Chapter 19: He Believed In Her
“I understand, Miss. Let’s leave as soon as possible.”
Seeing Rihannan’s countenance darken, Mary hurriedly consoled her.
“I’ll prepare and pack the clothes and all that we need. You don’t need to worry about everything else.”
“Thank you, Mary.”
“You’re welcome, Miss. I can start packing right now, if you’d like, if we want to leave within two days.”
“First, we need a ship. Find one for us, please, Mary. Thank you. You don’t need to reserve a whole ship for us. It’d be for the best if there are other people present. That would be enough.”
“Yes, Miss. Don’t worry, you can trust me.”
Mary smiled, placing her hand on her chest.
“Would you please tell Jeffrey to come inside on the way out?”
“As you wish, Miss.”
Mary left the room, seeking the old butler, Jeffrey. A while later, the butler knocked on the door, a sign of his timely appearance. He entered and Rihannan pointed to the chair next to him.
“Have you waited for a long time, Lady Rihannan? I apologize.”
“No, it’s alright. I spoke to Mary for a long time, too. First, have a seat. We have a lot to talk about.”
The butler sat on the chair , seat facing her, his wrinkled face full of expression.
“I’m grateful for you helping me, Jeffrey. Your deeds won’t go unnoticed.”
Had Jeffrey succumbed to the Count’s order and locked her up, her path might have turned out differently. Count Alessin would prevent all means of contact from Rihannan’s Crichton relatives and from the Queen with excuses of her falling ill and her being mentally unstable due to her mother’s death.
And they would accept that too.
It was a proper excuse by all means.
They’d tend to believe universal right.
And it was easy to accept an illegitimate child brought into the house of her noble father.
That too, was common.
Leticia lost her mother, Rihannan lost her mother.
That too, they thought would be a common bond of grief Leticia and Rihannan could share.
Jeffrey shook his head.
“No, Lady Rihannan. I just did what I thought was right.”
“I know it’s not easy turning a blind eye to the person you’ve been following for a long time. I heard that you’ve looked after father since he was young.”
Jeffrey’s eyes glinted, recalling the memories of the young and carefree Count Alessin.
“Lady Rihannan, do you have something you want to say?”
“I’m about to leave for Crichton.”
Jeffrey nodded slowly.
“I was making some guesses. I think it would be best for you too. Your Crichton relatives will be your strong support.”
“While I’m away, I want you to take care of this place.”
Jeffrey’s eyes widened, surprised for an instant.
“The management here is… the officials, the royal court… they…”
“I will give you all responsibilities and power to manage the estate. I’ll be writing a letter to you once a month.”
“But, Lady Rihannan, how can I…”
“If no one else, father will end up regaining this house.”
The old butler breathed a low sigh. He relived the face of the Count’s full and fiery resentment.
“….Okay. If that is your wish, then I will accept.”
“Everyone here in the mansion knows that Jeffrey is an effective butler and manager.”
Rihannan smiled cutely and spread out a rolled piece of paper on the table. It was a map of the land that she was entitled to.
“It would be difficult for you and I to take care of all the land considering our distance, so it’s better to organize and sort it out. First, we’ll sell all the less productive land or businesses and leave only what we need. I need your help for this.”
“That’s a good idea.”
Jeffrey had, for many years, spearheaded the management of the estate. He knew more of the land’s economic situation than the Count or anyone else.
He began pointing out details that Rihannan’d need to sort out and what she’d need to leave behind.
Then his fingers pointed to an area of open field.
“The soil here is so poor that crops cannot grow. There are also many rugged stones, making it unsuitable for raising sheep and cattle. Though it doesn’t mean it’s not accessible as a trade route. We’d better sell this area at a bargain price.”
“No. Leave this place as it is.”
He looked up at Rihannan.
“But, Lady Rihannan, this is…”
“I know what you want to say. I have something in mind for this area. Just do as I say.”
So far, Rihannan had accepted all his opinions thus far and had not made any concession. Jeffrey looked back at the land he found of little use to see if he overlooked anything, but he saw nothing.
Regardless, she was the owner of the land. It was best to let her do as she pleases.
Finishing up, Jeffrey stared at Rihannan, who would soon leave to Crichton in two days time. Leaving Arundell and settling down in another country was no easy feat. No matter how close she was to her relatives, she was still a child, after all.
Jeffrey was worried for her, but after today, she seemed different, and he thought that she would do just fine in Crichton.
He believed in her.