A cup of tea.”
When Ran lifted her finger and spoke softly, Ross called the maid of honor.
Ran pressed her forehead with both hands and waited for the tea to be brewed.
But on second thought, she went over the numbers that filled her head one by one.
The woman quietly poured the tea out. Ross asked as soon as the girl left.
“Did you do it on purpose?”