< — The Beginning and the End — > (2)
Hugo returned home early today and was greeted by Jerome who came out to meet him. When he heard from Jerome that Lucia took a nap and was still sleeping, he frowned.
“Is she not ill? I am sure I asked for the doctor to see her today.”
“The doctor is asking to see you about the Madam.”
Hugo immediately went to see the doctor, not bothering to change his clothes first. The doctor was nervous. Unlike the Madam whom she could face with relative comfort, the Duke made her feel nervous every time they met. She didn’t know how many times she had felt awed by the fact that these two really different people were married.
“I believe the Madam is pregnant.”
Lucia’s worry about whether to tell her husband or not was useless. She had completely forgot to tell the doctor not to inform her husband yet.
Since the doctor began working, she had been reporting the Madam’s treatment results to the Duke every single time and thought nothing different of it this time as well.
Hugo was momentarily silent as he listened to Jerome, who was beside him and said, ‘this is a matter for congratulations’, after hearing the good news.
“…What? Pregnant? You mean a child?”
“It is not fully certain, but the Madam’s symptoms are showing typical evidence of pregnancy.”
The doctor continued to explain that Lucia had gotten diagnosed by a palace nurse at the Royal Palace today, and that her strange symptoms lately were in sync with signs of pregnancy, so the Madam’s pregnancy was pretty certain. And Hugo remained silent, listening to the doctor list off things about an expectant mother’s psychological state and precautions to take.
“What is the chance that it is not pregnancy?”
The doctor carefully watched the Duke whose reaction was quite different from normal people upon hearing the news that he would become a father. She had heard that when a couple’s relationship was too good, there were husbands who didn’t look favorably upon the existence of a child, so she thought that maybe that was the case here.
”There is a condition that occurs very rarely, it’s called phantom pregnancy. It occurs when a woman desperately wants a child; in this situation, they experience symptoms that are almost similar to that of pregnancy. But like I said, it is very rare. The Madam is not usually saddened or impatient for a child, so I do not think it is applicable here.”
Hugo’s expression didn’t change at all on the outside, but he was actually very flustered. His head was blank as if he had been slammed into out of nowhere and he had no time to think any deeper.
After revealing his family’s secret to his wife, his wife had never brought up a child thereafter. So Hugo had pushed it to the other side of his mind as an unimportant issue.
“When can we know for certain that there is a child?”
“The most definitive time period would be about 5 months in, since there is fetal movement around then. I believe the Madam has been pregnant for two months at most.”
Hugo frowned slightly. According to the doctor, there was another three months till they could know for sure. That was too long.
“I already informed the Madam about the cautions she needs to take, but you have to be especially careful about bedroom relations. Therefore, bedroom relations are forbidden for the next three months until she reaches a definitive stable period.”
Hugo frantically shouted at the doctor.
* * *
When in doubt, assume the worst. It was a principle Hugo kept to whenever he was trying to make a judgement. Saying that he assumed the pregnancy as the worst would be a misunderstanding but basing his thoughts on the premise that the pregnancy was certain, he began to ponder about how a phenomenon that should not occur at all, was possible. He went through everything, one by one.
‘My wife said her condition meant she could not have a child.’
His wife said that she could not have a child due to having no menstruation, so she was infertile. And at the same time, she said that she knew the cure so she could treat it at any time.
The question of whether his wife was cured was a secondary issue; in any case, he revamped his premise and based it on his wife being a normal woman that could bear a child. Whether she could bear a child or not, was not the important thing here.
The heart of the problem was Hugo himself, a bizarre lineage of the Taran bloodline.
‘You have to consume blood…’
Hugo drummed his fingers on the table and chewed over the words that Philip said a long time ago. At that time, he did not have a hint of doubt in his mind about Philip’s words. Back then, his hatred and disgust for his family had reached an extreme, so he thought that the revolting method of ingesting blood that Philip spoke about matched perfectly.
Despite being thorough in everything else, the reason why Hugo didn’t re-consider whether Philip really told the truth was because he did not want to even think about it.
‘Blood, huh? It even sounds fucking ridiculous.’
Thinking rationally, Hugo analyzed what Philip said back then and the situation at that time.
Philip held his ground, claiming that he couldn’t talk about his family’s vision then he unexpectedly confessed obediently. Now that Hugo thought about it, it was unlikely that Philip would so easily reveal the secret that wasn’t even in the Taran family secret room, and had been protected and passed down in his family for generations.
Philip was a strong-willed old man. It was more like him to offer his neck than truthfully reveal his family’s secret.
‘So he lied to me. That’s what this is.’
There was a cold smile on Hugo’s lips.