Lucia - Chapter 5

Chapter 5


Shall We Marry? (3)



translated: iseuli


edited: lili


“That’s it?”


Hugo asked as he flipped through Fabian’s report, that consisted of only a few pages. It had been a month since the Duke had ordered him to investigate the princess. No other investigation had taken that long. He had come all this way in the dead of night; for all the effort he had gone through, he was very disappointed.


“There was barely anything to be investigated, so I was exercising my precaution. I’m sorry for not meeting your expectations.”


It was the first time Fabian had felt the limit of his own skills. It wasn’t the first time he did a background check on someone, but this time around, no matter how much he dug around, it was all for naught. She had been hidden away deep inside the royal palace, so it wasn’t easy to interact with her in the first place. Nobody knew about any Princess Vivian, so there wasn’t a starting point for his investigation.


Hugo no longer reprimanded Fabian. He understood Fabian’s skills well. He wasn’t a subordinate who would do a mediocre job, then make up excuses to hide his shortcomings.


The princess had grown up as a commoner until she was 12. Afterwards, she had entered the royal palace. On the surface, she had never left the royal palace since, neither had she made a debut among those of high society. However, once a week she would pretend to be a palace maid and leave for an errand. That was the information Fabian had collected this whole time.


‘Since she’s never made a formal debut in high society, how was she able to act so naturally during the Victory Ball?’


She had not made a name for herself in the Victory Ball, but it wasn’t a place any normal person could easily take on. She didn’t stand out in the party; at the same time, she did not make any mistakes or cause trouble for herself either.


“She wrote a permission slip of leave for herself and left just like that? Since when had it been that easy to escape the royal palace’s security?”


“The palace gate guards know her as a maid. There are too many royal children in the palace, so the amount of maids that enter and leave are too many to keep track of. They simply check whether they are taking anything out of the palace and that’s about it.”


He had wondered what she was doing each week, but she always went to the same place. She was going to a famous female novelist’s house every week. The female novelist lived a hermit’s life as well, and knew only one other person – the house maid.


“And I assume she has gotten the brat’s information from her?”


The existence of his son, Demian, was not a top secret, but it was not something a mere princess could come to know on a whim. Hugo had been suspicious over how the princess had come to know of it, thus he’d ordered the investigation.


“She is a famous author. It’s known through her novels that she understands high society very well. It seems she has some kind of connections with an informant, who delivers all the latest rumors of high society. I have not been able to confirm the identity of this person, but if you wish, I shall continue my investigations.”


“That’s fine. It’s not important. In the end, what I wanted to confirm was whether she’s really a princess or not.”


Most of the report was made by speculations. She was a princess with nothing to her name, but at the same time, everything about her was unclear. He skimmed through the pitiful report once more.


“Why are there no maids residing with her?”


“There had been many palace maids that had worked by her side… But most of them left or were reassigned after a few days for an unknown reason.”


“Are you sure there isn’t anyone pulling any strings behind the scenes?”


“There’s no mistake. I’ve investigated high and low, but she has no connections with any factions within the royal palace.”


There was no way to get a more thorough report than this. Hugo was lost in thoughts for a moment. It didn’t take him too long to make his decision. He had gone about this like any of his other responsibilities, in a quick and orderly manner.


“Since she leaves the palace the same time every week, she will probably leave tomorrow. Bring her here.”


“Huh…? Tomorrow…?”


It was his day off tomorrow.


“Is there a problem?”


“…No. Your Grace.”


His stubbornness had resulted in karma taking away his day off. Fabian gritted his teeth, absolutely certain that this was also a part of that witch’s curse.


***

Please do not take out the translations outside of Sleepy Korean Translations. I choose not to accept donations or profit for a reason. Thank you for your understanding.

“How did that thing go?”


Norman quietly inquired while peeking at Lucia.


“What thing?”


“The thing about the two paths you asked about last week. Wasn’t it about you? I don’t know the details very well, but is it something that’s difficult to talk to me about?”


“…Yes, I’m sorry.”


“It’s fine. Everyone has a secret or two. There are times when you must keep a secret from your loved ones and family. It just seemed like you were struggling with something… I just wanted to know if you were okay.”


Norman’s job was to understand other people’s emotions and thoughts. She could see into others easily with great accuracy. Although Ms. Phil always had a sour expression, Norman had no trouble understanding her; whereas Lucia, no matter how many times she met Ms. Phil, she couldn’t see anything past that sour expression.


“Your words from last time helped me a lot. I decided to take the gamble. Currently, I’m waiting for the results.”


“I see. If you hear good news, you must tell me.”


“Yes, I promise to do so. But Norman, these days, sometimes my heart doesn’t feel like my own heart. The person that is related to me… I will tell you the current situation. It’s my father.”


Including the time she’d met her father at 12, adding to it the event in her dream, she had only met him twice. Her father was but a mystery to her.


“My father neglects me. He doesn’t starve me to death, and feeds me well. However, I’ve only met him once when I was 12 and that was it. All this time I never thought much of it. I thought it wouldn’t matter because it’s no different than having no father at all.”


One year. Only one year was left. After one year, the Emperor would die.


“I’ve always thought that person had nothing to do with me. But these days I can’t help but feel endless loathing for him… Or something similar to that.”


She wanted to enter the inner palace where the Emperor resided and say to his face, ‘You will die soon.’ She kept feeling the atrocious desire to see his face contort.


She was but one of his many children. It was not like she was born out of love. If only he had shown a little bit of care, she would not have been sold off into such a marriage.


“I feel like if that person dies, I will feel very gratified. Even though he is my father… I really shouldn’t be thinking this way, right?”


“What are you talking about? You call that kind of person a father?”


Norman gazed at Lucia with calm and sad eyes.


“It’s okay to hate him. It’s okay to pour a cup of water and curse him away(1). As long as the pain in your heart goes away, that’s fine. As long as that feeling doesn’t eat away at your heart, it’s okay to hate that person.”


Lucia’s eyes gradually grew red. It was all Norman’s fault. She had never known affection in her life. A total stranger like Norman had showed so much affection and care to Lucia, she couldn’t help but compare Norman with her father. Through Norman’s care and friendship, the seed of hate for her father had grown. Norman carefully sat next to Lucia and embraced her tight with both arms.


“Lucia. You always act older than you really are. Life is short. Even when you live your life doing what you want, you won’t be able to do everything. As long as it’s not killing someone, don’t hold yourself back, but do everything you want. This is my advice as your senior in life.”


Lucia burst out laughing. Technically, Lucia was Norman’s senior in life. Lucia opened her arms and hugged Norman. Although Norman was very skinny, her embrace felt cozy and snug. Lucia felt happier in this life than in the life within her dream. Just by getting to know Norman, Lucia believed she had succeeded in her second life.


***

Please do not take out the translations outside of Sleepy Korean Translations. I choose not to accept donations or profit for a reason. Thank you for your understanding.

She was making her way back to the royal palace. A man casually blocked the road in front of her. He was a young man with dark brown hair. Bowing his head towards Lucia, he handed her a white envelope.


She hesitated for a moment before she received it. Inside, the envelope was empty. But on the front side, there was a black lion emblem.


At this point, he would have finished his investigation of her. It wasn’t surprising they figured out her regular schedule of leaving the palace.


“I’ve come to escort you.”


She could recognize who this person was due to his cold midnight blue eyes from her dream.


‘Fabian.’


He was the Duke of Taran’s personal aide. There were only a few powerful nobles sitting together at the center of power within the Dukedom of Taran. The Duke limited the power of everyone around him and disallowed any room for concession. Roy Krotin was among the top well-known nobles of the Taran Dukedom, and just below him was Fabian.


He managed all of the Duke’s daily tasks; he was the highest ranked secretary and aide. There was a widespread rumor that Fabian held the responsibilities for accepting or rejecting social party invitations. Therefore, no matter how high and mighty a noble might be, they would bow down and prostrate themselves in front of Fabian.


“Right…now?”


“Our Lord has requested a more in-depth discussion than last time’s. You may reject this invitation, I will return alone.”


Lucia looked over to the two people waiting for her by a carriage. The carriage didn’t have a single window nor the duke’s emblem. If Lucia were to get onto this carriage and disappear, nobody would be able to find out that she had been done in by the Duke of Taran.


‘How thorough. I’m a little scared.’


Lucia stepped into the carriage without another word. The carriage took off and a short while later, it stopped. Someone opened the door from outside. Lucia recognized that it was the Duke of Taran’s mansion. She had been there only once, but she could recognize some familiar landmarks.


“Please come this way.”


A different man with the exact same midnight blue eyes as Fabian escorted Lucia into the mansion.


While Lucia waited in the receiving room, Fabian went to knock on his Lord’s door.


“We’ve escorted her here.”


“Is she alone?”


“Yes.”


“Did she follow peacefully?”


“Yes.”


Hugo chuckled. She was a humorous lady. She looked like an uncommon person from the moment she welcomed herself to the Duke’s home on her own; today as well, nobody would know the fact that she had been escorted to the Duke’s home. She seemed to have no fear as to what could happen to her.


Hugo was supporting his chin with one hand while drumming his desk with the other. The marriage with her had perked his interest, but he was not desperate to get married at the moment. Although he had ordered a thorough investigation, there remained many mysteries about that woman. She didn’t seem too suspicious, but that didn’t mean he could easily overlook this fact. At the same time, it wasn’t much of a problem. He never put his trust in anyone in the first place.


It didn’t change the fact that he had to get married. Whether he got married now or later didn’t change anything. It wouldn’t matter who that person was. Therefore, Hugo tossed a coin. If she rode the carriage and arrived at his home, it would be heads. If she rejected, that would mean tails. He preferred heads. He had decided on his life changing decision that way.


Currently, Lucia was enjoying the crackers and tea that were served by the man who had escorted her here. The tea was very fragrant and the crackers were seriously delicious. Lucia thought she would be able to live a happy life if she had just these two things.


“You are a very good cook. These are the most delicious things I’ve tasted in my life.”


Following Lucia’s compliment, the man momentarily paused before answering.


“I’m glad they suit your taste.”


She had already finished half of the crackers he’d served very happily; Jerome looked at Lucia thinking she was a unique young miss.


He had served many guests before, but it was the first time he met someone as relaxed as her. Generally, they would be too nervous to touch the food and barely sipped the tea. If he knew she was a princess, he would have been even more surprised.


While Lucia was happily stuffing her mouth with crackers, the receiving room’s door suddenly opened. She quickly stood up when she noticed it was the Duke of Taran. He greeted Lucia with his usual frosty expression and took a seat directly in front of her. He waved his hand and Jerome nodded, seeing himself out of the room. Now, only two people remained in this wide receiving room.


“Please have a seat.”


Lucia plopped herself down in shock. Her mouth was stuffed to the brim with crackers at the moment. She had no way of spitting them out, so she started chewing them as fast as she could. She had swallowed too quickly and felt herself choke, so she started chugging down her tea. He waited quietly without a word, but that made her even more embarrassed, causing her face to flush.


When she finished ingesting the crackers, he placed a huge envelope onto the table and pushed it to her side. He nodded his head, signaling her to look inside. She did so and took out some documents. She pushed down her embarrassed feelings and calmly read over the documents.


‘She should be 18 now.’


Her physical appearance fit her age, but at times she seemed much more mature than her age. It was true that those from the royal family and high society matured quickly, but there was something different about her.


Hugo began truly inspecting the young miss for the first time. Before, he had simply confirmed her physical traits like her hair color and general face structure. This time, he took his time inspecting her as a woman.


She wasn’t ugly, but she wasn’t an impeccable beauty either. The only thing that stood out was her eye color. At first glance, it seems golden, but it looked more like an orange pumpkin colored jewel.


But that was it. Her looks or body did not entice him at all. It was probably for this reason that he agreed to take her as his wife.


Inside the envelope were two documents. A parental custody waiver and a family registry agreement. Those were the two most precious documents for a female. Usually women had no knowledge of the law, but they were educated on those two things to the last dot. Including divorce papers, they were never to sign those things so easily. Those documents symbolized all the power a woman held.


“As per Princess’ request, these are the two documents that you must sign.”


“…This is it? How about the other things we’ve talked about last time…?”


“Other than these two, there is nothing else we can officially document.”


“Really? Do you not need freedom in your personal life? Will it be okay to cling onto you and love you?”


She had her eyes opened wide while asking these questions like an ignorant child, and he instantly felt a grand amount of stress build up inside his chest. He abhorred nonsense conversations or lame jokes. He hated it when people tested out the waters uselessly. He had no thoughts to leave any loopholes in this contract.


“Then I shall add those two as well as a verbal contract.”


Unexpectedly, she wasn’t shocked by his words at all. She nodded while in serious thought and held a pen to sign the documents, inversely shocking him.


“Hold on. What are you doing right now?”


“You told me to sign it…”


“I’ve told you my conditions of the contract, so you must have your conditions as well, don’t you?”


“It’s okay to add my own conditions as well?”


“Of course. A contract only beneficial to one side cannot be established in the first place.”


He wanted a contract, not to swindle someone. Lucia fell in deep thought. She’d never thought of this at all. Her only goal was to marry him. Since he offered, she didn’t want to reject. It would be too wasteful.


“Do you need time? Just for your information, if this contract isn’t completed today, everything will be canceled.”


“Why?


“Whether this will be a profiting contract is not for certain and there are too many variables.”


He had to reorganize everything to meet the princess again and reschedule everything in his life around her; it was just too troublesome. This marriage agreement was on a whim. One never knew how his feelings might change tomorrow.


“Is it okay if I ask you one thing? Why do you hate a woman’s love?”


He gazed at her without word and Lucia wondered if she’d stepped on a painful memory, while returning a meek gaze.


“Did I…ask something you didn’t want to talk about?”


“It’s the first time a woman has asked me such a question and I just found it interesting. I don’t hate it. Usually, women hope for their love to be returned. I am unable to do so, thus I told them not to love me.”


What painful memory? He was just egotistical to the bones. If the women didn’t expect their love to be returned, then that meant it would be okay to love him one-sidedly. He should try and suffer a love that would make him cry out in blood.


To her regret, she did not have such skills. It seemed impossible to change his way of thinking. He was a man who had the whole world in his hands.


“I thought of something.”


“There’s a blank document you may use to write the conditions for this marriage.”


“That’s fine. I don’t need documentation. All I need is your promise with the Duke’s honor on the line.


He feigned a laugh.


“The Duke’s honor, you say? That’s a level higher than something like documentation. So what are your conditions?”


“There are only two conditions. First, please promise me you will not abuse me physically or mentally. I am not saying this to insult Your Grace at all, please don’t misunderstand.”


Because of the memories inside her dream, Lucia wanted a safety wall to protect herself.


His facial expression as he had been looking at Lucia all this time, turned a great degree uglier. Did she believe that he was a man who would physically hurt and insult his own woman? It felt a bit unpleasant, but she stated she wasn’t trying to insult him, so he decided to believe her. It was a simple condition of the contract after all.


“How about the second?”


“Secondly… I will do my best. However, sometimes humans are unable to control their hearts. Maybe it is easy for Your Grace. If you believe that I am unable to control my heart, please give me a rose.”


What in the world… It was impossible to know what this woman was thinking. Hugo thought once more that he really wanted to pry open her mind to see what was inside. He could understand that she had never formed a contract with another party before.


This was clearly a contract intended to benefit both parties. Up until now, he had only agreed to contracts that were beneficial to himself. It had always been that way. He had the upper hand in this contract. But it was not because of his negotiating skills, but because the person in front of him was too immature to notice this.


It would be her own fault if she signed a contract that would be beneficial unilaterally. He had no reason to become her adviser nor a morally righteous person. It was not anyone’s obligation to be morally right. He had thought so his whole life.


But he had at least a little bit of conscience while dealing with her. He decided to advise her on this unilaterally beneficial contract.


“Why don’t you decide on some more realistic conditions? Princess, you’re not aware of the price of these documents.”


Usually, when a man asked his wife to sign a parental custody waiver and a family registry agreement, a grand amount of money would need to change hands.


“I am aware. These two documents are expected to be priced very high.”


“…That is so.”


“I will be the Duke’s wife, so all my life necessities will be taken care of. Other than life necessities, I have no need for other things.”


For the words ‘life necessities’ to come out of a princess’s mouth was refreshing but shocking.


“The first condition…fine. But what is the purpose of the second condition?”


“To me, there is a purpose. In life, there are many times when things you cannot touch become much more important than any materialistic things. Though that doesn’t mean I dislike materialistic things; I’m not taking money lightly. Money, of course it is important. We all need money. Without money, living becomes very hard. But as long as one has enough money to get by, there is no difference between the people that have a little more and those that have less.”


He feigned a laugh.


“You talk like you’ve already lived a lifetime. Princess, this is my conjecture based on your age and experience, but that’s not possible, so where did you learn this rubbish philosophy?”


Lucia jumped upon hearing, ‘like you’ve already lived a lifetime’.


“It’s fine to call it rubbish philosophy. Anyway, these are my conditions. I believe these are not too difficult.”


Not too difficult? They were ridiculously simple. No matter from which angle, this contract was unilaterally beneficial.


“…Fine. I understand Princess’ conditions and I agree to them.”


Lucia had been nervous and had held her breath. She let out a long sigh of relief. She immediately signed the two documents in front of her and slid them back to him. He looked over them quickly and put them away.


“With this, our engagement has been completed. If you wish an authorized…”


“No. I don’t need them. Um, I got it. I will assume that we are now engaged.”


The word ‘engagement’ seemed too grand. Lucia felt strange.


‘Then…now I am… Duke Hugo Taran’s fiancée.’


It was not like they were married yet, but it was doubtful that he would break the engagement. She had made it through to the end, although the success rate was very low. Her deeply moved emotions showed plainly on her face. Hugo, who had been watching her, wondered, ‘Is she the type to obsess over honor?’


(t/n: Hugo had been talking in polite form all this time. Suddenly at this point, he drops any polite forms of speech)


“The sun is down, you should return. You didn’t obtain a two day permission slip, did you?”


Was it her own imagination? His speech pattern…


“Slipping out by pretending to be a maid. Don’t think of doing something as cute in the future.”


…It was not her imagination.


“Why are you suddenly…”


‘…Talking down to me?’ was too straightforward. Then how about ‘talking so rudely’? He seemed to have read her mind before she spoke out, and relaxed his back on the sofa.


“With my woman, I don’t speak formally nor with honorifics.”


Lucia’s face flushed.


“…When did I ever become Your Grace’s…woman?”


“Ever since you were promoted as my fiancée.”


“But we haven’t married yet! Before marriage, anything could happen!”


“Don’t you understand the definition of an engagement? In the Taran family’s tradition there is no such thing as a divorce. Of course, that means there is no such thing as a broken engagement, either.”


If his retainers were around to hear this conversation, they would have wondered whether there was such a tradition.


“E…even so. How come you can’t speak to your fiancée with honorifics? Why not? Is that your Taran family’s tradition as well?”


“I will not.”


“…”


There was no way for her to understand that man. At first, she thought he was a scary man. She thought he was a playboy who liked playing around with women’s hearts. Then, she believed he was a man with basic manners. She wondered whether he could be a more honorable man than her first impression. After meeting him today, she saw that he was very logical and didn’t let his emotions run over his decisions. But now, she had…no idea.


“I’ve said you’re not allowed to leave the royal palace with a maid’s permission slip. Why aren’t you listening?”


“…What if I still leave? What will you do?”


“If you’re curious why don’t you try?”


“…”


Yes. There was nothing more accurate than a first impression. Threatening other people was his life motto. She wondered why she had believed in this man to marry him. The amazement from before had turned into unease. Whether she had hit the jackpot or hit a landmine, her gamble results were still a mystery.


“…This is so sudden… Can’t I meet just one person one last time?”


Rather than ignoring his request, she asked for his permission. She had decided it was the best way to go about this.


“What is your plan after meeting her? That female author doesn’t know that my dear is a princess.”


Lucia was shocked twice in a row. First, because he knew of Norman. Second, because he had called her ‘dear’ so naturally.


“Still… I want to say my last goodbye.”


“I’m not asking you to leave her forever. Our engagement has yet to be announced. Before everything is official, I don’t want to deal with any unnecessary rumors floating around.”


“Then is it okay to go meet her after our wedding?”


Lucia looked up at him with sparkling eyes, causing him to flinch.


“…Yes. It’s fine later on. But don’t spill a word about today’s contract, ever.”


“Of course, I never had such intentions. Your Grace, you are much more understanding than I originally thought.”


“…Last time you thought of me as a promiscuous man and this time it’s understanding? How pitiful of a human being am I inside that head of yours?


“…Sorry. That wasn’t my intention.”


Hugo watched Lucia, who had been hesitating all this time, with eyes of wonder. After spending time with her, he understood why he had felt incompatible with others before. In general, people feared and shrank away from him. Whether they were female or not didn’t matter. The women he dated would act coquettishly on the outside, but they remained distant in their hearts. This girl however, conversed with him with much ease.


However, nothing was definite yet. Maybe it was because she was unfamiliar with him. He thought she’d never heard of his rumors before. If she’d heard even a little fraction of his rumors, the way she looked at him would change. People considered him a monster. But most of all, he had no thoughts of refuting those rumors.


***

Please do not take out the translations outside of Sleepy Korean Translations. I choose not to accept donations or profit for a reason. Thank you for your understanding.

Five days after her return to the Royal Palace, Lucia found out an amazing fact.


‘He hasn’t stated whether the wedding would be six months or a whole year later. Until I get married, I won’t be able to go visit nor talk to Norman… She will be so worried about me.’


After a lot of contemplation, she decided to write a letter.


‘I’ll ask him to deliver the letter for me. He could read it over before delivering it. He would probably agree with these conditions.’


– Norman. I’m sorry to send you my message of goodbye through a letter like this. Please don’t worry about me. I’m living a very healthy and good life. However, due to some important issues in my life, I won’t be able to contact you. Please don’t try to find me, and wait for me. We will be able to meet again one day for sure. I promise it won’t be for too long. We’ve shared a friendship that will last our whole lifetime together.


I worry when you stay up too late writing your novels. It’s not good for your health for your days and nights to be inversed. Please be wary of your health.


With eternal friendship.


Even if someone other than Norman happened to read this, they wouldn’t be able to obtain any new or important information. Norman could recognize Lucia’s handwriting, so she would feel relieved after receiving this letter.


After she finished writing, she looked out her window to the blue sky; there wasn’t a single cloud in sight.


“It seems like a good day for laundry.”


***


Lucia was drenched in sweat from working all morning. She removed all the beddings and curtains from her palace for cleaning. She carried large wooden basins and filled them with soapy water at the front of her detached palace. She placed all the blankets and curtains in various basins, stepping on them to rinse out all the impurities. She busied herself all morning with manual labor and she was feeling quite refreshed. Lucia was stomping on the laundry while humming a tune through her nose.


“Are you a child working here?”


Lucia lifted her head upon a strange woman’s voice. She looked like a palace maid judging by her uniform. Labor maids and palace maids wore different colored uniforms, though their overall design was the same.


‘What is a palace maid doing here?’


Lucia stared at the palace maid with shocked eyes, not knowing what to do, while the palace maid spoke with a cold interrogating tone.


“Why aren’t you answering? It seems you are a child that works here, but this is the first time I’ve seen you. Is the Princess inside?


‘She’s looking for me…? Why? Actually, what am I supposed to say in this situation?’


Almost nobody knew of Princess Vivian’s real face. In her current state, the palace maid would never believe that Lucia was the princess.


“Alright. Hurry up and answer. Are you unable to speak? We have an honored guest here who wishes to meet with the princess.


‘Honored guest? A guest for me?’


It was the first time a guest had come to visit the detached palace.


“I never knew that laundry was one of the requirements for a refined lady.”


It was a familiar low-pitched tone from somewhere. There was no way it could be that person, so Lucia froze in place. She craned her neck up with much struggle. It felt like all her bones had suddenly rusted in place. A person who shouldn’t have been here, was standing right there. Raven black hair and scarlet red eyes. He wore a black coat over a blue shirt that complimented his black hair. He gazed at her without much of an expression.


Lucia’s soul had left her body at the moment.


“How terrible that a servant is unable to recognize a princess. It’s because you have such a strange hobby, Princess.”


When the truth dawned on all the palace maids present, their faces turned into a black ashen tone. Lucia saw and was sure she looked just like them at the moment.


“H…hello… What are you…doing here…?”


“First, let’s talk after you get out of there.”


Lucia was shocked senseless. In the process of trying to rush out, she slipped and flopped onto the floor. She didn’t fall in an unsightly matter nor did it hurt, but she was seriously embarrassed.


Her face felt hot; she looked up with a wary heart. He was staring down at her with his arms crossed. He remained emotionless as usual, but she couldn’t help thinking how pathetic she seemed to him.


As he drew closer, Lucia froze from his sudden presence. He stood next to the wooden basin and offered a helping hand. She stared at his hand with a confused expression and looked up at his face. She had to crane her neck very far to see his face. He was already tall to begin with; at the moment, he felt like a giant. He was very tall with a large frame, but it didn’t affect his quick reflexes.


He wondered why she wasn’t accepting his hand and wrinkled his brows with a scolding expression. Lucia grabbed his hand quickly in the spur of the moment. His hand was huge. Her hand looked like a child’s inside his palm. He easily hoisted her up with one sweeping pull.


Lucia escaped the wooden basin, but now she was barefoot. All this time, his gaze was stuck to her feet. Lucia followed his gaze down to her own feet, her ears going red with embarrassment.


“Aah!”


When her body rose in the air, Lucia screamed in shock.


“You’ll get soapy water onto your clothes!”


She yelled in fear that his expensive clothes would be dirtied, but he acted like he hadn’t heard her at all as he headed inside her palace. Lucia didn’t struggle in his hold and meekly left her body in his care. Hugo glanced down at her, who looked like she wanted to cry, and a slight smile spread upon his lips. But it disappeared the same moment.


(end)



(1) It’s okay to pour a cup of water and curse him away. – I’m assuming these actions are referring to witch craft.