“…Why do I have to listen to this?”
For the first time, Herace’s voice was filled with anger.
She looked straight at Ezekiel.
Her blue eyes stared at him, moving up and down.
“What do you mean?”
“Why are you angry? It’s me who should be angry.
I… I have your child.
But why do you look so proud, having brought your mistress in front of me?!”
Her voice filled with emotion was strong and fierce, but it was also sincere.
Even if you weren’t involved in their matters, you could tell.
The woman venting her anger at her husband herself was heartbroken.
She was crying and trembling at the betrayal of her loved one.
“If you were thinking of me… If you ever thought of our child, you shouldn’t be doing this.
If you wanted to bring in a woman, at least wait until our child… For heaven’s sake… Wait until our child is born…”
“Why would I?”
Herace’s desperate cry failed to reach Ezekiel.
He questioned her with a neutral face.
“I asked, why would I do that?”
“What are you talking about now? A child.
Do you not have any thoughts of our child, who isn’t even born yet?”
“Is it such a great thing to have my child? Charlotte does too.”
Shock struck Herace.
Her eyes widened and looked at her husband without even blinking.
He just filled his glass wine again and swirled it around, slowly savoring the red liquid in it.
“You seem to be misunderstanding something, but the child Charlotte is bearing is mine.
It is also my first child.”
His first child.
‘What more can I say?’
Herace felt disgusted by her husband’s sweet voice.
She covered her mouth and gagged a couple of times.
Despite seeing it, Ezekiel had a calm face.
He brought his glass to his lips, swallowed the wine, and spoke calmly, “Ah… I have one more thing to tell you.”
“Not touching Charlotte means two things.
One is me telling you to leave my beloved woman in peace, and the other is…”
“…To be considerate so that my heir can be born safely.”
Now, it wasn’t just about her and Ezekiel.
Herace grabbed her stomach and screamed, “Absolutely not! Your heir will be this child.
‘If I make a mistake, the child in my womb will be in danger.’
With a motherly expression on her face, and not as a betrayed wife, Herace spoke up vehemently.
She stopped being wary of her words.
“Why would such a woman’s filthy b*stard be…”
Herace held her tongue on belittling Charlotte, while calling the child in her womb a filthy b*stard.
She spat out so much in anger, but only after saying them did she realise–
An illegitimate child, a b*stard… She never spoke these words after marrying Ezekiel.
No, even within the Serpence Castle, no one dared to say those words out loud.
That is because, the owner of Serpence Castle and the current Duke Serpence, Ezekiel Serpence, was an illegitimate child.
“Did you just say b*stard?”
As Herace closed her mouth in embarrassment, Ezekiel asked with a deep smile.
Although the words could have been insulting to him, he had an indifferent expression on his face.
Charlotte is not a legitimate wife, and the child born to her will be an illegitimate child.
But Herace, it seems you’ve forgotten…”
“I am also an illegitimate child.”
That’s not what I meant….”
Herace forgot that she was angry and looked at her husband.
She felt remorse for hurting him at this moment.
Especially because she knew his past.
Herace, who was restless with her hands clasped together, seemed pitiful.
Anyone who saw her would have wanted to soothe and console her.
But her husband, who had her entirety, did not care.
He smiled savagely and stared at his wife as if he were looking at his prey, “You don’t have to be sorry.
It’s true I’m a b*stard, but are you in a position to say that, Herace?”
“If your status had been as noble as before, no matter how much I loved Charlotte, her child would not have been my successor.
But you know that you are not the noble woman you used to be.
You’re beautiful and noble.
But not the Herace Devone who could have supported me.”
Her maiden name had fallen, and was now in ruins.
Herace’s face crumbled.
Ezekiel knew for sure what Devone meant to her, and how painful it is for her past to be brought up.
She felt the wounds that had barely healed, tear open again.
The funny thing was, the person who healed her wounds was the same one who has now cut it wide open.
Unlike her, who trembled because she didn’t want to give her husband any pain, Ezekiel didn’t hesitate.
“You, a sinner’s daughter, are nothing but a bounty given to me by His Majesty the Emperor.
Well… in a way, you might be lower than Charlotte.
Charlotte’s father sold her, but at least he didn’t commit treason.”
“… Come on, don’t make that face.
Have you forgotten? The kind of situation you’re in?”
Ezekiel’s words dragged Herace into the abyss.
Her situation… yes.
If it weren’t for Ezekiel, she would have become a slave for another family.
Herace bowed her head.
The feeling of despair that she could never defeat her opponent, along with a sense of debt she had hidden, lifted her head, along with her guilt.
“All this time, I have supported you.
But now I don’t really understand why I have to do that.”
Everything he said was right. Herace relaxed her grip on her hand.
Then, she sat still in her chair and listened to him speak, as if she were a sinner.
The forks and knives that were laid out haphazardly represented her heart.
Seeing the blood-colored sauce, Herace swallowed back her rising emotions.
“Stay still until Charlotte gives birth.
I mean, don’t go against her and make her upset for no reason.”
“I hope you will just stay in your room.
Away of Charlotte’s sight or mine.
After all, you, who are weak, cannot walk properly unless someone helps you.”
“…are you listening to me?”
“I asked if you were listening.”
Ezekiel looked more displeased when Herace obeyed.
He wrinkled his brows, slammed his fist on the table, then stood up.
The chair scratched the floor loudly, making an unpleasant noise.
“…I’m sure you’re clever enough to understand what I mean.”
“Then, I’ll leave first.
Finish your meal and go back.”
Herace didn’t even move until Ezekiel left.
But when he passed the long table, brushing past her side and disappearing beyond the door…
The cries that she had been holding back burst out like an explosion and were heard throughout the hall.
The castle gradually warmed up as spring was coming.
However, only the room where Herace stayed grew colder and colder.
It was not due to heating.
There had already been some talk in the castle.
The people felt pity towards the Lord’s wife but they kept their mouths shut.
Because the castle’s owner, Ezekiel, threatened to cut off the tongues and kick anyone out who dared speak about the matter, to the land of barbarians beyond the Northern mountains.
Herace stayed in her room after that dinner.
No one could even see her shadow except for Anna and the doctor in charge.
Every time the doctor visited Herace’s room once a day, he would let out a long sigh.
If anyone who didn’t know him, saw how dark his face was, they might mistakenly think that he was the patient and not the doctor.
The complexion of the maids who went up with her meals was no different from that of the doctor.
Anna prepared good food countless times, however, almost the same amount of food brought in also came out.
Herace’s appetite didn’t return.
“You have to eat more.”
“…I can’t eat anymore.”
“One more bite.
The chef made it specially for you.
It’ll be good for the baby, too.”
The morning sickness that had ended, came back and made her flip over.
Anna stomped her feet as she saw Herace’s pale face and body, which was getting thinner day by day.
Herace covered her mouth and shook her head.
“Hah… Miss, you have to eat more tomorrow.
From that day on, whenever she was alone with Herace, Anna referred to her as Miss.
It was an expression of her own timid revenge and dissatisfaction towards Ezekiel.
Herace, who had pointed it out to Anna several times at first, didn’t say anything at some point.
It was because her nausea rose whenever she heard the title ‘Wife’.
“… Can you take me to the window?”
Herace, who was leaning on her bed, looked out her window at the lake and asked Anna.
The frozen lake melted slightly, revealing partly blue water.
Anna nodded her head and supported Herace.
Whether it was because the moon was full or she lost weight, Herace’s belly looked more prominent.
Anna wrapped a soft blanket over her shoulders.
Anna supported Herace all the way to the couch by the window, sat her down and rubbed the foggy glass with her sleeve.
Part of the expansive lake that spread out beyond the clear window, reflected the moonlight and glistened.
“When my child is born and has grown up a bit, I want to go there with him.”
Herace’s face relaxed a little.
Anna clapped her hands at her Lady’s smile that she had not seen in a long time.
“That’s a good idea.
There are many delicious things in Lake Aunue, so it would be good to go fishing with your baby.”
“You’re just… thinking about eating till the end.”
“Lake Aunue’s sweetfish is a delicacy.
These days, we can’t catch anything because of the weather, but please wait a little longer.
I’ll ask the Lord….
“… I’m sorry.”
“No, it’s okay.”
Herace said it was fine, but Anna wanted to slap her mouth.
‘What a stupid mouth I have!’
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