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A thought crossed Celia’s mind, ‘What if I said I knew his secret?’
She continued to stare into Leonis’ red eyes.
Leonis’ voice wasn’t cold, but he was tense and stiff. He was afraid because he didn’t know how much information he should give Celia. His secret…. He wasn’t sure if telling her that he stole her out of necessity was acceptable.
Because it wasn’t a marriage out of love. It was after their marriage that Leonis fell in love with her.
“She was a saintess who suffered and died when the divine beast she had called died… It’s painful.”
Celia assumed the saintess had died at that point. She learnt doctrine and had a basic understanding of the three major denominations in the empire.
However, no mention was made of a saintess who had betrayed a divine beast. It’s possible that the previous Emperor had kept it well hidden.
People may not have realized the divine beast had been killed because the corpse of the divine beast that the sorcerer had offered up on the altar disappeared almost instantly.
“….You are mistaken. The divine beast is not dead. They ascended to heaven and never returned to Earth.”
Was this something said by the previous Emperor or the denomination? However, it made no difference. It’s simply a misunderstood story, as Leonis just said.
Celia glanced at Leonis, feeling dissatisfied.
“Why do you look at me like that? It is true that the story of the saintess is sad, but it’s not Leon’s.”
Because he wasn’t looking in the mirror, he couldn’t tell what expression he was making. However, Celia rubbed Leonis’ face, as if worried about him.
Celia’s touch was the only thing that brought Leonis’ expression to a halt. He was concerned that Celia was tormented by the thought of her mother, or that she had thought of him. But the answer that came back was unexpected.
How could she be interested in the saintess who called forth the divine beast? What exactly does this imply? No one in the world should have known about it if it was related to this.
Even those people who were close to the Duke of Cardian did not know about this, and the only people who knew of it were him and the Emperor, both of whom were direct descendants of the Cardian family. Even the Emperor’s children, he was certain, had never heard of it.
Because it was the Imperial Family’s sin to seduce the saintess and kill the divine beast. The only thing that the Imperial Family’s children knew was that the curse was placed on the Duke of Cardian on behalf of the Imperial Family.
The truth was known only to those who inherited the throne.
The Imperial Family has been teaching the truth in order to cover up the truth, while the Cardian family has been hoping to break the curse one day. He was worried that Celia knew it.
Although he couldn’t do it on his own. He intended to break the curse, but he was afraid that she would be killed by the Emperor.
“I…. only need you to be safe.”
His dream was to break the curse, but if he could keep Celia safe, he could forego that dream. However, the problem was Celia’s power. Because the Emperor will not let Celia go if he notices her power.
“I am safe now.”
Celia smiled and wrapped her arms around Leonis’ neck. Leonis wrapped his arms around her as he accepted Celia’s kiss. He had to keep protecting Celia at all costs. Even if it meant breaking the Emperor’s neck.
✦ ✦ ✦
Edna seemed to be wandering aimlessly. The capital of the Duchy of Cardian, Asylus, was no less than the imperial capital, but it fell short of Edna’s expectations.
Edna was fascinated by the current fashion trend and the people who share information. Despite the fact that she was not a high-ranking noblewoman, she had information and fashion that could be obtained even as a baron’s daughter, but she was unable to obtain it.
‘I’ll be dealing with a wealthy merchant at best in this state.’
In fact, the head maid sent an errand to another person. Edna pushed her way out, grumbling that she didn’t like her job. She also had to become the Duchess’s maid in order to meet someone with the title.
But Celia still didn’t like Edna. She could tell just by looking at Celia’s eyes that she didn’t like her.
‘What’s wrong with me?’
She was well aware that she was only a maid, but she was also despised by her fellow maids. Edna, on the other hand, had a lot of information she’d gathered over the years and could use it to threaten people.
The servants she was close with gladly became Edna’s ears.
Not everyone had weaknesses, but those who did had no choice but to bow to Edna because their weaknesses were used against them.
‘The Duchess…. I need to find out her weaknesses…’
The Duchess went to Marchioness Montague and returned before evening, which she found odd. She quickly inquired who accompanied the Duchess, but received a terse response.
Because she was embarrassed, Edna looked around and sent a servant to find out. The Marchioness Montague allegedly did not even come to the door, and did not meet the Duchess in the end.
Although it was someone else’s business, Edna was pleased. She didn’t want Celia’s life to go well, even as the daughter of Marquis Montague.
As a young lady from a Marquis family, marrying a Duke and receiving love from him…. Isn’t it unfair! Even though she is in love, she has yet to receive anyone’s blessing! Trying to gain her parents’ approval after marrying such a monster was arrogant.
It didn’t matter to Edna that Celia was married to someone she didn’t want or that her father had arranged the marriage.
It was good for the Duchess to be hurt and depressed, but that was not a weakness in and of itself. Despite this, she answered the questions of those around her with sincerity.
‘The Duchess is despised by the Marquis of Montague.’ That is why the Duchess is now disappointed.
Whenever she revealed that she came from the Duke of Cardian, it was unavoidable that they would ask a few questions about the Duke and Duchess of Cardian’s marriage
How could I tell them they are living out an ideally romantic life!
However, people’s reactions were different from Edna’s expectations. Some claimed to be aware of it, but given that the young lady of Marquis Montague had been forced to marry, they believed Celia’s mother’s reaction was excessive.
‘It’s not my business. Do you think that the Duke abused his wife?’
Actually, the Duchess was arrogant towards the Duke…She wanted to say that, but she didn’t think anyone would believe her against that scary murderer.
Edna knew roughly how people were bothered by malicious rumors. Because she was the protagonist of the rumor. The first Empress was the one who suffered the most as a result of the rumors, but Edna felt proud of herself for defeating the Empress.
‘At the end of the day, the Imperial Family is the place I have to enter! Oh, if only I could just get rid of the Emperor’s expulsion order…’
There was one more year left. That was why Edna, who could have become the Duchess’ maid through any means, was unable to actively step up.
Edna would not have been forced to join this position for coming to the capital if she had become Celia’s maid. She was afraid that while following the Duchess, she would run into someone.
‘Should I seduce the Duke? But the Duke is so scary…. Duchess, that bitch has a big wall. Doesn’t she have any fear of the Duke?’
Edna’s steps came to a halt as she returned to the Duke’s house, waving the basket. With a terrified expression on her face, she turned to the side. Edna had no idea who was calling her, but it was obvious that he knew who she was.
“….Lady, you came all the way to the capital.”
‘Who are you?’
He was a well-dressed man. His clothes were plausible but his appearance was a bit plain.
“What are you talking about….I’m not a noblewoman, I am a maid.”
“That’s right. You wouldn’t have been able to enter the capital in your original status.”
The man who approached Edna spoke in hushed tones that only Edna could hear.
“His Majesty has given you a generous sentence of five years, and you can’t stand it? Young Baroness, you are fearless.”
That’s a good thing for her, be bold. But it was a stupid decision. Even after seducing the princess’ fiance, she didn’t seem to realize how generous it was to be sentenced to only five years of exile from the capital.
But his work necessitated this folly. She wouldn’t be able to work as a spy for the Duke of Cardian otherwise.
“I have work for you.”
As the man spoke arrogantly, Edna’s complexion changed minute by minute. She went from pale to red, as if she was angry.
✦ ✦ ✦
Celia, who had been brought to his room and eaten by him, joined Leonis for a stroll in the garden. She assumed her body to be of above-average physical strength. She couldn’t believe she could go for a walk while hugging him so tightly.
‘Is it because the blood flowing in my body has the blood of a goddess? It’s a relief, I’m glad…’
The rose garden was in full bloom, and the sunset sky gave a beautiful perfect setting. A combination of blue and red colors embroidered the garden with dark pink, light pink, and peach-colored roses under the sky that looked like it came from another world.
Celia strolled through the garden while leaning against Leonis’ arm. She was able to walk despite her body not being completely restored.
“Is it difficult to walk?”
Leonis asked about her unnatural gait. Celia looked at Leonis with a frown on her face.
“Do you want me to carry you or give you a piggyback?”
Hugs are a common occurrence, so she wanted to be carried on his back this time. Although the servants and maids were waiting nearby, they stood as far away as they could.
‘Anyway, they already saw a lot of unusual things.’
You won’t be able to live your life as you want if you start being conscious of other people’s eyes. Celia had made her decision.
“Give me a piggyback ride.”
“Okay. I’ll carry you on my back.”
Celia quickly clung to Leonis’ back as he bent down at her feet. Celia reflected deeply on herself as she leaned against his broad back, realizing that she had been concentrating solely on his chest.
I should have touched his back too!
Even though he hugged her many times, she couldn’t really appreciate it because Leonis was always behind or in front of her. Her mouth was drooling as she imagined his muscles, such as the ones flexed inside the robe’s hem.
Leonis, who had gotten up with Celia’s body against his back, called her as if he was in distress. Celia became distracted for a moment and touched Leonis’ back.
Celia was at a loss for words when it came to reflecting. She clung to Leonis’ back and whispered in his ear.
“Later at night… Take off your top and carry me on your back. Then I won’t say anything if you bother me all day tomorrow.”
“Do you really like my body?”
Leonis murmured a half-joyful, half-complex utterance. Celia replied while lightly pinching Leonis’ cheeks.
Celia gently pressed her lips to Leonis’ cheek, who turned to look at her as if to say, ‘What?’ on his face. Leonis’ face naturally loosened at the kiss that felt like falling petals.
“I like your face, I like your voice, even your body. I like everything about you.”
Whenever Celia said she liked it, Leonis’ heart trembled. “Careless,” Leonis muttered with his cheeks turned red.