"… I need your help." Mia said while biting her lips.
I nodded and sat down across her. Then, I observed my mother-in-law carefully.
Mia was completely different from the last time I saw her. Back then, she was very beautiful, with soft eyes and a gentle aura that soothed others.
Now, though, her eyes were dim, her face was haggard, and her smile seemed forced.
After a few seconds of silence, I sighed.
"Tell me about the situation."
Mia nodded. She then told me her story, starting from the day after the incident in the forest of wolves, when her family was declared traitors and her relatives were taken to prison with their belongings confiscated.
Afterward, she spoke about her situation with her husband and the troubles in her home. At some point, she went from telling me a story to venting her grievances.
When she finished speaking, I nodded.
"I understand the situation now. But mother-in-law, how do you expect I help you?"
This time, Mia hesitated for a moment before speaking.
She knew what she was about to ask for, and she also knew of my position. No matter how she saw it, what she was about to ask for was too shameless.
Plus, although I was in a relationship with her daughter, I was also standing in opposites factions to her two families. Why should I help her?
When Louise saw the hesitation in her mother's face. She bit her lips and opened her mouth.
But Mia stopped her.
"No, daughter. Let me."
"I'm the one who must do it. That is the best way."
Then, Mia took a deep breath and looked at me with a determined look.
"Claus, I hope you can help me to save the Hera family."
I did not reply immediately. Instead, I narrowed my eyes with a serious expression.
"... You know what your words mean, right?" I asked.
Mia nodded. "I do. So, I'll understand if you refuse."
Refuse. Why should I?
This situation is just the one I want after all.
Of course, Mia did not need to know that. Therefore, I put on a troubled look before heaving a sigh of resignation.
"… I can help you."
"Really!? Thank yo–"
"But I have a condition." I interrupted Mia. "If you don't agree, I won't help you."
Mia was startled, but she understood my meaning. "Please, tell me."
I fell silent for a moment. In fact, I had a plan for this situation, but now, I think there is a better option.
I glanced at Ysany briefly and nodded. Ysnay understood my intention instantly.
With a smile, she snapped her fingers.
A sheet of paper appeared on her hands. It was a document signed by the various departments of the empire.
I passed it to Mia without even looking at its contents.
"This is a certificate of ownership for the properties of the Hera family," I said with a serious look. "After what happened to the Hera family, you are by right the person in charge of these properties. But once you sign this document, these properties will be transferred to me."
Mia was surprised. She looked at the document with an astonished expression.
"This… How does something like this exist!? Is it legitimate?"
"It is," I said with certainty in my voice. This was something that Ysnay fabricated with her abilities over fate. Although this should not exist, nobody will be able to deny its legitimacy. "It's completely legal. Of course, I'm sure some people will try to deny its validity, but I have enough power to make it valid."
"Mother!" Al stood up with a look of rage, "You can't do it!"
I looked at him with an ice-cold look. "Sit down!"
Al paled instantly and his body fell back to his chair.
The current Al was very afraid of me. The fact that he dared to stand up and oppose me used up already almost his entire courage.
But he is pretty brave. Does he think I don't dare to touch him with his mother nearby?
Mm… I'll leave him alone for a while. Anyway, my opportunity will come soon.
Mia was silent. She knew once she signed this document, there was no going back.
If she accepted my condition, it was the same as giving up the hard work of several generations of her family.
However, was there another option? Soon, her entire family was going to be executed anyway.
I sighed when I saw her hesitation.
"Mother-in-law, I hope you can understand my position. If I use my abilities to let your family free, I need a guarantee that your family will stop opposing me. Thus, this document will strip your family of their properties and power, and put it all in my hands… However, I promise you that your family will live peacefully, and when everything ends, I will return these properties to you."
Mia nodded. She was smart, she could understand my meaning.
However, it doesn't mean she could sign the document just like that.
"… I will sign it."
"Silence, Al," Mia said with determination. "My choice is done. But–" She then looked at me. "I will not transfer it to you. I'll give these properties to Louise."
"Oh?" I raised an eyebrow. This woman is smart.
However, I'm alright with that. To be honest, I don't care about these properties. My goal is just to get Mia in my ship and strengthen my sister's faction, not to get these properties.
Once Mia signs the document, she will be unable to turn back. By then, my opportunities will be many more than now.
Plus, Mia still owes me a favor from the bet we did before. And I surely will find the best way to use it,
"Very well, I agree," I said without hesitation and looked at Louise. "Love, you sign here."
"… Are you sure, Claus?" Louise hesitated slightly. "T-This is very important..."
I nodded. "Don't worry, I'll trust you."
Louise's face bloomed in a smile. She then took the pen and signed the document.
Mia signed after her.
Al stared at the entire process with bloodshot eyes. He stared at his mother and sister as though they were betraying him.
But to Mia, this was the best option to save her family.
"Good." I nodded smilingly. "Don't worry, mother-in-law. I'll make sure the people of the Hera family are released before one week is up. By the way, you told me you left the Riea's mansion, right? Any idea where are you going to live now?"
Mia shook her head. "To be honest, I expected you could help me with that too."
I curved my lips up. "Leave it to me then. Louise had already told me she wanted to leave that house; and to be honest, I'm not very comfortable living in the palace either. I'll let you stay in one of my places tonight and tomorrow we will move to the place where we are going to live from today onwards."
"Really!?" Louise and Claire looked at me in excitement.
I nodded and the two beautiful girls and grinned.
"Of course, when have I ever lied to you?"