< — The Beginning and the End — > (5)
Lucia began her story again. When she reached the part of the story where she started getting acquainted with a knight as she was running her workshop, his expression looked considerably sour.
As she talked about how she was swindled and lost all her money, Lucia secretly glanced at his expression and found that it was surprisingly okay. She was relieved that he understood that her story wasn’t something that happened in reality.
However, inwardly, Hugo was thinking about something different.
‘So there’s a guy left for me to vent on.’
There was a bastard who could take Count Matin’s share of the crushing. Hugo thought to himself that he had to coax her into telling him who the man was.
When she finished her lengthy story, Lucia sucked in a deep breath and closed her eyes for a while. She used to think of her dream as something that she could never tell anyone. For the first time, she spoke of something that had only been lodged in her mind, and as she did so, she was yet again able to look back on it as another lifetime.
Lucia smiled bashfully at her husband, who was staring at her.
“You aren’t thinking, ‘this woman is crazy’, right?”
Hugo felt stunned, but he couldn’t explain why, so he silently hugged her. He didn’t speak words of comfort about the exhausting life she experienced. Rather, he was the one being comforted.
He was saved by her, unlike himself in her dream. His other self who was unable to find her, would have spent his lifetime with a dried out heart.
“Hugh, I have lived a life where I was thrown around left and right. I am not a princess who grew up prettily in the palace. Do I seem different to you now?”
“You know that’s impossible.”
“It’s the same for me too. No matter what secret you have. You are you.”
Hugo gave a shallow laugh, still hugging her. What in the world was he afraid of? The darkness that had restricted him for so many years, dispersed with a light wave from her hand.
The slender woman in his arms had a heart so steady that it surprised him. He hadn’t understood it when people said that a woman’s will was sometimes stronger than a man’s. But now he did.
“The problem is, Damian.”
“When that child grows up and finds a woman he loves, he won’t be able to have a child in a normal way. But since I know the method, it should turn out fine somehow. Hugh, I told you that my illness was cured because I met a wandering doctor, right? That doctor was actually Sir. Philip.”
Lucia gave a description of the Philip she had met in her dream.
“I haven’t met Philip personally in reality, but is the doctor I met indeed Sir. Philip?”
“…I think it is.”
“You know, I’ve thought about it and I think the mugwort herb is the key to the continuation of the Taran family lineage.”
Hugo muttered vacantly. The prescription she received in her dreams must have been the vision that was passed down in Philip’s family, from generation to generation. That vision was the only solution. He had to obtain it.
‘Where in the world did they hide it?’
A record that has been around for such a long time would be quite large. To hide it, they would need to put it in a place that was inconspicuous but with a considerable amount of space.
Hugo remembered an old memory. In the days when he was acting like a doll, following the instructions of the late former Duke, he met his brother once a month in order to confirm his brother’s safety.
He rode all day in a carriage without windows, arrived at a vast plain with nothing around, and then the carriage carrying his brother arrived. When he asked his brother where he was staying, his brother replied:
[I don’t know either. It is a very small village, but I can’t move around freely because there’s someone watching me. I am always given drugs to sleep before I get on the carriage to see you. Going off by how often I woke up in the middle to eat, the carriage must have been moving for a few days.]
The small village that his brother talked about was in a very remote location, and he thought that it was something like a safe house. Maybe the hideout of Philip’s family was there, and the records might be there as well.
When he became the Duke, he spent quite some time trying to find the hideout, but he failed. The search range of ‘a few days’ was too wide.
‘She said the old man went to a secret location and brought the cure back in a week.’
Anna’s testimony was an important clue. Philip must have gone to the hideout to make the cure. With how cautious Philip was, he would not have taken a carriage. He would have walked with care not to be followed, and if the time he took to make the drug was removed, it took the old man approximately three days to walk there. With this knowledge, the range had narrowed down significantly and it wasn’t too vast to comb through to find that village.
The measurement of a ‘a few days’ taken from the carriage’s traveling time had been deceptive.
‘It must be an enclosed village. The entrance to the village will be hidden.’
He had to send an order to the north, giving specific search directions immediately. But despite having narrowed down the range, he couldn’t guarantee when it could be found.
A thought suddenly flashed through his head. It was like a fog that was before him suddenly got cleared.
Hugo abruptly got up, startling his wife whose eyes got round, and seeing that sight, Hugo thought she couldn’t look more pretty. He grabbed her face and planted kisses all over.
“My wife. You said you remember the cure, right? Tell it to me.”
Lucia replied, looking puzzled.
“Thank you. That is enough.”
Hugo left his dazed wife behind and went out of the bedroom quickly.
Lucia couldn’t understand his last words or strange actions, but she could tell that for some reason, he was very excited and it made her giggle. Lucia laid down on the bed and placed both hands on her stomach. She wanted to feel the baby’s movement that she felt earlier, again.
“Baby. Move. It’s your mom.”
Lucia continued to speak slowly. After a good while, she felt a vibration like her water was moving, as if the baby was answering her. Lucia burst into cheery laughter.