A sharp silence that seemed as if it were about to explode pierced the room.
Sushou remained calm, even in front of Lavini’s face that was gradually becoming colder.
He lifted his teacup which he had put down again and even drank a few more sips of the tea.
Although the body that filled the chair was large, the handling of the teacup was quite delicate.
“Just what…are you saying?”
Lavini’s voice trembled.
She was furious.
The face that was smiling beautifully, like a smooth porcelain mask, was gradually cracking due her anger.
“It’s exactly like I’ve said.”
The Sushou Patriarch answered while slowly lowering his hand down onto his bad knee.
It was a hand that belonged to a knight who had many scars.
“The deadline for the funds lent out to the Angenas by Sushou has already passed. So, if you aren’t able to return that money right away, we’ll have to seize the collateral.”
“Hey, Patriarch Sushou!”
Eventually, a loud shout burst out from the Empress.
The smile that tried hard to seem calm finally collapsed with a crash.
“You want me to return the money right now?! Aren’t you also aware of how impossible your condition is?”
“Have I said anything that was incorrect, Your Majesty the Empress?”
Chanton Sushou had an odd look on his face.
His twisted mouth made it hard to determine whether he was angry or smiling.
Seeing the face he had made, Lavini’s anger within her exploded.
“Are you pretending to be me right now?”
“Of course not.”
“If not, then what? What are you trying to do, getting me to suddenly repay you such a large sum of money at a time like this?!”
“I know. Borrowing such a large amount of money yet feeling so at ease, how strange.”
Finally, the Patriarch of Sushou let out a dry laugh and smirked.
But the gaze in his eyes was as thin as the surface of ice.
“Since you’ve borrowed the money, it’s natural that you now have to pay it back.”
Empress Lavini glared at the Chanton in front of her.
She was so angry that she had reached the point where her shoulders were shaking every time she took a breath.
However, she couldn’t even scream according to her personality.
Because it was true that the Angenas had borrowed money from Sushou using their estates and land as the collateral, and subsequently, the hilt of the sword was rightfully held by Sushou.
The Empress, who had been glaring at Chanton Sushou for a long time, finally opened her mouth.
“Is the South so insufficient for you to covet the West as well? Representing both regions isn’t allowed, so the West will still be under the jurisdiction of Angenas.”
“I’m already aware of that.”
“And yet you’re still greedy for our land. Aren’t you being overly ambitious right now?”
“That could be possible.”
The Patriarch of Sushou said languidly, as if he was stretching.
“But, of course, I wouldn’t be the only one who has a lot of greed. Wouldn’t the Angenas, the ones who seized someone else’s property, also have a lot of greed?”
Her body trembled at the insults that were thrown directly in her face.
Her nails dug painfully into her palm as she clenched her fists.
However, thanks to the pain, Lavini regained her rationality.
Then, she took a deep breath whilst calmly grasping the situation.
“Yes, please continue.”
“If you’re trying to pretend to be me, you’ll regret it.”
“I’ve already said it a while earlier, Your Majesty the Empress. Sushou is not trying to replace Angenas. I’m just claiming the accumulated debt.”
“…then I’ll arrange for the funds to be repaid within this month. If we’re not able to by then, I’ll hand over the deeds to the land.”
Empress Lavini put down all of her pride and suggested.
However, Patriarch Sushou shook his head.
“I’m sorry. Actually, the deadline stated in the contract is already three days overdue. I’ve already waited for the past three days, so I came here in order to get the deeds to the land today.”
“There’s no such law…!”
“Or should we ask His Majesty the Emperor to mediate?”
Sushou interrupted the Empress and asked.
It was a method that was occasionally used when conflicts between nobles escalated.
Just like it did with Angenas and Brown, a long time ago.
It was normally a suggestion that was welcomed with open arms.
But Empress Lavini’s complexion was still as dark as it was before.
Because it was the excessively fickle Emperor Yovanes.
She did not know what kind of ruling he would make if he was asked to solve such a problem, especially in a situation where because of Astana, he was in such a foul temper.
Perhaps he might have asked Angenas to spit out something else on top of their fief as collateral.
Clenching her teeth together, Empress Lavini rose from her seat and opened the safe.
It contained the deeds to the various areas under the jurisdiction of Angenas.
Lavini’s fingertips trembled as she pulled out the deeds from among the pile to the places that were stated in the contract.
However, when she returned to her seat with the deeds to the land, her expression had already returned to normal.
Before she handed over the deeds, Empress Lavini spoke.
“You already said you wouldn’t pretend to be me.”
“Then, please make sure you attend tomorrow’s noble meeting. And what we’ve done today is not to leave your mouth. Don’t tell anyone.”
Now, it was more important than ever for Angenas to show an unshakeable and solid appearance.
Patriarch Sushou, who seemed to agonise over her request for a while, nodded shortly after.
“I’ll do that then.”
“Also, you’ll return the deeds to our fief if we repay the amount of money we borrowed, right?”
“That’s quite difficult. We’ve already made plans for the estates in the west.”
“You’d better put aside those plans, since we’ll get that money as soon as possible.”
Empress Lavini’s words and scornful laughter elicited a rare laugh from Patriarch Sushou, who seldom did so.
Then, while accepting the bundle of documents that the Empress was offering to him, he told her.
“Then you’ll have to hurry, Your Majesty the Empress.”
[ / / / ]
The day of the aristocratic meeting dawned.
In no time, my carriage was already approaching the venue where the noble meeting would take place.
Of course, it was the carriage that my Grandfather always used, the carriage for the head of the Lombardys.
I swept my hand over the interior of the carriage which was beautifully decorated in gold, like the black silk dress I was wearing.
“The feeling of riding on this carriage, I missed it.”
This unshakable sense of security that seems to be put into this moving carriage!
The Patriarch of Lombardy’s carriage.
Of course, I had also ridden in this carriage in my previous life.
However, I was only accompanying my grandfather everywhere as a secretary to assist him.
“Now, it’s mine.”
Now it’s for me, Florentia Lombardy, the Acting Patriarch Lombardy, and no one else.
And just like that, I felt as if I had an unspoken connection with the carriage, and soon arrived in front of the place that the aristocratic council was to be held.
I patted the ornament of the World Tree and whispered.
“Just wait here for a while, alright? I’ll be right back after finishing this task.”
Those words weren’t just said for no reason.
The aristocratic meeting this time wouldn’t be too long.
I walked softly, taking leisurely steps.
As soon as I entered the conference room, countless pairs of eyes focused on me.
“Oh it’s young miss?” 1
An old nobleman who was talking to another nobleman by the door asked me.
It was a man who belonged to the faction that sided with Angenas.
“Are you sure you haven’t come to the wrong place, young miss?”
“Is there perhaps a book club taking place near here?”
The sound of several people talking in whispers could be heard.
As I slowly glanced at their faces, one by one, the information regarding them floated in front of them.
That fat man who offered a bribe to his father and was turned down.
That grumpy looking man was competing with Shananae in the mining industry.
And the person who sent me a teddy bear for my 8th birthday.
There were very few people who were completely new to me in here.
Then, someone approached me.
“Oh, isn’t this Lombardy’s young miss?”
He was a nobleman I had seen several times before at a banquet.
He was a member of a household who was quite close to Lombardy and was always stuck right next to either my grandfather or Viege.
Since I don’t remember his name, let’s just omit it completely.
Instead, I gave him a bright smile and asked.
“This is the conference room that will be used for the upcoming noble meeting, right?”
“That’s right, but…”
“Could you please let me know which seat my grandfather sits in when he normally attends the meeting?”
“Where the Patriarch Lombardy sits?”
The nobleman tilted his head for a while before telling me to follow him for now.
As I started to walk, numerous pairs of eyes also moved with me.
Curiosity, disapproval, vigilance.
All sorts of things stung the back of my head.
I gradually became more and more convinced by the fact that if I were not a Lombardy, I would not have been allowed into the conference room.
“Patriarch Lombardy hasn’t arrived yet.”
“Yes, I know.”
Right now, Grandfather is recuperating in bed.
“Aha, then did you perhaps come here to see Patriarch Lombardy?”
“No, nothing like that.”
The nobleman who guided me to my seat constantly chattered on without stopping.
Fortunately, my grandfather’s seat was not too far from the entrance.
Exactly to the right of the chairman’s chair.
The seat that was in the row furthest to the front and right in the centre.
It was a chair that didn’t look particularly stable or firm.
However, I was well aware of what such a position meant in this place.
“It’s here. However, as you can see, Patriarch Lombardi hasn’t arrived yet…”
I ignored the nobleman who was talking about some other nonsense again and sat my butt down onto the empty chair.
I saw the Angenas faction on the other side glance over.
“What an ideal spot.”
I laughed when I thought of my grandfather sitting in this chair and glaring at the nobles on the other side.
“What…exactly are you doing right now?”
The eyes of the nobleman who guided me to my seat were wide open with astonishment.
The responses of the others in the conference room were no different.
“Ahem. Lady Lombardi.”
Then, I heard a courteous voice calling me.
It was the chairman.
“Yes, Chairman Killian. It’s been a while since I saw you. You came to my coming of age ceremony, didn’t you?”
“Yes, I did…do that.” 2
I could see the complex emotions flit past the chairman’s face.
He probably won’t be able to understand the situation any further since the appearance of me, sitting in the conference room probably overlaps with the one of me, having my coming of age ceremony only a few years ago.
“Ahem, Lady Lombardi. That seat is the seat of your grandfather, Patriarch Lombardy. the seat of my grandfather, the Lord Lombardi. If you’d like to watch the noble meeting, there’s a spot at the back over there…”
“I’ve come here to attend the meeting, not spectate it.”
“Yes, Sir Speaker.”
The chairman looked at me, dumbfounded.
The nobles who were waiting to attend the meeting started to talk as a crowd.
However, it was all like joyous music to my ears.
“If you’re attending…”
I’m sure you understand what I’m saying by now.
I repeated it once again, one word at a time in a clear and articulate voice to the chairman in order to confirm it with him again.
“Florentia Lombardy. The Acting Patriarch of Lombardy.”
 자네: it’s a pronoun used to refer to someone who is a friend or younger than the speaker but can also be an endearment between friends, e.g. buddy, mate, old sport. since the dude is talking to tia, i just tled it as miss because i doubt that dude would refer to her as buddy or mate, especially if he’s in the angenas faction lmao
 “그랬…소.”: chairman killian switches from what we assume to be informal speech to semi-informal speech suitable for someone older addressing the younger in a somewhat respectful manner as tia is now both of age and at a conference meeting that only the heads of the family can attend (not to mention her extremely noble family status). bit hard to tl informal formal speech but you get the idea hehehe
AHHHH THAT ENDING literally while i was tling that last bit all i could hear was girlboss music hASDLKFDF #thatsmygirl u tell em bestie !!
yeah but was loki pissed when they were all doubting her bc think abt it, if a guy or a grandson walked into the meeting, they’d probably automatically assume they were acting patriarch, esp with a grandfather as old as tia’s, right? idk i might be reading too into it but i felt so satisfied when they all finally realised hASDLFKJ