Author: Tam Editor: Briggy

 “There’s one more, actually. It’s with the Imperial family.” There were three letters in total. I was going to use the third letter for the plan too, but perhaps it would be better to let him look at it? I spoke in a calm voice full of consideration and only then did Callian raise his eyes to look at me, “I don’t know much about the last letter except that it’s with the Imperial family. I’m sorry I can’t tell you more.” I guess that’s all I had to say, right? I smiled at Callian and turned back.

 

“What the hell are you?” The Prince’s voice appeared from behind me. I turned my head slowly. “How do you know where my mother’s letter is?” I knew this question would come up again, but this time, I couldn’t go without explanation or else Callian would have doubted me. So I answered as calmly as I could.

 

“That’s because I met Her Majesty the former Empress.” It was true. Ophelia once met the former Empress and they were quite close to each other. “She told me that she wanted me to deliver them to Your Highness.”

 

“…What?” Callian asked in disbelief, “Why you?” You mean why would she say that to a crazy woman like me? How did I guess that? Well, it was written all over Callian’s face. This jerk.  

 

I straightened myself up, looking straight down at Callian and replied, “Because she liked me.” I lied so casually, although I wasn’t exactly lying. The former Empress was quite fond of Ophelia—before she turned rotten, of course. But by the time she died, she still favoured Ophelia. Most people weren’t aware of this, but it was true. If Callian tried to secretly investigate this matter, he’d find out I wasn’t lying.

 

“…Yes, I see,” Callian looked lost in thought. I looked at him without saying anything. “Well, thanks to you, I learned something new about my mother.” 

 

That was a very friendly tone.

 

‘Oh.’

 

‘Could it be?’

 

I had hoped that he might become warm and have a crush on me. However,  “Of course, I wouldn’t like you even if she did.” As expected, Callian is Callian. 

 

I smiled, trying to lift the corners of my lips, “So, shall we end our conversation here?” I wanted to go home quickly, being there felt like I was going to be sucked into the black hole of death. I was still not brave enough to stay in one room with someone who wanted to kill me. I had to run. 

 

However, “Something seems to have changed.” Callian didn’t seem to want to let me go, ” I expected for you to be screaming like a whale because of the prohibition.”

 

I wanted to. Just a little bit. I rolled up my fan without realizing.

 

“You used to lie on the floor and scream about how you wouldn’t go out even if you had to die.”

 

‘Ophelia…’

 

“You even tried to bite off a servant’s arm when he was going to drag you out like an animal.”

 

‘You were a person with no dignity.’

 

I sighed and held my forehead. “I won’t do that anymore,” I said to Callian, whose eyes still held doubt, “Like you said, I’ve changed a lot. Now I don’t want to act like a child.”

 

Callian’s eyebrows furrowed, “So, you mean you’re giving up on me?”

 

“No.” I still had that deal with Sylvester. “It’s just that I want to like you in a different way so that I won’t bother Your Highness too much.”

 

Callian’s eyes fluttered for a moment. I gave him one last smile, “See you in a month, then.” And I left the drawing room straight away. 

 

Without looking back.

 

*****

 

“So,” Sylvester, burying himself in an armchair, crossed his long legs and put his fingers together, “are you proud to say that you have received a prohibition?” Sylvester didn’t seem to like the deal I had with Callian.

 

“But thanks to that, the charges were dropped,” I said with a rather bitter look on my face. 

 

Sylvester glared at me, “It’s going to be the main headline of tomorrow, ‘Ophelia Ryzen becomes the first wife to be ordered to have prohibition.’” 

 

“I was promised that that part would not be spread. No one will know.”

 

“Do you actually believe that?”

 

“I have to. What else can I do? Besides, a prohibition is better than getting fined.”

 

“That ridiculous,” Sylvester straightened his crossed legs and leaned forward, “Following the court’s ruling and following the Crown Prince’s orders are completely different.”

 

That means I shouldn’t appear to have fallen to the Crown Prince. I narrowed my eyes, “You’re only thinking about your reputation, aren’t you?” 

 

“What else would I be thinking of?”

 

As expected, my prediction was right. 

 

‘You’re such an b*stard…’ 

 

“You don’t worry about me at all, do you? If you were, you wouldn’t have joked around like you did before,” I said, recalling the joke he told me about taking care of myself after seeing the complaint. “I had a very hard time today. Do you know how crazy it is to have a conversation with someone who hates you to the core?”

 

Sylvester smirked and ruffled his hair, “You want me to worry about you?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

Then Sylvester’s eyes changed. He reached out to me, plastering the sweetest look I’ve ever seen on him, “My lovely wife, You must have had a hard time talking to a man like the Crown Prince. How hard was it? You’re amazing.” And pat me on the back of my hand.  It was a very gentle gesture. When I watched the warm sun rising on the peak of the cold snow mountain, it filled my heart with joy and for a short moment, I could feel my heart beat the same way.

 

“Wow…” I let out a voice of pure admiration. “Why don’t you do it when you’re so good at it?”

 

Sylvester sighed and let go of my hand. Then he crossed his legs again and buried himself deep in the chair. “Because it’s annoying,” he said, shaking his head. “And I don’t really mean it, so it’s not that great. Just like how you’ve been given a prohibition and it’s not going to be great.” 

 

I reflected on the me who was excited for a moment. I guess I was just too easy. I muttered and looked at Sylvester, “Your words are very pretty. That’s great. Applause! Clap clap clap clap.” 

 

“I’ve been saying this since a while ago, is that really a compliment or not?”

 

“Of course not. You tend to hear a lot of people saying you don’t care, don’t you?”

 

“…Uh.” Sylvester answered with a slightly puzzled face. It was funny, so I burst out laughing and he followed along not long after.

 

“Anyways,” Sylvester, who smiled like that, clapped and took a deep breath. “I can’t do anything about it now that it happened.” He put his chin on his hand and looked at me, “So, you’re not going out for a month?”

 

I tilted my head. I didn’t know why he was asking such a strange question. “No, why would I?” I answered casually. “But I do have a lot of work to do.” I had to look at the site of the nursery and the changes in trends. Despite it not sounding like a lot, it was clear that a month will pass by quickly. “Isn’t it okay if I sneak out? As long as I don’t get caught, that’s fine.”

 

“I knew it,” Sylvester said as if he guessed this from the very beginning. “As expected, you finally seem like the Duchess of Ryzen. Let’s continue to act like this in the future.” A husband who recommends disobeying the Crown Prince’s orders—Sylvester, a great man in so many ways.

 

“Well, of course I’m going to act like a Duchess. What do you mean by ‘like this’”? 

 

“Live your life without listening to anyone like you do now.” For a moment, my heart pounded again, because the life he said was what I always dreamed of in my past life.

 

Living as you please. 

 

Living as I please.

 

I wanted to live like that.

 

I couldn’t do anything in my previous life because I was sick all the time, even more so—.

 

“You only live once, shouldn’t you live like that?” But Sylvester is saying I can live like that. This fact made me both excited and nervous. Was I really allowed to live like that? I clasped my hands together in cold sweat.

 

“What’s wrong with you? You seem nervous.”

 

“A little,” I continued, “It’s just worrying to live out of proportion.”

 

“Huh? But you’ve been living like that?”

 

“Yeah, that’s true.” Well, Ophelia did, but not me. I’m just a minor citizen. “Now I’m a little… a little scared? Why are you being sweet?”

 

“What are you afraid of?”

 

“Death?”

 

Sylvester burst into laughter as he held his forehead. He shook his head and reached out to me by the wrist. “Remember, you are the Duchess of Ryzen.” His hand climbed up mine and he pulled me into a hug with his hands resting around my waist.

 

“No one can hurt you.”

 

“…”

 

“So live as you please. That’s what I want.” Recalling the previous conversation, Sylvester seemed to be saying these things to take advantage of me, because the more I do wrong, the more I benefit Sylvester. That was probably why he said that. I knew it. Yet, even though I knew it, I also wanted to live like that.

 

And the very next day, I got into an accident.

 

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