Chapter 48 – Iron Lady of the Old Days
As soon the girls out of the room, Bhela’s mother knelt in front of the old woman.
“Please Grandmother, do justice for us! My Ghalim is poisoned by those bastards from Blackwood Family,” she said and wept for old Sari Malikh’s help. Ghalim Malikh, on the bed, sighed but said nothing to plead along with his wife.
“I heard you, I know your burden. Now get up, girl. You are the wife of Malikh Family’s patriarch and you should act like true Lady Malikh.”
Lady Malikh wiped her tears with a handkerchief. “Thank you, grandmother. Thank you!”
“Call me Grandma Sari.”
The middle-aged lady nodded. “Grandma Sari, please let those snakes in Blackwood Family taste our family retribution!”
With her aged and tired eyes, Grandma Sari looked at Lady Malikh for a moment. She shook her head. “An eye for an eye would make one lose her head sooner or later. Be calm, girl. You had been the lady of my household more than a dozen years. I was hoping you will approach this problem with the cool head before.”
“I’m sorry, Grandma. But I couldn’t stand what they did to my husband and daughter.”
“What did they do to my little girl Bhela?” Grandma Sari asked with a frown. She didn’t read something like this in those letters back from years ago.
“They forced her to do something inappropriate. A lot.”
“Did she assaulted by Blackwood Family?”
“Did she humiliated by Blackwood Family?”
Grandma Sari paused. Her face didn’t change but her voice turned cold. “What did they do then? Explain it.”
Lady Malikh recounted what happens during two years of their meet with Blackwood Family. They somehow get hold of information when there was something strange happened in Bhela’s mana sphere when she was thirteen years old, and after a hard mental battle inside her body, Bhela Malikh could obtain an Unique Class. However, she mysteriously fell ill for almost a month afterward.
Only after they were sure of how special her Class was, Blackwood Family bought and turn elders of Malikh Family to their side and managed to poisoned Ghalim. Moreover, they one-sidedly paired Bhela Malikh with the spoiled young master of Blackwood Family who the girl despised but never was she stated her opinions.
The other matters but they did broke Bhela’s engagement with Yashura Family. As a lady who came from merchant-oriented family, Lady Malikh couldn’t do anything except for asking help from her maiden family but she failed. Only after her family received letters from Grandma Sari she finally able to see rays of hope.
“I see. If you want payback then you should wait for Bhela’s coming of age then. For trivial problems like dresses and engagement you should use those experiences to hone your girl’s maturity even more.”
Lady Malikh, though she respected the old woman, disagreed. “Grandma Sari, please beg your pardon. Those vulgar dresses and appeared with another man to break engagement are issues of reputation. They aren’t trivial matters.”
“They are,” Grandma Sari said. “I threw away my Matriarch status back then. Walked around to follow a man journeying around the world. Pretty sure my reputation was quite cheap in front of others back then. Well, look at me now. I’m old but didn’t regret it a bit.”
Lady Malikh gazed the old woman’s face with respect. “Please, Grandma Sari, guide your Malikh Family so we can stand proud again.”
“It’s a simple matter,” Grandma Sari said while smiled, “but first, we need to look at family’s account book. I want some clues to start with.”
Lady Malikh agreed then both the young and old ladies walked out of the room, leaving two silent men behind.
Both didn’t have anything to chat about… so awkward.
“Cough cough!” The sick Ghalim Malikh pretended to cough.
“Hmph hmph!” The handsome old man pretended to snort-snort.
“Hmph! Hmph hmph hmph!”
“Hmph!!!” this old man suddenly became angry for no clear reason and ‘he’ walked out of the room too.
Grandma Sari didn’t need a minute to know her family’s account book was embezzled since about a year ago.
Some elders had the guts to drive out Ghalim’s supporters and replaced them with their own men in family’s business posts. They were so brazen and daring they didn’t even bother to disguise their tracks. Their crimes were there for all to see. It just they didn’t care at all.
They thought Ghalim Malikh wouldn’t able to stand up against Blackwood Family. Well, they were dead wrong.
So, after fifteen minutes inside patriarch office where Ghalim should spend his time as Patriarch of Malikh Family, Grandma Sari ordered Lady Malikh to establish inexistence debts for all those corrupt elders.
“But Grandma, can we force them to spit out the money they stole only with creating fraud debts?”
“Girl, if you don’t have confidence in yourself then just write they are indebted to me instead of the family,” Grandma Sari said.
That day, in their account, elders of Malikh Family magically had debts to old woman Sari Malikh. Those debts usually ranged around ten times or twelve times of what they stole from family’s purse. With that amount, of course, they echoed their roars of disapproval. Hence, all of them marched together to veto the debts, leaving Lady Malikh had to cancel them as she didn’t even have enough political power to fight for legit debts, much less the fraud ones.
However, to her surprise, there were five elders who actually paid the outrageous and stupid debts. They even sold off their personal properties to in order to pay more than they should. Lady Malikh was confused.
Grandma Sari was drinking tea with the calm Bhela Malikh and the nervous Lady Blackwood in a small room when Lady Malikh wished to see her.
“Grandma Sari, please pardon my incompetence. Elders were too smart and unified so I can’t do anything to make them pay fraud debts. However, there were five elders who did.”
“Mm.” Grandma Sari nodded her head. “Those five were the smart ones. Looks like I don’t have to personally involved in these trivial things.”
“I don’t understand, Grandma.”
“Which one paid the most?” Grandma Sari asked.
“It should Elder Tamlir who sold his acres of land. He’s a fourth-ranked elder. One of the most senior here.”
“Okay. Remind me later to promote him to first ranked elder if I had the time.”
Lady Malikh now understood Grandma Sari wanted to use the stick and carrot method to take control of elders. But wasn’t this too careless?
“Then what about others who didn’t pay, Grandma?”
“Them?” Grandma Sari drank her tea. “Don’t bother about them. They’re the most trivial matters. Just pebbles.”
All of those five elders who paid the unreasonable debts were more than one hundred years old. It wasn’t discontent or any negative feelings arose when they heard fraud debts struck them hard, but a relieving hope. They saw these debts as opportunities to wiped the slate clean and determined to use this chance to ask for mercy. They knew what would happen if the old woman took care all this mess with her own hands.
Later, when five of them tried to meet with the old woman, they were flat rejected. Hence, those elders became anxious again thinking what they did still weren’t enough to negate old woman Sari’s unhappiness.
But not long before they felt hopeless, a servant came to give them a message.
“I have money but I don’t have money. Solve these trivial things for me.” That was the content of the message.
Five elders knew old woman Sari Malikh talked about those inexistence debts.
She wanted them to do stupid and unreasonable things to prove their blind loyalty for Malikh Family.
So they retreated to their own place and individually set up a plan and spent all their resources. Before, those four elders realized subtle message from the servant behavior; he told the message to Elder Tamlir first and let him transferred the message to other four elders. Therefore, they knew this was a race. And Elder Tamlir won the first round. Only a functional brain was needed to know what the race winner would get at the end of the day.
Soon, storms gathered.
Out of nowhere, an elder’s scandals exposed in the open air, he lost his elder status in one night without a chance to fought back. Another one was also exposed to her crime in killing an elder of another family around ten years ago. That elder was searching for protection from her colleagues but much to her dismay, the elders’ council of Malikh Family turned their back on her and gave her to that family to atone her tone; she was jailed and assaulted, then would be never heard again. Malikh Family strangely did nothing for their own kind. Nevertheless, their silent reaction was expected. Because afterward, a heated internal strife struck Malikh Family fast and hard.
Soon, corrupt elders were losing their footholds, driven out from family, or would face a tragic death if they had the guts to show resistance.
Those five old elders’ powers and influences were no joke. Especially when all of them were in competition with each other. And as more and more elders fell and left empty posts and resources, other corrupt elders who only had the last straw fought for their chance of survival, only to dragged more crooked family members with them. In the meantime, young and eager members sought opportunities in climbing social ladders and became the new elders. Malikh Family changed to the core.
On the contrary, there the old Sari Malikh was, drinking tea peacefully and give painting lessons for two cute girls Bhela Malikh and Lyla Blackwood.
For old people like her time was precious, and she wished to use them smartly and happily. Other things just trivial matters. She may the Iron Lady of Malikh Family but after all, that fancy title was only from the old days. Still, as the fact stood proud, she did reform her family in a decisive and shocking manner.
But, that wasn’t the shocking thing happened in Malikh Family, the most shocking thing was happening in Ghalim Malikh’s bedroom.
The mysterious old man, who liked to snort-snort-snort for no reason now finally show ‘his’ awesomeness. ‘He’ clafhed ‘his’ hands three times and flicked ‘his’ fingers and then, suddenly, magically more ferocious storm gathered and swirl outside family’s household and thunder rumbled and all that.
Ghalim Malikh who should be sick and suffered heavy poisons suddenly jumped out the bed and walked! He was cured!
The most shocking thing in the whole world!!
Dis is beyond miracle!
Another plot twist of the century!!
Ghalim Malikh was cured but suddenly his wife passed out because the wow simply too much for her weak heart.