(Diao Chan POV)
In front of us was an extremely opulent mansion situated in the high class quarter of the city. This was where the nobles and extremely wealthy families of Jin city would live in, the kind of place that I was once familiar with.
This house used to belong to one of the Syndicate's bosses, but because Lian Li had met him and 'convinced' him to relinquish his assets, it now belongs to us. Something that we had generously gifted to this formerly struggling merchant family since they have chosen to work for us.
Despite it actually being our property, we have only set foot in it once. It was when we first received the mansion just so that we could inspect it, so none of us have actually shown our face at this place ever since.
I have to say though, looking through the records that these merchants have sent us regularly, they are doing quite a good job. It was obvious that the only reason they had been failing before was because of the Xi Family's meddling and not because of a lack of effort.
The two of us went up to the gates where a group of four guards were stationed, watching us approach them with rather serious faces.
I have to mention that most of the staff here have yet to be converted to our beliefs. Most of our own people were dispatched for other commitments and we're still wary of spies. Without enough manpower, we have decided to lower the priority on converting new members unless a particular convert was of high importance.
Thus, it wasn't surprising when the guards blocked our way when we got closer to them.
"Halt, this is the house of the Vera Family, what is your business here?"
I gave them the most innocent smile I could, "I am here to meet the head of the house, Dill Vera. We have an appointment."
One of the guards stretched his palm out, "Do you have a letter of introduction then? All visitors are required to have one."
"No, but I do have this," I pulled out a signet ring with the engraving of a very detailed leaf on it, the insignia was identical to the crest directly above the gate.
The guards looked at one another, suddenly unsure of themselves.
"Please wait for a moment, miss. Nur, go get the boss here."
The guard I assume to be named Nur nodded and ran past the gates, leaving us with the other three guards standing outside.
Cai Hong pulled at my sleeve, "Big sis Diao Chan? Big 'howse'!"
"Kukuku~ Yes, it's a very big house Cai Hong."
"Big 'howse', Papa's?"
"Kukuku~ Yes, it is Papa's house. We will meet Papa soon."
The remaining guards jerked their heads towards me, their eyes wide with surprise.
"Illegitimate child?" One of them whispered.
"Shush, you'll risk our necks, you fool."
Kukuku~ Gossip material successfully implanted~
I'm pretty sure such a piece of news will spread around the mansion within the day, too bad I won't be here to see his reaction~
Was that mean of me? Kukuku~ That's the point~
A minute passed before a rather tall man returned with the guard who had ran off, looking rather out of place when the guards wore leather armour with swords belted on their waist while he was wearing a clean piece of suit like a butler's.
"Head butler Sergei!" The guards greeted respectfully.
Sergei gave them a nod before setting his sights on us.
"Ah. Lady Diao Chan, we were expecting you. Oh? Lady Cai Hong too, I bid you welcome as well. Master Dill is already waiting inside if you would please follow me."
"Mmm~ Lead the way."
Cai Hong held on to my hand as we walked past the gates, following Sergei deep into the mansion grounds.
The servants and guards within the mansion bowed politely to us as we passed them. Though it was clear they were curious to our identities, they knew to keep their questions to themselves.
Our short trip ended in a grand hall where plush chairs and couches surrounded an exquisitely decorated coffee table, placed right beside a glass window that oversaw the garden behind the mansion. Several maids and servants were busy placing confectionery and tea on the table from a dining cart nearby.
Seated around the table was the entire Vera Family, with the exception of two of their oldest sons.
The oldest man wore a pair of frameless spectacles on his rugged, angular face, his body was leanwithout any obvious fat. The woman beside him had dark brown hair that ended as curls on her shoulder, her sharp features giving her a rather deadly and exotic look.
Seated across from them was a young lady and two young men, their similar appearances left no room for doubt that they were family.
Sergei bowed, "Master Dill, Lady Diao Chan and Lady Cai Hong has arrived."
Dill Vera stood up from his seat and extended his arms in a gesture of welcome, "Lady Diao Chan! Lady Cai Hong! How nice to see you girls!"
The other members of the Vera family also stood, giving the two of us pleasant smiles.
Dill came forward to meet us, "How is your Master? I hope that he is well?"
I nodded, giving him an equally pleasant smile, "Master is of perfect health, thank you for asking. I hope all is well with you and your family?"
"Ahahaha! Never better! I am glad you could visit us at this time!"
"Hmmm, yes. I hope we are not intruding?"
He waved his hand, "Nonsense! My house is as good as your house! This is your first time here in a while right? Would Lady Cai Hong like to explore around the mansion?"
Cai Hong nodded her head enthusiastically, "Cai Hong want!"
"Hahaha! Sergei, won't you show the little Lady around?"
The butler bowed, "As you wish, Master Dill. Lady Cai Hong, this way please."
The head of the Vera house turned to the other servants, "Leave us."
The servants bowed and did as requested, shutting the door behind them.
The moment the room was empty, the fake smiles plastered on the Vera Family's faces instantly disappeared and they executed a perfect, ninety-degree bow.
"The Vera Family bids High Priestess Diao Chan welcome!"
"Kukuku~ Let's take a seat, shall we?"
I walked past him and took a seat on the chair at the head of the coffee table, taking a small sip of the tea while the Vera Family settled back into their seats.
Aside from the head of the family, Dill Vera, there is also his wife, Rosemary Vera. From what we know, he has four sons and one daughter, the oldest son being drafted into the Royal family's knight academy while the second son is currently unknown.
Left behind are Aloe, who is the third child and only daughter, alongside Fennel and Chervil with Fennel being the older brother to Chervil.
Placing the cup back on its saucer with deliberate slowness, I gazed at the edge of the table as I began my question, "Now I believe it was agreed that you promised us Everything."
Dill gulped while his children visibly stiffened.
"Do you not understand what the term 'everything' meant?"
He stuttered, "Ye Yes But But This We are already giving So much"
I turned back to him with a smile, "We said, everything. Do not forget where you and your family were before all this."
"I I understand"
"Good," I pulled out a piece of folded paper, tossing it on to the table in front of me. "Your eldest son, Basil, is alive and well within the knight corps. As to why he isn't responding to your calls, we do not know. Now, your second son?"
His wife glanced at me, "We We do not want to involve him in this When his brother left, he He shouldered everything... Even when we failed as his parents he If possible, we would like to keep him away He deserves to live his own life."
I chuckled, "Kukuku~ That was not a request."
The mother seemed like she wanted to protest again but Dill just placed his hand on top of hers, "It's alright His name is Brendan Vera, the only Practitioner and second son of the Vera Family."
"Now that wasn't so hard was it? We just needed to know if he would be a potential problem in the future~"
Brendan Vera huh? That name sounds like someone I would like to 'play' with~ Kukuku~
Dill grimaced, "We We promise you he won't be. He is well behaved."
"Good. In that case shall we talk business? Sister Elaria's goods will be reaching here soon, I hope everything is prepared?"
"And the preparations for the next phase?"
"Already complete," Rosemary assured me.
"Kukuku~ Very good."
With most of that in place, all we need to do now is to wait for the actual event itself~