πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️ Lucia Chapter 56 Part 1 & 2 || 57 Part 1 & 2 Full Chapters πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️

PHYSIENTS WILL ALWAYS OFFER BEST STORIES AND LIVE STREAMING ALL TIME

LUCIA
C56 [part 1] - < — To the Capital — > (2)
Chapter 56 [part 1]

< — To the Capital — > (2)


‘Refreshing…’


Lucia felt as though she was trapped in a burning fire and couldn’t breather then a careful touch began to sweep over her body and little by little, she was able to breathe again.


Gradually, her consciousness returned and she slowly opened her eyes. She could see him but she couldn’t tell if it was a dream or reality.


“Vivian.”


He called her name, a sense of urgency in his voice.


“…Hugh.”


When she heard his voice, Lucia suddenly felt emotional. She stretched out her hand as though to grab him.


“Haa…”


Hugo gave a huge sigh of relief. He lifted the thin blanket to cover her then took her hand and pressed his lips to the back of her hand.


He gathered her hair, dampened with sweat, and brushed it then he wiped down her forehead with a towel. Seeing his eyes filled with worry, Lucia felt sick to her stomach. It wasn’t just because of the indigestion. It was the first time since her mother died that someone was taking care of her when she was sick and in difficulty.


Tears welled up in her eyes and began to fall. Hugo’s expression hardened at this sight.


“Is anyone there! Where is the doctor!”


Seeing as he’d forgotten about using the rope to call and was screaming, Lucia squeezed his hand.


‘It will be fine.’


For some reason, this thought crossed her mind. The thought that it would be fine even if they went to the Capital. It was a vague belief that this peace and happiness would not be broken.


“Hugh. If we go to the capital, will you be unfaithful?”


“…What?”


‘She must really be in a lot of pain,’ Hugo thought and at the same time, the realization that she didn’t trust him at all made him feel powerless. In her mind, he was still far from reliable.


“I will never do that.” (Hugo)


Lucia watched him quietly then gave a small laugh.


“Then it’s fine.”


‘I’ll trust you.’


Even if he got another woman, he wasn’t one to deceive and hide in secret while cheating. He would rather say it out squarely.


‘After all, he can’t lie well.’


Lucia had seen him get thrown off guard and looking embarrassed several times. When he gave orders to the servants, there was nothing stopping him from lying so she thought that lying was probably his weak spot.


‘But, in the Capital’s political struggle, lying is essential. Will he be okay?”


Hugo’s cold mask only broke down in front of Lucia. She was worrying about something that didn’t need worrying. Lucia seemed to have already forgotten the Hugo she saw in her dream and the Hugo from before their marriage.


‘What the heck does ‘then it’s fine’ mean? Fine? What’s fine?’


Hugo wanted to shake her and ask her what she was thinking about. Just then, Anna came in and while she exchanged questions and answers with Lucia about her symptoms, Hugo sorted out his complicated feelings.


Was she always so difficult? He really didn’t know. In the past, he used to think that once he gave women jewelry, everything would be solved. Until now, nothing had ever given him so much trouble.


“I will prescribe digestive medicine to calm your nausea. Once you take it and sleep well, you should be fine.”


While waiting for the medicine to be brought, Hugo continued to wipe off the sweat on her forehead. The high fever had still not reduced and her breathing was still uneven. Hugo couldn’t make a sick person talk for too long so he shoved his wandering thoughts away for the moment.


“Why are you so foolish? If you were sick, you should have called someone.”


“I thought it would be fine.”


“It could have been a disaster. You lost consciousness.”


“Is it dawn? What do we do? You have to leave early but you haven’t gotten much sleep.”


“That’s not the problem now.”


Hugo lowered his voice as much as possible and tried not to get angry at her. She had done nothing wrong to make him angry. It was merely his heart that felt sad.


“I hear you’re often sick.”


“I am?”


“The headaches.”


“Ah…that’s just a common thing.”


“Can’t it be cured completely?”


Lucic chuckled softly.


“When you say it like that, it sounds like a fatal illness. It’s not serious. It’s similar to someone who has frequent stomachaches. It can’t be helped.”


“Serious or not, I hate when you’re sick.”


“I’ll be careful not to fall sick.”


“That’s not what I mean….don’t hide it from me when you’re sick or in pain. As your husband, I deserve to know that much.”


“Okay, I won’t.”


The maid soon came in with the medicine. Hugo held her to his chest and fed her the medicine then helped her change into new set of dry clothing. Not long after taking the medicine, Lucia fell asleep. With that, it was assumed that the sudden turmoil of the night was over.


Before daybreak, Lucia’s temperature began to rise again. She threw everything up including the medicine and her temperature repeatedly rose up and down. Hugo stayed up all night trying to bring down her fever.


Hugo expressed his anger to Anna who was called for the second time.


“Didn’t you say it was indigestion? What is this! She can’t even keep the medicine down!”


If the northern nobles saw this, they would recall the rumor that the Duke of Taran turned into a flaming dragon when angry. Facing the Duke’s anger for the first time, Anna was so nervous that her fingers went numb. She realized that it was a blessing that only she and the Madam knew of her offering Sir Philip’s remedy without knowing the components. Anna instinctive felt that if the Duke knew, she would lose her head.


“I-I think Milady’s stomach is very upset. By any chance, has Milady been shocked or greatly surprised recently? If there are addition psychological factors, indigestion can worsen.”


Hugo frowned and sank into thought. Apart from hearing of the King’s death, there was nothing different from usual.


‘So, she was shocked because the King died?’


Since Hugo had no affection for his father, he overlooked the feelings normal people would have towards the death of their parent.


She frequently talked about her mother but never really mentioned her father so Hugo was even forgetting that the King was her father. Still, since they were flesh and blood, so perhaps there were some unspoken left over feelings.


He wasn’t being considerate when he passed on the news. Hugo felt angry at his lack of sensitivity.


***


Lucia threw up everything she ate and she could only take in barely tea for two whole days then on the third day, she was finally able to take some watered down food. She ate about half of the rice porridge before leaning back on the bed and closing her eyes.


‘I must have been too worried about going up to the capital.’


It was her first time have such a terrible case of indigestion. She felt a cool hand on her forehead and opened her eyes. He was by her side.


“…The fever seems to have gone down a little now.”


He pushed back his plans to go to the capital and had stuck beside her the whole time. Lucia felt sorry, thankful and worried that it might affect his work.


“I’m really okay now.”


Hugo frowned slightly. The words ‘I’m okay’ seemed sewn to her mouth. She was sick so he didn’t want to make her to feel uncomfortable. he took a deep breath and calmed himself.


“I heard you had a little porridge. Do you feel okay?”


“Yes, it seems to be digesting now. I don’t feel nauseous.”


“Are uncomfortable anywhere? You couldn’t eat well for a while, do you feel dizzy?”


“I won’t die if I don’t eat for a few days. My stomach was just a little upset.”


“It’s not only fatal illnesses that are illnesses.”


Even when she was sick, she didn’t desire anything. Even though she was sick enough to throw up everything she ate and her fever was high enough to scare him, she didn’t even say she was hurting.


Every time he saw her pale complexion, she would repeatedly ask him when he would be going up to the capital. And several times he wanted to reply with, ‘you’re really harsh’ but he swallowed those words down.


‘Do I really seem that unreliable?’


He felt anxious as he stayed by her side and watched over her.


“I think I have to go to the capital now.”


The urgency has now reached its limit. The Crown Prince had been sending letters but finally couldn’t contain himself and sent a messenger who arrived this morning. At least until the national funeral was over, Hugo had to be in the capital.


The fact that he had to leave while she was sick was very annoying but he couldn’t make the excuse that his wife was sick. To put in bluntly, she wasn’t terminally ill so he couldn’t.


“I’m fine. You have to go, don’t you?”


Seeing her weak but pure smile, his chest felt numb. His wife didn’t give him any trouble at all. But he hoped that she would trouble him. If she held onto him and told him not to go, he would chuck it all and stay by her side. His woman was lying sick in bed so who cared whether the king died.


“Get some rest. Don’t think about anything else. Take your medicine and don’t skip your meals.”


“Your nagging has increased.”


“If you don’t like it, don’t make me worry.”


Hugo bent down and kissed her head, forehead and dry lips.


“Vivian, are you really okay?”


Even though she reassured him several times but he remained for a long time, watching her with an anxious gaze then finally, he turned around to leave. As the door closed and the room became quiet, Lucia felt her sight grow blurry and blinked. Her tears fell onto the pillow. Maybe because she was sick, her emotional hold seemed to have weakened considerably.


She wanted to tell him not to go. She wanted to complain that she was sick and it was tough.


[Females sometimes fall apart when they lose the object of their affection.]


It was something Madam Michelle said some time ago. The Countess’ words weren’t wrong. If she relied on him without standing on her feet, she would completely collapse if he left.



To what extent was the proper distance Madam Michelle talked about? Lucia wished she could know the exact answer to that.
____________
LUCIA
C56 [part 2] - < — To the Capital — > (2)
< — To the Capital — > (2)


“Wow, it’s been hard to see your face.”


Hugo ignored the man expressing his welcome in an exaggerated manner and sat down. Kwiz didn’t mind the rudeness at all and just laughed cheerfully.


“Is your territory filled with honey? I didn’t really think you’d stay there for over a year.”


“Isn’t a lord taking care of his territory good for Your Highness? No, is it Your Majesty now?”


“It will be anyways but I haven’t been crowned yet. People are being nit picky over customs for that one.”


Kwiz shrugged his shoulders. He was currently acting as King and of course, he was confident that the throne was his. It was not possible to overturn the justification of the Crown Prince ascending the throne. Even with his brothers eyeing his seat and watching for an opportunity, Kwiz was confident.


Kwiz gazed at the black-haired man sipping tea with an indifferent expression and recalled the long time advice of his loyal assistant and tactician, Count Benef.


[He is a wild beast, Your Highness.]


The Count passed away from a disease in the past year, dealing him a huge loss.


[A wild beast that is untamed and can never be tamed. Don’t try to confine him to us. A satisfied wild beast does not covet the deer in front of it. He will gladly stand by Your Highness to oppose those who wish to confine him to a cage.]


[Are you saying not to expect his loyalty?]


[A stable alliance is a hundred times better than an uncertain loyalty. Remember that no royal has ever obtained the loyalty of the Taran Duke. The Taran Duke will not pounce unless provoked.]


[…So what you’re saying is I should show my back to a wild beast. Without fastening a leash.]


[He will tear those who come at Your Highness from the back to pieces. The House of Taran already has much to its name. Your Highness does not need to give it more, it is enough to just acknowledge what one has in the first place.]


The late Hesse VIII was a King that entertained himself more than he dealt with official matters. Despite that, his reign was considerably long. What he did best was never touching the Duke of Taran and that alone said that Hesse the 8th was a wiser King than he was known for.


The Ducal House of Taran was a strange family. It wasn’t clear when they began to exist but there was already a Taran Family when the nation was founded. At that time, the House of Taran distinguished themselves greatly in the founding of Xenon and received royal treatment with a status of Grand Duke and had autonomy over a Grand Duchy. They almost had formal rights to the throne. But against all expectations, they did not enter into politics.


In the reign of the second King who sought absolute royal authority, all Grand Dukes were stripped of their authority and relegated to Dukes. Their Grand Duchies, downgraded to a fiefs.


The Grand Dukes at the time rebelled and walked the path of familial destruction but if anything, because the House of Taran obediently accepted their relegation, they were guaranteed rights to the throne.


Even then, the House of Taran was still not interested in politics. Many years passed, numerous families repeatedly rose and fell and Hesse, the third King of Xenon came into power. The House of Taran was still doing well and was the only Ducal House with rights to the throne.


As long as the royal family did not perish, it was almost impossible to rank formally, but the Dukes of Taran were treated almost like royalty. All the while, the Ducal House of Taran did not interfere in politics at all but their presence was heavily revealed through war.


People began to say that Xenon exists because Taran exists. The Taran family was more strongly impressed in the minds of people than Marquis families that produced the Queen or the Prime Minister. Yet, the Taran family never once challenged royal authority or expanded their territory.


Their territory was just as they got it when the nation was founded. The Taran territory was quite large but their borders faced that of one of the most troublesome tribal nations. Defending against the countless barbarian invasions was the Taran Duke’s role. In addition, when war broke out, the Taran Duke stood at the front line and took care of everything.


Some kings were afraid of the untold power of such a Taran Duke and acted hostile but after doing so, their later years weren’t good. Hesse VIII chose the path of acknowledging the Ducal House of Taran as it is and Kwiz was also of the same thought.


“How do you like the newly married life? Didn’t the Duchess feel stifled being stuck in the territory?”


Kwiz thought that if the new bride complained, the Duke would give in after a couple of times and come up to the capital. He didn’t think the Duke would stay away for so long. With enough time, people began to wonder on their own whether the bond between the Crown Prince and the Taran Duke was in peril.


Kwiz knew that the opposition was trying to approach and recruit the Taran Duke several times but he left it alone. The Taran Duke was never someone that would dance in the direction of power. It wasn’t because of some grand reason but because it was too annoying to do so. Even without that, the Taran House didn’t have any interest in politics.


“She likes quiet places so she didn’t.”


“How peculiar.”


They were both his sisters but were so different. Perhaps because their mothers were different. Kwiz’s blood sister, Katherine was a party animal. She couldn’t survive without having dresses, jewelries and parties to show off at.


Since her standards were very high, she showed no intention of getting married and pretended not to hear when one said there would be no one to choose from when she got older.


In truth, no matter who she married, Kwiz was more worried about how the person that became her husband would be able to live together with such vanity.


“Duke, do you want to marry one more time?” (Kwiz)


His sister had set her mind on the Duke of Taran. Upon hearing that the Duke had gotten married, the party animal, Katherine, stayed indoors for a week. Monogamy was law except for the Royal family but the Taran Duke had a way to be exempt from that.


Since he was a Duke, even if he wanted to take a second wife, no one would come to argue about the law with him. To Kwiz, it didn’t really matter whether his sister went in as the main wife or the second wife. He had no complaint if it was someone like the Taran Duke that she was marrying.


“Did you call me here to say this nonsense?”


As a matter of fact, seeing Kwiz’ face reminded Hugo of her condition and made him upset. He could still remember her question of whether he would cheat when he got to the capital. The rumors in the capital were a lot of smoke without fire so Hugo couldn’t help but feel uneasy that she might have heard a rumor that he didn’t know about and misunderstood. Kwiz’s words were basically pouring water on boiling oil.


“Just consider it. Even if you’re officially married, you’ll probably get a few suggestions like the one I just made.”


Hugo fixed him with an intense gaze and Kwiz quickly took a step back.


“I don’t do anything that has no worth to me.” (Hugo)


“What? no worth? Three wives and three concubines is the fantasy of many men.”


“Then Your Highness can fulfill and live that dream. As king, you can realize the dream to the fullest.”


Kwiz wore an awkward expression. The Duke of Taran was truly ambiguous in the sense that he seemed to like and dislike women. He was never free of women yet when it came to cutting them off, he was ruthless.


“About your successor. Do you really plan on it?” (Kwiz)


“I do.”


“No, you’re married now. A child is going to be born in the future. Even if he’s the eldest son, I mean.”


Isn’t he an illegitimate child anyways? Kwiz swallowed the rest of that sentence. To avoid any clamor by supporting the illegitimate son of the Duke when he took over the title. This was the condition Kwiz was given to be able to bring the Taran Duke onto the political scene.


Having an illegitimate son take over the Duke’s title was simple but also difficult. This was because it went against implicit social customs. However, Kwiz thought it was a very easy condition for obtaining the Duke of Taran. Kwiz himself wasn’t legal per se either so he wasn’t that narrow-minded about the issue.


However, in reality when the Duke got married, Kwiz felt a little reluctant. Even if it was his half-sister whose face he’d never seen, it was still his sister. The thought that his sister’s child would be treated as a figurehead didn’t really make him feel good.


“…Since when have you been so interested in my personal life? If this is all you have to say, I’ll excuse myself.” (Hugo)


“Ah, alright, alright. Really. Even after marriage, you’re still so stiff.”


Kwiz was very interested in the Duke’s personal life but at this point, he had to give up for now. Afterwards, they began to discuss the direction of the state affairs in earnest.
___________
LUCIA
C57 [part 1] - < — To the Capital — > (3)
Chapter 57 [part 1]

< — To the Capital — > (3)


TN: We have met the GOAL on Patreon! There will be 10 bonus releases for this month(oct)! Oh and remember, ‘Gong’ is a title.


The discussion that followed was informal but with more crucial people joining, and looking at the faces of the people involved, it was almost like a cabinet meeting.


After the lengthy discussion was over, Hugo stood up and patted the shoulder of the eye-catching man that was standing at the side, and acting like he didn’t know anything for a while now.


“You’ve worked hard.”


The eye-catching man, Roy, grinned as if to say it was just so so. After Hugo left, Kwiz couldn’t bear the sight of Roy that kept glancing at the door like a dog waiting for his master so he spoke.


“Sir Krotin, do you really have no interest of becoming my knight?”


“I do not.”


At first, when the Duke of Taran said that he would place an escort knight at his side, Kwiz was a bit displeased that the Knight’s former status was that of a commoner.


Moreover, it was one with no manners and unbelievably impertinent. If it wasn’t for the fact that Roy was a close associate and former guard of the Duke of Taran, Kwiz would have driven him away.


However, as time passed, his value was brought to light. In the past year, the amount of times that Kwiz’s life was saved thanks to Sir Krotin was numerous. In front of Sir Krotin, assasins that tried to escape were caught and slaughtered like bugs.


Knowing of his tremendous skill, Kwiz tried to entice Krotin into being his knight at every turn but Krotin didn’t even look like he was considering it.


“What is the reason? If you become my knight, you can receive more power and remuneration that you receive now. You don’t want that at all?”


“I don’t really care for that.”


“Then, what do you get from the Duke? Is it because you admire him as a Knight?”


“There’s a more realistic reason. My Lord lets me duel.”


“Duel? Isn’t that something you can do anywhere?”


“Only with my Lord can I fight to the fullest without caring if my opponent gets hurt. I can’t have such fun in another place.”


“…I see.”


Kwiz felt slightly fed up. Krotin was greatly skilled and no one among his knights could last more than a dozen rounds against him. Nevertheless, it was obvious that Krotin controlled his tempo and adjusted his strength to match his opponents.


This gave a great shock to Kwiz who always took pride in having the best knights around him. But soon, he acknowledged that it wasn’t that his knights were weak, but that Krotin was terribly strong.


‘Is Taran Gong that strong?’


Kwiz had personally seen the Duke of Taran wielding a sword on the battlefield numerous times. He knew it was great but since the battle was so lopsided, like a tiger in the midst of sheep, he couldn’t exactly tell the extent of the Duke’s skill.


‘And now that I think about it, I haven’t ever seen Taran Gong duel with someone since then.’


The only time the Duke of Taran lifted a sword was when he cut down his enemy. When one thought about it, it was quite dreadsome. Warriors liked to show off their strength but the Taran Duke didn’t do so even though he was a knight.


Perhaps because of that, when Kwiz faced the sword-less Taran Duke, he sometimes forgot that the Duke was a knight.


“Who wins if you duel? Have you ever won by a stretch?” (Kwiz)


Roy rolled his eyes and burst into laughter. Those in attendance were now somewhat used to Roy’s unconcerned and rude attitude in front of the prince so they didn’t have any outward reaction.


“Winning? Who? Me? That’s my goal in life. Although I don’t know if it can ever be achieved.”


“Are you saying you’ve never won before?”


“Honestly, my Lord doesn’t go all out in our duels. Apparently, it’s annoying. He says why should he exert himself for something he can’t kill.”


“…”


“Sometimes, my Lord doesn’t even let me draw the sword. I have to be careful before brandishing the sword.”


“…Why?”


“Because he might be in a bad mood. In that case, battle or what, I just get beat up.”


“…Even with that treatment, you like it there?”


“It means I am one of the few people my lord trusts.”


“Getting beat up?”


“That is the evidence of trust. My lord would rather just kill something than go through the hassle of beating it.”


Kwiz had nothing more to say. Anyways, this was an unexpected harvest. The Taran Duke had a remarkably more foul nature than what was known.


***


“Taran Gong!”


Hugo stopped walking and turned around. The owner of the voice calling him quickly approached his side.


“If you have some time, would you like to accompany me for a while?”


The young man with an amiable smile was Count David Ramis. When he came of age as the eldest son of Duke Ramis, he received a part of his father’s estate along with the title of Count. He was also the Crown Prince’s brother-in-law.


Once Kwiz sat on the throne, David was sure to rise to the center of power in the future.


David was the same age as Hugo. However, an enormous difference existed between them. Hugo was a Duke and head of his family while David was nothing but a successor to a Duke.


So David calling Hugo by ‘Taran Gong’ was a very rude act. To be able to call Hugo in that manner, one had to at least be a Duke. And if one were to quibble over it, even a Duke had to address Hugo with honorifics.


Even formally, the position of the Taran Duke was recipient to royal treatment. Hugo could see through David.


Outwardly the man smiled amiably but inwardly, he was full of rivalry. Greenhorn. Hugo sneered inside but on the surface, his expression remained taciturn.


“I do not believe I will fit in.”


Hugo responded after briefly staring at David and his followers that were stucking to him like a tail. In any case, Hugo thought of Duke Ramis’ face and treated them with adequate courtesy.


“Ha-ha. What are you talking about? I’m sure if Gong is with us, the occasion will shine even more.”


“I mean I’m concerned that only I will shine.”


There was no one that couldn’t understand the meaning behind this sarcastic remark. David’s eyes widened in embarrassment and his ears flushed red.


It was the first time he was turned down so blatantly. The people around David always tried to prove their loyalty to him because he was positioned to become the next Duke.


“Hahaha, just as I have heard you are an outspoken person. Will you oblige and share your valuable opinions with me?”


“Hear that from your father. If your father has nothing to say, come and find me.”


The Duke of Taran suddenly spun around and began to walk away so David couldn’t hold him back anymore. He clenched his fists at the humiliation and his followers sensing his mood, began to furtively scratch his back. (1)


“I have heard he was a knight but how rude.”


“It would have been more harmful if he went to our meeting.”


David smiled widely.


“Even if he’s knight-born, he’s an excellent person. Hence why His Highness the Crown Prince is so trusting of him.” (David)


“Even so, can he be compared to Elder? Is not Elder the father of the future Queen of this nation? If one looks further, Sir will become the uncle of the one that rises to the throne of this nation.”


David smiled, pleased at his follower’s flattery.


‘Indeed. No matter how arrogant one acts, one can’t surpass my father. After all, we are tightly bound with His Highness by blood.’


Hugo didn’t give a crap about David at all but David was burning with rivalry against the Duke of Taran. There were many nobles with higher status and authority than David. But they were all elders, well advanced in their years.


Therfore, there were no competitors around David’s age except for the Duke of Taran. And even though the Duke of Taran was the same age as David, he was already a Duke. He gained a reputation by sweeping through the battlefield and was very famous for how the Crown Prince went through great lengths to acquire him.


Even his father praised the Duke of Taran to the skies. His father warned him several times that the Duke of Taran wore the skin of a bear but in reality was a fox and one should be careful with one’s words and actions before him.


David replied in affirmation but scoffed inwardly. He was very unhappy that whenever the Duke of Taran appeared, everyone’s attention shifted towards him. What was so great about him swinging a sword on the battlefield a few times?


If David had seen the Duke of Taran on the battlefield even once, he would not have had this thought but throughtout last war, he was safely at the rear.


‘No matter what, he is just an ignorant knight.’


David was brimming with groundless confidence.


Translator’s Corner:


1) Do not take this literally.


2) By Elder, he’s referring to David’s father. By Sir, he’s referring to David.

______________
LUCIA
C57 [part 2] - < — To the Capital — > (3)
Chapter 57 [part 2]

< — To the Capital — > (3)


TN: (*^Ϊ‘^*)


After a few days, Lucia got off her sickbed and was good as new. She had been in bed for quite some time because of the indigestion, but there were no aftereffects.


As though a reward for the last few days of poor food, the table was full of high quality dishes for lunch as well as for dinner. They did not forget to be considerate and only gave her food that was easy to digest.


“Jerome, the number of maids has diminished a lot. There are faces I haven’t seen too.”


“Yes, Milady. The employment period has expired for many.”


The Duke ordered for the servants waiting on the Madam to be changed because their attitudes were bad. In any case, most of them were employed temporarily. They were initially to take all subsequent temporaries to the capital, but since such a situation occurred, the Duke just terminated all the contracts.


The plan was to find the whereabouts of the maids that worked in the residence in the capital and re-employ them. After which, he would leave one maid in charge of managing the Roam castle.


Even though the maids that waited on her for over a year were changed in a single morning, the madam simply replied with, ‘I see’, and said nothing more.


At first, Jerome thought she was an innocent and delicate person but over time his thoughts changed. It was rare for someone to deviate so greatly from his first impression but the Duchess was truly a mysterious person.


‘She’s truly strong.’


As soon as she got married, she was taken to her husband’s home where she didn’t know a single person so she was bound to be lonely and uneasy. If she looked for someone to rely on, it would usually be the maid who took care of her like her hands and feet.


When a maid was favored by the mistress of the house, a ranking forms among the maids. Discord among maids was like a drizzle that went unnoticed until one was drenched. At worst, it could even invade the authority of the steward so most noble stewards were worried about such tiresome things happening.


The Duchess handled those working under her with a clear line. She ordered only what was necessary and did not bother with superfluous actions. Even if something was done wrong, she simply pointed it out and it was rare for her to raise her voice.


In that respect, the madam resembled the duke closely. The reason why servants found it hard to attend to the couple’s needs even though they had never been disciplined before was because the servants weren’t given any room for engagement.


‘Is it because their marital harmony is good?’


It was very strange but no matter how Jerome thought about it, if the couple’s relationship became estranged, the one to suffer the biggest blow would not be his mistress but his master. Jerome couldn’t give an objective reason why, but it was an instinctive feeling.


“His Grace sent that you should recuperate well and come to the capital at the end of this month.”


“What recuperation will takes that long? It’s just indigestion. Everyone is making such a big deal out of this.”


Jerome smiled ambiguously.


‘Milady says so because you didn’t see Master properly during your fever.’


Jerome was on edge in the receiving room when his master called the doctor and kicked up a storm. When Anna was called back at dawn and came out looking pale, Jerome’s heart sank, thinking the Madam’s illness was very serious.


When the Madam finally fell asleep and his master came out, one didn’t know how much his master rebuked Anna for not treating the Madam properly. It was the first time Jerome saw his master expressing such extreme emotions. He truly felt pitiful for Anna who was shaken up. She would probably gain a handful of gray hair.


‘I hope Milady continues to be beside Master this way. I am earnestly hoping and looking forward to it.’


Looking at Lucia relaxing in satisfaction as she drank tea, Jerome thought this way.


People didn’t know much about the Taran family. Apart from the fact that it was a very famous knight family, nothing was known. In the north, the land was harsh, the population was small, and day in day out, war with the barbarians broke out on its borders.


It was indeed a land without room to spare for profits. This was a reason that no one coveted the vast land that was the Taran territory.


Of course, the Duke was wealthy. No matter how ungainly the land was, there was no way the owner of such a vast land could be poor.


Even though everyone acknowledged the financial and military power of the Taran Duke’s family, no one looked beyond that. The Taran family was a family that had existed for a very long time.


They didn’t thrive enough to stand out conspicuously but they weren’t invisible. Their years of power could not be ignored. The Taran territory, the north, had been ruled by the Duke of Taran for quite the long time and in the north, the Taran family was like King.


Nobles saw the people’s support as a trivial thing but at times the support could become a tremendous force. If the Duke of Taran took the lead, the northern people would all follow without complaints. Taran’s military power was not the knights that belonged to the family but all of the northern people. Other nobles were unaware of this.


The north was calm. It was contradictory to say that the north which was always at war with the barbarians was calm but except from the war, the north was calm. Unlike other territories, in the north, there were no occasional uprisings.


One might think that the reason was because people were united to fight against the barbarians but the biggest reason was because they all had enough to make a living.


The Duke of Taran somehow managed to oversee the north better any other Duke. He did not take too much tax, exploit or suppress with power. Rewards and punishments were certain and no matter how noble, one couldn’t harm another without reason. As long as one obeyed the law, nothing irrational would happen.


The northern people knew how good it was to live in the north. Even though the land was barren and one couldn’t amass wealth from farming, one didn’t have to starve. Rather, because one wasn’t well-off, one didn’t fall into depravity.


The northern people all had integrity and stability and that was an enormous asset to the north. And the power that the Duke of Taran held was more than people could imagine.


For many years, the Taran family didn’t have to drain their energy with the likes of succession struggles, and the power of the family that protected and maintained its title blossomed to a tremendous degree.


No one knew that the Duke of Taran had acquired a few gem mines from the barbarian lands after subjugating them, or that he owned several top giants actively operating in other countries, or that that he had bought a great deal of land and islands in other countries.


Jerome thought that if the Duke of Taran made up his mind, it would be easy for him to overthrow this country. Overthrowing was one thing and setting up and running the country was another matter but anyways, the power that the Duke held was much more than people thought.


From the level Jerome could see as a steward of the house, he thought so. But the Duke had no attachment to family. The Duke led the family as though something was tying him down.


Rather than an obligation to perform his duties as a Duke, it was more like he was entangled in something sticky and wanted to break out but couldn’t.


Once in a while, there were times when the indifferently cold Duke revealed his inner feelings but even then, he had an expression like he’d had enough.


But one didn’t know since when, but Jerome hadn’t seen that expression and he was certain that the reason was the Madam. If for any reason or in any form, his master lost the madam, what would happen?


Jerome was afraid to even imagine it.


***


The carriage left Roam and arrived in the Capital around ten days later. The time spent was double compared to when Lucia went from the Capital to Roam.


The fastest route was a wasteland with no shade so they couldn’t go through it at midday with the blazing sun. And because she took advantage of the evening and early morning hours for some activity, the speed couldn’t help but be slower.


This journey this time was also escorted by Knight Dean. The last journey, he escorted by order of the Duke but this time, he volunteered. Dean was a man with pure loyalty to the Madam but if it were a knight other than Dean, Hugo would have been uncomfortable.


Hugo had faith in his elite Knight’s loyalty and in particular, he valued Dean and Roy greatly. He believed in Dean’s prudence and sincerity just as he tolerated Roy’s simple character and believed in his ability.


Returning after a year and some months, Lucia felt emotional as she looked at the Ducal Residence. It was from here on that her life began to change.


On the way back after the exchanging certificates in wedding ceremony, he said:


[If you want to remain in the Capital, you can.]


She really did well in not accepting the Duke’s words and choosing to live apart from him. If she did that then the both of them would have remained as strangers forever.


‘Although I’m no confident in being the perfect couple with him.’


But to some extent, she knew and understood him. At the very least, the phase of other people saying that they were only couples on the surface had passed.


As Lucia entered the mansion, she subconsciously wrapped her arms around herself. Cool air, distinctly different from the hot air outside, hit her skin.


Due to the house’ excellent design with heat-dissipating features, Lucia’s first impression of the house was that there was no warmth. At the time, she didn’t know she would get married and stay there for a few days.


She was able to compare to it because she had stayed in Roam. The cold stone wall of Roam was much warmer than this. Even though it was steadily managed, she realized than indeed one had to live in a house for it to feel like home.


She felt sorry when she realized he’d been living alone in this cold, spacious house.


“Milady, your bedroom is opposite Master’s bedroom just like in Roam. It is facing the hallway and the room you stayed in previously when you were here-.”


“I will find it on my own. You must be busy, you can go see to things.”


“Yes, Milady. And this might be needless words of concern, but please be sure to bring a maid with you when you step out of the house even if it is just to the yard. Unlike Roam, one cannot predict how many eyes are watching or what can happen in the Capital.”


“Alright. I will be going up to get some sleep. When will he be coming in?”


“He is scheduled till evening so it seems he will be returning late.”


It would have been nice to see him today, Lucia thought as she went up to the bedroom on the second floor.
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