Lucia - Chapter 45

< — Damian — > (16)


“The family registering process isn’t that complicated so it should be done within a day or two.”


“I see…”


Lucia’s heart fluttered. Damian was really becoming her son. Now that Damian was on the register, he was family now. It wasn’t an adoption but an entry as a biological child so their relationship couldn’t be dissolved.


Even if she divorced her husband, her son in the family register was forever her son. She couldn’t claim custody rights over Damian as she had already handed over those right but whether or not she had those rights would not affect their mother-son relationship.


“He’s my son…”


“That is correct. He’s you son so you can do as you like. Can bully him if you want.”


“…Hah? You are such a bad father.”


Lucia’s eyes widened and she criticized him.


“What?”


“Are you trying to persuade me to be the evil stepmother now?”


Her word choice made him laugh.


“Do you have the ability to be hard on him?” (Hugo)


“What do you mean?”


“I mean it’ll be the boy causing you distress instead.”


“Damian will not cause me distress. You still don’t know Damian, he’s such a nice child.”


Hugo chuckled lightly. Even if the boy looked meek and docile, he was of Taran blood. His brother seemed like the kindest person one could ever meet but had enough malice to murder his biological father.


“Plus he’s your son.”


Lucia thought she had mumbled that to herself but when he fixed an odd gaze on her, she realized she had spoken out loud.


“…to whom do you have faith in?” (Hugo)


“…Damian…who is very much…like you.” (Lucia)


He moved closer placing his head close to Lucia’s face. Then he spoke in a subdued tone as though making a threat.


“If he is like me then you should be more careful. Haven’t you heard the rumors about me?”


“…rumors that you drink blood?”


“…What?”


Lucia was flustered. She didn’t mean to say that but the words suddenly escaped from her mouth.


“Ah, erm… I mean…the rumors of you…”


“Say that I drink blood?”


Hugo studied her face as she nodded her head then he turned towards her, took her into his arms and buried his head in her shoulder. Then he began to laugh.


Thanks to Fabian’s constant reports, Hugo knew all sorts of rumors concerning himself but as for someone telling him directly that he drinks blood? She was the first.


“I know it’s just a rumor.”


Lucia’s face was burning with shame and she gave an excuse.


“It’s not completely a lie. When at war, sometimes one has no choice but to take it in.”


“Ah…I see…”


“Were you curious about that?”


“No…maybe a little…but that was a long time ago. I definitely don’t think about that now.”


He just kept on laughing. Lucia was glad he wasn’t offended but she didn’t think her words were that funny. She just couldn’t understand his laughing code.


“What of other rumors?”


“…I don’t know.”


“You are really such a daring woman. What were you thinking asking a blood-drinking monster to marry you?”


Listening to his teasing, Lucia blushed in silence. Since she was the one that misspoke, she couldn’t say anything.


“Is it really okay if I meddle with things concerning Damian?”


“Do as you like.”


“You told me not to last time.”


“When did I?”


“You said, ‘Although it’s nice and cute, don’t go over the line’.”


“Like I said, when did I?”


Lucia blinked, studying his expression which had ‘what in the world are you talking about?’ written all over it. His expression was telling her that he really had never said that before.


Lucia carefully scoured her memory. When she thought about it, he really did not use the expression ‘go over the line’. But he did say something like that.


She’d had a hunch about something and had been wanting to ask and she finally realized that instead of guessing his thoughts or words, it would be much better to just ask him outright.


“By any chance…do you hate Damian?” (Lucia)


“I do not.”


Lucia gathered her courage and asked this question very carefully and in return he answered very readily.


“Then…why did you send Damian to boarding school?”


“I already told you. I couldn’t take care of him so I sent him there.”


“But still, there hasn’t been a precedence of one being sent to boarding school. Moreover, one that is a duke’s heir.”


“I don’t care what others do.”


“…What you mean is that you determined that to be the best course of action to take.”


Hugo nodded.


Lucia felt as though something had been lifted off her chest. Like she’d been wandering in the dark and her fingers finally grasped onto something.


‘I think…I know about him a little bit more now.’


When one thought about it, when Lucia asked, he did not delve into a generous explanation but most of his answers were concise.


“Why did you send Damian to boarding school and not contact him once?”


“A report on what the boy does arrives on my desk every week so I know he’s doing fine.”


It was fascinating. His incomprehensible actions all had a reason behind them and when she asked, he told her everything.


Lucia’s mind was racing. To what extent would he keep answering? Would it be okay to ask a little more difficult questions?


“Then…”


He lowered his head, biting her neck and she let out a little scream in response.


“Can you stop talking about another man?”


“…What? He’s your son, an eight year old child. He’s not a man!”


“So ruthless. Do you know how much those words have crushed the boy’s pride?”


“…Goodness me. I was too rash.”


Even though Damian was a child, he was a boy. If she were to change positions with the young boy and put herself in his shoes and someone were to tell her, ‘since you’re young, you are definitely not a lady’, her feelings would be hurt.


It was unintentional but she couldn’t help but wonder how much she must’ve hurt Damian’s feelings.


‘Truly this child. He could speak his mind and tell me he didn’t like it.’


When she thought about it, Damian wasn’t the type of child speak up on something like that. Then, could it be that he told Hugo? When did their relationship become so close?


“Did Damian say so?”


“No.”


“How do you know then?”


“If I were in his position, that’s how I’d be.”


Lucia narrowed her eyes at him. But he wasn’t wrong. Since he’s a man, he would understand the male mind better. Lucia began to wonder if she’d made any other mistake with Damian. In the meantime, Hugo’s hand kept wandering around.


His sneaky hands fumbled across her waist, while his lips trailed persistent but light kisses from her ear to her neck.


“You should get back to work.”


At the same time, her words came out spoiling his exploration and his expression crumpled intensely.


“You went out due to an urgent matter, didn’t you? And after you return from outings, you get busier.”


“…”


Translator’s corner


1) For those curious, Chapter 38.2 was where they had this discussion.


< — Damian — > (16)


Hugo’s expression was full of obvious complaints but Lucia simply took his hands off her waist and stood up. She knew what he wanted but she was exhausted all day due to a number of reasons and had no confidence in handling him right now.


“Vivian.”


“My head feels a little heavy so I want to take a walk.”


Hugo tries a few more times but was turned down so he eventually headed to his office with unwilling steps. He hadn’t found work enjoyable before but today, he really did not want to work.


He didn’t comfort her in hopes of being rewarded but still it wasn’t right to repay one for one’s services in this way. He continued grumbling till he reached his office.


***


Later that night, Lucia said to the man who came into her bedroom after she finished bathing.


“Go to your bedroom and sleep.”


“Today again? Why!” (Hugo)


Lucia stared at her complaining husband.


“I have no energy so I won’t be able to handle you today. Hence, I don’t think it’ll be quite enjoyable.”


I have no energy. It won’t be enjoyable. Two times, she mercilessly and consecutively struck him down.


“…Alright. Fine. Today again, I’ll sleep next to you, won’t do anything.”


He muttered gloomily. Those damned noblewives. They definitely won’t be getting off easy. He ground his teeth in anger.


“Really?”


“I kept my promise yesterday, didn’t I?.”


All the more reason not to believe. Her gaze was telling him that she didn’t believe him at all. Hugo abruptly took her into his arms and fell onto the bed with her in tow.


“Hugh!”


He hugged her tighter the more she flounced around.


“I’m sleeping like this. Enough, stay still. You’ll get me excited if you keep moving.” (Hugo)


“Where are you touching!” (Lucia)


After tossing around for a while with no result, Lucia finally went silent. She couldn’t even fidget because he was hugging her very tightly from the back. His hands gallantly slid into her nightwear and squeezed her breasts. Even if she asked him to remove his hand, he would act like he didn’t hear anything so she just gave up.


“Vivian.”


It was especially nice to hear him calling her name right next to her ear. Lucia’s lips curled slightly.


“Yes.”


“Vivian.”


“Yes.”


Again, he said,


“Vivian.”


And this time, Lucia said,


“Yes?”


And turned to look at him, her gaze asking why he was doing that.


“When I first called you by that name, you felt awkward, right?”


“Mm…Yes. I did.”


“When I call you now, you’re unaffected.”


“Well, yes, I’ve been hearing it for a while so I’ve gotten used to it.”


Now, Lucia did not hate the name ‘Vivian’ as before. The name of the Duke of Taran’s wife was Vivian, not Lucia. She had found new happiness in her life as Vivian. The life of Vivian that was full of pain ended within her dream.


When he called her ‘Vivian’, it made her feel like she was his one and only ‘Vivian’ and her heart would throb. He was the only one that could call her Vivian. Whether that was now or in the future.


“…Is that so?” (Hugo)


Why didn’t you tell me your childhood name? Hugo wanted to ask. However, he was afraid to hear the answer to that question. If she said something like ‘I didn’t want to.’ Or ‘Don’t call me by that name.’ his heart would sink.


‘You don’t hate me, do you?’


‘Or it is that we’re married so you simply tolerate being with me in bed?’


‘Is there absolutely no leeway in your decision to never love me?’


All the things he wanted to ask suddenly rose up in his throat, hovering at the tip of his tongue. It was a very strange and unfamiliar experience of holding back the words he wanted to say in his heart. He was afraid to hear the answers that could come out from her mouth.


[I will never fall in love with you]


He felt like if he heard those words one more time, he would lose his mind. He dreaded the thought of not knowing what he would do to her if he lost his mind. If he were to hurt her in any way then he would really go crazy.


“Vivian.”


He held her even tighter and buried his nose in her back. He loved her scent that always intoxicated him and drew himself closer to her skin.


“Yes…”


It was strange. Even though he was holding her, it felt like he had lost her forever. His chest was overwhelmed with pain causing him to knit his brows. It was as if something unknown had dug into his heart and trampled on it.


Had he ever felt this sick before? He couldn’t remember. When he was young and dragged away as a mercenary slave, there were many times he had come close to death but rather than feeling sick, he had felt relief at being alive.


He held onto her as she fell asleep, breathing peacefully but he was unable to fall asleep for a long time.


***


The next day, Hugo gathered his vassals and informed them that Damian was now formally entered as his legal son.


“I have already announced that Damian will be my successor. Even if all of you show that you don’t accept my decision, it would be better to throw that attitude away since you won’t be changing my decision anyways.”


It was the first time for the Duke to officially mention the young Lord ever since he announced that he would make Damian his successor, so his vassals looked very tense.


“The formally registered Young Lord is now my legal son. If you have a complaint, come and find me. I’m always ready to talk.”


The word ‘talking’ from the Duke’s mouth was more frightening than being threatened to be killed. Hugo threw a document in front of his vassals.


Lucia had repeatedly asked him to not interfere but he didn’t want to just sit back and watch so he order Jerome to bring him a list of the garden party attendees.


Jerome had brought up the madam with a very awkward expression but once Hugo clicked his tongue, Jerome promptly brought the list. Hugo had only picked out the names of people among his vassals.


“It will be beneficial to those whose names are on this list to put more effort into supervising their household.”


From Hugo’s standpoint, this much couldn’t even count as light reprimanding. He felt satisfied with himself for fairly complying with his wife’s request to not interfere.


When the Duke left the scene, the ghastly pale vassals ran towards the list. To the vassals, ‘Anyone whose name is on this list can think of themselves as dead’ was what they heard.


They would definitely go home and interrogate their wives to get to the bottom of this. Through word of mouth, it would soon spread among the nobles that the noble wives who attended the garden party at the time were taught a severe lesson by their husbands.


It was only a matter of time before rumors spread that if one touches the Duchess, the fire-breathing dragon behind her, the Taran Duke would come forward.


***


A week had passed since the garden party and Roam was calm as usual. Lucia did not go out riding and was in the castle all week but this wasn’t the first time she had stayed in the castle for a long time.


From the day after the garden party, Lucia acted as though nothing had happened and soon enough, the people around her forgot about the incident.


Damian sat reading a book in his room then turned his head to the feeling of something on his feet. Damian smiled as he watched Asha who had probably bumped into his leg as she was playing with her tail. These days, the baby fox was fastidiously following Damian around and was with him almost all day.


As the week passed, Damian thought about a lot of things. Rather than hurting him, the incident at the garden party had shocked the boy.


He had never felt so weak before. In that moment, his first thought was, ‘If only my father was here.’ In conclusion, compared to his father, his existence was comparable to dust.


Of all times, on that day, his father had gone out. Damian did not know yet that even if the Duke was in Roam at that time, it would have been hard for him to interfere in a women-only social event. However the boy realized that the absence of his father could occur at any time, and it would be up to him to protect his mother.


Damian knew very well that he was young. In the Academy, Damian was the youngest of his peers. Everywhere he looked, it was filled with people older than him.


No matter the will of the boy, nothing could be done about the flow of time but it was possible to increase his strength by having the will to do so.


Using the reason that Damian was young and his identity was unclear, there were many petty-minded and insignificant people who treated him as a joke and tried to provoke him. Such sloppy and foolish people were not even worth his time so Damian ignored them but ignoring made them fussier.


It was Damian’s outstanding performance that made them not want to mess with him anyhow.


Ability is power.


This was the most useful realization Damian had come to at the Academy. Damian took Asha in his arms and stood up. He handed the fox over to a servant and asked for the fox to be taken back to its house then asked for Jerome to be told that he wanted to meet his father.


Translator’s Corner:


*Young Lord/Little lord is a title and my only alternative was prince which is a no go. I am using the literal translation but does anyone have better ideas?