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✍️✍️✍️✍️ Lucia Chapter 9 - 10 Full Free Reading ✍️✍️✍️✍️

PHYSIENTS WILL ALWAYS OFFER BEST STORIES AND LIVE STREAMING ALL TIME

Lucia Chapter 9


First Night (3)


Translated: iseuli


Edited: lili


Note: In the Korean raw when people are sharing verbal dialogue, it’s very easy to differentiate who is who without extra explanations because one will talk in polite form while others do not (or they have their own style of talking). But this does not translate well because of many reasons. Thus, I include (name) after quotes to help you out. This portion is not part of the raw. It’s just extra notes so readers will have a smoother experience.


Hugo, who was still lying in bed, slightly furrowed his brows and opened his eyes. His eyes were clear, as if he had been awake all along. He was sensitive to his surroundings and had been awake from the moment Lucia began struggling in bed.


‘What in the world is she doing?’


After she had fallen off the bed with a thump, only silence followed. He threw off the blanket and got up. He moved his body lightly, unlike a person who had been asleep till recently. Getting up from bed, he walked around to her side.


She was sitting there in daze as she started frantically shaking her head from side to side. She grasped onto the mattress and struggled to stand up. Though not accustomed to personally helping others, he couldn’t sit quietly and do nothing. He walked toward her with a slow pace, being careful not to scare her.


“Oh…”


Her pumpkin orange eyes opened wide as she viewed the empty bed and his upright figure.


“You have bad sleeping habits. How could you fall off such a wide bed?”


He had woken up just now, so his voice was lower than usual. Even so, he was handsome. Lucia, who was staring at him with dazed eyes, quickly snapped back to reality.


“That’s… not it!”


His arms, that held her up, made her body heat rise, so Lucia tried to push him away with embarrassment. However, his body was as solid as a rock and wouldn’t budge. She decided to quit fighting against him when she saw that any further efforts would be futile.


“Then do you sleepwalk?” (Hugo)


“I woke up to drink water and…” (Lucia)


Lucia felt a little shy for some reason, and looked at the floor while muttering the rest of her words in a low voice.


“Walking is… a bit difficult right now…”


He let out a soft sigh. Putting on the slippers that were under the bed, he moved his feet with light steps. When they reached the end of the rug, the sound of glass shattering under his feet could be heard.


‘Ah… I broke a glass cup yesterday…’


She had forgotten all about it. If it weren’t for him, she would have walked right into the floor strewn with glass pieces with her bare feet.


He easily carried Lucia up with one arm and stopped in front of the table. Pouring a glass of water, he handed her the cup.


“Don’t break it this time.”


“…Yes.”


He never stopped teasing her. Tsk, she mumbled silent complaints to herself and obediently accepted the cup.


He wasn’t just tall, he was also very strong. He was handling her easily as if she were a small child. He was supporting her buttocks and hips with only one arm, but she felt very well-balanced and at ease.


“Thank…you.”


He took her empty cup and placed it on the table.


“Anything else?”


“…Huh?”


“Shall I take you to the bathroom?”


“No!!”


Lucia yelled while her face glowed red. Her gaze met his, and it felt like his red eyes were laughing at her. His black hair was usually styled neatly, but currently his hair was tossed in its natural form and it seemed amazing to her. Lucia raised her hand and combed his hair out of his face. His brows twitched slightly.


She was embarrassed of her impulsive action and his fierce stare felt burdensome. She followed his line of sight down and was startled with shock. Half her breasts were out in the open with her nipples peeking out a little. She had tied her robe carelessly before, but it had come undone. Her ears felt hot.


Lucia hurriedly held her robe and attempted to cover up. Unfortunately, her robe was caught between his arms and her body, and pulling at it didn’t do anything to help cover herself up. Just then, his hand firmly grasped her breast.


“Hp…” (breath in)


Lucia gasped in alarm and quickly darted her eyes to him. His red eyes seemed to trap her and she couldn’t move. He had been staring at her all this time, and she could feel his gaze turn heavier. She was scared, but she couldn’t turn her eyes away from him.


As soon as he grasped her breast with a bit of strength, Lucia took a breath and moaned. He laid her on the table and took a mouthful of her breast.


“Ah!”


An electrifying sensation ran up her spine. His lips were sucking on her breast while his tongue stroked her nipple. He lightly nibbled on it, then dug his tongue in.


“Ah! Hk!”


Lucia gripped his shoulder while her body spasmed from the stimulation. The hard table supported her body as he pressed down onto her. Greedily seizing her breasts, he teasingly licked, bit, and sucked on them without pause. The sucking sound that escaped his lips flustered her, and her body burned up with heat.


The belt had long fallen to the floor while her robe laid completely undone on top of the table. The cold air brushed against her skin as her naked body was exposed to the open. He spread her legs by propping one of them up on his arm. His finger rubbed against her as he slowly made his way in.


“Uu…”


A burning pain made her cry out. She was still hurting from the aftereffects of taking in his huge length at once. Even so, after his finger pushed and pulled from inside, her juices started flowing out, causing an embarrassing sound to echo throughout the room. Thanks to that, his finger could glide in and out easily. However, she was still suffering from pain.


“Does it hurt?”


Lucia hurriedly nodded. She stared at him with a helpless and desperate crying look. It hurts. I don’t want to do it. She sent this message to him with her eyes. But when his finger left and instead his hardened member prodded her, she paled completely white. When his length entered her tender insides, she started to cry.


“Ssh…”


He tried to calm her down while kissing her, but he pushed in deeper. Her insides were burning and painful.


“Uuck…”


It was a different pain from the time he had first entered her. Her insides were painful and the muscles all over her body were sore. Huge droplets of tears fell one after another from her eyes.


He put his strength behind his thrusts as he pushed into her on top of the table. Really… It felt too good. Her insides firmly wrapped around his member and stimulated him in all the right places. Feeling like he was tasting something sweet, he lightly licked her lips.


‘She really…makes a person go crazy.’


Her tears, her expression, her sniffling cries, the screaming, her sweet body and skin, her innocent reactions, her insides that firmly hugged his erection… Everything about her caused him to become exponentially aroused. It was as if he had turned into a starved vampire who had caught the scent of blood. The demon inside him hissed to release his inner beast and rough her up until his sexual hunger was satisfied.


‘I can’t.’


If he acted on his inner demon, that frail woman would die. His young wife was frail and weak; with a little bit of strength, she could easily break. She was still too inexperienced to fully accept a man. It would be bad if he killed his wife the first night after marriage.


He lightly kissed Lucia, who was crying. He tangled his tongue inside her small mouth and thoroughly investigated. While doing so, he composed his sanity that was about to fly off into space. Their kiss continued until she looked to be out of breath.


His length was fully sheathed inside her. He slowly pulled out and Lucia groaned. She squeezed her eyes thinking it wasn’t over yet. However, he simply helped Lucia dress and lifted her up once again. Lucia watched him with big eyes.


He laid her onto the bed. Lucia looked at him suspiciously while keeping very quiet.


“Are you regretting it?”


Lucia quickly shook her head from side to side.


“I won’t touch you anymore, so go to sleep.”


She relaxed, letting her tense muscles loosen. She was behaving so noticeably different, that he had to swallow back the bitter smile forming on his lips.


‘So she’s that kind of person.’


He let out a sigh. His circumstances were laughable and pitiful. His very stiff piece of wood was starting to hurt from pent up sexual frustration. It would take too long to let it cool down on its own, but he was irked that he would need to take care of it himself. He never had to masturbate as he’d never had a shortage of women; thus he never had to resort to such means.


He sighed, confused over how to go about this situation, while Lucia admired him. The room was brighter now, and she could see his face more clearly. It would be difficult to find someone else as handsome as him.


His sculpted face was well-balanced; his features perfectly harmonized with one another. He had a high bridge nose and sharp eyes. She could not find any flaws on him. Even so, people didn’t refer to the Duke of Taran as ‘charming’.


‘Because…of his facial expressions…?’


He was always indifferent and cold. It was impossible to read his inner thoughts by observing his expressions. One would have a hard time guessing whether he was feeling good or bad.


He was well-known for his military prestige and frightful presence during war, making others fear him.


He got up and disappeared somewhere. She watched her handsome husband leave with a sad heart, without the slightest clue that he was going to the bathroom to take care of his rigid member.


‘Why did he agree to marry me…?’


She had no idea. A lot had happened between them, but not enough to justify such a result. He would be able to find many women who would agree to the same terms as her. Back then, she had chosen the best path possible, but thinking back, it didn’t add up perfectly. It would be correct for him to laugh at her like a joke and brush her off like a bug.


He returned from the bathroom with a foul temper. He was able to release the pent up sexual frustration, but he didn’t feel satisfied at all. If anything, he felt awkward. He had just married; there was a perfect female in front of him, yet he had to resort to jerking himself off. He had decided to act like a gentleman because of her, but he couldn’t help boiling with anger on the inside. He hid all his anger within his heart and returned to bed.


She didn’t go back to sleep, simply rolling in bed. When her pumpkin orange eyes watched him, he couldn’t help but feel annoyed. However from his expression alone, one would never know his true feelings. He seemed to be wearing a cold and unconcerned mask.


“You’re not returning to sleep? If you don’t sleep, you won’t be able to gather any strength for later. In a few hours, we’ll be leaving for the North, it won’t be an easy ride.”


“I will not become a hindrance to your daily affairs. Please do not worry.”


Her voice was firm and strong, and he couldn’t help but scan her body condition up and down.


“You can’t walk.”


Lucia looked defensive while pouting her lips. When he continued to stare at her face, she mouthed a silent ‘What?’


“… You were thinking of doing it again, weren’t you?”


She caught him off guard with that question, causing him to burst out laughing.


“So you’re saying it’s my fault you can’t walk.”


“…It is not like I cannot. It just feels… a bit weird…”


“I’ll call for a doctor in the morning.”


“Huh? I’m fine. I’m really fine.”


Lucia was shocked and politely refused. How was she supposed to explain that embarrassing pain to another person? Although that person would be a doctor, she still didn’t want to.


Lucia stood up to prove her perfect body condition, but her muscles were stiff and her lower body was shooting with pain. She let out a silent scream inside her heart, while beads of cold sweat formed on her forehead.


Tch. He clicked his tongue and smoothly helped her return to bed.


“If you’re tired, clearly explain it to me. From my point of view, it will be impossible to leave today.”


“I am really fine. Please do not feel you must change your schedule because of me.”


“It will be a carriage ride of at least three or four days. There will be no villages or towns you can rest in on the way there. You’ll need to spend all those days inside a carriage. Are you telling me you’re fine with that?”


“Yes, I’m really fine.”


“Don’t be stubborn about stupid things.”


One must take responsibility for one’s words. It would be troublesome to shout out proud words, then make a lot of petty excuses later. He needed to understand her mentality clearly in order to plan for any changes, so he could minimize any sort of trouble that would emerge later on. Preventive measures would become impossible once problems were blindly left for the future because ‘there’s no helping it.’


There was no difference with women as well. They would say ‘I’m fine, don’t worry about me.’ But later, they would tell him that wasn’t what they’d meant. They would complain that he could not understand their feelings. Whenever that happened, he would break up with them on the spot. Anyone who hid and harbored complaints within their hearts would end up stabbing him in the back one day.


“I am not trying to be stubborn… I understand you have urgent business in the North. It is true that I am suffering a bit of discomfort, but I feel I must bear it for now.”


A slight crack formed on his frosty expression. The urgent situation in his Dukedom. That was the excuse he’d given to settle the marriage in an informal matter. He hadn’t shared explicit details on the matter, and anyone would conclude that the next step would be to hurry back as soon as possible.


Of course he couldn’t explain, ‘I settled the marriage this way because it would be too troublesome otherwise. There’s nothing going on up North.’ He tried to hide his embarrassment, so his voice sounded friendlier than usual.


“…It’s not so urgent that problems would arise by being a few days late. I’ll delay our travels to a later date.”


Lucia observed him once more. The man was not as overbearing and cold as she had originally believed. He didn’t ignore 
any of her words, and conversing with him didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. The more she got to know him, the more she didn’t understand. He wasn’t such a bad person, but he wasn’t a good person either. Whenever she settled on one, the next moment she would think a different way.


“Is it okay… to ask you one more thing?”


“No. Go back to sleep.”


“When the urgent business in the North is settled, will you return to the capital?”


That woman was really… He glared at her with cold eyes, but she didn’t seem scared or meek at all. She was like that from the beginning; she didn’t have any hesitation when dealing with him. She was quiet, but she expressed everything she needed to. It would be fine to ignore her if he was so annoyed, but he felt strange that he didn’t mind answering all her questions.


“There will be many things to do. I haven’t made any plans to return to the capital any time soon.”


He had told the Crown Prince he would be back in two years, but there was no explicit date set up. It would be fine to extend the deadline as much as he wanted.


“Will that be okay? I mean… did the Crown Prince gladly agree to your request?”


That was a question he didn’t expect. Hugo met her gaze with interested eyes. It was true that he sided with the Crown Prince, but he didn’t do anything for him personally. There was nobody who could give a concrete confirmation that it was definitely so. It was a sensitive topic. Was this woman interested in power? He stored that information with interest.


“He didn’t gladly agree.”


Kwiz had tried to tie Hugo down with both threats and bribes. But he hadn’t felt tempted at all. He had formed a perfect administration system in the North, so even if he wasn’t there, the Dukedom would be fine in the long term. However, there was a need to make his presence as the Duke known.


“I see that… you stick with any decisions you make until the end.”


Lucia had grasped that one tendency of his. Once he made a decision, he would promptly advance forward. It only took a month for them to hold an informal marriage. Without a pause, everything had happened so fast. Before she realized, she was already signing her name on the marriage certificate.


“Have you ever had a time when you regretted a decision you have made?”


His silence felt painful.


“…If the question was too personal then…”


“Never. I have no attachments to anything of the past. It’s useless to hold onto something that’s impossible to change.”


It was so. She felt a chilling tug at her heart.


‘Once he throws me away, he will never look back. Whether it’s his work, human relations, or girls.’

He was a strong and arrogant man. He had been that way inside her dream, as well. He had always been confident and received people’s praise as something matter-of-factly. Many yearned for him. It wasn’t easy to approach him, and the most people could do was sneak glances at him from afar. It might be that Lucia liked that man far more than what she’d imagined.


It was amazing that he was within her reach. She had become his wife. It was unbelievable that she was his woman now.


‘Such bright eyes.’


Hugo thought to himself while watching her pumpkin colored eyes gazing back. Her eyes sparkled with desire, awe, and fear. Usually, the women who desired him had no such emotions. The many women who tried to seduce him desired his wealth and authority. He hadn’t seen a woman whose eyes were so clear.


Was she so different because she had grown up in such unique circumstances? If she had grown up like normal royalty, surrounded by servants, she wouldn’t have been any different than the others. This was probably only possible because she had grown up believing she was of common birth.


His theory of life was that the world couldn’t change. Someday, her clear eyes would be polluted by this world’s greed. She could only remain so innocent until now, because she hadn’t experienced the true world yet. She was just a late bloomer.


She didn’t seem dull-headed, so at least she wouldn’t be annoying in the future. In addition, her body didn’t just feel good, it felt amazing. He was perfectly satisfied with those results, although it was a rushed marriage.


“It seems you’ll go to sleep only after I leave.”


“How about Your Grace? You are not sleeping anymore?”


“I wake up around this time everyday.”


“This…early?”


Count Matin had only woken up when the sun was up high – mid day. She suspected he hadn’t lived to see such a thing as the morning throughout his life. But in his defense, it was not because Count Matin was particularly lazy or anything. It was common practice for nobles to go to sleep far past midnight and wake up late in the morning. The reason being, nobles frequented various balls, social parties, and dinners late into the night.


“I told you not to call me ‘Your Grace’ in bed.”


“…Yes. But it is… not so easy. It doesn’t feel right…”


Other women were always impatient to call him by name. But this woman was not so easy. Although he was sitting close to her, she didn’t place one finger on his body. After a night of heat, women would cuddle and cling onto him like a piece of gum.


‘Was yesterday unpleasant? Maybe it was a bad idea trying to touch her just now?’


She was different from other women. Other women didn’t cry from pain like her. For the first time since he was born, he started to suspect his own self-pride.


“Vivian.”


He never kept questions inside his heart, but facing such clear eyes staring back at him, he couldn’t muster up the courage to ask, ‘How did you feel about our first night together?’ It might be that he was scared of what might come out of the girl’s mouth. In her case, she would not reply ‘it was nice’ for the sake of the man’s pride.


“…Rather than my name, practice not getting shocked hearing your own name. Maybe it’s just that you don’t like it when I call your name?”


“…I’m uncomfortable… with the name…”


“I have to call you by something.”


“There are many ways to call me.”


“Many ways? What other ways… My wife? Honey? Darling? My love? Cutie?”


Lucia’s face glowed bright red. How did he speak such words so naturally?


“Choose.”


When she remained frozen with her mouth shut tight, he tilted his head.


“Do you hate the common ways to be addressed? What about my sunshine or my soul mate?


“My name! Please just call me by my name.”


“Mm. I think that’s the best too, Vivian.”


Lucia became sulky seeing his sneaky smile. As expected of a player. She had no expectations that he would remain faithful to her because he was married. Inside her dream, although he had no public girlfriends after marriage, he would have had many girls to play around with hidden somewhere.


“Let’s stop here. Go back to sleep.”


“But…”


“Vivian!”


Lucia’s eyes grew wide, then giggled the next moment. What to do? He mumbled to himself while watching her with gentle eyes as she laughed.


“How many hours do you usually sleep?”


“About three to four hours.”


“Everyday?”


“There are times when I can sleep for only one or two hours, too.”


In shock, Lucia’s mouth gaped wide open. Being a Duke was not an easy job that anyone could handle. It was only possible for someone as hardworking as this person.


“…I’m sorry. That will be impossible for me. I might die sleeping only three to four hours a day.”


“…Did I ever ask you to do the same?”


“Your Grace… Hugh… How can the Duke’s wife sleep while her husband is working…?”


It was confusing whether he was laughing from amusement or from being at a loss for words.


“I appreciate your sentiment, but there’s no need. Just close that mouth of yours and sleep.”


His hand covered Lucia’s eyes. His huge hand covered most of her face. He wasn’t particularly fond of talking with women, but he didn’t find conversing with her annoying. Actually, she had a very nice voice. She didn’t have the typical fake and high-pitched nasal voice but a clear and gentle, soothing one.


“I’m sorry for annoying you.”


“…”


He didn’t feel annoyed. But he didn’t bother to deny her statement.


Within the darkness, Lucia blinked a few times and soon returned to sleep. He watched her breathe in a slow and relaxed rhythm, and quietly chuckled.


He watched her sleep peacefully for a short while before he got up. He walked around the bed to her side and bent down, then lightly kissed her cheeks as her breath tickled his cheek. He gently sucked on her soft lower lip and separated with a lick. When he straightened up, his expression looked very complicated.


***


Jerome and three maids were on standby in the receiving room. There was no way they would disturb the newlywed couple in their own bedroom. Following the death of the last generation’s Duchess, this golden rule had been ignored. However, since the appearance of a new Duchess, it had been reinstated.


When Hugo finished his bath, the three maids moved swiftly to aid him. They patted down the remnant water on his body, while taking off his robe to help him into his regular clothes. They discovered a round bite mark on their Lord’s arm and red scratch marks on his shoulder, however nobody spoke of them, and promptly hid them underneath his clothes.


The three maids moved like they were a single entity with perfect harmony. The youngest of the three siblings was 17. Their parents had passed away due to an epidemic from the slums and the siblings were the only ones to survive through the ordeal.


The three had become orphans and had lost their voices due to the epidemic. Jerome had taken them under his wing and had educated them personally. The three were smart and loyal. Many years had passed, and they currently excelled at their job to the point that Jerome didn’t need to look out for them at all.


“All the preparations to leave are complete. Would you like to do the final inspections one last time?”


“I’m pushing our trip to tomorrow.”


“Yes, Your Grace. The palace maids came for a visit late last night. When we informed them that you were sleeping, they said they would return this morning.”


Kwiz was quite stubborn. He hadn’t given up at all. He would most likely continue to pester him with letters, asking for him to return to the capital. It was also a talent to pester him to the highest degree possible without causing an annoyance.


“The next time they visit, let them stay the night. I should visit the palace today.”


Since there was time, he should visit and pacify him a bit. The battles within the inner palace for the title of the next Emperor were fierce. The Crown Prince was everyone’s target due to his title alone. The Crown Prince at this time had no power to suppress anyone; he was simply a huge flashy target for everyone. Although the situation was intense, Kwiz had yielded to the Duke’s decision of returning to the North.


“While I’m away, call for a doctor.”


Up until this day, the Duke had never called for a doctor once. The person with the most free time was the Duke’s family doctor. Thus, everyone was able to understand why the doctor needed to be called.


“Is the Duchess ill?”


“No. Don’t call the doctor yet. When our Princess wakes up, ask if she requires a doctor. Follow her decision.”


The Duke didn’t forget any detail of last night.


“Be sure to call for a female doctor.”


“…Yes, Your Grace.”


A female doctor? Jerome’s brain spun dizzily. He decided he would try to decipher his Lord’s hidden message later. Where in the world would he be able to find a female doctor? He decided he had to carry out an investigation for the best female doctors ahead of time.


“Your Grace, this is Fabian.”



Hugo furrowed his brows once he heard the voice from outside the door. It was too early for Fabian to show up. If it was anything so urgent that he would show up, it was never good news. Once Fabian received permission to enter, he observed courtesy to the Duke and passed an envelope.


“An urgent message has arrived from the North.”


Hugo’s expression darkened as he read the message. It seemed he jinxed it. Things had turned out for the worse in his territory for real. That had resulted from the long absence of the Duke.


If the owner didn’t properly discipline his subjects, whether they be animals or humans, they would eventually forget their standing. The barbarians were very faithful to this logic. They wouldn’t dare act out of line, as long as they were properly kept in check with fear.


“Haven’t I been pretty generous when they weren’t thinking of annoying me?”


His low growl caused a chilling atmosphere. Jerome and Fabian kept their mouths shut and attended to their Lord with cautious eyes. They understood he didn’t ask that question waiting for an answer.


“Fabian. Inform throughout our Northern territory that I will grace them with my presence. I should make my rounds with everyone since it’s on the way.”


“But, Your Grace, then…”


“It doesn’t matter. I’m looking forward to seeing how much they can struggle. It will make me very happy to see them burning with fighting spirit. That way, stepping on them will be amusing.”


“Yes, Your Grace.”


Fabian gave a short and firm response.


“Jerome. I’ll depart soon. You remain here and escort the Duchess home. Don’t feel you must rush home.”


“Yes, Your Grace.”


Jerome followed behind the Duke, who was already leaving the mansion. Hugo left one last message before saddling onto his horse.


“This is the Taran’s Lady of the House. Give all your respects to her.”


“We will follow your commands, Your Grace.”


He kicked his horse and raced into the distance. The knights who were on standby followed behind him. Jerome stood still, watching the Duke until he couldn’t be seen anymore. Before he opened the door to the mansion, he turned once more toward the direction that the Duke had disappeared.


“…The Taran’s Lady of the House.”


The Duke hadn’t said any great words. ‘Give all your respects to her’. He had conveyed words that were so obvious. But those obvious words spoke volumes by the mere fact that they were spoken by Hugo, the Duke of Taran himself. The Duke wasn’t someone who looked after others. He didn’t even bother to keep the appearance of doing so.


‘Am I reading too deeply into something he casually said?’


Only the future could tell.


----------------------------------------
Lucia Chapter 10


Northern Territory (1)


Some time after Hugo departed, Lucia woke up because she needed to use the bathroom. She hoisted herself up and pulled on a rope to call the maids. She was suffering from heartburn due to the heavy alcohol consumption yesterday. As if the maids were on standby right outside the room, they appeared a second later.


“Your Grace, good morning.”


“I wish to use the washroom, aid me up.”


Leaning on the maids, Lucia managed to get out of bed. When she tried to support herself on her own feet, an ache shot up through her body, causing her to grimace.


“Are you feeling unwell? Shall we call for the doctor?”


Lucia momentarily observed the maids’ expressions. The maids observed the highest form of respect while they spoke, but she couldn’t help feeling like they were telling her ‘We know where and why you are in pain.’


Maybe it was her own inferiority complex, as the maids’ expressions never changed. It was a relief she had the old maids to attend to her. If some of the younger maids in their twenties were attending to her, she would have been very uncomfortable due to her embarrassment.


Lucia understood every part of a maid’s life and habits. In front of their Lords, they would behave with courtesy, as they are educated to keep a blank expression at all times. However, they only kept to that practice when they were in front of the masters. Behind their master’s back, they would laugh and jeer like any other normal human being.


Maids often boarded in the same mansion as their masters, and were limited in their own freedom. Therefore, their interest and source of entertainment would naturally be directed toward their master’s family affairs. Their lives were a repeat of paying attention to their master’s words and habits. In their mundane existence, those moments felt like events to them.


Back when Lucia worked as a maid(1), she had stuck to concentrating on her tasks. She had been a quiet and sincere maid. Eventually, she had become her master’s favored servant and had often attended to her master during grand social events. When Lucia had become her master’s favorite, the other maids had looked at her with disdain and had ostracized her.


Had Lucia’s personality been more lively, she would have asked her master to punish the other servants and gone about with her head held high. However, all she had cared about was doing her job to the best of her abilities.


One would think that they would be grateful to her for that, but it was not so. They had treated her like a bug. Even so, Lucia hadn’t felt hurt seeing their behavior. If one were to listen to their words carefully, they didn’t hold any elegant conversations. That was especially true the mornings after their masters came out of the same bedroom. The maids’ gossips would become especially bad. Lucia would only sigh listening to what the other maids were laughing over.


These were the Duke’s maids, but they would be no different. However, if the maids weren’t seen talking that way , there was no way she could do anything to punish them.


It was just a little stressful, because she knew all the dark and dirty secrets that would happen behind the scenes.


“…No need. It will be fine if you assist me for a bit. That’s right, yesterday I broke a cup.”


“We have already cleaned it up. But please be sure to wear your slippers as a precaution.”


She had slept like a log all those hours, without knowing that the maids were entering and leaving the room. It was possible that she had fainted. Lucia was taking slow steps returning to the bedroom, when she stopped in front of the window. The maids, who were supporting her, also stopped and waited for her quietly.


She could see the grand garden just outside the balcony. The place was humongous, she mumbled to herself when she discovered something running toward the mansion at a fast pace.


‘Roy Krotin…?’


He was running like a wild boar that was being hunted. Had something happened this morning? In one look, she could tell it was something important.


“Where is His Grace now?”


“He has already gone to the Northern territory early this morning.”


“…He’s not here?”


“Concerning this, Madam, the head butler is waiting to inform you of the contents right now.”


“You should have let him into the room then.”


“He is not allowed to enter this place…”


“Ah…”


As long as her husband wasn’t with her, other than females, nobody was allowed to enter her bedroom. Xenon was very flexible when it came to laws on adultery, but it was extremely taboo to let a random male inside the master’s bedroom chambers.


They wouldn’t be able to deny a request for divorce without the slightest compensation. It would be alright outside in the gardens, but it was forbidden inside the bedroom chambers. It was a laughable custom since the old times.


There was a different country before the war, who pointed their finger at Xenon, claiming that Xenon was in disorder. Xenon had sent a letter saying they were insulting the country’s royal family, and had managed to receive an apology… But still, Lucia didn’t doubt their words.


“What about the plans to depart this morning?”


“His Grace has ordered for everything to be pushed for tomorrow.”


“Then it must not be anything too urgent. I will talk with the butler later. I wish to rest awhile longer.”


Lucia requested for a cup of honey water and went back to sleep. Roy’s desperate expression from a while ago kept glimmering in Lucia’s thoughts. The Duke had already left early in the morning, so what did Roy need? Thinking about that was too troublesome, so she fell asleep.


***


“How could this happen? How?”


Roy was fuming in anger under the shining morning sun. His red hair looked like burning flames at that moment. It was a common sight and nobody seemed interested to watch.


“What about the Crown Prince? Why are you here?”


“Who cares? I didn’t agree to do it!” (Roy)


The Crown Prince had agreed to let Hugo leave the capital as long as he left an assuring guard here; Roy being the selected candidate for the deal. It was impossible to predict in which direction Roy would go, but there wasn’t anyone who could beat Roy when it came to skill. The only person who could beat Roy into a pulp was Hugo.


Nobody cared about Roy’s opinions. Hugo had commanded in his usual style, ‘because I said so’, while ignoring any of Roy’s objections. Two nights ago, Roy had thrown a tantrum, refusing to become Kwiz’ guard, and Hugo had given him a bad beating, turning his face black and blue and forcing him into the job.


This morning, the Duke had sent a message to Kwiz by post. Roy had also read the letter while looking over the Crown Prince’s shoulder. It was a brief letter explaining that something had happened in the North, so he would be departing to his Northern territories. The moment Roy read the letter, he had run to the mansion as fast as he could, but the Duke was already gone.


“The Lord has already given you your task. It will be better for you to return, it’s not good to leave your post empty.”


“Ain’t nobody got time for that! Things are going bad in the North! How can he leave me out of something so fun?” Dean looked at Roy like he was pathetic.


“You call that something fun?”


“It’s a hundred times more fun than being stuck next to the Crown Prince like a statue! I’m going to follow him.”


“Yeah, right. Give it your best shot. The Lord will kill you on sight.”


Despite Dean’s merciless prediction, Roy locked arms with Dean.


“Hmph, the Lord might beat me to the brink of death, but he’ll never kill me.”


“…You’re so proud of the oddest things. As you said, you won’t die, but you’ll probably lose an arm or a leg. No, wait. He won’t break any of your bones, but he’ll beat you up so bad, you won’t be able to move for about three or four days.”


Roy glared at him with annoyed eyes, but slumped his shoulders in the end. Roy admired his Lord very much, but from time to time, that personality of his was really one of a kind. But other than Roy, the Duke didn’t bother beating up the other knights.


The only person who dared to annoy the Duke was Roy. In another sense, it was quite admirable that he would continue to defy the Duke while suffering such horible beatings.


“Yes, it’s quite painful. Actually, why are you here? How come you didn’t follow the Lord?” (Roy)


“I’m in charge of escorting Her Grace until we reach the North.” (Dean)


“Ah…His Grace is married now.” (Roy)


Roy mumbled in a flat tone. Others had gaped in shock when they heard about the Duke’s marriage, but Roy had taken the news as it was, without much of a reaction. Roy’s mentality was a bit different than that of the normal population.


“Mm, who has become the Lady of the House? I’ve heard she was a princess.” (Roy)


‘Although I already know about this.’


Roy wasn’t stupid enough to release the Duke’s private information so lightly. Roy would randomly snicker whenever he thought of the day The Duke and the Princess had met.


The Princess had thrown a straight jab at the Duke, ‘I’ve come to propose a marriage.’ At that moment, the Duke had been in total shock. It was so refreshing to see such a petite young miss throw a punch at the Duke.


“I’m a little worried. I’m not used to escorting… nobles.” (Dean)


“You’ll probably be fine.” (Roy)


“Hmm? Have you met the Lady of the House yet?” (Dean)


Roy scratched his head.


“No, but rather… Anyway you’ll probably be fine. It’s my gut feeling.”


Dean burst out laughing.


“Okay. I’ll believe that beastly instinct of yours. Anyway, quit while you’re ahead and return to your duties. If the butler catches sight of you, he’s going to give you an earful.”


“Ugh… Jerome… scares me.”


Sometimes he was much scarier than the Lord.


“Well, I’m thankful for that.”


Roy’s face paled upon the voice that resonated from behind them. Jerome had appeared behind them some time ago, and was glaring at them like a hungry savage beast. Roy screamed as if the God of Death was at his door.


***


When she woke up from her sleep, the midday sun was shining brightly. She could open her eyes, but she couldn’t move her body as she wished. It felt like her body had turned into a giant rock and had become attached to the bed. She felt greater fatigue than she had felt in the morning.


‘It hurts…’


Her muscle ache was getting worse as time passed. She would be able to calm down if her pain had been subsiding after a long time of rest, but it was not so. It was like he had said, the trip to the North would’ve been impossible in her current state. The maids attending to her could tell her condition was getting worse, and they looked restless.


“Your Grace, are you feeling very ill?”


“…Would you be so kind as to bring me a light meal? I would like something I’ll be able to eat in bed with ease.”


Lucia grimaced with pain as she spoke. This morning, her throat had felt only a little dry, but now it felt scratchy and painful.


“Ah, yes. Madam, I’ll have it prepared for you right away.”


In a short moment, the maids brought in trays of food filled with a variety of little dishes. A warm glass of milk, fruit covered with honey and nuts, a small platter of tiny crackers, bread that was still warm to the touch, along with a variety of other snacks. She got up with the aid of others and ate the dishes one bite at a time. As she filled her stomach, she could feel energy forming inside of her.


She finished her meal and took a bath. After that, she went back to rest awhile longer until the late afternoon. Then she went to the receiving room to talk with Jerome. Although only a single day had passed, Lucia’s lively condition had changed to one where she had one foot in the grave. Jerome looked over her with great concern.


“Our Lord has ordered for a doctor upon your request, Your Grace.”


“I don’t need a doctor. I heard he has gone ahead to the North already.”


“Yes, he received an urgent message from the Taran Duchy and left immediately.”


Jerome had been feeling restless over whether the Lady of the House would throw a fit of anger due to that. The Duke had left on urgent business, but the couple had gotten married only yesterday. He had left without a single word of goodbye, and to make it worse, there was no telling when the two would be able to meet again.


Lucia had understood from the beginning that her marriage was settled informally due to urgent business in his Duchy. She wasn’t upset about it at all.


“When will we leave?”


“Ah, yes. It is scheduled for tomorrow, but the Lord has said there is no need to rush. It will be fine to leave when you feel ready.”


“Since everything has been scheduled for tomorrow, let’s leave tomorrow.”


“Yes, Madam. I wish to discuss a quick briefing of the trip. When would be a good time?”


“As long as everything is prepared, I would like to listen to it now.”


“Yes, Madam. We will depart from the capital to the Taran Duchy in Roam. Roam is the city name as well as the name of the Duke of Taran’s castle. The distance we will need to travel is very far, but we will travel by gate, which will shorten our trip to four days. Have you ever used the gate before?”


“Never.”


Xenon was able to remain as one of the powerhouse nations due their magical device referred to as ‘the gate’. No matter from which border, the latest the Emperor could ever receive a message was one week. Whether there was a revolt or an invasion, he was able to relay commands in an efficient manner. Many countries had discovered such ‘gates’. However, Xenon owned the most gates among all the nations.


In the far distant past, there had been a time when magic was commonplace. But one day, magic had suddenly become near nonexistent. Up to this day, historians were still doing research to figure out the cause of that phenomenon.


When the kingdom of magic had vanished from the world, the mage profession and all their research had disappeared as well. However, magical artifacts remained throughout the world, and were considered treasured antiques. Magical artifacts were usually stored in the national treasury. Among those magical artifacts, there were ones that were embedded into the earth, allowing one to teleport; those magic artifacts were called ‘gates.’


“To reach the nearest gate, it will take about half a day by carriage. We will then teleport to the Northern territories and continue to Roam, which will take another four days”


“The Duke’s castle is four days away from the gate? That’s quite far; don’t people usually build closer to the gate?”


“There are only five gates in the North. The gate positioned nearest to Roam is surrounded by many rocks and boulders, which will make traveling by carriage very troublesome.”


“There are only five? Although the Northern territory is so wide?”


“Yes, there are only five.”


For this reason, the nobles of the North didn’t frequent the capital. It was too difficult to travel back and forth.


“But, Jerome, not anyone is allowed to freely… access the gate. I understand only government officials are allowed to use the gate. Will it be alright even though we’re traveling for personal reasons.”


“Strictly speaking, Madam is correct. The gate is allowed for only government purposes. However, the capital’s main gate allows its use as long as expenses are paid. Additionally, the Duke has stated that he would like to use the gate. Would there be anyone brave enough to question his request?”


“…I see.”


Her husband was an important figure. But that fact hadn’t completely sunk in. The status of a noblewoman was based on her husband or father. Even if one became an Empress, she wouldn’t automatically be recognized by high society. There had never been a case where an unknown low-ranked noblewoman would randomly climb to the top of the social ladder.


Females considered everything belonging to their father and husband as their own property as well. If the Duchess were to display her influence, the baroness would need to cater to the commands of the Duchess. It was not written in law. However, everyone accepted that system.


Inside her dream, she was a Countess. Count Matin possessed territories and held a lot of influence over others due to the Matin Family’s long history in the capital. As such, there were many females of lower status than Lucia.


Even so, Lucia had never stepped over those around herself to feed her own pride. In the first place, Lucia had never felt a sense of proprietorship over Count Matin’s assets.


Therefore, Lucia couldn’t grasp a concrete sense of her place in the social ladder. If she used her husband’s social position to control others like other women, would she end up enjoying it? At the moment, she felt she was only a parasitic existence to the Duke.


“I will introduce you to those who will escort us to the North tomorrow. Do you have any other questions?”


“Is there anything I should be careful of during the trip?”


“If I think of anything, I will inform you tomorrow.”


She spent the day relaxing in bed. The next morning, Lucia felt much more energetic.


But there was a different problem. Following the first night with him, the blood flowing from her body wouldn’t stop. The bleeding wasn’t too intense, but the maids attending to her couldn’t help but take notice.


“Madam, as a precaution, let us call for a doctor.”

The next day, instead of departing as planned, a female doctor was called.


All the experienced female doctors they had found out were nervously waiting. There were not many female doctors around. It was rare for a woman to be accepted into a formal medical school. Even if one were to become a formal doctor, she would always be compared to her male counterparts.


When a female gave a diagnosis, nobody would accept it as a true and final diagnosis. A noblewoman’s bedroom was off limits to men, but male doctors were exempt from that rule. There was no reason for nobles to go out of their way to find a female doctor. The demand for female doctors was low, and the numerous well-known male doctors could be found left and right. Thus, the women who worked in the medical field could barely make a living.


Most of the time, a doctor’s wife would be an assistant for many years, then later formally start her education to become a doctor. It was useful when a husband and wife were both doctors. All the female doctors who were found today were of similar circumstances.


But the female doctor called over today was a widow.


It was very rare for a prestigious noble family to request for a female family doctor. She followed the maid to the Lady of the House’s bedroom. When she spotted a petite woman waiting while laying in bed, much of her nerves relaxed. She had imagined an overbearing noblewoman, but the patient in front of her looked like a young girl.


“Do you feel uncomfortable anywhere?”


The noblewoman’s face was flushed cherry red and could not answer immediately. The woman hesitated and looked to her maid for help. The maid took notice and asked, “Shall I explain in your stead, Madam?” When permission was given, she explained in a quiet but steady voice.


The female doctor, who was listening to the maid’s explanation with great concentration, gradually relaxed. She peeked at her patient in bed and swallowed back her laughter. The newlywed bride appeared to be very adorable.


“Your Grace, do you feel pain anywhere?”


“…Just a little when I move…”


“Do you think it’s possible that you are menstruating?”


“No.”


“Every virgin has different reactions following their consummation. They may bleed a lot or not at all. Sometimes, there are cases where they will bleed for many days. As long as there’s no heavy blood flow like when you are menstruating or pain while remaining still, there will be nothing you need to worry about. Your body will fix itself with time. Please do not overwork your body and rest for about another four days, and you will regain your health.”


As Lucia listened to the doctor, her face grew increasingly hot. She would’ve been fine just resting; she needlessly requested for a doctor. It felt like she was announcing to the world the events from last night, and she could not lift her head up from embarrassment.


“Ah, but please do not consummate until you don’t feel any pain while moving. A female’s reproductive organs are more delicate than they appear. If you’re not careful, you might experience bad side effects.”


“In any case…”


In any case, what? He wasn’t here right now, so there was no way to consummate? Did that mean she would do something if he was here? Lucia asked questions to herself while answering them, feeling increasingly embarrassed.


“Ah… Anyway, I understand. Your job is done so be on your way. Thank you for stopping by.”


“You do not require further medication, but I shall prescribe body strengthening medications for you to assist the recovery process.”


After the completion of the prescription, Jerome called the doctor to a separate room.


“Did you think about our offer?”


Once the Duke requested for a talented female doctor, Jerome had searched for one very quickly. There were a handful of talented female doctors in the capital, but it would be difficult to find one back in Roam.


He wouldn’t let any orders by his Lord pass by without action. He thoroughly thought of the hidden meanings and fulfilled his duties. It was many times more troublesome to carry out his job in that way, but the job of a butler was his calling in life and he had never in his life thought it was a tiresome job.


He didn’t simply find a female doctor for Her Grace. The Duke’s family doctor was Philip, a male doctor. It appeared the Duke was not fond of Philip looking out for Her Grace’s health. His instincts were usually correct.


Jerome offered for Anna to become Her Grace’s personal family doctor. Yesterday, Jerome had asked Anna to stop by the mansion, and when he asked if she could look over a patient for him, she had agreed.


“You told me that I do not need to leave the capital for good.”


“Yes, after a few years, you may return to the capital.”


“I will accept your offer.”


Anna didn’t want to leave this place full of many memories, but she lived by herself and it was difficult to find such a stable job with a prestigious noble family. Jerome laughed with a polite smile.


“I welcome you into the Duke of Taran’s family, Anna.”


(end)


Foot notes:


(1) Back when (Lucia) worked as a maid – In Lucia’s dream, she worked as a maid following her divorce with Count Matin.

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