< — Negotiation — > (1)
Lucia had no motivation at all. She sat absentmindedly on the sofa in her bedroom. Jerome had kept on encouraging her to eat something, but she didn’t know how her food had tasted. Her mind was constantly replaying the situation of that day repeatedly.
Her unconscious maid collapsed on the floor, the woman who sprayed something on her face and the hatred and triumph that filled her face in the short moment their eyes met, the dizziness that followed when she woke up from her momentary unconsciousness, the Count of Ramis, Sir. Krotin who was grappling with Count Ramis, and Sir. Krotin’s voice telling her to leave.
‘So that woman was the Countess of Falcon.’
One could only wonder what she was planning to do, even going to the extent of using a magical tool to change her appearance. Fabian said that it was probably an attempt to make a scandal around the Duchess, but Lucia couldn’t understand. What about this would be helpful to the Countess for her to do such a thing?
Lucia couldn’t empathize with the ugly twistedness inside the human heart. Even though she had suffered through a lot of hardship in her dream, she had never blamed others and harbored intense burning hatred for them.
‘…She’s probably dead, isn’t she.’
They seemed careful to discuss the specific details about what had happened to her maid. Seeing as there was no news up till now, her maid was most likely dead. Maybe something went wrong in the time she had collapsed. Lucia was more curious about why the Countess did not hurt her.
Lucia closed her eyes which were heating up.
‘The poor girl died innocently.’
Lucia’s heart ached at her maid’s death. She did not favor a particular maid on purpose, but she liked that maid because she was simple and sincere. It may be due to her experience of working as a maid in her dream, but she couldn’t think of it as the death of only a servant. Her death was unfair and in vain. Her family wouldn’t even be able to complain anywhere.
Even if they were a servant, as long as they were affiliated with the Duke, there were the Duke’s people. Lucia should have protected her. Herself who was unable to do that seemed incompetent, she felt sorry and she didn’t know how to comfort the heartbroken family who have now lost their daughter or sister.
Suddenly, Lucia heard the sound of the door opening and opened her eyes with a start. Seeing the person entering into the room, Lucia quickly rose to her feet.
Looking at him approaching her, she thought she was running to him, but her body did not move. Before she even took a few steps, he quickly approached her and pulled her into his arms.
She heard a soft sigh coming from the top of her head. She was wrapped in his familiar broad embrace, his arms holding her firmly and as she inhaled his scent that she had missed, her heart felt like it was bubbling over. If this was a dream, she didn’t want to wake up.
“Are you hurt anywhere?”
His vivid voice was not an illusion. Suddenly, Lucia’s legs went weak and he caught her as she staggered.
Hugo hugged his drained wife and sat down on the sofa. He leaned her against his body, wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her closer. He stroked her forehead with his other hand and kissed her eyes that were beginning to grow wet.
“Hugh, Sir. Krotin is…”
“I know. What about you? I heard you fainted. Did you see the doctor?”
“They said it was an anesthetic type thing that makes you unconscious for a short while. I’m fine. I’m not hurt either. But because of me, Sir. Krotin is…”
Hugo buried his wife head in his chest as she had began to cry, and gently patted her back. His uncontrollable anxiety that had followed him all the way as he raced back home had disappeared the moment that he confirmed her safety.
As soon as he was caught wind of the news of Roy’s brief incident in the capital, Hugo’s head was filled with thoughts of his wife.
When he received information about where the incident had occurred and about the people who had died, he grew more and more worried. It was an incident that occurred while she was being guarded. He didn’t know what mindset he had as he ran to the capital, thinking about what might have happen to her, the subject being guarded.
His wife was not mentioned in the message he received, but he was still troubled by all sorts of ominous thoughts and imaginations. He was filled with rage and ready to kill every single person involved if even her fingertips were hurt.
“Stop. Vivian. Don’t cry.”
“What do I do? Krotin…”
“I’ll take care of it.”
Hugo caught her chin and wiped her tears with his hands. He kissed her salty lips, wet with tears.
“Your face looks thinner. Did you eat properly?”
“I am okay. I only got protected inside the mansion.”
“That’s only natural. I told you not to worry about anything and just eat well and live well, didn’t I?”
“But that was before this happened.”
“It’s all the same whenever. You have nothing to worry about.”
Lucia burst into light laughter. Strangely enough, hearing his words, it made it seem like there was really nothing to worry about and everything was going well, just like he said. It was as if she had been tense and unable to sleep for the past few days for no reason.
For the first time since the incident occurred, Lucia smiled.
“Your hand is cold. Your face is cold too.”
“It’s because I ran back on the horse. Is it too cold?”
“It’s refreshing so I like it. It’s like it’s clearing my head.”
Hugo looked at his wife, who was smiling at him, for a moment, then he cupped her cheeks with his hands and began to randomly plant kisses on her lips, nose, and eyes.
“Hugh…Hugh! What is it?”
“I’m checking that you’re really in front of me. In the entirety of those few days I was heading to the capital, when I closed my eyes, you were there, but when I opened them, you disappeared.”
Even though Lucia asked him to stop already several times, Hugo acted like he didn’t hear and only released her after he had kissed her dozens of times all over.
“What happened to the thing with your vassal? You said it was important.”
“I left the matter to their discretion and came back. Something bigger happened here.”
Lucia sullenly crumpled up.
“I don’t know what to do. I can’t think of a way to help Sir. Krotin.”
“I said I’ll take care of it. I did say you should cause a bigger trouble for me to settle, and you really did a big one.”
Lucia tilted her head for a moment, then remembering what he had said before, she cried out and hit his chest.
“Are you making such a joke right now?”
He snickered and swiftly gave her a quick peck on the lips.
“I’m saying it’s not that big of a deal. Don’t stew on it.”
“Do you really have a way?”
“I do. That guy will be safe, don’t worry.”
“I know Sir. Krotin is special to you. If Sir. Krotin is hurt, you will also be distressed. I don’t want to see you saddened.”
Hugo looked at her silently for a moment, then he chuckled, spreading his arms wide and hugged Lucia.
It was strange. He personally liked Roy but it wasn’t to the extent of giving it meaning, but because she kept saying that Roy was special to him, he felt the guy was really such an existence to him.
“I’m happy to see you again. Hugh, I missed you.”
Again, Hugo kissed his wife, who chose to only say beautiful words to him.
 See, in Korean, Sir. Krotin is Krotin gyeong. Gyeong standing for Sir. Roy is a baron. Philip as well. It’s a noble title. Hence she’s about to say Sir. Krotin but only got the first part out.