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Chapter: 60


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Chapter 60

"So you’ll leave me. That’s what you said just now."

Didn’t you take too much time to process that if you think I said that ‘just now’?

"What do you mean? I just said that I want you to be healthy, and when you’ve recovered, I won’t be needed for a child anymore."

"……"

"Then I would become useless to the Duchy. Naturally, I will have to leave."

As if to urge me to talk more, he looked at me squarely as he crossed his arms.

"Because you’re currently ill, other noble families of the same caliber as the Duchy are reluctant to send off their daughters to marry you. That’s why… Mother took me in. Anyway, because of the family I hail from, I shouldn’t even have been able to make eye contact with you."

Not only was my family insignificant, but it was also a fallen noble house.

‘Your mother told me to give birth to a successor because her son was weak. In return, I’ll be able to provide for my family since she’ll be giving me 500,000 more ducarts.’

But I of course didn’t say this.

He’s already glaring at me so venomously right now. What if he finds out about the contract, which essentially states that his child was being bought for 500,000 gold? He’d probably kill me right away, or do something more terrible.

I was blinded by the sweet temptation that I could solve all my problems right away, that’s why I signed such a contract. But in hindsight, I was truly careless.

"I… I’ve been thinking about it. In the end, when you’re all healthy, everything will be solved and you won’t collapse all of a sudden anymore. So I hope you become healthy like you were before…"

"Why do you want me to live?"

"Huh?"

The sudden question rendered me speechless.

"To that extent, why are you so anxious about saving me?"

What do you mean why?

…It’s because I want to live, too.

Yet again, I couldn’t say it as it was, so I had to come up with another reason. If I say I was captivated, the reason might seem plausible.

As he stared at me while waiting for my answer, I hesitated for a moment, then spoke.

"You have to live a long, long life. You’ll take charge of the Duchy, return to your post as Commander, meet a beautiful, elegant woman who’ll be suitable to be your Duchess, and of course, have lots of lovely children…"

I mentioned everything that came to mind. As I did, his future was slowly being painted in my mind.

With him standing tall and proud in his knight commander uniform, the one beside him would be the new duchess who would be his perfect match. They would be the envy of everyone, him and his new wife.

No. His ‘real’ wife. Not a contract wife like me.

And the several children he’d have will be with that real wife. I could already picture Camilla’s delighted face as she looks at her grandchildren.

Once he becomes healthy, this future is entirely possible.

And in that future, I was the only one who wouldn’t be there. In the first place, if he wasn’t ill, we wouldn’t have ever met.

"And?"

"……"

Suddenly, I couldn’t speak. It was like I was being strangled. What’s wrong with me?

"I’ll have many children. Then, what’s next?"

He tilted his head to the side gently. He stared at me as I struggled to speak.

"That, well… I don’t know."

How would I know? And why must you ask in such a difficult way. I shook my head.

"Anyway, what I’m saying is that once you’re healthy again, you have no reason to continue your marriage with me."

So please stay healthy for a long time. Let’s both live long lives, okay?

I begged silently and looked at him with an earnest gaze.

"And you expect me to believe that?"

"What about it is hard to believe?"

"So by making me healthy, you want a divorce? Why? For what? Do you believe the situation will be in your favor? Because you want more alimony? Is it all because of money?"

He bit back sharply. Oh, you’ve started to say mean things again.

Perhaps the most hurtful thing about him was his mouth. No, his tongue.

"Tell me if that’s what you want. As much as you need. Perhaps you forgot, but everything in this household is mine, not Mother’s—it’s all mine. I’ll give you as much alimony as you want."

Every word was like a stab.

"So rather than wanting me to be healthy, rather than spouting nonsense like having children with a new wife and living happily ever after, this is what you want. What a despicable woman."

"…What… did you say…?"

Ahh, the ranking of the harshest words I’ve heard in my lifetime has been updated once more.

First place, Amoide. Second place, Amoide. Third place, Amoide. It was only until fifth place when another candidate ranked high, and it was Camilla with the word ‘useless’.

After throwing out the last word, Amoide turned around and strode away, as though he didn’t even want to look at me for one more second.

"How ‘bout you put yourself in my shoes, you detestable asshole!"

"…What?"

He halted his steps and turned around to look at me. Then, he faced me once more to approach me.

Oh my gosh.

"Stop right there."

He caught me as I was trying to run away.

"What did you just say?"

The distance between us narrowed so quickly.

"…What?"

"What did you say."

I could see one eyebrow of his twitching.

What I said? Uh, what I said was…

"…Asshole?"

I pronounced it as gently as possible, but his expression became harsher.

No, wait.

You’re the one who told me to say it again.

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Why, what… why…

As his narrowed eyes stared at me more intensely, I slowly stepped back.

Ah, I have a bad feeling. A terrible feeling.

"Not that one."

I thought about it deeply, then with an ant’s voice, I said.

"Put yourself… in my shoes."

Patience, patience. He seemed to be holding back a lot right now.

His eyebrows were gradually raised higher and higher.

Fireworks seemed to be exploding behind his blue eyes. I raised my hands without realizing it and covered my face.

At the same time, I couldn’t control the sudden rise of my own feelings.

I’ve had enough.

Putting yourself in another person’s shoes. Wasn’t that a great saying?

You should feel sorry for me at least once.

No matter how blind you think I am to money, think about all the years I endured after signing that contract just to give birth to a child.

But it didn’t even seem possible.

"Put that thing away."

I wondered what he meant by that as he said it quietly, and only then did I realize that I was still holding the doll.

I was holding it up almost to his nose.

I could see the doll’s face almost touching his lips.

"Ah, y-yes."

I hurriedly pulled the doll back down and embraced it. Holding it this way seemed to calm me down a little.

I stroked the doll’s hair as he spoke.

"…How can I trust you?"

The strangling feeling suddenly stopped.

"You have nothing to lose. Anyway, I’m trying to save you."

"You can’t cure my illness. If it was a disease that could be fixed with you alone, Raymond would have found a solution faster."

He said this with a harsh smile on his lips.

"I’m going to die anyway. No matter how much you try to prevent it."

I couldn’t understand. Why was he so certain that he’d die early?

"No, something about it is strange. You’re usually fine like this, just that you’re sometimes a little weak. It’s not a disease that would end your life. If that’s the case, then po…"

…Then I wouldn’t have had to poison you. Me, or the person behind all this, whoever it is.

"Po—?"

He looked at me with a frown.

"Let’s think about it positively. Your illness."

"I think it’s your fault that my illness has worsened."

"Absolutely not?!"

I raised my voice and said this. But actually, there was some truth to what he said.

Raymond said that stress could be worsening Amoide’s condition… but he never said that I was a direct factor.

As Amoide mentioned, if even a doctor couldn’t diagnose his illness, it meant that there wouldn’t be a proper treatment to get rid of it.

"Amoide, you’re healthier now after regularly going out on walks with me. Your complexion is better. And Jean told me you’re eating well these days."

These were all true. Even Camilla looked at me more favorably because of all these.

Of course, there was still some contempt behind her as though she’s saying, ‘You’re not all that.’

But wait a sec.

Why did Amoide collapse while he was away from me? Unless it was purely coincidence.

If that’s the case.

"……."

"What’s wrong?"

Amoide asked, looking at me as I suddenly fell silent.

"Amoide, who will benefit the most from this mansion if you die?"

At my question, his expression grew distorted.

"What are you saying?"

He narrowed his eyes.

He might be wondering what I was on about, but he only frowned slightly. I’m serious though.

It pertains to your life. And mine.

"You heard me."

I spoke calmly as I met his gaze.

"You collapsed so suddenly that I thought it’s strange this time. Is there anyone you suspect?"

Someone who would benefit from his death.

I thought about all the property and riches of the Efret Duchy.

Even the mansion we were in right now.

The Duchy had a vast territory that was passed down from generation to generation. And there were countless other assets that couldn’t be counted easily due to its enormity in number.

The capital was also filled with buildings and establishments owned by the Efret family.

What then?

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If he dies, all the power that the Duke had would be scattered.

For one, the position of Commander of the First Chivalric Order was currently vacant and…

Above all, the title of ‘Duke of Efret’ was something that everyone would covet.

If the successor and the immediate descendants have died, then it would be natural to pass down the title to the one who’s next in rank.

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