TWB (Novel) Chapter 119

C119

"I-I have worked hard on sculpting to dedicate myself to Madam. The butler said maybe I should try something other than candles, so I carved in wood..."

If it were the original Nicholas, he would have insisted on making only candles. However, Vincent's words that Bianca might get tired of it made him look for other options.

Vincent, who was listening, added with a sigh.

"Most likely, Nicholas's candles will be enough for Madam to use throughout this winter."

Due to Bianca's orders, he had to provide as many candles as Nicholas wanted, so there were times when all the candles there ran out. It was at that moment that he realized this couldn't go on like this.

But what should he do? Bianca gave the order, so Vincent couldn't do anything about it.

The fact that Bianca could get tired of it was a story he let slip, hoping that Nicholas could explore other elements. At the same time, he didn't expect much, but he was pleasantly surprised because the effect was unexpectedly good.

Of course, Vincent wasn't completely lying. It was because Bianca, whom he had been observing until now, was very demanding and capricious when it came to consumption.

Fortunately, Bianca showed interest in wood carving. Although carving at first can become delicate, it wasn't difficult to reveal greatness on a large scale.

"I'm also curious about the other pieces. Can you show me later?"

"Of course!"

Nicholas nodded eagerly. As they talked about sculptures, Zachary, who was standing by the side, spoke with a displeased expression.

"Bianca."

"Yes?"

"Why don't you go inside and rest? It's because I'm worried."

Zachary thought it was an excuse to himself, even though he said it. It's as if he's trying to divert Bianca's attention to him... he said such an excuse simply to hide his jealousy.

Zachary smirked to himself. He's just a 10-year-old boy, so what absurd jealousy is he talking about?

But if you think about it, the age difference between Zachary and Bianca is 13 years. In comparison, a seven-year age difference wouldn't be anything. When he looked at the numbers, the age difference became even more vivid. Zachary's mouth closed tightly.

Anyway, if he could catch Bianca's attention, even with a quite embarrassing excuse, he would be willing to do embarrassing things over and over again. Zachary spoke to Bianca again.

"You still seem tired, so you can rest early today... nothing bad will happen if you check the estate tomorrow. Wasn't Vincent handling it? He has been doing well for a few months, so it's fine to rest for one more day."

"Rest, Madam. I will arrange everything for you to see it tomorrow."

Vincent quickly accepted Zachary's words. Although he couldn't guess all of Zachary's intentions, he thought he knew exactly what he wanted.

"Is that so?"

Bianca nodded naturally at Zachary's suggestion, as if she hadn't guessed what he was thinking. It was very fortunate for Zachary.

Then Bianca headed to her room in Arno Castle. She had finally returned after half a year.

----

Not long after returning to the castle, they melted into their daily lives.

During her absence, Zachary was informed of what had happened on the estate. This year's vineyard had a bountiful harvest, so next year's wine would be plentiful, from trivial matters to the situation in Aragon on the border, and the rumors that circulated after they left the capital.

"A Saint has appeared in Sevran?"

Zachary, who heard rumors about the appearance of a Saint, frowned in astonishment. A Saint suddenly appeared...? It's the first time one has appeared in over a hundred years, but... Zachary asked for details from Robert, who had come with the rumors about the Saint.

"Are you sure? Who is the Saint?"

"I couldn't find out who the Saint was because the Church hasn't made it public... This fact was notified directly by the Vatican."

"The only ones who know about the existence of the Saint are the Church...? Could it be that the Vatican intends to influence Sevran?"

"It doesn't seem like it. It has been quiet since the existence of the Saint was announced. There hasn't been any movement."

How will the sudden appearance of a Saint and the intervention of the Vatican affect Sevran?

Zachary's mind became complicated.

Like the rest of the world, Zachary, Robert, and Sauveur couldn't connect Bianca to the Saint. Bianca's meeting with the archbishop in the church wasn't enough to link her to a Saint because the Bianca they knew was the furthest person from a Saint.

Apart from liking Bianca, everyone who knew her agreed that she was far from being a frugal or benevolent person. Bianca also thought the same. So, who could overlay their image with that of a Saint?

Unaware that the Saint was his wife, Zachary looked out the window, contemplating the kingdom's situation. Bianca was walking in the garden with Yvonne and Gaspard. The corners of Zachary's lips lifted slightly when he spotted Bianca in the distance.

Robert continued reporting.

"Rather, Aragon has slowed down because of it. There are reports that the Aragon front is gradually retreating."

"Oh, I'm glad. She has been enjoying her married life for the first time in ten years... Wouldn't Madam be bothered if I went to war right away?"

Sauveur intervened, unable to resist the itch in his mouth. Far from joking about that kind of thing, Robert frowned and scolded Sauveur.

"You're being too frivolous, Sauveur."

"It's true."

Sauveur and Robert started a small fight between themselves. Since it wasn't the first time the two of them had done this, Zachary listened to their argument with one ear and let it pass through the other. Zachary's gaze followed Bianca through the window.

Meanwhile, it seemed she had already stopped walking, so Bianca entered the castle. Bianca's figure gradually disappeared from his sight. Zachary, who was a little sad about that, sighed softly and calmly spoke to the two who were still chatting.

"But just in case, don't decrease the monitoring in Aragon."

"Yes!"

As if it were a lie, the two shouted together. Zachary directed the question arrow to Vincent, who was in charge of internal affairs.

"Vincent. Now that I think about it, are the preparations for All Saints' Day going well?"

"Of course."

November 1st was a day of celebrating all the Saints, and it was a day when the lord gave alms to the young ones. It was an important day for the territory, where the lord's generosity could be seen depending on how much he gave that day.

Seeing Vincent, who boasted about meticulous handling of work, respond confidently, the preparations for All Saints' Day must be in perfect condition. Zachary tapped the desk with his fingertips as if he were thinking about something for a moment, then slowly said.

"Why don't we expand the scale of All Saints' Day a bit?"

"The wine from last year was plentiful, and this year's wheat harvest as well, so it's possible..."

Vincent looked up, asking if there was any reason to do so. Since it was an event that celebrated the territory's finances, it was natural for Vincent, who managed the assets, to ask such a question.

Zachary responded calmly as if it were nothing.

"It seems that Bianca hasn't been feeling well these days. She doesn't seem interested in her surroundings... It would be good to have a change."

"Now that I think about it, it's been a while since she has asked me for something she wants recently..."

Vincent rubbed his chin and muttered seriously. The expression on the faces of the two men in anguish was very serious.

Zachary murmured with a somber voice.

"Before leaving the capital, she showed up wearing the same clothes she had worn three days before."

"What? Madam? She wore the same outfit from three days ago?"

Everyone in the room was surprised by Zachary's words. They were more surprised that Bianca repeated the same outfit in the near future than the fact that Zachary knew what Bianca was wearing.

"What... happened in the capital... why Madam-...?"

Vincent stammered, barely spitting out the question. His wrinkled face turned pale. His expression seemed even more surprised than when Bianca said she would look around the estate.

Zachary tilted his head and looked at the desk, a shadow cast over his face. The shadow over his deep eyes created an even more serious atmosphere.

It was Zachary who wanted to know the most why. What really happened to her? He should have gotten an answer at that moment.

But two weeks have already passed, he couldn't go and ask now. On the contrary, it would be a big problem if he hid it with even greater force from Zachary's perspective. Zachary sighed heavily.

"It's not like nothing happened... Anyway, I don't know what it is, but I feel that she's worried, so make sure nothing is lacking."

----

"Yes, understood."

Vincent responded with determination. His mind was spinning.

"After hearing the story, it seems that Madam's somber signs began just before she left the capital... Maybe she liked the splendid life in the capital and wasn't happy to return to the estate? Also, she returned without seeing the harvest festival in the capital, so it's no wonder she's dissatisfied..."

The reason for leaving the capital early in the first place was because of Bianca's insistence, and although Bianca was not particularly interested in religious life, to Vincent, who knew nothing about it, it seemed like very plausible reasoning. It was more accurate to say it was an interpretation.

"Well then. If that's the case, let's make All Saints' Day bigger than ever, comparable to the capital's harvest festival. Then Madam will be able to quickly adapt to life in the castle."

Vincent, who fully accepted Bianca as the Countess of Arno, reaffirmed his promise. When he tried to expand All Saints' Day, the work suddenly increased, but who was he? A butler who can surpass 100 men. This would be easy.

Of course, originally it was Bianca, the owner of the territory, who was supposed to oversee the festival, but no one said a word about it. Of course, it was something that Vincent was supposed to do. Even Vincent thought the same.

----

While the preparations for All Saints' Day were in full swing, customers lined up at the Arno estate. They were sent by the nobility seeking nothing less than lace.

It was a quicker contact than expected, but she was prepared to some extent. Bianca sold the lace at a reasonable price, taking into account the value of its preventive effect.

Bianca was a far cry from being shy. Just as she was lavish in spending money on herself, she generously paid the maids in charge of the lace when they sold it.

Upon hearing that the lace they made was praised along with abundant rewards, the weavers became more enthusiastic and dedicated themselves to weaving lace. And Bianca stimulated the lace industry by leading the maids.

The corners of Vincent's lips lifted as if they were about to split due to the goods flowing into the territory. If there was anyone who rejoiced in the success of this business more than Bianca, who planned the lace business, it was Vincent.

If the number of people seeking the estate gradually increases in this way, the Arno estate will also function as a commercial town. Of course, it wouldn't be reasonable to have only lace, but anyone could dream.

Vincent's steps, soaring above the clouds, were light. As he walked, laughing heartily, the servants who encountered him in the hallway were amazed.

-----

While people flocked to the estate, rumors were unconsciously heard.

It was said that Aragon was discussing ceasefire negotiations. This time, it was presumed to be related to the rumors that the Vatican had canonized a Saint.

Upon hearing the news, Bianca was delighted. What if the war ends like this...? A surge of anticipation welled up in her heart.

But rumors are just rumors. Bianca slapped herself on the cheek as she was about to let her guard down. Just in case, she shouldn't feel relieved by an uncertain situation.

While Bianca maintained her lace business, she was also interested in the war. Instead of feeling relaxed, she felt more at ease analyzing everything.

Preparations for All Saints' Day were in full swing, but Bianca's mind was elsewhere. She hadn't even prepared a new dress for that occasion.

Essentially, it was customary to dress modestly for the festivals held in the territory, such as All Saints' Day, but no one mentioned the fact that Bianca had no reason to make a new dress for the festival. Rather, seeing Bianca neglect her dress terrified everyone around her.

Impatiently, Vincent asked,

"Madam, what dress do you plan to wear for All Saints' Day?"

"Dress? Ahh."

Bianca was speechless, as if she had just remembered. Vincent's heart pounded at the reaction that seemed completely indifferent to a new dress.

She used to say that wearing beautiful things made her feel good, and that's why she liked using candles that shine and melt away in a short time. Isn't Bianca the one who uses candles carved by Nicholas? Her lack of interest in a new dress was like a cat that didn't care about the ball of yarn rolling in front of it, which was absurd.

But the nonsense continued. Bianca waved her hand.

"Lately, I haven't been able to afford to worry about my dress or outfit, so Vincent can adjust it moderately."

"A-Are you referring to me?"

Vincent swallowed hard. Bianca was originally demanding and had a keen eye for clothing. If even the slightest thing seemed rustic or cheap, it would be discarded.

Vincent, on the other hand, was far from having a sense for clothing. In fact, even when choosing clothes for Zachary, didn't he always pick the same rough and similar clothes?

So, should he choose her clothes, when he had never entrusted that task to anyone else before? Vincent was stunned by the sudden and clear mission. Choosing Bianca's clothes was a more difficult problem than making the All Saints' Day festival as big as the harvest festival held in the capital.

Vincent wanted Bianca to retract her orders, but she didn't budge. In that case, there was no choice but to seek help from Yvonne, who knew Bianca's tastes. Vincent looked at Yvonne, who was serving Bianca, with anxious eyes. Yvonne awkwardly smiled and nodded slightly.

With an indifferent look, Bianca tapped the nougat on the table with her finger. The nougat fell, revealing the side abundantly decorated with nuts and dried fruits.

Nougat was a precious snack that only Bianca and Zachary could eat, which required expensive ingredients like honey, eggs, and nuts. But what was the use of such a precious snack? The nougat remained unable to enter Bianca's mouth. Bianca, who hadn't eaten a single piece of nougat, asked Vincent,

"Now that I think about it, it seems like you're preparing extraordinarily for this All Saints' Day."

"Yes. The Count wanted it to be a grand event."

"The Count...?"

"Yes. Hasn't Aragon been restless lately? We're in the midst of a war. Right now, to boost the morale of the people in the territory and also to create a spectacle for Madam, the Count ordered a grand celebration."

Vincent replied with pride swelling in his chest. The Count loved her dearly, so he had no doubt that she would also like it.

But Bianca's face was quite shadowed.

"But is it safe...? If Aragon crosses the border while we're celebrating All Saints' Day..."

"Then the Count will have to go out and fight immediately, but don't worry. As always, there won't be an invasion of Arno Castle, and the Count will return victorious."

Vincent responded cheerfully, as if Bianca's concerns were unfounded. Once again, it was said that Bianca cared deeply about the situation in the territory and even took it positively.

"Still... Now that I think about it, how is the defense of our territory progressing?"

"First and foremost, the Count paid great attention during the construction, so it's quite strong, though not impregnable. The land is always abundant, so there are enough food reserves. It can hold out until the Count returns from the war. The Lord will return after defeating the enemy. Don't worry too much."

"..."

Wait for Zachary? Until he returns? Perhaps even after returning from the dead?

But no one, including Vincent, would think that Zachary would die in the war. Not even Zachary himself. So they couldn't understand why Bianca was so sensitive to the war.

Bianca fell silent.

Unlike Vincent, Bianca couldn't dream of a vaguely promising future. Wasn't she a living witness to an unfortunate and terrifying future? The chosen one who saw the worst future couldn't relax at Vincent's words of "Zachary's return."

The original role of the lord's wife was not just to take care of the castle and manage the estate but also to assume the role of the lord when he was absent. However, in the past, Bianca refused to do so and was ignorant of the defense of the territory.

It's no wonder that her property had been handed over to Viscount Huegh, who came to seize Arno's property after Arno's death. Although the affair with Fernand had been a catalyst, Bianca wouldn't have had it so easy if she had intended to defend her territory.

Bianca's head throbbed. It wasn't so different from the past. Bianca was still handing over her work to Vincent...

And if... just in case... Bianca couldn't allow things to continue as they had been.

She couldn't leave Zachary's part to Vincent.
-
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