Suspicious Guardian - Chapter 2
Translator and Editor: Effe and Yonnee
Chapter 2 – Strange Guests at the Funeral (1)
A modest funeral was held at the Pordbent Barony.
A coffin was laid out, and the vicinity was decorated with black satin curtains and black ribbons.
The solemn funeral hall was lonely and desolate, with no one visiting nor mourning.
“Grandpa…” Alicia wept.
Dressed in black mourning robes, Alicia sobbed in front of the cold body, falling down as her body was wracked with sobs.
After her parents had passed away, she relied a lot on her grandfather, and so the impact of his demise left her traumatized. With her slender fingertips, she touched the wrinkles on the back of the cold hands, and wept incessantly.
It had already been three days since the funeral began.
Alicia, who could not leave the front of the coffin, stayed beside her grandfather the whole time, sobbing bitterly as she ate and drank.
“Young Lady, you’re going to get sick.”
When the butler approached her and spoke compassionately, his face full of pity, Alicia closed her tearful eyes and fell back into her grief again.
“Grandfather…” she bawled.
“Oh dear, Young Lady…”
The butler sighed in regret. He was afraid that the only person in the funeral hall, which no one else bothered to visit, would pass out again, but he couldn’t think of anything to do to alleviate the situation.
The late Baron Leschel Pordbent was notorious for being eccentric, and so he was a loner and a heretic.
After losing his beloved wife to childbirth fever,* he became obsessed with supernatural and evil entities such as evil monsters, malevolent spirits, ominous prophecies, witchcraft, curses, occult magic, and martial arts. In his later years, he was infamously known as a vicious mage who even dragons feared.
He was expelled from the social circles and noble councils early on because he insisted on using magic. Rather than widely accepted and accepted by society, the magical method he proposed to use was regarded as witchcraft, so inevitably all those who boasted of being rational and sensible rejected him unanimously.
Because of this, not even a single ant came to the funeral home.
The only blood left behind by the notorious mage Baron Leschel was his granddaughter Alicia.
Alicia, who lost both her parents in an unfortunate carriage accident when she was a child, was raised by her grandfather until almost her coming of age.
The late Baron Leschel spent most of the year in his study and laboratory, leading a hermit’s recluse life, so it was difficult to even see his face except for meals during the day. But to Alicia, he was her only grandfather and direct blood relative.
Baron Leschel, this eccentric and unsociable character, had little interest in his granddaughter, but Alicia followed and liked him because he was her only family.
Alicia’s pretty face became gaunt after only three days because of the sorrow she felt for the loss of her grandfather whom she relied on. As she couldn’t sleep due to the grief she felt, her eyes became shrouded and downcast.
She continued crying, her sobs intertwined with her words. “I only had you, Grandfather… but, Grandfather, huuk.”
When she realized that she was all alone, the tears she had been holding back burst out all at once. Soon, both cheeks were soaked with tears.
“I can’t believe you left this world…”
She collapsed, clutching the cold, wrinkled, gray hands with all her might.
“This is the end, Grandfather—!” And she cried out again, her desperate voice echoing throughout the hall.
When Alicia burst into tears, the butler, who understood her desperate feelings, stood in silence, unable to speak words of consolation.
Before the young lady, who had almost ruined her food, collapsed, the butler hurried out of the funeral hall, determined to bring anything to eat.
“How about the Young Lady?”
With a gloomy expression, one of the servants in the kitchen wondered about Alicia’s condition.
The butler took a deep breath and shook his head.
“Still the same. She hasn’t eaten anything and is still grieving.”
“I’m worried about her. At times like this, you have to take care of yourself. It may sound silly, but bad things usually happen one after another. I heard that the court and the Lawson family will visit in the afternoon.”
At the servant’s sudden announcement, the butler raised his eyebrows.
“If it’s the Lawson family, then Baron June?”
“This is a big deal.”
The butler could not hide his agitation and rubbed his chin. Then all the servants looked down, somber. Everyone sighed and muttered in unison.
“It’s a really big deal. Oh my gosh…”
The Pordbent Barony that lost their master, Baron Leschel, was now in a desperate crisis.
In the Kingdom of Roin, except for the national funeral, there were common funeral customs. Usually, the burial begins at noon on the third day of the funeral, and when the body’s safely placed in the cemetery, the funeral begins in earnest.
But that was when the problem started.
One of the servants shook his head. The problem facing the Pordbent Barony was that there was no successor. The servants who remembered this sighed deeply.
“If the master’s son and wife were still alive… Heaven wouldn’t care. Why was he taken away so soon?”
One of the maids clicked her tongue as she twisted the dry rag to wipe dust. Then another maid, who was next to her, also agreed and shook her head.
“Me too. Those Lawsons, I really hate them. That Baron June from Lawson would eat up our vulnerable Pordbent Barony.”
“Moreover, the Lawson family has a very bad reputation.”
“When it comes to reputation, they’d be even lower than the bottom of the barrel. I can’t believe we have to accept such a terrible family as the master now. I don’t know what to say.”
“There, there, stop it.”
The butler looked around at the sulking servants with subdued eyes and muttered with a sigh.
“I don’t like it either, but what can we do? We have to accept it without saying a word. Things will continue this way after a little while.”
The final step of the funeral, the inheritance, shall be performed this afternoon. By custom, the will of Baron Leschel Pordbent would be made public by the lawyer.
However, the problem is that the Lawson family will be present.
The head of the Lawson family, Tomman P. Lawson, the middle name, P stands for Pordbent.
Tomman is the half-brother of the late Baron Leschel Pordbent, the son born from the second wife of the Baron before Alicia’s grandfather.
As was the case with sons who were not heirs of noble families, after coming of age and at the same time as he got married, he received a baron title from the royal family and started the Lawson family.
However, Baron Tomman was born with a vicious and depraved nature, devouring all of the property he inherited through entertainment and gambling.
He barely earned his livelihood by requesting assistance from his original family, the Pordbents, at every opportunity and without hesitation, despite having asked for their assistance several times already.
The tragic incident of the early death of Baron Leschel’s only son and his wife was considered a good opportunity for Baron Tomman. There were even speculations that he might have been involved in the carriage incident.
However, the carriage accident was caused by a wild animal that accidentally broke into the road, so the suspicion on him quickly dissipated.
To Lawson’s favor, Baron Leschel, as he was aged and decrepit, was left with only his granddaughter, in which the Pordbent Barony’s succession line disappeared.
According to the law, a woman had no right to be an heir unless she got married after her coming of age.
The problem with this inheritance stemmed from the fact that Alicia was not of age, and that she wasn’t even close to being in a relationship, let alone getting married.
“After all, the Lawson family will inherit it, right?”
One of the servants muttered. The butler furrowed his brows on his wrinkled forehead and nodded his head.
“As long as there are no complications, this will be the case.”
One of the maids mumbled in a sad voice, “Even the sky is indifferent. After this month, the Young Lady will also be an adult. She’ll be the master after a while.”
The servants and the maids let out a heavy sigh.
Once Alicia became an adult, it wouldn’t matter if she wasn’t betrothed. Within three days of the funeral after Baron Leschel’s death, she would marry anyone, and as long as they were legally married, the inheritance would not be a problem.
However, since she was not yet of her age, Alicia could not legally marry, and unfortunately, the Pordbent Family would be handed over to Baron Tomman P. Lawson, his grandfather’s half-brother.
“No. Even if she was an adult, things wouldn’t have been easy, right?”
One of the silent servants raised his objection.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
When the maid, who had been staring blankly into the void, turned her head to show interest, the servant raised his finger and began his explanation in a heated tone.
“Look, Baron Tomman has three sons.”
“Yes. I’ve heard that all three are a mess because you can’t cheat on blood. They say they’re a bunch of hoodlums who’re only good at pleasure, gambling, and alcohol. Uh-huh, when you plant soybeans, you get soybeans, you plant red beans, you get red beans**, so they’re the perfect match for each other.”
“Unfortunately, it’s like this. The masters we’ll serve have the worst reputation. But it’s worth noting that among them, the youngest son is still unmarried.”
“Mister Pezak is single? He must be well over forty!”
The maid screamed in shock. Any decent aristocratic man who was of age would have already started a family and raised a few children.
“Not only did he have no modest fortune, but he treats women as if they aren’t humans, so no one wants to marry him. But if Young Lady Alicia had come of age, she would…”
As their voices lowered significantly, the maid quickly looked up and nodded her head as she muttered.
“The Lawsons must be planning to forcibly marry her! Oh my!”
“Yes. They would have married their youngest son and Young Lady Alicia and tried to take over the Pordbent family.”
Taking a deep breath, the maid pouted bitterly.
“Then the Young Lady’s future would be hell. It’d be better to lose her family like this. At least her life can be saved.”
“Yes. In a way, we can say that the situation is now fortunate.”
“Ugh, it’s really dark. We’re only talking about the owner changing, but even these empty words don’t mean that Young Lady Alicia’s future will become bright.”
The maid rubbed her forehead and lamented.
“Poor Young Lady Alicia. What will she do now?”
When the greedy and vicious Baron Tomman June and his children would take over Pordbent, Alicia would have nowhere else to go. As soon as she reached the age of adulthood, she would most likely be thrown out into the streets.
An unmarried woman who had neither property nor dowry had a bleak future ahead of her. Moreover, if she was a beautiful woman yet was ignorant due to not having even received a proper education because of her caretaker’s indifference, then she would only become a victim of the harsh world.
“Surely, the Young Lady’s future is a thorny road. What should we do…” a servant mumbled drearily. The maid next to him nodded her head as if in deep sympathy.
“It’s too bad. She’s beautiful and she has a good and clear heart.”
“Yes. I feel very bad for her when I think of her situation, but what can we do? What power do we have?”
The servants and the maids who sat around the kitchen shut their mouths. A heavy silence fell over the kitchen.
The butler, who groaned and sobbed, opened his mouth in the dark daylight.
“Come on, let’s be diligent from now on so that we can prepare the building at noon and receive guests in the afternoon.”
*Childbirth fever, not to be mistaken as ‘baby fever,’ is also known as puerperal fever. It was more or less a fever that lasted more than 24 hours, usually around the first 7 days after giving birth. Caused by infections or so.
Read more https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postpartum_infections
**You plant soybeans, you get soybeans. You plant red beans, you get red beans. —This is the Korean equivalent of the proverb ‘you reap what you sow,’ so someone’s unfortunate fate is because of that someone’s own mistake. They used soybeans and red beans because it was a common food in Korea.
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