Chapter 37

The aristocratic couples who married politically did not often have proper relationships.

So, Laritte thought it’d be a better outcome if she and Ian were friends.

Ian could understand why she chose the word ‘friend’, but it somehow stung him in the chest and made him emotional.
Why? He didn’t know.

Unable to read the sudden change in Ian’s features, Laritte continued.

“I thought we could still talk to each other sometimes even after you have a government-guided generation.”

His ears perked up in doubt.

A government-guided generation?

He had never thought about that matter, let alone imagine it.
And he would never do it in this lifetime.

With one corner of his mouth twisted up, he frowned.

“Who dared to let that thing slip out of their tongue? Tell me, and I’ll slice off their tongue.”

Laritte stopped digging the soil with her fingers.

“Aren’t you going to leave me…..for it?”
“It’s not even worth considering.
What on earth! Why would you think that?”

He was furious.

“Is that why you distanced yourself from me?”

Ian couldn’t finish when she grabbed him by both shoulders.
The dust on her fingers spattered on the hem of his clothes.

But the two of them paid no attention to it.

The stream and the houses in the distance disappeared, leaving only Laritte and Ian.
It felt like only the two of them were sitting in a white blank space with no single breeze.

“Then, are you going to have a baby with me?”

Her calm gaze bored into Ian’s.

Immediately, a rush of embarrassment fell over him.

“A-A baby?”

He covered his face with his large hand, hiding his flushed image.

She stared at him, casually withdrawing her hand.

For her, having a baby meant the same thing as connecting two generations.
She couldn’t afford to think of anything else.
Thus, she wasn’t ashamed of what she said.

“Yes, a baby.”

“Maybe…..
later…..
if you…..
wish to.
Anyway…… y-yes.”
“Really? With me? You shouldn’t do that.”

She tilted her head.

Ian’s head snapped at her, the redness draining instantly from his face in shock.

“There’s nothing you can’t do.
Rather, it’d be too close.”

The misunderstanding disappeared.

Laritte stood up, watching Ian stupefied.

She grumbled.

“Why do we use separate rooms? Why didn’t you see me in the morning?”
“Having separate rooms was the physician’s suggestion!”

Laritte was in need of treatment.

They had to apply medicine to the wounds and scars all over her body, and there was a body therapy that had to be conducted during her sleep.

So, it was easy for them to stay separate for a while.

“And the reason I couldn’t come to see you……..”

His face was tainted with dirt.

Opps!

As soon as he sat in his office, he completely forgot because he was busy getting suffocated by the storm of work.
Day and night, he wrestled with papers in his hands.
He even ate and slept in front of his desk.
All he did to get up from his seat was to stretch for once or twice.

Shaking her head, she started walking towards the mansion.

Ian chased after her.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t meet you.
It’s my fault.
But one thing is for sure…..
you are the Duchess.
That means you don’t need to worry about that.”
“I got it.”

She didn’t seem to believe it at all.
She was wondering how Ian could trust her.

Grabbing his hat, one of the servants ran up to them.

“Master!”
“Yes, you have found me.
What’s the matter?”
“I returned with the cat.
You weren’t in your office, Master, so I put the cage there.
Do you want me to bring it here?”

The cat!

Laritte’s face, which had hardened, lightened up at the news.

“Really…….?”

Butterfly, whom she had said goodbye to at the villa, had arrived.

Ian nodded.
A warm welcoming voice erupted from her.

“Shall we go see her now?”

She began walking, but in different directions, not knowing the exact path to his office.

“Laritte, that’s not the way.”

Ian hurried after her.

Listening to his footsteps behind her, she thought to herself.

Ian seemed to be a good person as her first ever friend.

She never had a good family nor a friend.

It’d be fine even if Ian didn’t contact the government for an heir since there would be no one to oppose their friendship.

A peaceful idea, she thought.

However, it was unclear whether Ian would agree with such a relationship or not.

“It’s over here.”

Laritte stepped first into the office as the large door opened.

It felt too devastated to be the office of the Duke.

Heaps of documents were scattered here and there, but the bookshelf was empty.

Although it had yet to regain its past glory, it would soon be as neat as it used to be.

But, she was too busy to search for the cat to look around the office.

“Butterfly?”

A white, furry cat cried meow from inside an iron cage.

As Laritte’s impatient touch unlocked the cage, Butterfly sprang out free before climbing up the bookshelf.

“Meow.”

Just like how butterflies stay out of human reach.

Although Laritte was six feet (1.8 meters) away, she slipped like a ghost when Laritte tried to touch her.

Laritte looked up at Butterfly, covering her face with her hand, saying it was safe.

Ian stood beside her, watching her with interest.

Oh, how cute she was when she did things like those.

She didn’t even know how to feel ashamed at her own strange words.

Her eyebrows frowned in worry.

“Don’t you think Butter has gotten a little thin?”
“That’s ridiculous.
She was having her fill by tearing up our food bags.”

That rich fur and plumpness seemed to be visible only to his eyes.

Then, Ian’s eyes touched the desk.

A letter bound in gold.
The servant seemed to have left it behind while Ian was away.

The sender had a servant’s name on it, but it was from Oscar, the crown prince of the Empire.

This was how Oscar used to send letters to avoid the Queen’s eyes.

Ian carefully removed the seal.

《 To my dearest friend, 》

The receiver’s name was not written, but he knew it came to the right place.

Behind this brief greeting was a number of stories related to the Duke.

This was all the powerless prince could do for his friend.

It was this line that opened Ian’s eyes.

《 Perhaps you have an informant in the capital, and you already know this, or you are going to find out soon enough.

I’d like to enlighten you with the news in advance, old man.

Miss Rose Brumayer has been attending parties and banquets recently.

The social circle expects her to be trying to find a new groom.

Of course, as you might expect, there are a few nobles who want to be associated with the Brumayers.

Naturally.

No one knew what the matter was between the Count and the Duke of Reinhardt.

It was only known to everyone that Ian took the Count’s illegitimate child as his wife.

In this situation, there would be no family member who’d want to get involved with Rose behind the Duke.

Ian’s golden eyes sank deep.

Was the Count in need of money?

Ha! He must have gone crazy when I asked him to repay the money.

He might be trying to form a relationship with my uncle to turn on me.

《 But, I heard that more and more people are coming to converse with Miss Brumayer.

Because of the dress of Lady Selena.

Ian’s fingers tightened, leaving the part of the paper crumple weakly under the force.

Selena was Ian’s mother.

A wise woman who’d set an example for the young Prince and Ian.

《 I heard she is wearing Lady Selena’s dress.

It was the most valuable dress in the world, which is made out of a fabric derived from a dragon’s body.

That Miss, who’s just a born infant, knew it as the Duke’s treasure.

《 With Miss Brumayer in her dress, there are many more nobles who think she has gotten along with the Duke.

That’s what probably she’s after.

She says it’s true, and every aristocrat is believing it.

Ian was concentrating on the reconstruction of the Duchy, so he was unaware of these crude happenings.

Thanks to Rose’s habits, rumors were spreading.

That was the reason Prince Oscar had held a pen to write to his friend in a hurry.

This crazy woman.

He didn’t know she was misusing the dress she stole from Laritte.

The dress would be short on her, he thought.

“Ian? What’s going on? Your face seems to have gotten hard.”

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Laritte’s words drew his eyes back to the desk.

Nevertheless, there were a lot of invitations for him to arrive.

He thought to himself.

He would only enjoy it by slowly strangling the Brumayers until they came out of breath.

That’s the only way that’s better than killing them in a quick manner.

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