< — To the Capital — > (1)
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Spring passed and summer arrived. It was the second summer to greet Lucia in her stay at Roam.
Day to day was peaceful and calm. Yesterday was like today, and today led to a tomorrow-like-today.
In this summer, the heat was in full swing and while they were having dinner at the end of a peaceful day, Hugo began to speak.
“His Majesty has passed away. Prepare to go up to the Capital.”
Lucia involuntarily dropped the fork in her hand. She had completely forgotten.
‘No. I might have subconsciously wanted to forget.’
Deep inside, she might have desired to shove everything away and live in this bubble, no matter what happened in the world.
“Are you okay?”
“…Yes. I was a little surprised. Since it was so sudden.”
Lucia was not surprised at the death of her father. The paused hand of the clock had begun to rotate again. From now on, the hectic future she saw in her dream would begin to unfold. Lucia didn’t know that she would dread it this much.
The Queen was incapable of having children. In other words, all of the King’s children were illegitimate. Hence, no one could argue legitimacy and anyone could become the Crowned Prince.
The King had as many as twenty sons but when the King passed away, only five of these princes were alive, including the Crown prince. In contrast to this, the King’s twenty-six princesses were mostly alive.
The princesses were able to survive as they had no rights to the throne but on the other hand, the princes had to kill each other to get closer to the throne. While Lucia led a calm life in her small detached palace, a bloody battle raged in the courts.
In the midst of this, the Crowned Prince admirably emerged as victor but even so, he couldn’t completely overpower the other competitors. In order to keep them in check, the Crown Prince needed to strengthen his forces and for that, he needed the Duke of Taran.
The final winner was the Crown Prince. And at his vanguard, the Duke of Taran.
Lucia didn’t know the details of the complicated political struggle but she could guess that Hugo would be getting very busy in the future. He was definitely not idle in the fief but what he had to deal with was relatively simple.
He had meetings, monitored the territory and went on inspections from time to time. The people he met were limited and his actions could be predicted to an extent.
Unlike what Lucia prepared herself for, he had been a faithful husband. Perhaps the northern customs and manners had influenced him. The customs of the northern people differed from that of the Capital’s in many ways.
The liberal tendencies of unmarried men and women were the same but in the north, one was mostly faithful to one’s spouse after marriage. However, there were many things that would tempt him if he went up to the Capital.
Xenon was a country with liberal sexual customs. In particular, the Capital was the most open. Even after one was married, there was no obstruction.
Regardless of the fact that he was a married man, the capital was overflowing with girls ready to throw themselves at him. Lucia felt uneasy. There were too many variables in the Capital.
‘He might grow cold if we go up to the Capital. There are so many beautiful women…’
“…it. Are you listening?”
Lucia was startled out of her wits and dropped the knife in her hand this time.
“Are you really okay?”
“Ah…yes. I’m sorry. I was thinking about something else…”
“Ah…the suddenness. I was wondering if Majesty’s health was not as good as it used to be.”
“I heard it was not usually good. Against the advice of the court, he didn’t refrain from excessive carnal pleasures and alcoholism.”
This was her first time getting an insight into the personality of the King. She felt embarrassed, as if her dirty linen was being exposed to her husband. Her father brought death upon himself with his debauchery.
Just like in the dream, Lucia’s relationship with her father did not improve at all but she felt no regret.
“When will you be going?” (Lucia)
“I plan to leave first thing at dawn. I have to hurry, so I cannot go with you. Be careful on the way, my wife.”
“Alright. I will leave as soon as I’m ready.”
When they finished dinner, Hugo took her hand and they walked out of the dining room. The servants were momentarily dazed because their eyes were trained on their masters but afterwards they outright ignored it. The servants had grown accustomed to the generous skinship of the ducal couple so, if it was to this extent they didn’t give it another glance.
Lucia suddenly felt somewhat embarrassed. She thought they were going to the garden but he took her to the terrace and hugged her tightly. She returned the hug, wrapping her arms around his back.
“Hugh? Why all of a sudden…”
“You don’t like this in front of the servants.”
If he knew she didn’t like it, it would be better if he didn’t grab her hand without notice or kiss her cheek where people could see.
The nice feeling of hugging him was short-lived. It was summer after all.
Hugo sighed and released her.
“Can’t you just endure a little longer without screaming, ‘it’s hot’?”
“But it is hot.”
“What a cool-headed woman.”
He grumbled and she burst out laughing. He watched her with a gentle gaze then pulled her by the waist and kissed her on the cheek.
“Why were you so distracted during dinner? Is something wrong?”
“No, just…felt a little complicated. Thinking of leaving this place made me sad.”
“Do you want to stay back instead?”
His words were very tempting. If she really could, it would be nice.
“Don’t be ridiculous. There are so many things you have to do when you get to the capital. You said you asked His Highness the Crown Prince to help with Damian’s matter.”
“You sound like you’re saying I should go and work because of the boy.”
“It’s only natural for a father to do something for his son.”
“Will the boy even know of my troubles later?”
“Of course. Damian is not an ignorant child.”
‘Even so, the boy is still chasing you all over the place’, Hugo muttered to himself. These days, Hugo had been curious about the contents of Damian’s letters and when he finally took one to read, the contents made his lips twitch. It was a basically report on everything that had occurred from morning till night.
“Is all well with Damian?” (Lucia)
“He keeps you updated, doesn’t he?”
“There must be some news you’ve gotten lately.”
Just as before, Damian lived in the Academy without revealing his identity. ‘Shita’ was not a position anyone could get with just skills alone. A good background was also needed. However, there was still a lot of time so Hugo was just watching the situation unfold. He had no intention of interfering in a matter of accommodation.
Boys had to be brought up powerfully. Perhaps because Damian was young, with uncertain status, outstanding skill and an unfriendly personality, there were many greedy people around him. There were also troublemakers looking for fights and these would only increase as the boy grew older. The boy had to capable of dealing with all of this.
“He’s doing well, of course.”
A few days ago, some troublemakers picked a fight with Damian. There were many opponents so a few blows were exchanged but that wasn’t the problem as far as Hugo was concerned. Nothing was broken nor was he crippled.
‘No matter how many opponents, to be hit by such lousy kids is just…’
Hugo was unsatisfied. Sure enough, Damian was his brother’s son. If it was him, he would have gotten rid of those fools without anyone knowing. When he told Damian, ‘don’t kill people at the Academy’, he meant ‘it is troublesome to take care of, so deal with it inconspicuously’. The boy didn’t seem to have understood him properly.
“Enough about the boy, be careful on your way. And be careful of the heat while you’re in the carriage.”
“There are many people to take care of me so why worry.”
Lucia leaned her head on his wide chest. As time went by, his affection grew more romantic. She could guess that he liked her to a considerable degree. But despite that, her uneasiness did not decrease.
The capital was filled with his past lovers, seductive beauties that fell for his charm, and even the woman that was his wife in the dream. There was no room for her feet(1).
‘I’m afraid you’ll leave me.’
Lucia had thought that it would be fine as long as she loved him. She had thought that she could stand in the center and love without reliance or burden. But now, she could only wonder if such a love exists.
She was gradually waking up to her arrogance. Perhaps it might exist somewhere but such a love was impossible for her.
- It means it’s very crowded.
- ‘Sitha’ is changed to ‘Shita’.
DOUBLE RELEASE (^.^)