< — Negotiation — > (4)
“I am ashamed to face you.”
Hugo asked his wife for forgiveness after dealing with everything. The terrible things that happened to her, and the even more horrifying things that could have happened, that he didn’t even want to think about, the ringleader of the incident, they were all related to him.
The Count of Ramis and the Countess of Falcon, who were believed to have conspired together. Hugo didn’t know exactly how the two of them had hit it off, but he knew that the two of them held ill feelings towards him. But because they couldn’t dare to touch him, they targeted his wife.
Especially since the Countess of Falcon was involved, he really could not lift his head in front of his wife. It was an act committed by his ex-lover. It was the result of insufficient settlement and inability to deal with things neatly.
“You must have been disappointed with me.”
Lucia wanted to comfort her husband, who has a bitter look on his face. She did not think that this incident was his fault. It was just an unexpected connection, like walking along the streets and unintentionally bumping into people and an accident happened.
“I am not disappointed, Hugh. I won’t be disappointed in you with just this.”
Hugo took her hand, which was covering the back of his hand in an attempt to comfort him and kissed the back of her hand.
“It is not your fault.”
“You went through something you shouldn’t have experienced.”
“If it is something I have to go through because I am married to you, I can handle it.”
Hugo was touched by her brightly shining clear heart and wondered if he was really qualified to be with her.
“I don’t want you to feel sorry towards me due to this incident, but I have something to request.”
“What is it?”
Hugo wanted to give her whatever she wanted, even if it was the whole world.
“I want to give the remaining family of my late maid enough compensation. My heart hurts because I was unable to protect her.”
“If compensation will make you feel at ease then I will do so. But there is no reason for you to protect your servants. They are hired to protect you.”
“You are right. Their work is to protect me. And at the same time, I think I should protect them. Sir. Krotin protect me, and you protected Sir. Krotin in my place, didn’t you?”
Hugo thought that employees such as servants, were tools of convenience. He couldn’t fully understand what she meant by comparing them with Roy but he roughly understood what she was trying to say.
“They have thoughts and feelings too. They are sad and distressed when they lose their family. The maid’s remaining family will resent whoever killed their daughter or sister. Even they resent, there is nothing they can do. But there is no one who wants someone they don’t even know to hate them and resent them.”
Hugo also didn’t find a situation where the rest of the maid’s family resented and hated his wife, pleasing.
“Will they have no resentment if they are compensated?”
“How can money replace someone’s life? Instead, if they are given heartfelt consolation and sufficient compensation, they will be comforted. When someone is comforted, they will be able to stitch up their wound soon. That is why, Hugh. Give them sincere compensation. Tell them that their late daughter or sister did not die in vain but met with an accident while undergoing an important task, that we are sorry to lose an excellent talent, and that we offer our condolences with enough compensation. If I could, I would like to personally meet the rest of her family but…”
“That can’t happen.”
“Yes, I know. That is why you will go in my place and be considerate of them.”
* * *
The unprecedented event, that is, the murder of the Duke’s heir in the palace, came to an end with the execution of Knight Krotin. People whispered amongst themselves that many parts about the case were lacking, but that was all.
The King declared the end of the case, and the parties concerned, the two Dukes, Taran and Ramis, were silent. People were now looking for something new to talk about and were turning their attention away.
Now, all that was left was to wrap things up. Hugo called Fabian and ordered for the remaining things to be dealt with. In particular, he roughly took care of the things that were to be paid as a price to the King and handed the documents over to Fabian.
As Fabian roughly skimmed over the contents on the spot, his face paled and he trembled. He felt a lump in his throat and only after swallowing once was he able to ask the Duke:
“Your Grace, really…all of this…?”
The things on the document reached about 10% of the Taran family’s assets that were revealed. More than 90% of the Taran family’s assets were hidden and remained unrevealed. Argumentatively, it was not such a big part, but for Fabian, whose liver shrunk in the face of money, it was too much to bear. That crazy bastard’s life is so expensive! Fabian was dazed.
“If you can buy a life with money, the price paid is cheap.” (Hugo)
‘It is just as you say. I know. But even if I know, it is still too generous. Hoh. The King is also very shameless. What does he think he even did, to take so much?’ (Fabian)
Even though it wasn’t even his money, Fabian seemed like he was burning with regret inside.
‘I knew from the moment he gave the mine away as the Madam’s dowry. Is it because master spends money so senselessly that to balance it out, we have a frugal Lady of the House?’
Without any change in expression, Fabian continued to grumble inside.
“How do we usually compensate for the death of a maid?” (Hugo)
“We hand the body over to the family, settle any unpaid salaries, pay for funeral expenses as well as some compensation.” (Fabian)
“How much is the compensation?” (Hug)
“It is the equivalent of five years of that individual’s annual salary that they have customarily received.” (Fabian)
When a noble killed a commoner, they were not innocent under the law, but once they compensated with money, the case was practically over. With the exception of the capital city which had many nobles gathered in it, there were almost no opportunities for commoners to encounter nobility. The two classes had completely different places of residence and separate scopes of activity.
However, when a commoner voluntarily stepped into a aristocratic domain, that is, when they worked for and belonged to the royal palace or a noble family, they had to be prepared to die if they were unlucky. Despite that, many commoners competed fiercely to work for aristocrats due to the high pay. If you worked in a noble family for ten years, it was possible to support your entire family and buy a decent house.
Like most nations with a caste system, Xenon also established order with a noble-oriented law. Unless it was a case where an innocent commoner was killed by a noble while coincidentally crossing the road, when employees, such as servants or maids, were caught in the affairs of high-ranking people and died, they should be glad to even be returned with an intact corpse.
‘The compensation is not that much.’
Hugo recalled the conversation he had had with his wife. He still could not understand his wife’s excessive sympathy. But she had asked him to do it and it wasn’t anything difficult, so there was no reason not to do so.
“Give the remaining family of the deceased maid, 50 years of compensation for the maid’s service and send someone to offer condolences at the funeral. If someone among the remaining family needs it, provide them with a job.”
Fabian momentarily forgot how to speak and vacantly stared at his lord. When Fabian did not reply, Hugo frowned slightly. Fabian was startled and quickly answered in affirmative, going to the extent of even nodding his head.
“What of the others, apart from the maid that were killed by Roy?”
“The royal family will compensate them.”
It was a principle that those who worked in the palace were compensated by the royal family for accidents that occurred in the palace. From Kwiz’s standpoint, he suffered no loss in this incident. Even if it was said that they had compensate the dead, they only had to pay them with some of the Countess of Falcon’s assets, which had been used to replenish the national treasury.
The deceased Countess of Falcon was convicted with the felony of bringing poison into the Royal Palace and conspiring to assassinate the King. They executed her corpse, deprived her of her title, and took all of her possessions into the national treasury.*
“The royal family’s compensation will not be that much either.” (Hugo)
“That is quite likely.” (Fabian)
“Treat them in a similar manner as well.” (Hugo)
Since they all died to Roy who was trying to protect his wife, Hugo decided to neatly take care of everything.
Fabian’s expression was strange as he came out of the Duke’s office. He stood in front of the closed office door for a while, then he turned and looked at the door, thinking of the Duke who was sitting inside.
‘So people can change.’
Fabian’s way of looking at things was that people could never change. People had their own inborn temperament and the only time it could change was when they were children. He thought that even if they changed, their fundamentals couldn’t be changed, and the person that formed as they grew older did not change until the day they died.
Something that could shake Fabian’s distinctive personal view had happened under his very own eyes. He could not imagine ever hearing the words ‘take care of the late maid’s remaining family’ from his lord.
The Duke that Fabian knew, rather than calling him a wicked person, he was someone that had no interest in his surroundings. He only did things as he pleased, and apart from the minimum amount of people he kept at his side out of need, he let the others run their course regardless of the turnout and left things to his subordinate’s discretion.
Fabian thought that he was nothing more than a convenient tool for the Duke. Sometimes, that fact felt bitter, but still, he comforted himself that he was able to work for the Duke because his ability was recognized.
However, he was honestly moved upon seeing the way his lord had handled Roy’s case this time. For the person who risked his life for his master, his master mobilized all his ability and saved him.
Fabian was a realist who thought that surviving was the best and sneered at nobles who clung to honor. Which is why he thought that there was no method more perfect than this to save Roy. Belief rose in his heart that even if he was in a situation to die for his lord, he would not be abandoned nor ignored. He felt relief that even if he died an unlucky death, he wouldn’t have to worry about the rest of his family.
‘But still, the price of that bastard’s life should never be this much.’
Regardless, his way of thinking hadn’t changed. Fabian still thought that the money leaving their hands was such a pity.
 Yea…I did a literal translation here. Not sure what she’s trying to say.
*T/N: They executed her corpse? Tf? And yes, I did double check.