< — Love, Understanding and Family — > (5)
TN: I saw the translator of QTCF do the fake chapter thing and thought it was hilarious so I did it for fun~
What ended up happening was different from what Hugo was worried about. It was not a mass epidemic but a mass food poisoning. In this weather, whether it was an epidemic or food poisoning, both of these weren’t common occurrences but the Duke didn’t have to come in person.
The expression of the village lord that sent the report and hence wasted the Duke’s time was dark.
“A poisonous mushroom?” (Hugo)
“Yes, your Grace. This mushroom looks edible on the outside but once eaten, it cases stomachache, diarrhea, vomiting and red spots all over the body.”
As soon as the doctor familiar with poisonous herbs and poisonous mushrooms was brought in, he looked at some patients, asked a few questions then found the mushroom in the remaining food reserves. In a short moment, the problem was instantly resolved.
The villagers who were shaken by the fear of an epidemic were frightened out of their wits by the sudden appearance of the big-shot Duke however when the issue was resolved within a couple hours of the Duke’s arrival, their expression changed to that of wonder.
Their gazes were full of awe as they looked at the Duke inwardly saying to themselves, ‘as expected, that’s our Duke.’
“If the mushroom is from around here, there’s no way the people wouldn’t know about it.”
“Yes, Your Grace. This mushroom is not one to inhabit this area. You have to go a bit more to the north with colder climate to find it.”
“How did this happen?” (Hugo)
“Speak truthfully.” (Village Lord)
In response to Hugo’s question, the village lord urged an old man that was tied up with a rope and prostrated on the floor. The old man was a shop owner who ran a food store in the village and was the one to supply the mushrooms.
“Yes..yes…Uh…a few days ago, I bought a large quantity of food stuff through the upper channels but I don’t know what happened…”
“Enough. You made this situation happen, did you not? What feelings in the world did you have to unleash poisonous mushrooms on your people?”
“Ai! I’m innocent, my lord. This one would never do such a thing on purpose.”
As the Duke watched the situation unfold, with the old man tearfully expressing his innocence with a runny nose, an official came to report to him.
“I think the upper channels will have to be placed under watch and tracked. The mushrooms cannot be distinguished properly hence one cannot tell if the supply is indiscriminate.”
“Dispatch and track immediately. Investigate along the upper levels to see if they have suffered any similar damage. The doctor will remain behind and treat the patients. Collect all the mushrooms discovered in the village and dispose of them.”
Responses came from all over the place.
“Your Grace, I made a mistake judging the situation and have caused you unnecessary trouble.”
The village lord apologized somberly.
“No, the quick reaction was excellent.”
The expression of the lord that had readied himself to receive the Duke’s wrath brightened considerably.
“Deal with the rest of this.”
“Yes, Your Grace.”
There was nothing else to see in the village. Although their horse riding for three hours straight ended up in vain, the situation here was much better than an epidemic occurring.
Hugo and his Knights left for Roam, leaving a few people to handle the remaining affairs. The day was getting darker. When they weren’t too far from Roam, Hugo and his knights gathered around a small fountain to quench the thirst of both horse and man.
Hugo took a guess at what time it was and by his estimate, by the time they reached Roam, it would be quite dark. It was likely that dinner time would be adjusted or it would be a little later than usual.
Hugo called for Dean.
“Go ahead and tell them not to blow the horns when I arrive.”
It would be good if he could arrive before the meal began but if he was a little late, he didn’t want her come out and meet him during her meal. Dean received his orders and departed earlier. After a while, Hugo and his Knight took their horses and began heading back en masse.
They ran without rest and arrived at Roam. Hugo rode his horse all the way inside the castle before stopping. One of the servants was surprised to see Hugo coming down from his horse and quickly ran inside. After a while, Jerome came running out.
“Your Grace arrived the castle yet there was no announcement…”
“I told them not to make a fuss.”
Hugo immediately started heading to his office followed by Jerome. After a while, the three siblings dedicated to serving the Duke came into the office with a change of clothes. They waited on Hugo as he changed out of his dusty clothes.
“What about dinner?” (Hugo)
“It’s almost ready.” (Jerome)
“I didn’t come late then.”
Hugo went straight to his desk and sat down. There were several documents laid out for him to look through. There were also documents in the corner, marked red for urgency.
‘No time to breathe,’ he muttered to himself as he picked up a document and opened it.
“Did the garden party go well?”
Because of the party, the atmosphere in the castle was gloomy all day. Remembering the words of the madam telling him not to say anything directly, Jerome replied:
“Call me when dinner is ready.”
Hugo leaned halfway across his desk, his butt sitting halfway on his chair and began to read through the document.
* * *
Lucia slept off after taking the medicine for headache and when she woke up, she continued to remain lying on the sofa. Even though she had taken some medicine before sleeping, the headache still hadn’t eased up.
Her throbbing head was irritating and she didn’t feel well so Lucia lay sniveling and unmoving on the bedroom sofa.
Around when dinner was almost ready, her headache had settled down so she began to move and a maid came in to tell her that the Duke had returned.
“What? He’s back?”
Lucia thought he wouldn’t be returning today. She asked the maid to bring a mirror and as expected, her eyes were swollen. If she knew it would be like this, she would have placed a pack on her eyes.
“Bring me a cold towel.”
Lucia could only use this as a temporary measure. However, there was not a lot of time. It was announced that dinner would be out very soon.
“How is it? Do my eyes look very bad?”
“It has settled down a lot better than before. At first glance, one cannot tell.”
If he didn’t notice during dinner, then it was fine. After dinner, he would be going back to his office; after all, he usually got busier when he returned from an outing. Lucia kept the cold towel on for a bit longer, hoping that her eyes would settle down a bit more. She didn’t want him to know that she had cried for nothing.
When she went down to the dining hall, Damian was already there. Hugo came in a little later and sat down. Hugo picked up his spoon and his gaze naturally fell on her. His forehead wrinkled and his hand froze.
As soon as he placed the spoon down loudly on the table, the atmosphere in the dining hall froze over. He swiftly got up and approached her figure that was looking rather embarrassed.
His hand clutched the table while his other hand held her jaw to face him. Her reddened eyes were clearly revealed to him. His gaze deepened and his eyes looked like they would burst into flames.
“What happened?” (Hugo)
Lucia was conscious of the surrounding gazes on her and naturally turned her head, dropping her gaze. She didn’t know he would react like this. She thought that even if he noticed something, he would ask her questions later. She was deeply embarrassed because the servants as well as Damian were in the room.
“Let’s eat first…”
He firmly grabbed her chin again and lifted her head backward to look over more carefully. Her clear amber eyes were heavily red. Did she cry? Why?
The always ready butler, Jerome, gave his master the answer he wanted.
“At the garden party, the ladies performed a party-break.”
“It is an act of artificially ending a party where many of the attendees keep silent.”
“…Young Master Damian.”
Hugo didn’t need to hear any more, he could roughly grasp the situation.
“What did they do to you?”
There was violence within his soft voice.
“Nothi…didn’t do anything…”
They merely rejected the party with blank expressions and silence but didn’t do anything to her directly. She didn’t feel displeased at all and it wasn’t enough to make her cry. It was just that she felt sorry to Damian and was crying because she was upset. She had also already cried to her heart’s content.
However the moment he asked her what happened, her nose got sore. It was the same principle as tears coming to one’s eyes when seeing someone else tear up. She was going to calmly explain to him the events that transpired when he came back, but his words were bringing her to tears.
Hugo’s expression stiffened as he watched tears begin to fill her eyes. He lifted her from her seat and took her into his arms. Like carrying a child, one of his arms supported her thighs while his other arm was wrapped around her back so her head could be buried in his chest.
“Move our dinner to the second floor. Damian, eat and go to your room.”
Damian looked on worriedly as the Duke carried Lucia out of the dining hall in his embrace. He was worried about Lucia because she hadn’t come out of her room almost all day and his heart felt uncomfortable all day long.
Damian hoped to see his mother smiling just as usual when tomorrow comes.
*I’m glad most of you enjoyed the fake chapter haha. Even got a few lurkers to comment ~(‾⌣‾~) For anyone curious, the fake chapter is here.
*PS: the aggregators took the bait lmao!