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"You came back quite quickly," Jean said, raising an eyebrow, when he saw Marius in his office with the research report.
It was a little over a week ago that he and Clarisse had gone off to the lake. Assuming that Marius had left for the royal capital—a three day journey from here—it would be safe to assume that he had gotten a reply in the shortest possible time.
"Yeah, it wasn't particularly difficult to investigate; it seems it was a relatively well-known story around there."
Marius placed a stack of reports on Jean's desk, and Jean proceeded to skim through them carefully.
"I see... a simple-minded man with good intentions was deceived and lost his fortune...."
Mary's father, Baron Roosevelt, was a naturally good-natured man. He lost his fortune rapidly, because he believed false stories that he would make a lot of money if he invested in some business. The Roosevelt family, which had no power to begin with, was quickly and easily destroyed. However, the baron was well known for his good character, and the people around him extended helping hands as much as they were able. It was said that the Viscount of Farenheit took Mary in because he pitied the young girl who was not yet old enough to be on the street. Currently, the former baron was reported to be living quietly in the countryside with his wife. Mary had an older brother who followed his parents and now worked hard as the fallen family’s breadwinner.
After a few minutes, Jean set down the papers. "Is it possible to have the title restored?"
"Well, I don't know. To begin with, It was more than 10 years ago..."
"It's not like he was a criminal punished for horrid sins; if anything, he was a victim of fraud, right? Could we ask the king to do it? It would make all the difference if they could at least have their title back, even if it's only a name.” Jean folded his arms and—without any pretense—revealed the card he held in reserve. “That reminds me, the king has told me that, if I want another reward, I can always ask for it, so that's perfect."
Marius shrugged in response. "Are you doing this for Sid's sake?"
No matter how free of a spirit Sid was or how capable he thought he was, it would be almost impossible for him to take Mary, a servant, as his lawful wife, even in this remote province so far from the royal capital. At the very most, he could take her as his mistress but not as an official wife. But if she were to become Mary, the daughter of Baron Roosevelt—a noblewoman—even in name alone, it would be a different story. It might be difficult in a royal city with many nobles, but no one would have any complaints if she lived here under Jean's rule.
And once married, Mary would already be the wife of the third son of Viscount Hansen, and there would be no problem even if she moved to the royal capital after that. Jean knew Sid's parents—the Viscount and Viscountess Hansen—quite well, and believed that, if they knew Mary as a baron’s young daughter, they probably would not object to their son marrying her.
Perhaps Sid was thinking of having Mary adopted by some noble family and then marrying her. But the best method would be to have her own family's title restored.
"As his cousin, I'm grateful you're thinking this through. Well, I guess both of us have never really seen Sid like that before, so I can understand...."
"Once we find out what Mary thinks of Sid and determine that it's necessary, I'll make arrangements immediately. Either way, I'll have to write to inform the king of the wedding date."
"The wedding?" Hearing this for the first time, Marius asked back, and Jean nodded.
"Yes, Clarisse wants us to hold our wedding ceremony in the spring; once spring comes, we will become lawfully married."
Marius flashed a big smile on his handsome face. "Well, you both seem like a couple already, but… congratulations, Jean."
Jean—the stiff man that he was—only ever loosened up when he discussed Clarisse, and now too cracks appeared in his stony facade as he expressed his gratitude for Marius’ blessing, "Thank you."
'I'm genuinely grateful that Clarisse-sama came to Jean...'
Marius's heart lightened up as if a flower had blossomed when he thought of the happiness that this lonely man, whom he admired so, had achieved.
Jean’s face quickly lost the expression it was near to completing. "And, have you found out anything about that Cedric guy?"
Marius was now accustomed both to Jean’s stony expressionlessness and his propensity to change subjects without warning. He was neither particularly surprised nor amused and pointed to the report he had just handed over. "Yes, Cedric Anderson, Viscount Anderson's legitimate son. It seems his parents were quite close to the Baron Roosevelt family."
"Ah, Clarisse did mention him being a viscount."
"The Viscount Anderson family themselves seem to be a very ordinary noble family. They were very active in helping the Baron Roosevelt family when it was being stripped down."
"I have a brief report on Cedric's current activities, so take a look at it. If you read it and require any further information, please let me know, and I'll look into it…. —Oh, and this is what you asked for." Marius handed Jean a thick envelope containing a letter. "This is from Viscountess Farenheit to Lady Clarisse."
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