Chapter 48: Sophia Philinover (3)

As a child, Sophia Philinover was a very strange girl. Usually, young girls liked things that were cute and pretty — ragdolls, cute teacups, shiny trinkets, etc. But, it wasn’t that she didn’t like them, she just had something she liked more — the view of the city from the steeple of the temple. 

“Woah…”

From the moment she saw the view, she was entranced. Dense buildings gathered together to make a city with a network of roads cutting through it. But best of all, unlike a doll’s house, this was an environment that people actually lived in. Since the moment she saw it in her youth, Sophia thought it was beautiful. Fascinated by the sight, she continued to search for more. 

First, she looked at the history of the Capital’s beginning. She studied the process it took to build Lorentia, the royal capital of Lester Kingdom. At the time, her parents said she was a precocious child and laughed off her studies. In the beginning, she studied just the history, but as time went on, she looked at the structure of the Capital and studied how a city was structured. She looked at the houses people needed to live as well as the materials and construction methods needed to make them. Then, she looked at how all the houses put together made a city. After that, she was interested in the network of roads that connected one city to another and fell in even deeper as she looked at what it took to maintain those roads. 

While other noble ladies were enthusiastic about jewels and dresses, Sophia focused her attention on learning more about civil engineering, one knowledge at a time. She enjoyed this learning process very much. There’s a saying that geniuses cannot overcome those who put in the effort, and those who put in the effort cannot overcome those who enjoy themselves. As she enthusiastically acquired knowledge, after a certain point in time, her knowledge was comparable to the architects who had worked in the field for decades. And once she had learned all that she could from her books, she began to want to see her own abilities in action. This was the result of her unique tastes and her unusual obsession with architecture. 

But there was a problem — she was female, and a noble lady at that. 99% of the architects were commoners. Even the legendary architect Nelson, who was recognized for his achievements in designing the royal capital of Lester Kingdom, was originally a commoner. Although he had been given a noble title for his achievement, it was only the rank of a Baron and only that one title. Although architecture was essential for a country, in this world, it is perceived as a job for the commoners. And a noble wants to do it? A noble lady at that? Absolutely impossible. 

But Sophia really wanted to do it so much and couldn’t stand it anymore… so she gathered her courage and told her father. Unsurprisingly, Baron Philinover was furious. He knew that his daughter had a unique hobby, but he never thought it would result in something so unusual like this. That day, Baron Philinover burnt all her architectural books and the blueprints she had drawn. She cried and begged, but he ignored her. It was a pity the architectural books were gone, but it was even more pitiful that the drawings were also gone. The blueprints she had joyfully drawn full of imagination day by day were very precious to Sophia. Whenever she thought about how one day her blueprints would be used to build, she had been happy. But it was all burnt. She cried as though she was a child whose precious doll had been stolen. Looking at his crying daughter, Baron Philinover just warned her never to do it again. 

But Sophia didn’t give up. She didn’t even think about giving up. Baron Philinover didn’t know this, but his daughter was more stubborn than he thought. Hiding it from her father, she went out to look at construction sites and even continued to draw in secret.  She was scolded every time she was caught by her father, but she didn’t change her habit.  However, there was a limit to what she could do without her father’s permission to become an architect.

Then one day, something happened to Baron Philinover’s house. Her father, Baron Philinover was reprimanded and dismissed by the central administration. Rather than Baron Philinover having done something wrong, he was used as a scapegoat by his superiors and wrongfully blamed. After being fired by the central administration, Baron Philinover believed that there would be no future left for him at the Capital. He finished his remaining business, squared away the family fortune and moved down South. 

For Sophia, this was like a thunderstorm in a clear blue sky. She really didn’t want to go down South. Unlike other aristocratic young ladies, she wasn’t upset because she couldn’t attend banquets or buy expensive dresses. It was because she liked the royal capital Lorentia with its buildings that had been preserved for over hundreds of years and its well-ordered and managed network of roads. If a new construction method was created, it was possible to see it implemented with her own two eyes. But to go down South? Born and raised in the capital, to her, the southern region only had endless barley and wheat fields. She definitely didn’t want to go. In the end, she couldn’t go against the decision made by her father, the head of the family, and moved down to the South. 

For a while, she was dispirited and dazed. The fact that she couldn’t see the architectural style of the capital, which had been her only pleasure in life, sucked away her will to live. She gave a deep sigh as she thought of giving up on everything and just calmly marrying the man her father decided and living the rest of her life embroidering and drinking tea. In the midst of all that, she was forcibly dragged to Forrest Manor.

Even when she was in the Capital, she didn’t enjoy banquets, but now, she had zero motivation for it. 

At least, until she got to Forrest Territory. The moment she arrived, she perked up. Was Forrest Territory as developed as the Capital and full of attractive architecture? No, absolutely not. Instead, what fascinated her was the excitement of seeing new life being born. The royal capital Lorentia was already a completed city where tradition and history breathe in every building. But Forrest Manor was different. This was a new world where life was just beginning to be born. It was still in its rough stages, like a roughly drawn sketch, but she felt that if handled well, it would become a masterpiece that would go down in history. She lied to her father saying she was going to buy a dress, when in reality she went looking through the entire Forrest Territory. 

‘You can’t just enlarge the port like that…’ 

‘If you don’t fix the sewage facilities now, it’ll be more difficult later on…’

‘Why didn’t he think of building a public square when he thought of building a central road? Ah… this won’t do…’

Anxious and frazzled, with her patience at its limits, Sophia began drawing in a corner. She focused and began to draw the facilities that she thought Forrest Territory would need. Fortunately, her father was too busy meeting and lobbying his ideas to the other nobles at the banquet to care what his daughter was doing. Finally, her masterpiece was born. Even Sophia herself thought it was a masterpiece with a high degree of completion. But after completing it, all she felt was despair. 

‘What’s the point of drawing a blueprint? Isn’t it useless if it can’t be used?’

She fell deep in thought. She wanted to somehow show it to Count Forrest but would he properly look at her work when it had been done by a woman? No, more importantly, would she even be able to meet him? How could she, a daughter of a fallen noble house, meet with Count Forrest, the rising star of the South? Worry after worry kept coming up. Innately good natured but impulsive, she closed her eyes and made a decision.

‘Let’s just see how it turns out.’

Count Forrest might ridicule her, but that was a problem for later. Even if it’s just once, she still wanted to try meeting with him. Resolute, she went to his manor and asked for Count Forrest. When she was rejected, she asked that Milton at least takes a look at her blueprints. 

As a result…

“And that’s how I ended up in front of you, Count Forrest.”

After completely hearing Sophia’s explanation, Milton had one response.

“That’s amazing.”

Sophia’s face reddened as she blushed. Even she thought she had forced her way in.

But if it was her lucky chance, then…

“I really liked it.”

Thankfully, Milton thought highly of her pushing her way in. 

“Th- thank you, Count Forrest.”

Sophia smiled brightly at the unexpected compliment. She had never thought Milton would say such a thing to her. Sophia was considered odd by the standards of this world. There was no one who could understand a noble lady who was so fascinated by architecture that it led to unconventional behaviors. But because of his previous memories, Milton was the only person in this world that could understand her.

‘Simply put, she’s an architect maniac. Nothing wrong with that.’

There are people like that in the world. People who are so obsessed with their unusual hobby that they become addicted to it and it becomes a main part of their lives. For her, architecture was probably like that. It’s certainly unusual for a woman, and noble lady at that, to fall into a minor field like architecture. But Milton was someone who differentiated between something unusual and something wrong.

“Lady Sophia. There must have been something you wished for by showing me these blueprints.”

“…Yes.”

She replied as quiet as a mouse.

“Please tell me what it is that you want.”

Sophia closed her eyes and gathered her courage.

“Pl- please accept me as the architect for Forrest Territory. I will do my best for the territory.” 

Milton immediately responded, “Alright. Let’s do that.”

As soon as Milton agreed, unbeknownst to herself, Sophia began to cry.

“C… Count Forrest. Truly? You really…”

She was extremely happy right now and never wanted to wake up from her dream. 

Seeing her so emotional, Milton responded. 

“Of course. Based on our conversation just now, you are more than qualified. For a person as talented as you, I would have wanted to invite you anyways.”

“Th- thank you. I… I will try my hardest.”

Sophia bowed her head with tears in her eyes. At that moment, her Loyalty level rose to a whopping 90. 

“I will dedicate the rest of my life to you, Count Forrest.”

She was moved that for the first time in her life, someone had acknowledged her abilities and pledged complete allegiance to Milton. And with that, Sophia Philinover’s life as the first female architect on the continent began. Although Milton decided to accept Sophia, one problem still remained. She was still a young lady under the custody of Baron Philinover. No matter how enviably talented she was, Milton couldn’t just forcibly take someone else’s daughter.

Of course Sophia…

[Even if my family disowns me, I will accept it. I pledged to dedicate my life to Count Forrest.]

Responded like so.

‘But still, that doesn’t mean I can just destroy someone else’s family like that.’ 

And so, Milton decided to meet with Baron Philinover and honestly explained the situation.

“…and for that reason, I want to accept Lady Philinover as my vassal. Would you allow me to do so?”

Listening to Milton, Baron Philinover thought to himself

‘What does he really want? He wants to accept my daughter as an architect? …That has to be a lie.’

Baron Philinover only knew that his daughter was fascinated by architecture. He didn’t know how talented nor how determined she was. He just thought it was an unconventional hobby of a willful daughter who didn’t listen to her parents. For Baron Philinover, Milton’s words couldn’t be taken at face value. A female architect? And a noble lady at that? Baron Philinover’s thinking was too rigid to accept such bizarre thinking. So naturally, he believed Milton had a different meaning.

‘There’s no political advantage by having my daughter at his side. In that case… then could it really be!’

After countless thoughts ran through his mind, Baron Philinover came to a conclusion.

‘He likes my daughter.’

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