“What did you say?! Morssen actually jumped and killed himself?!” After hearing the news his butler delivered, Sir Fux stood up abruptly as he was tasting some fine fruit wine during breakfast. The napkin tied to his collar tipped a crystal wine glass over and the crimson-red fruit wine spilled all over his body.
But he could not care about his drenched clothes in the slightest. He marched towards his butler step by step and clutched his collar and urgently pressed, “Is this true?!”
The butler was terrified from seeing Sir Fux’s contorted face. He had never seen the man he served so mad. When he finally calmed down, he said, “Master, it’s said that Mister Morssen jumped from around five in the morning from the roof of his red-bricked mansion. He fell on the cobblestone floor on the ground and his head shattered, causing an instant death.”
Sir Fux relaxed his hands like a deflated balloon. He turned around and mumbled, “He… how dare he commit suicide… Who allowed him to?!”
The raging man pushed his dining table over, spilling all the food on the fine, marbled floor. The crisp sound of glass breaking and metal clanging could be heard as the mess unraveled. The butler was so terrified that he didn’t dare approach the raging Sir Fux to console him at all.
The berserk man stomped on the food on the ground with rage. “How dare he commit suicide?! How… dare… he!”
After a long while, he finally calmed down, but his eyes were still bloodshot. “I bet that the heir of the Ferd household must be little Bloweyk, the child, right?”
“Yes… it is true… I heard that he wrote a will before he committed suicide and named Bloweyk his heir. The child would bear all his debt.”
Sir Fux flipped out once more. He took a few deep breaths and managed barely to control his emotions. “I knew it… I knew it, Morssen… Well played! You want to drag me down even after you killed yourself! You made me the laughing stock of everyone! His son… What’s he called, Clow? Clover? Wait, it’s Claude, right? Isn’t he already an adult and can be the rightful of the household now?”
“M-master… Mister Morssen’s second son Claude just turned eighteen this year, but he is registered as a branch family of the Ferd household. That is mainly because he doesn’t have any property or house. Currently, he lives in Normanley Wood and works as its supervisor for three thales a year, a job to be envied. I heard he’s really filial and always takes care of the family, s-so he definitely won’t go against his father’s will t-to fight for the right to inherit from his little brother… And… and… with all that debt, h-he’d definitely not want a part of it…”
The stammering butler revealed a fact that made Sir Fux despair. No fool would fight to inherit a debt of five hundred crowns.
“Perhaps I shouldn’t have forced Morssen’s hand… If I met him yesterday and gave him one chance and maybe gave him more time to pay of the debt, maybe two to three years, he might not have resulted to such extreme measures… Damn him! He’s going to drag me down tih him!” Sir Fux finally regretted his bad move.
“By the way, is Arbeit still at the old street?”
The butler gave it some thought and carefully replied, “Probably not. Three days ago after you retired him. he went to the old street to look for his little lover and never went home since.”
“Instruct Bidlir to send someone to watch him. Don’t let him leave town. Also, tell him to go home and inherit the household. Even though he’s already an adult and has his own registry, he’s the eldest son and has priority. If he’s willing to do so, Morssen’s will will no longer be of any use. As for the debt, tell him that after he inherits the household, all he has to do is to transfer ownership of the red-bricked mansion to me and the debt will be called off completely.”
“Yes, Master. I shall get on it immediately.”
After the butler left in a hurry, Sir Fux lost control of the anger within him once more. He picked up anything within reach and smashed it against the ground as he cursed, “Darn you Stellin IX… Darn your stupid debt law…”
The loyal gardener outside the dining hall heard the commotion and the curses as he was dutifully tending to the plants. His expression stiffened immediately.
In an alley near the old street was a row of run-down, two-storey buildings. Sir Fux’s butler was brought to an entrance of one by a few Blacksnakes.
Arbeit still hadn’t awoken, but that didn’t stop the thugs from bringing the butler into the room.
“Arbeit, your father is dead. Why haven’t you returned home?” the butler asked sternly.
“Go home? For what? To inherit the debt of five hundred crowns?” Arbeit responded lazily.
The butler repeated Sir Fux’s conditions to him.
“Alright, got it. You can go back for now. Send Sir Fux my greetings. I’ll return home later.”
When the butler left, Arbeit cackled. “Do you think I’m stupid? You want me to inherit the household and get nothing but debt? Forget the debt? Is it possible? Do you think I don’t know that the words of that old fox is like nothing but empty farts? He never keeps to them. He really thinks I’ll jump into his trap like my fool of a father… Only an idiot would trust you.”
A red-haired woman squirmed out of the sheets. “Abbey, are you really not going home? Your father is dead.”
“Nope, I won’t go back to be beaten up,” Arbeit said firmly as he shook his head, “You might not know this, but that brother of mine is a real bastard. He loves to beat me up. While he might hold back a little while my father was still alive, he’d definitely go all out now that he’s gone. I’ll let him inherit the household and see how he intends to pay the debt back.”
“Since he can inherit the debt with the household, why did Sir Fux want you to go back to fight for it?”
“That old fox probably wants the red-bricked mansion quickly. The debt law of our kingdom stipulates that when the debtor dies, the adult heir of the debtor’s household will have to bear the debt and resign an agreement. There’s a grace period of three months during which nobody will be allowed to collect debt. The old fox is probably afraid of things changing in the meantime. Additionally, that brother of mine has someone standing behind him. He managed to hug onto the thick thighs of the Normanly household, so the old fox has reservations about him.”
Arbeit was still unaware that his father had far outthinked him. Morssen picked Bloweyk, who wasn’t an adult yet, to inherit the household and gave Sir Fux a heck of a conundrum.
“By the way, Alice, do you want to make some money?”
“Who doesn’t? You freeloaded at my place for three days now and haven’t paid me a single copper coin.” The redhead proceeded to tug on Arbeit’s ears.
“S-stop! Hey, I’ll write a letter for you to bring to my home to ask my brother for some money. He’ll definitely give it to you.”
“You aren’t lying? He’ll really give me the money? How much?”
“Perhaps one or two crowns… I doubt he has any more to give,” Arbeit said with certainty.
“That much? Really? What letter are you going to write?” the girl excitedly asked.
“Well, a formal letter to give up on the inheritance, of course. Just bring it over and he’ll definitely agree to your demands and give you the money. But you must split half of it with me.”
“Wait, Abbey, you really don’t want to inherit the household?”
Arbeit nodded firmly. “After I write the letter, have your father wait before going out to sea. When you come back, bring me to the docks. We’ll leave this place with your father’s fishing boat. I won’t be able to remain in Whitestag and I’ll have to go somewhere else. That old fox will definitely hunt me down for payback. If he pays me a hundred crowns to inherit the household, I might’ve done it for him. Does he think I’m stupid enough to fall for his empty words?”
THe boss of Blacksnake, Bidlir Blanche, stood outside the red-bricked mansion. Never did he imagine that he would be dragged into Morssen’s suicide and be unable to leave. The moment he heard the news, he received a notification from the chief justice of the town to head to Morssen’s residence with that notice and await investigation of the matter.
He felt the inconvenience of being drafted into public service. If he wasn’t the bandsman, he could simply get someone to take his place. But with the main reason Morssen committed suicide being Bidlir bringing the IOU to confront him he had to stay to be interrogated for the investigation.
At least half the townsfolk were there. Morssen’s suicide was something that rocked the whole town. The crowd filled up the streets nearby and rumors spread like wildfire.
Bidlir Blanche had never felt so humiliated his whole life. Even though nobody dared to walk up to him to curse him, the berating gazes people shot him was truly unbearable. It was as if he was the sole cause that drove the respected Morssen to the point of taking his own life.
Am I really? I’m only running an errand for Sir Fux… Bidlir felt wrongly accused, especially when Morssen’s second son, Claude, glared at him with a look filled with real killing intent.
As the boss of Blacksnake, Bidlir Blanche, also known as Butcher Bill, had killed a number of people before. He wasn’t unfamiliar with killing intent. But how in the world did Claude have such dense killing intent in his gaze? Bidlir felt his whole body stiffen and chill when basking in Claude’s gaze.
When he asked one of his subordinates, he was relieved to find that Claude was an experienced hunter who had killed a large black python and a niros crocodile as well as many other wild boars and goats as well as countless hares and turkeys. It was no wonder he sported such heavy killing intent.
“How much longer do they want me to stay here…” Bidlir complained with annoyance to his goon.
“Boss, just be patient. This is something we never could’ve predicted. We’ll have to at least wait until the people from the justice department come over see the IOU,” a witty subordinate said.
“We’ve been waiting here the whole morning, right? What are they dragging on for?” He was getting more and more frustrated at being stared at like a zoo animal by the crowd, yet Claude forbade them from entering the house. They were members of the garrison clan now and couldn’t do anything too flashy or forceful. They had to wait outside.
“Eh? Isn’t that Alice from the old street? Why’s she here?”
A redhead squeezed trough the crowd and entered the house. Soon after, she left joyfully.
A goon went over to question her and returned. “She helped deliver a letter from that babyface Arbeit. It’s supposed to be a letter to give up his inheritance.”
“Only a madman would inherit five hundred crowns of debt,” said another goon.
After a while, an officer from the justice department came over and asked to see the IOU. He looked at Bidlir with contempt and said, “Continue to wait here. Chief Justice Kauff will come during the afternoon. He will look into how you’re related to the debt and you’ll need this IOU for your testimony.”
“How much longer do we have to wait?” Bidlir was already at the brink of a breakdown.
“I don’t know. It should be settled by the afternoon, so be patient. Thankfully, there is no argument about the will. The heir is already recognized and decided. When Kauffman comes, he will deal with you. Just wait at the street over there. They will be mourning here later.”