< — The Beginning and the End — > (6)
A few days later, Hugo went to the safe house and into the underground secret chamber where Philip was confined. Before Hugo went into the room, his knights had already tied Philip to the chair like previously.
Hugo stared at Philip and slowly sat down on the opposite chair. Philip looked like he had aged drastically in the span of a month. He had only been fed enough to satisfy his hunger and hadn’t seen the sun in a long time. Hugo’s gaze was only filled with ferociousness as he looked at the haggard old man.
“Seeing as I haven’t seen you in a long time, you must have gone to the North.”
Hugo’s eyebrow twitched.
“And I’m sure you couldn’t find anything.”
The Duke’s only response was to silently stare at him, but Philip was convinced that he had seized a chance at victory.
Philip had absolutely no intention of doing anything to harm the precious little miss that would be born soon, but the Duke would not believe Philip. Although he would not believe Philip, the Duke was in a disadvantageous position. He would not refuse a proposal that concerned the Duchess’ safety.
“You want something.” (Hugo)
“I will make medicine that will guarantee the safety of the Duchess and the little miss.” (Philip)
“I have no intention of letting you see even a strand of my wife’s hair.”
“Do as you wish. You can also give her the drug I make yourself.”
Philip smiled with ease, looking at the Duke’s eyes which were filled with distrust. He hadn’t forgotten the proverb that a cornered mouse would bite the cat.
The Duke’s cruel and ferocious nature could burst open at any time. If he was driven to a dead end, it was possible for him to kill Philip without thinking of the aftermath because he couldn’t endure the humiliation of being controlled by Philip.
It was necessary for Philip to set up conditions that could sufficiently accommodate the Duke.
“I will not approach the Madam, nor will I approach your daughter. I will follow your intention to raise the little miss and young master Damian as siblings.”
“Whether you will follow or not, is not something for you to decide. I can only hear that you are so deluded, you cannot even grasp your own position.”
The Duke spoke bitingly but his voice had audibly softened. The corner of Philip’s lips curved in a thin smile. He began to make a deal with the Duke.
“It is not exactly necessary for young master Damian’s bride to be born from the Madam.”
“Are you saying another woman should bear my child?”
Philip was silent as if admitting to it.
‘The old man has a clever head on his shoulders.’
Hugo thought to himself that if the old man had advanced in the business world, he might have made a name for himself as a business tycoon.
His opponent was tense about what enormous demand he might make for the safety of both his pregnant wife and baby, but he caught his opponent off guard by proposing something seemingly minor in comparison to that, relieving the burden on his opponent’s mind. It was an excellent way to make a deal.
However, Philip made the most fundamental mistake of not knowing his opponent well. A proposal to sleep with another woman, under the pretext of doing it for his wife and his soon-to-be-born child, was not a proposal accommodating, or acceptable, for Hugo.
Hugo had absolutely no intention of breaking his promise to be a faithful husband and above all, he still loathed his blood. His soon-to-be born child was only special because it was from his wife.
The mere thought of a woman other than his wife, bearing his blood, was nauseating. When he thought of a situation where he had to hold a strange woman to propagate his species, the biggest problem was that it was physically impossible.
‘I don’t think it will stand.’
Hugo folded his arms and fell into thought as he lowered his gaze to his lower abdomen. He wondered how Philip would look if he told him that he couldn’t meet his demands due to physical issues.
It was a frivolous thought that didn’t match the seriousness of the situation. Nothing had been solved, but he strangely felt at ease. It was a good feeling as if everything would turn out well.
Since the time Hugo captured Philip, he ordered a search into Philip’s residence in Roam, and Philip’s residence at the northern border, and was still searching for Philip’s hideout.
As expected, nothing was found in Philip’s residence and the effort to find Philip’s hideout was indefinite, like trying to find a needle in a desert.
However, a few days ago, Hugo got a few clues that narrowed down the scope, and was able to give concrete instructions. By now, the order must have already been delivered. He did not expect to find the hideout easily. He could find it within a few months or it could take even longer than that.
He couldn’t wait indefinitely until he found Philip’s hideout. If he didn’t go to meet Philip for a long time, he didn’t know what schemes might form in the old man’s head. Hugo judged that now was the best time to catch the old bastard off guard.
The current Hugo was no longer in a unilaterally disadvantageous position. He had obtained the sole but powerful information that was Philip’s prescription.
Having this information, Hugo had more time to take a back seat and look at the situation from afar. He realized that his biggest mistake was getting enticed by Philip’s deliberate words.
Philip’s remark about his wife being in danger when she gave birth, had a loophole.
It was impossible for Philip not to know that with Hugo’s personality, if the child had killed its mother on its way out, he would have sent the child after its mother. If it failed, the precious miss of Taran bloodline dies.
With the old man’s craziness about the Taran bloodline, he didn’t seem like someone to gamble.
‘This old bastard lies every time he opens his mouth.’
Hugo decided to make a decisive move. Philip watched the Duke’s eyes cool down and judged that the Duke was willing to make a deal with him calmly.
“I cannot understand your proposal.” (Hugo)
Hugo tried to find out a little more about Philip’s plans.
“What might you mean?” (Philip)
“Is it so easy to get a child? What if there are no issues until the child is born? If my wife gives birth safely, you’re dead.” (Hugo)
Philip didn’t even blink despite the murderous intent that filled that last sentence.
“The Madam will have to keep taking my medicine until a bride for young master Damian is born. Why? Because until then, the medicine I give, will be less effective.”
Philip had no intention of harming the Duchess’ life for the still unborn little miss, but he planned to alternate between a drug that deprived the Duchess’ energy and one that restored it.
If she was confined to bed and recovered her energy after taking Philip’s medicine, the Duke would have no choice but to listen to Philip to get the drug.
“Let’s assume the child is born as you intended. What about after that? Do you think I will let you and the child live?” (Hugo)
“For that issue, you simply have to make a promise to assure my safety.”
Hugo broke out in a sneer.
“Do you believe I will keep that promise?”
Was this bastard that naïve? Hugo felt amused like he was watching a scene from a comedy skit.
“I want to believe but unfortunately, this is a world where trust can be found lacking. Does Young Master think that the heads of the Taran family were obediently convinced, that something as crucial as continuing the Taran family line, was in our family’s hands?”
For many generations, every single head of the Taran family wished to know how to continue their bloodline after they came out of the secret room.
The ancestors of Philip’s family held onto their secrets very tightly so they did not bring danger upon themselves. They released most of the facts that the Taran heads were curious about, according to their demands.
In exchange for the head of the Taran family satisfying the curiosity, he had to promise not to tell anyone nor leave any record. Of course, it was not just a verbal promise. There was a way to make promises compulsory.