< — The Ducal Couple — > (12)
TN: The comments from last chapter made roll over in laughter. Geez. And just in case, Hugh is pronounced “Hue” not “Hog”.
He gently and softly kissed every corner of her face while his hand slowly moved up and down, from her back to her waist.
While he was languidly engrossed in afterplay, a thought came to Lucia’s mind and she abruptly burst into laughter.
“Hugh, you know, Lady Milton said something funny when she came this afternoon.”
“Lady Milton… Ah, you mean the daughter of Baron Milton.”
The Baron of Milton was a vassal of the Duke, an upright and rigid man. It was well-known that the Baron educated his children to emulate his righteous character so Hugo allowed the daughter of Baron Milton and his wife to interact more often. He wanted his wife to enjoy her stay in the north.
“Yes. she asked if maybe you weren’t allowing me to go outside.”
Hugo’s hand which was caressing Lucia’s back paused for a moment. Lucia chuckled, not noticing anything and continued to speak.
“I told her that wasn’t the case, so she asked me to go horse riding with her.”
“Horse riding?” (Hugo)
“Lady Milton says it’s a sport and it’s fun. May I learn it?” (Lucia)
“…It sounds dangerous.”
“It’s not that dangerous. She said a lot of women do it.”
“Do you really want to learn horseriding?”
Hugo didn’t like it. In the past, he had seen how women looked when going horseriding, the image of them panting afterwards captured the eyes of men. In addition, it was quite the sight to see a woman in riding clothes these days.
There was nothing more indecent than the way it clung tightly to the body, revealing its shape.
In the past, he was no different from other men; in that he thought that it was nice to look at, plus he was never one to care for a woman or distinguish who he spent on but that was already a thing of the past.
He never clung to trivial things of the past.
Lucia placed her cheek on his chest and pitifully blinked her eyes. In that moment, he barely managed to stop himself from saying that she could do whatever she wanted.
He didn’t want her to go horse riding. He could not bear to see foolish men leering at her but this was her first request since they had gotten married. He didn’t want to see her look disappointed if he refused.
‘A riding place that only allows for women… I don’t think there is any place like that in Roam… Well then, I’ll just make one.’
There was no such place, not only in Roam, but in the entire Xenon. This was the moment when the only women-exclusive horse-riding practice field was formed.
This place, which would serve as an important venue for the social activities of women in the northern high society in the distant future, began with a man’s unwillingness for his wife to be seen by other men.
“Alright. But only if you promise to learn within the castle until you can ride safely to some extent.”
Hugo planned to make a practice field while she was learning how to ride a horse and he expected it to take about a week or so.
If there wasn’t enough time, he would ask her riding teacher to hold her back for a few more days. Or course, he also had get her a horse-riding teacher. A female horse-riding teacher.
“Yes. So you are giving permission, right?”
“Be careful so you don’t get hurt.”
“I’ll be careful! Thank you!”
She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him. Although she was concerned that he wouldn’t allow her, it was merely just that, concern. He was a reasonable person.
As he held her in his arms, Hugo recalled a while ago when he had gifted her an expensive necklace. For the first time in his life, he painstakingly chose a present for a woman.
He didn’t know what she particularly liked, but he knew from experience that women loved jewelry so his choice was jewelry. But he didn’t want give her just anything.
The Lady of Taran definitely had to have something special. So, he collected information sheets from jewelers to find something special.
But when he found something he wanted, it already had an owner. Hugo never changed his mind on something once he set his sight on it.
He didn’t care about how much it was and sent a negotiator to conclude the deal, no matter what. It took far longer than he expected for the gift to get into his hands.
His original plan was to gift it to her and then leave for his inspection but eventually, he didn’t get to see her expression when she received it.
However, he had high expectations for when he returned. He expected her to be thrilled with the gift and give him a grand welcome on his return.
She did thank him but her somewhat perfunctory “thank you” did not meet his expectations. She had thanked him, given him a soft smile and greeted him respectfully and although there was nothing to pick at, he could sense that it wasn’t heartfelt.
He felt both slightly hurt and embarrassed.
‘Just why? Isn’t it a natural reaction for women’s eyes to shine like jewels when they receive jewelry?’
He had put so much care into choosing the gift but she didn’t like it, making him wonder just how great of a gift it would have to be to satisfy her. But then, Jerome’s words surprised him.
[Milady said it was burdensome.]
It was Hugo’s first time hearing such words after giving this kind of present. Did he have to meet a certain burden level? He was given something new to worry about.
However, her reaction from simply being allowed to go horse-riding was more passionate than when she received the diamond necklace.
This was the heartfelt gratitude and thankfulness that he had expected back then. The diamond necklace that he spent a fortune on didn’t measure up to a mere approval for horse riding.
‘So, money is a no go.’
It was a little disheartening because he had once had an idea similar to that. Perhaps that idea would have cost more than what it took to acquire the necklace and build a horse-riding practice field. It didn’t count as an expense for him.
Although he had solved the problem of horse riding, his honest heart always wanted his wife to be within his sight.
He was slightly annoyed at Baron Milton’s daughter for putting useless ideas in his wife’s head but thanks to her, he knew a little more about what his wife liked so it wasn’t entirely bad.
* * *
Around the time when the horse-riding practice field was completed, Lucia was chattering on by the bedside.
“Hugh, I heard if you head a little east of Roam, there is a pretty large lake there.”
“Hmmm, it is quite big. Do you want to go see it?”
Hugo had been thinking of making time one day to go out with her.
“I was told that there is a boat ride around this time. There are a lot of nobles that have small boats, do you have one?”
“…I do not.”
Hugo had never done something like a boat ride. He didn’t have any memories of partaking in such entertainment.
He had probably heard about it but forgot about it because he wasn’t interested.
He didn’t understand how it could be pleasurable to sit in a boat and float on water so he took it as something that men and women who had nothing to do with their time would do.
‘I should buy a boat.’
His past self was already forgotten. He never clung to trivial things of the past.
“Then…since Lady Milton invited me to it, can I go?”
Again. It was the daughter of Baron Milton. Hugo had a bad feeling about all the future associations with Lady Milton at the center.
“It is dangerous, isn’t it?” (Hugo)
“I heard that there hasn’t been any accidents in the boat ride. Lady Milton confidently told me that the boats owned by the Milton family are very strong.”
“When is the date of the boat ride?”
“It’s in four days.”
*Heh. There is a sentence that the author repeats twice that fascinated me. Anyone notice it?