< — Epilogue– > (2)
“Milady, the path for the child to come out is opened. Don’t put too much pressure on your stomach like that.”
As she watched over the situation, the midwife continued to advise the mother giving birth. From the looks of it, the progress was slow because it was her first delivery. The midwife did not let her guard down even though she had delivered numerous children before. Childbirth had many variables. There were times when a delivery was proceeding very smoothly, then suddenly, there were unexpected difficulties.
An assistant approached the midwife and whispered to her:
“His Grace the Duke is asking about the progress.”
The midwife clicked her tongue. She didn’t know how many times he had asked this. The delivery had only just begun and two hours or so had passed. She had replied a couple of times to the Duke’s persistent questioning of the situation, that it was still far from over.
The midwife was in charge of the delivery of the precious noble lives in the royal family. The incoming baby was very important, but the parent could also not be ignored. No matter how busy and hectic it got due to the delivery, a proper level of tact was necessary.
“It looks like I need to go see the Duke. You, watch over the Madam and if you see anything strange, let me know immediately.”
The midwife left the bedroom, leaving her skilled assistant to take her place in charge.
As soon as Hugo saw the midwife, he urgently asked.
“How is it?”
“There is still a long way to go, Your Grace.”
“When exactly is that ‘long way’! You’ve been telling me the same thing since earlier.”
“Your Grace, I have said this several times. It will take a long time because this is the Madam’s first delivery. From the way the situation is progressing, I can tell the baby is not likely to be born anytime soon. So please, calm down. If you get some sleep…”
“My wife looks like she’s dying inside there and you’re telling me to sleep?”
The midwife smacked her lips as she watched the Duke fly into a rage. Calling a woman, who was doing fine and giving birth to a child, ‘dying’, wasn’t quite right. She hadn’t seen any signs of a difficult delivery and it had only been two hours since the labor went into full-swing.
“Can’t I go in and check if my wife is okay?”
“The delivery room zone is off-limits to men.”
“I’ll only see her face and leave.”
The midwife had never even imagined a man entering into the delivery room and hearing the Duke say that he would do just that, the midwife really doubted whether he was in his right mind.
When she delivered children in the royal family, the husband was only informed when the labor began and when the child was delivered. In the case of the king’s concubines’ delivery, the king often came a few days after the child was born.
This was the first time in the seasoned midwife’s long career, that a husband was lingering around the delivery room and raising hell.
‘It is unusual indeed.’
The elderly midwife had been quite nervous, leaving the palace and heading to the ducal residence, because it was her first time dealing closely with the Duke of Taran, who was rumored to be scary. However, the Duke of Taran whom she routinely met was much too different from the one in the rumors.
He had a big stature, but he couldn’t move an inch in front of the small sized Madam. Once he had a little free time, he would just be following the Madam around. She thought it was quite nice for a couple that had been together for 3 years now to have such a good marital relationship. However, she didn’t know that when the time for the delivery came, he would be this particular, without caring about appearances.
“Please wait, Your Grace. If Your Grace keeps asking about the progress, I cannot fully concentrate on the Madam. Your Grace cannot be interrupting if you want the Madam to give birth safely and healthily.”
The midwife said firmly, revealing her stern temperament. She wouldn’t stand for any interference with the process of childbirth, even if it were the King not the Duke.
“She will be safe, right?”
Hugo’s spirit dampened once the midwife mentioned his wife’s safety.
“Ease your worries. The Madam is doing well. Your Grace will be more anxious if you stay here. I think it would be better for Your Grace to wait somewhere else…”
“I’ll stay here.”
The midwife forced down her wry smile upon hearing the Duke’s determined reply. If someone saw this, they’d think the Duchess was the only person in the world that had given birth.
Hugo stood with a somber expression as he watched the midwife go back inside the room.
Fabian’s lips twitched as he stole a glance at his lord’s expression. Such a rare, precious sight. He knew he shouldn’t, he knew how serious the Duke’s state of mind was, but he couldn’t resist the laughter bubbling up within him.
Eventually, he stealthily withdrew. As he was coming down from the second floor, Fabian met Jerome, who was just climbing up the stairs. He grabbed Jerome by the arm and went into Jerome’s office.
“What is it?”
Jerome was momentarily dazed due to the serious look on Fabian’s face and let himself be dragged to his office. Fabian closed the door, threw himself on the sofa and burst out laughing. He was afraid the sound of his laughter would be heard beyond the door, so he giggled under his breath.
“Oh god, I’m going crazy. His Grace looks so soulless. I bet you won’t see that expression on his face even if the sky falls down.”
Fabian had heard the news from Jerome a little while ago and hurriedly ran over. His heart skipped a beat at the thought that the Madam might have encountered difficulty during delivery. To the Fabian who had run over till he was out of breath, Jerome said:
[You have experience. I called you because you might be of help.]
[Have I given birth before? Help? What help!]
Fabian lost his temper at Jerome because he had run over after being startled awake from a good sleep. Since he had already come, he couldn’t just go back. He had entered an arduous path where he was stuck until the delivery was over and he didn’t even know when that would be, so he didn’t even want to see Jerome’s face.
However, because of the sight from earlier, his anger at Jerome had changed to gratitude. Thanks to Jerome, he was able to enjoy such a scene.
Jerome slapped his brother on the back of his head. Fabian held the back of his head and screamed.
Jerome firmly seized the back of Fabian’s neck and pulled him up.
“They say there’s still a long way to go. What will come out of standing there till it’s over?” (Fabian)
“So noisy. Master is very anxious, so as a subordinate, you have to share his pain.” (Jerome)
“Do it yourself!” (Fabian)
As he was dragged away by Jerome, Fabian protested but Jerome acted like he couldn’t hear anything.
* * *
The morning sun shone blindingly through the window, causing Fabian to close his eyes. His whole body felt sore after sleeping scrunched up on the sofa and he stretched with all the strength he could muster.
“Is the baby born?”
Fabian had endured passably till around dawn. In order to fight off the sleepiness, he had drunk so much tea till it was stale in his mouth, but his eyes kept closing and he felt like he would lose his mind. He hadn’t even stayed up all night when his own baby was born. He couldn’t treat the situation of his lord’s child being born as serious as his job.
Still, he thought of it as the predicament of a subordinate and endured. He could hear the vivid screams of childbirth pain, coming from beyond the walls and they chased the sleep away from his sunken eyes. However, before he even realized it, he dozed off.
Jerome couldn’t keep watching Fabian, who kept nodding off, so he sent Fabian to sleep. Fabian acted like he was giving in, went downstairs and fell asleep on the sofa in Jerome’s office.
He had only slept for a few hours but his mind felt refreshed. Fabian poked his head out of the door of the office and looked around. It was quiet and he couldn’t see anyone. He began to climb up the stairs while checking around him.
Remembering the expression his lord had on his face till around dawn, he chuckled lightly. It was his first time seeing the Duke look so aghast and restless. He couldn’t stay still for even a moment and went back and forth in the same place for hours.
When he reached the second floor, it was quiet but as he walked through the hallway, he could hear a scream from afar. The delivery was still currently underway. Fabian wove himself in as if he had been staying there all night. The Duke didn’t have the leisure to care about his vacancy.
The Duke’s footsteps as he walked around impatiently were still with much vigor. Fabian wasn’t very surprised since he had already witnessed the Duke filled with resilient energy even after staying up for a few nights.
‘Even if we say His Grace is His Grace. The amazing one is that guy.’
When he was born, he was Fabian’s twin brother, but later on, he was reborn as a servant of the Taran family without permission from his parents. That Jerome was standing there, with his feet firmly rooted to the floor as if he was waiting for the birth of his own child.
‘Why did you call me then? Huh?’
Fabian completely wiped out his gratitude towards Jerome for letting him get some sleep and inwardly poured out curses on his intolerable brother.
But suddenly, Jerome lifted his head. Surprised by this, Fabian also shifted his gaze. The Duke who had been senselessly walking around also came to an abrupt halt and stared at the bedroom door.
Fabian sensed a strange silence and immediately realized the change. The noise coming from inside the room had disappeared. Everyone held their breath for a short moment, but it felt like a long time. And from inside the walls, the cry of a child could be heard.
It was unknown who had sighed. There was also a smile at the corner of Fabian’s lips. Although he was grumpy throughout, he had been very worried too.
At a glance, it looked like everyone was easily having children, but there were many women who were left with issues after quietly giving birth. Fabian didn’t even want to think about the unpleasant things that would follow if something had happened to the Madam. He couldn’t imagine the Duke of Taran without the Madam by his side.
The Madam was like a kind of safety device to Fabian. She was the last fortress. In the past, the Duke’s decision was a final decision. If you were asked to die, you had no choice but to do so.
But now there was room for a final struggle. There was somewhere to cling to if you were going to die either ways. He hoped that the Madam would tame the beast known as the Duke and hold onto his collar for a very long time.
 I dunno what this is trying to say tbh. Never given birth nor am I a doctor. When I don’t know, I translate as literally as possible. (Apparently, putting pressure on your cervix makes it hard for the baby to come out.)