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“Are you asking me to be a model? I didn’t hear you wrong, did I?”
“You heard it right. Was it a little sudden?”
“Suddenly a model…”
Elena was awkward. It was a great honor to be asked by a painter to be a model for a portrait. It meant that you had a beauty that could be put on a canvas. It was obvious that anyone would feel good, but Elena couldn’t like it.
Elena was disguised as Lucia now. Her straight bangs, short hair, black horn-rimmed gla.s.ses were typical of study bugs found in the corner of the library.
Compared to the days when Elena was a Princess Veronica, who could reveal her natural beauty, her current appearance was so shabby that even a name card could not be presented. Elena didn’t understand what kind of charm he had seen and asked for a model.
“Thanks for your words, but I don’t quite understand. Why did you offer me a model? I’m not that pretty either.”
“I have a reason. I’ll tell you if you don’t laugh.”
When Raphael answered seriously, Elena stammered at the thought of the possibility.
“Maybe he… The sky… that’s not it is it?”
Elena mumbled shy words even in her mouth. An angel? She couldn’t raise her head because she was ashamed of being compared to an angel considered a symbol of holy beauty.
“Angel. I said that, but it’s actually just a piece of a word to describe how I felt. There was no way to express this feeling.”
“So you’re saying no? Oh, thank G.o.d.”
It was when Elena was inwardly relieved.
“Light, pure white.”
“… It should have been an angel.”
Elena was embarra.s.sed to die of embarra.s.sment when he said something that was no different from an angel. Raphael spoke to Elena again, who felt embarra.s.sed.
“It’s the first time I’ve known that people s.h.i.+ne, and I’ve got the desire to put that light in my paintings.”
Elena’s eyes opened to the appearance of Raphael, who showed eagerness and enthusiasm for the painting.
‘Maybe it’ll be an opportunity to get out of a slump?’
Raphael fell into a severe slump because he was so focused on drawing an outer face that he couldn’t contain the inner side, creating a sense of separation. No matter what picture the result was, she thought it was an important time for Raphael to overcome the slump.
“Light. It makes me curious.”
Raphael’s eyes were full of antic.i.p.ation due to the blur of Elena’s words.
“I’ll do it. I might be a model for a portrait that represents the age. How can I just skip this opportunity?”
“Thank you. I was worried a lot about you refusing, but I really don’t know how to express this grat.i.tude.”
Raphael didn’t know what to do with Elena’s acceptance. A smile was also drawn on Elena’s mouth, watching Raphael. Elena sincerely wanted Raphael to overcome the slump.
“But! I’ve done you a favor, so please do me a favor.”
“I’ll risk my life to hear anything you ask.”
Raphael was ready to serve any request. His head was filled with a hot breeze trying to capture the light that Elena had in his picture.
“It’s something a senior must draw to know, but if that’s the case, really just a what if. If the portrait is completed before autumn, please display it at the art festival.”
“Is it an academy art festival?”
“Oh! Don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking you to draw it in a hurry, but I’m saying it because I want you to submit it to the art festival if the timing is right.”
Raphael hesitated for a moment. Although he is attending the art department of the academy, he submitted only the tasks necessary to acquire the grades, and he has never released a proper painting. He himself felt ashamed to disclose his paintings because he thought they were insufficient. Elena expected Raphael to break the sh.e.l.l and come out of the world.
“Okay. If the timing is right, I’ll submit it as Miss Lucia said.”
“The deal’s over! Now that we’re talking about it, how about starting today? It’ll be difficult if you forget the feeling. Should I go over there and sit down? Pose a little bit?”
With Elena’s enthusiasm, Raphael smirked without realizing it. And thought at the same time. This picture has a good feeling. For some reason, he was excited by the vague expectation that he could draw a real picture that he’d never drawn before.
In Leabrick’s office. There were four gentle-looking men on the left and right, headed by Leabrick sitting at the top. Those believed to be in their early 30s were key figures who supported the great house with the help of Leabrick. Not only did she graduate from the academy with excellent grades, but she was also very loyal as he was educated under the auspices of the Grand Duke. For this reason, they were ordered by Leabrick, who was as young as 10 years old, but they never complained and followed faithfully.
“A person named L bought land in the slums?”
When Leabrick asked back with a look of speech, they took turns reporting.
“Yes, it’s 14 places, to be exact.”
“About two months ago, they completed the purchase process and even received land certificates issued by the imperial family.”
“It has been found that they are responsible for the increase in the purchase price of the poor’s land.”
“I beg your pardon, but the site L purchased is the center of n.o.blesse Street.”
The limbs collected and delivered what they surveyed as it is. It was Leabrick’s job to a.n.a.lyze, take action, and respond based on that information.
“The bottom line is that L knew we were going to develop the slums, and they played first.”
Unless you are a fool, you have no choice but to think about that. The location of the land bought by L was the same, and the timing was the same. In addition, given that they received a land certificate issued by the imperial family, she felt strongly that they were trying to prevent the land from being taken away in advance by external pressure or coercion. A man with a beautiful mustache spoke carefully.
“It looks like the information was leaked.”
“What do you call that?”
The men lowered their heads at the same time as Leabrick spoke with a sharp edge.
“Did you find the leak?”
This means that they have not grasped it at all.
“Then where is L?”
“… I’m sorry.”
“Are you guys going to keep doing this?”
Leabrick’s cool voice calmed the atmosphere down heavily. Most of the time she didn’t show her feelings, so they lowered their heads and looked at each other.
“I must have warned you. As this project is risky for our high price, be careful about security. Did I sound ridiculous?”
The aids made excuses without even raising their heads.
“No. We took note and took note of it, but… so we are also in trouble.”
“It may sound like an excuse, but there is no trace of information leaking.”
“We’re going crazy, too. It’s all the more so because we’ve done enough to figure out the poor.”
Leabrick’s eyes narrowed. She took turns peeping at them.
“That sounds like a saying that one in five people here bought the land under the pseudonym L.”
When what she said came back as an arrow, the four of them sat down and got down to their knees as if they had promised.
“Please, clear your doubts.”
“G-give me time, and I’ll find out where the information came from.”
“One more chance.”
The four of them begged Leabrick with their heads down. They were the lives worth flies enough to depend on the words of Leabrick. This is because Grand Duke Friedrich gave Leabrick that much power.
“Do you know how much damage we’ve suffered in this case?”
“If you think your life is worth more than that, you’re mistaken.”
Leabrick’s tone was decent, but if you look at the dragon, it was a b.l.o.o.d.y threat. The combined lives of those four were nothing short of money. It also meant that she would not let them live if they could not make up for the amount of damage.
“Take any means to buy the land from the slums. Threaten or take it from them if you need to.”
“B-but then the back statement…”
“It’s your job to keep it out.”
Leabrick warned coldly and informally.
The mustache-bearing aid sensed the danger of that statement. If there is gossip, she would blame them for everything, so they will be responsible for handling things.
Even though they knew that the risk was high, they had no choice but to follow. They have to live and see.
“Find L, too. Don’t forget who they are, where they live, and how old they are.”
“I’m already asking for it. We’ve already figured out what they look like from the people who sold the land.”
“Do I have to be briefed on that?”
In Leabrick’s eyes, the aids bowed and waited for the next word.
“All I want you to do is to take owners.h.i.+p of the land to our Grand Duke. I don’t care how. What I want is the result.”
Leabrick waved her hand and told them to go out. They left the office with a blue face. As things didn’t go as she wanted, Leabrick stood up from the chair and stood in front of the window.
“They didn’t. They’re blinded by a few pennies, so they don’t have low loyalty, and they have no guts to spill information.”
Although Leabrick has just s.h.i.+fted responsibility and pressured the aids, in fact, there is no doubt that their loyalty to the great house is as good as their faith. They were also so perfect that they were in charge of the work of the Grand Duke for more than a decade.
Nevertheless, information was leaked.