Chapter 95 – With Great Slowness And Care (1)
“Maybe you’re right, Louise.”
Louis’s father turned regretfully and looked out the window. They were discussing the termination of the contract at the arts center.
“Your anger is justified.”
Louise answered calmly, holding back her rising emotions.
“I’m sorry I got so upset. I–”
“It is alright to be angry at an injustice. Especially when it involves using one’s personal connections to interfere with someone’s business.”
“But shouldn’t I have a cool head like you, Father?”
Mr. Sweeney turned and studied his daughter. She had been growing up lately. It wasn’t just her height. Her mind had accumulated a wealth of experience and knowledge, and her eyes carried a look of maturity.
“I don’t have a cool head.”
Not cool? So what was the calmness of his voice after she gave him a summary of the situation?
“I’m just used to it.”
“This will happen again in the future, many times.”
“But…it’s so unfair.”
Louise was on the verge of tears again.
“We have no noble families who officially looks after us. There are many of them regard us as a nuisance.”
For example, someone like Countess Lassen.
“But the people who graduated from the Academy with your father are all nobles. They’re friendly to the greenhouse.”
“You cannot expect anything from an informal relationship. It’s an inconvenience for the families.”
Louise understood the difference between a formal and informal relationship. A formal relationship referred to something that was documented on paper, such as marriages. She had heard that most noble families formed long-standing alliances in that way. But Louise was the only person that could marry from the Sweeney greenhouse, as she didn’t have any other siblings.
“…Should I make official connections with a family that will help the greenhouse?”
She approached the question carefully, but Mr. Sweeney dropped his book.
Mr. Sweeney stared at his daughter. It was the same daughter who said “I want to marry my dad” not too long ago. Exactly 11 years, 3 months and 7 days ago.
“I-I don’t care if I have to be on the streets selling flowers. I mean, that’s…”
He didn’t want her to marry for that reason. In the first place, there was no man Mr. Sweeney deemed worthy enough he would leave his daughter to. In the case of the Crown Prince and Simon, it was acceptable, but they were only just a tiny bit better than the others. The difference was about the size of an ant’s footprint.
“No, I’ll work hard.”
“It does not matter who the man is. He must treat Louise Sweeney like a queen. And after forty hours of rigorous screening…”
“I don’t think even I would pass forty hours of that.”
Mr. Sweeney beamed with pride.
“My daughter would pass even seventy hours of strict screening.”
Louise stared at her father with a dubious face. She imagined she would unfairly pass the test by just being his daughter.
The rain continued to fall in sheets.
As Louise changed her clothes, she thought for a moment about the original story. Recently she had been observing what was like the original work and not. She wondered if there was a pattern to where events were different. Her biggest hypothesis, of course, was that the story diverged only in Louise’s sphere of influence.
The water festival that was held on the hottest day, for example. It was there that drunk mercenaries cut off the neck of a statue in the square. So far that was just like the original. However, in the novel it was Ian and Stella who solved the case, while here it was the knights of the imperial household. After that, events flowed just like the story, where the mercenaries were hit with tomatoes throughout the festival. The journey was different, but eventually the destination was the same.
Was this the power of conservation of the original world? Perhaps it wasn’t changed because it was outside of Louise’s sphere of influence.
This was going to be complicated.
“Miss, the Prince’s carriage has arrived.”
Yes, things were complicated thanks to the male lead who stepped on the original story. He trampled on it so strongly that other aspects not revealed in the original story were starting to show itself. Who would have known that the king and gentle Professor Lassen only intended to use Stella for her own purposes. And when things went wrong for Lassen, the way she treated Stella grew increasingly worse, to the point where she hit her on her cheek. Stella knew it was wrong, but now she couldn’t escape her environment.
Louise knew the importance of one’s environment and how it could change one’s mind and personality. Stella’s lies and frigid expression was a result of her surroundings, and Louise had contributed greatly to it. It saddened Louise that she was the one to push Stella down.
‘I didn’t mean it.’
Whether or not the perpetrator of the accident was Louise or Ian, it worried her. Louise went down the stairs murmuring an apology that wouldn’t reach Stella. Beyond the wide open porch, there was a carriage waiting in the heavy rain.
“Is it okay for me to complain?”
Ian frowned lightly at the distance Louise was sitting opposite from him. It was too far. Too far that even if he stretched his arms he couldn’t reach her.
“Don’t hold it in.”
Louise responded with a grin, but the maid arrived and served them some tea, along with the cake that Ian brought as a gift.
“It’s a chocolate cake.”
Louise raised her plate with the cake and admired it.
“Yes, it’s a tasty, sweet chocolate cake.”
“Is this the same cake as your birthday?”
“Are you serious? I made it.”
Louise looked at him expectantly, but Ian waved his hand lightly.
“I’m sorry if it doesn’t live up to expectations, but I didn’t learn how to make cakes because they weren’t a survival food. ”
“Alright, I’ll learn. Is that fine with you?”
“I will learn how to make cakes properly.”
“You don’t have to!”
Louise shook her head vigorously and hurried to get another forkful. It was so thick and delicious.
“It’s so good.”
“I suppose so.”
He pushed the cake in front of him towards Louise. Louise looked alternately between the cake and Ian. Then she laughed. She felt that her relationship with him had changed a little.
“Don’t be too fond of this. It’s nothing.”
He scratched his head as he looked at the rain splashing on the window.
“I like it. Besides, I’ve been really hungry for some reason.”
“I guess you’re on the last stage of growing up. You’re finally going to grow taller. Remember to sleep well and eat a lot of meat.”
“Will I be as tall as the president?”
“That would be nice.”
They could face each other easily and always have the same view.
“So, say the magic sentence three times a day and eat meat.”
Louise didn’t forget the magic sentence he had taught her. Tomorrow, she would eat good meat. It was a fine sentence to reflect upon. Not only did it give one the strength to live through the day, but it also gave some hope to tomorrow.
“Even while I’m away.”
“I have something scheduled outside the capital.”
A thin crease formed between Louise’s eyebrows, as if she were worrying about something.
“Isn’t it the rainy season?”
Louise was anxious because traveling by carriage was not safe during the rainy season. An accident could happen and the wheels could get stuck in the muddy ground.
“It’s because of the rainy season that I have this schedule.”
Louise sighed in understanding. For years now Ian would go directly to the areas that were damaged by flooding. She was sure this was the case in the original story as well.
“Even though we’ve been providing enough monetary support for years to prepare for the floods, the damages have never been reduced. My father ordered me to check it in person.”
Louise knew the truth. Every year the flood aid sent from the royal court was spent lavishly on gambling and horse racing by the culprits. So far they had avoided responsibility by manipulating the paperwork, but this time they wouldn’t get away with it. Ian would expose everything and take away their estates and titles.
It was a sad episode, but as part of the readership Louise was waving her light stick.
“And I have to visit Count Lapis too.”
In the original novel Ian went to Stella’s home. During the day he punished the family members that didn’t like Stella, and at night they had a strong love affair. There was also an illustration where they kissed each other until they were out of breath. Louise couldn’t help but stare at the image for about half an hour.
‘It was great…and the male lead was holding Stella by her waist!’
Louise looked down and gazed at Ian’s arm. Yeah, that arm. The illustration was even better because it detailed his muscles and veins. Wait. That meant in the future, that arm would one day be wrapped around a waist! Maybe Louise might be in the area when that happened.
Louise gripped the arm of the sofa.
“Your face is red. Are you okay?”
“It’s okay! I was just thinking of something.”
“What were you thinking of?”
She couldn’t say she was thinking of the passionate kiss scene, so she shook her head.
“Lapis’s daughter was causing you trouble at the funeral. What a foul thing to do.”
“But you’ll still work fairly.”
“I will put aside my personal grievances, of course.”
“You’ll meet Stella, too.”
“…I’m not happy about it, but I will.”
What would happen this time? In the original story, Ian’s and Stella’s relationship grew even deeper because of the floor damage, to the point that they desired each other even more. That was the conclusion of this episode. Louise thought about the festival and incident with the mercenaries. Although the course of events was different, the conclusion was the same as the original. So, this time?