༺ To The North ༻
“……I-Is something wrong?”
“That is not the case, milady.”
Euphemia let out a sigh of relief as she saw the female doctor in front of her shaking her head.
“As you can see by the color, rather than normal breast milk, it was closer to colostrum… It’s a phenomenon that usually occurs in the middle of pregnancy, but it is rare for it to occur this early.”
“Of course, there are some cases where colostrum doesn’t come out during pregnancy, but the fact that it is appearing is more of a positive thing than a bad thing.”
“……Why is that?”
“Because mothers who produce milk during pregnancy, on average, produce more milk after giving birth than other mothers.”
The more Euphemia listened to her doctor, the more thrilled she was. However, she still looked towards Ferzen with an apologetic expression on her face.
Having only slept for three or four hours, he showed signs of fatigue on his face, which were rarely there.
Even so, he was still beside her to accompany her throughout the checkup, which really made her happy.
“Since there was no pain when your breasts were touched or squeezed, it should not be milk that comes out due to inflammation. If you feel a sting in the future, you can easily cure it by pumping it out until you feel that only half of it is left.”
“Yes. If you squeeze too much, you will continue to feel pain during the process of your breasts producing new milk, so be careful.”
“Is that it?”
After looking at the doctor who was nodding her head, Ferzen furrowed his brows and took a piece of paper out from his inner pocket.
To be precise, it was not just a piece of paper but a contract.
“Until now, you have been in charge of Euphemia, haven’t you?”
“Yes. And I’m flattered to be able to do it…”
“We will be away from the capital for the next few months, so come with us. After all, if something happens in the North, it’s difficult to find a doctor right away.”
The doctor was puzzled for a few seconds before becoming contemplative as she realized that both Ferzen and Euphemia shared the last name “Louerg.”
‘Ah, I can’t……’
Having a connection with someone from the Brutein lineage was an invaluable boon. She had experienced it while overseeing Euphemia.
But to follow them to Louerg… The worst territory in the north…
The doctor pretended to read the contract, unsure of how to refuse the offer. Suddenly, her eyes trembled as she saw the payment that was offered to her.
‘I-I-If it’s this much……’
With this amount, she could open her own clinic after working for a year or more, assisting Euphemia until she delivered her child.
What was the optimal path for a doctor?
It was to become the personal doctor of the Imperial Family, accumulating money, experience, and connections, and then opening their own private clinic before retiring once they were older.
If she does accept the offer, she might miss out on some connections. However, the fame and name associated with Bruteins could be enough of a replacement.
Moreover, until now, she was fortunate enough to take care of pregnant mothers regularly.
Doctors with extensive experience in caring for pregnant patients were always in high demand. So, once she sets up her clinic, she could spend her days happily.
To the extent that her lack of connections might be rendered meaningless.
“I-I will take your offer!”
“……Your silence was quite long. Is there some point that disappoints you?”
“Oh no! Not at all! I have always been a slow reader…”
“Is that so? By the way, we will depart for the North today. Be sure to be ready by 2:00 PM.”
The doctor was taken aback by how fast things were moving. Nevertheless, she nodded to tell her new employer that she understands and left the room.
‘Who cares if I get some frostbite… As long as I take care of myself, I should be fine……’
And since it was summer, the infamous Louerg shouldn’t be as cold as rumors told her.
Drawing a blueprint of a happy future in her head, the female doctor skipped around as she ran.
* * * * *
“I-I’m sorry for… waking you up.”
“There’s nothing you should apologize for.”
He had said the same words several times already in a short span of two days.
“Didn’t she tell you to cover it with a cloth?”
Although it wasn’t dripping right now, the slightest force applied to her breast would cause a thin, milk-like liquid to seep from the tip of her nipple.
Seeing Ferzen come to her side with a cloth to provide more cover, Euphemia hesitated before finally opening her mouth to speak.
“C-can you… squeeze some milk out?”
“Didn’t the doctor just do it?”
“That’s true, but maybe because I’m weak… it still feels a bit heavy…”
Silence filled the air as Euphemia blushed in embarrassment.
“S-seems like I made an unreasonable request even though you’re tired… I-I’ll do it myself… You should go and get some sleep. Huh!”
Euphemia, who spoke gibberish, trembled in shock as Ferzen suddenly reached out towards her breasts.
“Since it has been squeezed before, the amount of milk that will come out wouldn’t need to be placed somewhere. So, hold the cloth with your hand.”
Ferzen gently cupped her breasts in his large palm and pressed his fingers firmly against the tips of her nipples.
Then, a translucent colostrum dripped from the tip of the pressed nipple and began to dye the cloth she was wearing.
In the meantime, Euphemia was embarrassed as she felt that her nipples were trying to stand up.
Euphemia moaned several times as her body shuddered and trembled. Eventually, she opened her mouth and whispered, feeling her chest becoming lighter.
“T-this much is… enough…”
In the room, a wet piece of cloth that looked like it had been dunked into the water emitted a sweet and warm scent, mixing with Euphemia’s body odor.
As Euphemia quietly stepped back and watched Ferzen wiping his hands, a strange idea suddenly crossed her mind, and she looked down.
Should she breastfeed him?
However, when she tasted the translucent liquid, it was bland enough to pass as pure water. Therefore, Euphemia suppressed her desire and buried it deeply in her heart.
Occasionally, when he fell into a deep sleep.
She longed to breastfeed him, feeling a mix of superiority and love as if she were caring for her own child.
* * * * *
It was sickening.
Yuriel couldn’t help glancing towards Euphemia inside the moving carriage.
Even with the windows open, a faint smell of milk still lingered in the air.
To Ferzen and Laura, it might be a sweet scent that brought comfort and warmth, but to Yuriel, it was nothing but fishy and disgusting.
‘Maybe because it resembles its master…’
Yuriel couldn’t help but laugh to herself when she thought about how Euphemia made Ferzen squeeze out her breast milk, which didn’t even look like proper breast milk.
‘I heard that after a woman becomes pregnant, the color of their nipples and areolas darkens.’
Yuriel secretly hoped that Euphemia’s areolas and nipples would not only get dark but also turn ugly.
Meanwhile, sitting beside her, Laura could feel Yuriel’s hostility firsthand.
Though Yuriel appeared calm on the outside, Laura could sense the displeasure emanating from her.
‘Judging from her state…’
Laura couldn’t help but wonder if Yuriel’s menstrual cycle was due this month. If it was, she might end up being stuck in the position that her stuffed rabbit doll was in, on the night of the full moon.
Even though Laura hoped that it wouldn’t be the case, she couldn’t shake the feeling that it was inevitable, given Yuriel’s current demeanor.
What a cruel turn of events……
* * * * *
After a strenuous march, Ferzen and his procession finally arrived in Brutein’s territory. However, instead of resting, Ferzen headed straight to the office to meet his older brother, who was also the Patriarch of the family, Jeremiah.
“Long time no see, older brother…”
Entering the room after knocking, Ferzen greeted his older brother with a hint of awkwardness.
But he wasn’t the only one feeling awkward; Jeremiah felt the same way too. He rose to his feet and scratched his cheek, chuckling wryly.
“Welcome, little brother.”
“Yes… It’s been a while, but I can’t stay for long. I’ll be leaving again tomorrow.”
“Of course, you’re always busy. By the way, I apologize.”
“For not sending you those birthday presents. I was worried it might upset the daughter of the Alfred family.”
“Oh, please don’t worry. She’s not someone who would be bothered by such things.”
“Is that so? Well, I’ll take your word for it then.”
With the concern cleared, Jeremiah started to treat Ferzen in a more relaxed manner. While his gaze still occasionally avoided Ferzen’s, he could at least talk to him face-to-face now.
“Is there anything you need? I’m sure you’ll face some troubles up North this time around.”
“That’s true. In that case, I have a favor to ask of you.”
“Tell me what you need.”
“There’s an auction coming up in early October, right? I’d like to have five seats at that auction. And please send those invitations with the family crest printed on them.”
Brutein was known for not holding many banquets; they were quite rare and only happened on special occasions.
However, there was one event where people could socialize with the head of Brutein—the annual auction held by the family.
It was a place where, as far as metallurgy was concerned, swords and armor made by Brutein artisans who had been working in the blacksmithing industry for generations were presented.
Furthermore, it was also a place where people could obtain customization rights for those swords and armor. Once the rights were sold, the blacksmiths would not be allowed to recreate those items again.
In terms of quality, there was nothing better than what was displayed.
In terms of scarcity, no words were needed.
For this reason, nobles with their own knight orders often gifted these items to their most trusted knights.
If there were any negatives amid all the positivity surrounding the Brutein’s auction, it was the fact that knights belonging to the Imperial Family couldn’t wear any of those items.
As members of the Imperial Family, they were required to wear standardized armor to prove their affiliation with the Imperial Knight.
Despite this flaw, no one really cared. The auction’s value always remained high because of the presence of the current patriarch of the Brutein family.
Jeremiah burst into laughter upon hearing Ferzen’s words.
Though Ferzen had asked it politely, the implication was that he wanted to sell his older brother’s favor.
Jeremiah doubted there would be any younger brother brave enough to make such a ridiculous request.
“Would it be okay with just half? I think a 6:4 ratio would give you a good position.”
Under the current head of the North, Count Aslan, there were a total of 10 families. They maintained their neutrality in the succession race by splitting these 10 families in two, to support both the First and Second Princes.
If Ferzen wanted to break this balance, he would have to bring more than half of them to his side.
“That’s true, but from the point of view of the Imperial Family, an equal power structure would be the most reassuring.”
Though Ferzen was currently the legitimate son of the Brutein family, he would become collateral after some time had passed. Therefore, to justify the stabilization of the North, it would be beneficial for him to maintain the current power balance rather than tilting it to one side.
‘To be honest……’
Even if Ferzen didn’t do that, the Imperial family wouldn’t be able to say anything.
However, he didn’t want to continue receiving help from Jeremiah.
Even when the two personalities of his body had merged, Brutein’s fundamental fate, which remained strong and shackled to this body, would not allow him to stray from the correct path.
“It’s going to be a pretty heavy burden for the child who will lead Louerg after you.”
It was well known that things would be far easier when power was consolidated in one place.
Maintaining a narrow advantage over the chasing packs was a thousand times harder than that.
“If it’s their fate to be unable to bear the burden and crumble, so be it.”
Their connection with Brutein would never end.
However, that connection was not of their making. Louerg was the one clinging on to it.
There was only one significant thing that could maintain it.
To stabilish an incomplete rule.
‘Now that I think about it……’
It was a bit odd to call it incomplete.
Kings often displayed the skins or corpses of wild beasts they hunted to showcase their valor and overwhelming power.
But wouldn’t it be even more impressive to show that they had perfect control by breeding those living beasts?
That’s why someday Ferzen would have to forcefully sever his ties with the Brutein and cut off their connections with Asran to monopolize the power over it all.
However, if he tried to kill the beast called Count Asran in order to monopolize that power…
Would be the day when Brutein’s collateral, Louerg, would be doomed.
TL note: How come i never noticed that hiccup is just switching gears on his dragon.
Soooooo Dwarf metal is a thing huh…….I love it.
You should check out the illustrations on our discord server: discord.com/invite/JnWsEfAGKc
You can rate this series here.