Chapter 3 - Elena Townsend
The Townsend territory had long been plagued with poverty. When there was a harvest, the people were hit by Logan’s attacks. If the people managed to fend them off, the farmers had to pay to repair the damages and were heavily taxed. Good harvest seasons were taken away, and poor harvest seasons caused the farmers to become serfs. Eventually, people could not endure their circumstances anymore and began to flee. Count Townsend needed willing subjects to revive the land, but he was an aristocrat to his bones, and his irritable character made people leave instead.
Nevertheless, Count Townsend had relied on his title and steadfastly demanded that the king solve this issue, but the king had ignored his requests for an audience. After all, Townsend was poor and ruled over an impoverished land; the king had nothing to gain by helping him.
Still, Count Townsend was a resilient man who had persistently continued his family’s name. He had the bluest of blood and served as a symbol to the nobility. That meant the king also couldn’t confiscate Count Townsend’s land and title despite all the unpaid taxes the count owed. If the king were to try and reduce the count to a mere commoner, other noble families might revolt.
On the other hand, Count Logan was at the center of an emerging power. His father was the current king’s uncle and had led the usurpation that had dethroned the former king. He had been recognized for his contributions and was given a rich territory with the title of a count. Logan’s father had suffered multiple injuries during the usurpation and had eventually died, leaving his land in the hands of the barbaric, avaricious Logan.
It was hopeless to face off against a man like Count Logan, but Count Townsend refused to accept him as a nobleman. He viewed Logan as an upstart who had just inherited his title, possessing neither the dignity nor elegance expected from a nobleman. As far as Townsend was concerned, Logan would have never become a count if he wasn’t the king’s cousin.
Since he couldn’t accept the man as a noble, Count Townsend had easily refused Logan’s proposal to Elena after Logan fell in love with her at first sight. Elena was 15 years old then, and that was the beginning of Count Logan’s attacks.
15 days ago, Count Townsend had headed to the capital once again to report Count Logan’s behavior. This time, he had to meet the king.
“I will save you from this poverty if you become my wife,” Logan said.
Elena’s lips twisted coldly. People laughed at how Count Townsend stubbornly kept pestering the king for help, but there was another reason behind his actions: Elena.
Count Townsend had three daughters. Elena was the eldest, and she was going to inherit his title in the future. For this reason, Count Townsend had been traveling in and out of the capital to find Elena a husband. He wanted a powerful nobleman as his son-in-law to help the Townsend household escape from poverty. Logan was aware of this as well.
“You’re already mine. Everyone already thinks so,” Logan continued, and even though his filthy breath choked her, Elena’s sneer only grew more prominent.
Still, he wasn’t wrong. No one had proposed to Elena in the two years since Logan’s proposal had been refused. They didn’t want to make an enemy of Count Logan, the king’s relative who was only becoming more powerful.
Elena’s father knew this as well. He also knew that Elena was humiliated by the lack of proposals. However Count Townsend was someone who boasted of never going back on his word, and this case was no different. The proposal had already been rejected; that wasn’t going to change.
Elena smirked, looking into Logan’s apathetic brown eyes as she spat out, “I guess you have a talent to not understand what someone is saying, Count Logan. Please get your rancid mouth out of my face.”
At Elena’s arrogant, cold words, Logan strengthened his rough grip. It was so painful that Elena thought her jaw was breaking, but she didn’t avoid his gaze. She was never going to show fear to this monster. Logan would definitely bring her down if she did.
Logan gazed into Elena’s eyes, which were unwaveringly glaring at him, and gradually relaxed his hand. This was Count Townsend’s territory. It was impossible to violate Elena here. He might get sued by the church if he did so, which could cause problems. The king might even rebuke him. He had to drag her into his territory, then she would naturally become his.
“Admirer or not, you have carried your rudeness too far. You’ve already heard my answer, so please go back,” Elena said quietly, as if trying to avoid irritating him too much.
Logan took a step back. She really was not a meek woman, seeing how she remained haughty even though the destitute Count Townsend had emptied his castle of the few knights he had. Elena was fierce, but she shone brighter than any jewel. Logan was sure that he would be extremely pleased taming her. He was not going to let anyone else take what was his. No, he would lock her in his cage. She would be his beautiful trophy and slave.
“I’ll be back next time,” he said simply and left.
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Lantern Against the Wind
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