”It is what you think it is, my lord. It is Baroness once more, ” Nicholas glances at his Butler. The old man with his graying temples, placed the morning paper in front of him. He did not care to pick it up if he did not want to ruin his appetite for the morning spread in front of him.

”Have you break fasted yet, Lawrence? I suggest you do before reading the tons gossip in the morning, ” he said, pertaining to the morning paper folded neatly beside his cup of coffee. He is not a man of tea, and that is frown upon in this world. He does not mind being frown upon, at least he knows where he stands in the vague sense of the ton. A commoner Baron.

”I had a lovely marmalade spread on top of a toast earlier, lordship. I have learned the hard way, ” he replied, definitely reminiscing the time he lost his appetite for weeks when he read the scandal the Baroness Krona was involved in five years ago, still ongoing today to be factual. Its a never-ending cycle of exploits and scandalous meetups. It is losing its appeal. Furthermore, Lawrence is a stickler for rules when it comes to the sanctity of matrimony.

Nicholas chuckled, biting onto his toast spread with melted butter on top of it. The creamy spread exploded in his palate, reminding him of his wise decision to take in the fierce Cook, Mrs. Buckwheat. She lords the kitchen with an iron fist and serves you with delicious goodness. That Cook is a heaven sent to his piece of land. What makes it amazing was how the fierce Cook made all the ingredients from scratch, surprising his palate at every turn.

”Take that morning paper away, Lawrence. I don need to know the tons gossip. Only inform me of important matters, ” he smiled at the loyal Butler. Lawrence nodded in earnest, taking the paper from his table and tossing it in a pile behind a cupboard.

Another set of footsteps arrive in the dining area. Nicholas looked up from his breakfast and saw his assistant Morris. The young man was trying to undo the tight knot of his cravat, a thing he oftens do. One would wonder why he even made the knot in the first place.

”My lord, you have a scheduled visit to the docks today. A shipment was bound to arrive, ” Morris abandoned his stubborn cravat and glanced at his timepiece. ”In an hour from now. In addition to that, youll have to stop by the landowners assembly, after inspecting the shipmen. They intend to hear your thoughts on the long drought ravaging the West, ” he added.

”Youve been there, my lord? ” Morris curiously asked.

Nicholas nodded his answer. Several of the noble lords were seeking him for advice on how to run their respective lands. It was quite obvious that these nobles belong on the lowest bracket, lower than him, if one would count how the ruler of the kingdom favored him. And yes, he is not a well-traveled man, but he had been to places that would benefit the Baronys thriving agriculture, unlike the Mistress of Krona.

Anyhow, no affluent noble would stoop down their pedestal to ask for advice from a Baron like him. Even though Nicholas runs the most bountiful agricultural fields in the Southern part of Clevon.

If he is a greedy lot, Nicholas could conquer the whole country with agriculture but then the land he has was only enough for the entire Southern region and some. It is not big enough to produce for the whole country, and if he wants to live simply, he would rather not conquer the whole country in the first place.

One of the maids was quick to arrange a set of breakfast for Morris, cued by Lawrence. The manor Nicholas was in is big enough to accommodate his people for lodging. Two dozens of maids cleaned the whole house everyday to keep the house without dust at all. He is proud how his home is always squeaky clean, void of any dust, or cobwebs lining the ceiling, thanks to Mrs. Moore. He always shows his appreciation for the honest work the maids always do. He always makes sure that they have their incentives and rest days to spend.

Speaking of accomodations, Nicholas noticed how pointless the whole cleaning system is when the rooms are not even occupied. It was when he decided to let his workers stay in the manor with the sole condition of working their keep, he despises bums. Hence, Morris stayed in the manor along with dozens of other workers.

He was aware how the ton viewed him, how galling it was for a Baron to associate himself with those lower of him in station. However, it did nothing to change his mind about letting his people stay in his manor.

In the end, the ton decided to outcast the commoner Baron, even if the King favored Nicholas. Though, a selected few would still seek him from time to time. In one way or another, he detest balls and parties, therefore, he agreed with the tons decision of outcasting him. Though, there are times he is obligated to attend balls if the King orders it.

”Im ready if you are, Morris, ” Nicholas told his Assistant as he watched the young man fiddle with his cravat. His other hand was shifting the needed documents for the shipment. We finished our breakfast a quarter of an hour ago.

”For gods sake, Morris, stop messing with your cravat, ” he couldn help commenting when the cravat went askew from its place. This young man hates wearing the cravat as he does but Morris could not sit still.

”My apologies, my lord. Its a force of habit, ” he hefted a briefcase from the solid oak table, after stuffing the documents inside the case neatly.

Nicholas pivoted on his heels, marching outside of his office as Morris followed suit. He must finish the inventory of the shipment in haste if he wants to ring in on the landowners meeting.

He spotted the simple carriage pulled by a three-team of fine horses. Nicholas was a firm believer of self-reliance. He can drive the carriage with his eyes blindfolded, however, being a Baron changed his notions. He would like to help his people in the smallest way possible, and hiring a coachman would provide just that for someone.

Greg, a stout man in his forties, was already waiting on the front of the conveyance, ready to follow orders. Greg was once working as a train spotter, but due to some injury that led him limping a little on his right foot, he was dismissed. He saw how Greg begged the employer for the position for naught. He hired him at that very moment. That was five years ago, and Nicholas never regretted the decision. Greg was a good worker.

”Good morrow, my lord. Are you ready to set forth? ” Greg amicably broke into a pleasant smile. Nicholas nodded in agreement.

”Did you have your morning meal, Greg? I wouldn have your missus after my hide if she learned of you missing your meals, ” he jests, hitching his own leather briefcase under his armpit as he alights inside the cozy box seat.

”No need to worry, my lord. That sweeting made sure I was thoroughly fed, and made sure to pack some food for us. It should be the basket beside you, Mr. Morris, ”

Greg started the carriage once everyone was seated. Morris made it his mission to always check the food Mrs. Moore packed for them. Mrs. Moore was the head maid of his manor and Gregs sweeting, as he called her. They are the very opposite of each other. Greg being a laid-back man, while Mrs. Moore was the strict one.

Nicholas hummed in content with how his morning starts with nothing but pleasant ambience.

”We will have a feast later, my lord, ” Morris grinned after taking a peek inside the huge basket beside him. Nicholas knows that Mrs. Moore would always pack something special for him. Nevertheless, she would always pack extra for the rest of the workers in the docks. Nicholas has a tiny office situated near the place, and they would always love a few good bites after drinking the night away. Also, Mrs. Moore has a son working in the docks named Jacob. The man was entrusted with supervising the workers, and a medicine man at the same time. Greg was a proud man for his son.

”And the sorghum drops? ” Nicholas inquires, and Morris chuckles in mirth.

”Aye, my lord. Theres sorghum in here, ” he answered, closing the basket lid.

Nicholas hummed one more time. Regardless of his desire to live a simple, unmaterialistic life, the whole Barony knows how he splurges on buying sugary sweets. He loves those sweets. The common folks were not able to afford such luxury but when he became a successful Baron, hed like to keep a jar of it most of the time.

Mrs. Buckwheat, appalled with his splurges, made it her mission to create her own sorghum drops. In the end, Mrs. Buckwheat made caramel sorghum drops peppered with mint, and has a nutty taste to it. It is one of his weaknesses.

”Have you decided about attending Archduke Clermonts birthday ball? ” Morris asked out of the blue. The question pulled Nicholas out of his contented bubble. He made sure to make his glare known to the young man sitting in front of him.

”What a way to ruin my morning, Morris, ” Nicholas remarked with sarcasm. The insolent man grinned at him, shrugging his thin shoulders in a carefree manner.

”Well, we do what we do. Enough running from the Archduke, unless you wanted him to stay in the Barony instead? ”

Nicholas made a face, another mannerism the ton frowned upon. A gentleman should always be composed and free from facial show of emotions. Nevertheless, he could not help making a face upon hearing the impertinent young mans question. Royals are a pain in the rear when they are around. He knew it firsthand and would never want to experience it again, God forbid.

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