< — Ducal couple — > (16)
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Two years passed and the Duke did not so much as mention his son making one wonder if he actually had a son, and likewise the young lord did not so much as briefly contact his home.
‘I won’t be surprised at all if it remains this way till he graduates in ten years.’
As irony would have it, the Duke’s indifference towards Damian suppressed hostile forces and stopped them from acting hastily towards Damian.
‘The Duke may have purposefully intended for that to happen.’
“He can’t leave at all?” (Hugo)
Ashin quickly pushed away his straying thoughts.
“An outing is possible.”
“Tell him to come then.”
“…Do you mean right now? But the semester just began and we need to notify them at least one week in advance to get permission for an outing–”
“When did you start questioning my words?”
If you are given orders, just follow them.
Ashin immediately broke out in cold sweat and his expression grew stiff as he replied.
“…I understand. I will immediately send out a message.”
“I have sent someone to the capital to tell Fabian to prepare the family register and bring it back with him when he returns.”
‘So he wants to elevate the little lord’s status. If the little lord’s status is elevated…no one would be able utter any complaint.’
It had been announced that the little lord would become the Duke’s successor but he was still merely an illegitimate child.
But if his legal status was elevated, he stops being a demerit of the duke and becomes the perfect successor.
Those who were still expecting some kind of change in the future would have to give up once the little lord’s status was elevated.
‘The Duchess must have agreed to his entry into the family register. I did hear their marital relationship is very good but what will happen if the Duchess gives birth to a child? If she gives birth to a son, that will be a headache…’
“It’s Elliot, your Grace.”
The instant those words fell, a scary-looking middle-aged knight walked in. The Knight Captain, Elliot Caliss appropriately paid his respects then lifted up the lengthy bamboo barrel.
Hugo received the barrel and pulled apart the top, revealing the rolled up letter within it.
Ashin felt a shiver run down his spine as he watched Hugo read the letter, narrowed his eyes and gave a dreary smile.
‘Fuck, he scares me more when he’s like that.’ (1)
“Mobilize seven people. I will leave the assignments to you and we will set out as soon as they are ready.”
The rain was almost over but the sun was already setting on the afternoon.
It was different from the usual early departure at dawn, but the faithful Knight Caliss answered with only a few words and withdrew. (2)
“Hunting after a long time, it is.” (Caliss)
To Hugo’s mutterance, Ashin mumbled the hidden words to himself.
‘Whew…today’s dreams will not be peaceful.’
Ashin had once unintentionally followed the Duke to the battlefield a few years ago as an administrative officer although he was far away from the battlefield.
From time to time, he still saw scenes from that time and they made his heart palpitate.
His chills were not caused from seeing the cold-blooded killing. On the contrary, that was easier to see than the unrealistic and dizzying sight of the Duke slicing off someone’s throat and making their heads fly to the sky.
The Black Lion? Ashin found that nickname to be much embellished.
The Taran Duke who donned a black armor as he tore through the battlefield was understandably a godsend and most certainly a devil.
As he took in the sight of the Duke covered in blood like a wild beast and laughing comfortably, Ashin had muttered something without realizing it.
‘What a lunatic.’
He was startled as the words left his mouth and worried as to whether someone heard him but fortunately, his monologue was buried under the cries of soldiers drunk with the madness of war.
Ashin was someone who wasn’t scared of anything in the world. He did not hold back whatever he wanted to say and his capability matched his reckless personality that made both his superiors and subordinates leave him.
But, from that day onwards, Ashin became a docile sheep in front of the Duke of Taran.
He realized how terrifying the Taran Duke was. Of course, the Duke was publically known to be a pretty scary person but he felt the duke was even more terrifying than how they described him.
In places other than the battlefield, the Duke put on a mask of good manners and his rough side could not be seen at all.
People who interacted with him only focused on the fact that he was a young duke and a great dancer.
That was why it was scarier. It was frightening that the bloody thing he witnessed on the battlefield could hide its madness and pretend to be a classic nobleman that had never held a sword before.
“Will the agenda be prolonged?” (Ashin)
“I know I have to go but I’m afraid it will take a while.” (Hugo)
“Then, during the time you are gone, the young lord could look over it.”
Hugo thought about it for a moment.
Although that child was young, he was of the Taran bloodline. It was difficult to think of him as another eight year old.
That boy had plunged a sword into the heart of a man whose ankle Hugo had caught in a trap and finished him off.
He recalled the past for a moment then returned to reality. That boy was never an innocent one.
There wasn’t any insanity coursing through his veins yet but who knew when it would appear. But still, he was currently the mild type.
According to the reports he continuously received, he wasn’t foolishly nice like his father but he didn’t have a cruel temperament.
The first time Hugo met Damian, if he hadn’t seen eyes similar to that of his dead brother then he would have killed him on the spot and disposed of him.
No matter how mild he was, malicious intent wouldn’t fly. Compared to Damian, his wife was a docile rabbit.
He couldn’t help but get worried that it would just be the two of them. He didn’t find it strange at all as he subconsciously worried about her.
“Why don’t you personally go get him?”
“Make sure to warn him when he arrives, to give the proper respect to his mother. If I return and hear anything strange…”
“Ah, yes. I will make sure there is nothing to worry about.”
Shortly after Ashin withdrew, Jerome rushed into the office after hearing that the knights were preparing to leave.
‘I think it began the day after we called the doctor…’
He was unsure as to what happened between the two of them but from that day onwards, their relationship grew strange.
His master was taking the initiative to distance himself from her Grace. Saying he was busy was just an excuse.
His master always had a lot of work however it was never to the extent where he couldn’t eat or sleep.
According to the maids, they also slept separately. Every time he looked at her Grace as she tried to act like everything was fine even though she was dismayed, he felt his heart ache.
‘Don’t do this, master.’
For the first time ever, he felt rebellious towards his master in his heart.
He could barely stop himself from asking his master why he would leave on a long term absence without resolving this situation.
Jerome brought in warm tea just as usual and its delicate fragrance filled the air. He poured the tea, filling up the empty cup.
“What should I do about your evening meal?”
“Mmm, you don’t need to prepare it. I will be leaving soon.”
Hugo raised his head and lifted the cup of tea to his mouth.
“I will be going hunting but I don’t know the exact schedule.”
“…it’s already late. How about leaving tomorrow at dawn?”
“No, I am about to get ready and I already ordered for it.”
“As for Milady…”
“Inform her for me.”
“…Did Milady make a huge mistake?”
Jerome spoke firmly as Hugo gaze fell on him.
“Even if she did make a mistake, I hope you can generously forgive her. For the past few days, Milady has not exchanged any words with your Grace.”
“This is not something you have a say in. You are crossing the line.”
“Yes. I have to say something presumptuous. Milady is the Duchess. She is different from the other women you were fascinated with for a bit and then threw away. You have to treat her valuably.”
Hugo stared at Jerome with slightly widened eyes. Watching Jerome’s slightly downcast gaze as he stubbornly persisted, Hugo narrowed his eyes.
- Never heard the first word before so I googled it and all I could for find it is: it’s a ‘vulgar profanity.’ It sounds very similar to the word for ‘shit’ though. Btw, this book is tagged smut & mature so you won’t be getting any censoring from me.
- The raw translation says he answers with only two words but I couldn’t translate that sentence to only two words. I mean in Korean, it is two words but English doesn’t have words that mean a whole sentence.
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