< — The Beginning and the End — > (6)
“There is a treasure passed down in our family for generations. It is a magical tool that binds its contractor.” (Philip)
“Interesting. And how do you plan on getting that magical tool? You can’t get a foot out of here.”(Hugo)
“I’ve kept it in a safe place for safekeeping, but you can ask someone to bring it. No one else can use it anyways. It is an exclusive contract, so one of the contracting parties must be one of our family members.”
Hugo lost interest in the unique magical tool. Philip was the only one remaining out of his family. The old man was basically saying that once he dies, the magical tool becomes garbage.
According to his investigations, Philip did not get married again after his wife and son died, and he was continually alone after his father died. Now that he thought about it, it was strange that the old man had no descendants to inherit his will, even though he was so obsessed.
‘Well, this bastard’s private situation is none of my concern.’
He decided that he must kill the old man. Philip’s family would come to an end with Philip’s death.
“What about the woman? Not any woman can have my child, no?”
“That is prepared.”
“It is prepared?”
When Philip mentioned holding another woman, Hugo anticipated this, but to really hear Philip say that there was a woman, made him speechless. How much had the old man pulled wool over his eyes, scheming and deceiving him?
“So you mean you did such a thing arbitrarily, without my permission.”
“It is a mission our family has done for generations. It is not something done after getting permission.”
“And if the woman you prepared can’t get pregnant?”
“There is a readied replacement.”
“It’s not just one or two women prepared, huh. You’ve set up a training camp.”
Hugo burst into uncontrollable laughter.
“There’s a limit to treating someone like a stud.”
Hugo mumbled, irritatedly. He thought to himself that the heads of the Taran family who accepted such treatment were crazy bastards.
“Let’s summarize this. In exchange for you giving my wife medication, I will share a bed with a woman you’ve prepared and have a child. You’ll raise the child and I’ll sign a contract, promising not to touch you. And what about after that? Do you think Damian will move the way you want?”
“I do not know much of the distant future. I simply do what I can do right now.”
“You do not look at the future.”
Hugo got an important clue. He seemed to have found the reason for Philip’s confidence. When Philip was speaking about his wife not being safe after giving birth, his attitude wasn’t confidence based on the truth, but recklessness, like a tiger moth running into a campfire.
“Old man. I understand what you want. When should I make a decision?”
“The Madam has to take the medicine at least a month before she is due, for strengthening of the body.”
“Oh? So the more my wife’s stomach grows, the more restless I will be. You know how to strike cleverly, old man. Is this also a method passed down in your family for generations?”
Philip’s expression slightly stiffened. It wasn’t that the Duke’s provoking tone was bothering him. Philip was rather confident that he was in an advantageous position. If the Duke couldn’t abandon the Duchess, he had no choice but to be drawn into his proposal.
However, that belief was beginning to crack a little. No matter how he looked at it, the Duke’s attitude wasn’t that of someone with an unfavorable contract ahead. He couldn’t shake off the strange feeling of incongruity.
‘What might have gone wrong?’
He might have crossed the line that bordered the Duke’s pride. If the Duke valued his pride more than the Duchess and refused to make a deal with Philip, regardless of the Duchess’ safety, then the plan was a failure. The Duchess would be fine even if she gave birth to the baby when she reached full term. If the Duke discovered Philip’s lies, Philip was as good as dead.
‘No. Even if the affection is briefly passionate and nothing but lust, it is not yet time for the fire to go out.’
When someone’s momentum was suppressed, that was the end of it. Once you lost your footing, it became a situation where you were standing at a crossroads, plunging down an endless depth.
“I am going to need to definite answer. Will my wife die after giving birth if she does not take the medicine you give me?”
“For the Madam’s safety…”
“Answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”
“…That is correct.”
“What is ‘correct’?”
“The Madam will not live long.”
Philip tried to keep a calm expression as he faced the red eyes staring at him like they could see right through him. When the Duke’s lips slowly curved and he began to laugh, Philip felt chills on his back.
“You know, the reason I came to see your bastardous face today is because I was curious what bullshit you would spout. You do not disappoint.”
The moment Philip’s expression distorted, Hugo sensed that it was his victory. And he was confident of it.
“What do you think I found in the north?”
“Mugwort, it’s called. Such an interesting thing. To think such a common weed was the secret to continuing the Taran bloodline.”
Philip’s expression was unchanged. But his mind was furiously spinning. The Duke was bluffing. Philip had already anticipated this much. He had no intention of being trapped.
‘He got clued to the mugwort through Anna and is making a vain guess.’
Philip gave a relaxed smile like usual and said.
“I do not know what you’re talking about. I am aware of the Madam’s absence of menstruation symptom due to intake of mugwort. That’s why I said I would give her treatment.”
Hugo chuckled and began listing off the names of herbs, one by one. These were the contents of the prescription that Lucia had received from Philip in her dream.
The smile on Philip’s composed face began to stiffen. It was the complete mugwort prescription that was never to be revealed to the head of the Taran family. Indeed, it was the vision that was passed down only to the descendants of Philip’s family for generations. He couldn’t be sure without reading his family’s secret notebook.
“I found your hideout, you bastard.”
Philip’s face completely collapsed. His distorted expression had turned black and his face was twitching. Hugo made his last verification, catching Philip off guard before he could put his brain to work properly.
“I looked through the records quite thoroughly, but I didn’t see anything about something going wrong after giving birth.”
Hugo watched Philip carefully. If it was true that his wife would die after giving birth, then Philip would immediately realize that Hugo was lying. Seeing Philip’s dark complexion remaining unchanged, Hugo breathed a long, silent sigh.
It was a lie. His wife was safe. Once he put down his fear of possibly losing her, a strong desire to kill Philip surged within him.
“I will let you experience pain that will make you wish for a peaceful death.”
He would never let him die peacefully. Hugo gazed at Philip with a piercing look in his eyes and spoke drearily.
“After Damian, no boy with black hair and red eyes will be born again.”
Philip who had been looking spiritless, abruptly lifted his head. Hugo was pleased to see Philip’s eyes full of despair.
“This is the end of this cursed blood.”
Philip’s face, which always had a relaxed look and a polite smile, was hideously twisted. He glared at Hugo through eyes filled with resentment, anger and despair then he began wailing with strange sounds.
Hugo looked at the convulsing sight of the bastard whom he wouldn’t see again after today, then he turned around and left the room.
“Monitor him thoroughly, just in case he isn’t willing.”
One of the knights replied in affirmative and went into the room. As the stone doors closed, the racket coming from inside stopped. Hugo planned to leave Philip alone for the time being, for safety’s sake. It was only until his wife gave birth safely and the search party found Philip’s hideout.
The fear that he would receive pain worse than death, despair that his family’s secrets were all revealed and destroyed or Hugo’s last words declaring the end of the Taran line.
‘What would torment that bastard the most, among these three?’
Hugo’s steps were light as he climbed up the stairs. He felt like he could breathe now. This feeling was like he had finally escaped the shadow of the Taran family that had been suppressing him.
 It is way too late to change [mugwort] to [ssamyupsuk] now but the ‘mugwort’ in this story is completely made up. When I first started translating, I used mugwort which was the closest thing to an english name I could find but I should’ve made up something. We’ve already come so far calling it mugwort so I never changed it but yea.
Q: Is bastardous a word?