Episode 48.
A Slight Disconnection (1)

The duke’s words seemed to have rendered Count Blair speechless briefly. 

But it was only momentary too.

“The one that would regret it might be the Duke, and not me.”

The count opened his mouth with a rather provocative sneer.

“The appearance of a monster within the castle of the great Esbaden family, which undertook the sacred task of subjugating monsters for generations.“

He continued in a voice that’s filled with confidence. 

“This has already spread widely amongst the citizens of the territory.
How poorly maintained was the ducal castle that a monster appeared in the lake, which was located at the innermost part of the castle grounds?”

The fame and stature the Duke of Esbaden possessed in the Empire was due to his position as a duke that guards the borders, but there was a reason greater than that.

The subjugation of monsters that ordinary humans couldn’t deal with, as well as purging the resultant contaminated areas. 

This was also the Esbaden Duchy’s family business.  

“Amongst the vassals, there is also chatter doubting the duke’s qualifications.
Of course, I’m sure that you’re already aware.”


“I’m worried.
I’m worried that the duke will lose all your prestige over this and that.
If only the Duchess would at least be of some help to you, but it’s quite regrettable.”

Leonhart just stared at the count instead of responding.

“Well, there’s no need to make excuses.
This incident…”

“Yes, you’re right.”


“I’ve been paying attention to things outside the castle, so I’ve been indifferent to the things happening within the castle as of late.
I won’t deny it.”


“Even bugs would only appear when the landlord isn’t around.”

The level sound of his voice caused the count to flinch and tremble. 

“As such, I intend on finding out who dared to bring a monster into the duchy.”

When he met Leonhart’s eyes, which were staring at him like he was prey, an ominous hunch arose in the count. 

‘What is it? Is there something that I’m not aware of?’

“Thus, there’s no need for the Count to waste his time worrying about me losing my reputation.” 

As soon as Leonhart read the fear within the count’s eyes, he lifted one mouth slightly.

“It would be better for you to re-educate your virtuous daughter with that time.”

“What do you…”

“You’re free to delude yourself, but it’ll be troubling if you forgot about reality because of that delusion.”

At the duke’s words, Pauline’s face flushed in an instant. 

“Young Lady Pauline.”

Leonhart continued in a voice that didn’t have any hint of personal feelings in the slightest.

“I hope that you’ll never make use of the small kindness that you’ve received from the Duchess to act impertinently again.”

“What do you mean by impertinent? The one that’s disrespectful is the Duchess…”

Even before the count could finish speaking in her defence.

With tears in her eyes, Pauline stormed out of the duke’s office. 


The surprised count tried to grab his daughter, but she had already rushed out.

“This is the last time I’ll let the Young Lady’s impertinence go.”

Leonhart turned his back on the count like he was saying that’s enough.  

“If you’ve finished talking, leave.”


“Didn’t you hear me tell you to leave?”

After taking his seat again, the Duke touched his temple with an annoyed expression.

At that appearance, the count gritted his teeth quietly. 

‘Him protecting the girl from a barbaric tribe that he’d married is quite the sight, when he’d only married her to gain the Emperor’s recognition.’

He might be covering up for his wife, but it was quite the eyesore. 

He had tried to take this opportunity to take the young Duke down a notch or two, but if it’ll be him that’s taken down a notch if he withdrew like this. 

“…I apologise for my daughter’s imprudent behaviour.”

Count Blair glared at Leonhart, who wasn’t looking at him, and added. 

“However, with all due respect, I think that the Duchess should also conduct herself in the proper manner of a Duchess.”

Count Blair spoke in a solemn voice, like he was about to deal a fatal blow to the duke.

“Apparently, Daniel was the one that saved the Duchess from drowning.”

When the duke stared at him, he made provoking remarks while looking at the duke’s face. 

“I heard that the Duchess had quite the embarrassing appearance at the time, but she wasn’t at all ashamed of showing it to Lord Daniel.”

He thumbed through his stylishly maintained moustache.

“Isn’t the Duke aware that the Duchess is from such a carefree place at that.”

Count Blair was a quick-witted man.

He read the slight disconcertment from Leonhart’s silence and regained his composure.

“I hope that the Duchess would become a woman befitting of the Esbaden family as soon as possible.”

Up till the end, he was able to give his regards to the Duke under the guise of a sneer. 

* * *

Dooha could only look at her husband’s face properly after two days had passed.

This was because the duke was extremely busy handling the work that had piled up from personally looking after her. 

It’s been a while since they had dinner together.

As she watched Leonhart eat silently while seated facing her, Dooha was lost in thought. 

The duke’s remark about nursing her all night on the day she was first attacked by a monster in the lake was the truth. 

As such, she wondered if other imperial men would do that much if their wives fell ill, but according to Layla and the head maid, they wouldn’t.

Even in Bashal, a situation whereby a husband remained beside his wife because she was ill didn’t occur. 

Either the female relatives or the children took turns to nurse.

“I didn’t know that the Duke has such a tender side to him.” 

Dooha couldn’t help but laugh inwardly when she recalled the head maid’s words. 

Indeed, the word ‘tender’ didn’t match the duke’s face, which was both beautiful and cold to a chilling degree. 

Then, she suddenly remembered what happened during the day.

‘From the way Pauline was crying as she left, I don’t think she got what she wanted.’

According to the handmaidens, the situation may have worsened for Pauline, as Count Blair, who came with her, also returned back irately. 

Poor Pauline.

She didn’t know what the duke said, but it must have been hurtful enough for her to dash out in tears. 

She was slightly sympathetic, but that’s all.

Regardless of how pitiful Pauline was, she had to pay the price for her deeds. 

‘Especially, this…’

Dooha took note of the medicine bottle in the inner pocket of her skirt.

The prohibited drug that Pauline consumed.

This might become the signal that’ll prompt the search for the forces attempting to disrupt the public order in the ducal castle.

Just as she was pondering over when she should bring this up to the duke.

“What are you thinking about that you’re in such a state?”

Dooha became slightly flustered at the unexpected question. 

When she looked up, Leonhart was staring at her intently.


“I don’t think the amount of food is decreasing.
You don’t have an appetite?”

“No, that’s not true.”

After a moment of hesitation, Dooha opened her mouth again.

“Actually, there’s something I have to tell you.”

“What is it?”

“That day, Young Lady Pauline took some sort of drug before the boat sank.”


“This is the medicine bottle that Pauline drank from on that day.
I found it at the bottom of the lake.”

Dooha took out the medicine bottle from her pocket and placed it on the dining table.

A slightly reddish liquid was stagnated within a transparent glass bottle.

“The Empire calls this drug the ‘Devil’s Nap’.”

At her words, Leonhart’s eyes were filled with surprise for a moment, before his gaze quickly turned sharp. 

“Is there any evidence that the drug belongs to Young Lady Pauline?”

“There isn’t.
Other than the fact that I witnessed it with my own eyes.”

Dooha straightened her back and continued. 

“As such, it’s up to you whether to believe it or not.
However, something irreversible might happen if you disregard my words.” 

“You must be aware of what that drug is already.”

“Yes, I wouldn’t have told you if I wasn’t aware.”

After hearing Dooha’s answer, the duke remained silent with a hand cupping his chin for a while  

She glanced at her husband, but was unable to tell what he was thinking about. 

She found his reaction, which was weaker than she’d anticipated, strange. 

“…I’ll keep it in mind.” 

“That’s it?”

“Then what kind of answer do you want?”

Leonhart asked back with a calm voice.

“The only evidence we have is your testimony, are you saying that we should search the Blair County right now?”

“We should do so if there’s a need to.
If His Majesty the Emperor finds out that the vassals of the Esbaden family had this in their possession, you will be held responsible…”

“My wife.”

Leonhart’s voice was even lower.

“Seems to be a clever woman despite her aggressiveness, but my judgement wasn’t mistaken, was it?”

It was quite a refined way of telling her to stop and be quiet.

Dooha looked at her expressionless husband and frowned.

“I don’t know what the hell are you thinking.”

“You’ll find out someday.”

As expected, this man was far from being ‘tender’. 

Clearly, she was mistaken for a moment because he was good to her a few times.

A corner of her lip twitched out of displeasure, and Dooha turned her head away in an instant. 

“Forget it.
It’s not the first or second time that you’ve disregarded me.” 

“However, it seems that my wife is still turning a deaf ear to my words.”

“What are you talking about?”

Dooha frowned at the sound of his voice, which had turned razor-sharp for some reason.


Leonhart uttered his cousin’s name.

Displeasure was evident from his deeply furrowed brows.

“I’m sure I’d told you not to get close to that punk.”

Leonhart wasn’t a narrow-minded man.

No matter how bad his relationship with his cousin was, he would feel gratefulness for saving his wife’s life.

“Since when have you been so close to that punk that you can talk to him while laughing?”

But when he heard that Dooha, that his wife, had a friendly conversation with Daniel, he felt like his insides were twisted up. 

“I think there’s something you’re misunderstanding, I didn’t have any contact with Daniel until that day.”

With a calm voice, Dooha made clarifications at her husband’s stronger than expected response. 

“And it was just a coincidence that he’s passing by when he saved my life, and we talked briefly but it was just pleasantries…”

“A coincidence.
That punk always makes the same excuses.”

After murmuring to himself about something incomprehensible, before raising his voice again.

“You may think that that’s the case, but Daniel’s intentions are different.
That man isn’t someone that would act like that for no reason.”

The duke held deep hostility and rage towards Daniel.

It was at a level that’s beyond Dooha’s imagination

“I’ll say this once again.”

With a face that’s as stiff as a stone statue, Leonhart snarled.

“Don’t let words of you being together with an outside man reach my ears again.”

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