< — Peaceful day-to-day life — > (1)
Edited by: ShadowDog
T/N: Conversations that take place in the past are italicized.
Hugo explained his family situation to Lucia by mixing in some proper truths with lies. Some parts were revealed, and some parts were hidden.
He revealed that his family couldn’t be continued without relations between close relatives, but he changed it to cousin instead of half-sister. He said that in order for an unrelated woman to bear a child, they would have to eat a special herb instead blood.
Lucia’s expression constantly changed as she listened to him and after sorting out her thoughts for a moment, she opened her mouth.
“You have to marry a female cousin to have a son. Otherwise, you have to take a special herb from the moment of purity. And the only person who knows what that special herb is, is the ducal physician, Sir. Philip.”
“I know it sounds crazy.”
“I don’t mean I don’t believe you. So then, Damian’s mother was your cousin.”
Lucia was very confused but after thinking about it, it made sense. Despite the fact that there were many women around him, he had no illegitimate children and she could also understand why he was so unconcerned about birth control from their first night.
Xenon’s law forbid the marriage of blood relatives within the second cousin. However, there were quite a lot of countries that allowed marriage of cousins; in particular, royal families were tolerant of marriages between close relatives. The fact that he showed strong aversion to the intermarriage of cousins was strange. He didn’t seem like the type to be so sensitive to moral discipline.
‘Is it closer than a cousin…like marriage within the immediate family?’
Lucia stopped thinking about it in depth. She didn’t want to start digging up things that he didn’t say.
“Then, there must be a woman who was designated to marry you.”
“She’s dead. And there is no such woman in the Taran family anymore. The only people left of the Taran bloodline are Damian and me. Even if there was such a woman, I wouldn’t marry to have a child. I thought my family bloodline would end with me. I told you. It is cursed. I wanted to end this cursed lineage.”
As Lucia dealt with her complicated feelings, her senses were jolted to attention. He was strongly disillusioned with his family as well as himself. He seemed like he was made of steel but in actuality, he was wounded inside. The ache in Lucia’s heart made her feel like she was going to cry.
“You are not a curse, Hugh. A child as lovely as Damian cannot be curse either. I am grateful for you being in this world. If you were not in this world, you wouldn’t have met me and I, you. So please, love yourself as much as I love you.”
Hugo placed his hand on his wife’s hand which was on his face and closed his eyes. Maybe he would not be able to love himself until the day he died. But at least, he wouldn’t curse the fact that he was alive. Just like she said, he was able to meet her because he was alive.
“So that’s why you said you don’t want a child.”
“It’s not because I don’t want a child with you.”
“Yes, I understand.”
Lucia replied, feeling numb.
“I would love to see your child if bearing one was possible.”
Lucia’s eyes took on a shine.
“You said you didn’t like to have a child.” (Lucia)
“I still don’t like it. But your child is fine.” (Hugo)
“Do you…does that mean that, if I was with our child, you would have readily accepted it?”
“Gladly. And I mean it.”
“I believe you.”
The fact that he was ready to be a father even though it was impossible for a child to be born between the two of them greatly touched Lucia’s heart. He was a man that didn’t like children but he said he would like her child. She could feel his deep love for her.
“Thank you, Hugh. I understand you. And I am fine. Ah…then that means Damian cannot have a child either. I hope it doesn’t hurt the kid.”
“…You’re thinking of the boy in the middle of this?”
“Of course. I am his mother, Hugh. You must tell Damian about this.”
“I’ll take care of it.”
Lucia felt drained of all her energy. Even though she thought she had given up, she was still unable to let of her tiny lingering attachment. She didn’t want to show him such a side of her. She tried to show him a bright smile.
But tears came to her eyes, due to a mixture of unavoidable sadness, and relief because everything was off her chest. Lucia tried to smile as she wiped away her tears. When she saw the immense pain in his eyes, her heart hurt as well.
“I’m sorry.” (Hugo)
“Why are you apologizing to me?” (Lucia)
Hugo felt his heart ache and he hugged her.
“And here I was, trying not to cry. I think I’m so awfully weak.” (Lucia)
“What are you talking about?” (Hugo)
Hugo sighed deeply.
“I have never seen any woman stronger than you.” (Hugo)
Hugo silently held onto Lucia for a while as she cried. There was no difference from the time when he was frustrated by his own powerlessness as he watched his brother die. For the first time in his life, Hugo thought he wanted to cry.
* * *
Peaceful days flowed by quickly.
Lucia went to a bakery downtown in the city with the noblewomen who were at the tea party. After hearing the fuss of one noblewoman about how fantastic the cake tasted in a newly opened bakery, they were all enchanted to go with her and Lucia also joined them.
For a few days now, she had been strangely craving something sweet. Lucia ate two pieces of cake at the bakery and packed a few more pieces. On the way back home, the small flakes of snow fluttered outside her carriage window.
‘It would be nice if it didn’t turn into a shower of snow…’
When the snow piled up, it was difficult for carriages to move and accidents were also more frequent. Knowing that Hugo was coming back late today, she grew worried. He had become more busy as the chief of the King’s new ambitiously formed central administrative structure. The days when he came back past midnight had dramatically increased. So Lucia often went to bed alone first.
She usually didn’t talk about her husband’s work outside, but a few days ago, she grumbled that she wanted him to quit. When Lucia said, ‘Quit’. I don’t have enough time to spend with you’, the look in his eyes told her that he wanted her to say more. Lucia smiled gently as she recalled the sight of him grumbling alone after she feigned ignorance.
There were only ten days left before the year came to an end. Lucia was planning to wrap up her social activities for the year with the charity party tomorrow. The rest of the year would be spent mellowing out at home and then she would start the next year with the New Year party.
‘Wow. The year is over already.’
Lucia looked back on the past year in the capital’s high society where little events kept happening constantly. The biggest event of the year was no doubt, the birth of Princess Selena.
The young princess was growing up beautifully, being showered with the love and concern of the royal couple and her three elder brothers.
And the next event, was Katherine’s marriage. Katherine accepted a suitor and got married within a few months. The marriage happened a year earlier than in the future Lucia had seen. Her marriage partner was a foreigner. He was an international business magnate that held titles in several countries as a Marquis of Xenon’s ally.
Kwiz allowed the marriage and conferred a title on the condition that he would stay in Xenon for 1/3 of a year. A few days before her marriage, Katherine told Lucia this:
“I was envious because you looked happy, Duchess. So, I wanted to get married. Do you think I can have a happy marriage like yours, Duchess?”
“Of course. You will be happy. I am cheering for you, Sister.” 
Katherine cast a surprised look at Lucia before beaming at her.
“Thank you, Vivian.”
Katherine married and left the country, following her husband. She had been living in her husband’s homeland and sent word that she would be coming back in the late spring next year.
The future that Lucia saw in her dream had changed a lot. Count Alvin, who would have become Katherine’s husband, married Sofia. Marquis Dekhan who would have married Sofia, remained single after his wife, the Marchioness, passed away.
Lucia no longer dwelled on her memory in the dream. Sometimes, when things happened in sync with her memory or there was a discrepancy, she thought about it momentarily and laughed to herself. She also felt that the memories of her dream, which used to be very clear, had become increasingly blurry.
Upon returning home, Lucia retired to bed early. Maybe it was due to riding in the carriage for a long time, but she found herself extremely tired.
 She calls her ‘Unni’, hence why Katherine was surprised. Unni basically means ‘big sis’.
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