Rejoce! I have good news, I will be able to give you guys chapters throughout the month of April, even during final exams. I will stockplile 8 chapters during this weekend and then my incredible editor has said she can edit them. Also if Shiro does come back during this period then I will just release all 8 or however many remaining chapters at one go. So pick a god and pray for Shiro safe return.
Thank you to Incredible and sweet Rumble fish for editing
Duke’s Daughter 68: Backstage
“Please do not surprise me like that again. You truly had me worried for a moment there.” (Ralph)
“Oh my. Did you think I was that unreliable?” (Iris)
One week had passed since the meeting. This past week, many priests and Church officials were purged from the Church. They were not excommunicated as I had been, but being purged from the Church as a priest is a punishment that rivals excommunication. The investigation of the Church’s funds was also underway. When the culprit is found, the Kingdom will deliver punishment under the federal law.
“That was not what I meant; it was because you said such a thing that I was surprised. I guess even a cornered cat will attack a lion.” (Ralph)
“Please, you jest. If I had said that anywhere else, it would not have had any effect. The allegation I brought to the attention of the nobility will surely instill hesitation to donate or even a desire cut off contact with the Pope, which would make it more difficult for him to erase any evidence.” (Iris)
The connections that the Pope had built collapsed when I brought up the allegations of embezzlement, since contacting the Pope would place you under suspicion of being complicit in his schemes. No one will come to his defense or aid during this period.
“But, even so, if someone does try to contact him, it will make your job easier. As you have seen, many people did try and you caught them all with ease.” (Iris)
“Yes. It is as you have said.” (Ralph)
Priest Ralph heaved a sigh.
“Well then. Were you satisfied with the results of my inquiry?” (Iris)
“Yes. Thank you. We are now able to pursue the Pope while dealing with the corruption that has taken root within the Church.” (Ralph)
During the trial, Priest Ralph and I had been accomplices. Although we pretended to be in different camps, we had already agreed upon the actions we would take during that meeting. The only reason I was able to gain his cooperation was due to Dean’s assistance.
I had to find a person who had influence and power within the Church but was also in the faction opposed to the Pope. Priest Ralph was such an individual, but, since I had been excommunicated, it made it difficult to contact him.
It was thanks to Dean that I was able to gain Priest Ralph, who leads the faction opposed to the Pope, as an ally. Dean is truly a talented person who I want on my side.
“Will you now form the Church into your ideal?” (Iris)
Priest Ralph… Even though he is someone who sits among the higher echelons of the Church, he was still unable to become a cardinal or anyone with an influential title. I heard it had been because some people in his faction defected to the Pope’s side.
“Yes. It is shameful how pervasive the corruption throughout the Church is. We were on the verge of losing everything we originally stood for. Priests are not supposed to mimic nobility. They had, for the sake of pleasure and greed, embezzled funds from the Church. Sooner or later, people would have revolted against the Church and reduced the organization to rubble. The Church has been the recipient of many donations of late, and the people in charge sapped those funds, leaving our organization with nearly nothing. However, now, with this purge, we can become a proper Church that serves the people.” (Ralph)
The Church is a place meant for prayer and was supposed to be an oasis where the poor could receive medical treatment, be fed, and where orphans could be taken care of. All of these services were supposed to be funded by donations.
So, even though the Baron’s daughter, Yuri Noire, had been donating to help with said activities, all that money, in reality, was being funneled back to the higher-ups of the Church. Furthermore, the donation and charity parties were being held to fund Church higher-ups as well.
However, as more of the Kingdom’s budget was being allocated to fund the Church, the Church officials’ desire and greed grew.
The Church, in its current state, just provides relief and solace to those giving donations or who have the power to contribute funds.
“I expect great things of you, Priest Ralph.” (Iris)
“I will do my best to meet your expectations.” (Ralph)
Priest Ralph smiled.
“Was… I able to meet your expectations?” (Iris)
Priest Ralph made a huge gamble by placing his trust in me and providing me with the Church account book.
Although I do not have it with me now and will dispose of it later, there is still evidence of our cooperation via the letter he sent to me with his seal on it.
This was proof of the trust and expectations he had for me and his way of solidifying our alliance and roles as accomplices. He put himself and his career in danger by placing his trust in me.
“You have exceeded my expectations. It is now my turn to exceed yours.” (Ralph)
“I thank you from the bottom of my heart. In the future, should you run into any trouble, the Duke of Armelia will spare no expense to assist you. Conversely, I hope you will extend your hand in the future as well.” (Iris)
I said what my father wanted me to tell him.
“Will you be leaving now?” (Ralph)
“Yes. My company just released a new product, so we are quite busy at the moment.” (Iris)
I received a formal apology from the Church and they withdrew my excommunication.
This seemed like an excellent time to put our new products on the market: dandelion coffee was one of them. Merida experimented with various things and made it for me. We also put out new varieties of sweets and a few other products as well.
All of the new products were a huge hit, thanks to my mother. Now, our sales have reached new heights. We also introduced another delicious sweet made with chocolate.
All the things I just mentioned were developed and produced exclusively in our fief. Therefore, all the employees that Edward filched from my company were unable to replicate these new products.
To sum it up: All of the customers have returned to my side, and all the employees who joined Edward’s company also want to return… There is no way I’d let that happen, though.
It is not just the employees that want to return; our previous trading partners and major buyers are all coming back. I predict that his company will soon go bankrupt… What poor management. Why did I even like him in the first place?
“Then, Priest Ralph, I will take my leave. I bid you good day.” (Iris)