Chapter 3

 

“Call the doctor now!”

 

Ethan gave his order without averting his gaze from Ruelli. O’Connell rushed out, leaving Ethan with a frustrated look on his face.

 

“Ruelli, have you come to your senses?”

 

He shouted out in panic, but Ethan immediately regretted it. He feared that his impatience would get to Ruelli, and he was afraid that he would startle her.

 

“…….”

 

But Ethan’s impending voice elicited no response from Ruelli.

 

‘Even if you left or remain in the castle…You always make me worry, don’t you?’

 

Ethan murmured as his shoulders relaxed from the tightening of anticipation.

 

Ruelli looked incredibly peaceful for someone who was on the verge of death only a few hours ago.

 

Her platinum hair was rare in the empire, her high nose, and her skin, which was originally white and clear, seemed pale and bloodless, yet Ruelli’s beauty was not lacking in the slightest.

 

He missed her fiery red eyes. 

 

Ethan longed for Ruelli to open her eyes, just as she opened her lips earlier. But her eyelashes, as soft as bird feathers, did not move easily.

 

Could Ruelli be dreaming now?

 

What would she say if she knew that she had fallen into such a deep sleep?

 

‘When you wake up, won’t you be very surprised to find yourself face to face with me…’

 

“Ruelli, I have so many questions to ask.”

 

It was the moment when Ethan’s heart was about to shatter with worry.

 

“Ethan.”

 

A low, dry voice came from behind him. He didn’t even bother to look, he knew who it was.

 

It was Cedric Seymour Bertrand, the Lord of Lorek and Ethan’s father.

 

“What are you doing now?”

 

The sound of rough footsteps were getting closer. Ethan had to get up from his seat to prevent his father.

 

“This child almost died, father.”

 

Cedric stared at Ethan, not even giving Ruelli a glance. He looked just at Ethan, with his regal bearing and cold eyes.

 

“You used those soldiers without my permission.”

 

“It was the matter of life and death.”

 

“Don’t you know that in my domain, what I say is more important than the life of a mere woman?”

 

Ethan stared at his father in silence.

 

Cedric was all about the goal of restoring the glory of the past.

 

The Bertrand family had enjoyed power in key positions in the imperial family for generations, but since Ethan’s maternal grandfather’s time, they were estranged from the imperial family. As a result, Cedric grew up under the pressure and burden of constantly having to rebuild the family line.

 

“Ethan Bertrand. I see I taught you wrong.”

 

All Cedric had learned was control and discipline. For this reason, he was always strict with Ethan, his only son and heir to the title of Duke.

 

Ironically, he was the most gentle and benevolent lord to the people of his land, because he cared so much about his reputation.

 

of all the lords to his subjects, but he was very careful about his reputation.

 

“You are the only man to inherit my title. Don’t you know what that means?”

 

“…….”

 

“Don’t be swept away by private matters and ruin the cause. You’re the only one who’s going to start the Bertrand family.”

 

“Is Ruelli’s life a personal matter? Someone tried to kill her.”

 

Ethan tried hard to hide his wavering emotions. Not being emotional in front of his father has been a habit since he was very young.

 

“Don’t take things too seriously that can be quickly taken care of, Ethan.”

 

“This is not something to be taken lightly. Two people are already dead and this child was about to die.”

 

“Then it’s a good thing she’s alive. Let her go.”

 

“Father.”

 

“Call her father to take her away now!”

 

At Cedric’s cry, Ethan slowly closed his eyes and said.

 

“Call her father? Fadenod left Lorek.”

 

“What?”

 

Cedric’s eyebrows quivered, as if he hadn’t thought of that.

 

“It is interesting that you should look at me like that. You know better than I why Ruelli’s father left.”

 

Cedric clenched his fists at Ethan’s sad voice.

 

There was still a part of him that didn’t understand, but given that all the effort Cedric had put into Ruelli had gone to waste, his reaction was probably justified.

 

“Father, are you asking me to throw out a woman who has no family and no consciousness?”

 

At that moment, O’Connell hurried into the room with the doctor. O’Connell looked surprised to see Cedric, but quickly calmed down and greeted him.

 

“My lord.”

 

The doctor standing beside O’Connell was about to move when Cedric stood over him with a stern voice.

 

“There’s no problem here, you may now leave.”

 

“Huh?” O’Connell said.

 

When the panicked doctor hesitated, Ethan stopped Cedric again.

 

He knew better than anyone what his father was afraid of. Some things had to be dealt with in a head-on fire, but there were other instances where other means were necessary.

 

“Father, this is doctor Melson Xavier, Dean of Asburn school of medicine.”

 

One of Cedric’s eyebrows arched at Ethan’s words.

 

Asburn was a Royal school under the special control of the Imperial Family.

 

It also occurred to him that Xavier, the surgeon, was in the spotlight for treating the Empress’s abscess not long ago.

 

“I heard that the dean of this school sent many students to the royal family. He must be quite a talented man.”

 

At Ethan’s words, Cedric lowered his arrogant head. Ethan, seeing the expression on his father’s face, continued calmly.

 

“The Emperor must still be interested in Lorek. How can Laurek not be peaceful, for the merciful lord here has not missed every single one of the inhabitants of the land.”

 

Ethan looked at the doctor, his lips drooping gently. He was smiling, but his eyes were cold.

 

Xavier, who met his gaze, was also a quick witted man.

 

“……yes, that’s right. This year, there were many poor people who had a longer winter than usual, and there are rumors in the imperial family that the lord has shown great generosity.”

 

“I see.”

 

Ethan replied slowly and lifted his chin lightly, the doctor then gulped and continued speaking.

 

“Therefore, everyone will admire you for taking care of a life-threatening woman.”

 

“Then please check her status.”

 

At Ethan’s words, the doctor walked over to Ruelli. This time, Cedric did not interfere.

 

“I’ll be watching you.”

 

Cedric glanced at Ethan with a blank expression and walked out of the room. Ethan noticed Cedric’s lips, hidden behind his hard beard, were dry and parched.

 

‘How have you been doing, father?’

 

After Cedric left, Ethan immediately asked the doctor. The doctor who had been looking at Ruelli for a while replied, putting down the stethoscope.

 

“Her breathing is stable, but she’s still unconscious.”

 

“When do you think she will wake up?”

 

“I’m sorry, sir, but I don’t know.”

 

“I’m sure she moved her lips a little while ago. Like she’s about to wake up.”

 

“It’s a common reaction. It’s not a conscious move, it’s just a reflex.”

 

The doctor, who was looking at the bruises staining Ruelli’s forehead, spoke again.

 

“It could be due to a bump on her head…. She may have a problem regaining consciousness.”

 

“Problems?”

 

“Patients who woke up after prolonged periods of unconsciousness could hallucinate or even suffer from psychosis.”

 

The doctor organized his bag and straightened his clothes after saying the last ominous words.

 

“Then what do we do about it?”

 

“As of now, there is no way to do anything about it. We just have to wait for Miss Bedivier to wake up.”

 

There was nothing the surgeon could do for the unconscious patient in front of him. He seemed to want to leave the mansion immediately after checking her condition.

 

“O’Connell.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

“Make sure to pay him.”

 

Ethan clarified in the heavy air. O’Connell nodded, and the two men’s footsteps gradually faded away.

 

***

 

“I’m afraid His Excellency is going to be sick.”

 

“Who said so.”

 

“He must be heartbroken. He took very good care of Miss Bedivier.”

 

“It’s no secret. But she said she was going to marry Lord Clarke. I guess His Excellency was not so happy about it.”

 

“Well, I wouldn’t care if she lives or dies.”

 

At that moment, the maids who had been whispering retreated in unison at O’Connell’s appearance.

 

He glared at the maidens, his mustache twitching.

 

“You must have several lives.”

 

“I’m sorry, sir. I’m sorry!”

 

“You will be summoned by my lord, your mouth will be torn open, and if you don’t like it, you will disappear altogether!”

 

O’Connell shouted, and the servants left in tears.

 

‘Hmm…I don’t know what on earth His Excellency has in mind.’

 

He slowly got to his feet and let out a heavy sigh.

 

It’s already been ten days since Ruelli lost consciousness. Ethan stayed every minute by her side, except for the occasional sleep time.

 

Ruelli continued to breathe slowly, like someone who was in a deep sleep. Neither dead nor alive, but standing on the fuzzy border.

 

Ethan looked gaunt because he barely rested. But he was good with that as long as he can be by her side.

 

He looked out the window for a moment at the barren winter scenery. It was so cold that it froze even the hope of spring. That was when he was briefly distracted by the frozen and bent trees in the garden.

 

“Ummm…”

 

Ethan’s senses came back after hearing a moan that sounded like the flapping of an angel’s wings. He turned his head and Ruelli’s red eyes began to appear between her gentle eyelids.

 

It was as if a red sun was rising on the horizon.

 

Her half-open, deep, beautiful eyes wandered for a while, and encountered Ethan.

 

Having no idea how painful the myriad of words in her eyes were, Ethan simply called her name quietly.

 

“Ruelli.”

 

Ethan had always wondered what he should say to Ruelli when she woke up beside him. He made up his mind not to speak in a very ticklish or serious voice.

 

But the first word that came from Ruelli’s spontaneously opened lips made all of Ethan’s vows meaningless.

 

“Clark….”

 

***

Notes

N/A

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