‘……What do you get in return then?’


 

Ezekiel tried to negotiate with it.
But the news of his wife came as if he had been waiting for him to reveal his doubts.

 

‘That- your wife…’

 

Herace’s condition was more serious than expected.
The servant carefully explained that his wife’s body is boiling with fever, and that it was unusual for her to speak in her sleep.
Ezekiel stood up from his seat feeling his heart dropping at the words.

 

‘E-Ezekiel…….’

 

She was softly calling his name when he arrived.
As soon as the small voice called his name, Ezekiel kneeled down next to the bed and held his wife’s hand.

 

She was a weak person…..
He did something absolutely insane.
She was a proud woman since her birth, although she pretended not to be.
She must have been greatly shocked by the events of that day.

 

Ezekiel stayed with his wife all day long, without maids and servants.
She was so pale with cold sweat all over her body, that it wasn’t strange that she was this sick.

 

“Charles…….”

 

A single tear fell from his gold eyes as he blamed himself.
Then another man’s name came out of Herace’s mouth. Charles …….
His half-brother’s name.
He loosened the grip holding his wife’s hand.
An insidious aura completely erased his regrets.

 

He remembered the dawn of the day his wife gave birth.
From the deepest of Ezekiel’s heart, a thin thorn grew.
His head, which had been lying on the bedside of her bed, slowly lifted up.
Wrinkles formed across his forehead and worry took over his mind.

 

Herace was crying sadly with her eyes closed.
What the hell is she doing with his brother in her dream? Her facial expression, every syllable, and the tone of her voice, they were all tender.
Ezekiel stopped the urge to cut off her slender fingers as she sobbed.

 

Jealousy was a shadow that always stuck to him and only varied in intensity.
A huge shadow swallowed the strangely shaking golden eyes.
He quietly placed a hand on his wife’s lips.
Originally, her thin lips were soft and red, but due to being ill, they were now pale and dry.

 

“Charles…… I…… I’m…….”


 

He didn’t want to hear it.
Ezekiel bowed his head towards his wife and kissed her mouth.
He took her breath, remembering the other man’s name.
He could feel his wife suffocating and her body twisting from the pain.

 

However, instead of stopping, Ezekiel kissed Herace deeper.
As his tongue blocked her throat, her convulsing, struggling hand suddenly fell.

 

Only after his wife reached her limit did Ezekiel stop.
Herace took a deep breath and slowly opened her eyes.

 

“Ah….”

 

Her blue eyes were still filled with tears.
But it was too soon for her eyes to dry.
The real nightmare is just about to begin….

 

Herace, who recognized her husband, raised her body but coughed as she tried to call him.
There was a glass of water on the table right next to the bed, but he only stared at his coughing wife, not offering water nor patting her back affectionately.

 

Instead, he watched her without blinking, drinking in his wife’s every breath.

 

“Ezekiel…….”

 

After a while, Herace faced the real him.
There was insanity in his eyes, as if his persistent gaze would swallow her whole.
Herace, who smiled awkwardly at him who had been by her side, became frightened and backed away.
However, what touched her hand was the solid headboard so there was nowhere to escape.

 

Ezekiel followed her as she was about to retreat and placed his hand on her slender neck.
Her neck, exposed beneath her white face, was thin enough to be gripped by only one of her man’s hands.

 

Only half of the man’s silhouette, hidden in the dark shadow, was clear.
He asked Herace in a low voice and shadowed eyes.

 

“…Who is Erzen’s father?”

 

The man was already on the bed.
He placed his hand on Herace’s neck, as if he would choke her at any moment.
However, despite the hand that threatened her and the harsh gaze, Herace did not turn her eyes away.
She couldn’t believe her husband’s words.
Her blue eyes tinged with astonishment, stared at the man’s firm lips.

 

“What do you mean…… What……”

 

The color of her lips, which had barely regained color, became pale again.
Herace remembered what she had heard and barely clasped her trembling hands.
When she didn’t hide her stunned look, Ezekiel moved a little closer to her.
His cold, sharp gaze seemed as if it would swallow Herace down at any moment.

 

“I don’t think it’s too difficult to understand.”

 

“Literally.
Who is Erzen’s father? Be honest.”

 

Erzen’s father…… Herace repeated those words over and over again in her hazy mind.
No matter how many times she thought about it, she felt the meaning behind those words.
Words that were accusing her of infidelity.

 

Unbelievable.
Her husband dared to ask her if she had done something unclean.

 

Herace placed a hand on Ezekiel’s cheek, her entire face contorted.
The man subtly withdrew his hand as she placed her hand on his face.
As his wife’s hand touched his cheek, his gold eyes met her dispirited blue eyes.

 

“E-Ezekiel, don’t mess with me.
Erzen’s father? How cruel.

 

“…….”

 

“Where did you get that… that kind of nonsense…?”

 

The hand stroking his cheek trembled as the words came out of her mouth.
Her tired face, like her bluish eyes, was clear in the dark room.

 

“I don’t know what you’re misunderstanding, but you should tell me right now.”

 

“T-Tell me this is a mistake… Tell me it’s a mistake! Right now!”

 

The end of her voice was sharp, filled with a sense of urgency.
Her white hand, which was hovering over her man’s cheek, went down and grabbed his white shirt.
The top, embroidered in the shape of a vine, was crumpled.

 

The man did not respond to Herace’s harsh behavior.
He had no reaction to his wife’s face that looked like she was about to collapse, nor the crumpled hem of his clothes.
Looking at his wife with a long, indifferent face, he spoke calmly.

 

“…….
Is it even mine?”

 

Harace shouted at the brutal words.

 

“What…! Erzen is our child.
Because I love you….
He’s our God-given child that we had together!”

 

At first glance, she seemed angry, but in a way, she seemed to be pleading.
Herace shook him with his collar in her hand, but the man’s body stood firm.

 

While Herace tried to give all her strength to her actions, in the end, she was the only one swaying back and forth.
The useless struggle gradually weakened and stopped at some point.
She quietly bowed her head, pouring out her sorrow.

 

In fact, Herace still couldn’t fathom it.
That her husband could utter something like that…

 

“H-How could you say that……”

 

As Herace trembled and shed tears, Ezekiel grabbed her by the shoulders and pulled her towards him.
Although the force was not very strong, the exhausted Herace was dragged by him without even being able to resist properly.

 

“Herace, if you want to make me believe…”

 

At some point, Herace lay down again.
Her man brushed and stroked her wet cheeks.
Her tiny ears were exposed through her scattered dark hair.
He leaned towards her and spoke slowly in a gentle voice.

 

“……You should have given birth to a baby who looked like me so you wouldn’t be crying like this.
Then you would have proved your innocence.
But since you tried to deceive me like this, no matter how in love I was with you, wouldn’t I have gone crazy?”

 

It was like teaching numbers to a child for the first time, but the content was close to bitter criticism.
It wasn’t enough to compare Erzen to an illegitimate child, but when he said that he was certain of her unfaithfulness, Herace’s body contorted, then she raised her voice.

 

“I’m telling you no! Why… Why do you have such a misunderstanding? Ezekiel, please…”

 

It was suffocating.
Emotions that cannot be explained with words took over her body.
It felt like her lungs were hardening as well as her breathing.
Herace panted like a fish trapped in a dry lake due to a drought.

 

It’s not like he was holding her neck like before… With a blurry vision, Herace who could barely breathe, tried to push him away.
Even so, it was hard for her to stand up to his body that was attached to her.

 

It wasn’t like this a year ago.
The sight of his silver hair shimmering like the moonlight and eyes gleaming like gold put her mind at ease.
When her husband’s breath touched her, the corners of her lips went up on their own.
When his hands touched hers, warmth would slowly spread throughout her whole body.

 

‘Why…?’

 

But now it wasn’t.
Now just looking at him suffocated her.
Herace struggled to escape from this terrible pressure.

 

Ezekiel drew closer to his wife who was pushing him away.
Herace tried to shake him off and knock him away but it was futile.

 

“Don’t make that sad face.
Your son, even if not as much as Miguel, is there any part of him that resembles me?”

 

The sudden words interrupted her thoughts.
Her body stiffened as if a dagger had pierced her heart.
Erzen certainly didn’t have much resemblance to his father, Ezekiel.
He was different from the woman’s son who looked exactly like him.

 

Erzen resembled Herace and no one could say otherwise.
His natural dark hair, his overall outline, and his gentle blue eyes were all from her.

 

Whenever Herace saw her son, she felt sorry for him.
If only he resembled his father, instead of her who was of no help, Ezekiel’s attitude towards Erzen would have changed.
There were many times when she shed tears alone as she thought about it.

 

“He should have had the same hair color or eyes as me.
That’s how my suspicions would have gone away.
But Herace, he only looks like you, right?”

 

Suspicions of him being a product of adultery were absurd.
Erzen was a baby who had not yet grown up properly.
No one knew what he would look like once he’s older.
Besides, according to Ezekiel’s words, did that mean all children who did not look like their fathers were products of promiscuity?

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