Translator: Latte Editor: Sasha
‘I feel bad for the duchess, but…’
They were more like siblings than a real couple.
Whoever his partner was, Brien hoped that Caville would actually fall in love with them, for love was magical.
He would tend to think about them and worry about them, get excited for them, or sad for them, and feel like he had someone important in his life.
Brien wanted him to experience that kind of love. One that could enable him to feel nurtured and secure.
However, the current Caville was precarious.
He could only retain his composure when he was sword fighting.
After being on the battlefield for too long, some people started portraying an unusual behaviour. They could only relax when they saw blood.
Furthermore, some of them eventually ran wild and murdered everyone around them.
Brien was afraid that the same thing could happen to Caville.
However, unlike what people thought of him, Caville was downright happy.
‘Does my wife miss me?’
He was planning to leave for the territory at dawn.
Caville was already dressed up and ready to go. He was so excited that he couldn’t sleep.
‘Should I just leave alone?’
Caville was conflicted.
He missed Elody, but he wanted to go back with the knights so that he could show them his good side.
Caville stared at himself in the small mirror.
There wasn’t a single scar on his face since he tried so hard to protect it.
‘My wife must’ve changed a lot too, right?’
Suddenly, a sound could be heard from the artifact.
‘Don’t be so noisy. You’re disturbing my sleep.’
Annoyed, Caville removed the brooch from his chest.
Ifrit was able to read his thoughts when Caville wore it.
“Why do you keep looking at the mirror?”
A haze of red smoke appeared as Ifrit emerged from the brooch.
“Why not?” Caville asked glaring daggers.
“Well, that’s just so unlike you. But as opposed to you, I can control my appearance since I am now an adult,” Ifrit grinned.
“Go back. I hate seeing you.”
Ifrit snorted at Caville’s criticism.
“How could you say that after seeing a cute animal such as I? You heartless human.” Ifrit sulked and went back into the artifact.
Caville didn’t have a care for anything else in the world. He just wanted to get to the mansion as soon as possible.
He also refused to have an audience with the emperor.
He had already fulfilled his duty, so he had no need to visit the capital.
Plus, nobody would blame him.
Though, his actions did cause the emperor to be in a bad mood.
‘Is he looking down on me because he contributed a lot in the war?’ the emperor thought.
Caville disobeyed his orders, and this was not a good look for the emperor.
However, he couldn’t rebuke him since Caville had saved his niece.
Thanks to Princess Larissa, the conflict between the Imperial Army and the Temple was slowly dispersed.
At first, he was satisfied with Larissa being the mediator, but he still needed to keep the Temple in check.
Caville was supposed to fill in that role.
However, the emperor made a grave miscalculation.
He certainly did not expect Caville to return to his duchy so soon.
* * *
Upon hearing about Caville’s arrival, Elody got very busy.
She made up her mind. If Caville had a hard time divorcing her, she should be the one to tell him first.
‘Don’t worry, Caville! I’m ready to divorce you!’
“Madame, the lord and his knights have passed through the south gate!”
“Is that so?”
Elody lifted herself with a tense look. She was nervous because her dress was more colorful than usual.
She met with the servants and went to the entrance of the mansion.
From a distance, she saw Caville approaching while riding his black horse.
‘Is that… Caville?’
…How did he grow so big?
Seconds passed with her brain struggling to just take him in, struggling to comprehend that he wasn’t the boy she used to remember, that he was a man and he was real.
The black horse came to a stop, stealing Elody’s breath and heat from her skin.
Caville jumped off the horse and walked straight towards Elody.
Elody doubted her eyes.
However, he had the same pink eyes and pale skin. He was still slender despite his years, yet, his body was toned and well-built.
It was him.
‘Caville will turn 20 this year…’
Elody thought that Caville would grow into a beautiful boy.
However, Caville was far different from her imagination.
His prominent jaw curved gracefully around his neck, and he had twining cords of muscle that shaped his entire body; strong arms, bold thighs and calves, a firm chest, and abdomen.
He was undoubtedly attractive and captivating.
‘Wh-what kinds of food did he eat… I expected him to grow a lot, but….’
He could barely reach her chest seven years ago. But now…
Elody greeted him awkwardly, “C-Caville…? Is that really you? G-good to see-“
Not giving time for her to say hello, he immediately scooped her up into a tight hug, and before she could draw in the air her body needed, she had melted into his form.
Elody could feel his firm torso and the heart that beat within. His hands were folded around her back, drawing her closer.
Unlike Elody, Caville was able to recognize her at first glance.
As soon as he saw her pink hair, he could feel his body shake as he instantly pulled her into an embrace.
Caville buried his head in the cuff of her shoulder. He had missed her scent for the longest time.
Her sweet, warm, and gentle scent.
Elody was embarrassed. She didn’t know what to do.
The servants stared at the two’s intense reunion. They were so touched that some of the maids started crying.
‘Oh, our poor madame. What should we do… They finally met… They’ve just met but she…’
Of course, they weren’t just crying because of the touching reunion. There was also a profound misunderstanding held within those tears.
“Is that the duchess? I guess she has a good relationship with the duke?” Heinz asked, surprised by their intimacy.
“Yup. They grew up together you see. The duchess raised the duke since he was very young.”
“But why didn’t she write even a single letter?”
“Heinz, I will warn you ahead of time. You should never do anything disrespectful to the duchess. You’re an elite knight.”
“Pfft, what do you mean duchess. It might change soon,” Heinz scoffed.
“Alright, alright,” Heinz replied in a stern tone.
Heinz would not change his mind.
He was told that the emperor wanted Caville to marry his niece, Princess Larissa.
Heinz was glad about the news. The duke could finally marry a princess who was loyal and loved by all.
Caville truly deserved it.
He was already married, but he could easily divorce her. Everything was possible as long as one had the intention to do it.
Heinz glared at the duchess in disapproval.
The two lovers who had been separated for a long time had a joyful reunion. Marie shed tears of sadness in Brien’s arms.
“Caville… I’m sorry, can you let go of me now?”
At Elody’s earnest voice, Caville released her from his hold.
Elody smiled awkwardly and spoke, “It’s been a long time. You must’ve gone through a lot.”
Caville bit his lips.
He had longed for this moment each and every day.
Just like how he had changed a lot, did she change too? Or was she still the same as back then?
Caville finally saw the person he had missed, but he couldn’t think of anything.
He just wanted to cry in her arms, crying for the missed time they could never take back, crying to release the tension of these seven long years.
However, Elody didn’t seem as thrilled as he did.
When Caville released her from his arms, Elody took a step back.
“My Lord Duke, welcome back.”
“Thank you for coming back safely!”
The servants greeted Caville and Norman bawled his tears out.
“Your Grace… I can die peacefully now.”
At the end of their emotional reunion, Elody smiled and told Norman.
“Norman, please guide the knights to their new lodgings.”
Elody skillfully instructed the servants, looking at those who shared the joy of the reunion.
“Let’s bring everyone back to their homes and give them what we’ve prepared. Tell them about the banquet that will be held in a few days.”
Then, Elody glanced at Caville, who had a frown in his face.
“Come on, Caville. Let’s go back. You must be very tired. Go to your room and rest.”
As Elody reached out to him, Caville grabbed her hand.
“…How did your hands get so small?”
‘My hand didn’t get smaller. It was your hand that got bigger.’
“It’s too small.”
Caville was dumbfounded with the size of Elody’s palm.
He remembered her looking so strong with her big hands. Like he wouldn’t be afraid of anything in the world as long as he had her hand alone.
But, when he came back, Elody’s hands were smaller than he remembered.
‘Were those hands that held me tightly always this small? Or was it even smaller than this? How can this be?’
Caville stared at Elody’s pale and pretty hands.
‘He must’ve had a hard time…’
As she looked at Caville’s scarred hands and calloused fingers, she held back her tears.
It was painful to remember how hard he had worked during that miserable time.
“Come on. Let’s go in, Caville.”
Truthfully, Elody longed for this reunion as much as he did.
She was desperately holding back her tears, and she could break down at any moment.
Elody had lots to say too…
‘Welcome back, my baby! Welcome back! I’ve missed you so much…’
She wanted to hug him just as much as he wanted.
But she can’t.
Her baby had grown into a man.
When Elody saw Caville, she could feel her heart pounded. It beat so strongly that she thought her chest would burst.
Elody was afraid that she would misunderstand the meaning of her throbbing heart.
‘I mustn’t forget.’
She shouldn’t forget her role in the storyline.
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