< — Duchess Vivian — > (1)
TN: Next chapter is LONG. Almost 5k words~
Fabian came into the ducal residence with a gloomy face and dark shadows under his eyes. He appeared like a ghost causing Jerome to flinch. Without greeting his brother whom he hadn’t seen in a long time, Fabian muttered low-spiritedly.
“He’s… not around.”
“I heard he was going to the palace this afternoon.”
“He did not go to the palace. The Madam is going to a tea party today so he went to see her off. Just wait and he’ll be back.”
“What? A tea party?”
Fabian’s eyes gleamed and a sharp look came into his eyes.
“This subordinate is made to run around like this while you escort your wife to a tea party? I’m tired of seeing the back of my sleeping wife! I want to see the adorable faces of my kids properly!”
Fabian’s usual work did not shrink at all but with the work of gathering rumors and even investigating some greasy-faced bastard whether it was Dave or David, he ended up having to pull all-nighters, day in day out. Because Jerome and Fabian lived separately and their work differed from each other, they did not know the other’s livelihood very well. So, Jerome did not know about Fabian’s long night shifts.
“I guess the work is a lot. You get more bonus though.” (Jerome)
As far as Jerome knew, Fabian was not someone that would endure if he was not paid his due.
Fabian got even gloomier. That was the problem. His income had sharply increased in proportion to his working hours but his wife liked that better. She hummed in excitement at the increased income for the children’s educational expenses.
“Since when did he become so mindful of rumors making everything so complicated?” (Fabian)
“Why? Did a bad rumor spread lately?”
Jerome’s face became serious. Was it a rumor about the madam?
“Rumors of His Grace are always bad! Is there a problem between the two these days? I mean, did any strife arise because of some rumor?”
“There has been no such thing.”
Jerome was first of all, relieved that it was not a rumor concerning his Madam. Then he thought of the couple that were his masters. The relationship between the two was very good. It seemed even better than when they were in Roam. After dinner in the evening, no one drew close to the bedroom on the second floor, not even for a second.
‘If one compares the time from before master got married and the time spent here, it is like heaven and earth.’
With just the addition of the Madam, the cold mansion now seemed like a house where someone really lived. The servants gossiped among themselves that it was their first time seeing a couple this affectionate after they have been married for over a year. Hearing that, Jerome felt happy as though he had been praised.
“Then, why in the world is he doing this? I am losing my respect for His Grace these days.” (Fabian)
Although Jerome knew that Fabian was making an excessive joke because he was in front of his brother, Jerome was a voluntary slave and devotee of the ducal couple of Taran. Brother or not did not matter.
“I have to advice you not to question your loyalty.” (Jerome)
“…you heartless brat. But this tea party. Isn’t it just for noblewomen alone?” (Fabian)
“Like I said, he went to see her off.”
“When did it become customary to escort a noblewoman to a tea party venue?”
There was no such custom. Jerome cleared his throat instead of giving a reply. When Fabian pointed out something he couldn’t bring himself to say, Jerome felt awkward for no reason.
“Hoh-hoh. His Grace has completely changed.”
There were already signs from the time when Fabian had received the order to investigate into the character of the madam’s acquaintance’s fiancé. It was also apparent that all the increases in workload recently was related to the Madam.
The Duke was a selfish person. Because Fabian roughly knew most of the work that the Duke handled and so, he often came in contact with the Duke’s selfish aspect. The Duke did not consider the interests of the family. He only considered that it would be good for him if the power and wealth of the family increased.
The two points seemed similar but were subtly different. If a problem arose that could not be solved at all in the family, the Duke would never sacrifice himself and would abandon the family without any hesitation. That person whose egoism was like a crystal was now changing with another person at the center.
Fabian was just being cautious of the changes in his master. After all, the trigger was a woman. The variable called a woman was too uncertain. He hadn’t seen many cases where a man that was completely charmed by a woman ended up with a good outcome. Even more so if it was a man who had a lot of influential or financial power.
Fabian could not share his worry with Jerome. It was obvious that he(Jerome) would go wild if he was told. Fabian then grumbled in a deliberately joking tone.
“At this rate, he will be chasing the madam around.” (Fabian)
‘That could really happen,’ Jerome thought but quickly realized that it was disrespectful to his master and quickly chased the thought away. And from the standpoint of a loyal and devoted butler, he rebuked Fabian’s impetuous remark.
While Fabian was being tormented at the mansion, the carriage carrying the ducal couple arrived at the Count of Jordan’s residence. As soon as it passed the open iron gates, the carriage stopped in front of the mansion.
Carriages of the attendees were arriving in succession to be in time for the party and there were many carriages that had already arrived. The noblewomen getting off their carriages all stopped at the appearance of the Duke of Taran’s carriage and focused their gazes on it.
Their eyes were full of curiosity. The door of the carriage opened and person that came out was not the anticipated Duchess. A tall man came down first. The woman began to whisper as they watched the black-haired man reach out into the carriage.
“That is the Duke of Taran, is it not?”
“It really is. Why is the Duke of Taran here?”
From inside the carriage, a hand wearing a white lace glove took the outstretched hand of the Duke of Taran and the appearance was slowly revealed. A lady wearing an ivory dress and a shawl embroidered with lace on her shoulder, came down from the carriage.
The obvious difference in physique between the man holding her hand and the woman coming out of the carriage made her slender frame stand out.
The woman gave a gracious smile and said something to the Duke and, unbelievably, the Duke of Taran gave a gentle smile in return. His attitude of holding the woman’s hand and kissing the back of her hand was filled with affection. They said something to each other and he kissed the cheek of the woman. Again, they talked about something. It was the look of a lover that was reluctant to separate. Rather than the woman, the reluctance was dripping from the man.
Eventually, the Duke of Taran entered the carriage and a servant closed the door. The woman turned and made her way into the mansion. The carriage stayed until the woman’s figure could no longer be seen, then it departed from the Count’s residence. The noblewomen’s feet were rooted to the ground and they watched the entire scene from beginning to end with their mouths open.
Lucia glanced at the noblewomen who were standing there absentmindedly and went inside the mansion, brushing it off her mind. If they had approached Lucia and talked to her, she would have responded but since they were standing there like they were frozen, it seemed like they were waiting for someone to come.
“Are my eyes deceiving me? Don’t tell me…he escorted the Duchess all the way here?”
It wasn’t someone else but the Duke of Taran? The following sentence was omitted but they all understood.
“…It seemed like that to me too.”
Someone replied to the question. It was the first time that they were seeing a husband escorting their wife to a tea party venue. There was no law saying it couldn’t be done but it wasn’t something that anyone did. Moreover, it was something done by the Duke of Taran. A short sigh could be heard from here and there, for reasons unknown.
One of the noblewomen promptly quickened her steps and went into the mansion quickly. Then someone else followed, and soon everyone was rushing to go inside. The shocking emergence of Duchess of Taran was more important than gossiping.
The noblewomen bundled inside and only the woman standing at the back of the group was left.
Looking in the direction of the carriage’s departure, Sofia’s eyes shook greatly. She could not believe the sight she had just witnessed.