πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️ Lucia Side Story 4.6 - 5.5 Full Chapters πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️

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 LIFE OF THE DUCAL COUPLE(6)
LUCIA
Side Story 4.6 - DAILY LIFE OF THE DUCAL COUPLE(6)


DAILY LIFE OF THE DUCAL COUPLE(6)


T/N: Slight trigger warning. Read with caution.


Lucia woke up rather late, and when she opened her eyes, she idly thought that the bedroom seemed stranger than usual, then she remembered that this was her husband’s bedroom. She couldn’t see her husband anywhere. Perhaps the fireplace had been lit because the room was warm unlike yesterday.


She blinked her eyes, buried deep inside the blanket then she lazily got up. Her whole body felt listless and heavy.


She felt like they had really set a record last night. After all, they had gone to sleep around when the sun was dimly rising. Like she had taken a stimulant, Lucia didn’t fall asleep as easily as usual. And maybe thanks to that, he didn’t even think of letting her go. Because of this, Lucia came to a realization. All this while, whenever she fell asleep, her husband also stopped.


As the blanket came off, cold air hit her body. She was naked. As she wondered where her underwear was, she remembered the lingerie from yesterday and heat rose to her face.


She turned around and found the lingerie in question, lying neatly on the bedside table. She picked it to check it and her mouth fell open. It had totally become a rag.


When the door suddenly opened, Lucia was startled and quickly dragged the blanket to cover herself. Her husband entered the room, fully dressed like he would be going out soon.


In that moment, Lucia felt like she had gained the power to see through things(1). She could see the tight muscles on his broad chest even though he was wearing a shirt. The sweat flowing down his chest caught her eyes, suddenly shimmering before her. Even as he approached and perched on the bed, Lucia couldn’t look straight at him.


“Y-You haven’t left yet?”


“I’ll be going soon.”


He gazed at her with a mysterious look in his eyes then he picked something up and seeing the rag in his fingers, Lucia screamed inwardly. He chuckled, looking at Lucia, who couldn’t meet his eyes at all, then he put his hand down again.


“…How could you tear it up like that. Do you know how much it cost…”


“Hmm. So you planned on wearing this again?”


“Eh? N…No. Not that. I mean, I’m just saying.”


The sight of her babbling away in embarrassment was so pretty that Hugo couldn’t help but lower his head and plant a light kiss on her lips.


“Um…yesterday…was it okay?”


“Be more specific.”


“Uh…I mean…was it better than usual or something like that.”


He burst into laughter.


“What did you think? Was it better than usual?”


“Ah…it was a little…embarrassing.”


Then Lucia added in a small voice, ‘the usual is just fine.’ His gaze turned deep as he looked at her white cheeks stained with red. Once again, he pecked at Lucia’s lips. It lasted a bit longer than the previous one, but it was still a light kiss.


“I already said this before but I’m crazy enough about you even without such things.”


He lifted her chin with a finger and kissed her again. This time, he sucked on her lower lips for a long time.


“I don’t think you knew, but there’s an aphrodisiac on your underwear. From the looks of it, you’re quite sensitive to drugs, so don’t wear it anymore.”


“An aphrodisiac?”


Lucia’s eyes widened with a start. And then remembering how she was unusually sensitive last night and didn’t fall asleep unlike before, she was convinced. And she also remembered Antoine’s face, confidently claiming that these things had never been returned.



“…By the way, how do you know this?”


“The taste. I’ve been trained to distinguish between all sorts of poison, so I can tell when something tastes strange.”


Lucia held her burning face. She had basically worn an indecent underwear and ran to her husband, drunk on aphrodisiac. Hugo chuckled, seeing her face so red it looked like it would burst.


“Now, I wonder where you heard this strange talk from.”


“Huh?”


“Whenever you do something unusual, that’s usually the case, isn’t it? I told you, didn’t I? Don’t listen to what those women say.”


Lucia pursed her lips. What exactly is the range for ‘those women’? Inwardly, she grumbled, your wife isn’t such a refined lady, you know.


“…They said I should be careful. So…”


“Careful? About what.”


“…Marital boredom.”


“…Ugh, seriously.”


Hugo clicked his tongue in disbelief. Marital boredom? How was that even possible, even now there wasn’t the slightest hint of it. His heart was more passionate for her with every day that passed. Today more than yesterday and tomorrow more than today. It was to the extent that he feared the heat of the passion swallowing him up.


“So? Do you think we have marital boredom? Are you tired of me?”


Lucia stared at him. Somehow, she felt like this was usually a question asked by a woman.


As Lucia kept staring at him silently, his expression gradually became more threatening. Seeing his changing expression, Lucia felt a surge of mischief and acted like she was seriously thinking about it.


“Hmm…you know…”


“Vivian!”


Lucia burst out laughing and kissed him lightly on the lips.


“I love you.”


Seeing that his expression was fully relaxed, she kissed his again.


“I love you very very much.”


He held the back of her neck and covered her small lips with his, like he was replying in this manner. His tongue entered deep into her mouth, sweeping through her soft flesh. When the long, sticky kiss came to an end, both of them sucked in a low breath.


“…Let’s do it once.”


“What?”


Hugo flung away the blanket and flipped her over in one move.


“You…You said you were going out!”


“Why’d you have to provoke me then?”


“When did…Kyaa!”


He grabbed her ankles and like that, pulled her down. Her legs hovered at the bottom of the bed as she lay face-down on the bed while he held her waist and lifted her butt.


When he heavily entered from behind, Lucia let out a scream. She didn’t even have the time to breathe properly. He moved out then he thrust in all the way to the hilt again.


“Uk…Hng. Wa…Wait…”


He didn’t even listen to her pleas. Mercilessly, he rammed into her, over and over again. He roughly penetrated deep inside her innards that was still excited from taking him all night. Her sensitive flesh clung tight to his firmness.


It hurt. And at the same time, her sight flickered due giddiness. He was different from his usual self, he didn’t caress or soothe her. As if fucking her was his purpose, he focused only on that. Her face was buried in the sheets and every time his thighs hit her butt, her entire body shook.


“Hk! A little slower…”


She reached behind her, trying to grab his thigh and push him out. But no matter what she did or said, she couldn’t stop him from driving in relentlessly.


Her lewd body quickly got wet, making a path for him as if asking him to enter deeper. A hot thing rode along the path, rummaging inside her.


He feverishly drilled into her from behind, his breathing not wavering in the slightest. Every time a firm rod slammed into her, she felt like she couldn’t breathe. His manhood entered deep inside her, piercing and stirring up her spasming walls before leaving.


“Ah! Ahhk!”


Lucia cried out, the dizziness overwhelming her. It felt like her entire body was hit with a strong stimulus.


Just when she thought she couldn’t endure anymore, he bit her neck and ejaculated inside her. She thought he would continue to persist like he usually did, so she was thankful. The powerful thrust into her, the stinging pain at the back of her neck, and the hot liquid spreading inside her gave Lucia a sense of pleasure that almost drove her unconscious.


Her whole body trembled minutely. As he kissed her shoulders a few times, he slowly pulled out of her. Lucia fought for breath, unable to move. The only thought on her mind was ‘what is this?’. There were times when he was rough, but this was the first time he fucked her like a savage beast.


“I’ll head out.”


He whispered in her ear.


Even after he left and the door closed, Lucia lay blankly on the bed for quite a long time, her whole body filled with tingles. After a good while passed, she slowly raised her body. You couldn’t call that sex anything but instinctual. It felt like her soul was being sucked out.


There was still a side of him that she didn’t know. She held her reddening cheeks. She felt very ashamed because her heart was pounding; not because she discovered her man’s romantic charm but because of his lust that was closer to instinctual.

______________

LUCIA
Side Story 5.1 - Where Dream and Reality Meet

Lucia Side Story 5.1: Where Dream and Reality Meet

WHERE DREAM AND REALITY MEET (1)


The brooch Lucia planned to give Hugo as a birthday present took much longer than she expected to be completed. The craftsman who sketched the design was injured in a sudden accident and had to stop working for a while.


The jeweler sent a letter explaining the situation and stated that they could hand over the design to another craftsman if it was needed urgently.


Lucia considered it for a while, but for some reason, she didn’t want to have another craftsman in charge of making it. So she decided to leave the design to the original craftsman even if she had to wait longer.


Just when she had almost forgotten about it, the completed brooch was delivered to the mansion.


Lucia placed the brooch wrapped in luxurious velvet on the table and press her hand on her turbulent heart to regulate her breathing. Then she carefully picked it up, like it was a very precious treasure, and brought it closer to her face.


‘I’m right. It’s the same.’


Lucia didn’t make any other further requests of the craftsman nor did she ask the craftsman to add anything at all. She only left it to the craftsman and waited. In other words, the brooch was completely the craftsman’s creative work.


Despite that, it looked exactly like the item that Lucia kept for many years in her dream. No matter how she looked at it, even when she closed her eyes to remember, it looked the same. As she stared at the item in her hand, she felt like she was going back and forth between dream and reality.


‘Was this originally his…?’


If that was the case, then she really had no idea how his thing found its way into her jewelry box.


Lucia didn’t have any relationship with him in her dream. She had really never touched his collar even once. And as for him, he probably didn’t even remember that someone like her existed. In her dream, he was someone completely out of her reach.


Jerome carefully approached her as she was lost in thought.


“Milady. The two young masters are back.”


“Only the kids are back?”


Lucia wrapped the brooch in velvet again and put it in the box.


“Yes. I only saw the two of them come down from the carriage.”


“He didn’t say he would be returning late today…”


Lucia gave the box to her maid and told the maid to take it to her bedroom, then she left the receiving room.


* * *


Damian entered the mansion and a smile bloomed on his face as he watched the girl who was rushing down from the second floor. He was ready to hug his sister, running to him with her dazzling golden hair fluttering behind her. Damian opened his arms, but his sister betrayed his expectations.


Evangeline came to a stop just a few steps away from Damian and screamed at him.


“Elder brother, did you stop Jude from coming?!”


Evangeline’s pearly cheeks were flushed red. Her expression wasn’t that a cute sister joyfully greeting her returning brother but of fury and indignation.


The unfamiliar look on his younger sister’s face made Damian pause and he couldn’t say anything. Because he was so taken aback, he didn’t even really hear what Evangeline said.


“Eve.”


“I heard elder brother stopped Jude from coming here! Did you really do that?”


Seeing the raging figure of the girl before him, Damian searched his mind for why his sister was angry.


Jude. He felt the boy was now much older, so it wasn’t right to keep allowing them to behave so familiar, which is why he advised his parents to restrict the boy’s access. His father agreed with him on that and when his father chose to do something, his mother usually respected his father’s will.




Damian didn’t personally block Jude’s visits, but it was true he played a decisive role in making it happen.


“…Yeah. I told father he should.”


Despite her anger, Evangeline wanted to believe that her brother wouldn’t do such a thing but hearing this, her expression frozen with shock.


“Why? Why can’t I play with Jude?”


“Eve. You and Jude aren’t children anymore, you cannot keep playing together forever.”


“Why aren’t you allowing my friend to come to our house? I’ve never told any of your friends not to come here. I like big brother Chris and big brother Bruno too, but why does elder brother hate Jude?”


Even though Evangeline finally called his name properly, Bruno unfortunately couldn’t be happy about it because of the current situation. As he watched the thunderous war-like atmosphere between the two brother and sister, Bruno slowly stepped backwards. He didn’t want to be caught up in it for no reason. He certainly didn’t want to be tied to Damian and draw Evangeline’s hate.


“It’s not because I hate Jude, Eve. There’s a reason why this was necessary. If you just get angry like this, we can’t really talk properly.”


“I won’t talk! I hate you!”


“Evangeline.”


A firm voice cut off the girl’s angry cries. Evangeline turned her head with a start. Her lips trembled when she saw her mother not smiling at all. Whenever her mother scolded her, she always called her Evangeline instead of Eve.


“What is this rude behavior towards your brother?”


Lucia had raised Evangeline relatively freely. She didn’t enforce formal attire like it was commonly done for noble young misses, nor did she make her practice covering her mouth modestly when she laughed.


Instead of that, she thoroughly enforced education in etiquette and manners. Her daughter’s act of screaming and throwing a tantrum at her older brother, who was much older than her, in front of the servants, was something completely against Lucia’s education philosophy.


“Apologize to your brother and go to your room.”


Evangeline bit her lips and lowered her head. Her mother usually didn’t get angry but when she was scolding someone, she was strict. Most of the time when Evangeline was scolded, she admitted her fault. But not this time. What her elder brother did was far more wrong than rude behavior towards him.


Lucia frowned, seeing that her daughter was stubbornly insisting on keeping her mouth shut.


“Evangeline.”


“…”


When Lucia said ‘Evangeline’ one more time, with anger seeping into her voice, Evangeline abruptly lifted her head.


“I’m not at fault. Why are you only like this to me, Mother?”


Lucia was really caught off-guard by her daughter’s reply. She suddenly couldn’t think of anything to say and just stared at her daughter.


“Eve.”


Damian cut in with a fixed expression. Damian didn’t care if his sister yelled at him or anything, but he couldn’t just watch her act rude to their mother.


“How can you talk to Mother like that?”


Attacked from both sides, Evangeline had nowhere to escape. Tears began to fill the girl’s amber eyes.


Bruno’s hand subconsciously moved, wanting to wipe the child’s tears, then he quietly brought it down. Even though they were staying together as a family, his fundamental circumstances didn’t allow him to cross the family border. So he had no choice but to simply watch a situation like today’s unfold.


Evangeline’s shoulders heaved as she began to cry. She shut her mouth, as if showing her stubbornness while tears fell from her eyes.


Although Lucia was taken aback by her daughter’s defiance, she felt sad to watch her sob her heart out. But even if that was the case, she couldn’t just let this behavior pass over like this.


Damian sighed heavily as he alternated gazes between his troubled mother and the crying Evangeline. Normally, Damian was the one hugging and appeasing Evangeline, but right now, he couldn’t do anything.


‘I should have talked to Evangeline first and made sure she fully understood before talking to my parents.’


Damian chided himself for his actions that ultimately hurt Evangeline.


Evangeline was crying while Lucia and Damian were helplessly trying to figure out how to solve this situation. A servant hesitated upon sensing the mood in the air but eventually relayed the news.


“Master…has arrived.”


When she saw that her husband had returned, Lucia felt it was actually good timing. She couldn’t retreat first in this scenario and she didn’t want to hurt her daughter by pushing her even more.

____________

LUCIA
Side Story 5.2 - Where Dream and Reality Meet

Side Story 5.2: Where Dream and Reality Meet

WHERE DREAM AND REALITY MEET (2)


“What’s going on?”


As soon Hugo stepped inside, he sensed the unusual atmosphere in the house. And he found his daughter crying, with the rims of her eyes and nose red. Her amber eyes that were like her mother’s were filled with tears and when she met his eyes, her shoulders shook even more.


It was both loveable and pitiful. With a faint smile on his face, Hugo bent down and stretched out his arms to his daughter. Evangeline glanced at her brother and mother once, then she slowly walked to her father. As she wiped her flowing tears with the back of her hand, her steps towards her father gradually grew faster. Evangeline ran into her father’s arms and threw her arms around his neck.


“Waaaaaa!!”


Hugo gently patted his daughter’s back as she sobbed on his shoulders. He hugged Evangeline and stood up before turning to look at his wife. He nodded at her, telling her to leave this to him then he headed to the receiving room.


Who knew how such a small body was pouring out so much tears, but Hugo’s neck was quickly soaked as his daughter buried her face in it. He sat down on the receiving room couch with his daughter in his arms and simply patted her back, not saying anything and just letting her cry as much as she wanted.


When the child’s cries turned to snivels, Hugo asked his daughter.


“Do you want water?”


Evangeline nodded her head. Hugo got up, still carrying her, walked to the table, poured out some water and brought it to her lips. Evangeline quickly gulped down the water while hiccuping from the aftermath of crying.


Hugo returned to the couch, sat down, then he spoke to his daughter who was sulkily sitting on his lap.


“Eve.”


“…”


“You don’t want to tell me what’s going on?”


Evangeline shook her head.


“…Elder brother…stopped Jude from coming.”


“Damian drove Jude away?”


“Jude didn’t come. But I heard elder brother made him not to come.”


Hugo was able to grasp the entire situation with her brief explanation. He had gotten increasing skilled in doing this as he raised his young daughter who wished to express many things with her limited but sufficient vocabulary.


He remembered telling his wife not to allow the boys into the ducal residence anymore. And when he said that, his wife had told him:


[You can’t just stop the children from playing together all of a sudden. If you forcibly take Eve’s friend away from her, she’ll be hurt. Let me try to make Eve understand even if it takes some time.]


He felt his wife had a point, so he told her to do as she saw fit. There was no way his wife would unilaterally stop Jude from coming to visit without talking to Evangeline. And even if Jude was truly restricted from visiting, it had no relation to Damian. Hugo thought Eve had misunderstood something.


“Eve, did you ask your mother why Jude didn’t come to see you?”


“…No.”


“Your brother didn’t do it.”


“Elder brother said he did it.”


“Then Damian is also mistaken. Damian can’t stop Jude from coming to visit. Only your mother and I can. I have never stopped Jude from coming here, and your mother had never done so as well.”


“…”


“Did you cry because you were upset Jude didn’t come?”


“…I…yelled at elder brother…and…mother got angry…”


Seeing Evangeline slurring the end of her sentence and hesitating, Hugo sensed that there was something more to it than just crying because she was scolded by her mother.



“And?”


“…I talked back to mother.”


Oh dear. Hugo chuckled. He might have to placate his wife next after his daughter.


“Eve. You have to apologize to your mother for acting rude to her, and you also have to tell your brother you’re sorry for misunderstanding him. Okay?”


“…Okay.”


* * *


When her husband carried her daughter to the receiving room and the cries slowly petered out, Lucia heaved a sigh of relief. She realized her daughter who she only fought to raise up well, had now reached the age to confront her and express her own opinions. It was an admirable but lonely feeling.


“It’s my fault, mother. It seems she’s angry because she can’t play with Jude.”


“Jude? What about Jude?”


“Didn’t you take measures to stop Jude from coming here anymore?”


“No. If you suddenly separate two children who’ve always played together, it will hurt them both, so I was going to give it some time and make them both understand. Today, Jude didn’t come but I was not notified about it and this had never before. I was about to send someone to the Marquis residence to see if anything has happened. I guess Eve heard something strange somewhere.”


Displeasure flashed in Lucia’s eyes. For a young child to get such news, it was very obvious where the source came from. It was the close servants waiting on her. Lucia had always instructed them to be careful with what they say around the child. It seems she couldn’t just let this incident pass. She had to imbue caution into the servants once again and severely scold whoever was responsible for spreading this rumor.


“Even though you’re innocent, you became the target for Eve’s anger.”(Lucia)


“No. Eve is right. I don’t have the right to stop Eve’s friend from coming to our house.”(Damian)


“If you don’t have the right, then who does? You did it because you’re worried for Eve. Go up and get some rest. I will sent Eve to apologize to you later.”


“I don’t think you need…”


“Wrong is wrong, Damian. You cannot just accept everything Eve does. Both you and your father, you only know how to say she’s pretty. I’m worried she’ll grow spoiled at this rate.”


Damian didn’t agree with his mother’s worries. He believed Eve would grow into a lady more thoughtful, lovely and beautiful than anyone else.


‘Afterall, she is mother’s daughter.’


* * *


Damian lifted his head at the sound of someone knocking on his door. It was obvious who it was, so Damian told them to come in with a smile on his lips.


The door opened and Evangeline poked her head in through the crack of the door. It seems she planned to carefully look around the room but found herself staring straight at Damian who was looking at the open door.


Evangeline flinched in surprise, then she hesitantly entered the room with a bashful smile. The rims of her eyes were still reddish due to her crying earlier. Damian’s chest squeezed with pain as he was once again reminded of the sight of his sister crying before.


“I’m sorry.”


Evangeline was startled to hear Damian’s apology since she had come here to apologize to him. Evangeline stared at Damian, her eyes asking why he was apologizing to her.


“I’m sorry for telling our parents that Jude shouldn’t come anymore, Eve.”


“…But it wasn’t your fault that Jude didn’t come today.”


“I know. But I still insisted on what I thought without even talking to you. Next time, I will definitely talk to you first.”


“…Nn. I’m sorry too, for yelling at you. I was wrong.”


The two of them reconciled pretty quickly.


Evangeline skipped down the stairs in a happy mood. Her mother was tough sometimes, but Evangeline really loved her mother a lot. She held a book in her hand, wanting her mother to read it to her.


It seemed like Evangeline was going to jump into the receiving room, but she quickly stopped when she looked inside the open door. Her parents sat side by side on the sofa. She couldn’t hear what the both of them were talking about. Her mother’s face was filled with smiles, and her father was looking at her mother with very affectionate eyes.


Her mother said something, and her father smiled then kissed her mother’s lips. This was a sight Evangeline had seen several times already, so after seeing the familiar affectionate sight of her parents, she turned around.
___________

LUCIA
Side Story 5.3 - WHERE DREAM AND REALITY MEET (3)

WHERE DREAM AND REALITY MEET (3)


As Bruno was heading down to the first floor, he discovered Evangeline sitting down at the corner of the staircase. The sight of the girl resting her chin on her small hand seemed serious.


He got worried she might still be in a bad mood, so he approached her carefully. When he quietly sat down next to her, Eve turned around slightly and from what he could tell, she seemed okay.


“Eve.”


Evangeline glanced at Bruno then she turned back again and sighed deeply, like a tired old man.


Bruno pressed his lips together to stop himself from laughing. The serious look on her face was so cute that he just wanted to hug her.


“Why do you look down? Are you still mad at Damian? Do you want me to scold him for you?”


“No. I’ve made up with big brother Damian.”


“Then what is it?”


“Pretty big brother.”


“…Hm?”


“I wish I had someone who likes me the most.”


“What? Of course, there’s someone who likes you the most, Eve. Both your parents and Damian, they love you a lot.”


“No, I know that. But Father loves mother the most. And big brother Damian loves mother more.”


“…”


Caught off-guard, Bruno couldn’t say anything. And he couldn’t reply that it was not just Evangeline complaining.


The Taran family’s father and son were both in the very tight grasp of the Taran Lady of the House. But it didn’t mean they didn’t love Evangeline. The familial love for Evangeline, and the other form of love for the Duchess were both absolute. Since Bruno could sense this, it was hardly possible that Evangeline couldn’t. On the contrary, because she was a child, she was more sensitive to it.


“Big brother, you like mother more than me too, don’t you?”


“Eve.”


Bruno didn’t know what to do. He wondered how best to explain this in a way that wouldn’t hurt Eve’s feelings.


“You can’t compare who like who more when it comes to this. Eve, can you say you like one of your parents more than the other?”


Evangeline was quiet for a while then she muttered.


“…Jude isn’t like that.”


“Jude isn’t like what?”


“Jude said he likes me more. He said he likes me way more than his mom and my mom.”


Bruno lip’s twitched upwards crookedly. That little rascal.


“And so you like Jude?”


“Mn.”


Ha, Bruno snorted. And he remembered the affable smile of Jude, the younger brother of his friend, Chris.


‘We shouldn’t underestimate him because he’s a child.’


Didn’t he sneakily ask Eve to marry him? He had thought it was just something an immature little boy said without really knowing what it was, but perhaps the boy’s intention was more cunning than he thought.*


Even if he was Chris’s little brother, Bruno couldn’t leave his precious little sister to be eaten up. Bruno’s fighting spirit burned against Jude.


“Then I will be the one Eve likes the most.”


Bruno smiled meltingly as he watched his sister’s eyes open wide. It was a sweet smile that might have caused the young ladies who were always peeking at him to faint from ecstasy if they saw it.


“Or do you like Jude but not me?”


Evangeline quickly shook her head. Then she grinned softly with rose cheeks.


How cute, Bruno rubbed Evangeline’s small head then he picked up the book next to her and stood up.


“Let’s go upstairs. I’ll read it to you.”


“Mn!”


Evangeline took Bruno’s held out hand with excitement.



“But big brother. You’re really so pretty. You’re prettier than Patricia.”


Evangeline was still too young to fall for Bruno’s charming smile. So she expressed her appreciation from the viewpoint of a child. Patricia was a lovely princess doll that Evangeline cherished.


“…”


Bruno knew it was a compliment, but he let out a sigh. His complex mood couldn’t really be described as pleasant. He prayed for the day Evangeline would remove the title ‘pretty’ from his name.


* * *


“They say kids only listen when they’re kids.”


Hugo pulled her close and squeezed her shoulders. His large hand gently stroked her back.


“Are you still unhappy? Eve apologized and said she was sorry.”


“I’m not mad at Eve. It’s just…my heart feels lonely. She’s already so big…”


“It’s just a child’s tantrum. Don’t take it so seriously.”


“I guess I’ve only thought of Eve as a young child.”


“She is still young.”


“No. I think she’s grown up. I remember you saying this a while back: Even after raising them up, children will later go out to find their own path.”


Hugo laughed deeply as he listened to his wife’s grumbling. It looks like today, he was fated to appease both mother and daughter.


“I did say that. Let the kids grow. All I need is you.”


“…”


Actually, when he said it like that, Lucia was unwilling. Just as she couldn’t imagine a life without him, she couldn’t imagine a life without her children.


“Wow, you won’t say it back, even if it’s just lip service.”


“…Hugh. Um…”


“It’s fine. This is why they say the one who loves more loses.”


“Where in the world is that weird confidence coming from? Did you look into my heart or what?”


“Originally, the lacking side is the side that feels it.”[1]


Lucia was silent for a while then she sat up.


“Lacking?”


Hugo felt like he could see her rigid expression despite the darkness in the room, so he grabbed her arms and pulled her back into his embrace.


“Why’re getting serious again? Guess I can’t say anything.”


“I love you. I don’t want you thinking that I love the children more than you.”


“I know. It’s just an issue that can’t be helped. You have a definite priority between me and the kids and I know you have a hard time distinguishing it. I have no intention of pushing you to feel exactly like I do. I just don’t want you to worry too much over the children’s issue. Don’t set your sight elsewhere when someone who’s always thinking about you is right next to you.”


“…Your smooth talk is getting better and better.”


Lucia burrowed into his chest. When she lost her mother at a young age, she thought she would never meet someone who would love her unconditionally like her mother did. Sometimes when she felt the overflowing love he had for her, her heart was overwhelmed.


Translator’s corner:


[1] Not sure how to word this. From my (limited) understanding, he’s saying the side that wants more feels the lack of love?? That’s my best explanation. For anyone that knows KR, this is the raw: [“μ›λž˜ λΆ€μ‘±ν•œ μͺ½μ΄ λŠλΌλŠ” 법이야.”] If you have a better wording, please let me know.
______________

LUCIA
Side Story 5.4 - Where Dream and Reality Meet

Side Story 5.4: Where Dream and Reality Meet

WHERE DREAM AND REALITY MEET (4)


She seemed to have had a strange dream. Lucia squinted her eyes and tried her best to recall the dream, but she couldn’t remember anything. She felt like it was a very pleasant dream. She dawdled for a bit, feeling down then she got up. As soon as she left her blanket, which was heated by her body temperature, the cold air in the room covered her entire body.


She placed her feet down beside the bed and the sensation of the cold wooden floor on the soles of her feet made her shiver. She used her feet to grope for her slippers and put them on. The inside of the slippers was cold as well, but it was made of soft wool so it quickly grew warm.


She dipped her hand in the water that she had left out last night in advance. The chill from it made goosebumps rise till the crown of her head. ‘Ueeee’, she groaned bizarrely and quickly finished washing herself with the cold water.


Lucia looked at her blurry image in the mirror. Clear mirrors were very expensive items, so unfortunately, the mirror she had was stained with black.


This sort of mirror also had its advantages. Because it showed no blemishes or wrinkles, it had the effect of making the reflected image pretty. There wasn’t anyone to show herself to anyways, so it was enough to just check that there was nothing on her face; that’s what she thought, but nowadays, the blurry mirror irritated her.


Fixing a stare at the mirror, she brought her face close to it. And with that, she could see a small wrinkle that wasn’t very noticeable.


‘My life has just gone by without me even noticing. I’m already so old…’


She had already gotten older than the age her mother was when she passed away. As she grew older, she realized her mother was actually very young when she gave birth to her. She couldn’t help but wonder how many nights her mother secretly cried to herself while raising a daughter at such a young age. She felt sorry to her mother for not living a good life despite her efforts.


“This isn’t the time for this.”


After sitting absentmindedly for a while, she suddenly sprang to her feet and threw on her clothes. As she left her bedroom, she found the door of the opposite room open. She used to use this room for storing miscellaneous things, but now, there was a guest staying there for a while.


Lucia quietly approached and glanced inside the room. As expected, it was empty. The guest was an early riser so he always woke up earlier than Lucia, then he would leave the door open as if to indicate that he was already up.


‘I didn’t think he’d stay here this long.’


She was seized with a strange feeling. Someway or the other, she had been living together with this guest who suddenly appeared for a little over a month.


‘It’s amazing how it doesn’t feel uncomfortable.’


Even though a stranger had butt into the space where she had lived alone for many years, it didn’t feel out of place, as if she had lived with someone for a long time.


The man probably couldn’t even imagine it. That the bumpkin living in this little rural area knew his identity. Lucia had heard a banging on her door at sunset and when she opened the door, she couldn’t even begin to describe how surprised she saw to see the man standing in front of her. When he asked if he could rent a bed for the night, she had quickly nodded her head like a fool.


‘Don’t even dream about it. He’ll be leaving soon.’


Lucia chided herself. He was someone way out of her league.


‘When he leaves, he’ll quickly forget about an old peasant like me.’



He wouldn’t even remembered her as a woman he passed by. Even though she knew that, she was aware of the changes in herself as these days, she kept looking in the mirror. The gentle breeze blowing in her heart kept making her excited.






Lucia went into the kitchen to prepare breakfast. She chopped the ingredients and lit the fire. She habitually reached out to scoop water from the water jar that was filled to the brim, but then she paused. The water jar that was half-full from yesterday’s use was now filled to the brim as always.


Even though she had never asked, he filled the jar with water, every morning without fail. And in his spare time, he chopped firewood. Her storage was filled with so much firewood that she felt like they could last all winter.


Lucia suddenly laughed. She wasn’t sure why such a precious personage was so stringent in doing this kind of unpleasant tasks.


When the soup began to boil, she stepped out to look for him. She checked his room first since he might have come back while she was cooking but it was empty. Next, she checked the backyard where the firewood was usually cut. But there was no sign of him there too. She walked around the house several times, but he was nowhere to be found.


‘Did he leave? Without even saying goodbye?’


Her heart felt a bit empty. She went to the backyard again and stood, vacantly staring at the pile of wood that was yet to become firewood.


“What are you doing?”


Lucia spun around in surprise.


There he was, looking at Lucia with a particularly indifferent expression. In his hand were a few wriggling rabbits bound up together by a vine.


‘Right…hunting.’


He often went hunting in the morning. Lucia’s face grew hot. She felt so embarrassed of herself because she had completely forgotten about it and gotten all sad on her own.


“Ah…breakfast is ready.”


“I guess I’m late.”


“Well…please come in and eat.”


Lucia nodded to him in greeting and hurried into the house. She couldn’t look back because for some reason, she felt his gaze on her back.
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LUCIA
Side Story 5.5 - Where Dream and Reality Meet

Side Story 5.5: Where Dream and Reality Meet

WHERE DREAM AND REALITY MEET (5)


‘I guess lunch will be rabbit stew. Should I make some grilled clams too?’


As she ate breakfast, Lucia was thinking about the next meal. When she lived alone, she made roughly three meals for herself and that was it, but ever since she had a guest, it became something she put effort into. Furthermore, he was certainly used to eating only high-quality dishes, so she felt embarrassed to give him her shoddy meals.


Lucia secretly watched him as they ate. She couldn’t believe it even though he was right in front of her. Even though she knew it was impossible for there to be two men with such an appearance and atmosphere around them.


Her gaze fell on the soup bowl he was eating from. Lucia gave a small sigh as she watched him eat a breakfast consisting of soup with only onions and potatoes.


‘This place…it doesn’t suit him.’


She used him as an excuse, but the truth was, it was for her own sake. He was going to leave anyways. It was better for her to send him away before spending time with him became something she was used to in her daily life.


After they were done eating, Lucia brought out some tea and spoke as if she was just saying it in passing:


“When it gets colder, it will be harder to move.”


He looked at her with a brow raised.


“Do you mean you can’t let me sleep and eat for free anymore? Do not worry, I will pay the lodging fees.”


He had already done more than enough work to pay for accommodation. The firewood he cut alone was enough to last the entire winter. Thanks to his regular hunts, there were piles of skins in the storage and if they were sold, it would bring in a considerable sum of money. Lucia had never eaten meat almost every day like she did nowadays.


No matter where they were, capable people always shone. His tenaciousness was true. He was the only person who made her heart flutter in her memories, marking with the pain of her youth. So Lucia’s heart throbbed when she looked at him and she felt bitter because she was reminded of her place and knew that she didn’t suit him at all.


“That’s not what I meant. The person waiting for you…will be worried.”


“There is no such person.”


He nonchalantly declared. Lucia wanted to immediately ask, ‘how can that be?’. He was already married. He had both a wife and a son waiting for him. And it wasn’t just his family. Many of his subordinates were probably stamping their feet, searching for his whereabouts.


“I am uncomfortable.”(Lucia)


“…”


“I’ve lived alone for so long that living with someone else is too much for me.”


Lucia felt him staring at her, but she looked down and deliberately maintained a look of determination on her face. A while later, she heard the sound of something metal hitting her wooden table. Lucia lifted her gaze slightly to look and flinched.


‘Why is that…?’


The thing he put on the table was an item she kept buried deep in her drawer. It was a brooch, framed in the shape of a lion with red jewels on it. She still had no idea how it came into her possession, but there was someone she was reminded of when she looked at it so she just couldn’t throw it away.


Sometimes when she remembered it, she took out. Just like how her mother took out the pendant from time to time. And nowadays, because the person she thought of when she took out the brooch was actually in front of her, she found herself taking it out more often.


‘Have I ever brought it out of my room?’


She quickly reached for the brooch, but his hand was faster. Seeing the brooch in his hand, Lucia bit her lips. And she glared fiercely at him.



“I see you repay my goodwill in this manner. Did you go through my room?”


“Do not misunderstand. I only picked up something that was dropped on the floor.”


“Dropped where?”


“In front of your bedroom door.”


“If that’s the case, you didn’t have to pick it up. Isn’t it obvious that something misplaced in the house belongs to the house owner? I would have found it pretty quickly.”


“You’re right. But, there is something I want to ask. Is this yours?”


“You’re being really rude. Are you suspecting me of having something that isn’t mine? Is it an item too precious for a puny woman to have? It’s definitely mine so please give it back.”


He looked at Lucia’s fuming figure then he chuckled.


“Did you know? You’ve said more today than you’ve done the past month I’ve been here till now.”


She could say the same for him; he was saying much more than usual. Lucia studied his change in attitude with doubt in her eyes. His expression was usually cold and emotionless but somehow, today, he had a smile on his face.


“You know who I am.”


Lucia flinched in spite of herself. When she saw his eyes narrow slightly, she inwardly knew something was wrong.


“A farming woman living alone in a remote corner knows who I am? Of course, I was suspicious of your identity and tried to find out. I’m the type of person that can’t let things pass when I’m suspicious. If not for this thing, I probably wouldn’t have ever figured it out. But it’s been so long ago that it took me a while to remember.”


“What do…”


“Your name, if my memory serves me right, is Vivian.”


Lucia’s face instantly turned pale. She unknowingly tightened her fist even more and her clenched fists trembled on the table. He flicked the brooch at the tip of his fingers, caught it, then he grinned. His vivid red eyes curved slightly.


“You’re right; this is yours. Afterall, I gave it to you. I put it in the jewelry box you hid in that secret passage.”


* * *


Lucia was trembling as she woke up with a start. She couldn’t move an inch, like she was frozen, and her eyes darted around frantically in the dark.


Where is this? Which one is the dream, which one is reality? Then she felt his warmth beside her and heaved a sigh of relief. This was reality.


‘Oh…Oh my god…’


She couldn’t believe this dazzling wonder at all.


‘I remember now…’


When she woke up from the dream in the morning at 12 years old, she thought she hadn’t seen her life in her later years. But today’s dream told her something different. It wasn’t that she didn’t see it but that her small head at the time couldn’t take some parts of her extremely vast dream.


In her dream, all the bitter events in her life happened in her youth. Her life afterwards was relatively calm and stable. In particular, the events that shocked Lucia the most was her marriage to Count Matin and the things that happened after that marriage. They were so overwhelmingly shocking that it pushed away her memory of other events. However, the memory lying unconscious in her mind was stimulated by the brooch she received today and made itself known.


She could even faintly recall her memories of old age in her dream. She was smiling and was accompanied by a man who looked like her husband, decades later.


Her heart pounded heavily in her chest. It squeezed so tightly that it hurt. Her eyes heated up and she couldn’t stop the tears that flowed down her face. She covered her face with her hands and tried to stop her sobs from leaking.


‘It was you. It was always you.’


She thought she had lived a life with no connection to him, but her memory showed her that in her dream, she had met him. Although she went through many incidents and spent many years alone before she met him, she eventually did and formed a relationship with him.


Lucia thought she had distorted the original flow of the future. She thought she had forcefully made him connected to her. But now she saw that she would have certainly met him in the future. There was a long thread of fate between the two of them. Her whole body trembled with emotion.


“Vivian?”


As he was a light sleeper, he was woken up by the sound of her subdued sobs.


“What’s wrong? Are you hurt?”


He asked urgently and his voice was filled with worry. Lucia couldn’t hold back her overflowing emotions and wrapped her arms around his neck, squeezing him tight. Her tears kept flowing so she could only hold him and keep crying.


“It’s okay, Vivian.”


He thought she might have been shocked by a nightmare, so he kept coaxing her. He supported her with his hand and gently stroked her back.


“I love you, Hugh.”


Much more than you can imagine, perhaps so much more than you. Although she wanted to say this aloud, she couldn’t speak because she was crying. He laughed softly before kissing her ear and whispered into it.


“I love you.”


Lucia trembled and burrowed further into his embrace. The Lucia in the dream had her life saved thanks to him, and even though they didn’t spend their youths together, they spend the end of their lives alongside each other. The Lucia in reality met him and was able to obtain complete happiness without repeating the tragic future in her dream.


Her relationship with him was the greatest miracle in her life.


[End of Sidestory: Where Dream and Reality Meet.]

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