Prado lifted his head and looked at Norma. That face looked as if it has aged ten or even more years. Norma's heart pained.
"First of all, what would happen if I turned this down."
"I would pick a guardian among members of our family, and nominate Gaipus as the heir."
"Suppose it went that way, what would be the complications?"
Kanner replied to this question.
"If anything were to happen to master, there is a possibility of that guardian taking over the majority of our ventures."
Gaipus is five years old now. It still takes ten years until he comes of age. And Prado is 71 now. An age where anything could happen to him at any moment. Thus, he must pick a successor and a guardian as soon as possible. However, it seems this guardian cannot be 100% trusted from Goncourt's family head's perspective.
"Can't I just be a guardian instead of a heiress?"
"Norma-dono does not have the necessary knowledge in business management. Neither have you connections to persons in charge of each divisions. Guardian is impossible for you. Besides, a successor is granted authority far above a guardian. If something befalls me, you won't be able to deal with various things unless you have the authority to make decisions for all kind of matters with Kanner's advice."
"Norma-sama. Having you as a heiress is for the sake of filling that position so no one can take it. In reality, master still have to live for many years more and carry the baton of commands. Otherwise, this house would have no future."
"Then, what should I do if I accept the responsibility?"
"First of all, you will have to attend Dopus's funeral. You should sit somewhere that doesn't make you stand out."
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"Then you shall take part in our family council. However, you will stand by in another room at first, and only make your entrance once we have exhausted the sitting members' opinions. I shall then declare you as the heiress and gain their approvals."
"Will Kusandria-sama be present in that council?"
"Ordinarily, she cannot be there. However, she will likely make up some reason to have a seat there. Were we kept her away, a family member that has been taken over by Boldrin House would likely push for her son's succession in her stead. I intend to let Kusandria participate and speak for herself."
"I am but a mere apothecary. Won't it be difficult to gain family members' approval?"
"Norma-dono, you are now someone who has had discussions with Herb Saint-sama for nine days. There are also rumors about how you are the one who examined Herb Saint-sama and found a new possibility in <Purification>. There is absolutely no issue bloodline-wise as well."
"Then say we gained approval in the family council, what would come to me afterward?"
"I would like you to live in this mansion. Giving such an impression to public is important. You do not have to do anything in mansion. That is effective while I'm still alive and after my death. I promise that. Kanner will manage everything after my death. You merely have to give your approval then. I believe you're currently devoted to arranging your father's manuscripts. You are free to do that."
This is an extremely attractive proposition. It'll completely solve the problems she's facing now in one fell swoop. Patients won't force their way into Goncourt House. Nobles of other houses cannot make a Goncourt Heiress do house calls. Merchants, apothecaries and medical practitioners won't be able to bother Norma anymore.
"Use anything you need. We will buy up everything you deem necessary. We will arrange manpower and money should you wish. And if possible, I would like you to have a marriage."
"You're still young, and beautiful. Wise, healthy and emotionally mature. I could easily see many suitors lining up once you have succeeded this house."
Age of marriage for noblewomen are from 14 to 22-23.
But the rule is different when they're taking a groom. In case you're a family head or the next family head, and considering the house's situation, the limit is pretty much null. There are cases where a family head in her 20s marrying a wise 50 year old man, or one in her 60s marrying a young healthy man in his 20s. That's neither wrong nor immoral.
Norma is 27 now. A bit up there for succeeding a house, but nothing wrong at all with marrying someone.
"Of course, the successor will still be you, and won't be your husband. You will be given enough pension to live the rest of your life once Gaipus takes over. You are free to keep living in this mansion as well."
If Norma ever birthed a child, and started plotting with her husband to make that child Goncourt's heir, Goncourt House will fall into another crisis. That kind of ambitious husband is out of question.
"By succeeding this house, your rank will be counted among nobles. Same with your husband. That rank will not fade even after Gaipus has become the family head. As such, it would prove difficult to continue living as a medic like you do now."
A wish deep in Norma's heart suddenly erupted after hearing Prado's suggestion.
A wish to marry Lecan.