Chapter 284: Olgierd von Everec
Northwestern Oxenfurt, a certain building near the sea.
A great hall stood behind the steel gates. Empty wine bottles and leftovers were strewn across the floor. The air was filled with the rancid stench of rotten meat and wine. Apparently, a great party had been thrown not too long ago in this place.
Most of the guests were gone after the party. Only one drunken man remained in the hall, lying in the middle of the bottles. He was smacking his lips, snoring loudly. The man was about twenty years old, and he had a Mohican hairstyle. Aside from a thin strip of hair, his whole head was bald. The man was muscular, and he was wearing a sleeveless leather jacket embroidered with beautiful patterns. His chest and arms were revealed, and the man looked fierce. He was a hardened man.
He burped, his pungent breath wafting into the air. He muttered, "I, Vlodimir, will…" He burped again. "...will revive the Everec name!"g
Someone flung the door open, and in came a giant of a man. He strode over to Vlodimir, huffing and puffing. The giant yanked Vlodimir's arm. "Wake up, Vlodimir, bad news!"
"Keep sleeping and our plans are gonna be ruined!" The man rubbed his hands nervously. He picked up a wine bottle and poured the content onto the drunk man's face.
Vlodimir jolted awake. He let out a bizarre scream and sat up, his eyes wide with rage. "Who did that? I'll kill you!"
"It's me, Punk the Barrel." The pudgy guy looked scared. "I have something important to report. I didn't mean to disturb your sleep."
"What do you want?" Vlodimir was rubbing his cheeks. They were swollen from his hangover. He muttered and snatched the bottle from Punk, pouring the last drops of wine onto his tongue. "You woke me from my sleep. If I'm not happy with your answer, you're not getting a single copper from this deal."
"Something happened in the academy. One of our members told us. Linus Pitt gathered all the Natural History students for interrogation. He must have found Whishaw."
Vlodimir patted Punk's belly with the back of his hand. "My dear cousin, that's all it took to make you nervous? You're as big as humans get. Calm down." He put a hand on his hip and leaned against the wall. Vlodimir said, "It's been a week. Those guys must have found something, no matter how stupid they are. But believe me, they won't find anything useful. They won't affect the organization." Vlodimir said, "Besides, the purchase guy just sent the herbs over. All we need now is a chance." Vlodimir's eyes were shining. "Once we take the stock to that person, we'd make enough crowns to last us for years. And the great Everec Family will get through this crisis." Vlodimir smiled. "And my brother won't have to worry about money anymore."
"But Vlodimir…" Punk hemmed and hawed. "I heard that witchers are involved in this. Those weirdos are terrifyingly powerful. If they find anything, they'll ruin our plans—"
"Shut your mouth!" Vlodimir's face fell, and he glared at Punk. He looked like a lion, ready to pounce. His languid attitude was replaced by a serious look. "Nobody told me we had witchers in town. They've gone lax!"
But you held a celebratory feast last night! Punk thought. "They just came yesterday."
"They just had to come right now!" Vlodimir took a deep breath and paced back and forth. "Barrel, tell the smarter guys to keep an eye on the Philosopher's Gates. I want them to tell me everything right away. We'll leave the witchers alone if they haven't realized what we're after, but if they do, we'll get rid of them. We'll show them the power of the Free Company."
Punk was still hesitating. He had heard a lot of incredible rumors about the witchers, like how they could fight a hundred men on their own and how one of them butchered the whole of Blaviken. Can we really deal with those monsters? We don't even have sixty members. "Why don't we tell your brother about it and see if he has anything to say?"
"He needs to stay in contact with our client. He can't leave just yet, but I'll tell him once he comes back. Before then, you guys do as I say, got it?"
At the same time, a man and a woman were holding hands, walking along the Everec manor. Flowers were in full bloom everywhere.
The man was tall and handsome. He had a reddish-brown mustache, giving him a manly look. The girl was petite. She was beautiful, her skin as fair as snow, and her hair was a lustrous black. She looked like an angel who came out of a portrait. Not even the blooming flowers could compete with her looks.
The couple would huddle close for a moment and part the next. They enjoyed their little thrills. Olgierd von Everec suddenly plucked a violet rose and placed it between the hairs of the girl. He stared at her. He was the prodigal son and the next-in-line for the Everec Family. Olgierd only reserved his gentle side for this woman before him. She was Iris Bilewitz, the daughter of a rich family and his soon-to-be bride. She was also his beloved.
"My love." Iris held his hand, staring at him. "I need to talk to you." A moment of hesitation later, she said, "My father… He's…"
"He wants to know about my debt again?" Olgierd let the rose go and turned around. He said calmly, "Tell him I'm going into a deal with someone important in Novigrad. Once the deal is done, I'll repay all my debts, and my family will rise to prominence once more."
Olgierd sighed. A long time ago, the Everec Family were nomads, but they fought bravely and contributed greatly to Redania. They were granted the rank of noble and made their way into the upper society. They were at their peak of power. Everyone wanted to please them. The Everec Family was prominent for a time.
However, generations passed, and the family fell into decline. Recently, they were hit by a number of catastrophes. It was as if their lands were cursed. Everyone else's crops would increase year by year, but they harvested almost nothing in recent years. They had to keep pumping crowns into the fields and see if they could recoup their losses. To make things worse, the woodcutting factory he invested in earlier was a scam. He lost all his investment and owed a mountain of debt.
Even his fiancée's family was starting to look down on him. But the nightmare will be over soon. I have a plan. Olgierd's fury faded a little.
"I'm sorry, my love. I shouldn't have brought this up during these trying times." She shook her head. She thought he was just trying to make her feel good. "But my father is worried. He's a merchant. He has his own vulgar attitude when it comes to money. He puts too much emphasis on profit, and…" She pursed her lips. "He seems to be objecting to our marriage. I think…"
Olgierd turned around and hugged his lover. "Nobody can take you away from me."
"Don't worry. I won't leave you." Iris leaned into his embrace. She said lovingly, "No matter what they say, you're the only one I love."
"Trust me. I'll repay my debt in one week at most. Then I'll give you the best life you can imagine."
"What kind of business is that? Is it the same scheme you were up to?" Iris was worried. She was reminded of something else. The Everec Family only had a hodgepodge army called the Redanian Free Company. When he was younger, Olgierd led the company once and robbed passing merchants and farmers. It had been years since he stopped that, but his men started another shady business.
"Don't worry. It's a legitimate business." He put her left hand on his chest and kissed her hair. Olgierd looked at the estate's flowers, excited. "A great collector in Novigrad has set his eyes on some merchandise. My men and I will purchase it and toss in a free gift. Your parents are merchants. You know how the rich guys are in the free city. The reward is great. More than enough for my family to get through this crisis." Olgierd could imagine his future. Even after he repaid his debt, the remaining crowns would be enough to please his greedy in-laws. "Then I'll hold a great wedding. I swear!"
"I believe you." Iris smiled sweetly and leaned against his chest.
The flowers under the shade swayed in the wind, and the couple came closer.
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