Lucia - Chapter 25
< — Ducal couple — > (12)
TN: And we now have an update schedule! Kinda. Also my translations are being stolen…welp.
Jerome prepared a cup of afternoon tea as he did every day and went into the Duke’s office.
To avoid disturbing his master who was currently engrossed in his work, Jerome tried to leave the tea and leave but the desk was covered in documents and the person supposed to be there could not be seen.
As this was more or less a regular thing these days, Jerome shifted his gaze in the direction he expected his master to go and as expected, the balcony window was slightly open.
He went closer to take a look and he could see the back of a tall man, leaning against the handrail.
These days the duke would start work in the afternoon and then lazy around; something he had never done before.
He would spend a long time standing there and looking down the balcony.
And below was the beautiful picture of her Grace who had recently taken to diligently growing colorful flowers in the garden.
Her Grace frequently went out to personally examine the flowers in the garden and his master would watch her.
Jerome had initially thought that his master’s honeymoon phase would be briefly interesting but now he knew it wasn’t.
If there was a case where the prodigal son marries and starts to change and become a reliable person, then that was practically his master.
This was why one had to live long in this world. Jerome wondered if his master knew that when he was with her, it was as though nothing else was visible, as his gaze was locked onto her.
Surprisingly, her Grace did not seem conscious of his master’s intense and straight-forward gaze. It would seem that her Grace was unexpectedly insensitive.
There was something delicate between the two of them. Obviously, their relationship was good. Her Grace would give his master a pure smile, and his frigid master would warm up when her Grace was around.
Nonetheless, undeniably there was somewhat of an invisible thin wall between them. It was too ambiguous to criticize and he couldn’t speak out hastily on something vague.
It was a new routine to put a brief report on what her Grace did or who she met on his master’s desk so Jerome couldn’t postpone his report anymore. Even more so because it was related to the health of her Grace.
Jerome hesitated a little then approached the balcony.
“I have something to tell you about her Grace.”
At those words, Hugo turned his head. He stared at Jerome then walked past him and went inside. But even after waiting a while, he didn’t hear Jerome speaking. Hugo could tell that Jerome was being hesitant.
“What’s so difficult? Talk.”
“…Her Grace has never had her monthly guest.” (1).
Lucia had a promise with Jerome that she would tell the Duke about her body condition together with Jerome.
But as time passed, Lucia was still the same, keeping her mouth shut. Jerome considered that she had forgotten so he reminded her but her Grace had only said that she understood and went back to being silent.
Jerome knew that interfering in this could be exceeding his authority but it was also the task of the steward to take care of his master’s health.
Jerome worried several times if he should urge her Grace even if it was forcibly, to personally tell his master but eventually he decided to tell his master personally.
“The thing that women go through every month…”
Hugo was familiar with the common knowledge of women’s physiological parts but the rest was sleeping at the bottom of his mind.
He had never been with a woman long enough for her to have her period. Moreover, he had never been worried about a woman getting pregnant so he really hadn’t thought about it.
“At first, a maid was concerned as to whether or not her Grace was pregnant but then she was looked at by the family doctor who said that she wasn’t pregnant. According to her Grace, she’s never had a monthly guest and she also refused to be looked at by the doctor for treatment. She said it was something that your Grace already knew about so there was no need for it.”
“She isn’t pregnant so is it something serious if she isn’t menstruating?”
“It is not normal, after all, it would be impossible for her Grace to get pregnant. Her Grace has to have a medical examination for us to know for sure.”
“What does she mean that I already knew…”
[I cannot have a child.]
Hugo furrowed his brows.
He gave a forced laugh. She had definitely said that. Originally, it wasn’t something one could easily say but she had simply said that she couldn’t have a child as though it was trivial. She had also given a small laugh.
To her, her inability to be pregnant was not a big deal because she couldn’t have a baby anyways. She had spoken like she was telling a big secret but he had simply thought it was interesting.
“Right. I knew about it.”
His head ached like it had been hit with a blunt weapon. There was an uncomfortable twisting in his stomach and he felt an anger within him that he didn’t know what for, couldn’t explain it or even give a reason for it.
“What is the doctor doing?”
“It isn’t an external disease so if her Grace doesn’t speak about it, the doctor cannot diagnose it.”
“Call her now.”
“…Yes, your Grace.”
Jerome could see that his master’s mood had soured so he immediately went away without saying a word.
While standing still, Hugo suppressed his anger and clenched his fists tightly. He then tried to calmly think of where his displeasure was coming from.
She was very much the ideal wife he wanted. She controlled the servants moderately well and did not give him any issues. He had nothing to complain about nor was he uncomfortable.
Recently, she’d had a lot of requests but it was different from the bothersome requests he was expecting.
He gave a heavy sigh, cupped his head in his hands and sat on the sofa. This wasn’t normal.
He realized he still had no idea about what she was thinking. All he knew about his wife was what was written in the few reports Fabian gave him.
Their relationship was good. As least he thought so. Their conversations were fun and in the bedroom, they were passionate. But they had never really talked.
Had she ever exposed herself to him? He seemed to have misunderstood that she’d exposed all of her heart to him since she smiled so purely.
Something suddenly came to mind so he called for Jerome and ordered him to bring the details of her spending.
Jerome soon returned with the documents.
“What of the doctor?”
“I sent someone to call her.”
“I’ll be coming along for the examination.”
“Yes, your Grace.”
As he flipped through the documents and checked the details, his eyes grew cold. Apart from the cost of decorating the garden and the cost of throwing a tea party a few times, there was no other history of personal use.
“Has she ever called for a tailor or a jeweler?”
“Even though she has thrown a few tea parties and gone outdoors several times?”
“There are dresses that were used by former Duchesses of the family and the ornaments that are passed down in the Taran family. The dresses were chosen, mended then worn while the ornaments were returned to the storage room after use.”
He knit his brow tightly. It was a feeling he couldn’t explain. He was angry but he couldn’t explain exactly why he was angry.
‘Wasn’t this what you wanted?’
Those words echoed in his head.
He married what he had hoped for. A doll-like wife that would only keep her seat as the Duchess.
He needed a partner and for that he needed to marry but husbandly duties were troublesome so, he made a deal. It was a contract.
A contract beneficial to both of them. She had said from that start that what she needed was the title of the Duchess.
Of course, he had thought that she wanted the wealth and power that came with being a Duchess.
It was not very long since they had been married but he knew now. From the beginning, she was not interested in it.
So what exactly was making him so unhappy? Why should it matter if she didn’t want power or wealth? There was nothing for him to lose.
Rather, he should have a toast to this overwhelmingly favorable contract. But he continued to agonize about it.
He wanted to know exactly why he was in such a foul mood. He was feeling as though the ground supporting his feet had collapsed. He felt desperate, he felt anxious. But he didn’t know why he was desperate or anxious.
When he was about to descend into his thoughts again, he heard Jerome’s voice.
“The doctor is waiting.”
< — Ducal couple — > (12)
TN: Just trying out new formatting instead of writing “part”. The new way looks cleaner imo.
The garden was full of floral scents. Lucia walked in the space in the garden then would stand still and close her eyes, the scent seemingly intoxicating.
These days, her biggest job was gardening but she did not personally do any labor. The gardener took care of everything.
Lucia simply made the choice on what flowers to plant, checked if they were doing well and wandered around.
However, even though they did all the work, people would flatter her. It was a bit funny at times.
Looking at the sky, the sun had already gone down and was making shadows. She turned her gaze towards his office.
‘Ah…he isn’t there.’
He was definitely standing there a while ago. His intense gaze on her neck was embarrassing but when it disappeared, she felt disappointed.
It was a complicated feeling.
He often took a break from work to rest in the balcony and Lucia often went into the garden because she wanted to see him.
Her ‘examining the flowers’ was a pretty good excuse. Majority of the time that she saw him was limited to the evenings. It was only around this time that she could see him for an extra moment.
Although they lived in the same place, he was usually far from her reach as he was really busy. Jerome had informed her that he was buried in a pile of paperwork.
He was very diligent lord that would hold a half-a-day meetings with his vassals every three to four days and did not forget to inspect his fief.
Count Matin only knew how to show his face at various parties in the capital and wasn’t concerned about the situation of his fief. She had only found out later but Count Matin’s fief was one of the worst.
Because of the excessive taxes, people would either escape or were caught while trying to escape and were killed. Perhaps the miserable ending of Count Matin was his karma.
Almost every night, Hugo and Lucia would have dinner together, talk, then Hugo would find her in the bedroom. She knew that she should not be greedy for more but she sometimes couldn’t bear the loneliness.
Lucia sometimes felt like she was standing dangerously on the thin ice of a deep lake and would rather have the ice break so she could sink to the bottom.
“Your Grace, I’ve been asked to escort you inside.”
“…By who?” The only person who could ask someone to bring her inside was her husband, the Taran Duke but she still asked the maid.
“His Grace asked me to escort you inside.”
‘Why at this time…?”
Lucia followed the maid inside with an uneasy heart. There wasn’t only one person waiting for her in the receiving room on the second floor.
In addition to Jerome, there was the family doctor, Anna. The moment Lucia saw Anna, she had an inkling of what was happening.
Afterall, not too long ago, she’d been acting like she didn’t know what Jerome was talking about. She knew that Jerome would one day tell Hugo. However, she didn’t think that Hugo would go to the extent of summoning the doctor and coming along with her.
Although, truthfully, it would have been a bit disappointing if he hadn’t shown any interest.
Looking at Lucia who stood at the door like an uninvited guest, Hugo’s expression hardened and he took big strides, approaching her. As his tall and large frame suddenly appeared in front of her, Lucia was momentarily shocked.
“Why…” He started speaking with repressed expression but stopped and grabbed her hand. He dragged her to the sofa and then sat beside her.
Anna slightly turned her head to peek at the ducal couple. It was her first time seeing the couple together up close, side by side.
She had had her doubts about whether the rumoredly terrifying knight-born Duke and the quiet and fragile-natured Duchess would look good together but seeing them together this way did not paint an awkward picture.
‘To be attacked by someone that big, her Grace must have it hard.’
From Anna’s perspective as Lucia’s doctor, she inwardly criticized the Duke that was ignorant of his own strength.
“Your Grace, I heard you have not had your monthly guest the entire time you’ve been here.”
Lucia was uncomfortable with this situation. She had personally made the choice to be infertile and had never bothered to look for treatment as she knew she could treat it by herself at any time but this situation made it seem like she was a patient with a deadly disease.
“You never had your first menstruation?”
“…I had my first menstruation.”
“Then when did you stop menstruating? Were you hurt or ill before it stopped? Does anything feel wrong inside?”
“Wife, explain it properly to the doctor.”
Lucia was surprised at his voice which sounded firmer than usual. Turning her head to look at him, she saw his cold red eyes, watching her. For some reason, he didn’t give off a good feeling.
“…I took the wrong medication when I had my first period.”
“What medicine did you take? Did you feel poisoned?”
“I don’t really know what medicine I took and I don’t know about being poisoned. It didn’t hurt and till now, I haven’t been able to see anything strange with my body.”
Even when Lucia was looking for doctors in her dreams, those doctors could not properly figure out her symptoms. Even if she explained everything to Anna, it didn’t seem like Anna would figure it out but Lucia still hid her symptoms as much as possible.
This female disease was a delicate one. If the patient did not explain it properly, the doctor could not find an answer. Even more so if it was a disease the doctor had never heard about before.
No matter how many times Anna dug through her memories, she had never heard of symptoms where someone’s menstruation stopped after they took medicine.
“Your Grace, can you retrace your memories a bit more? What did the medicine taste like? For what reason did you take it? How much of it did you take? And what was the color and shape of this medicine?”
“…I don’t know. It happened when I was young and had no knowledge of medicine so I don’t remember anything.”
Hugo who had been sitting still, listening to the conversation, suddenly turned his body and stared at Lucia.
“Talk with me for a bit.”
He then made a gesture to the people standing around.
“Everyone get out.”
*Cuteness overdose in this first half. SOS.
*Second half, I was overcome with awkwardness. I know this is set in like the feudal times and what not but I would be AWKWARD AF if I had to talk about my period with people around. *shivers*