< — Ever After — > (4)
T/N: I got reminded by the comments that today was april fools. Was tempted…but nah.
The honored guest box was an enclosed chamber that no one in the audience could enter except for the two of them. Due to that, Lucia didn’t need to be conscious of people’s gazes and laughed to her heart’s content.
Despite coming to watch a play, Hugo had more fun watching Lucia laugh, and he actually spent more time watching his wife than watching the play.
The play was quite long. During the intermission, Lucia decided to stop by the break room. As soon as she entered the break room, she heard the loud laughter of women. Upon seeing Lucia, the group of women that were laughing together greeted her from a few steps away.
“Duchess, you came out on a date with your husband, didn’t you?”
“A husband who goes to see a comedy together with you! How wonderful is that?”
Despite the noblewomen’s envious greetings, the group gathered at the side erupted with laughter.
“Everyone seems to have enjoyed the play.” (Lucia)
“Ah…actually, we’re laughing for another reason. By any chance, has Duchess ever read the book called, ‘Love Under the Moonlight’?”
“I don’t believe so.”
Someone at the side began to explain for Lucia who wasn’t quite knowledgeable on the subject. ‘Love Under the Moonlight’ was a romance novel that was popular among noblewomen recently. It portrayed the comedic story of a noblewoman who prided herself as the most beautiful in the world despite having an unattractive appearance and fell in love with her guard knight.
But something similar to the novel’s plot had actually happened in reality. The main characters were Countess Wickson, who was a single woman after losing her husband several years ago, and her guard knight. Countess Wickson had a strange appearance in addition to being advanced in age, while the guard knight was a rarely seen handsome young man.
When the two of them turned up at the theater today, the noblewomen gathered around and gossiped about them while laughing.
Lucia replied, forcing a smile on her face. The fact that these noblewomen were enjoying themselves from ridiculing someone else, showed that their conduct wasn’t very good.
Lucia stopped by the restroom and quickly left the break room. On the way to the theater stands, she encountered the topic of discussion, Countess Wickson.
Lucia had ever only exchanged greetings with Countess Wickson and it was a long time ago, but she was unable to forget the Countess because her appearance was so unique. Lucia planned to lightly greet the Countess and pass by, but upon seeing the guard following behind the Countess, she was surprised and came to a halt.
Oh my goodness. It was the swindler who preyed on Lucia in her dream. There was no doubt he was the man she once believed herself to be in love with. Lucia quickly walked away to avoid revealing her stiff expression. And as she walked, she burst into laughter in spite of herself. Since today’s play was a comedy, the maid following behind her didn’t give her an odd look for the sudden laughter.
‘To think he was a dishonorably discharged knight. Was it because of a scandal with the Countess?’
Hanson was a man with a pretty appearance. He smiled softly with his blue eyes and whispered sweet words in the ear. In the dream, Lucia fell headfirst for the man’s affectionate words.
Lucia didn’t know whether Hanson really shared his heart with the Countess, or whether he did what he did to her to the Countess, and the Countess held him in contempt, making him lose his knight’s honor. But she didn’t care to know.
In Lucia’s life, Hanson was nothing more than a passing wind. The wound caused by the betrayal of the man she believed in her dream didn’t even have a trace left. There was no space for darkness to crawl into her heart now.
Lucia returned to the theater stands and as soon as she saw her husband turning towards her, she was struck with awe. In her dream, she thought Hanson was a very beautiful man. But even if she looked at it objectively, her husband before her was much better looking.
This gorgeous man was her husband. Lucia was very satisfied. She grabbed him and kissed him, fully expressing her emotions. But it was her mistake. Because of her actions, he got excited and turned it into a long kiss, and because of that, she ended up missing the beginning of the play when it resumed.
* * *
After enjoying the play, Lucia returned home in a festive mood. But when she heard what Hugo said as she was retiring to bed, her happiness was dragged to the floor.
“…You have to go to the north.”
“When you went to the Palace, a knight came with a message from the north.”
Today in the office, Hugo took care of the duties regarding his territory that had been pushed back. Until this morning, he had no plan to leave for the North. He had intended to only send his knights for the subjugation this time.
But after seeing the contents of the message from Callis, it would seem that he needed to personally go and check out the situation.
“How long will it take?”
“I’m not sure. Even if I deduct the time to journey back and forth, it will take at least a month. And it could take even longer.”
Do not weigh on the footsteps on someone leaving for work. Lucia knew that much but she couldn’t help but feel sad. The dream-like events of last month were fleeting. But a month without him would be like an eternity.
“So did you bring me to see a play today to appease me?”
“Not exactly…maybe a little. Is it wrong?”
“No. You were trying to make me feel good.”
Lucia knew that his thoughtfulness was directed solely to herself. No one would ever imagine the Duke of Taran taking his wife to a play in order to soften her up.
“When are you leaving?”
“Tomorrow at dawn.”
“The situation over there looks serious, so I think I should go as soon as possible.”
“I will see you off…”
“Don’t do that. Get plenty of sleep. I won’t feel good leaving you behind.”
Lucia didn’t persist any more. Just as he wouldn’t feel good leaving her, it would be hard for her to send him off. It would be better for her to open her eyes in the morning and he was already gone.
She was unable to hide her sadness and Hugo pulled her into a hug. The thought that he wouldn’t be able to hold her soft body for a long time made him feel distraught. If things could be done his way, he wanted to take her to the North.
But he knew that she couldn’t match the speed with which they had to rush to the north on horses. Moreover, he didn’t even want to take her to the dangerous border regions.
 I used ‘butter her up’ previously but it didn’t seem quite right.
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