a special thank you (and apology!) for Cornflake Gurl
Benson and Helena exchanged a glance before slowly moving away from Ione.
“Could His Highness have brought her here without Her Highness’ knowledge?”
“That could be possible.”
In response to the whispering Benson’s question, Helena nodded, a dark expression on her face.
“No, even if His Highness did it without Her Highness’ knowledge, shouldn’t His Majesty, the Emperor, have stopped him since he would’ve known about it?”
Benson muttered disgruntledly, then let out a long breath.
Even if she wasn’t his ‘fated partner’, it was still a great honour to be the grand duchess.
The more he thought about it, the more his teeth chattered.
“I can’t believe this is happening…”
Benson’s face suddenly paled as he muttered something only Helena could hear.
Now was not the time to complain about the emperor’s treatment towards their grand duchess.
They fed black grass, which was a lump of magical energy, to the grand duchess, whose body’s natural magic had been disrupted.
She was lucky she wasn’t dead.
Helena, who belatedly understood the meaning of Benson’s words, turned blue as if she were also about to die.
“I can’t- I must tell this to His Highness the Grand Duke.”
When it came to magic power, the grand duke was second to none.
He was blessed with the power of the dragon, also known as the manifestation of magic itself.
If it was something to deal with magical power, it was a problem that couldn’t be solved even if a doctor was called.
Benson, who finished his talked with Helena, hurriedly called out to me.
“Your Highness the Grand Duchess. If you don’t mind, would you please meet His Highness for a moment?”
Why should I?
“It won’t take long.”
“And where is His Highness?”
The moment when Benson gave me the suggestion and I asked in return.
“Here I am.”
At that moment, a voice that should not be heard here rang out.
I turned my head when I heard the soft voice ringing from the doorway.
I was mesmerized by Adrian’s picture-perfect form, and my mouth dropped open in reflex.
What’s with his timing?
“My wife is always looking for me.”
Don’t take this the wrong way.
You’re being overly self-conscious.
A flood of words filled my throat, but I held my tongue back tightly.
I hadn’t even properly washed yet.
To come face to face with such a handsome man, after I’d barely gotten wiped down with a wet washcloth!
I couldn’t argue against my conscience.
I managed to greet him, but my face had turned red in an instant.
It seems that it would be quicker for me to be ashamed than for my mood to darken.
In the midst of my mindless thoughts, I came to my senses only when the back of Adrian’s hand touched my forehead.
“I thought you had developed a fever again.”
I was so red.
At this point, I really felt like I was going to cry. What a wonderful husband who shows up when you feel dirty after haven’t been able to bathe in days.
I feel this every time, but ex-wives really have no human rights.
I shouted silently at him before quietly pulling the blanket over and covering myself.
I wanted to cover my face, but that would give away my true feelings.
I let out a small groan of misery.
But then she spoke.
“Your Highness, even if you two are married, you shouldn’t be barging in like this.”
Helena, who had been standing a few feet away, stepped in front of Adrian.
Thanks to this, my gaunt appearance was hidden behind Helena, and I felt like I could live a little longer.
While I was letting out a small sigh of relief, Adrian’s somewhat cold voice rang out.
“This is the grand duchess’ bedroom, not someone else’s.”
“Even if you are a married couple, there is still etiquette to follow.”
“Was I being rude?”
“Rather than being rude, I’m just saying that I hope you’ll be more considerate of Her Highness, Your Highness.”
Despite the chill in his voice that made others sick to their stomach, Helena was consistently responding.
‘That’s amazing. You’re saying all the right things against Adrian.’
I knew she was powerful, but I really never thought it was to this extent.
I stuck my tongue out behind Helena’s back and blushed.
The more I listened to the conversation, the more I felt like Helena was protecting me.
When that thought occurred to me, I felt as though Helena had taken into account my own troubled feelings as she stepped forward.
Perhaps I’m being a bit dramatic, but my excitement didn’t easily subside.
Ever since I’d become Ione, I’d been anxious to survive.
My father was frail and my mother was sickly.
They were not people I could rely on, but rather, people I had to protect.
Therefore, Helena’s actions were bound to leave quite a strong impression on me.
“By the way, how did you know that Her Highness the Grand Duchess was awake?”
Helena was still holding her ground.
“I didn’t come here knowing that.”
“Is that so?”
Her voice as she continued to ask was filled with unmistakeable excitement.
“I came to see if she was okay.”
“H-how thoughtful of you!”
Helena sounded almost faint at Adrian’s answer.
The sound of her voice caused Ione to let out a silent, mocking laugh.
If I knew that Adrian had stopped by when I was unconscious, I would have somehow fainted again.
I haven’t seen him much, but the people of the grand duke’s residence seem to care a lot about Adrian.
I craned my neck to steal a glance at Adrian.
He did not show any particular change of expression at Helena’s words.
Either he was used to this level of fuss, or he didn’t understand Helena’s ‘fuss’.
However, my thoughts did not last long.
“It just so happened that Her Highness had to meet with Your Highness, so this is perfect.”
As soon as Helena finished speaking, Adrian took a step to the side.
It was only a step, but it made me feel unnecessarily nervous when he, who was previously hidden by Helena, was revealed.
“Yes, Your Highness. But please wait.”
Adrian did not respond to Helena’s repeated request.
Rather, his silence felt more piercing than a reprimand, and I unconsciously shrank back.
Helena moved one step, completely covering me again, as if to confront Adrian. She then opened her mouth.
“Since she has yet to be fully dressed, you should show the manners of a gentleman waiting in the drawing room.”
I was listening from behind and tilted my head.
I thought she was calm this whole time, but didn’t she just subtly tremble?
“I will try to be as quick as I can, Your Highness. I hope you enjoy a cup of tea in the meanwhile.”
“Then hurry up, please.”
As Adrian, who returned Helena’s words in their entirety, left, my jaw dropped slightly.
Helena’s voice, which had seemed nonchalant all along, became stiffer with tension and her words were trembling at the end.
Maybe this was a good thing.
Helena, returning from seeing Adrian off, was surprised to see my hand covering my mouth.
Even though I knew I should remove my hand, I couldn’t do it.
If I removed my hand now, I felt like strange noises might escape.
“It’s okay, Your Highness. You were surprised, right? His Highness the Grand Duke still doesn’t know much about marital etiquette. But since he is a quick learner…”
“It’s not that.”
I choked on my words, my throat tightening.
In the meantime, Helena approached me, looking a little gentler than earlier.
“It’s alright, Your Highness. Contrary to rumours, or… like the rumours…”
It seemed like she wanted to say something good about Adrian, but Helena only babbled her words and couldn’t quite follow through with what she wanted to say.
Seeing Helena like that, I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Helena, you don’t have to overdo it.”
“Oh, no, Your Highness. It’s just that people really do misunderstand His Highness the Grand Duke a lot…”
“I know. The Grand Duke isn’t someone who draws his sword without reason.”
My dangerously welling up emotions subsided rather calmly at the sight of Helena struggling.
I had calmed down, but now it was Helena who was flustered.
“Your Highness, do you really know?”
“Don’t worry, I won’t take it the wrong way.”
I saw it all in the original work.
How cool-headed and rational the male protagonist is.
I shrugged my shoulders.
“Really. So, would you please help me freshen up and dress now? Surely it’s time for a cup of tea.”
The tip of Helena’s nose flushed at my playful nudge.
With a small sniffle, Helena nodded her head and began helping me.
“Yes, Your Highness. I’ve been distracted by the chatter. Now let me properly attend to you.”
Staring at the empty teacup, Adrian gave a short snort.
‘Enjoy a cup of tea.’
The sight of Ione not coming for the promised cup of tea reminded him of what happened at the Imperial Palace.
He had stopped by briefly, perhaps to see if she had woken up.
She seemed to be awake, so he thought he’d leave a greeting.
Oh, to be interrupted like that.
Adrian gave a short sigh and stood up.
It would have been nice to greet her in person, but Helena said it wasn’t ‘proper etiquette’, so he’d just have to go for now.
Adrian, who got up from his seat, quickly left the drawing room without much hesitation.
As the heavy wooden door closed, all that was left in the drawing room was an empty teacup.
It was then that Ione entered the room.
Benson recommended me to meet Adrian, so I hurried as much as I could.
When he entered my bedroom, he had already been blocked from meeting me by Helena several times, who told him it wasn’t ‘proper etiquette’. I could tell he wasn’t in a good mood following that.
So I came in a hurry, but it was for nothing. He was gone before I could even reach him.
[TL/N.]: hello… it has been a while… i’ve been super busy with school and life lately so i really, really apologize for the inconsistency! i know i’ve said this before but i’ll be trying my best to give more regular updates (rather than it being monthly and only kofis) !!! i am very thankful that everyone seems to be loving this series as much as i do <33 to Cornflake Gurl, i am very sorry about the delay for ch11, so i hope this extra chapter makes up for it :)!!
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