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Leonis’s palms were drenched in cold water. He wanted to bathe himself in hot water as he remembered the blood splattered all over his body, but it was cold water that brought him to his senses.
Because he slaughtered the prisoners every day, Leonis knew how to effectively subdue the curse. The madness that had gotten stuck in his body preferred to produce as much blood as possible.
His madness would disappear in an instant if he cut their throats without even stabbing their heart and covered himself in their dripping blood.
All that was left was disgust for himself.
Leonis gritted his teeth thinking of the audacity of the imperial family in passing on this curse.
It wasn’t enough to pass on this terrible curse, they also wanted to put a leash around Leonis’s neck. They were hoping that Leonis would serve as their hound like the former Duke.
Whether he wanted it or not, he had to have blood on his hands, so it was a question whether serving them would be dirtier and worse.
“…The path where the monster invaded is obscure, which makes it even more suspicious.” The wizards who belonged to the Duke replied.
There was no way that a monster that was so powerful could break the wall and remain undetected while the guard was on patrol. It was clear that someone had opened the gates in the Duchy and attracted the monsters in other areas.
Leonis wondered who was responsible for it.
‘It wasn’t the Emperor. The Emperor wants Celia and I to have children soon……It is reasonable to think that one of the three princes is the culprit.’
This marriage was largely contributed by the second prince, excluding him, there are two princes left. They were on the same side as the Emperor, but they would have been wary that Leonis would lean towards the second prince.
On top of that, Celia is a woman who was from a family that sided with the second prince, so they could have tried to ruin the marriage.
Leonis emerged from the bathroom dripping wet after a bath. The servant waiting with the towel quickly wiped the water off his body and dressed him.
As he was briefed on today’s schedule, Leonis raised his head and his face expressionless.
“What is my wife doing?”
“The madam went out an hour ago.”
The servant became pale at the sight of Leonis staring at him.
It was true that Celia was married to Duke Cardian, but she was not imprisoned. Wasn’t it Leonis the one who ordered them to obey the Duchess?
When Leonis heard that Celia went out, the first thought that came to his mind was that she might run away.
“Where did she go?”
“I heard she was going around the city. She wants to refresh herself.”
It wasn’t a bad thing for Celia to look outside without being confined in the Duke’s mansion. It didn’t make sense for the Duchess to be locked up inside the mansion.
Even knowing that fact, Leonis became nervous. He remembered that he hadn’t seen Celia’s face in five days for some reason.
When Celia was asleep, he entered her room and glimpsed her sleeping face, but Celia would not have known about it. She might have thought he had neglected her.
But once he encountered her, Leonis had no confidence to touch her. He was hesitant to touch Celia with the hand that had killed a person, even if it was the blood of a sinner.
He was afraid that Celia would look at him with that kind of gaze, just like the other nobles in the social world did.
“Shall I bring her back?”
When the servant questioned him, Leonis’s face darkened and his eyes became dreadful.
“What did you say?”
Celia was not a prisoner. She was the wife of the Duke Cardian, the owner of this land. He couldn’t treat the woman who became his wife in that manner.
Leonis pressed the boiling insides again and again. He was well aware that his feelings were unjustified, but he didn’t know how to deal with it.
He felt like he was feeling sick.
✦ ✦ ✦
“Is this jewelry the only ones you have?”
There was no contraceptive ring that Celia had hoped for at the jewelry store she had visited. The jeweler only recommended the eye-catching and dazzling jewels.
What Celia wanted was a cute little ring that could be worn on her little finger.
‘I can’t just ask for a contraceptive ring.’
There could be a bad rumor if the newly married bride came out to buy a contraceptive ring. Nevertheless, he was Duke Cardian who lived with bad rumors.
“Is there something you like?”
“I didn’t want a big jewel to wear for a ball. I am looking for a small ring for my sister. It’s not for a birthday present, it’s a little gift.”
The jeweler looked disappointed when Celia answered, but wrapped it with a smile.
“I-I see! Then please take a look at this here! It’s a precious jewelry that’s on trend these days among the ladies of Asylus!”
The jeweler changed his stance and suggested other gems. Celia proceeded to ask questions as she purchased various jewels, with the purpose of choosing items to bury her actual buy.
Fortunately, the words ‘contraception ring’ finally popped out of the jeweler’s mouth. Despite the fact that commoners could buy contraception rings openly, noble ladies bought it in secret.
Furthermore, the shape did not differ much from ordinary precious jewelry. Because noble ladies didn’t want to be caught with rumors about wearing jewelry that contained contraceptive magic.
Celia purchased over a dozen pieces of jewelry, including contraception rings. Even though they were not large jewels, the seller’s earnings would have risen as a result of this.
‘I think Lily already ran away, but…’
It was in the plot. Before committing suicide, Celia had taken steps to allow Lily to escape.
A clever Lily would have escaped from the Marquis safely with the money and belongings that Celia had given to her. To avoid being recaptured by the Marquis, she may have fled to another city.
‘These accessories… I’ll give it to my maid in the future.’
Now that she’d gotten what she wanted, Celia’s next stop was a cafe known for its delicious desserts.
The meal cooked by Duke Cardian’s chefs was excellent, but the food cooked by other chefs would be different.
Celia decided to eat some of them right away and have the rest delivered. It was meant for the maids and servants who she had grown close to in just a few days.
The escort knights refused their seats because of work, but the maids sat next to Celia. It seemed that time was passing by as she drank tea and ate cake.
‘Sigh, this is what life is all about.’
This time was even more special because she had died and then came back to life.
‘When I woke up, I had to marry as soon as I opened my eyes, but even if he’s handsome and rich, I don’t know what he’s doing!’
She wanted to eat everything. Everything was happy when delicious food entered her mouth. There were times when she thought of her family from the other world and she got depressed… But she decided to forget about it for a while.
There was a huge challenge of adapting to this world to be this depressed.
“So you really don’t know what the Duke is doing?”
The maids were aware that they were guessing, but they were consistent in their ignorance. They didn’t see or hear it, and it appeared to be a ruse to make Celia think they didn’t know.
‘We’re not that close yet, but we’ve known each other for a few days.’
They’d be more afraid of a maid who has worked for decades with the Duke than a newly married Duchess. Celia decided not to pry further, but to focus on her cakes and tea.
✦ ✦ ✦
‘I can’t go after her…’
Leonis was clutching the pen tightly as if he wanted to stab something. Celia was only going out, so she wouldn’t be a bad person if she went there.
For the past few days, he has only seen her face while she was asleep, and it was ridiculous to chase her down because she went out.
‘Are you really going out? You must have hated me, so you found a way to get out of the Duchy.’
Even so, he was Duke Cardian who was quietly ostracized by the social world. The nobles despised Duke Cardian because of the curse of blood that originated with the Imperial family, and the necessity that blood be seen to suppress the curse.
Leonis hated those who saw blood as a simple game, pretending not to know, and rejecting him for being cursed.
Although he is seen as a good master and loved by his people within the Duchy, he is treated like that in the social circles of the capital city.
The pen broke in his hand, causing ink to drip out. Peter, the deputy, panicked and asked Leonis to spread his hand. Thankfully, the small piece of pen did not appear to have harmed his palms. The palms of his sword-trained hands were thick and firm.
Leonis looked out of the window while the servant wiped his hands with a handkerchief. She said she was going out for a while, so it would have been time for her to arrive.
Seeing Leonis’s expression brighten, Peter followed his gaze out of the window. The Duchess’ carriage was coming back.
‘You are back.’
Is that why he was so nervous the whole time? Peter glanced at Leonis’s face. With a softened expression on his face, Leonis took out a new pen. His hands had already been cleaned.
“Why don’t you go out?”
“Who are you talking about?”
Peter did not add to Leonis’s expression as he pulled his teeth away. He wanted to invite him once more, but he decided against it.
‘You’re already married. What are you doing here?’
Peter was one of the few people who know why Leonis wanted to marry Celia.
‘The Duke doesn’t move even when he is being pushed.’
He had to make his body stronger to get him to walk first. Peter pretended he didn’t know and handed out the next document, hoping to elicit more enthusiasm for it.
The look in Leonis’s eyes was terrifying, but Peter remained fearless until the very end.