πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️ Lucia Chapter 71 - 72 Part 1 & 2 Full Chapters πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️

PHYSIENTS WILL ALWAYS OFFER BEST STORIES AND LIVE STREAMING ALL TIME


LUCIA
C71 [part 1] - < — Duchess Vivian — > (2)

Chapter 71 [part 1]

< — Duchess Vivian — > (2)


TN: I scheduled a blank post and it went up. Wasn’t trolling or anything of the like. This chapter shall be 2 parts~ I suppose we can say it evens out the shortness of the side-story ?


Lucia first gave her greetings to the host of the party, the Countess of Jordan.


“Thank you for the invitation, Countess.”


“Thank you for coming. It is really an honor to meet the Duchess. Your beauty puts the rumors to shame.”


The Countess of Jordan was showing an extremely cautious attitude. From the Duchess, she could feel an aura that was somewhat difficult to approach. It was not the feeling of a young lady who was not yet 20 years old like the Countess had expected.


Lucia responded with a smile. Today as well, Antoine had worked hard from early in the morning. According to Antoine, today’s focus was ‘elegance’ and ‘dignity’. As it was her first engagement in social activities as the Duchess and as the one with the highest status, Antoine insisted that she should put pressure on the talkative women.


[Facial expressions are important. You should all kneel before me! That kind of expression.]


Lucia didn’t know much she had laughed as she practiced her expression according to Antoine’s demand. The color of her garments and makeup were ivory and gold. As Antoine had said, the Lucia in the mirror looked haughty and aloof. It was flashy but the image of heavy gold emphasized the dignified gracefulness.


The tea party took place in the yard which could be assessed from going into the mansion and leaving through the back. To set up the venue, posts were set on the field and a wide awning was placed on them to block the sunlight. It was a fairly large venue and a well-kept garden could be seen at one glance.


In a case like today’s, where the number of people were too high to be seated in one place, people would be sat at different tables. There were usually several tables that could seat 5-6 people and the organizer would move from table to table at regular intervals, to talk with the attendees.


Peculiarly, the Countess of Jordan placed a large table that could seat ten people in the middle and the rest of the tables could seat five. The seat of the Duchess was on the table meant for 10 people. Except for the Duchess and the Countess of Jordan, the owners of the other eight seats negotiated under-the-table to be able to seat there today.


The maids busily moved from table to table. The women at tables began to simply introduce themselves to one another. The party venue with dozens of people soon went into a flurry of activity with the voices of people.


“I am Sofia Alvin. The Count of Alvin is my husband.”


Lucia’s eyes shook slightly. It wasn’t just because Sofia was his past woman. Although she was a little surprised when she discovered Sofia, she kept her composure. Lucia was surprised for different reason.


‘Alvin? She got married to the Count of Alvin?’


In her dream, Sofia was a Marchioness(Marquis’ wife). And the noble house of Count Alvin was where Lucia had worked as a maid. While she had worked there, the madam of the House was not Sofia.


‘It’s…different.’


The future had changed.


‘Yes. Perhaps it is only natural. I changed my future. The him now would have been unmarried. But I married him. At this time, I would have been in the detached palace.’


Because Lucia married him, her future had stepped in an unpredictable direction. And his future was also the same. It was very possible to influence the future of a person who was even a little bit involved with the two of them.


Lucia had unexpectedly met the Sofia who had now become the Countess of Alvin but her heart did not fluctuate at all. Sofia was a past woman of her husband and he had ended it with her before their marriage. Moreover, hadn’t she witnessed the scene of Sofia getting cut off so coldly? There was no reason for her to worry.


However, this situation was not natural. There was no one named Sofia on the list of attendees sent by the Countess of Jordan, much less listed as the Countess of Alvin. The list of attendees usually changed frequently. Even if one couldn’t argue about that, there was no way a well-known socialite like the Countess of Jordan would not know the rumors about the past of Sofia and the Duke of Taran.


They were intentionally arranged to seat at the same table. Women’s seating arrangement was a sensitive issue. It there was a woman that one didn’t see eye-to-eye with, one would not attend the party at all. If people on bad terms sat at the same table, it was a great disaster.


So, in a world like the capital’s high society where human relationships were complex, parties could not be open to anyone. One had to have an understanding on the relationships between people.


Lucia turned to look at the Countess of Jordan when Sofia introduced herself. The Countess flinched when their eyes met and averted her gaze. Lucia smiled a slightly cold smile. It was a typical high societal approach to induce a situation and see a person’s reactions in order to grasp their personality.


Lucia would not have noticed if she did not know the habitual practice of the high society or know about Sofia. This was a ritual ceremony for the first appearance of the Duchess on the social stage. If Lucia had openly expressed displeasure, showed a sensitive reaction, or ignorantly acted friendly with Sofia, she would have become an great spectacle for the noblewomen that were here today.


They could not be held responsible if she understood the situation too late and was uncomfortable later on. That was the rule. Lucia recalled the time when she first made her debut in high society as the Countess of Matin. At the time, she received a series of embarrassing questions and suffered a loss of face as she was unable to answer.


‘Compared to the questions, this ritual is cuter.’


She hadn’t even known that her seating placement was a test. Even though others were laughing at her from behind, she was the only one that didn’t know. After a considerable amount of time passed, the case itself would fade over so one wouldn’t even know about the case forever.


It was difficult for a novice making their first debut in society to notice subtle problems such as seating arrangement. It was likely that the Countess of Jordan had thought that Lucia would not notice. Since Lucia had sent her a meaningful look, she would be sweating inside.


Lucia did not know much about this issue just from her experience as the Countess of Matin. This was because she didn’t have any experience of personally throwing a party. It was something that she learnt later on while working as a maid and watching her madam have a headache over the seating arrangements as she hosted several parties.


Lucia took her place today, believing in the public reception of the Countess of Jordan. Even when Lucia received a letter asking for her understanding about the tea party’s sudden increase in scale, she had sent back word that it was fine. In her own way, Lucia had shown goodwill to the Countess of Jordan. However, the Countess did not take Lucia’s hand.


‘Is it that one weighed between the Count of Alvin and the Duke of Taran and chose the Count of Alvin?’


Lucia had heard that the Countess of Jordan hated disturbances. Rather than saying that one deliberately induced the situation, one had just accepted the request of the Countess of Alvin. Even if a problem arose, responsibility would be left to the Countess of Alvin. After all, the Countess had only accepted the request of an attendee. And all was fine as long as she maintained that she was ignorant of the rumor. There were many ways for the Countess to save herself.


The Duke of Taran’s political power was close but had not yet fully come to power. The Count of Alvin was an acknowledged economic giant. Money was more stable than power. It was a matter of one’s own choices. There was no grudge. However in the future, the Countess of Jordan would never become a friend.


Lucia wondered what Sofia’s intention was to attend a party that was originally unscheduled and to request a seat at the same table.


‘Is she curious about the woman that is married to her old flame?’


Regardless, this was not wise. If Lucia were harbor a huge grudge over this incident, it would be harmful to the Countess of Alvin. The social matters of women were a problem for women but reality did not necessarily conform to the norm. Mixing up the lines between public and private affairs was a very commonplace error.


“Countess of Alvin is as pretty as ever. I have often heard rumors praising Countess’ beauty. I have heard other rumors as well but I believe you all understand what I mean without saying it.”


Lucia mixed in the common pleasantries that praised one’s appearance and conveyed that she already knew about the rumors and she did not care. There was no one among the seated noblewomen that did not understand the meaning of her words. Everyone briefly displayed strange expressions and little bursts of laughter could be heard here and there.


“You flatter me.”


Sofia’s voice trembled slightly as she replied.

__________________
LUCIA
C71 [part 2] - < — Duchess Vivian — > (2)

Chapter 71 [part 2]< — Duchess Vivian — > (2)

In order to survive in the bloody social world that was no different from the wild, it was necessary to have a discerning gaze and grasp the trends. The minds of the noblewomen quickly leaned towards the Duchess.


The Duchess who had begun social activities for the first time was not a princess that knew nothing about the world, nor was she a hollow container called a Duchess.


Without raising her voice and without changing her expression, she easily brushed off the past woman of her husband. It was not the composure of the 19 year old young lady who hadn’t been married for long. There had been a common curiosity in the minds of all the women who had attended the party today.


‘Let’s see how beautiful she is.’


But now, there were almost no women who cared about that. The Duchess was not as beautiful as the rumors depicted but one couldn’t say she was ugly. If she turned out to be barely beautiful, they would have said, ‘psh, as expected of a rumor’ and laughed it off but the reception of the Duchess’ beauty varied from person to person. Some were indecisive while some thought it matched the rumors. Either ways, their impression was favorable.


Not all women could have the latest standard of beauty which was a glamorous body and luxurious features. Ordinary women envied beauty and couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss. But the appearance and atmosphere of the Duchess made them think, ‘what if I try doing it this way?’. The dresses with different styles from the current fashion suddenly seemed elegant.


The women seated at the same table as Lucia were people with a line of connections in high society. They had considerable influence but it was not lopsided and their influences were about the same. It was very important to them how good their connection was. They were very skillful and naturally transformed into followers of the Duchess.


The atmosphere was harmonious. The noblewomen diligently chattered away, providing a topic of conversation for the Duchess and continued to make the Duchess the center of the conversation.


Lucia only had to listen to their conversations and give an appropriate answer to their questions. With just that alone, Lucia was the center of the table. It felt like she had become a queen. As she entertained her position, Lucia made sure to stay away from becoming too drunk on the atmosphere.


If one got carried away by the atmosphere in high society, one could disgrace themselves. Lucia had seen people compromise themselves in that way several times. It was very clear from the outside but if one had narrow sight, one couldn’t see it.


If Lucia was of high repute in the social circle and made a mistake, the people would overlook it but she had only just begun. It was better to be careful and even more careful.


“I heard a rumor from somewhere. Apparently, His Grace the Duke purchased all the jewelry on display at a jeweler’s for the Duchess.”


“Ah. I heard that as well. It was Sepia Jewelry.”


“Is the necklace Duchess is wearing also from Sepia Jewelry?”


Lucia nodded slightly and gave a smile. The women interpreted that as a positive answer that the Duke had swept the display of jewelry clean. Lucia’s necklace was evidence in of itself. The women who were somewhat doubtful of the rumor whispered amongst themselves saying, ‘wow, it’s really true.’


“And earlier, I saw His Grace the Duke escort the Duchess all the way here.”


“I also saw that.”


“Oh my. Really?”


The woman who had witnessed the scene nodded and the woman who had discovered a new fact showed amazement and regret that she was not there to witness the rare sight.


What is all this about? Lucia was puzzled when she was met with the gazes of the noblewomen that was filled with curiosity. She didn’t know that this would become the focus of attention.


At the time, when he said that he would see her off, she had thought he didn’t have to go that far but she didn’t go out of her way to refuse. He said he would casually escort her there and because Jerome didn’t say anything, she assumed it wouldn’t matter too much. She reasoned that it was similar to the case where men escorted women to balls.


The noblewomen were more amazed at the point that the man was the Duke of Taran rather than the fact that a man escorted her.


“He was quite worried because I was going to my first tea party. He pays a lot of attention to things that are ordinarily meticulous.” (Lucia)(1)


The noblewomen responded dramatically to Lucia’s simple reply.


“How affectionate.”


“How romantic.”


Chattering came from all over the place. The women who had personally seen the scene earlier did not think that the Duke escorting was the Duchess was simple. Like Queen Beth, they realized that the ‘beauty of the century’ part of the rumor was not important and ‘the Duke was smitten’ part was the core.


At the table, Sofia was isolated and alone by herself. There was no one who gave Sofia a glance as she sat down with her mouth shut. Sofia looked at the women who were trying to squeeze in a word in order to catch the Duchess’ eye.


Not long ago, Sofia was the woman that was sucked up to. They flatteringly called her Countess, Countess but in an instant, they changed their attitude. Even though Sofia knew well that it was the way the high society worked, it left a bitter taste in her mouth.


It was not the betrayal of the noblewomen that annoyed Sofia. She had replayed the scene from earlier more than a dozen times in her head. The Duke of Taran looked at the Duchess with a warm and affectionate gaze as he kissed her cheek and held her hand. Their skinship was natural. A devastating sense of misery and defeat took hold of Sofia.


‘He…has never looked at me with such eyes.’


The Duke of Taran did not attend most parties unless it was necessary. Sofia had only attended parties as his partner a couple of times. They always met in the bedroom and when she woke up in the morning, he was never there. When she asked for a gift, it would quickly land in her hands but it was always through a messenger. He had never given it himself. His expression was always cold and he seldom truly smiled. However, Sofia liked his dazzling cold red eyes looking at her. She also liked his blunt and cold appearance. She liked everything.


He was a man that could look at a woman with such a passionate gaze. He was a man that could give a woman such a warm smile. The Duchess was not as beautiful as the rumors said but she was brimming with confidence as a woman who was loved.


Compared to the confident Duchess, Sofia felt very pathetic. Her heart hurt like it was being squeezed. As the subject of the Duke escorting the Duchess became the topic of conversation and the women fussed dramatically, something suddenly rose up from deep within Sofia. The ill desire to see the Duchess’ composed expression get shaken.


“He is a more affectionate person than he is known for. When we met a while ago, he was just as before.”


The moment Sofia opened her mouth, the atmosphere froze. The noblewomen could not open their mouth in the cold atmosphere so they lowered their voices and whispered irritatedly amongst themselves.


“What is up with her?”


“Tell me about it. Even when one is quiet, one gets attacked.”


Lucia’s gaze froze over. Sofia’s intention to humiliate her by sitting at the same table was shameful but Lucia tried to let it pass. She tried to understand it as the lingering regret of a harshly dumped woman. The scene of Sofia being cruelly rejected by him had planted a seed of compassion in Lucia’s mind. However, Sofia was crossing the line.


No matter how generous the society was to an affair, it did not approve of putting it out in public. Even if the whole world knew, one had to shut their mouth. For the nobility, face was a serious matter and it was as valuable as their life. The act of mentioning a private affair in front of the spouse concerned was a foolish action that had no excuse.


“I know my husband’s schedule but seeing as he is extremely busy with official duties, I do not know when he could have had the time.”


Lucia did not believe Sofia words. She had faith in him and looking at it objectively, he had no time to. The noblewomen looked at Sofia, their gazes saying, ‘it seems to be a lie…’ and Sofia’s face burned in response.


“We met when I went into the palace.” (Sofia)


“Then, it is not ‘meeting’ but ‘greeting’. Be careful with your choice of words, Countess.” (Lucia)


Sofia flushed intensely. She opened her mouth as though to say something but eventually kept her mouth shut and lowered her head. Seeing this, the noblewomen clicked their tongues. Nobles hated wretchedness and messiness. As a noble, Sofia’s attitude was very dirty and messy.


“Ah, come to think of it, last time…”


When someone began to talk, the mood became relaxed again. Sofia was left sitting alone and biting her lips. Before, the noblewomen were occupied with focusing on the new main character so they did not pay any attention to Sofia but now their gazes were critical of Sofia.


There were quite a lot of women who could only seethe inwardly about their husband’s women problems. Men having an affair was more common than women. Even if they acted composed on the outside, they were displeased on the inside. Sofia’s attitude of mentioning an old relationship was unpleasant to the eye.


“Countess of Jordan. You have stayed here for too long. You have to fulfil your duty as the host.” (Lucia)


The Countess of Jordan had not realized that she had stayed at Lucia’s table from the beginning of the tea party till now. When Lucia pointed it out, her face reddened and she stood up. The Countess of Jordan had an uneasy expression throughout. Some noblewomen looked at the Countess of Jordan with gazes saturated with accusation. It was the women who had been hurt before by the Countess of Jordan who pretended to be a good person but only cared for her benefits.


It was drawing to the end of the tea party. At appropriate intervals, maids served tea and snacks, a total of three times. And when the last snack was served, it was a sign that the tea party was over.


After Lucia tasted the last cake, she placed her fork down and stood up. As though it were a signal, people began to stand up all over the place. Rather than discussing among themselves, the other tables kept looking at Lucia’s table with interest and envy.


“Next time, you have to come to my tea party, Duchess.”


“When do you plan to have another activity?”


The women flocked around Lucia.


“Duchess.”


One voice conspicuously interrupted them. Lucia turned towards the voice. It was Sofia.


“It was an honor to meet you today. I hope I have the chance to meet you again next time.” (Sofia)


“I’m not sure. Would it not be better for us to part and not see each other?” (Lucia)


A couple of the noblewomen giggled. Sofia clutched her bag tighter. She pulled out a handkerchief from her bag and held it out to Lucia. It was a silk handkerchief that men usually carried.


“When we met last time, His Grace the Duke gave me this as comfort for my tears. I was looking for an opportunity to return it but I do not know when we will meet again so I would like for Duchess to convey my gratitude along with it.”



The noblewomen nervously alternated glances between the Duchess and the Countess. At some point, it had gotten really quiet.


Lucia knew as soon as she saw the handkerchief.


‘She is lying.’


Hugo was not a gentleman that would give a handkerchief to a crying woman because they had a relationship in the past for a while. If he was such a man, he would not have been able to shake the woman off by threatening to kill her on the day of the victory party.


Was it arrogance? Or was it spite? Lucia couldn’t tell what was in Sofia’s mind but she felt that the woman was truly foolish. And at the same time, it occurred to her that Sofia did not know him that well. Oddly, it was a good feeling.


Lucia took the handkerchief and carelessly looked it over then she locked eyes with Sofia and let it drop to the floor. Lucia spoke coolly as she watched Sofia’s eyes widen slightly.


“Countess. You are looking down on me with your lies. This is not an item of his.”


Sofia’s eyes quivered intensely.


“A wife will naturally know about her husband’s handkerchief. Isn’t that right, everyone?” (Lucia)


For the nobility, servants were entirely responsibility for waiting on them. One did not start taking care of their husband’s clothes or handkerchiefs because one became a wife. So, of course, the noblewomen did not know what kind of handkerchief their husbands carried. Nevertheless, the noblewomen hid their momentary embarrassment and began to reply in succession.


“Of course. Naturally.”


“That is a matter of course. How could one not know their husban’s handkerchief?”


Lucia also did not know what kind of handkerchief he went around with. But she was sure that the handkerchief Sofia had, was not his.


“Countess’ actions have crossed the line that I can tolerate. I will not simply overlook this incident today.”


Sofia turned white. She finally realized the stupidity of her actions. She was blinded by jealousy and envy and was not in her right senses. The faces of her family: her husband, her parents and her brothers, came to mind.


Even if her husband, the Count of Alvin, could not be dealt with easily, her father, the Baron of Lawrence was powerless. If the Duke were to step on him, he could only crumble like an ant. Her husband would protect her but he would not protect her family at the risk of damage.


“Du-Duchess. Please forgive me. I was foolish…”


Sofia quickly sank to her knees. Lucia’s eyes were cold as she looked at Sofia below. Sofia’s shoulders heaved as she sobbed but Lucia was unable to feel any emotion. It was repulsive conduct to make a mess all over the place and try to fix it with tears. The fact that Sofia tried to publically disgrace her was not the problem. Lucia had experience being disgraced many times in her dream so she was past the stage of getting hurt.


However, Sofia tried to break her trust in her husband. The trust that the two of them had to resolve between themselves, a third person tried to ruin it. Lucia could not forgive that.


“Go home and pull yourself together. I hope I do not see you in the social circle for the time being. Think for yourself as to what extent is ‘for the time being’. Think about it very carefully.”


Lucia indifferently turned around and left the party venue. Some of the noblewomen remained, clicking their tongue as they watched Sofia who was still crying on the floor but the majority of them rushed to follow after the Duchess.
___________________
LUCIA
C72 [part 1] - < — Duchess Vivian — > (3)

Chapter 72 [part 1]< — Duchess Vivian — > (3)

“Gong. You see, my adjutant and I made a bet.”


‘Here we go again.’ Hugo thought. Once in a while, Kwiz went on about nonsense.


“It was a bet as to whether or not Gong carries a handkerchief.”


Hugo listened silently with an attitude that was close to disregard but Kwiz was unyielding.


“Knights do not usually carry their handkerchiefs around. But, I mean, Gong is in a grey area. So, I picked that Gong does not carry it around while my adjutant picked that Gong does carry it around.”


“What is being bet?”


“If I lose, I will no longer use a phrase that I often use.”


Kwiz had a nasty tongue. It was a fact that all his close aides knew. Because Kwiz was ascending the throne and becoming the lord of the country, the adjutant wanted him to fix his manner of speaking so he wouldn’t lose face. Until now, no matter what his adjutant said, Kwiz ignored it but as the frequency of nagging increased, it became quite annoying. Then Kwiz got a good idea.


[Make a bet with me. We’ll bet one word at a time.]


Rule 1: The content of the bet will be done according to what comes to the mind at that particular moment. Kwiz and the adjutant could take turns in suggesting the content of the bet.


Rule 2: If the adjutant won, Kwiz could not use the inappropriate expression that was being bet afterwards.


Rule 3: In the event of Rule 2 violation, the bet would be deemed as a loss.


Rule 4: If Kwiz won, he could recover an expression that he had been banned from using.


After making a very useless and specific set of rules, Kwiz began the betting game. It was an endless path of repetitions but with the thought that at least something was being done, the adjutant accepted it.


So far, they had made one bet and Kwiz had lost. As a result, Kwiz was blocked from using the expression, ‘fuck’.


The Duke of Taran’s handkerchief was the second bet. For this bet, the expression ‘dead old man’ that Kwiz used to refer to the late King was chosen. If Kwiz lost his time, he would have to solemnly refer to the dead old man as the ‘late king’.


“So Gong. Tell me. Do you carry a handkerchief around?” (Kwiz)


Hugo alternated glances between Kwiz who had a twinkling gaze like he was facing the problem of a lifetime, and the adjutant whose expression was full of pleas.


Was such a relaxed atmosphere really okay? Hugo was feeling doubtful. For a very short moment, he wondered if he had made a good choice in holding hands with the king.


“I do.”


Kwiz was shocked and the adjutant silently cheered. With one word, Hugo dropped one in heaven and the other in hell but his expression was indifferent.


“No way! There’s no way Gong carries around that kind of thing!”


If the bet had been a little while back, the winner of the bet would have been Kwiz. Hugo didn’t used to carry around a handkerchief. If the need for one ever came up, he could just order someone to clean it up. But it had been quite a while since hebegan to carry a handkerchief.


“I won’t lie for such things.” (Hugo)


“How can this be.”


Kwiz lamented in regret. His scheme of recovering the lost expression ‘fuck’ by winning this bet was fruitless, rather now, he had to refer to that damned old man as the ‘late king’.


“Alright then, show me. Right now.” (Kwiz)


Hugo furrowed his brows slightly but eventually, he gave a small sigh and withdrew his handkerchief from his bosom then he placed it onto the table.


Kwiz’s eyes widened when he saw the snow-white handkerchief and he picked it up. Its rough texture was cotton and it had a flower embroidered at the corner. Noblemen usually carried dark silk handkerchiefs.


“…Gong. Your taste is quite unique?”


Cotton handkerchiefs were normally used by children. But Hugo did not shrink in the slightest. On the contrary, he look dignified.


“A handkerchief is for wiping dirt. There is nothing as good at performing its intended function like a cotton handkerchief.”


‘Is he teaching me the function of a handkerchief?’ Kwiz wondered as he mulled over Hugo’s words and intention. Kwiz figured out the subtle meaning behind the cotton handkerchief and looked at the handkerchief with new eyes. Moreover, since the Duke appeared so dignified, the handkerchief did not seem that bad the more one looked at it.


The handkerchief was nice to the touch, its white color was spotless and the flower at the corner had its own charm. The embroidered flowers was not sewn elaborately so Kwiz had a hunch. From what he could tell, it didn’t seem like the work of an expert but an embroidery of the Duchess. The thought that it was made by his younger sister whose face he hadn’t yet seen made him want to have it.


“Hmm. After listening to Gong, it does seem that way. Then, give me this.”


“…Pardon?”


Hugo could not snatch it away from the King who had put it in his pocket.


Wasn’t it just a handkerchief ?


Of course, to Hugo, it was not just a handkerchief. He didn’t carry it around to use but as a kind of charm.


One day, his wife cut out pieces of white cotton and began to make handkerchiefs herself. She would either make time or use her spare time to embroider the corner of the handkerchief. Like that, when she made a bunch, she would sent it to Damian every few months.


A white cotton handkerchief with a flower embroidered at the corner.


Anyone could tell it was an item for a child. But Hugo wanted to have it.


Because it was embarrassing to suddenly say that he wanted to have cotton handkerchief with an embroidered flower, he helped himself to some. It would have been better if he declared it confidently. But because he had done it in an impulse of a moment, he was unable say anything even more. The few handkerchiefs that Hugo took were stored deep in his office drawer.


After some time, she changed the embroidery to Damian’s name, stating that flowers were not suitable for boys. No matter how much Hugo liked her handmade articles, he did not want to carry around a handkerchief that had the boy’s name.


The handkerchiefs with flower embroidery were limited first edition items that could not be obtained presently. Only a few existed but one was just snatched away.


Hugo’s mood instantly plummeted. Today, of all days, he certainly did not want to see the king’s shameless face.

_________________
LUCIA
C72 [part 2] - < — Duchess Vivian — > (3)

Chapter 72 [part 2]< — Duchess Vivian — > (3)

Lucia felt deeply exhausted as soon as she got home. Once she entered the house, her tension quickly evaporated. Even if she had experienced it in her dream, in this lifetime, it was her first activity and first stage.


Having to maintaining her expression while being under people’s scrutiny required considerable effort. In addition, perhaps because Sophia had gotten on her nerves, her body felt exhausted as if she had done hard labor. She took an early dinner and retired to bed early.


Today, Hugo returned home past dinner time but it was not that late. When he saw that she hadn’t come to greet him, he searched for her with his eyes. Without being asked, Jerome gave an answer.


“Milady retired to bed early. She seemed to be tired from the outing today.”


When Hugo frowned, Jerome added.


“Milady made no mention of being troubled. She said there was no need for a doctor and that the tea party was pleasant.”


Hugo quickly went up to her bedroom. He entered the bedroom and sat on the bed, looking at her quietly sleeping figure. After a while, he reached out to smoothen her disheveled hair that was sprawled out on the pillow.


“…Hugh? Are you back?”


Her eyes flickered and opened. As she was half-asleep, her voice sounded indistinct and muddled.


“I didn’t mean to wake you up. Go back to sleep.”


The sound of his low reverberating voice was nice. Lucia smiled and as if stretching, she lifted up her arms to reach for him. Hugo smiled and lowered his body. Her slender arms wrapped around his neck. Hugo placed hand on her back to support her. He could feel her warm temperature coming from beneath her thin nightwear. He wrapped one arm around her waist, lifting her up and taking her into his embrace. Her fragrant scent tickled his nose. Hugo felt his heart squeeze with wicked thoughts and closed his eyes.


“Do you feel ill somewhere?” (Hugo)


“No. I was just a little tired. I think I was tensed up because I was meeting a lot of people after a long time.”


“How was the tea party?”


“It was like a tea party.”


Hugo pulled her away from him and met her eyes.


“That’s it?”


“Apart from that, what else is there? I am the Duchess. They were all being careful of my mood.”


Lucia had no intention of telling him about the incident with Sofia. Sofia’s actions were completely because of her lingering attachment and obsession. It is not his fault. He had already closed that chapter before their marriage. Although the way he broke it off wasn’t sweet, did it make sense to be tender when it came to the separation between a man and woman? It was better to cut it off completely rather than give room for doubts.


Since she had given Sofia a warning, she planned to wait and see. If Sofia stayed quiet, Lucia planned to leave it at that but if the woman showed herself on the social stage, she would not overlooked it.


Lucia was the Duchess. If she ordered it, it would be a walk in the park to make her followers, who were dying to get into her good graces, to act. There would be no need for Lucia to get her hands dirty. As long as she gave them a glance, it was a simple thing for them to humiliate Sofia and make sure she couldn’t show her face in the social circles again.


The world of the high society did not respect, nor did it tolerate, forgiveness and generosity. One would be ridiculed as a fool who could not even protect their own authority. No matter how high one’s position was, if you showed weakness of the mind, there was an overflowing amount of people that would sponge off you with sparkling eyes. Even if being vicious would hurt one’s prestige, one should not let everything pass over nicely. Lucia did not want to dominate the social circles but she had no intention of looking like an easy target to anyone.


“That’s good to hear. Nothing much happened?”


“Yes. What of you? How was today?”


Hugo was depressed for a moment when he remembered his handkerchief that was taken.


“It was the same as always.”


“But, do you know how many questions I received over you escorting me today? I didn’t know it’s not supposed to be done.”


Hugo’s eyebrows jumped.


“Who says it’s not?”


“Nobody does it. That’s practically the same thing.”


“If I do it then it’s done from now on.”


Lucia looked at him with the side of her eyes. There he goes again. In any case, his unreasonableness and pride could not be stopped.


“I don’t want to next time. I don’t want to become a spectacle.”


“…Why are you so concerned about other people’s gazes?”


“You are just overly unconcerned.”


When he remained silent and just watched her, Lucia’s eyes widened slightly. He suddenly tightened his hold on her and covered her lips with his. He bit her tender lips lightly and wove his tongue into her mouth. Feeling his soft tongue moving around in her mouth, her fingers began throbbed. Lucia tightened her arms around his neck and loosely clenched her fists. The kiss was sweet without any fierceness.


Hugo pulled away from her lips and kissed the side of her mouth. Then he lay her back down on the bed.


“Go to bed. Your eyes are full of sleep. I’ll go and get some work done overnight.”


“Is there a lot of work?”


“Instead of lying next to you and spending a sleepless night, I am going to get some work done.”


“…you. Do you only think of that every day?”


“Of course.”


Lucia looked at him in disbelief then burst into laughter.


* * *


Hugo looked through the list of participants for the tea party that Lucia had attended today. Fabian inwardly grumbled at having to come into the ducal residence late at night with documents but on the outside, his expression was earnest.


Even though Fabian sometimes held his ground against the Duke, he had never forgotten that fundamentally, the Duke was a scary person. Unless it was absolutely necessary, Fabian would never do or say anything that would offend the Duke.


Hugo had light-heartedly asked Fabian to bring the list of today’s attendees. In the future, she would attend parties more often and it was impossible for him to individually check who attended every time. He was going to look through it this time because today was her first gathering.


As Hugo took a rough look over the list of participants, his eyes twitched slightly.


‘Fuck.’


A word that Kwiz often used automatically popped up in his head. The ‘Countess of Alvin’ was very boldly printed on the list. Hugo hoped that he had misread so he checked it over a few more times but there was no doubt. Hugo suddenly began to sweat.


“This tea party. Find out exactly what happened during this party.” (Hugo)


Work has increased again. ‘Hu-hu’ Fabian lamented inwardly.


“When do you want it?” (Fabian)


“As soon as possible.”


Hugo’s voice was dark.


At times like this, one must unconditionally crawl. Fabian answered in a reliable manner.


“Understood. I will focus all manpower on it and take care of it.”


A few days later, Hugo received a report. A portion of maids that waited on the party attendees were bought off and the situation at the time was recreated as much as possible. Some of it was the pretty useless prattle of women and the amount was fairly thick but Hugo read through it with patience. When he finished reading everything, his sentiment was simple:


‘I’m in trouble.’

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