Chapter 84:

Ch 84: Waste not Bake a lot

I was Born the Unloved Twin

"Father! I have a solemn question that must be answered in all earnestness."

Looking like a wealthy, not at all suggestive, human waste in a very detailed historical film, father sips his merlot without a care. It's a very simple action but a cool looking scene. If there weren't for the escaping rays of winter sunlight streaming through the blurry window panes of his office, I would say he resembles a vampire.

Red chair, red hair, crystal goblet of red blood- er I mean wine.

In the winter his clothes take on a darker, somber coloring and feel, creating a sharp contrast against warm ivory skin.

"Of course Chip my dear. What is it you wish to know now?"

He sits like a boss, a scene right out of Godfather, all that's missing is the kitten on his lap.

I guess that's me? Hey, wait why am I on his lap? This is a serious discussion! I should be on the other side of the desk.

Unfortunately due to my short limbs, the best I can do is climb over and on top of the desk. There we go, that's a much more intimidating position.

"Father, were you a villain?"

Eeeeeeew and now he's looking like a haunted house actor with cheesy fake blood running down. Choking on his wine like that. Control yourself! Air goes down one pathway, liquids another!

How are you going to eat my bribery snacks if you're already done with breathing father?

I spent a lot of time perfecting the recipe for imitation sweet red bead soup. It was quite a struggle piecing things together with my limited ingredients in this world! No tapioca pearls, not the right sugar, no this or that.

I even did my best to make toasted mochi for it.

The rice still isn't right, it needs to be more gluttonous for that dumpling like chewiness.

Oh finding the right rice is so awfully difficult. The rice that's most commonly cultivated around these parts is closer to arborio or carnaroli rice. Short to medium grains of soft. It's starchy, rich, creamy, and breaks down to make a wonderful gruel or risotto. Really beautiful stuff.

*sigh* It's just not right for too many dishes I want to make. It too soft but kinda works for mochi?

Not sticky enough. We're really just winging it and testing things out.

I know I'm not the only one suffering from wrong rice syndrome. None of the chefs can figure out how to make Amar's favored rice pudding either? Like he'll eat it but complains that the smell and chew is all wrong. Must be the rice.

Why oh why are there so many types of grains and rice in the world! It is both a blessing and a curse!

We baked some lovely Torta di Riso from all the failed rice pudding attempts though. Innovation! That was quite a light and tasty cake, especially with some dried berries and father's stolen liquor. Baking imparts such an amazing flavor to that custard. Ahhh so yummy and chewy, too bad my staff inhaled it all.

Sorry father, no more baked rice pudding tarts for your snack. Maybe next time.

Father, can you breathe yet? Yes? No?

He gives me an irritated choking sound but nods none the less. There there the alcohol burns now doesn't it? Ah I remember what that was like. Ahh I miss alcohol.

"Let me rephrase my question then, for clarity. Have you been or ever were widely considered a 'villain'?"

"A what?!" he chokes even further.

Have some soup father, wash down the burn with sweetness and your beloved beans. Geez, for someone who is supposedly well regarded for his intellect, it's very redundant to have to explain the definition of a villain.

"A villain. A cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted to wickedness and crime. As a character in a play, novel, or the like, who constitutes an important evil agency in the plot."

And there he goes again with the choking again. Ewwww don't waste my hard efforts!

It's another fresh and lovely day for me as the young miss of the Ventrella household. Being said young miss I can't allow these grievances to haunt my growing henchmen. Thus the personal investigations.

Who is causing havoc in my troops? A mere spoiled rich brat? How dare he!? I'm the only rich brat allowed to reign power!

I don't care if it's just the younger generation who I know nothing about, this is my territory and it obviously affects my people. Now and in the future!

Knowing Philippe, he doesn't do well against those he perceives to be shining brighter than himself. Which given the numbskull of a haughty child, who is more hot air than substance, that's not very difficult.

I hate to say it but Lukas is technically the strongest of that age group. I've confirmed it with some of the older troop members and tired instructors at the bar, ahem I mean my soda fountain.

Though when they say strongest though they more or less meant: most likely to break people, things, wreak havoc, and just take the most beatings while rolling right back.

That's quite a resilient body magic had blessed him with huh? I see why Philippe would resent the boy. I can see even easier how he could use Lukas' attention neediness into making him into a henchman.

Amar though?

Their previous interaction, though very interesting, proves to me that those two don't get along. I don't think a kid like Amar would appreciate getting manipulated into becoming someone's henchmen. Nor would I think it would even work.

That's probably why Philippe is more wary of the smaller boy. He can't use him like Lukas.

Though the instructors admit that Lukas is technically the strongest of the young children, they praise Amar on his speed and having the most reliable kill rate. Great, I totally don't know what that means. Beast? Humans? I don't know! I didn't ask!

Let's not think too hard about that. Either way that means he also hits Philippe's insecurity points just right.

No one can be better than Philippe, nobody does it like Philippe, blah blah blah. Yeah yeah I heard enough of it in his snooty voice for one lifetime.

To be honest I was very worried about Lukas' little story the other day. Yes, Lukas is absolutely being emotionally manipulated by my cousin but isn't Amar the one being targetted for group bullying? Philippe told Lukas and the other boys to specifically not play with him. What kind of juvenile bullying tactic is this?! Obviously, it didn't work on Lukas but what about others?

Oh dear, isn't it bad for a child's development if they can't get along with their peers?

Isn't the kid getting kidnapped by my staff far too often? Has anyone in the troops noticed? Do they even care? What is the childcare system there?! Lukas is so friendly and chatty that it's off-putting to some yeah but does Amar even bother making friends that aren't teens and adults?

Do they even realize they're getting ostracized and bullied?!

Lukas sure doesn't. Just look at this kid, he'd befriend a moldy rock with drawn-on eyes if we let him! And I don't know how much I can trust Amar with his "oh I have a bleeding crack in my skull but I'm fiiiiiiiiiine, I'm glad the person who abused me feels better~" either!

My growing henchmen are such worrisome creatures.

Philippe is a such a classic two-bit villain! Such a threat from my dear young cousin already, right under my nose. Really now I wouldn't be a very good young miss if I allowed such an intrusion in my own territory.

It's also best to cut the bud of trouble early. Otherwise, what's the point of having the cheat of my memories!

Yet even with all my memories, I do believe the original goods was missing out on a lot of info growing up.

Like say, all the dirt on Philippe, which means his background and family.

He's my cousin but my father keeps me away from any and all direct contact with essentially all other Bicchieri clan members. I know he's not on good terms with them but really now, how suspicious. What gives?

To defeat one's enemy you must know one's enemy.

Here's what I know for absolute sure.

The Bichierri's are old money, and money makes money.

Geographically the Bichierri family home is located North-West of ours, with their own coast and port to sea. They have a much larger and more established port, and their own merchant ships and vessels to conduct trade. In the capital and many other major trading hubs, the Bicchierri is a big name controlling a good part of the flow of merchandise coming in and out.

They have multiple properties around the land and across borders. Multiple mansions and a huge presence in the capital as well. There's always a Bicchieri or 3 in the capital, even if it's just my aunts who are technically no longer Bicchieri after marriage.

However, that name is very much synonymous with what they specialize in producing and selling. A luxury item that is only available for the filthy rich and fellow elite ranking nobility. The most popular thing they're known glass.

Crystal clear sparkling glass. From the detailed little decanter and goblets my father drinks from, to the impossibly wide glass windows that decorate the largest mansions in the capital, the Bicchierri hold the patent and recipes to the finest glass in the land.

In fact, it's the only clear colorless glass in the land.

Glass manufacturing is not widely known and is extremely expensive. 'Perfect' clear glass is even more ridiculously rare, the cost increases exponentially with size and clarity. Make large panes of glass is extremely difficult, most people wouldn't be able to get their hands on a modern windowpane even if they did have the funds. Elites have no issue just throwing money at status items and there are few things that indicate wealth and social connectivity as getting Bicchierri glass to adorn one's home and accessories.

Crystal chandeliers. Ladies' vanity mirrors. Jewels that sparkle like disco balls in the light. Garden houses, ballrooms, and halls of infinite mirrors. If it is clear, large and beautiful it is definitely Bicchieri.

No one else can produce such things.

We have our own handmade glass windows, though small, and father has his own personal glassware for his drinks. Then there are the resin cups he helped me make for my soda fountain.

The glassmaking technique must exist somewhere in my father's head. He was a Bicchieri for all his life, at least until marriage. However, he doesn't touch on or profits from that industry.

He truly cut off and left that part of his life behind when he married mother. Devoted himself entirely to developing the Ventrella name and properties. It's more than a little odd.

Everything in his 'dowry' that father brought with him has no connections left to his old home. From his investment properties to his pet puppy horses, he took what was his and never looked back. Alfonso doesn't speak a word of the past but he came with father from that place too.

Besides formal events, there's no contact between them. Not even a personal letter. There's more enough evidence if common sense wasn't enough to say that things are bitter between father and his own blood relatives.

I wasn't forced to interact with my cousins until I was much older than now. Perhaps things had cooled to a certain point, when he could no longer just not respond to the matriarch Bicchieri's insistent callings.

Yes yes yes, their relations seem to be more formality than anything. Though grandmother Bicchierri was always calling, the rest of father's family never did quite forgive him for the shame that was marrying away and throwing away his family name and honor.

I don't think that's really his fault though?

I don't think there's a man, dead or alive, that could outrank my mother, the sole Ventrella after grampa. Being the only child of the world's hero has its perks and powers.

If I look back on it with my current mindset...weren't all those 'visits' just bad mini family dramas for father and his relatives to barb at each other under very thinly veiled insults?

Wait...was that.... was that why I had to beat my cousins at the damn harpsichord???!!!

I mean there were all my studies too. The horseback racing, the etiquette lessons, bits of alchemy, fencing, all sorts of things academic and extracurricular. But the harpsichord, oh not the harpsichord! I just hated that cats in heat trash piano! Philippe was always better than me at it because of course, he is. Noooooo one can play like Philippe. He just suits the yowling angry cat trash so well. Bleck!

Father, you're awful! So cruel! Making me into your petty little chest piece in your family squabbles! Evil! Pure evil! Of course, you're a villain! A stupid harpsichord playing villain.

"The term villain is a tad harsh, an inaccurate statement young miss Rosalia. For my Lord, perhaps a glass of water ?"

Alfonso pours a glass from a fine pitcher, looking rather dashing in his new black suit jacket, complete with many subtle pockets. We're getting closer to my ideal butler look and ...

...Hey wait Alfonso?! When did you get here?

"I was always here, ready to serve my Lord and the young miss at the appropriate moment," he answers without missing a beat, wiping the wine, or is it blood, from my father's mouth with a handkerchief.

It appears father's soul has left his body for the time being.

How rude, playing dead during a very important question. I'm trying to dig up dirt here!

I am a firm believer in 'nature AND nurture' influencing a person, rather than or. Philippe is already such a fiendish bully, a show of poor character at such a young age. With father's aversion to his birth family, the wealth they hold and the suspicious amount of influence they have in society, it's just obvious.

They're obviously a villainous family! All that money and power can't be honest! It's blood money I suspect.

The red hair dominant gene also does not help their case, I note with some regrets to my own head.

"Why must my hair have to be a part of this ridiculous disquisition?" sighs father, just barely regaining his breath again as Alfonso pats his back soothingly and gently feeds him more water.

.... Father you're a grown man, must you be served hand and foot like this?

Ahhh I really can't stand rich people. Except myself of course.

"Hmmm then allow me to reword that question into a new one father. What villainous actions and criminal activity is the main Bicchieri family line involved in, either past or present? Which ones were you involved in and what do you know about the illegal or morally wrong crimes now?"

There is nothing for father to choke on but air yet he still manages to do so. Luckily Alfonso is by his side to ensure he is breathing properly and that his appearance is nice and neat.

"There there my Lord."

"My own own daughter find that I'm a villain?!"

"It is something all fathers must go through my Lord. They truely grow up so quickly."

"A villain? How does she think that?"

"The young miss is impressionable but observative. Your family lineage of blood- toned hair plays on the imagination of the young."

"What does my hair have to do with this?!"

I am still very much here but they are discussing it as if I'm not. That or as if I was a small child with little place in the conversation. How rude.

Father shakes his head, in a way that looks like he has a migraine coming on.

"That's obvious, Philippe is awful and he has such terribly red hair. Carrot jokes aside, father you never have any contact with any of your relatives. At every possible juncture, you avoid them, hiding us away. They're awfully wealthy and would make excellent business contacts, but you avoid them completely as though they were a sworn enemy rather than your paternal family. Even a child would notice something odd eventually."

By that I mean or normal to dumb one. Not me, I don't count.

Father lets out another long sigh, "Well that's my Rosa I suppose."

"Of course, our young miss Rosalia is simply too bright. How wonderful."

Thank you Alfonso, I am extremely wait. I'm a grown adult in young child's body. This praise is misdirected and does not make me happy at all!

"Father, I am asking because you cannot keep us isolated from them forever. Cousin Philippe has already started sinking his claws in the younger children taking lessons at the troops. As a Ventrella, it is my duty to stop him. Also he's just awful!"

"....I see you've met."

"He's just terrible father. I have to do something about his stupid little plots. We must watch out for him. Oh and he must never meet Lilyanne! Never! "

At that, even Alfonso gives me an odd look.

Just trust me ok? I can't go around spouting out the future but just listen to my commands and everything will go just fine. Or at least much better than last time.

"Well...Chippy. That's certainly a lot going on in your little head. "

Well that's an understatement if I ever heard one but father is finally done choking and actually talking. I stay silent to let him continue.

"Rosa....I can't play along to your...fanciful theories. The things between my siblings and I are just that, petty and troublesome matters of adults. I wish it were simpler to explain, because then I would be able to say it outright. But it's often is not, and as smart and mature as my little girl is, you're not ready yet to hear this particular tale."

"...I see."

Hmm let's put that into the Rosalia translation filter.

So what you're essentially saying is there are some big dark secrets and that your side of the family is full of villains. Got it. Wonderful chat father. Thank you for confirming part of my theory, I'll take what I can get.

"Rosa...that's not what I said...that's....Alfonso did I hear my own child correctly?"

Father looks so awfully confused that Alfonso has taken the courtesy to pour him more wine.

"It appears the young miss has made her conclusions and taken your personal feelings into account. What wisdom from our young miss Rosalia."

"My feelings?!"

"Oh my Lord, I shall not bring up the 'villainous" past. For you are no longer that young master Frederick of such serpents but the Lord Ventrella now! Oh how they grow up so fast. My my my to be serving a hero's family, life is surely a strange and wonderful thing in its unpredictability."

"I give up. I give up to the both of you. Alfonso do pour me something stronger and retrieve this morning's transportation report."

"As you wish my Lord."

Okay, there is no doubt in my mind that space bags exist besides my own and that Alfonso carries at least 1. Because there's no way that giant bottle of liquor could fit in anyone's pocket.

"Before I retrieve your requested files, please enjoy another snack made fresh from the kitchens. It is a new favorite. "

With a short clap of his hands, the office door opens and a serving tray is wheeled in by the senior staff. A chilled pan of something familiar yet lemon scented is cut into squares.

"Torte di Riso? I thought we were out."

"This a fresh batch young miss, further perfected with additional baking time and with lemon and citrus zests for a new aroma."

"Hmm, very yummy yes, this is even better than before. Good job. But a new batch of torte means another failed batch of rice pudding. Alfonso, tell the kitchen staff to calm down! They don't listen to me when they hyperfocus on new dishes and then it just gets tiring to eat all the repeat experiments. "

They really do. That's the trouble with chefs. Once they latch onto something, they stubbornly make the same things over and over again until they get it right. I understand the need for perfectionism but what a pain it is for the taste testers. Even if it's gourmet levels of delicious, you feel like barfing after thirty or so times of the same dish.

The lemon juice and zest were a nice touch though, good job my kitchens.

"Of course young miss, a stern reminder is in order to waste not. With your tasting approval, a portion shall be sent to the Lady of the house for tea. But firstly, your reports my Lord."

Alfonso smoothly unfurls a roll of lower quality gray paper over the desk, the gate logs I assume.

While father munches on his second piece of baked rice pudding, he taps and circles at a certain time log written in code by the guards.

"A quarter to the 10th morning hour, a custom carriage was sent and passed through Ventrella inner troop gates. Passengers included one young Phillippe Bicchieri, a destination to his family's territory. As of this morning, he's already in his way home." reads out father, turning the scroll over so I could see.

"Well that's relieving, but why? Why did he stay behind this winter and why now? It's all too sudden. It can't be good. Did he complete what he was aiming for?"

I have so many little questions. I can't play against the circles of nobility yet but surely I should be able to handle a kid as young and inexperienced as a primary school version of Phillipe. It would really hurt my pride if I couldn't.

"Rosebud my dear, I can't say I know the wants and imaginations of my nephew to prompt him to stay, nor any ploys from my elder brother. What I can confirm is that my nephew left out of necessity. He was injured, and thus his parents were contacted. It was their requests to send for him immediately."

"Phillippe was injured? He was just fine the other day? What happened?"

"Well, my dear little mischief-maker. Why don't you tell me?"

"What? Father are you suspecting me?!"

"Of course not Chippy, but reports and taken from the mouth of those involved. Phillipe claimed his injury occurred after meeting with your party. Thus so allow me to hear both sides of the claims."

From his casual tone and the third rice cake tart, father finds the case to be of little to no issue at all. Still, I must defend my honor, I didn't even do anything yet!

"All I did was throw a soup pot of beans at him. He barged in insulting people and just being terrible after delivering a message. So I played dumb and cried. The pot was hardly warm still, he couldn't have gotten hurt from that?"

"Simple case then, it appears." Father chuckles and something tells me it isn't that simple.

"No Chip it wasn't your beans. The boy tripped. Fell down an outhouse hole while attempting to clean up and was unable to get himself out for a day and a night. "

" outhouse hole?"

"Rather recently cleaned, very deep. No one found him till the next morning and by then he was taken quite ill understandably. "

"....was there human waster in this outhouse hole per chance?"

"A crude question by dear but I would assume so yes?"

"Oh.....PFFFFFFT Ahahahahahhahahaha!!!!!"

An outhouse! Little Philippe fell down an outhouse!!!! I can't! I just can't!!! It's my turn to choke! Can't breathe. Oh my little low capacity lungs. I die.

I seem incapable of not laughing my lungs out for the time being. This is just too good!

"Yes Rosa dear, it seems neither you, your Georgie nor your little gremlin playmates are to blame as Philippe so claimed.

"He said it was my fault? He got bathed in bean soup and then fell down a poop well all on his own! Ahahahahaha!!!"

"Well, not your fault specifically but yes....yes it certainly does seem that way. There are accounts and witnesses for all for you around the time Philippe had his....accident. No evidence of anything off nor of a foul prank. His parents have no one to pursue. I admit I thought better of the boy, he is still my nephew after all. To be falling down an isolated half frozen outhouse hole in the first place, then alone be trapped in one? If that's his character then is there any reason to be wary of such a child?"

Yes! I'm still busy laughing here but yes! Poop hole incident is great, ahahhaha, but he's still very much a bully and just an overall threat. Oh this is so good! Why didn't my cousin fall down any outhouses in the last life?! I would have never let him live it down!

"Hehahahaha, father haha Alfonso, does anyone else happen to know about this?"

"If I may report young miss, half of the troops still stationed in the garrison grounds heard this morning while the acting Lord and Lady Bicchieri are quite irate. The chances of these events spreading are rather high at this point."

"Yes, it caused quite the stir this morning. You really wouldn't happen to know anything further my dear Chip? Your group was the last to see young Philippe."

Ah, this is hilarious but I'm really not a criminal mastermind to set all this up. I wish I was though. Down the poop hole! Ahahaha how juvenile yet vicious! What a great turn of events! He suffers, we rid of his horrid little presence, and I didn't have to lift anything more than a soup pot. What a good deal.

Ah if only it can be this easy to deal with the stupid prince.

How depressing, it's almost time to make that troublesome treck to deal with him again.

Before I could ask my father anything about our upcoming trip to the capital, the office doors shake with a series of rapid knocks.

It's Georgie boy!

Is everything alright? He looks pink and out of breath, and I don't mean from another face mask. Only with Alfonso's permission may he be subjected to speak in this space, in front of my father.

"Pardon me my Lord, I'd like to....consult with our young miss Rosalia. It's nothing pressing, or of concern. Just something in the kitchens, regarding the Torte di Risos."

Again? Why can't my kitchens just give it a break?! What a luxurious place it is here for a cook to live and work in. Wasting time and supplies like that.

"What did they do now?"

"Rosa- I mean, dear young miss. Please come down for a tasting...some people would love your opinion...on what not to do."

"I don't understand? What do you mean, our chefs aren't so awful to need me to make a list of what not to add or....why do I smell burnt bacon on you, Georgie?"

"Torte di Risos my young miss. The previous suggestion of orange and lemon zest worked so well that they're trying another...similar but not quite...source of inspiration. The other one...please "

"Georgie... tell me they're not adding bacon and lard into my sweet delicate torte. "

"As you wish young miss Rosalia. I won't tell you. Now accompany me to grace us with your presence and thoughts downstairs. Please."

"Father, thank you for your time and answers today. I must take my leave now!"

Oh no, oh no no no I should have known. I should have known when more Torta di Riso started coming. The cakes come from rice pudding fails and rice pudding fails come from my staff trying too hard to please their favorite kidnapped taste tester. But having Amar around often means a tag along Lukas nowadays.

Oh no, not Lukas, not the bacon. That has to last us the whole winter! Can no one stop him?!

Of course, they can't! Or should I say won't, my staff are absolute weaklings when it comes to cuteness! Cuteness rules the world! What's cuter than kindergarteners?! Oh no what horrible influences are those brats making on my chefs?

Only I'm cute and powerful enough to override this!

The matter of the stupid prince must be for another time then. It's coming up but right now I have sweets to save!

My growing henchmen are so terribly ungrateful. Here I am trying to solve their Philippe bullying problem and gather hilarious intel while they eat my food? And make weird bacon cakes?

"You have no idea Rosalia! It's insane, it's too luxurious, it's oddly good? Sugared bacon! They're going crazy down there, people are forming factions!"

"Put me on the cart! I don't care if it's the serving tray it's much faster."

Now onwards Georgie! Go go go!




The personal office of one Lord Ventrella has all at once finally become peaceful again, but a tad too quiet. There was something to be said about the presence that children brought into a room, especially those who were as bouncy and busy as the eldest young miss Rosalia.


"Yes my Lord."

"How much does she know? And who are the people that I need to make disappear?"

The man is still young, his frame strong and his features vibrant. Yet whether he stands, paces or sits, the solemnity to his nature ages him by decades seemingly. He is a man in the middle of his prime with a weight broader than his own shoulders.

To help with that weight, the butler by his side would do near almost anything. Just almost, if he wants to that is.

What he wants right now if for his young lord to let go. Not entirely for then he is a hypocrite himself. But just a bit, enough to live.

His Lord had surely built himself, them, a very warm and beautiful sort of life. It would be a shame not to enjoy it properly by hanging on to old cumbersome worries and bad habits.

"Ahh, my wise and gracious young Lord. It is not as you fear, there are no leaks nor informants. The staff has been rigorously combed to 'our' new standards rather than the previous informal system of human resources. There is not a soul to influence the young misses nor upset our Lady Maria. There is no one suspicious enough to take in or to interrogate."

"Help me understand then. How is it that my three year old daughter is already playing with that sort of fire. Even as a child's play fantasies, how does she 'know'? "

"I do believe my lord, that children are no different than very small adults. However, they are more inquisitive and quickly pick up things from their surroundings. A bright yet sensible child like our Bubbles is even more so capable to finding out matters on her own. I do also believe, that it was you my Lord, who assigned her reading on those noble family trees and their records."

"This is far beyond my expectations."

"How wonderful then, that the child not only exceeds their frame but excels."

The old servant grinds the ink for his master's pen to dip and flow. Silvery red script marks the pages below in files previously unseen. Yet when the ink dries, nothing remains, as if it were just water.

The real log details aren't so easy to see.

"Philippe's accident was no accident. My brother and his son aren't stupid to have this occur in the first place, let alone with so many eyes and ears around. It was a well-planned scheme designed to look like an accident. Rosalia... she seemed so genuinely surprised and gleeful. I don't know if it's my personal bias but I want to believe that I can still tell when she lies, that she's not capable of so openly lying to and deceiving me."

"Sir, I do believe you're over worrying about your child. It is something all fathers do. We know her patterns. How she 'plays' with her maids is an entirely different pattern and style. When she dislikes someone, this isn't how she retaliates. This wasn't our eldest young miss."

The logs were written by other humans, and thus flawed. He only had the information reported to him and not the full truth.

"Our networks are still in place? Stable.?"

"Yes my Lord. Not a single cover is compromised. No report brings up enough to be concerned about."

"...Run it again Alfonso. Keep it on rotation, not even our agents should suspect the double, no make it triple checks. I can't afford to have a spy in my home and honored father-in law's troops are very much now and forever, home."

"As you command my Lord....perhaps, at least for the rest of the afternoon, you spend some time with the lady of the house?"

"My darling wife spoils me, Alfonso. I'll never get any work done, you know that."

"My Lord, if I may be so have done more than an acceptable job in all your work. In the court of house, in the Ventrella business operations, the community building and engineering progress. The bridge finished last week, was truly a marvelous bridge. It will save many families and people. "

The old man doesn't mind how his master kept silent. He's long learned to read the fiddling of pens, of how ears turn red at the start of a blush. It's far from being easy to read, unlike the Lady of the house and her unconsciously loud thoughts. A habit that seemed to be inherited. But Alfonso is if anything a learned man, in the topic of his third young master. His only young master Frederick, now Lord Ventrella.

Life is truly an odd and unpredictable thing. This old servant is both humbled and awed by it, by the miracle that was human potential.

The old man simply grins with his tired old eyes. Then gets to work cleaning and updating the lastest logs in their specially made ink.

Really now, the Bichierri boy's case was nothing to really worry about. Just young children, their clumsiness and messy little pranks. Amusing yes but it was quite easy to see the truth when one was as old and used to silly youngsters as Alfonso was.

But his Lord was never that good of a child, not that was he allowed to even be one. Really, it can't be helped on some matters with this sort of helpless master.

"Frederick, you have done more than anyone had expected from you. You have exceeded and excelled at more than you even thought you would. Your influence and your plans will be more than just a profit, and will be remembered as such. So my a little more trust in yourself, spare a bit more kindness for yourself...if not for you then for this tired old man."

"Alfonso, are you guilting me to take a rest again?"

"Of course not my Lord. I am merely reminding you. Shall I remind you again how our Lady Maria gets upset when she perceives a lack of attention and affections on your part? Shall we have another episode before you learn your lesson there?"

"A cheap and effective shot Alfonso old chap- using my divine and terrifying wife against me. "

"A gentleman should not make a lady, especially his lady, cry. I believe I had taught you better than that....She's good for you. Truly. The honorable Lord Ronald, Lady Maria...they have been so good. I am glad. I am blessed, that I can accompany you on these wonderfully happy chapters of your life."

"Alright alright I understand, stop it with that already Alfonso- you're making me feel ashamed even. I'm heading to spend time with my wife, no need to emotionally guilt me."

"My Lord I would never, but yes please do go on and take the sweets with you. To not only the fair sex, it means far more for one's beloved to bring them sweets and share their time together than mere servants or anyone else. Off with you now."

"I am a grown man now Alfonso, you can't just 'off with me'."

The handsome young lord of the manor rolled his eyes, looking more his age finally, but did as he was told. Gathering up all the right things Alfonso told him would woo and appease his better half.

"Off with you now my young master.....really now. They just grow up so fast."