"Shocked you got caught?" It was a short but fierce sentence.
If one weren’t an idiot, he could feel the thorns protruding from her words. That was certain. Her husband had been holding another woman in front of her eyes, and if her words had come out calmly there’d be a problem.
At Erna’s chill voice, Kalion could feel his heart sink deeper inside his chest.
"N-no, it’s a misunder—"
"Sorry, I came too quickly and ruined the mood. I’m such an airhead."
Every word, every syllable seemed to burn. Cedric, who stood behind Orpé and Kalion, who stood behind Erna, talked with his mouth shaped like an ‘o’.
"Oh, what is going on? This is a misunderstanding, a real misunderstanding, Madam."
Erna’s eyes turned to Freya.
The accessories she had on were too colorful and already out of fashion. On top of that, she was revealing way too much, according to Erna’s standards. Frankly, Freya’s outfit did not look good to Erna. But… she is a cute one.
The unique face of the young lady who had only recently become an adult was cute and quite likable. She probably rattled the hearts of all the neighborhood boys. And maybe even… Kalion.
She thought about Kalion’s behavior from a few minutes ago in the thicket. When she had first seen her approaching, she thought he would scold her strictly, following the rules of the knights, and send her back immediately. However, contrary to her thoughts, Kalion had called the young woman up close and looked her up and down.
At that appearance, Erna had felt a burning sensation in her chest. She hadn’t even realized how tightly she was balling her fists. At first, she had almost immediately yelled out "What the hell do you think you’re doing?" However, she soon realized that there was a reason to react like that.
Why should I?
Of course, since they were a married couple, she had the right to get angry and quibble about her husband’s intentions. But they were a different kind of married couple from others. Partners who cooperated to make a child compulsory to prevent the husband from returning to his home country, leading to an inevitable political marriage. Was that all they were?
Not long ago, Erna hadn’t been interested in whether Kalion met other women or not. The same went for Kalion. And now, in fact, she was reluctant to say something about him meeting another woman.
The law of Hessenguard states that punishment shall not be given to a man or woman even if one of them finds another spouse. Instead, if the other person wanted a divorce, the one who had a relationship with someone else became the guilty one, robbing his/her initial spouse of their property.
If that’s not a legal punishment, they can be criticized morally, but honestly, who would dare tell a grand duke he ought not to live that way. And more than anything, Erna was not in that sort of inseparable relationship with Kalion.
Erna exhaled heavily. She thought the burning in her chest would subside, but not alone did it not, it only made it raise even more.
She couldn’t even grab him by the collar and shake him in front of everyone. The authority of the grand duke was superior, so if Kalion asked what it had to do with her, Erna would really feel like she’d kill him.
Erna desperately gathered all of the remaining reasoning inside her and told the chief and the woman, "This is a dangerous zone. So go back to your village. I’ll send wizards and knights so you won’t run into any trouble on your way back."
Fortunately, her time as the grand duchess over the past many years had helped her pretend to have a calm face and voice that did not tremble. However, that did not mean that her gaze was soft.
"Yes, Your Highness!"
At Erna’s glaring eyes, the chief hurriedly grabbed his daughter’s wrist and bowed his head. But Freya stared at Kalion with sorrowful eyes, unable to pick up her feet easily. Then her eyes met Erna’s. They hadn’t even spoken, but Erna could already tell that Freya had something she wanted to say to her: We would have had a good time only if you hadn’t come here.
Erna’s balled fists were now trembling.
Departing for the Grand Castle, she grabbed Orpé, who seemed to be yelling out if they really had to go, got on the horse, and bolted away. It wasn’t a very rough road, but it wasn’t comfortable enough to ride a horse over. On top of that, perhaps because she had spent the night with Kalion, there was still some pain leftover on her body. Erna had to clench her teeth whenever the horse jumped over a small puddle. Because each time it did, her hip throbbed with pain.
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Still, she sped on the horse because she was a little worried.
Demons might suddenly appear in waves like before.
She felt jittery from the moment she recalled the demons that had emerged from the lake. No matter how prepared Kalion may be, it would be dangerous if flying-type demons poured out as much as then.
But this was how it looked when one brought a fatigued body out of concern. Erna turned her back away from the chief and Freya, who had been taken away by the knights and wizards. And from Kalion as well.
She didn’t even want to see him now.