< — The Ducal Couple — > (6)
Translated by: Miss Ruby
Edited by: Luv Shng
A few days had passed by and Jerome continuously hung around Lucia.
“Your Grace, I don’t know about other things but about whether you are pregnant or not, it would be better to make sure.”
Eventually, Lucia agreed to receive treatment from Anna.
“It is not pregnancy.”
In contrast to Lucia who accepted it as if it was natural, when Anna said this, Jerome had a slightly disappointed expression.
However before Lucia could raise her head and see it, he quickly hid his expression. He didn’t want to take the chance of hurting the Mistress with his disappointment.
“Did Her Grace have any symptoms that made you suspect pregnancy?”
Since Anna was suddenly called to verify if Lucia was pregnant, she was a bit suspicious.
If Lucia was truly suspected of pregnancy and Anna couldn’t verify it, they would be worried about her ability as her primary doctor.
Jerome made a promise with Lucia. After they verified if she was pregnant or not, he would not mention anything about the state of her body and the task of informing the duke would be left to Lucia.
“No, Anna. Milady seems more tired recently so…”
“In my opinion as a doctor, there’s a different reason why Milady is tiring out easily. A woman’s body is not steel. Butler, may I speak with His Grace once? Anytime is fine. Milady already needs restorative medicine at such a young and energetic age. After work, one takes a break. This is pretty much the same idea.”
Anna was only giving her opinions as a doctor, however the more she spoke, the stranger the mood became. Jerome stared at the air uncomfortably while Lucia looked at the floor.
“Is Milady not having a hard time? Please pass on my words to the Duke.”
It wasn’t like she was having a hard time but Lucia’s face was dyed deep red and she was unable to say it. Especially with the current mood in the room.
‘I like him coming to my room everyday’
She couldn’t say it at all.
“If it is hard for the Butler to inform His Grace, then I can tell him myself.” (Anna)
“Ah, no. I…will tell him. So…to what extent..?”
“Five days. And a day of rest.”
Even though Anna could sense the embarrassment in the air, she remained brazen. If a doctor talked about a patient’s condition and got embarrassed, they would not be able to treat them properly.
After they all left, Lucia was by herself and she went into the bedroom. She opened the big windows and went onto the balcony.
A tender breeze brushed by her.
It was only for an instant, but when Anna said she wasn’t pregnant, Jerome was deflated.
Lucia felt a little bad. In her dream, she started menstruating when she was 15. No one was around to teach her that it was the sign of becoming a woman. Usually, inns taught that but in the palace there were no inns and the palace maids did not care if it was not their business.
To the palace maids, the orphan-like princess was not a master that they had to serve but a burden they had to take care of. Whenever she bled onto the bed, the maids would look increasingly annoyed as they changed the bed sheets.
After entering the palace, Lucia had lost almost all of her youthful cheerfulness. She became more timid and spoke fewer words. The young Lucia of that time did not learn how to call the people under her or act majestic and with dignity.
‘I might die soon’
The fact that she was continuously losing blood from her body had been horrifying to her and she became extremely obsessed with her fears.
‘I have to stop the blood. I need medicine. I have to take medicine…’
A drug that stops bleeding. At that time, a herb appeared in her mind. It was a herb called mugwort. Mugwort was a very common herb with three leaves. It could be seen growing here and there, and it could even be seen growing around in the palace. When mugwort was boiled hard, dried, ground and sprinkled onto the wound, it would have a hemostatic effect.
It was an emergency medicine the common people used for first aid when they could not find or afford a doctor. Its effect was incomparable to a doctor’s work but it sufficed.
Lucia had learnt first-hand that it had the ability to stop bleeding. In the past, she and the children of the village had run around the neighborhood, digging up grasses.
She had fallen and scraped her knee and grinded mugwort was sprinkled on her injury. At that time she just thought it was fascinating, the way the blood stopped flowing.
Hence, Lucia started taking the mugwort herb from the garden. She didn’t know how to prepare it for consumption so she just ate it raw. She simply thought that because blood was flowing from her body, it made sense to eat it. Surprisingly, the effect was immediate as her period stopped.
So, the next month when she bled again, she took it in that way, continuously for half a year, after which she completely stopped bleeding. At that time, she had no idea what had happened to her. She didn’t even know the word infertility itself.
Later, while she was married to Count Martin, she found out the truth of her body’s situation.
That was the first thought that came to her. The moment she learnt that there was no chance of her giving birth to a child for the Count, she felt as though she had stopped walking towards the edge of a cliff and her heart felt completely at ease.
After her marriage with the count ended and Lucia became free again, she started to look after her body. Apart from her abnormal infertility, there was nothing wrong with her.
But for a woman, she knew it was a fatal problem and hence, she started to look for a cure. Every doctor that visited her shook their head. They all said that mugwort was a poisonous herb that should have never been eaten.
“I’m not sure if the infertility is rooted…oh, you ate it? Just why would you do such a thing…”
Even then, the doctors couldn’t understand Lucia’s symptoms. Therefore, she was rather amazed when she found out a new fact.
It was rare but there were competent doctors who had seen symptoms similar to Lucia’s before.
“I have seen a woman who stopped menstruating because she ate something unknown during menstruation, however this is the first time I have seen someone in a long term infertile state from eating something but…have you gotten married? Pregnancy can happen even if your period is irregular. It may not be infertility.”
But her period was not irregular; it never occurred. However, she had never tried to have a child before so she couldn’t answer with certainty as to whether or not she was pregnant.
Then a more knowledgeable doctor came along and gave Lucia a new information.
“A long time ago, when we lost the war and women were caught by the enemies, there was a story that they would eat mugwort on purpose to avoid having children for the enemy. It seems that they thought that if the menstrual cycle was stopped then naturally, it would serve as a form of birth control but it has been proven that mugwort has no effect on contraception.”
The doctor’s answer was pretty ambiguous. Lucia did not give up and in her spare time asked about any skilled doctors and then visited them. But time continued on and she was growing older.
She was about to give up. She was old enough and there was no discomfort in her life without her fertility so she was going to act like nothing had happened. Then one day, a wandering doctor chanced upon the town she lived in.
At first, none of the villagers believed the dirty old man’s claims that he was a doctor. However, as the doctor remained in the village and gave treatment, more people began to see the positive effect and were swayed to believing him.
Lucia went to see the doctor since she had nothing to lose. The doctor was temporarily staying at a room that someone in the village had left, and just like when he first arrived, he was dressed shabbily.
However as they conversed, an image different from his outward appearance was revealed. His expression and manner of speaking were gentle and somewhat dignified.
“Did you really eat the mugwort herb? And then your menstruation stopped?”
When she told other doctors about her symptoms, they would look at her as some kind of rare animal which made her embarrassed but this doctor was different. He was both surprised and intrigued.
“Why? When? And to what extent did you eat it?”
Because he had a different reaction from all the doctors she had met till now, she grabbed onto one last hope and answered all his questions diligently.
“From my first menstruation.”
Right after she said that, the doctor’s eyes strangely lit up.
“By any chance, are you a virgin?”
“No. I’ve been married before so I’m not a young maiden.”
Truthfully, she was pretty much like a virgin but she didn’t want to tell the doctor things to that extent.
The doctor was somewhat disappointed and gave a bitter laugh.
“In my eyes, you are a very young lady.”
“Is my condition infertility?”
It was the same answer that all the previous doctors had given her but she was desperate.
“Can it … be treated?”
The doctor chuckled and guaranteed her treatment that no one else had been able to do.
“You are a lucky person. There is indeed a treatment method passed down in my family.”
So he gave her a prescription containing various drugs to be mixed together. He didn’t write it down instead he took a book out of his bag, tore a page from it and gave it to her.
“Since it is a secret method passed down in your family, is it ok to give me this?”
“In any case, it’s not something I need anymore.”
The doctor’s expression seemed a little sad as he said this.
“I…Can I really get better? They all said mugwort herb is a poison.”
It wasn’t that she didn’t believe the doctor’s prescription but that she had gone through hardship to get it treated and yet here he was, giving her a simple solution. The situation itself was a bit unbelievable.
“Poison…yes, it is known as such. This is an exclusive but I’ll tell you something special. Mugwort has a surprising effect. It doesn’t just do something simple like stopping blood flow. If you eat it, it completely purifies the body. That is the reason why menstruation stops. But the human body itself is a mass of impurity, there is nothing good to forcibly purify it. The effect of the herb is just that it is strong so such side effects occur but it does not harm your body. And apart from not having your period, you haven’t gotten sick anywhere else, right?”
“In fact, to become infertile from mugwort, one has to have been taking it for a long time, for example, from one’s first period onward. Just like you have. And if one hasn’t taken it for that long, even if one’s menstruation stops for a while, there are no other symptoms. Therefore, something like infertility will definitely not happen. But people treat it as a poison because of its only symptom, which is, stopping menstrual flow. Anyways, because it is not poison, if you weaken the effect of the herb, your body will return to its original state. If you regularly take the medicine, it will surely get better. I hope you can have a pretty child and become a happy parent. ”
Not long after, the doctor left the village. Unlike when the doctor first came, the villagers were truly sorry to see him go.
Lucia went ahead and bought the herbs that the doctor had prescribed.
“Why are buying these herbs together? Surely, you aren’t planning on mixing them? If you eat them together, you’ll have a huge problem!”
The prescription combinations that the doctor gave her didn’t seem to be one that complied with common sense.
However, Lucia didn’t think she could get worse and she was curious anyways so she followed his directions and started to make the medicine.
As long as no abnormality happens, she was to take the medicine regularly, that is, once a month till her menstruation starts again; the dosage and frequency was easy to understand. Lucia did wonder if the medicine would actually work but then she shook her head and chose to believe it.
Time flew by and then suddenly, one day, she was menstruating again.
* * *
Now, Lucia had already seen all this in her dream so she was not afraid like her 15 year old dream self. She already knew that she was not sick and that she was not going to die.
However, the 15 year old Lucia was mentally unstable for a different reason from the one in the dream. She thought that she could change anything in the present because she knew the future however there was nothing that a young princess, locked up in a palace room could do.
To her, It felt like a prophecy, that the coming future would turn out exactly like the dream. The thought of getting married to the count again at 21 was extremely sickening and she couldn’t bear it. And her fears peaked when her menstruation started.
‘I do not want to give birth to that bastard’s child.’
She already knew that getting pregnant was, surprisingly, not very easy. There were many married couples that were unable to have children. Moreover, considering Count Matin’s sexual capability, there was almost no possibility of her getting pregnant. However, she didn’t want to let the slightest possibility remain.
Therefore, she chose to make herself infertile. The doctor she met in her dream told her that the mugwort herb was not poisonous and the cure that he gave her was still in her memory.
Since she had the cure available, she could treat herself at any time, hence, there was really nothing to worry if she was currently infertile. Lucia could cure her infertility at any time however, she had already told Hugo that she could not get pregnant and could not suddenly tell him that she was able to.
‘At that time… I thought I would get divorced…’
When she proposed the marriage, she had thought that they would live together for a few years then he would ask her for a divorce or, after a reasonable amount of time, she would ask herself. However,
[I won’t do anything like a divorce.]
Even without mentioning family tradition, Hugo was the kind of person that would not proceed with the divorce process because it was annoying. She didn’t know if there was some woman that loved him to death and wanted to marry him by all means but now, it didn’t seem like that would be possible.
‘I already said I wouldn’t regret this…I made up my mind to endure.’
No children would be in her life. The moment she signed the marriage certificate, she was already prepared.
[I hope you can have a pretty child and become a happy parent.]
It would seem that whether it was in the dream, or in the present, the doctor’s wish would not be fulfilled. Lucia searched her memories and found the doctor’s name.
Right. That was his name.
* * *
It was afternoon and as usual, Jerome brought tea and quietly entered the Duke’s office. Because it was obvious who was coming in, Hugo didn’t take his eyes of his documents. But as Jerome didn’t go back and kept standing by the desk, Hugo raised his head.
When the Duke’s eyes left the documents and faced him, Jerome opened his mouth.
“Your Grace, the Madam is planning to have a tea party tomorrow.”
“Yes. I have heard.”
“Since it is Her Grace’s first event, what do you think of sending a congratulatory gift?”
He gave a low ‘hmm’ and mumbled, lowering his pen and sitting more comfortably in his chair.
“A gift, huh.” (Hugo)
“Yes. Her Grace will be extremely pleased.”
Now that he thought about it, he didn’t have anything to give her. He was not the type to easily know when to give gifts but if he was told to get this and that, he could.
But she didn’t tell him what to get and he didn’t know what she liked and couldn’t think of what to give her.
Was it enough to make the budget plentiful?
She didn’t ask him to give her anything but it was her first time debuting in the northern social circles, this was enough reason. If she receives a gift that she could never imagine, wouldn’t she like it?
When he thought of her sparkling eyes as she expressed her thanks, his mood somehow grew merrier.
What would be good? Jewelry? Or maybe…jewelry? If that didn’t work…then jewelry? Jewelry was the only thing that he could think of. He was sure that women like jewelry but strangely, he wasn’t too sure that she liked them.
While his worries were deepening, Jerome was patiently waiting for his master’s answer. Jerome’s ear picked up the sound of a soft knock at the door.
In order not to disrupt his master’s thought, Jerome left quietly then came back after a while.
“Your Grace, Sir Philip has arrived and is outside. He says he has not been in Roam in a long time and wishes to give his greetings to your Grace.”
*Honestly, it’s either mugwort or wormwood. The problem is according to google those two PROMOTE menstruation…but the author is King. LOL.
*I was also too invested to stop translating so u get the full chap. May not happen again ha-ha.