I Became the Tyrant’s Servant - Chapter 13
I clasped my hands behind my head and remembered the ledgers Sir Ethan had stolen for me last night.
It was a never-ending ledger.
I looked at all the books without hesitation and dug into them if there was any slightest suspicion.
I could still recite all the details without a single mistake.
“The marquis, doubled the capital of the workers, and dealt with the expenses like crazy. You did not forget to siphon off your profits to Esland every year, and you manage an illegal gambling house under the marquis’ territory. You’ve got a lot of dirty money, and all the projects run by the marquis have been rigged up to make it look like they’re in the red. Ah, heavens!”
The blood disappeared from the marquis’ face.
I let out an exaggerated sigh and kicked the Marquis’ thin ledger with my feet.
“The Emperor tried to help the Marquis prosper in both material ways, but these false accounts is what he get. If His Majesty finds out about this—”
Eventually, the marquis collapsed.
“Please, just not that…”
After sitting down, the Marquis came up on his knees, and fell down at my feet and began to beg.
“I’ll do anything! Please show me mercy!”
I lowered my feet from the desk and looked down at the Marquis with a serious look.
“Marquis Sherrington, I’ll give you a life avice.”
Even at my sharply shortened remark, the marquis swallowed.
“Fraud is played by smart people.”
Fortunately, the marquis was a quick-witted one.
“Well, what do you want?”
“I’ll lend you the cost of building a dam.”
I have to save the rabbit.
“However, you will have to pay the taxes that have been delayed.”
The Marquis’ eyes trembled mercilessly. I’m sure he’s at a loss, too. How much have he embezzled so far?
The Marquis of Sherrington blinked in disbelief.
I’ll be able to fill the national treasury with half the payment, so that I can survive until my exile.
I was more desperate for successful asylum than catching tax evaders.
I smiled a fishy smile. His eyes twinkled with greed.
“Give me the money you’ve siphoned off to Esland.”
Fill the national treasury and raise funds for asylum. Killing two birds with one stone.
The marquis was silent for a while.
I’m sure he’s running his calculator around in his head.
I spoke to help him make his decision a little bit easier.
“If I’m going to tell the emperor that you only paid half the tax, he’ll surely reconsider it.”
Seeing the marquis flabbergasted, it seems that my prediction was right.
“Of course, I’ll lose my head. But is your Majesty generous enough to overlook your tax evasion?”
I tapped the marquis on the forehead with my index finger.
“There’s the guillotine either side, or you could just hand over the funds in Esland. I’ll leave the choice to the marquis.”
I stood up, leaving the marquis pale and trembling. I didn’t have to waste any more time here.
“Oh, I’ll take this as evidence.”
Finally, she tapped the marquis on the head with the fake ledger and left the marquis’ office.
Now her business with the Marquis is done.
I walked with light steps and hummed a song.
“Shall we go to the next destination?”
It was a real challenge.
As the road became so narrow that the carriage could no longer pass, the soldiers spoke to me as if it were natural.
“Duke Baloa, you must have been frustrated to be in the carriage alone. You may ride your horses as much as you like now.”
“He is smaller than the famous horse the duke usually rides, but he is a gentle fellow. I hope the Duke will like it.”
I looked at the saddle above my eye level.
The Duke of Baloa may have been a good rider, but it was my first time riding a horse today.
However, the road seemed too rough to walk instead of in horseback.
I’m sure I’ll be left behind if I walk down that road.
I ended up holding the saddle with my hand.
A horse is a horse. It’ll be fine if it’s stuck on the back of a horse.
When I put my left foot in the stirrup and put my saddle on it, same as the soldiers on horseback did, I was able to put myself in the saddle unexpectedly, perhaps my body remembered.
But as soon as she sat down on the saddle, the horse went wild.
The horse, smashed in the air with its forefoot, began to race along the narrow mountain path.
Instinctively, I lowered myself to grab the horse’s mane. The legs wrapped themselves around the horse’s trunk with all their might.
I heard soldiers shouting from behind, but even that faded as the horses entered the deep forest.
The branch scratched my face mercilessly. Her sight became so dark that she couldn’t see an inch ahead.
When she clenched his teeth, the fishy taste of blood spread through her mouth.
Let’s hang on a little longer. This horse will stop when it gets tired.
But the horse seemed to have no intention of stopping. He ran deeper into the forest, breathing heavily.
Gradually, my senses disappeared from my legs.
Her arms were heavy as if they were made of iron, and she was out of breath.
I turned my eyes away and glanced at the forest floor, which was passing quickly.
Will I die if I fall from here? I’d rather jump off here than be thrown off by this horse.
Then the horse kicked its hind legs as if to shake me off.
That was the limit.
The horse’s mane slipped through my sweaty fingers, and I slipped from the saddle.
On the verge of plunging to the ground.
Behind my back, someone hugged me. The horse soon calmed down as if it hadn’t run wild just now.
“Get off for now.”
The first person to jump off the horse grabbed my waist and let me off lightly.
Looking back, the first person I saw stood with his hood pressed down deeply.
I couldn’t see his face because of the hood, but he felt somewhat familiar.
He is overwhelmingly tall, has strong shoulders and a strong body line. A low-pitched voice.
I was used to it for some reason.
I pretended to be calm and fixed my one-eyed glasses that had come off because of the mess.
In fact, I wanted to sit down at once because my knees were shaking, but I was forced to act as if I were not surprised as the Duke of Baloa.
And above all, the first thing to do was to find out who this suspicious person was.
“I’d like to repay your kindness. May I ask your name?”
I could only see a strong jawline under the hood.
“I’m fine. I’m just trying to help you because you seem to be in trouble.”
The man skillfully pointed elsewhere.
“I think you should look at this more than that.”
Looking at where the man pointed, a red liquid was running under the saddle of the horse.
The man immediately removed the saddle. The horse snorted uncomfortably, but did not run away as before.
“There was a piece of glass stuck under the saddle.”
The man handed me a piece of bloodstained glass.
When I looked at the horse’s back, blood was pouring out of the deep cut.
“Who did this?”
I knew it instinctively. This is not a mistake.
Someone in the party had put it in on purpose. To kill me.
The glass-holding hand gave me strength.
The man snatched my hand. Only then did I feel a tingling pain. I was clasping a piece of glass with all my might I didn’t even know.
There was nothing but a dull word.
I couldn’t tell whether my hands were shaking with anger or fear.
I had gone on a trip to escape the threat within the imperial family. I didn’t expect it to follow me here.
The man reached out his hand.
“Give it to me.”
I put a slippery piece of glass in my jacket pocket, mixed with the horse’s blood and mine.
It is convenient to keep the evidence closely.
“It’s all right.”
It was a small word for the man and for me.
At least, unlike the Imperial Palace, the group had a small number of people. It would be easier to find out the criminal than in the Imperial Palace.
It was a strange conviction. I would never have understood it in my previous life.
I was quite confident. Even if I die, I will be able to kill him before he kills me.
I greeted the man briefly and turned away without hesitation.
When I led my horse back to the mountain path, the first person to find me was Sir Ethan.
“Are you all right, Duke?”
There was even a red hue around Sir Ethan’s eyes, which were frowned with anxiety.
“Yes, everything’s fine.”
My heart was still pounding, but I pretended to be fine and shook my hand as if I were annoyed.
The Knight commander came and bowed his head.
“I gave it to the duke because he was a gentle fellow, but it was all my fault. I’ll take any punishment.”
But I had neither the heart nor the energy to punish him.
“Well, you didn’t cause the horse to run away.”
I just thought it would be great if I could sit somewhere so that I could hide my trembling knees.
The other soldier, who had been conscious of me, spoke carefully.
“Shall we camp here for the day?”
“Yes, we’d better do that.”
I agonized as I watched the soldiers diligently tidy up the campsite.
Which of them tried to kill me?
Deep into the night, I examined the piece of glass in the tent.
There was a groove to fix the sharpest part in the saddle so that it could dig into the horse’s flesh.
But the pieces of glass themselves were not so large. It was an object that was elaborately manipulated so that the horse could feel pain only when my weight was placed on the saddle.
If you want to put these things under the saddle, you’d be a person who can easily access horses.
I thought I’d have to wait and see how the soldiers were doing for a few days.
I swallowed my breath and put the pieces of glass back in my pocket.
Then I heard a rustling sound coming from the entrance of the tent.
The pigeons flapped as if they were surprised.
“What’s the matter?”
When there’s no answer to my question, I finally realized that something was wrong.