Claire rode the wind leopard slowly on the streets, her thoughts complex. She thought about the scene where Duke Roman got up, tottering, then Alice's hostile gaze, and then Duke Gordan's smiling face, ignoring the many passerby's gazes. A golden haired blue eyed beautiful girl riding a powerful leopard naturally attracted many eyes.
"Chirp chirp..." White Emperor rolled down Claire's head softly and crouched at her shoulder, licking her neck lightly.
"White Emperor..." Claire scooped him off and looked at him. "Are you trying to make me feel better?"
Golden Lotus's unhappy voice suddenly sounded. "Ma, this little meatball is very unstable. He has terrifying power, but can't use his power smoothly whenever he wants to. Usually, he's a useless little pet, and his intelligence level is the same. He's actually your master though. Surpass him quickly, then beat him up."
"Chirp chirp!" White Emperor waved his little claws angrily, evidently unsatisfied with Golden Lotus's words.
Claire smiled faintly. At least her mood had gone up a bit.
"Let's go, Little Leopard. Let's go back." Claire patted the wind leopard's neck softly, indicating for the wind leopard to start running.
"I, I said sorry." Suddenly, Claire heard a pitiful voice.
Claire turned to look and saw a delicate and pretty girl at the side of the road being surrounded by two burly men, one in front, one behind. The burly man in front said fiercely, "Whatever, you bumped into me, I can't work today now. Pay money!" It turns out, they were local thugs blackmailing a girl. Seeing this situation, Claire didn't feel like doing anything. But once Claire saw the pretty girl clearly, she made Little Leopard stop.
"Pay money? Then, then how much?" The delicate girl asked fearfully.
"Ten gold coins!" The burly man said. Ten gold coins was how much the average commoner family used up in a month.
"Ah? That much?..." The pretty girl had a sullen expression. "I, I don't have that much money."
"How much do you have?" The burly man asked fiercely.
"I only have this much..." The pretty girl cautiously fished out a plain and simple wallet.
The burly man grabbed it, then poured out all the money inside. There were only three gold coins and some copper coins.
"I guess you're lucky. This much is enough." The burly man sneered and was about to put the money away. The pretty girl watched fearfully. "But, but that's all my money, if I give it to you, I can't eat any more."
"Who cares..." The burly threw the empty bag, about to leave. The other burly man also laughed loudly and followed from behind.
But when they turned, they faced a huge, fierce leopard. The burly men stepped back fearfully.
"Pick up the wallet and give her her money back." The girl sitting on the leopard said coldly, her tone devoid of warmth.
The two burly men gulped, fearfully. Naturally, they knew that the icy cold girl in front of them wasn't ordinary. How could an ordinary person ride such a fearsome magic beast?
"Are you deaf? Do you want me to cut off your ears?" Claire eyes became slits, a dangerous glint in her eyes.
"Ah, sorry, sorry." One of the burly men abruptly came back to his senses and quickly crouched down to pick up the wallet, then cautiously put back all the blackmailed money and handed it to Claire.
Claire grabbed it and said coldly, "Now get lost."
The two ran like rabbits and were gone without a trace.
"Your wallet." Claire got off the wind leopard and gave the money back to the pretty girl, who was in a trance.
"Thank, thank you... thank you very much. This is one of the only things my mother left behind." The pretty girl put away the wallet carefully .
"You're very poor?" Claire sized up her simple clothes and honest gaze.
"Yes, my family's very poor. It had been just me and Mother living deep in the mountains. When Mother passed away, I went out, wanting to see the outside world. I finally came here with great difficulty..." When the pretty girl said she was poor, she didn't show any embarrassment.
An imperceptible smile appeared on Claire's lips. She said straightforwardly, "Work for me and I'll give you a hundred golden coins a year, including food, shelter, and clothes. You'll live well, eat well, and wear new clothes."
"Really?" The pretty girl exclaimed. "Is that possible?"
"Really. Just sign a five year contract first. If you feel the pay is good, we'll sign another contract. If you do well, I'll give you more money." Claire smiled like a flower, as friendly as could be.
"Great, great, big sis, you're a really good person!" The pretty girl was so happy, she almost started jumping up and down.
Claire watched without a word. Her gaze landed on the bow on the girl's back. The ordinary looking bow was extremely sleek and glossy at the pulling point, caused by being shot many, many times. Ordinary bows would have fractured long ago, so the bow was definitely not as simple as it appeared. And the delicate and pretty girl's hands was also inconsistent with her appearance, both of them full of callouses. There was only one explanation: the girl was a very good archer and could shoot with both hands ambidextrously!
A hundred gold coins, today she had made a profit!
"What's your name?" Claire patted behind herself, indicating for the young girl to get on.
"My name is Qiao Chuxin." The young girl hopped nimbly onto the wind leopard, not even the slightest bit scared of it.
"Oh. I'm Claire. From now on, I will be your boss, your leader. Listen to me from now on, understand?" Now Claire started to brainwash shamelessly. But she froze for a moment internally. Another ancient last name. What relationship did this continent have with the Orient?
"Ok, then what should I call you?" Qiao Chuxin agreed straightforwardly. In her eyes, this pretty big sister was the best person in the world besides her mom.
"Call me Claire. But you must listen to my orders seriously. Of course I won't let you do anything that crosses your bottom line." Claire added.
"Okay, no problem." Qiao Chuxin agreed happily.
Claire patted the wind leopard, directing it to run quickly towards Camille's house. Truthfully, she was a bit tired. One night without sleep and she had worked for so long. It was time to go back and rest.
After they arrived back at Claire's home, Claire dragged Qiao Chuxin to Camille's study, making her sign a five year contract of hard labor. Only after she put the contract away, satisfied, did she yawn and think about sleeping.
"Hold on to these golden banknotes for now, I'll first pay for one year. If there's not enough, just ask. When I get home tomorrow, I'll prepare a nice place for you to live." Claire said between yawns, completely ignoring the group of confused people at the entrance.
"Then, Summer, come over here." Claire beckoned towards Summer, who peeping through the door.
"What?" Summer walked over, confused.
"This is Qiao Chunxin. From now on, she's one of us. First bring her to the streets and buy some clothes, then buy her things that she likes but is reluctant to buy. Introduce her to them. I'm going to rest; I'm too tired. Many things happened today. Tomorrow, we're going to the auction house." Claire ordered quickly while yawning.
Summer's mouth twitched. What? She just pushed it all onto her? It was clearly Claire who brought her back, not her!
"Chuxin, accompany Summer. I'm going to rest, I'm so tired." Claire yawned, about to leave.
"Give me money to buy things then." Summer hurriedly called.
"You have so much money, can't you just give your new comrade money?" Claire reprimanded, annoyed, then walked past everybody to her room.
"Stingy miser, humph!" Summer cursed, but in her heart, she felt strangely warm. Comrade, that's right, she who had always been alone now had a comrade. It was all due to Claire that she could feel warm.
"Claire's not stingy, she even said she'll give be a hundred golden coins a year along with food, shelter, and clothing." Chuxin, who hadn't suffered Claire's cruelty yet, quickly defended Claire.
"What?" When everybody heard, they all became interested, all asking what what going on.
Once Qiao Chuxin told everything in detail about how she met Claire and their contract, everybody looked at each other in dismay, cursing Claire's shamelessness internally. She definitely wasn't kind enough to help someone for no reason. Instead, Claire actually gave a salary that didn't count as much. Although this salary was considered very high for commoners, it was nothing to Claire! Just what was this treacherous person planning?
Although everybody was thinking this, they didn't dare to show it. Each and every person couldn't know Claire's methods any clearer: grab somebody's weakness and hold on stubbornly, not letting go unless they gave up.
"Come, I'll introduce for you. From now on, you are one of us." Summer smiled and started to introduce everyone. But really, internally she added another sentence: from now on, you are just like us, one of Claire's slaves......
As she reached the entrance, Claire sneezed loudly, then wiped her nose. She couldn't have caught a cold with this weather, could she?