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Ran gasped for breath.
The guillotine was giving off a menacing glow before her.
“Kill, kill, kill!”
The crowd in the square was shouting.
No, no, no, no.
She has to speak, but she can’t. She couldn’t move either.
Her tongue seemed to stick to the top of her mouth.
Yustaf looked down at her with cold blue eyes.
“Now, in the name of Yustaf Raban de Lachia, who has become the master of blue flames, I execute death penalty to the sinner Ran Romea de Lachia.”
No, I’m not.
I’m not Ran.
The captors from both sides dragged her neck into the hole. Not looking down, but facing up so that only two blades could be seen.
The blue blades came down fast.
Ran woke up from her dream.
“Ugh, ha, ha, ha, ha…….”
It was a dream…
When she touched her back, she felt sticky sweat all over it. She seemed to have been struggling and sweating a lot.
Still feeling dizzy, Ran stared blankly into space and staggered to her feet.
‘I’m really stressed out.’
She thought so and drank the water that had been prepared.
When she first opened her eyes there, she couldn’t grasp the situation at all.
Her face was a completely different face, and the person claiming to be her mother was crying with a distorted expression.
‘I’ve come to realize that I’m in the novel I wrote. ‘
Still, it didn’t feel real.
It hit her when Yustaf came to apologize.
‘I didn’t have a good sense of time back then… Was it about a month after I came to my senses? Has it been more?’
When she heard Yustaf was coming to apologize, she said, “Oh, is the male lead coming?” She feel like she didn’t have a sense of reality.
She was shocked when she actually met Yustaf.
It wasn’t the face of an ordinary child at all.
A face that does not contain feelings of apology or guilt, but is completely expressionless – a face that seems to be worn out.
Looking back on those days, Ran still feels bad. Ran clasped her arms tightly as if she were hugging herself.
“I’m sorry, sister.”
When she saw Yustaf, who bowed deeply, while saying so, she felt like she was awakening.
Ran caught a glimpse of the bloody scars that could not be hidden under his sleeves.
She made him like that.
That’s how she wrote him.
But looking at that face now, this is a novel, and Yustaf will be happy to meet the heroine later, so hang in there.
‘I can’t say that.’
So she desperately tried to protect Yustaf from then on.
‘Because I haven’t won the trust of Yustaf yet.’
Ran bit her lips.
What if two years later Yustaf kills her??
‘No, no, it’ll be fine. I can work hard in these 2 years.’
Ran found the Mana Stones, and she’ll continue to work hard.
‘I’m going to save my own life.’
Ran stroked her neck again, comforting herself like that.
She sneaked up to the window and opened it, dawn was coming.
Today is the day she meets someone from Golden Rose.
‘You said branch manager, right?’
Ran took a deep breath.
‘Don’t let me sign a fraudulent contract’. Ran prayed, while putting her hands together.
The maid said anxiously, covering her dark circles.
“You’ve been having a hard time these days.”
“Since it’s only the beginning, I can’t help it.”
Ran replied and smiled. Ran’s popularity as the Duchess has been increasing day by day.
As soon as she became the Duchess, the employees could feel that everything had began to return to normal.
After changing clothes, Ran left the room. There were four halls in the mansion.
One is a hall where people meet in groups. Usually, she meets people with a low social status here. This place was just called Alreal.
The second was a silk room, a room for people with titles, the third was an emerald room, a room for VIPs, and the fourth was a pearl room, a room for private consultation.
The highest ranking noble, Ran, had designated the emerald room for VIPs. It was unconventional, but that didn’t matter.
This deal is that important.
The emerald room was beautifully decorated with green color to match its name.
‘It’s also the room where the Duchess greets guests.’
It was also the perfect room for the beautiful tiara owner.
“Hello, it’s an honor to meet you.”
As Ran entered the room, the person sat up, took off her hat, and greeted her gracefully.
Ran blinked a little surprised, and was surprised for the second time after seeing the others appearance.
She was a beautiful woman who seemed to purify was surprised for the second time after seeing the others appearance. Her gorgeous blonde hair resembled Ran’s mother’s and she had golden eyes as clear as stars. Above all, Ran could see her sharp ears.
Is she in her mid-30s now?
Ran said with a nod and a smile.
“I didn’t expect the business owner to come in person.”
The owner of the Golden Rose is a Half Elf. At Ran’s words, the woman opened her eyes wide and laughed.
“I shouldn’t underestimate the duchy’s networks.”
Externally, the owner of Golden Rose was known as a man. Ran guessed it’s because it’s hard to be active as a woman and even more so as a different race.
But as the business owner’s power grows, within a few years, she will be out of the shadows and stand at the front lines.
‘I just know it.’
However, she used this as bait to shake the opponent’s network.
“Ran Romea de Lachia.”
Ran introduced herself to the table.
“Be clear of the blue flames. Levory Liberty.”
As you already know, Levery drew a clear line with red lips.
A small piece of Mana Stone and a letter enclosed by the Duke of Lachia.
Levory had asked a wizard if it was a real Mana Stone, and the wizard got very excited and asked where it came from.
This is a revolution.
The changes in the world that the Lachian Mana Stone will bring and the enormous profits that come with it.
Levory could never miss it.
That’s why Levory came here herself. She also learned about the Duke of Lachia in many ways.
‘It’s a very closed-off Duchy.’
Nevertheless, they cannot reduce their debt, nor can they show the struggles over the succession.
Levory looked at the girl in front of her, who does not have a drop of Lachian blood, but had become the head of Lachia.
Her flowing wheat hair, dark green eyes, and her appearance make her a great beauty.
Appearance is definitely an advantage, but how can you become a patriarch with just that?
‘You don’t even have Lachian blood.’
It’s not a regular bet.
She even recognized Levory at once.
Even if the duchy is going bankrupt, it’ll be a loss to look down on them.
Levory is firmly determined.
Ran offered her a seat and began to prepare the tea. It’s a sign of hospitality just for the owner to offer tea, but the owner of the house prepared the tea herself.
“Are you okay with strong tea?”
When asked by Ran, Levory replied, “I like it.”
She poured plenty of hot water into the pot and covered it with a lid.
Ran said while preparing the tea, “I’m not good at beating around the bush. So, let’s cut to the chase.”
“Please do tell.”
“I’d like to sell Mana Stones to Golden Rose.”
Levory’s eyes sparkled.
“Our business will always welcome deals with the Lachia Duchy.”
“You must’ve investigated all the Duchy’s debts anyway. That’s why I want to make this deal. I will give monopoly rights to the Golden Rose for six months. In return, I want an advance payment of one million verats.”
Levory’s face hardened.
Ran lowered her eyes to the tea to hide her pounding heart. That’s why she had made her own tea.
But if Ran did something, she would look unsure.
A million verats.
It was a huge amount.
The annual profit of the Duke of Lachia is 200,000 verat.
The duchess is currently in debt of 800,000 verat,
‘Even though I said it boldly.’
In order to hide her shaky face, Ran poured tea into a teacup,
The sound of water seemed to calm her body and mind.
“My Lady that’s too much.”
Levory looked up at the teacup and then at Ran.
As expected, this woman is not normal.
‘She just asked for the maximum amount of money I can afford’
How much information does the Duchy have?
In fact, Ran had just met her, but had already known who she was, so Levory got over it quickly.
Levory thought Ran had hit the limit of the Golden Rose’s funds.
She poured sugar syrup into the tea.
“Without saying anything, you’re asking for an advanced payment. You haven’t told us anything about how you acquired the Mana Stones.”
Ran sat down after filling her glass. She held back her desire to pour a lot of sugar syrup.
Sugar is a very expensive thing.
Very very expensive.
‘If people heard that the Duchy has to save sugar because it’s expensive, they’d laugh.’
She poured some sugar syrup into her tea and smiled.
“I’m thinking of naming the Mana Stones, Ice Crystals. It comes from the Ice Wall, so I thought a resembling name would suit it.”
Branding it sets it apart from other low-purity Mana Stones.
The ice wall.
Levory’s ears pricked. The Mana Stones come from the northern mountain range.
Ran went on.
“You too have recognized its value and that’s why you came here, all the way to the North.”
Yeah, the roads in the North are rough. Specifically, the way to Lachia’s mansion located near the Ice Wall is terrible.
Ran raised her head and looked straight at Levory. The green and gold eyes faced each other.
“Trust is the basis of business.”
Levory looked at Ran without a word. As expected, this young lady is not normal.
“What if you secure the trust in this deal with 1 million verats?”
“Do you want trust that is not based on theory?”
“If you think it’s worth it, you can sign this contract. If not,”
Ran shrugged her shoulders.
“The exit is that way.”
Levory emptied the teacup. She felt refreshed as the sweet and warm tea went into her stomach.
Levory grinned as she put the glass down. Her beauty shone brightly.
‘I heard she only just became the head. She doesn’t seem so simple.’ ‘But this isn’t bad either.’
Levory said and raised a finger.
“Instead, please make it exclusive for one year, since trust easily comes and goes.”
When Levory said that, Ran nodded and said, “Alright.”
“Okay, a year.”
The two women laughed face to face. Ran spoke in a light tone.
“Well, let’s talk about the details over dinner.”
“I would like that.”
Levory replied with a smile.
* * *
Levory stayed at the Duke of Lachia’s mansion for a week. Of course, she went to the mine herself.
Ran also accompanied her.
Blaine led the knights and joined them.. Upon entering the cave, Levory was shocked.
Ice Crystals were everywhere. A huge Mana Stone stood in a hexagonal shape.
The stones reflected the light from the candles and filled up the cave.
It was spectacular.
Levory admired the beauty and the amount of Ice Crystals.
“That’s a lot of reserves.”
Ran nodded. She designed it to be like this in the novel.
Levory laughed while looking around inside the cave.
“I wish we could start mining quickly before winter comes.”
“I plan to do that.”
‘What high-purity Mana Stones.’
“Levory was overwhelmed.”
After writing the contract with a notary, Levoy paid 10% of the down payment on the spot.
“When I return, I’ll send the other half and send the rest in a month.”
That’s what Levory said and left.
Ran was exhausted after Levory left.
“Oh, I’m dying.”
Ran stretched out on the sofa.
Elizabeth, who brought in the documents, comforted Ran.
“Thank you for your hard work, My Lord.”
“Yes, I’ve had a hard time.”
Ran reached out and pulled the papers on the desk out. Even though she’s the one who brought the documents, Elizabeth grew anxious and said nervously.
“Wouldn’t it be better for you to take a little break?”
“Didn’t you bring this yourself because it’s urgent?”
“Huh?” Ran muttered and pulled herself up.
“A Nosebleed ….”
Ran wiped her nose with her hand. There was blood trickling out.
Surprised, Elizabeth shouted, as Ran stood to call a doctor.
‘It’s my first time having a nosebleed.’
Thinking so, Ran felt her vision twinkling as she pulled herself up.
A screaming voice was heard, and Ran lost consciousness.