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As if they saw through the redevelopment project of the slums, she was convinced that they chose the key location of the new n.o.blesse street and bought the land.
“We need to crack down on the inside.”
Leabrick’s eyes were bitter. As Elena came to the Grand Duchy, she struck out people who remembered Princess Veronica. There was a high possibility that impure people mixed in the process. Leabrick quietly summoned the Knight Lorentz.
“Did you find it?”
“I have a secret favor to ask of you.”
Lorentz stood there in a dignified manner and waited for her words.
“Follow after them. If you have a different mind, or if you feel something strange, please let me know immediately.”
“You think there’s a traitor?”
“No, but I think I’ll have to check it out. Please, Sir.”
Lorentz nodded and left the office. Leabrick, who was left alone again, turned out of the window. The gaze touched the garden, but her mind was filled with someone else.
“L. Who the h.e.l.l are you?”
Central library. Elena, disguised as Lucia, was being scolded by Khalif.
“You said the slum land is for charity!”
“I did. What about it?”
“Why? Why? Why are you saying that now? They’re looking for you in the Grand House. They’ll buy back the land you bought.”
Elena’s eyes were calm. Even though she knew this would happen, she didn’t care about the feelings of Khalif, who was upset because she didn’t give him a word.
“The Grand House has started to develop the slums in earnest.”
“I knew this would happen. Why didn’t you tell me?”
Elena apologized briefly. But she didn’t really feel sorry.
“Look, you’re not even sincere about the apology.”
“Please tell me more about the direction of the Grand Duchy.”
Khalif talked about the situation in which he went back to swallowing his disappointment.
“That’s all I said earlier. They don’t know you’re L. They’re even searching for the montage of the agent who bought the land.”
Elena’s eyes deepened. That’s as good as saying that Leabrick is looking for L.
‘It’s just beginning. The invisible fight between you and me.’
She thought she’d be excited to run into Leabrick, but Elena was frighteningly calm. Her head and heart cooled down colder.
“Did you hear about the agent who sold the land?”
“Emilio told me to let you know that they crossed the border and arrived at the Duchy. So you can be relieved. They’re going to spend a lot of money by now.”
“If my father did that, I won’t have to worry.”
Elena, well aware of Leabrick’s tenacity, exiled her agent to another country when she traded land. They would be sent to the duchy located on the opposite side of the empire, so that even the Grand Duke could never find them.
“But you’re close to Princess Veronica.”
“Why is that coming out now?”
It wasn’t the subject that would come out at this timing, so Elena questioned.
“No, if she hears about L from the Great House, you’re known to be L. You and Her Highness could be estranged from each other.”
“What are you saying? That won’t happen.”
“Really? If you say so, I suppose, but Princess Veronica is a big customer, and it’s a little difficult without her. I hope she’s doing well.”
Khalif scratched his cheek. He was embarra.s.sed that he seemed a bit sn.o.bbish even though he said it. Elena, however, was rather proud of Khalif. He judged the value of his customers and tried not to lose them. Whether he was an art broker or an art dealer, it was a necessary posture for success.
“Rather than that, shouldn’t we have to negotiate with the Grand Duke at this point? Even if you’re at the verge, you can negotiate the slum lands at an expensive price.”
“There will be no negotiation.”
Unlike Khalif, who wanted to contact the Grand Duke and redeem the price of the land she had bought in the slum, Elena thought it was too early.
“No negotiations? Are you saying you won’t bargain?”
Elena answered firmly.
“What are you thinking? You won’t negotiate, you won’t bargain. Are you willing to trade?”
“I’m going to sell it. When I want to sell it. At the price I want.”
From the beginning, Elena had no intention of bargaining with Leabrick over the land she bought in the slum.
‘I don’t care if I have the land I bargained for nothing, I don’t need it. But you’re not. Isn’t that right, Leabrick?’
There were a lot of expectations for the Grand Duke on n.o.blesse Street, which Leabrick is now pus.h.i.+ng. The empire was a nation of n.o.blemen to the extent that it could be regarded as a union of n.o.blemen. And the place for such n.o.bles is n.o.blesse Street.
Those who are not aristocrats are not allowed to enter, and the luxurious shops that the aristocrats want are located in the area, the Opera Theater that the aristocrats love, and the master’s works can be bought. In addition, the privileges for aristocrats were concentrated in the streets of n.o.blesse. The streets, which were built with the finest marble, were ecstatic just to step in. This word of mouth had spread, and the number of n.o.bles visiting n.o.blesse Street had increased throughout the continent. The amount of income earned has increased. The aristocrats wanted to be different, and they filled their vanity by spending money like water on the streets of n.o.blesse, which met the difference.
Just a year. It took only half a year to recover the investment that the Grand Duke had poured in, and in the remaining half a year, the return was nearly double the investment. Even the land prices of slums bought at bargain prices had risen more than a hundred times.
s.p.a.ce for the building was limited, and merchants, of course, wanted to open stores on n.o.blesse Street. As a result, compet.i.tion for entry naturally intensified and the rent was forced to rise.
Elena didn’t value the land she bought at a bargain price. Considering the years after the n.o.blesse Street will be completed, she was thinking of buying and selling only at that price. And.
‘I’m going to take down n.o.blesse Street.’
There will never be an astronomical amount of money that the Grand Duke will make on the streets of n.o.blesse. Elena will stop it by all means. Khalif didn’t know what Elena was thinking, so he felt frustrated not to bargain in negotiations.
“I don’t know what you’re thinking.”
“Why do you want to know if it’s bothering you? You’ll know when the time comes. I’m firm, so please hold off contact with the Grand Duke.”
“Okay, I’ll take care of it.”
After the confidential conversation, Khalifa and Elena left the library with a time difference. Khalif had a lot of work to do outside the academy as he also served as an art broker. These days, he often slept outside the academy without entering the dormitory as if he had given up his diploma.
Elena’s footsteps were directed to the western annex. As she promised to be a model for Raphael’s portrait, she visited the studio regularly.
“I’m a little early today.”
Somehow, the secret meeting with Khalif ended earlier than usual, so she arrived faster than usual.
At the end of the corridor, when a speech was heard in the studio, Elena stopped at the door. The voices of a man and women who were talking was leaking out through the slanted wooden door.
“You still don’t give me an answer.”
Elena’s movement to open the door stopped. The owner of the voice heard from beyond the wooden door was none other than Prince Sian.
‘Why are you here?’
She thought that he might have come to see her as he did at that time, but that thought quickly disappeared with another voice coming from the studio.
“I gave you an answer. Your Highness just ignored my answer.”
This calm voice was Cecilia. Two people were talking in the studio. Based on the level and theme of the conversation, Raphael seemed to have stayed away.
“Is that your answer?”
Elena was about to turn around because she thought it was rude to eavesdrop.
“Do you really refuse to stand as the Crown Princess?”
For a moment, Elena’s expression darkened as she was surprised by the word “Princess” that came out of Sian’s mouth.
‘In my past life, even now, you only want the empress.’
Sian wanted to marry Cecilia, the daughter of Count Lyndon, a neutral n.o.bleman. If one of the daughters from the four great families were to serve as empress, they would become enemies of the imperial family and become the outcasts of the imperial family. Politically, Cecilia must be the best of the Crown Princess.
“… I’d prefer to do it to the end if I could. But it doesn’t mean anything. My will doesn’t matter.”
Cecilia’s voice, which was speaking in a complicated way, was weak. Although the Empire has a high level of women’s human rights, aristocratic leisure has often been used as a political tool. If her father Count Paul and Sian agree, her will would be completely ignored.
“You don’t want to be the Crown Princess?”
“You know what?”
Cecilia’s voice, which was repeatedly asked, contained sadness.
“I know that Your Majesty has only recommended the position of Crown Princess from the beginning until now. You never wanted me for a moment.”
“I don’t want to live like a doll.”
Elena’s expression hardened to Cecilia’s voice, which gradually blurred her words.
Although it was a political marriage, Sian cherished Cecilia dearly. She thought she was given the affection that he never gave to Elena. But if you take that into account, doesn’t it mean Cecilia was no different from Elena? She even felt sorry that she might be more miserable than Elena, who voluntarily became the empress.
“I didn’t know. I made you so tired.”
Sian calmly brooded with a voice that did not feel high or low.
“I promise, from today I will no longer offer you the consolation of the Crown Princess.”
“I will withdraw political marriages through Count Lyndon. I promise under the honor of the family.”