Chapter 11

thanks so much to Cornflake Gurl for the ko-fi (๑˃̵ᴗ˂̵)! (2/2)

***

Why was she acting like this? 

Adrian snorted briefly as he paused, unable to comprehend Ione’s outburst. 

He thought she had come to her senses because her pronunciation was clear and she seemed to be able to communicate quite well, but he was wrong. 

Ione’s pupils were so dilated that her eyes almost looked black instead of green. 

“My poor Grand Duchess.”

For some reason, the scene of Helena crying came to Adrian’s mind. 

‘Poor’.

Thinking about Helena’s words, Adrian bent down and stroked Ione’s hair. 

“You will be better soon.”

 “So do you know what I meant?”

“My wife said so, so it will be so.”

“What’s that supposed to mean? Hmph, you’re amusing.”

Ione clearly wasn’t in her right mind. 

How amusing. 

Although Adrian hadn’t known her for a long time, he was aware that Ione had been extremely wary of him. 

“I suppose this is your true nature.” 

“What true nature? I’m just appalled by your arrogance, Your Highness.” 

“I don’t have any reason to be humble.”

“…Amazing. Well, the male lead can be like that.”

‘What’s a ‘male lead’?’

Instinctively, that question came to mind, but Adrian was not foolish enought to argue with someone not currently in the right state of mind. 

“I envy you. I want to have confidence in my own happiness as well.”

“You decided to work for it, didn’t you?”

“Can you achieve that through effort?” 

“You don’t think it’s possible?” 

“Can it be achieved just by trying?”

Her eyes were already half-closed. 

“Will it work?”

The movement of her eyes opening and closing became noticeable slower. 

Adrian stroked Ione’s sleepy head gently, just as the nanny had done. 

The touch of his hand, which had felt somewhat clumsy and almost as though he was stroking a horse, became softer following the first, second, and third strokes. 

Lightly, lightly. 

His light touch seemed to be pleasing, as Ione’s forehead, which had been wrinkled just moments ago, now appeared relaxed. 

“Hm? Can it be achieved through effort?” 

“I haven’t failed at anything I’ve tried so far, if you were to ask me.” 

“Can I achieve it through effort?” 

It was a persistent and foolish question. 

Normally he would have ignored it, but the way she was looking at him made it sound like she was crying. 

“You can.”

“Really?”

“You can.”

“Really?” 

Adrian gave the same answer over and over again until Ione’s eyes completely closed and her breathing evened out. 

She could.’ 

At his words, Ione’s expression softened like snow melting in the sunlight. 

What was that, her feeling relief at the sound of his words and no one else’s? 

Adrian felt strange. 

He had always been known as a ‘monster’ to other people. 

Adrian was well aware that people were wary of him in the name of awe, dismissing him as anything but human. 

Others’ feelings of shock, fear, and caution were familiar to him, but someone feeling relief because of him was something very unfamiliar to Adrian. 

That’s why, even though he knew that Ione was deeply asleep and couldn’t hear him, Adrian whispered again.

“You can.” 

Because the scene of her expression melting had left a profound impression on him.

Even though he knew he wouldn’t be able to see her like that again. 

Just one more time. 

***

It seemed that Adrian had visited me when I was at the peak of my illness, and I think the atmosphere was quite warm…

Was it all a dream? 

Why was I in this state now? 

I looked at Helena, who was looking at me with teary eyes, and blinked. 

“Oh my goodness, your face looks half dead.” 

‘This… you’re angry, you’re worried.’ 

Her eyes were so fierce that if she wanted to, she could have pacified the North with her gaze alone. 

However, her hand that brushed my cheek and touched my shoulder was so gentle and full of care that I became confused of her emotions. 

“I thought something really troubling was going to happen. No one said anything, but…”

Helena shifted her eyes again at the end of her words. 

The sun had been setting out the window when I’d fallen asleep after hearing that I was clearly having a fever. 

But now the sky looked clear, so I think I slept very well all day. 

‘That must be why I feel so refreshed.’ 

I sighed quietly. 

I had planned to live without any presence here and leave when the time was right, but I became sick and bedridden the first day I got here. 

It seems that I was truly hated by the original work. 

I glanced over at Helena, whose brows were furrowed. 

“I’ve been lying down for a while, haven’t I?” 

I smiled brightly and muttered softly. 

My voice had become hoarse, it was as if I had really caught a cold. 

Was it because I dreamt about being overworked at work after a long time? 

Even when I reminded myself that the fumes of my past embarrassment had cleared, I couldn’t help but notice the sickly colour in my voice. 

“I’ll get up soon.”

At that moment, Helena’s eyes reddened with anger and she raised her voice. 

“Of course! How can you just keep lying down like this!” 

This person, the way she came off was too strong?

I felt a twinge of panic. 

I couldn’t believe she was being so aggressive to someone who could basically only crawl. 

My head was spinning from the unexpected attack. 

“A…Alright.” 

“Now get out of bed and stand up.” 

“Okay.”

If I had been a little more alert, I might have behaved a little more firmly towards Helena, who was practically shouting at me. 

But I never imagined myself to be in this situation. 

I was so embarrassed that I could only nod. 

“Then, hurry up and eat first.”

“…”

‘It’s time for a meal, right? 

You want me to get up quickly?’

I exclaimed silently in my head. 

It was nice to hear, but a handmaiden giving instructions to the grand duchess? 

‘If I just listened and did as she said, I’ll definitely be viewed as a pushover.’ 

I opened my mouth, narrowing my eyes. 

“Hmm! I think I need to wash up first, so could you prepare a bath for me?” 

I cleared my throat, trying to sound regal, but my vocal cords were not up to the task.

What came out was not the stern voice of a grand duchess, but instead a dying whimper. 

While I was embarrassed of what just happened, Helena’s expression became even more strict.

“How could I bathe someone who is sick? This wet washcloth would be enough. There would be no chance for you to have a bath at this moment.” 

Helena wiped my face with the warm, wet washcloth. It was as though she were handling a child, let alone a lady. 

She had such a gentle touch that I couldn’t bear to say she was being rude. 

I swallowed hard. 

‘I’m in big trouble.’ 

The maids of the grand duke were stronger than I thought. 

***

Benson, who heard that I had woken up, came into my bedroom.

He examined my body for a while with a serious look on his face and then began speaking. 

“Fortunately, there is nothing wrong.” 

“See, I’m not sick.”

After hearing the results of the examination, I boasted a proud look. 

I don’t understand what the big deal was and why people didn’t trust me. 

They told me to eat, but then proceeded to bring me soup with nothing in it, and they wouldn’t even let me leave my bed. 

Helena openly signed at my words. 

“For several days, you’ve been lying down in bed as if you were dead, so it was natural for us to be more attentive.” 

At her words, the thought of asking her to bring my meal escaped my mind as my eyes widened.

Several days?” 

“Yes, Your Highness the Grand Duchess. You don’t know how concerned Dr. Benson was when you didn’t open your eyes when your fever dropped.”

My head snapped up at Helena’s words, turning back my attention to Benson. 

“I’m so glad you’re awake now.” 

Benson replied in a faint voice.

Was I really sick for several days?

“Of course! How can you just keep lying down like this!”’ 

Wasn’t it cruel of Helena to scream at me as soon as my eyes opened? 

Surprised by the unexpected reality of my situation, I couldn’t continue speaking and just blinked.

No matter how weak my body was, it was the first time I’ve lied down for several days. 

It was clear that if things continued like this, I would be branded as a sickly person and be seen as a nuisance. 

What should I do?

I felt blindsided by this unexpected challenge. 

But now wasn’t the time to relax. 

I tried as hard as I could to compose myself, but all I could think of were words of complaint.

“Originally…”

I began muttering, a look of resignation on my face. 

“I was only a bit weak, but I wasn’t this weak.”

“Of course, of course.” 

Helena, who amazingly understood the words I’d been muttering to myself, answered quickly, but I couldn’t feel the sincerity in her words anywhere. 

That alone got me crying. 

“It was a really brutal schedule. I don’t know about the grand duke’s journey, but I arrived in the capital from the Clark estate the same day I arrived here, the duchy. It’s easy to say, but how hard it was…” 

“…Pardon? From the South?”

I continued talking, not missing Helena’s astonishment at my words. 

“That’s right. The imperial servants came in before it was even dawn and escorted me, no, took me to the capital, but as soon as I arrived there, I had to sign a marriage contract and move to the North right away.”

“Are you saying that you traveled from the Clark estate to the capital and then to the North in just one day?” 

“Yes.”

“…”

Benson and Helena were speechless at my words.

I had been very brief, but this was no ordinary journey. 

I had traveled almost from one end of the continent to the other end. 

All in just one day. 

It wasn’t a journey to be in awed of. No, it was a journey that shouldn’t even have been done. 

A grand duke who had been blessed by a dragon might not know this, but if an ordinary person used the warp the way I did, they would have died. 

Warp magic is travel magic that affects the entire body. 

It disrupts the natural magic within the body. Using it not just once, but many times…

Why was I traveling on such a ridiculous schedule? 

***

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