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Originally, Duke Cardian had the authority to officially decline the imperial invitation three times. Not because of the power as the Duke of Cardian, but because of the curse.
The head servant from the Cardian Duchy provided justification for refusing the Emperor’s official call because he was not allowed to see blood in the Imperial Court after entering the palace in a state of madness.
The number of times Duke Cardian could refuse the invitation was limited to three, but if Duke Cardian said he couldn’t handle the curse, the Imperial Family had no choice but to accept it.
‘You’re using a shallow trick….’
Leonis was also aware that the Emperor had made a trick to bring him and Celia in. The Emperor would not hesitate to award a medal to Marquis Montague because he was a man of honor. The second prince must also need something to appease Marquis Montague.
Leonis was concerned that Celia would be hurt by the capital nobles’ attitude.
They are the king and queen of Cardian Duchy, but when they go to the capital, the capital nobles will be eager to scratch Cardian under the guise of a curse. In fact, the three princes who desired to be the Emperor also had to keep an eye on Leonis.
To that extent, Cardian was in a position to receive the envy of the capital nobles. Its military power had surpassed the Emperor, it had financial power that could affect the entire empire, and it had a land that was relatively free of the Emperor’s control, other nobles were likely to be jealous.
The only flaw is the curse that has been passed down through the Cardian family, which the nobles bite and droop over insistently. Retaliation would not be feared in the face of it, and it was clear that it would target Celia, who appeared to be relatively weak.
‘If they dare to do so… I will not let it slide.’
Even if it meant staining the Imperial Palace with blood, Leonis was adamant about it. Even if the Emperor witnessed it, he would be powerless to prevent it.
✦ ✦ ✦
The designers chosen by Duchess Cardian walked out of the dressing room with dignified expressions. They’d have to leave at least a week before the Imperial Banquet, so they were running out of time to get a few dresses by then.
Celia looked at the maids’ dresses with a relaxed expression. She bought all of their dresses today. She ordered a separate dress for the Imperial Banquet.
‘I didn’t know that Leonis gave me so much money for my allowance.’
Excluding the maintenance of the Duchess’s dignity, a huge amount of allowance was being given separately. Celia almost popped out of her eyes when she heard the amount allocated to her from the servant.
Furthermore, the Duke’s budget has been set aside, and if Celia had a bad heart, she would have been able to fill another large allowance. She doesn’t have to do so because she already has a large sum of money.
‘I’ve always struggled with money in my past life…’
Because of poverty, it was common in college to have lunch with milk, snacks, or not eat at all. I worked part-time to pay for my tuition and studied hard to get a variety of certificates to get a job… It was a very dull period of time.
After I graduated from college, it was difficult for a long time. Even when I died while rushing out to work, my living conditions did not improve much.
I had no idea that after passing the hell gate of the entrance exam, there would be another hell gate of job preparation, and that another hell gate would open after getting a job.
‘I might not have been able to live like that…’
I thought life would improve after some years, but after some difficulties…
‘I just died. Why is my life like this?’
Perhaps I am lucky enough to possess Celia’s body? According to the memory that comes to my mind, it seemed like reincarnation, not possession.
‘What do I know? The original Celia is no longer there, whether possessed or reincarnated!’
Her previous life flashed through her mind. There was no Celia Montague being dragged around by people around her for as long as Lee Dajeong can remember. She was Celia, but she didn’t want to live her life like Celia.
‘Father, Fabian, they’re all fucking shit! I’ll live my own way!’
She intended to do so once she had put an end to Leonis’ curse. After lifting the curse, she thought Leonis would also accept her choice out of gratitude. For him, the curse was nothing more than a shackle that hung around his ankle for the most of his life.
‘Even for that curse!’
I think we should do it today, but Leonis didn’t show any signs of wanting to do it. Even if the eighth day is already passing without him having sex!
✦ ✦ ✦
Leonis sat in front of the office desk, thinking happily. Since his relationship with Celia, he has not been affected by the curse.
The curse didn’t seem to be completely lifted, but the madness was almost abated. Even though it had been a few days since he had sex with her, he didn’t feel the urge to kill or the desire for blood.
Leonis wanted to see how sleeping with Celia would affect him for a few more days. There was also the fact that Celia was required to work that day, so it meant that she would be given a break for the time being.
“Aren’t you going to give me a bath today?”
Leonis swallowed his saliva as he thought about Celia’s strange appearance, which could have happened if he hadn’t been careful. Celia seems to be seducing him since the second day of not hugging her.
It was cute in comparison to what the ladies of the capital were up to, but it was torturous for Leonis, who knew how sweet her body was.
With a minimum of conscience, Celia seemed dissatisfied every time he masturbated on her body without inserting it.
Leonis could see her staring at him with a sulky face ever since he did that, even though she didn’t say it out loud.
‘But I can’t use a separate room….’
Leonis himself did not want to sleep away from Celia. He wanted her by his side while he slept, because that was when he was most vulnerable. There was no way she would disappear suddenly, but just the thought of that made him anxious.
Celia was the only one who could soften the curse. It was an existence that could only be reassured by having her by his side.
There was a reason why he was constantly asking about Celia’s exact location even though they were still in the same house. He told them not to report what she was doing but he was checking her location.
‘If Celia knew this, she might hate me.’
Even though he knew this, Leonis could not tell them to stop the report. Because Celia’s existence was his only salvation. It was considered so terrible to return to the life of torturing and killing someone after he had escaped it.
“Your Excellency, your wife is coming this way!”
Leonis’ face heated up as the servant entered the office and delivered the message. He also had a gut feeling that she had come to seduce him. Leonis swallowed his saliva at a time of joy and cruelty. His body heated just thinking about it.
“All of you, get out.”
With a smile on their faces, Leonis’ aide and secretary left the office on his orders. It was officially a secret that Leonis no longer had to kill people. However, his aides were also pleased that his marriage to Celia had freed their lord from madness.
As they quietly exited the office, they encountered the Duchess, who had just arrived, and greeted her politely. The Duchess, Celia, seemed to have accepted the greeting as well.
They were only welcoming her as the Duchess because they work for Leonis. The fact that she was the Marquis Montague’s eldest daughter was enough to qualify her as Duchess Cardian, so there was no reason to ignore her.
Because Marquis Montague was a family with a long history that produced a number of famous Holy Knights.
Leonis was delighted to see Celia, who had arrived with her maid. He was very happy that she comes to his office once a day. The intention was to be in a gloomy place, but it also felt lovely.
‘Just do it?’
He wanted to see how much power Celia had, but it was the eighth day, and he was desperate for Celia.
The ostensible reason for serving tea and sweets was to provide refreshment to the Duke who was on duty. Celia sent the maid away and stood there watching the door shut.
Leonis was sitting at the desk with a relaxed smile in the meantime.
“Are you here to offer another tea again?”
“The tea is boiling, so you’ll have to wait until it cools down.”
Celia spoke with a faint blush on her cheeks. She feels ashamed because she has been in the office for a few days to seduce him.
Touching her at night was tempting enough, but doing so during the day… For Leonis, it was all about gratitude.
‘I wish I could do this once I get back into bed.’
“So, what are we going to do while we wait?”
Celia’s eyes narrowed at Leonis’ confident demeanor. Leonis didn’t give Celia any complacency just because she touched him, but instead his iron wall.
“What do you want to do?”
She was not going to miss Leonis’ active presence in the past. Leonis’ heart was pounding at the sight of her approaching.
‘I saw that the hickey was still there when I took a bath.’
Celia’s skin was softer and thinner than Leonis’, he was cautious because it would burn more easily in the sun and it would bruise from even a small amount of force.
He had coveted her for a day and a half, so he wasn’t sure how much rest he needed to give her. Can I hug Celia right away if she wants it? Or should I wait until I know how much Celia’s mysterious power is….
Celia took a step forward in front of Leonis, as if she had noticed Leonis’ hesitation. His breath was taken away just by looking at the hands reaching over to the hem of his shirt. Unfortunately, it was his arm where Celia put her hand on.
Leonis replied with a low voice. His gaze was drawn to Celia’s face, specifically her lips, which let out her sweet voice.
“I want to kiss you, but I’m not tall enough.”