“… College graduates have to work in the Empire’s offices for 10 years, but how long can they survive there with an insurmountable debt on top of their heads? There are many places that want a College graduate. All that’s needed is to pay off the debt they owe. Simple.”
“… I see. Then do it.”
Ivel pondered for a moment and nodded obediently. Soland replied, a hint of surprise in his voice.
“Do you not care what happens to your siblings?”
“I don’t need to be concerned about their safety.”
“True. But you’d rather not be the only one with a short end of the stick, right?”
“Is that all you have to say?”
“For now. Here—that’s the key to and the address of your hotel room. Take it.”
Ivel took the key and memo from Soland and spoke.
“Then I have a request.”
“Adding some more to my debt isn’t going to change much.”
“You have a point.”
“Bring me the head of Aaron, my father. I can’t stand to see that piece of trash still breathing.”
Soland was left speechless. He could only glare back at Ivel.
“Oh. And let me interview you later.”
“I’m writing a thesis about Isaac. And I don’t think I can stop now.”
“Then I’ll see you later.”
Ivel confidently walked towards the mob, which parted ways for him without a word. As Ivel’s figure disappeared into the distance, Soland sighed.
“How is he so much like his father? He didn’t need to take after his dad’s viciousness. Tsk.”
Soland clucked his tongue and pulled out a communicator from his pocket.
“Mission accomplished. It was frightening to say the least; his face completely changed the moment we brought up his siblings. I swear, it was identical to how Lord Isaac looked when he got mad in the past. Yes. He’s still innocent. He believed every word I said. Dear me, threatening a College graduate with debt collections? You shouldn’t even make a joke about that in Central.”
This wasn’t the first case of Campus or College graduates being put up as collateral by borrowers. Those students were promised a lucrative future. But while Campus students were not protected, Central closely monitored College graduates’ families. Unless the money was borrowed for an urgent or necessary reason, Central would readily order assassinations and cover-ups. Any issue with the lender would also be quietly resolved by Central too.
Ivel had dreamed of writing his thesis and continuing his studies in College or becoming a postgraduate student, eventually becoming a professor and headmaster. But that dream was now gone.
That useless man stood in his path. Soland. The ruler of darkness. A man of the Isaac Cartel with connections to the Wolfgang Duchy.
Ivel needed to prepare his revenge against that foe. And thus, his thesis became even more important. His thesis had to earn the highest of praise so he could enter College.
He just needed to graduate College. Behind College was Central. Central had to investigate if a College graduate perished; even the Wolfgang Duchy couldn’t change that.
So all he needed to do was to graduate from College and die next to Soland. Then, Central would find out about the illegal loans shackling his siblings. Losing a College graduate to illegal loan sharks would cause problems for both Soland and the Wolfgang Duchy.
Though Ivel bore no ill will against Wolfgang, protecting a criminal such as Soland just because he was a member of the Isaac Cartel was unforgivable.
His request being to kill the last burden on his family, this sacrifice would definitely leave his siblings with a happy ending.
‘Just hold on a little longer. I’ll take care of everything.’
With his renewed determination, he opened the door to his hotel room. His eyes shot wide, seeing an unexpected guest inside.
“Mum!… Is that you?”
Ivel stepped forward toward the familiar face but then stopped and asked carefully. All he remembered of his mother was her plumpness and kind face, albeit always grumbling at his dad.
But the silhouette he recognized was gone. She was slim, and there was even a sword at her side. But for some reason, the face alone remained the same as his memories.
Ivel cocked his head, suspicious of how her face can be identical to the memories from so long ago, when someone tackled him from behind.
“Huh? Why are you here?”
Ivel turned to see Irei smiling at him. Irei puffed her cheeks and spoke.
“You ditched me to play alone! I’ve come to play too!”
“I told you, I’m not here to play.”
“Ike oppa is here too.”
“Then you can play with Ike.”
“Hmph! Ike oppa is boring. He’s always busy.”
“I’m busy too…”
Ivel suddenly recalled the words of that man—that no eldest sibling could win against their youngest, especially sisters. Ivel’s mood soured immediately and he pushed Irei away from him. Ivel turned to his mother and spoke.
“Mother, there’s something I’d like to say.”
“I know what you want to say. I came here to catch that man for that reason. ”
“What? That man is here?”
“Ivel, that is very rude.”
Ivel quickly lowered his head when his mother scolded him in a serious tone.
His mother seemed satisfied, seeing Ivel immediately apologise for his mistake. She nodded.
“That man seems to be buying as much time as he can to distance himself from me, but I won’t let him go so easily. And you should prepare yourself too, and rid yourself of any silly ideas. I will talk to Mr. Soland, so you won’t have to worry about anything.”
“What? How do you know about Soland, mother?”
“… Most people don’t know of this fact, but Mr. Soland is your sunbae as a College graduate. So make sure you greet him properly the next time you see him.”
“Impossible! How could a man like him be a College graduate!”
Rivelia sighed, seeing her son’s indignant refusal. Was she also as stubborn and hard-headed in the past? Too many memories of such flashed through her head—too much for them to just be youthful mistakes.
But that stubborn personality of his would be perfect as Pendleton’s successor. He wasn’t just hard-headed; he could be resourceful at times and was incredibly perceptive of the situation. And he was just like his father when angered. They’d both be crafting the most devious of plots to crush their opponents rather than rushing in headlong. But did he need to take after his father’s lack of talent in swordsmanship and magic…
Rivelia was lost in her own thoughts of disappointment when Ivel blurted out his feelings.
“Before that, where have you been all this time, mother? You left the house, abandoning me and my two siblings, and you come back now, just when we are about to graduate from Campus and College! What have you been doing all this time?!”
“… What do you mean by that?”
A heavy atmosphere befell the room. Ivel stepped back unconsciously. His mother standing in front of him was now very different from the mother he remembered as a child.
“I’d like to hear more about that. In detail.”
Rivelia’s icy cold tone froze Ivel in place. Irei stepped out, snickering.
“You know dad wouldn’t explain it to him, the way he is. Ike oppa and I know because we were there, but Ivel oppa doesn’t know anything. When I asked dad, he said just let it be, because it’s a hassle to explain.”
“Then you should have explained it to him.”
“But it’s funnier this way.”
Rivelia sighed as Irei laughed. How closely she resembled Reisha. When Reisha and Irei were together, they looked like two playful sisters, not mother and daughter.
Rivelia sighed, realising that she had to reveal his true parentage. She took off an earring.
Rivelia’s face shone with light, the illusion shattering to pieces. Her true face emerged.
Ivel looked at the sight blankly. When he realised that the woman in front of him was the famous, unmistakable Duchess Pendleton, he spoke with earnestness.
“Duchess Pendleton, I know not why you are engaging in this trickery, but I am infuriated by it. I understand the seat of the Duchess is an arduous one, but participating in such a lowly prank cannot be good for your reputation.”
Rivelia closed her mouth at Ivel’s words. Irei dropped on the floor, clutching at her stomach as she laughed. No matter how adorable and lovable his sister was, she had to be scolded for her actions, thought Ivel.
“Irei, you are standing in the presence of Duchess Pendleton. You must behave with proper decorum. Did I teach you to be like this? Apologise now and stand properly.”
“Ahahah! My stomach. My stomach…”
Irei was struggling to breath at this point. Ivel frowned and spoke to Rivelia.
“I apologise in my sister’s stead for her rudeness. While it is unsightly, I believe I need to raise my voice to teach my sister, so I ask for your understanding.”
“Let me hit you.”
Ivel’s eyes flickered, and he lost consciousness.
“So my real mother is Duchess Pendleton and I am her son?”
“You married that commoner ma… I mean, father, but you couldn’t reveal the relationship in fear of causing chaos within the political scene, so you’ve kept it hidden up until now.”
“… Well, that’s right.”
“And now that I’ve graduated from Campus, you no longer have a reason to hide it and are going to announce me as your successor.”
“But your plan was to have me succeed the Duchy and retire to live with that man—I mean, father—but my father rejected the idea saying that I didn’t have any prior knowledge on what being a Lord entails and needed more time and experience to rule. So he created that imaginary debt plan to ruin your plan?”
“I, I think so?”
If things truly went as that man had planned, Ivel would have ended up seeking a position in College or working in the Wolfgang Duchy to repay his debt instead of graduating from Campus. Rivelia’s unease irked Ivel, but he only felt rage welling up inside him as he continued.
“In order to set me up as the rightful successor, you had to leave us to focus on the politics of the Duchy, and I was supposed to know that I was the successor back then, but that man didn’t tell me just because he couldn’t be bothered?”
Ahhhh, Isaac is truly the bst dad ever, pushing his son to pursue a higher education without actively going against his will.
Truly Best Dad XD.
Thanks for the chapter
Wkwkkwkwkw Irei is right is funnier this way 🤣🤣🤣