Rivelia cuddled Kunette to her heart’s content, screaming with joy as she described how soft, warm, and fluffy Kunette’s fur was. But soon after she had her fill, a depressing sense of disappointment at her own will replaced her joy. She fell on her knees and despaired, and Kunette was kneeling next to her in the same position.
Meanwhile, the female students envied Rivelia who managed to hug Kunette, while the boys envied Kunette for being hugged by Rivelia. But their envy didn’t stop them from cleaning the tent of the sandwiches.
“Huhuh, this is a huge success, Sunbaenim.”
Krent approached Isaac with a brimming smile.
“It was a last-ditch effort, but I didn’t think they would actually go ahead with it.”
“It’s true that there was quite a debate about this, so we decided to invest only our family’s money in this plan. This project aims for profit in the long run rather than an immediate profit, after all.”
“Well, I must say that I am in debt to you. I was very close to falling for the trap that she had set.”
Isaac’s original plan was built around selling the sandwiches at first. If Krent hadn’t tipped Isaac off about the changes in the rules, Isaac would have walked into the trap Rivelia had set in advance.
With Krent’s input in mind, Isaac had to change his plan quickly. The plan had many holes, but the Rivolden Merchant Guild’s master managed to make a crucial decision in such a short amount of time. Isaac assumed it was expected of a man who ran one of the largest merchant guilds in the Empire.
“But are you sure about keeping it a secret from Kunette?”
Krent muttered to Isaac with worry as he glanced at Kunette, who was drowning in gloom.
“Don’t you think ten pots of honey are more than enough?”
“It’s true but…”
Even Isaac would not be able to pay for 10 pots of honey every day. So Isaac decided to make another secret deal with the Rivolden Merchant Guild.
It was to use Kunette as the mascot promoting the Rivolden Merchant Guild’s goods. It would have been difficult for Isaac, but the merchant guild would have no problem in paying for so much honey. This was a deal made under a contract; there was nothing to be ashamed about. The only questionable part was that Kunette herself didn’t know of this fact, and that’s what Krent was worried about.
“I’m sure she’ll be happy to hear that she’s earning the honey she’s receiving.”
Isaac was well aware that Kunette was trying to refrain from asking him to give her honey, despite her urges. Isaac found this to be too cute and couldn’t stop himself from feeding her all the honey he had, but Isaac firmly believed that children should be able to eat whenever they want.
“Then why didn’t you tell her from the start?”
“Because Kunette is the only thing that could get through to that girl.”
If Kunette knew that the Rivolden Merchant Guild was going to supply her all the honey, she would have never allowed herself to be cuddled by Rivelia. In order to stop Rivelia from attempting anything once her plan failed, Isaac needed Rivelia to come to his side one way or another—Kunette was the best tool to achieve that. Kunette herself said that Rivelia was a little girl, after looking at her with that All-Seeing Eye of hers. And there were no little girls that didn’t like cute things.
At the end of the day, Isaac managed to reap a profit without any costs, so it was the best result he could have hoped for.
The Week of Suffering had passed. Once Rivelia was conquered by Kunette, the plan went without a hitch. The only problem was that because of this incident, the rations took longer to be depleted, making the Week of Suffering last longer than just a week. There were some complaints, but it was on the Rivolden Merchant Guild to deal with them.
Rivelia seemed quite depressed about the fact that she fell to Kunette’s charms, but she continued to cuddle her daily without missing a beat. Kunette too seemed depressed that she couldn’t hold her desire for honey in check, but later on, she became so used to the cuddles that she willingly walked up to Rivelia for the cuddles and then demanded honey from Isaac—which she rightfully earned.
She later learned the truth about the mascot part and became upset, but Isaac convinced her by listing as much bullshit as possible. Some of his reasoning were how amazing she was, how she wasn’t receiving the honey out of pity but earned it instead, that it’s a reward for her great work, that there would be no honey if she didn’t let Rivelia hug her, that marketing oneself was a blessing in itself, and that she could eat honey whenever she wants now. Kunette’s mind was easily appeased with Isaac’s sly words.
“What are you crying about now?”
During the Week of Suffering, which lasted for a fortnight this time, Isaac could not receive any orders from the students. Expecting a mountain of orders to come, he sent Reisha and Kunette, but they came back crying instead.
“What do we do?!”
“What do you mean ‘what do we do?’ What, did you lose the list of orders on the way back?”
“No. We didn’t get a single order.”
Isaac sighed at the impossibility that Reisha had just told him about, and he quickly decided that a crying Reisha was not the right person to talk to. He turned his head to Kunette, who didn’t even ask for honey anymore, and just walked into the kitchen for that honey which she rightfully owned.
“…We had tea with Rivelia.”
“You had tea for the entire day?”
Isaac couldn’t understand how someone could drink tea for three hours. For someone like him, tea was something you gulped down within seconds. There should have been more than enough time to receive the orders once it was done.
“Rivelia was constantly holding on to us so that none of the other students could get close and give us their requests.”
“Hmm, I guess that girl actually likes you guys.”
Isaac remembered the merry look Rivelia had when she got a hold on Kunette and smirked. He believed that this wasn’t much to worry about.
Another fortnight had passed, and once again, not a single order went through to Reisha and Kunette during that period. This was when Isaac realised how serious this problem was. He thought that she would give up at some point, but she seemed much more patient than he had imagined.
“If you wish to capture the general, first capture his horse. Using one of the principles in the Thirty-Six Stratagems—that’s rather grand of her.”
Once he understood Rivelia’s intention, Isaac found it both impressive and adorable. Rivelia managed to figure out Isaac’s personality in such a short time.
Isaac thought to himself for a moment. He first considered dealing with the issue by going to the Campus and settling things himself, but in all honesty, he found it extremely tedious. It was a nice experience to be surrounded by all the girls of the Campus, but this wasn’t the case for Isaac; he wasn’t the centre of attention because he was admired by the girls. Their relationship was more like master and servant, so Isaac needed to be very careful with his behaviour. That was the reason why he pushed the business onto Reisha and Kunette.
“Do we have to go again today, Sunbaenim? When it’s obvious we’ll be held again?”
Reisha asked. Her expression clearly showed that she did not want to go no matter what. She only worked for Isaac because she found doing the business very enjoyable, but when things turned out this way, she was more than ready to drop everything and leave.
“Does she really look like she won’t stop?”
“Yeah. How do I say it… She looked like she wanted to see who would give up first.”
“That’s a problem…”
It’s true that they had 3 hours in their lunch period, but not a single student in the Campus actually used all that time to have a break. Time management was crucial in keeping up with the curriculum in the Campus. If you fell behind, you were left behind. The College was no exception.
The fact that Rivelia, the greatest of all geniuses and the centre of admiration, was enjoying a tea party was ludicrous. It was clear that this was just a front to harass Isaac in any way possible.
“This is no good…”
This could lead to a drop in Rivelia’s grades. For someone like her, it would simply mean that she would fall from the status of the greatest of all the geniuses to just a normal genius, but Isaac wouldn’t be able to escape the blame. Just as there were many people anticipating Rivelia’s success, her failure would also redirect some of their ire towards Isaac.
“Man. Does she not know her own value? Tsk, I guess I’ll teach her myself.”
“What are you doing here?”
“Do you really have to do this, even at the cost of your grades?”
“Hmph! I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You should know that even if it is tedious, I can just receive the orders myself.”
“Ha! I guess that would mean I would have to see that despicable face of yours every day.”
Isaac could only sigh at Rivelia’s attitude as she stood her ground.
“Then are you really going to hold Reisha and Kunette every day?”
“Hmph! I’m simply having a break from my busy schedule.”
“To have a tea party every day with Reisha and Kunette until graduation? You should know that it’s impossible.”
“Why are you saying that it’s impossible? As long as you continue to profit against the poor students of the Campus, I will not stop sacrificing myself for these two, who are obviously being used as a tool.”
“So you’re going to have tea every day?”
“T, that’s right.”
Once again a chill crawled up her spine. She hesitated, but she quickly put up a front to hide that moment of reluctance.
“All right! Then I will sponsor it with everything I have.”
“If you’re going to have a tea party, then you need to do it right. Screw these disgusting tea leaves. Just name whatever you want. I will get you the most famous and rarest tea leaves within the Empire. And using these cups from the Campus will surely ruin the flavour of the tea. I’ll also get you the fanciest tea sets and snacks to go with the tea, so you can enjoy the luxurious tea party every day.”
“What is your goal?”
Rivelia began to worry when Isaac seemed so eager to support her actions.
“What aim? I’m simply sponsoring this tea party of yours out of good will.”
“I don’t need your help.”
“You’ll quickly tire yourself of these low-quality leaves supplied by the Campus. I’m just trying to help you before that happens.”
What Isaac said was true. Unlike the fancy menus supplied by the cafeteria, the tea was made by boiling bags of low-quality tea leaves in a giant pot. Sometimes it would be too bitter, while other times it was too bland. It wasn’t something anyone could enjoy every day.
“Ha, fine. Then I accept your kindness. First, I want the Lublanc Sky, the speciality of the Lublé province. It is a premium tea set; only 20 of them are made every year, but I’m sure you will find a way to bring one here with your amazing talent. Ah! I would also like you to bring every type of tea. Of course, they must all be of the highest quality, not from your run of the mill tea shop. Is that possible?”
“Sounds rather expensive.”
It was obvious that she wanted to take this out of Isaac’s control. Even the Rivolden Merchant Guild would find it difficult to bring these goods to Rivelia.
Just having the money wasn’t enough for these goods. Since they were in limited supply, the buyers had to make reservations years in advance to get them. Some of them held such fame that they didn’t accept orders from commoners or lesser nobles out of pride.
“Are you telling me that you can’t do it?”
“Not at all. But I think it will take some time.”
“Ha. I didn’t expect you to have them straight away either. But you’re not going to say that you’ll have it after a year or delay it for as long as possible, right?”
“I think ten days should be enough.”
“Ha! Can you really supply all of that within ten days? If you can, then I will most definitely have a tea party every single day. It is rare to enjoy such quality tea in such abundance.”
“Is that a promise?”
“Of course. I swear upon my name and my family.”
“Tsk tsk, you’re still so young.”
“What was that!”
Rivelia shouted back at Isaac who was clicking his tongue.
“You shouldn’t put your name or your family on the line so easily. Especially when you’re swearing upon it. You should only do so after meticulous calculation and planning.”
“Ha! That’s none of your business.”
“Well, I think swearing your name is going too far, so I’ll pretend I didn’t hear it. Let’s just call it a promise between us.”
“Are you trying to back out now?”
“We will see in ten days.”
Rivelia was worried at how relaxed Isaac looked, but at the same time, she was aware of how difficult it is to buy the goods she demanded.
“Hmph! We will see indeed.”