When My Enemies Began to Regret Chapter 171 - Side Story (5)

Author: alyalia

“…”

 

“Having grown up witnessing such a scene, how could I possibly do well?”

 

Sitting on the bed, hugging her knees and curling up, Fanora rolled her eyes. A cold wind, signaling winter, was seeping out of the tightly closed window.

 

“Carl, what do you think? You used to be skeptical about continuing the lineage.”

 

“I…”

 

“…”

 

“I would like to have a child.”

 

Hearing his response, Fanora clenched her lips shut. Silence fell between them for a moment. It was Carl who broke the silence.

 

“If you don’t want to, it won’t happen, but since you asked for my thoughts…”

 

“Why do you want a child?”

 

“Because I think I can happily raise a child who resembles Lady Fanora.”

 

A child born out of love would naturally be adored.

 

When he mentioned this type of thing, Fanora became even more reticent, finding it difficult to speak as her throat seemed to close up with each word.

 

“…And.”

 

“And what?”

 

“I heard from my sister-in-law that a child becomes the center of a family.”

 

“…”

 

“If we have a child… Lady Fanora would never leave my side, no matter what…”

 

However, Fanora could not stay silent upon hearing this. She opened her eyes wide and burst out in anger. “How can you think of using a child like that! Would you be satisfied only if you heard me say that’s selfish?”

 

“Isn’t it inherently a selfish act? We can’t ask a child if they want to be born.”

 

“…”

 

“It’s up to us to decide.”

 

Carl continued to speak even as Fanora clenched her fists as if she was about to punch him, unflinching in his resolve.

 

“Lady Fanora, what’s more important, I think, is becoming a better person for the sake of a child.”

 

“…”

 

“I may not be confident in being a perfect father, but I think I can strive to be the best I can.”

 

How wonderful it would be to have a child resembling Fanora? Maybe he would come to understand the saying that one’s own child never feels like a burden. Carl longed to expand his family but was acutely aware of the challenges.

 

“But if Lady Fanora doesn’t like this, it’s fine. After all, what I love the most…”

 

“Most… what?”

 

“…is you, Lady Fanora. I’m perfectly happy now.”

 

After stating his intentions, he took a half-step back, leaving the final decision to her. Fanora, after glaring at him with icy eyes, eventually softened her gaze.

 

“I take back saying you seemed younger than me.”

 

Huh?”

 

“You think more maturely than I do. You’re more adult.”

 

Caught off guard by the unexpected compliment, Carl was puzzled for a moment.

 

Fanora quietly contemplated. Right. I can’t stay in the same place forever.

 

Carl had always occasionally spoken too rightly, likely the result of his eldest brother instilling morals in him persistently.

 

When I think about failure, it’ll be no different from when I was driven to the cliff.

 

All she has to do is try to be a better parent. It seemed challenging to achieve this ideal, yet Fanora changed her mind slightly due to his sincere words. She began to open up to the idea of starting a new family.

 

“Carl, I still find it difficult to give a straightforward answer right now. I’m not sure.”

 

“That’s okay.”

 

“I need to think more about this issue.”

 

The sound of cold winter wind hitting the window filled the room. Fanora glanced at the small window behind her, then turned back to face him directly.

 

“Still, talking with you, I feel like I might find some clarity.”

 

Carl was overjoyed at the mere thought of her considering the matter positively. He occasionally smiled brightly, like in his boyhood days. This smile alone made spending time together worthwhile.

 

“I’ll head down to the village now.”

 

Ah, Lady Fanora said you were going to buy clothes today. Are you sure you don’t need me to come with you?”

 

“It looks like it might snow, so I’ll just go quickly by myself.”

 

With their conversation concluding, it was time to return to daily life, but the discussion had sparked a small curiosity in Fanora’s mind. Right. The village below is quite large, so there should be a bookstore. Maybe I can find some helpful material for Carl.

 

Carl had significant gaps in his knowledge, making him almost ignorant in daily life. Despite sharing the same roots with Kasius, he still hadn’t mastered even the basic greetings, was very weak in arithmetic, and more. Given his background, Carl had relied heavily on Fanora’s knowledge. Therefore, she gradually came to accept this dependency as natural.

 

Though a decision will be made later… it’s better if he knows about the marital relationship in advance.

 

Deciding to fulfill his expectations, she wanted to properly explain the next step he had inquired about.

 

Showing him a book means I won’t have to explain it myself.

 

However, Fanora would soon regret this decision before the day was over.

 

* * *

That evening, Carl was in charge of dinner. He wielded the knife with the same ease as he did on the battlefield, producing an impressive roast dish. Soon, a decent grilled dish arrived on the table. The rabbit roast, cooked over the hearth, looked deliciously golden, but Carl didn’t stop there and added a small touch of skill.

 

“Sorry for the wait. Eat it while it’s warm, Lady Fanora.”

 

He placed a plate in front of her with today’s main dish and a rabbit-shaped carrot cut with a knife. A rabbit dish with such decoration. It was a subtly awkward sight, like a butcher’s sign with a pig’s face on it.

 

I’m sure she’ll be pleased! Carl had shown this trick purely because he wanted to see Fanora’s smile.

 

“…”

 

But, unlike her usual self, who would have applauded the plate, she remained silent.

 

“Lady Fanora?”

 

Carl noticed a thin book in her hands. It was a book she had bought earlier before dinner time, at the market in the village below.

 

“Lady Fanora, reading a book during dinner…”

 

Ah! Sorry. I came across a word I didn’t know and got distracted…”

 

“What word is it?”

 

“I can read the pronunciation, but I just can’t figure out if it’s a word unique to Kollaeng or just a mistake made during transcription…”

 

How interesting must it be for her to read so intently.

 

Sitting opposite her, Carl casually asked, idly spinning a dinner knife in his hand. “What’s the title of the book?”

 

“…”

 

“You’ve been reading it since before dinner. If it’s interesting, I’d like to read it too, as a study.”

 

“The title… it’s a bit hard to say.”

 

“Yes?”

 

Despite his question, Fanora hesitated to answer. Only now noticing the carrot cut into the shape of a rabbit, she stared at it in silence.

 

Then Carl said, “Then at least tell me what it’s about.”

 

“That is… well, it’s all in the title…”

 

“Yes?”

 

Fanora awkwardly nibbled on the head part of the carrot shaped like a rabbit and answered. “It’s a romance novel between a noblewoman and a knight.”

 

She’s eating the rabbit-shaped carrot from the head.

 

“The story is about a duchess, neglected by her husband, who, unable to bear the loneliness, falls in love with a young man who was her childhood friend.”

 

“That’s adultery!”

 

To Carl, betraying one’s spouse appeared to be an unimaginably bad act. He was shocked by the plot, whereas Fanora’s expression remained largely unchanged.

 

“Why are you so shocked? This kind of theme is quite common in romance novels.”

 

“Sorry for raising my voice. Just the thought of Lady Fanora having an affair sends shivers down my spine.”

 

“If reading novels about affairs leads to having affairs… then why haven’t I become a great person after reading so many biographies of notable individuals?”

 

Fanora firmly stated, looking at Carl’s hardened complexion with a bleary gaze. “Do you know how much I suffered because of Naverius’s infidelity?”

 

“…”

 

“I know better than anyone what it feels like to be betrayed. So even if you threaten me with the guillotine, I will never have an affair.”

 

Naverius. Now, recalling his name no longer plunged her into misery, though a slight irritation lingered. Fanora frowned and irritably cut into the meat on the dining table.

 

“…At times like this, it feels like a blessing to be able to tell if it’s a lie or not.”

 

Hearing her declaration, Carl couldn’t hide his smile. The assurance in her voice, free of even a speck of deceit, lifted the shadows from his face.

 

“Knowing someone as responsible as Lady Fanora would never do such a thing reassures me.”

 

Listening quietly, Fanora tilted her head in wonder.

 

Was it because she has a sense of responsibility?

 

“…”

 

Fanora tossed the novel she was holding onto the floor nearby and focused on her meal. Despite some parts of the meal being slightly burnt, she didn’t mind and neatly finished her food.

 

“It’s delicious, Carl.”

 

And the carrot cut into the shape of a rabbit looked lovely too.

 

As usual, she meticulously praised the dinner Carl had prepared. As a result, the cabin was filled with a warm and cheerful atmosphere.

 

I’m full.

 

Thus, the two of them finished their meal amidst smiles and laughter. With winter causing the days to end early, only the task of sleeping under the darkening sky remained. However…

 

I’ll finish this and then go to sleep. Fanora found herself unable to fall asleep. Even if it was a book prepared for conveying information, when was the last time she read a proper novel like this?

 

She turned on the oil lamp to read the book and sat down at the table again, only for the warm presence of a man to approach her side.

 

“Did the light disturb you?”

 

“No. I’m just not sleepy yet.”

 

Ah.”

 

“Lady Fanora, may I read along with you?”

 

Fanora overlaid her hand on his, which was wrapped around her shoulder. Under the oil lamp’s light, her smile gently wavered like a mirage.

 

“Of course. I bought the book for you, after all.”

 

With that answer, they began a small reading session together. Reading a book with someone was an unfamiliar activity, but not an unpleasant experience.

 

“What does this word mean?”

 

“It means the ground is a bit damp.”

 

However, they would never have done this if they knew what would happen next.

 

As they read the novel together, Fanora casually mentioned, “But the scene I was looking for hasn’t appeared yet.”

 

“What scene are you looking for?”

 

“I asked the bookstore owner for a book that describes a marital relationship.”

 

“Is it because of the conversation we had earlier?”

 

“Yes.”

 

In the romance novel she read when she was young, the scene of the couple sleeping together was omitted by saying, ‘The next day, they woke up to the sound of birds.’ Fanora had always been curious about what was omitted between the lines. What kind of descriptions were hidden in those gaps?

 

Today, she finally resolved that curiosity. After all, it’s just described in words, so it shouldn’t be a big deal. Fanora thoughtlessly turned to the next page. She reads fast, so she reached the problematic paragraph before Carl, and then cold sweat started to bead on her usually composed face.

 

“…”

 

“…”

 

Carl, too, must have reached that part shortly after. His smiling face awkwardly contorted. Eventually, both of them sat in silence with faces flushed red as tomatoes. 

 

 

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