Helping the Investigation
Even in this world, June was part of the rainy season filled with constant showers. But on a certain Saturday, exactly a week from the meeting, the sun was out and the sky happened to be clear.
Wearing a white dress, and a big straw hat, Francesca was diligently walking through the [fields] in the morning.
The crops had grown to almost stomach height, and the leaves growing on them were bigger than even Francesca’s face.
Inside the basket placed on the ground, there was bunch of those leaves already collected. Taking a look at that, she called out to the man nearby.
“Uncle! This basket is already almost full, so I’ll carry it over there now, okay!”
“Sure, thanks for the help little miss!”
“I’ll place a new basket as well. Also, tell if you start to get thirsty okay?”
Saying that, she lifted the basket that was filled with the harvest.
She carried to under the tree nearby, and while wiping the sweat off her forehead, she ran towards her schoolmate that was also in the fields right now.
“Ricardo, I’ll help here as well! Can this leaf be harvested as well now?”
“……….Yes. It’s ripe now……..”
“Alright, then let’s put our backs into it and get this done! Yellowish colour normally implies that it’s dried up but, for this plant it’s the sign that it’s perfectly ripe right? I wonder if the cigarettes my Papa smokes are also made out of these leaves as well.”
“……..if it’s the ones he was smoking during the family meeting back then, then those are from our neighbouring country, albeit also a very famous brand. The leaves used for that one are different from the ones that have been traditionally popular within our country whose leaves we grow here though.”
“Ohhh, is that so! Then maybe he likes them because they remind him of Mama I wonder?! But still, these leaves will become a cigarette one day eh. I did know that the tobacco was made from plants but, seeing the huge fields in the open like this still feels a bit weird…….”
“Don’t ‘hm?’ me.”
Inside the large tobacco plantation, a bunch of farmers going in and out of the area were throwing glances this way. Ricardo, while wearing the work gloves, seemed to be frowning, and spoke while looking at Francesca.
“Why exactly are you, of all people, helping harvest the crops from our tobacco farms like its nothing??”
“Umm, that’s because——…….”
Hearing Ricardo’s inquiry, Francesca blinked repeatedly.
(There’s only one week left until Papa and others give their reply to Leonardo’s [demands].)
While gently plucking the tobacco leaves, she recalled the events of the day of the meeting.
After separating from Leonardo, Francesca returned to the restaurant where their father and others were, and then boldly proclaimed this.
[Forgive me Papa. But I refuse to annul my engagement with Leonardo using such a vile method.]
Her father’s eyes widened for a moment, and then slowly sighed.
[………Does that mean you want to marry Aldini?]
[We-well, that’s not true either!! But right now, I just don’t know what Leonardo is thinking or planning. I mean, he might have some secret scheme behind the way he acted today as well right!?]
She explained herself in a panic, as her father glanced at the Serranovas on the other side of the room.
A further away from them, the father and son were deep in discussion, but their voices were too low to tell the contents of their talk. But Ricardo’s expression as he talked to his father seemed quite grave at that moment.
[Papa, this is a huge problem for even the Serranovas right?]
[His Majesty, The King personally tasked the Serranovas to protect the [Tradition] of not letting drugs trafficking to exist inside the capital. The Serranovas may have labelled that greenhorn as the culprit but, they lack that power to actually corner him.]
(Which means Ricardo’s father is trying to make alliance with another family to protect the order given to them by the king—-……..)
That’s why, he brought such a suggestion to her father who very clearly didn’t want her daughter to be wed to Leonardo.
(And that’s not all. Ricardo also said that [Serranova family was going through economic troubles] as well. If me and Ricardo were to get engaged, even if it is a temporary engagement, it’ll make it easier for them to talk, and make deals with our family in the future as well.)
And of course her father, was also probably thinking of the same thing as Francesca herself.
[That said, the conditions put up by that greenhorn are a bit too heavy for the Serranovas. The tobacco plantations make for a huge part of their family’s revenue. Even if our family were to lend them help, there’s a good chance that their entire family will crumble before they can recover if they lose that revenue.”
[………isn’t the conditions for us, similarly severe? Our deals with our neighbouring country, make for the largest percentage of our total revenue. Not to mention, the memories of Mama and Papa that are connected to it……..]
[——-something like that..]
Cutting Francesca off before she could finish her sentence, her father spoke clearly.
[If it’s for your happiness, I will gladly throw them away.]
Thoroughly chewing the words spoken by her father, Francesca pleaded to him.
[Please Papa, you can continue to be against the engagement but you must not give your reply to Leonardo until the decided date! I will work hard to find what Leonardo’s true motives are……..and once I find the real culprit behind the drugs problem, and find proof for it as well, I’m sure even the Serranovas will lose their reason to try and corner Leonardo right?]
[I will find it for sure!……..so please, wait for me and trust me.…..!!]
To be honest, she had no guarantees that she’d be able to fulfil her end of the promise.
All Francesca could do was tell her father to [trust her] and that’s all.
[What are you even saying?]
And her father, finally broke his usual expressionless poker face and showed a faint smile as he responded.
[What reason would I ever have to not trust you huh? ]
And so, on that day, Francesca began her own investigation as well.
“In this past week, I’ve been digging around a lot on my own as well. But Ricardo, you’ve been investigating this incident long before I started right?”
She took the leaves of tobacco from Ricardo, and gently placed them into the basket. Francesca found it hard to tell whether the leaves were ripe or not to use but, Ricardo didn’t hesitate even one bit as he worked through them.
“It seemed a bit dangerous to talk about this at school so, I figured we could talk on the weekends instead. And then, Ricardo you said, [Saturday was harvest day, so I’m busy], so here I am………”
“Still, why is the daughter of one of the great noble houses helping with the harvesting like it’s something normal…..?”
Young ladies of nobility in this world, were probably not the type do something like that normally. But to Francesca, her past lives’ memories of digging for sweet potatoes in elementary school were still fresh in her mind.
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(Besides, in my past life, our members used to grow mini tomatoes in our garden as well.—–although those crops did suddenly die right before the time to harvest was coming, only for us to find out that, someone had hurriedly dug up a hole near that to bury and hide some really dangerous blood signed papers from the police, and ruined the soil………)
The dried up mini tomatoes, a bunch of dug up ground that revealed a vinyl folder filled with papers, and herself crying her eyes out beside them as the members of her family all turned pale from having made their young miss cry.
Francesca couldn’t help but stare into the distance as she recalled that scene from her old memories.
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