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Published at 17th of March 2021 10:26:42 AM


Chapter 45

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If it was Lania, she would be able to do that and more.




“Whether your hair is long or short, whether both of your eyes are intact, whether all ten of your fingers are accounted for—people won’t be very curious about that. Nobody would pay attention to a crazy woman, after all.”

“How could you…”

“What I’m saying is, who would think of examining the Duchess who is known as a witch?”

Clap! As if satisfied with what she herself said, Lania even clapped her hands together loudly.

“So go ahead and open that basket first.”

“…..”

“Unless you really are running away with stolen goods, is there any reason to hesitate? If you really aren’t, then you can feel free to get on your knees and beg.”

Her question that told me I was out of options was so hateful that it was despicable. I couldn’t imagine what she would do if things took a turn for the worse from here.

‘Do I really have to beg?’

That I really didn’t want to.

It wasn’t just not wanting to, I would rather die than beg.

Why should I, to someone like her!


Honestly speaking, I didn’t have lingering attachments to this life. I was Duchess only in title—my husband, whose face I didn’t even know, had died from the start. It wasn’t like I had other family members looking for me and the dream of having a kind mother…

‘Ha, Haniel!’

That’s right, I had Haniel!

The obvious truth came to me as quite a huge shock.

Who says I’m alone!

I may be a black swan with no possessions and unable to escape the lake like it was a farm, but I clearly had a family that let my dream come true.

My baby.

How worried she must be waiting for me—that white and fluffy face of hers seemed to hover before my eyes.

“You sure are slow to decide.”

“….Lania.”

“I said, choose. If you have no qualms, then show me what’s in the bag you’re holding and I’ll cut off your thieving wrists, or if not that…”

“I understand! I just have to do it!”

I knew I wasn’t in the position to be yelling, but my vision was whitening and there was nothing I couldn’t say now. It would have been much better if the next action I had to take was not kneeling in front of Lania.


“…Lania, I will do as you wish, so…”

“No. The Duchess seems to be misjudging whose wishes she should pay heed to.”

“……”

Crunch, crunch

Footsteps once again rang out in the narrow side road.

This time, it was not coming from the estate but the opposite.

A presence I felt that was even stronger than when it had been Lania.

“Y-Your Majesty!”

“….fancy meeting you here.”

No, it was impossible to compare.

Every time he came forward, lightly stepping on the grass, the silver epaulets on his shoulders swayed as well.

Though surprised, Lania soon arranged her facial expression to show due courtesy to the Emperor.

Whenever I saw her do things like that, I always thought that nobles like her really were born differently. In other words, I was not a noble like that.


“…..”

Why is that man here?

Though I was in front of the great His Majesty the Emperor, I only stared at him blankly. How long had it been since I had tried to run away from him? I watched the man come right in front of me, his black cape fluttering behind him, but it all felt surreal.

“Duchess.”

“Oh….”

At the sound of his pressing voice, I hurriedly recovered my senses and lowered my head, belated as I was. The black uniform he wore that was even simpler than the last suited him incredibly well.

Judging from his outfit, had he come out to hunt?

While I was glad that I didn’t have to succumb to Lania due to the Emperor, I couldn’t call this turn of events fortunate whenever I saw the glint in his eye.

“……”

The red glint that seemed to burn with fire.

Those were the eyes that followed people into their dreams and frightened them.

As soon as I remembered just how I had last separated with this man, I wanted to plunge my head into the lake like Selene had done.


“G-greetings to the Emperor.”

“Late.”

“…..huh?”

There was a limit to how nonsensical one could get.

I felt like I would understand more if he had unsheathed his sword and told me to crane my neck forward.

Can you repeat that again?

When I narrowed my eyes, the Emperor’s handsome eyes narrowed the same way.

“Oh….”

What do you even want me to do?

From my position alone, this situation was like a bolt of lightning out of the blue.

Rashid at my left and Lania at my right.

This was just publicly telling me to go die.

One person was enough to make you nauseous, but when I had both at my side it was hard to tell who was easier on the stomach.



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