༺ Interlude (2) ༻
Despite feeling like he hadn’t accomplished much during the day, Ferzen glanced at his watch and realized that it was already past 7 pm.
It was only natural considering the time he had spent returning to the capital and attending to business matters at the academy.
After taking a bath and having a meal, Ferzen delegated additional tasks to the guards in his mansion before making his way to the second floor.
He turned the doorknob and entered the room. Though the rain had ceased at some point unknown to him, dark clouds still loomed overhead, casting a shadow over the room. Yet, even in the darkness, Euphemia’s golden eyes shone brightly.
‘It’s as if……’
Should he liken it to a lighthouse illuminating the sea at night?
Ferzen took a gentle step toward her and sat beside Euphemia. Without hesitation, she embraced him, her soft body transmitting a unique sensation through the thin fabric of her clothes.
Rather than an aggressive temptation, it was an expression of relief after being tormented by worry and anxiety.
For Euphemia, the mere thought of Ferzen’s death had become a consuming emotion, plunging her into distress.
Even though it was unintentional, relying on his life as a method to confirm something was cowardly.
However, Ferzen couldn’t hide the joy he felt deep inside.
“I… in the future, don’t put yourself in those kinds of situations again…”
“It seems I’ve caused you to worry.”
“Even if the risk is small… don’t do it…”
He couldn’t make such a promise with certainty, so Ferzen refrained from making any empty assurances.
His life was entangled in a web of darkness.
In the process of untangling it, it would be nearly impossible to avoid encountering problems.
Euphemia sensed Ferzen’s hesitation, almost verging on refusal, and tightened her grip on his robe.
“Your child…… I’ll give birth to more of them……”
“There are many things I lack, but… I will try harder in the future… I will be a wife you will not be ashamed of…”
“Therefore… Don’t ever do anything that will make you unable to be by my side……”
Though there were no tears, Ferzen could sense Euphemia holding back her emotions as her clothes gradually became damp.
“It’s not difficult, is it… Even a few months ago……”
“When Ciel was still alive…! Didn’t you always want me by your side wherever you went? You didn’t even let me go boating…”
Ferzen maintained a composed expression, but internally he couldn’t help but feel bewildered.
He thought he had concealed it well. How had she noticed?
From Euphemia’s perspective, it was an intuition that had gradually formed over time.
After all, Ferzen’s behavior and demeanor had changed significantly since Ciel Midford’s death.
“I like the current you… You are kind, caring, and considerate. I feel loved…”
“Sometimes, I miss those times… Even when all I had to do was receive your seed… Because you never hid your possessiveness towards me…”
“If you haven’t changed, please don’t hold back your feelings just for my sake…”
If you want to hold me, tell me.
“Without hesitation, I’ll lift my skirt for you…”
And if you want to hear my voice…
“I’ll tell you I love you… Until my voice becomes hoarse.”
“Even if it’s a lie… Promise me…”
Euphemia buried her head deeper into Ferzen, seeking solace.
In response to her plea, Ferzen, who had remained silent throughout, reached out with his large hand and gently stroked her soft hair.
“Okay… I promise I will never do anything that would keep me from standing beside you.”
For the first time in 24 years, and perhaps in his entire life, Ferzen uttered a white lie.
And as he saw Euphemia smile brightly…
He felt no remorse.
* * * * *
Was it exhaustion that caused him to fall into a deep sleep so quickly?
Ferzen’s slumber grew deeper as the night progressed, oblivious to Euphemia’s restlessness.
But she couldn’t find solace in sleep.
Carefully wiggling her body, Euphemia pressed her face against Ferzen’s solid chest, listening to the steady rhythm of his heartbeat.
Euphemia traced her fingers over Ferzen’s chest before rubbing her own face over it, feeling the warmth radiating from his body.
Then, lying flat on her back, she gently took Ferzen’s hand and placed it on her stomach……
She discreetly tucked his hand inside her dress, close to her heart.
At that moment, when she felt Ferzen’s hand gently gripping her breast, Euphemia’s fear transformed into a comforting sensation.
Euphemia felt as if her own heart had been held in his hand.
How could she remain calm when he touched her when it used to frighten her?
Tilting her head slightly to hear Ferzen’s heartbeat, Euphemia then closed her eyes.
For some inexplicable reason, drowsiness suddenly washed over her body.
‘Even this moment……’
Would it become a memory etched in Ferzen’s mind?
Although it was difficult to give a clearly define the word memory.
But Euphemia believed that, in a year’s time, she would remember the days that stood out clearly among the 365. Those were something she considered as memories.
So, she hoped to create countless days that would make him remember her as his beloved wife, rather than as Euphemia El Lauren Louerg.
* * * * *
Laura wore a bitter smile as she looked down at the stuffed rabbit in her lap.
“And when you use that magic…”
Such harsh curses echoed in Laura’s mind as she regretted accepting Yuriel’s invitation to sleep in her room.
Initially, she saw no harm in building some level of friendship with her.
But the woman beside her seemed unaffected by the dangers of enemy ambushes, practical exams, or the fatigue from hours of travel.
Instead, she kept Laura awake, tirelessly teaching her about the intricacies of elemental magic.
Laura couldn’t help but question why in the world she – the woman who managed to become the youngest Apollyon-class Elemental Wizard in history – should be listening to this waste of time.
Initially, Laura could tolerate the lessons. However, the childish rabbit doll that was given to her felt out of place and insignificant.
In truth, Laura had a vague understanding of why Yuriel was going to such lengths.
It was a way for Yuriel to distract herself from not being chosen as Ferzen’s bedmate.
She tried to convince herself with crude and pitiful excuses, attributing Yuriel’s actions to her own inability to sleep with Ferzen…
Deep inside, Laura let out a sigh.
What did Ferzen see in the woman who created those cursed desks?
Why didn’t he choose Yuriel?
Even in Laura’s eyes, Yuriel was more captivating than the woman who held his heart.
It simply didn’t make sense.
Regardless, after witnessing the events of tonight, Laura came to a realization……
The nights when Ferzen slept with Yuriel would be comfortable for her.
On the other hand, the nights when Ferzen slept with Euphemia would be deeply uncomfortable for her.
“So, when you combine the corresponding elemental magic…”
Laura continued to absentmindedly fiddle with the rabbit doll’s ears, lost in her thoughts.
* * * * *
By the time it was past 11 o’clock, Yuriel, who had been trying to continue their conversation, smiled wryly upon seeing Laura already fast asleep.
As Laura had suspected, Yuriel needed an excuse to console herself, even if it was an unsightly one.
She used her status as the daughter of the Alfred family to pressure Laura, making it difficult for her to refuse.
Furthermore, with such a beautiful girl clinging to Ferzen’s side, Yuriel felt the need to keep her in check, believing that the woman from the outskirts of Louerg would tremble and struggle to face her, considering the weight of the Rosenberg name alone.
“It’s truly… ugly.”
They say that a women’s love was a beautiful thing.
But that was certainly a lie.
After covering Laura, who was tightly embracing the doll, with a blanket, Yuriel stepped out onto the balcony for a light stroll.
She didn’t want to venture into the hallway, where she might overhear Ferzen and that woman moaning in pleasure. She knew she wouldn’t be able to take a single step if she did.
Eventually, Yuriel leaped off the balcony, using her magical energy to manipulate the atmosphere and land safely.
The artificially induced air current caused by her magic returned to its natural state, creating a slightly turbulent wind.
Startled by the commotion, one of the knights assigned to guard the mansion unsheathed his sword and approached. However, upon recognizing Yuriel, he quickly sheathed his weapon.
“Where are you headed, madam?”
“I’m going for a walk. I don’t need an escort.”
The knight remained silent.
“Don’t worry, I’ll return shortly. I’ll make sure you won’t be reprimanded by him.”
With a bow of his head, the knight withdrew, allowing Yuriel to continue her solitary walk.
However, after explaining the situation to his colleague, he secretly decided to follow Yuriel.
Yuriel wrapped herself in a coat and walked down the street.
While she had assured him that he wouldn’t be reprimanded by Ferzen, there were no guarantees in this world.
Even if it meant risking his life on this outing, it was preferable to facing Brutein’s wrath.
Even if he were to be caught by Yuriel due to bad luck along the way, he would rather face that outcome.
As Yuriel strolled through the bustling stalls, where people traded their goods after the rain had stopped, the knight sighed and blended into the crowd.
Fortunately, he didn’t lose sight of her as she stopped in front of a particular stall.
Straining his ears, he could hear…
“If you buy this bracelet, the goddess of love will bless you and your lover with eternal love. If you’re already married, the goddess of love will bestow upon you a beautiful child!”
“I’ve warned him several times not to do that…”
People were free to believe and respect any deity they chose. However, the empire forbade the formation of specific religious orders dedicated to those gods.
It wasn’t just the Ernes Empire that had such a law. However, its enforcement was not overly strict, resulting in ambiguity when it came to punishing street vendors who mentioned gods in their product promotions.
The knights would issue occasional warnings, but the peddlers often let it go in one ear and out the other.
Remembering this, the knight thought that he should pay closer attention in the future but decided to quickly follow Yuriel as she moved on.
However, just as he was about to move, he was forced to lower his head and step aside as Yuriel, covering her face, returned to the same stall.
Turning his head, the knight observed Yuriel discreetly purchasing the bracelet, which was likely nothing more than a fake.
As the scene imprinted itself in his mind, only one thought surfaced.
‘I am a fool.’
He couldn’t fathom why the daughter of the Alfred family would buy such an item.
However, he had a habit of drunkenly revealing secrets to others.
That’s why his coworkers tended to avoid sharing anything personally important with him…
He wondered about the repercussions if he were to disclose this fact while under the influence of alcohol…
As the second daughter of the Alfred family and the wife of Ferzen, the direct descendant of the Bruteins, Yuriel could face unimaginable consequences if insulted by such a revelation.
‘It would have been better if…’
He hadn’t followed her outside.
The knight sighed in regret.
On that particular summer night, one heavy drinker was forced to abstain from alcohol, possibly for the rest of his life.
TL note: I feel you sir knight…..I feel you…..I don’t even think of how horrible must be to stay more than 5 days without a drink
Hah jokes on you past me! This is your future self talking, and we do be without a cold one for 9 days!!!!! hahahhahaha
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