< — The Ducal Couple — > (7)
Translated by: Miss Ruby
Edited by: Luv Shng
For generations, Philip had been the Taran Family’s doctor but was absent from Roam since Hugo had left the estate for a long time. Nobody knew exactly where he went.
He left after saying he would be travelling around for a bit but there had been no news of him for years. Philip had no friends or family so his absence didn’t have much of an effect and no one was really curious about it.
The Duke was very healthy and had never been sick before. For the sake of formalities, a noble would not receive regular checkups from any doctor. Therefore, since Hugo became the Duke, the doctor had not had anything to do.
Jerome had never had much of a conversation with Philip apart from greeting him a few times. He had heard that Philip was also the doctor of the late Duke but even so, doctor… he was definitely a doctor, but he was a bit unique in a way as he was also a Baron.
Jerome believed that the man had a lot of guts because he had served dukes for generations but apart from that, he didn’t feel the need to care about the doctor’s matters.
However, the moment Philip’s name left his mouth, his master’s somewhat relaxed expression froze. Seeing a spark in his master’s eyes, Jerome felt suspicious. Wasn’t Philip just a family doctor?
Instantly, he dug through his memories but there were no clues regarding his master’s and Philip’s relationship. He then came to the realization that his master and Philip had actually treated each other like air and that this would be the first time Philip had personally come to meet the Duke.
On paper, Philip was the primary doctor but with the duke being the duke, he had never needed any treatment.
“Let him in. Do not let anyone onto the second floor until I say so.”
His voice was cold and a murderous intent lingered in the air. Feeling his master’s anger, Jerome nervously followed the Duke’s orders without question.
“Yes, Your Grace.”
Jerome left and after a while, an old man with half-whitish grey hair stepped in. The man quietly walked to the front of Hugo’s desk, bent his waist and gave a polite bow.
For a moment, Hugo didn’t say anything and just gave the old man a piercing glare. Then he opened his mouth and spoke in an even and unfeeling tone.
“It’s been a while, old man.”
Philip didn’t take offence to the disrespectful title and just gave a faint smile.
“Indeed, it has been a long time. After all this while, you have become a grown man.”
Despite being just a doctor, the man was confident and showed no servility to the noble personage in front of him. Philip’s voice was calm but on the inside, deep emotions surged as he faced Hugo. He was like that of a grandfather watching his grandchild all grown up.
However, Hugo’s gaze remained frozen.
“I heard you traveled.” (Hugo)
“I have returned.”
“That’s too bad. It would have been better if you kept wandering. Since you have said your greetings, get lost. In the future, don’t do such things like greeting me. What I mean is, do not show your face in front of me again.”
As though he was reading off a book, Hugo’s voice was monotone but the contents were harsh. Philip’s expression remained unchanged in the face of Hugo’s spitefulness. Rather, he seemed a little relieved.
“You are still the same.” (Philip)
“My nature doesn’t change.”
“Young master’s nature is outstanding. You didn’t reap this old servant’s life after all.”
Hugo laughed sarcastically.
“Do not misunderstand. The reason I let you to live is because I owe you the debt a life. That stupid kid said to protect the savior of his life.”
For a moment, a inkling of longing surfaced on Philip’s face but disappeared the next second.
“…Young master Hugo was a good man. Therefore, he was not fit to be the master of Taran.” (Philip)
‘Young master Hugo’
When those words left Philip’s mouth, for a very short instant, Hugo’s gaze softened.
“Right. I’m in this position because of that devilish brat.”
“Young master Hugh…”
“Call me that one more time and I will rip out your mouth.”
His countenance changed violently and he growled at Philip. Like that of a wild beast before its food, he wanted to rise and immediately rip off Philip’s neck but was barely holding himself back.
Facing Hugo’s blazing anger, Philip merely had a sad expression.
“That person sacrificed himself for the young master’s sake.”
“I never asked for that.”
Hugo gnashed his teeth in dismay.
The beastly and monstrous Hue met Hugo and became Hugh. The moment that Hue became Hugh, the devil became human. The Lord of Taran should have been Hugo. Only he could cleanse the House of Taran that was smeared with dirt and filth.
Hugh had always been surrounded by enemies and had done many evil deeds to keep himself alive but he did not actually have a reason to live or know the meaning of life. But upon meeting Hugo, he found a reason to live and learned that there was something more precious than his life itself.
His only brother should have lived and sat in this position. Not the devil called Hue.
“Young master Hugo wished for young master to be on that seat more than anyone else. In any case, you are both of Taran blood. Naturally, young master has the right to become the Lord of Taran.”
“The devil died in the west tower that night. I, the one here right now, I am Hugo.”
“As you say, young master. When will you accept that you are the master?”
“That won’t ever happen. I will hand it over to that child when he’s old enough.”
Philip gave a small sigh.
“Young master Damian is still young.”
“Isn’t that why I’m waiting? I’m waiting and bearing this sickening place.”
Hugo responded while gritting his teeth.
“Young master Hugo’s position is a position full of weariness. Therefore, it’s a much nobler position.”
Hugo stared at Philip for a moment then spoke coldly.
“Well, I’ve always known that you were good at keeping your head. That day, if you had blabbered on like today, I would have ripped out your neck. At that time, you kept your mouth shut like a dumb person and fell to your feet. Did you know that I killed all who knew of that day except you, old man?”
For the first time since entering the room, Philip’s expression stiffened.
“… You left no traces.”
“Yes. It was disgusting and I couldn’t stand it. Therefore, old man. You are the last. Hurry up and fuck off. Once you’re gone, it won’t reek anymore.”
“The late Duke made the inevitable choice for the family…”
Hugo slammed the desk violently with both hands and bolted upright. He moved forward and his red eyes were like blazing fire as he looked at Philip…no, at someone beyond Philip, with rising anger. His rage was like a furnace that threatened to overflow at any moment.
“That old fool sold one of his sons to work as a mercenary slave but, however instead of embracing the son he chose, he tried to exchange them again.”
He chose Hugo, abandoned Hugh. However, as years passed, the duke changed his mind and this time around, he wanted to abandon Hugo and keep Hugh. His reason being that Hugo’s personality was too mild. For the first time in his life, Hugh had clung to someone and pleaded. Not for his own sake but for another’s.
[If I agree to become your successor, don’t touch him] (1).
Hugh did everything that was asked of him. He studied earnestly and changed himself into a noble and self-restrained personage. He also assumed Hugo’s mannerisms on his exterior. His coarse way of speaking was thrown away and like a reared beast, he fell nicely at the feet of the duke. However, he had no idea.
He had no idea that for the same reason, Hugo had gladly thrown away all of his values and listened to every word of the Duke.
It was Hugo who first realized that the Duke was the puppeteer, controlling them both with his strings and that moment of realization was the beginning of tragedy.
- He means don’t touch Hugo.
*If you’re confused, the current Hugo was formerly Hugh and the former Hugo…. to be continued. LOL