Chapter 22 - Rose’s Gift
I surveyed my surroundings. There were three workshops that produced handicrafts for women in this area. Kerin Workshop, the largest and most famous one, was located at the center of downtown. However, I had another place in mind.
‘If I give her something from Kerin, Rose will end up disliking me.’
I remembered that later in the novel, Kerin Workshop was exposed for using toxic materials. If I gave her something from there and she fell ill because of it, it would only be a matter of time before rumors spread and I became the Arlo family’s public enemy. There was still a chance for me to develop an unfavorable relationship with Rose, so this was definitely a place to avoid.
I continued walking until two other workshops came into sight, smiling wide. ‘There, I see the signboards!’
Although Fyodor Workshop boasted a long history, it was on the verge of bankruptcy. On the other hand, multiple craftsmen collaborated at Grada Workshop to systematically produce things.
I stepped toward my destination when Geraldine, the leader of the escort knights, asked, “Are you sure you want to enter this place, Lady Floyen?”
It was natural for him to doubt my decision; I was heading towards the shabby Fyodor Workshop, which was located deep inside an alleyway.
‘It’s definitely this place.’ Anyone who heard the rumors would avoid Fyodor Workshop because it was on the verge of bankruptcy, but I knew things that they didn’t.
“Yes,” I replied to Geraldine.
When I entered the store, I found a man sitting in the corner of a workshop filled with shabby handicrafts. A normal person would’ve backed away from the scene, perhaps even stumbled, but I approached him resolutely. In addition to his untidy appearance, the man’s long, disheveled hair covered most of his face. Despite being young, he was devoid of vitality.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not in a state where I can make anything right now. I apologize if I have disrespected you or your family in any way, but please visit another workshop.”
I was the only customer in this workshop, yet he still refused me. I laughed with reassurance. ‘It’s a good thing I decided to come here.’
Other people would have left with indignation, but I knew why he was behaving like this. ‘It’s because he inherited the family business.’
From the day he was born, Ian Fyodor, the master of Fyodor Workshop, had been under immense pressure to become a craftsman like his father, his grandfather, and all those before him. When the expectations became too much to handle, he lost the motivation to make anything and neglected his workshop.
“I want to request something from you.”
“Why?” I could hear the distrust in his voice.
‘Because you will soon become known as the best craftsman in the empire.’
Six months later, the princess would wear a necklace with an unusual design on the day of her coming-of-age ceremony. It would become the hot topic of high society and propel Ian Fyodor into fame.
‘His value is going to skyrocket in the future, so it wouldn’t hurt for me to buy some of his works in advance.’
In other words, I wanted to invest in him for the sake of my prosperous future. I glanced at my lottery ticket, Ian.
“Only you can make the thing I want.”
“Are you trying to intimidate me now?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Well, he just…” Ian looked at the knights standing behind me and trailed off.
I turned around, but it didn’t look like any of them were threatening him, thinking, ‘There’s no way these good-for-nothing escorts would stand up for me.’
“Is there a reason why I can’t request something from you?”
Instead of answering my question, he spoke coldly. “Why are you being so stubborn?”
“Because I believe you will make it better than anyone else.”
At my earnest words, Ian parted his lips. “Me… you believe in me?”
“Yes.” I smiled and imagined the prosperous future I was going to have after selling a handicraft that this man made.
“Can you tell me what you want then?” Ian asked with a low voice. He sounded unsure, but I had definitely acquired his approval.
‘Finally! It seems like I’m getting my hands on something from him after all.’ I happily recalled the object I had in mind. ‘This should be good enough, right?’
* * *
Derrick handed a document to Duke Floyen. “Here is the list for Lady Floyen’s prospective marriage partners, Master.”
The duke furrowed his eyebrows after reading it. ‘Why is his name here…’
He circled the name with gritted teeth and called for the butler. “Derrick, please remove this name…”
At that moment, the door to the office opened. Roy Hamilton, the duke’s lieutenant, strode in. He was a prudent person, so he only reported to the duke when there was a major issue.
“What is it?”
At the duke’s question, Roy swallowed nervously. “A messenger from the emperor is here to see you. It seems like he wants you to visit the imperial palace.”
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