Huge thanks to Amie for the support! (3/4)
“Will you accept it, Sir Moore?”
Herace smiled sorrowfully at Chloe’s words and looked at her.
“Then… will the Lady be happy?”
Chloe avoided Herace’s eyes. She didn’t have the confidence to look straight into those eyes. She felt guilty, yet grateful… That’s all there was to it.
“Then I’ll take it. I’ll take it, so please be prepared.”
Herace, who answered humorously until the end, bid her farewell inwardly. This was really the end. The end of his long lasting first love.
He didn’t mean to wish her happiness. He wasn’t such an open-minded man to wish happiness to a woman who didn’t return his feelings.
‘D*mn it. I wish you some sort of comfort with that sorrowful expression.’
Though he wasn’t a narrow-minded man either.
In the carriage to the Grand Duke’s Castle, Gerard looked at Chloe, who was quiet. His wife was staring off into the distance as if she was in deep thought.
Certainly, there was something strange about her after she came to the North. She didn’t smile easily at him, and avoided his gaze. Her strange behavior constantly kept him on edge.
Moreover, the mysterious atmosphere between the Knight Commander of Anata and his wife…
When he looked at his wife affectionately, he felt as if he had become an irritant. His gut was implying that there was something that he didn’t know.
Gerard clenched his fists. Intense jealousy passed through him once again.
He shook off the weird images that kept running through his mind. Even though he didn’t know why she came to the North, even though he felt her attitude was cold toward him, even though there was something between her and Herace, he believed in his wife.
He was sensitive because of that d*mned dream.
The carriage carrying the Blanchett couple was extremely quiet, but their minds were very boisterous, filled with thoughts of each other.
For Chloe, her love and hatred for her husband was at its peak, while Gerard was building up his own dismay and anxiety. It was the eve of a storm.
They felt that each other’s attitudes were subtly different from usual. However, neither of them spoke directly about it.
No, they couldn’t. They lacked experience in talking during their long marriage.
That’s why the Blanchett couple were overwhelmed with ambiguous fear. Once they showed their honest thoughts to each other, they thought their marriage would come to an end just like that.
They just thought that if they could pretend not to know, they would be able to go back to their usual life.
Thus, the two were wandering a long way because they were afraid of the answer right before them.
The carriage carrying them arrived in front of the Archduke Castle.
“My Lady, we’re here.”
Gerard, awakened from his thoughts, called his wife tenderly.
Chloe also answered in her usual calm tone, escaping from her thoughts. It was a disturbing start to a tense evening.
Rennesia came running to Gerard while singing his name. At first, her shy side seemed to resemble her father, and her friendliness quickly reminded him of her mother, who was known as being outgoing.
Gerard accepted Renee in his bewilderment. Chloe, who was beside him, also looked at Renee with surprised eyes. She wondered when they became so close.
“I had a match with Abel today, and I won once, and Abel won once, so we’re tied. That’s why we decided the winner would be the one who arrived at the Marquis first, so I won!”
Renee flaunted her victory to Gerard. Even though it was a competition for them, for him it was just a cute game.
After all, Renee won the ‘consecutive stabbing’ competition, while Abel won the ‘consecutive cutting’ competition.
“Father, when Renee won, her score didn’t differ much from mine, but when I won, there was a lot of difference in our score!”
Abel protested while clinging to his father’s leg. To him, it was quite unfair he lost.
“Hmph, if I win, it’s over.”
Renee answered coyly.
“No! And how can you start when I am distracted?”
Abel bit his lip as if he was getting even more annoyed. Both children were competitive, so it was evident that their emotions were getting worse.
It was time for Chloe to intercede. Gerard put Renee down and looked at the two children.
“Enough, both of you. Today’s victory doesn’t really matter. The important thing is…”
Gerard’s words were continued by Leila, who appeared with Noah in her arms.
“If you reflect on today’s defeat and win tomorrow, you’ll be the winner in the end. Isn’t it right, Imperial Knight Commander?”
Leila asked Gerard.
“Yes, Duchess. Anyway, Abel needs to think about how to accept the result and Renee should think about how to play fair and square.”
The intervention by Gerard and Leila was great for the children. However, Chloe was inwardly bitter because she didn’t want to view it that way. They worked very well together.
Then a rough voice interfered.
“What a strange thing to say. We can win today, and we can win tomorrow.”
Frederick crossed his arms as if he didn’t like the remark. He was so arrogant that he had never lost to anyone else. He looked very much like a ruler.
Leila tried to oppose Frederick, but Gerard stepped in.
“It’s what my teacher, Viscount Stein, used to say when I and Leila fought. But the Archduke must have a different opinion.”
Gerard looked at Frederick with a sweet smile which looked very much like a sneer. Such a sweet smile.
If you asked, who is this Viscount Stein? He’s Leila’s father and the vassal of the Blanchett family. Having excelled in swordsmanship in his youth, he became Gerard’s teacher and he naturally taught Gerard and Leila together.
Frederick made an expression as if nothing had happened upon the mention of that name, but he couldn’t stop the twitching of his eyebrows. He didn’t expect that the words he recited sarcastically came from his father-in-law!
“…Come to think of it, I don’t think there’s anyone that has mastered the truth of life that much.”
“Thank you for accepting my sudden visit with pleasure. My family will return to the Capital tomorrow, for staying any longer will be a nuisance.”
Gerard, who was done with his dinner, spoke after putting down his spoon. It was a sudden notice, not only to the Anata family, but also to Chloe, who was with him all day. It was surprising because he used to always discuss things with his wife before deciding.
“Already? Isn’t that too early? Gerard, I don’t think you’ve recovered properly from your illness.”
Leila, who felt guilty over the Blanchett family’s return, asked.
“I can’t help it because my vacation time is not that long. We have to take our leave tomorrow so we have plenty of time to get back.”
“Oh… There’s nothing we can do about it, then. Right, but can’t Chloe and Abel stay a little longer? Why don’t you return to the Capital and they stay with us for the social season?
Leila said while glancing at Chloe who sat across from her. She didn’t feel like their relationship had been resolved properly, so she wanted her to stay in the North for a little longer.
That’s why she came up with a plan for her to return to the Capital after the social season without even discussing it to her husband first. Meanwhile, Frederick seemed sullen as if he didn’t like the idea.
Meanwhile, Gerard was as nervous as Leila, waiting for Chloe’s answer.
“No, we will also return tomorrow.”
Chloe, who was eating, shook her head determinedly. Gerard’s hand, holding his napkin, was tense upon his wife’s answer. That made it clear for him.
‘She didn’t come to the North for Leila.’
In fact, even though he had enough time to discuss with his wife, he didn’t because he had something to check on his own. If he observed the way his wife reacted to the sudden change in schedule, he could tell if the precognitive dream about Leila was true or not.
Therefore, if his wife really came to the North for Leila, she wouldn’t have agreed quietly to return in this situation where nothing had been resolved so far. She should have said she wanted to stay in the North a little longer. However, his wife said she would return home as if she had been waiting for an opportunity.
‘The precognitive dream about Leila must’ve been a lie. What the h*ll… would she lie to me?’
Gerard was in a daze because of his confused and entangled mind. He wanted to defend his wife. There must be a reason why she lied.
However, no matter how much he thought about it, he couldn’t think of any plausible reason. He was frustrated because he wanted to know what his wife was thinking.
“I just want to go home.”
Chloe, who wasn’t aware of her husband’s frustration, once again expressed her intention.
She wanted to return to her peaceful home. Screw Gerard and Leila, she wanted to return to the Blanchett estate and think over it. Such complacency made her husband aware of her lie.
However, she didn’t mind. She was in a good mood now.
“…Yes, you should rest too.”
Leila had no choice but to give up upon Chloe’s firm answer. Furthermore, she felt guilty because she was the one responsible for asking Chloe to go see the circus. She couldn’t hold her friend back from going home anymore.
“But it’s too unfortunate to bid goodbye to each other like this, so let’s have a cup of tea after dinner.”
Chloe wanted to refuse, but it would be considered rude to refuse an invitation from someone she was indebted to for no solid reason. Chloe forcefully nodded her head because her family was tightly indebted to the Archduke of Anata.
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