< — Memories of Mother — > (2)
Hugo caught up with the Count who had already walked out of the mansion in no time. The old man was quite the fast walker.
“I’ll take you back.” (Hugo)
“No, it’s fine. The weather is good today. I can walk.” (Count)
“I have something to discuss with you.”
The Count looked at the imposing man with a tall and dignified frame. The Baden family was originally a military family so the Baden men weren’t on the smaller side due to inheriting their ancestor’s frames but the Count still had to look up.
There was no one among Xenon’s nobles that didn’t know the Duke Taran family. Especially in the south where the atmosphere of the war was felt closely; even the commoners talked about the Duke of Taran as they went about their chores.
‘I’m glad, it seems she met a good man.’
At the crowning celebration party, and in the receiving room earlier, the attitude of the Duke towards his granddaughter made him feel satisfied and relieved. The Count could see that the Duke was sincerely looking out for his granddaughter. And he was glad that his granddaughter who was alone without any relatives looked happy.
The Count didn’t refuse Hugo’s invitation and entered the carriage with him. The carriage left the ducal residence and after traveling to some extent, it pulled to a stop.
“How long are you planning to stay in the capital? I will arrange a place for you to stay.” (Hugo)
“It’s alright. I have a good friend so I’m not worried about where I’ll be staying in the capital.” (TN: He’s using polite/formal speech)
“Please lower your speech, Elder. You are senior to me.”
The Count smiled bitterly.
“How can a grandfather who never saw his granddaughter till she’s grown up, come now and act like an elder? With what decency? It is good enough for me to hear that she’s doing well from time to time.”
Hugo looked at the elderly man with an odd expression. The man had a clean nature. The character of the old man could be seen from his face. The man’s face had deep wrinkles showing the weariness of time and his skin was coarse but he gave off a warm and pleasant aura.
Did having no greed run in the family? Hugo thought as his mind wandered to his wife.
“Do you have any intention of moving to the capital?”
Hugo was making an offer that was unlike him. He was saying that he would support the Count Baden household. If the Duke of Taran actively supported them, the crumbling Count family of the frontier would quickly rise as an emerging power in the capital.
“I am grateful for the offer but one should live within their limits. It is too much for my children to handle.” (Count)
The Count refused without any hesitation. The Count didn’t overestimate his sons. If they had been born into a family with power, then maybe but up till now, his sons had only lived as nobles in name only. His eldest son was too uptight and his second son was good with his head but he had a narrow mind. They both lacked the ability to engage in power play. He was worried about his children and couldn’t close his eyes peacefully.
“If so, is there anything you need help with? Feel free to tell me.” (Hugo)
“Even though I have lived to this age and haven’t done anything to be respected for, I have lived with a clear conscience. I am not atrocious enough to ask the granddaughter I just met for money.” (Count)
“I won’t let my wife know.” (Hugo)
The Count laughed heartily.
“Thank you. For caring for that child.” (Count) (TN: re:Lucia)
It was Hugo’s first time receiving the gaze of adult looking at a younger person so he was taken aback. Up till now, he had lived with the arrogance that there was no one above him but to his surprise, he didn’t feel bad receiving this kind of gaze. (1)
“…She is my wife. It’s a matter of course.”
“I was unable to do what you call a matter of course. I hope you don’t make the mistake of losing someone precious to you like I did. Please love and care for that child for a long time. Please make her happy. That is the only thing this old man wants.”
The Count already loved her even when he didn’t know that she was his granddaughter. His granddaughter. Her smile was an exact replica of his daughter’s smile and she was poignantly lovely. He was only sad that he was unable to see her grow up beautifully.
“Would you do me favor for that child?” (Count)
Seeing the reddened eyes of the Count, Hugo felt like his heart stung a little. It was a really strange feeling.
“I promise you. I will love…and make her happy.” (Hugo)
She had already been his wife for a long time. But seeing the Count nodding his head in satisfaction, Hugo felt like his relationship with her was truly recognized. It was a feeling of reassurance as if he had gotten an ally.
Hugo made the Count promise to definitely tell him before he left the capital. The Count maintained that he didn’t need anything till the end. His wife would be very sad if her grandfather left all of a sudden without notice.
After escorting the Count back to the mansion of his friend whom he was indebted to, Hugo came back and asked his wife about her intentions.
“What do you want to do? If you want to help out your maternal family, that will be done.” (Hugo)
Lucia thought for a moment and shook her head.
“The position of in-laws of the Duke is too much for my maternal relatives to handle. They’ll be caught up in all kinds of gossip. It’ll give you a headache.”
The fact that both grandparent and grandchild said the same thing as if they were matching their words was amazing. Hugo felt the novelty of blood relation. They both met for the first time today but they were very alike.
“I’m fine with it.” (Hugo)
“I’m not fine with it. I don’t want to impose on you.” (Lucia)
“Impose? How can you say that?”
Seeing him frown, Lucia wrapped her arms around his waist. She settled her head on his chest, looking up at him and smiled.
“I don’t want the fact that they are my maternal family to be known. My maternal family is having financial difficulties. Please help me a little with that part. Can you do that?”
His expression was sulky as he replied. He was still unhappy because she said she didn’t want to impose on him. Lucia thought he was cute at times when he was pouting. And this side of him was only shown to her.
After going to parties for a few days and seeing him in an official setting, Lucia was somewhat shocked. At first, she thought he was angry. She wondered why he had a cold expression and an icy gaze but when she saw people behaving naturally and unsurprised, she came to a realization.
That was how he looked normally. It was how he looked when she saw him in her dream, and when she made up her mind to marry him. At some point, she had forgotten about it.
She was used to him smiling softly at her and looking at her with warm or passionate eyes. It was then that Lucia realized that there was a side of him that only she knew.
“I don’t think I’ve said this, have I?” (Lucia)
“Thank you for marrying me.”
Lucia’s heart raced as she watched his red eyes tremble. She wasn’t joking about what she said but she said it with a light heart. However, seeing his eyes full of joy, she felt touched somehow.
Hugo wrapped his arm around her back, put his other arm under her thigh, lifted her into his arms and looked into her eyes.
“Do you mean that?” (Hugo)
“Of course.” (Lucia)
“Then prove it.”
“Do what you think will impose on me. It’s also good if you cause trouble that I have to clean up later.”
“…How does that prove anything? Before that, where are you going?”
Hugo had left the receiving room carrying Lucia and was climbing the stairs to the second floor. A few of the servants flinched but they turned away and focused on what they were doing as if they didn’t see anything. It had reached the point where she couldn’t feign innocence in front of the servants.
“Let’s have dinner a little late today.” (Hugo
Seeing her red-hot face, Hugo loudly kissed her lips. It was always fascinating to see her red face get even redder. And it was very adorable.
Due to canceling the scheduled party, he suddenly had a lot of time. It was a holiday for a change.
1. My mom gives me this look everytime. That said, I should start using footnotes for the stuff.
*In-laws of the Duke: The raws literally translate to: ‘relatives of the Duke by marriage’. But that’s a mouthful. ‘In-law’ works.