It seemed she had drank too much in her excitement. Desian’s worried gaze fell on her profile.
“Let’s go together.”
Her heart tickled at his affectionate gaze. Citrina shook her head.
“Stay here. I’ll be back.”
Desian looked at her flushed cheeks. A red blush crept over his lips.
But he soon nodded.
Citrina noticed the arc of his lips, which did not match his piercing eyes, before heading out of Fiona Hall.
A maid assisted her in finding the powder room.
‘Is the door open?’
“Baron Foluin, remember?”
Conversation leaked out from inside the powder room. Trying to look for a different powder room, Citrina stopped when she heard a familiar name in their whispers.
The maid tried to get Citrina’s attention with a questioning look. Citrina held her hand up to silence her.
The maid bowed cautiously and moved away. It seemed she took it as a sign to leave. But given the current circumstances, this was better.
‘A moment ago…I think I heard something strange.’
Citrina held her breath and started eavesdropping.
“Did you see Lady Citrina of the Foluin Barony?”
“Yeah. Doesn’t it seem like she has a close relationship with the duke?”
“The Foluin Barony must be trying to revive.”
“Well, I don’t think so. It’s hard to inherit a title when you have no estates or mansions, so it’s a lot of work to get back in power as a fallen aristocrat.”
It was an interesting conversation. Besides, she wasn’t wrong.
Citrina shouldn’t go into the powder room now, and it wouldn’t be polite to eavesdrop further.
She tried to slowly close the door.
“But I heard that the second daughter of House Foluin became a paladin.”
“Ah, you mean the one who dropped out of the academy?”
“Dropped out, or didn’t pass the graduation exam.”
“And she became a paladin anyway?”
A mocking voice followed.
Hearing just that, Citrina held her breath for a moment. It had been a long time since she had heard talk of Elaina.
She had come back to dream, and to see what was going on with Desian.
Citrina had long forgotten her family. It was partly because she wanted to work on her business, and partly to forget everything and focus on herself.
‘I didn’t know Elaina became a paladin.’
She turned and walked back slowly. Listening to them talk about Elaina made her feel better.
Time to head back to the ballroom.
…now that Elaina had become a paladin, Citrina vaguely expected that she wouldn’t be returning to the empire anytime soon.
The ball was coming to an end. Desian and Aaron were the center of attention. Standing by their side, Citrina felt the same way.
The amount of gossip didn’t feel bad. Citrina sipped her sweet wine and enjoyed the remainder of the ball’s ambiance.
That night, Citrina stepped into her jewelry store. Desian escorted her, but there was little conversation between the two of them.
‘I need to stop thinking about Elaina.’
After clearing her head, she said a quick farewell to Desian and stepped inside the atelier so she could focus on her thoughts.
The experience at tonight’s ball had given her the resolution to start a premium label for the aristocrats.
‘Though I don’t know when I’ll be able to expand my business further.’
Citrina needed a bit more funding to expand her business. Her mind turned to complex calculations.
It was then. The small image sphere on a shelf began to glow.
On the small image sphere floated the face of the dwarf Oslo.
[Contracting with a spirit and finding a fox beast-person? Just what kind of group do you have there?]
“Long time no see, Oslo-nim.”
She constantly sent letters about the shop, but it seemed he had gotten frustrated and resorted to the video sphere.
Adilac stayed up late at the atelier practicing her craftsmanship, so when she saw Oslo’s video, she jumped up and down in anxiety.
“Oslo-nim, what happened….”
[I heard that something’s been going on and I can’t wait.]
The dwarf spoke proudly and stroked his beard.
“Has word spread all the way to you already, Oslo-nim?”
[That’s right. God knows how many letters I’ve gone through already!]
The short Oslo jumped up and down. [T.L. Note: Not a big fan of how the author is describing Oslo, but that’s what is written.]
Citrina knew how to deal with a teacher like this. She smirked.
“Then you must be a celebrity, Master.”
[Great, great. Right. I’ve become a celebrity. But there’s more to say than just that.]
Oslo glanced around.
Lita and Adilac looked at each other.
They wondered what on Earth Oslo was trying to bring up.
Adilac looked like she wanted to say an awful lot like usual. Nevertheless, she tapped Lita on the shoulder, like she was someone who knew how to wisely use their words.
“Why don’t we go for a night stroll, Lita?”
“A, a night stroll?”
“Yeah, don’t you know how good it is for you to go on a night stroll? I can say so myself…”
Lita nodded his head quickly like a frightened rabbit.
‘I see Adilac is going to be monologuing again.’
Oslo remained silent for a few more minutes after they left.
Oslo wasn’t the type of person to talk to Citrina just because she was famous.
So, it was a little ominous.
“Tell me, what’s been going on?”
[You’re going to have a lot of people coming to you in the future.]
“I’m aware of that.”
[Are you going to sell jewelry to everyone like you’ve been doing?]
“…I’m thinking of popularizing jewelry in the future. But for now I need to generate more funds.”
Citrina opened her mouth again.
“I’m thinking of creating a premium label. My name is already known throughout the capital.”
[Who are you targeting?]
“Some of the ladies of the high ranking noble houses, and the knights. Only, I don’t have my thoughts completely organized on who to target.”
The dwarf held out a thin section of a gossip journal. The paper was quite crumbled, as if his gnarled hands had clutched it tightly.
[You’re always so lucky. Your thoughts and mine are perfectly in line.]
Citrina began to read the gossip he had pasted across the screen.
Lucky mana stones had become a staple items for knights from high ranking aristocratic families, but the general opinion was that they were too heavy.
“I see that there are lucky mana stones. Apparently mana stones have limitations in the amount of magic they can hold.”
[Right, normal gemstones have fewer limitations]
[Right, how about making some luck stones out of regular gemstones instead of mana stones? I’ll bet your spirit has a glimmer of luck.]
Citrina thought of Gemma’s tiny body. She shook her head.
What could she do with such a small body? She said she was an intermediate spirit now, but even a small knightly order had over a hundred members, which was a lot for one spirit.
“Do you think Gemma could provide enough luck for an entire order of knights? I’m not so sure.”
[She might not do much, but she could make a magic stone.]
“With the species gone… are mana stones losing their effectiveness?”
Oslo nodded curtly.
‘Are they the same species?’
Citrina didn’t have much information on spirits. She’s have to ask Gemma when she woke up.
“I’ll ask her first.”
[Right. The problem is recruiting knights. They are going to resist. Humans are animals that resist new things.]
Oslo’s words carried a slight disdain for humans.
It wasn’t a pleasant thing to hear, but she had to agree that the knightly order could prove troublesome.
“That’s right. Recruiting the knightly order would be important.”
[Once you’re recognized by the knights, your standing will be a little higher. That will make it easier to raise your reputation.]
The dwarf spoke calmly.
[You’re talking about a noble title?]
It was not uncommon for ladies from fallen aristocratic families to work, but there were some restrictions.
Elementists were rare, so of course you could become a noble. If you contributed to the knights and helped them win the war, you would get greater recognition.
The knightly order would also gain good publicity. They’d get a positive nickname, like “The Lucky Knights”.
To put it another way, it was a win-win situation.
“…I,uh, should be able to arrange something with the knights.”
It was a chance for Citrina to repay the favor- a win-win situation for everybody.
[That’s a relief.]
Oslo got up without asking further. Citrina asked impatiently.
“Do you have plans to come to the empire anytime soon?”
[No, I don’t.]
As Citrina was wondering if there was a spare bedroom in the townhouse, Oslo shook his head bluntly.
[No need. Even if I go to the empire, I’ll use magic scrolls to get there. I heard there was a diamond mine in the Marquisate of Roccone in Petrosha Empire, so I was thinking of stopping by there.]
“Ah, I heard about that.”
Since she was so busy, she hadn’t thought about participating in the auction, but she’d heard the news from Lita.
[Since I’ve put my name on the atelier, I’ll supply the gemstones for the time being. In the future, focus on increasing your influence.]
“Yes. I’ll try my hardest.”
Only the grumpy dwarven jeweler would go to such lengths for his disciple.
Citrina bowed deeply to her teacher, who had contacted her out of concern.
“Yes. Thank you for thinking of me.”
[Then I’ll turn it off.]
When the dwarf left, a small magic scroll was left on the table next to the projector. The coordinates stamped on the scroll were for Ronata Atelier.
It was a gift Oslo left for Citrina. It told her to come to the Drip Empire anytime and see him.
Maybe not permanently, but for a momentary escape.
Citrina recalled her mentor’s kindness.
She was determined to succeed.