Ten days earlier, Lawrence’s foot kicked the ground.
“The Martell family turned down our offer.”
“…The same goes for the Bartra family. Even though we said we would accept building the distribution network they asked for, they suddenly said they couldn’t help us out. Lord. It seems that it is actually difficult to get help from those around us due to the pressure of the Barco family.”
At the report of vassals, Viscount Lawrence couldn’t contain his anger and smashed the table.
Before the dispute with Barco, Martell and Bartras were places that came to form connections with Lawrence. Lawrence then gave them fertile lands and power in the North-East region, and Viscount Lawrence maintained an amicable relationship with them.
Thus, the viscount remembered the relationships from back then and asked them for help. However, the lord of the two families, who always greeted Lawrence with a smile, showed a cold attitude this time.
He understood it. Recently, rumors were going around in the North-East region—Rumors that if a single force interferes with Barco’s actions by intervening in the dispute between Lawrence and Barco, they will retaliate against them after Lawrence fell. Everyone knew that the rumor was spread by Barco intentionally, but despite that, their families were scared.
Barco blocked the possibility of getting help. Now that there is a week of probation, Viscount Lawrence felt choked up.
“Did you get a call from the Golden Bank?”
“…Yes. They said they would consider a land-based loan, but it doesn’t seem like it will work out in a week. Golden Bank isn’t a neutral force. Moreover, as they invested a large amount in the Barco family, they seemed to have decided that empowering the Barco family will be more beneficial for them than helping us.”
The viscount felt dizzy. The Golden Bank wasn’t a force limited to the Cairo Kingdom, but a force that boasted enormous capital power that affected the entire continent. Their home base is said to be the Valhalla Empire, which is one of the two empires. Actually, they were a force that put on a neutral position based on their values, but in problems in which their interests are at stake, they openly favor the advantageous side.
Barco and Lawrence—The odds were higher for Barco, so it was better to side and invest in them.
“So are you saying there is no answer?”
Last few weeks, Viscount Lawrence was running all over to solve the problem. The breakup with Dmitry put Lawrence in a corner, but he tried to do anything to survive—he met many people while talking about the past. Among them, the contact with Golden Bank was such an attempt; it was something he did despite knowing it would fail. If he could borrow money, he could hire mercenaries like the Barco family. However, the foxes in Golden Bank didn’t do business as that could cause them a loss.
And now, he was stuck at a dead end.
Everything is over.
After a week, Barco will come to attack, and Lawrence will not be able to withstand the attack.
’… I should have calmed the heart of Dmitry.’
Dmitry—Their presence turned into poison. Even when he was prepping for the marriage with Dmitry, he wondered if the problems would get resolved, but he turned his back on Dmitry, and now, even the forces on Dmitry’s side didn’t help.
The real powers in the North-East region are Barco and Dmitry. And now, both families were hostile to him, making Lawrence a loner.
This is bad.
A woman sitting at the far end of the room spoke cautiously when the vassals couldn’t speak.
“Father, can I say something?”
Her identity—She was Lawrence’s golden jade leaf, Flora Lawrence.
Roman Dmitry—starting with the meeting with that man, Flora’s common sense about the world had completely collapsed.
’My judgment was wrong. I was prejudiced against Roman Dmitry, and the real fool was me, not him.
Roman’s actions were shocking. At first, she only thought that Roman had meddled with something, but as time passed, she learned the details of them—Roman killed Ben Miles, the leader of the Blood Fang in front of so many people. Moreover, all of it was done with Roman’s own strength, which was more shocking.
The purpose of dealing with Blood Fang came from them harassing the people in Dmitry’s estate, and knowing that Lawrence’s response was insufficient, he was bold enough to make drastic decisions.
Suddenly, Flora felt ashamed.
Although the eldest son of Dmitry was called an idiot, he was doing something for his family. However, she was someone who broke the marriage and put the Lawrence family in danger. If she could turn back time, at least the drastic choice of breaking the engagement would be held, and she would at least try to get to know the guy.
‘I was stupid. Choosing to break the marriage without taking any measures was a choice that would inevitably lead my family to destruction.’
There was a time when she thought she was smart—After completing the advanced courses in the academy with good grades and seeing her father smiling brightly, she thought she was the perfect daughter.
However, she didn’t know back then—The fact that studying something while receiving the support of her family wasn’t something the world works on, and that she was just a flower in a greenhouse. And outside the greenhouse, wild animals like Barco often lurked. They drooled and showed their teeth, and they didn’t care what Flora’s life had been like.
Flora announced the breaking of the engagement and locked herself in her room. Still, marriage should be done with someone who you love—that concept didn’t change for her, but in the face of reality, she didn’t have the courage to face her father. Because of her mistake, her father went to beg for help each day.
The lights in the conference room of the family never went out, and when the meeting was done, she couldn’t dare approach the vassals who looked dead and hopeless to her.
As Flora Lawrence, known as the flower of Lawrence, this was a harsh time for her, who had only seen and experienced good things till now.
She was in pain. She would have a fever in the middle of the night and wake up in cold sweat. With time, it became more frequent. In Flora’s mind, Roma’s image often emerged.
‘How could he have done such a thing?’
With his own strength—In a situation where no one expected him to do so, Roman boldly acted out his choices for the family. It was amazing. Aside from the fact that such a thing was possible, it looked much more interesting as he had made up his mind to do such a thing.
And from that point on, Roman began to appear in Flora’s dreams, and her heart changed little by little as that happened.
And one day, she made a decision—“Let’s not turn away from reality. Flora, if no one helps us, then just as Roman Dmitry defeated the Blood Fang himself, we need to find a way to solve our problems.”
In a dark room, Flora came out. With her hair tied up so she could comfortably move, she went to the library of Lawrence and grabbed a few books. Right, the type of books she grabbed was on Military Law, which helped one prepare for war.
Flora said, “We are pushed to a corner now. Barco cut off the help from around, and the difference in power is too obvious. Thus, there is an opinion that we should preserve even a little of the family’s land through surrender, but I don’t think it will work.”
“Why do you think so? Rather than killing innocent people, surrender is the best option for everyone,” asked Viscount Lawrence.
Seeing the questionable look in his eyes, Flora looked at him with a calm face.
“Barco borrowed money from the Golden Bank using their connections. Rumor has it that the loan process was conducted without any collateral, so a loan without collateral would inevitably have a higher interest rate. In this war, Barco isn’t at complete benefit. In order for both the borrower and lender to get good results, the land will be torn apart after Lawrence gets captured. Half will be taken by Barco and the other half by the Golden Bank. And yet, their thirst will not be quenched. Thus, they will have to scratch till the bottom of any safe to get their satisfactions worth of things.”
The vassals didn’t like this. It was a cruel remark, but no one could deny the reality.
“Then what are we supposed to do?”
“There is only one way—A desperate resistance. That is the only way we can survive.”
“Resistance—is that really the best choice?”
Viscount Lawrence looked disappointed. Flora’s remarks raised his expectations for her. He thought that she had the ability to see the situation accurately and judge it, but in the end, she failed him.
Locking the gates of the estate, anyone could think that this approach she was speaking of was different from others.
“It isn’t just about holding on against their attacks. Give up farming this year and set fire to the fields. And after hoarding as much food as possible to survive. We keep resisting until the winter comes.”
“Can we even survive till winter?”
“Yes. Barco borrowed a large amount of money for this war. Although they used the connections to make loans without collateral, in fact, the Golden Bank isn’t a force that will do tasks because of the pressure from higher-ups. The bank is a force that affects the entire continent. If war doesn’t end quickly and time extends, the Barco family will have to face pressure regarding the high-interest rate. The larger the loan, the higher the interest. That is the only weakness we can attack. The mercenaries will run for the money, and the money will come from the Golden Bank. And when the winter comes, the weather will be unfavorable for a siege, and people are bound to be exhausted or tired. Then, it’ll be natural for them to think about backing out.”
“Such a way was there!”
At Flora’s words, the vassals admired her. At first, they were puzzled, but the more she spoke, the more they fell in love with her words.
This made sense—A race against time—Since Barco’s power wasn’t their own, there was a chance of winning if they dragged the time.
‘When did my daughter grow up this much?’
Viscount Lawrence looked at his daughter with a complicated expression. His only daughter—The one he raised so preciously while being wary of breaking her, like a flowering plant in the greenhouse, was now blooming. And when the thing with Dmitry happened, Viscount Lawrence thought that he had given her too much privilege and she was immature. However, the truth was different. When faced with a situation where they were sinking, Flora showed her colors.
‘She must have suffered so much due to her incompetent father.’
Flora’s face was frowning. Her suffering was now appearing on her face. His daughter—He didn’t want to see such a lovely child collapse in the hands of the Barco family.
Viscount Lawrence said, “Flora is right. The Barco family isn’t a force that holds much power in their hands. So, prepare for a desperate resistance right now. We will hold on and preserve, and we will continue as Lawrence!”
The decision was made. There will be no surrender. The white flag will not rise. The Lawrence family decided to endure the troubles till the end, even if it meant they would die.
A week after that, the day of the battle that Barco had foretold finally dawned.
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