Heart On A Precipice (5)
“But I have a question.”
Dooha looked up while clutching her oddly thumping chest.
Leonhart looked at her with his deep blue eyes.
“How did you get into the annex? Nobody spotted you.”
“Ah, that’s Daniel…”
Dooha, who had unintentionally spilled the beans, bit her lip with a look of surprise.
The duke wasn’t on good terms with Daniel.
It was very bad.
Sure enough, the moment he heard the name coming out of her mouth, the duke frowned.
“Oh, about that…”
It was the first time she’d been so flustered ever since she came to the Empire.
“It wasn’t on purpose, but Daniel happened to make a mistake in front of me, and in exchange for my forgiveness, he decided to help me enter the annex…”
Dooha rambled in order to fix the stupid mistake she had made.
Eventually, she gave up on trying to justify herself and sighed.
I knew that you didn’t like Daniel and didn’t like him seeing your grandmother, but there was no other way.”
In order to enter the annex, which was guarded by 30 knights, and meet Margaret each time, she needed Daniel’s magical power.
“…I don’t understand.”
Leonhart opened his mouth with an expressionless face.
“I didn’t understand why you had wanted to look around the annex that much in the first place.”
“It’s because you acted like you’re hiding a lover here—!”
Dooha couldn’t help but respond in an irritated tone, before biting her lip again.
Why was she saying useless things again?
Her mood when her feet had slipped while scaling the cliff was much more pleasant than this.
“Because of a lover.”
Meanwhile, Leonhart mused to himself repeatedly, like he was quite shocked by her words.
He soon raised an eyebrow and glared at Dooha.
“You mean, did my wife think of me as a scum of the earth that would still have a mistress even after getting married?”
“No, that’s not what I meant…”
“Let me take this opportunity to make it clear.”
Leonhart looked at the Dooha that was seated before him carefully, before continuing.
“Although we had married for the sake of an alliance between the two countries, it is undeniable that we’re a ducal couple that has vowed to spend the rest of our lives together.”
Dooha stared dazedly into her husband’s eyes.
Those beautiful blue eyes were more serious than ever.
“As such, you don’t have to worry.”
Leonhart spoke with a resolute face, far from being romantic.
“Since you’ve become my wife, you’ll be the only woman in my life.”
Dooha gripped both of his hands tightly.
The reason she was blushing as if she had received such a heartfelt confession of love, when it was such a brusque vow,
Just then, a voice of salvation appeared when Dooha couldn’t find words to respond.
“Duke, the previous Duchess has recovered! She has regained consciousness and is looking for the Duke.”
The ducal couple turned their heads at the same time upon hearing the good news from outside the door.
Both of their countenances looked much brighter than before.
“I got it.
I’ll be right there.”
Leonhart answered the physician that was waiting outside briefly, before looking back at Dooha.
“You should come along with me.”
Dooha stared at his hand blankly.
“What’s the point if the hero that saved the previous Duchess’ life isn’t there?”
At the faint smile on Leonhart’s face, Dooha took his hand and rose up to her feet slowly.
“Can you walk?”
“It’ll be easy thanks to you.”
“That’s a relief.”
The duke kept an eye on his wife’s gait, and only raised his head when he confirmed that she was really fine.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to make it clear to you.”
“What do you mean?”
“That as long as I’m your husband, I’ll be the only man in your life.”
Leonhart said while staring straight at Dooha, who was standing next to him.
“Like you, I also prefer fair deals.”
He supported Dooha to the front of the door and continued.
“I hope that you won’t meet with Daniel in the future.”
“But Daniel is your cousin, so there’s no way that I won’t meet…”
“But he’s a man.
Weren’t you the one that thought it’s inappropriate for a married woman to meet with another man alone?”
And it’s a man that the duke won’t trust for the rest of his life.
“As such, this shouldn’t be an outrageous request, wife.”
Leonhart lowered his gaze and tilted his head.
In the end, Dooha could only surrender in the face of her husband’s persistent gaze.
In any case, his face possessed a tremendous power to weaken Dooha’s heart.
I won’t meet with Daniel separately.”
Dooha ignored the duke’s persistent gaze and turned her head forward.
Hiding her reddened cheeks between her hair
* * *
“Do you like that you’ve hurt your hands that much?”
Dooha turned her head towards the discontented voice.
Her handmaiden, Layla, looked at her hand with a very displeased expression.
“I’m saying this because you’ve been looking at that bandaged hand all day.”
Layla answered with eyes that were widened roundly.
“The Duke doesn’t seem like it, but he’s quite the stingy character.
Who’s sake did the Madam get so injured for?”
She picked up the tray that contained the Duchess’ breakfast.
“Are healing wizards a decoration? The wound on your hands and feet can be healed completely with a single usage of magic.”
“I’ve read in a book that healing magic would cause tolerance.
It’s better to let it heal naturally if it’s not a serious wound.”
“Gosh, healing for such wounds wouldn’t make you that tolerant.
Also, hands are a part of the body that’s visible to others, so it wouldn’t look good if you have a wound.”
I won’t be meeting with anyone for a while.
Anyways, I’ll have to wear gloves whenever I go out, so it doesn’t matter.”
Layla, who had been organising the plates diligently, looked up with a suspicious expression.
“You aren’t, perhaps, taking sides with the duke, are you?”
“What? What do you mean by sides? Whose side do you think I’m taking?”
“What I’m trying to say is…”
Just as Layla was about to quibble with the Duchess.
The knocking sound came from outside the window, and not from the door.
A scarlet butterfly was scattering light as it fluttered its wings outside the window.
It was, without a doubt, Daniel’s magic.
“Madam, why are you suddenly opening the window?”
Dooha ignored Layla’s question and reached out a hand to the butterfly.
As soon as Dooha’s hand brushed against it, the butterfly made a sound, and disappeared soon after.
A small piece of paper slowly fell from mid-air in its stead.
Dooha snatched the piece of paper with deft fingers.
I’ll be waiting at the place I’ve always waited for you – your personal carriage.
It was a line written in an elegant scrawl.
‘Come to think of it, I haven’t seen him since we parted three days ago.’
The promised day to meet with him and head to the annex was originally yesterday.
However, Daniel didn’t contact her, and Dooha didn’t contact him on purpose.
It was because the duke asked her to not meet with Daniel separately.
‘Well, Daniel seemed to have been busy too, considering the fact that we haven’t been in touch yet.’
Dooha lifted her pen with the thought of telling him about Margaret’s health.
He would definitely be happy to hear that Margaret was much healthier than before she collapsed from illness thanks to the Claudene that she had saved and brought back.
“Layla, could you make a trip to the library?”
Dooha handed her the piece of paper that she had written her reply on.
“There’s a section in the library with books on the history of the ducal family.
Pass this note to the person that’s waiting there.”
After thinking for a while, Dooha added another line.
“Tell him that he doesn’t have to wait for me from now onwards.”
Then I’ll be right back.”
Just as Layla hid the note in her pockets and walked out of the door.
The head maid came in like she was alternating with Layla.
“Did you have a good night’s rest, Madam?”
“Good morning, Sylvia.”
After the incident at the annex, the head maid became an even more loyal servant of the Duchess.
She felt guilty for not telling Dooha about the previous Duchess’s existence when she was in the know, even though it was ordered by the duke.
She was appreciative and thankful to Dooha for saving the previous Duchess’ life, who she was indebted to for saving her when she was a child.
It was for the above two reasons.
“Where was Miss Layla rushing off towards?”
“I sent her for an urgent errand.
Sylvia, what brings you here at this hour?”
“Oh, I’ve brought letters that were addressed to the Madam.”
The head maid held out a silver tray packed with letters to Dooha.
Dooha scratched her cheek when she saw that there were much more letters than she thought.
“Um, I haven’t received a single letter up till now.
It’s a little bewildering to see letters from so many people suddenly.”
At her words, the head maid bowed her head with a strangely proud face.
“By the looks of it, it seems that this incident has spread amongst the vassals.”
“Wasn’t matters regarding the previous Duchess a secret?”
“Not that incident, but the fact that the Madam had received the repositorium from the Duke.”
Dooha tapped the golden key that was placed in the middle of her desk lightly.
The very morning that Margaret had recovered, the Duke returned to his original bedroom and gave her this as a reward for saving Margaret.
She rejected it at first, as she didn’t do it for a reward, but the duke was determined to put the key in her hand.
“It isn’t a reward, but to express my sincerity to the benefactor that saved my grandmother.
I really hope that you’ll give me a chance to do something for my grandmother.”
She couldn’t refuse to take it when he said that.
“Entrusting the key to the warehouse is a strong sign of trust between a married couple.
Now, none of the vassals will be able to doubt Madam’s position.”
Due to the incident in the stable and the incident with the fourth prince, rumours had already circulated amongst the vassals that the duke cared for Dooha.
However, there were still vassals that doubted the authenticity of the two’s relationship.
Of course, the incident with the repositorium shut all of their mouths.
Dooha opened the letters one by one.
It was surprising that all the letters had similar contents.
“They’re basically saying that they want to greet me, and request that I leave a spot for them.”
“In Esbaden, it is customary for the new Duchess to invite the vassal’s wives for a picnic.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, it’s been a while since Madam has arrived here, but there wasn’t any news from you, so everyone has been eagerly awaiting for Madam’s invitation.”
At her words, Dooha held up the invitations with a grin.
“In that case, I’ll have to live up to their expectations.”
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