While I didn’t look him in the eye, what he said a while ago seemed to bother me.

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“What do you want to hear first?”

“Well, let’s start with the good news.”

“I just received a message.
Count Dorison is dead.”

Oh? I dropped the cookie I was holding.

What a shame.
No, there was more to it.

“Him? He died? Just like that?”

“I guess he was ambushed by bandits on his way back,” my husband said as he shook off the sugar from a snack and put it into his mouth.
“Returning to the capital, he took a different road and was met with misfortune.”

He claimed to feel sorry for the count, but I couldn’t sense an ounce of sincerity from the words he muttered.

I stared at him.

“Do you actually believe that?”

“No.”

He grinned at my response.
“Havel is heavily protected.
It is impossible for bandits to be anywhere on our land.
I’m certain someone acted behind the scenes.”

“But who…”

Who would kill that evil count? It was frustrating because no one came to mind.

“Will you be all right?”

“Why do you ask?”

“What do you mean why? He died on his way back.
What if that prince, Albert or whatever, uses this against you?”

“Are you worried about me?”

No, there was something wrong with the story, right? I was taking this very seriously.
Meanwhile, my husband, who was amused at the whole situation, was laughing.

Hey, focus on the topic at hand!

“Don’t worry, he won’t be able to investigate.
Those bandits will cover up the incident quite nicely.”

“Why?”

“Albert is the one who killed the count.”

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Huh?

“…The crown prince killed one of his own men?”

“It doesn’t seem to make sense, does it? But it’s normal, surprisingly.
He’s crazy.”

He was a person whose common sense didn’t work.
Lukas sighed as if to say there was a more troublesome opponent.

“Albert is quite literally a fool, but Marquis Elijah, who serves him, is a cunning man.
He takes care of all the accidents the crown prince causes.
This Carcalos incident was also Albert’s work.
Which means…”

“…The marquis needed to shut the mouth of the count just in case.”

“As expected, my wife is so smart.” He quickly picked up a cookie and put it into my mouth.
He even patted my head.

I didn’t dislike receiving compliments, but this didn’t make me feel good either.
Wasn’t this another case of him looking down on me?

I quickly swatted his hand away.
“Wait, I didn’t see Elijah on the guest list.”

If such a noble was important, my husband would have warned me after Alan told me about Count Dorison.
Yet he didn’t mention him at all.

“I believe he was resting at an inn in town.
The knights found his trail after a search.
I went there and saw he had already left except for a servant.”

“That’s it?” Don’t tell me the marquis just killed him because the carriage was too cramped.

“Your safety is what I’m more concerned about.”

That day’s events came to mind.
Blood spouting out of my body wherever possible.
A room filled with a rusty smell.
And a heart beating like it was going to explode.
I thought I was going to die like that.

“So, where is the marquis now?”

“Why? Do you want revenge?”

“I don’t think I have to hit him in an elegant way to feel better.”

I was complaining about how hard it was to do that, but then suddenly, my husband’s expression darkened.

“I wanted to ensure it was kept a secret before letting the imperial court reveal the truth…”

…Uh, is that so?

“Unfortunately, as soon as the knights entered the room, the servant bit his tongue and killed himself.”

Oh, dear.
“That’s sad.”

“What kind of reaction is that? I imagined you cheering and rejoicing.”

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“A man died.
Why would I do that?”

“He’s someone who bullied you.
You should be honest with yourself and be happy about it.”

I felt like I was having a picnic while discussing serious matters such as life and death, but…

“I could, but it’s still not a good thing.”

Then again, there was this man in front of me who I should be wishing to die already but didn’t.
Maybe it was because I haven’t seen him until now.
He also only did mean things that made me want to curse him at first.

“So, the good news is that the count is dead.
What’s the bad news?” I asked after eating all the remaining snacks and sipping some tea.
The good news was someone’s death, so I couldn’t even imagine how bad the bad news was going to be.

As if on cue, a dark cloud hung over my husband’s head.
I was curious what the hell was wrong with him now.

“I think I’ll have to stay at the border for three days starting next week.”

Hmm?

“The number of enemies crossing the border has increased dramatically as of late.”

What? I tilted my head.
“You said there was bad news.”

“That is the bad news.”

No, I think this was good news.
Great even.
It must have been, sensing my eyes sparkle at such information.

Meanwhile, my husband frowned as he stared at me.
“Aren’t you enjoying this a little too much?”

“Maybe it’s just your imagination.”

“My dear, you’re smiling to the point where it is impossible to say you aren’t pleased.”

“Oh my, was it obvious?”

I guess the excitement was clear on my face.
Then, looking at me with a disapproving gaze, he suddenly reached out, poked my cheeks, and pulled them down.

He was trying to make me frown.

“Are you so happy that you can’t see your husband for three days?” he asked in an exasperated voice.
“I’m worried.”

“Why?”

He sighed.
Then he leaned on the table and looked at me.
How long did he stay like that?

“I won’t be able to see you.”

“…”

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I winced.
I felt as if his answer stabbed my heart.
It didn’t hurt, but it was painful for some reason.
I didn’t feel good.

“Why… are you worried about that?” I asked.

I then regretted asking him.
I didn’t know what kind of answer I was expecting.
But it was too late, so I had to wait for his answer in silence.

Practically lying face down on the table, he suddenly reached out.
He caught the back of my hand before I could pull it away.

“It’s boring if I don’t have someone to pester.”

“…”

Ah, of course.

The strange feeling in my chest vanished instantly.
It was like someone poured cold water into a boiling pot, no, like someone kicked the pot over.

Forcing myself to smile, I quickly pulled my hand back.
“Hurry up and leave.”

Get out of my sight.

“Are you mad?”

“Me? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You look very upset.”

“You’re deluding yourself.”

Hahaha.
Who was angry?

“Why would I be upset that my husband is away for a few days?”

There was a complicated emotion inside me, but I decided to forget about it for a moment.
I was shouting that I was free in my mind.

“Watching my wife be like this makes me sad.”

My husband was going out to do some work-related business.
He muttered a few words under his breath.
I thought I should try and soothe him, but unfortunately, it was too late.

Smiling beautifully, he lifted the teacup in front of me and drank all of the tea in one go.
Then he grimaced.

Ah yes, he hated tea.
Honestly, if you’re going to gate it, why bother drinking it? I planned to bring it up.

Then I noticed his lips had touched the rim of the cup where traces of my lipstick were.
I saw my makeup was clearly smeared on his mouth.

He didn’t look bad.
Unexpectedly, it looked kind of good on him.

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Then he opened his mouth.

“Why don’t we have a good time before I leave, dearest?”

“I must politely decline.” I shook my head quickly.

It would be a waste of time.
I was a witch, and he was a human.
We were in a relationship that required us to remain distant.

Yes, it had to be like that.

***

“Mr.
Alan.”

Walking through the corridor, I saw a familiar back and called out.

“My lady? Is something wrong?”

“Come here for a minute.” When I gestured for him to come closer instead of just standing where he was, the butler, who first looked around, walked toward me.

“My lady, what do you want to do?”

“Where is he now?”

“What? Oh, if you’re referring to my lord, he’s working in his office.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I checked with my own eyes a few minutes ago.” He even proudly said that he had someone keep watch at the door since his lord kept disappearing.

I was proud to hear that Alan was the only butler in the world to keep the duke in his office.

Anyway, that wasn’t why I called him over.

“All right, thank you.”

I was relieved.
When my husband emphasized the bond between husband and wife, he says things like “Ah, you’re so cute” and then bother me for the rest of the day.
Thankfully, it didn’t have to come to that.

It was more like he couldn’t even do so.
It was because all kinds of letters flooded in when he closed off Havel from the rest of the world.
He even regretted it, surprisingly, saying that if he knew this would happen, he should have just scolded the person who made him do it in the first place.

But I liked the current situation a lot.

“My lady, I don’t have to remind you, but my lord was very angry about that the other day.
Please remain in the castle for now.”

“I know.”

I tried to speak with my eyes sparkling to show my firm determination, but it was useless.

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