Translator: Latte Editor: Sasha
“What do you mean, Marie?” Anna asked.
“Cough, nevermind,” Marie said as she shook her head.
“Anyway, it looks like madame’s condition has improved…”
Marie recalled the name of Elody’s illness that she heard at a meeting with the other servants a while ago.
The Siren’s Tears.
“I heard it from Sir Heinz! How the hell does that guy know about madame’s disease?”
Heinz was the leader of a faction of the knights that used to be mercenaries. Everybody knew that they held some sort of prejudice against the madame.
Because of that, most of the servants dismissed Heinz’s words as nothing but a mere lie. They couldn’t trust someone who disliked the madame. And Marie also held the same opinion.
‘I should talk about this with the lord…’
Marie decided to continue watching the situation more for the time being.
* * *
‘Ugh, I don’t think I’ll have time to sleep again…’ Caville thought as he walked up the stairs to his bedroom after having breakfast.
Yesterday as well, Caville was forced to stay up all night due to the never-ending amount of paperwork. Thus, he was only able to sleep a little at dawn.
Caville sighed as he watched Elody sleeping quietly. Though he was terribly sleep-deprived, he was still grateful to be given a beautiful sight to see every morning when he woke up. He loved seeing his wife’s peaceful expression as she slept and would do anything to keep seeing it again. Even if it meant he had to give up sleeping his entire life.
He was so happy he could die.
Of course, he was still greedy for more. But he decided that it would be best to appreciate the fact that he didn’t have to sleep separately from his wife anymore.
‘You used to hug me to sleep whenever winter came…’
Caville believed that over time, Elody would be able to love him the same way he loved her.
At first, Caville thought that even if his wife couldn’t reciprocate his feelings, he would still be fine with it. As long as she didn’t hate him, he would always be satisfied with what he had.
However, he found that he started becoming more and more greedy.
Caville looked at the window and saw that it was already dawn.
Caville, who wasn’t able to sleep at all last night, watched the sun as it slowly rose from the window. Then, he slowly reached out to Elody.
He held Elody’s tiny pinky and glanced at it for a moment.
The feeling of him holding her finger at that time was still vivid. He had only touched her little finger, but Caville was happy enough to be given the chance to touch her again.
* * *
Elody was surprised to see Heinz visiting her in the lab so early in the morning.
‘Why does he keep visiting me?’
Elody was still worried about his forehead as the scars hadn’t fully healed yet.
‘Has he not used the medicine yet? It should’ve been healed by now unless… he’s doing this on purpose. But why? To show off to the others?’
“May I help you, Sir Heinz?”
“I heard that madame needed someone to get rid of the rocks in the forest. So I called my subordinates here to help!”
“…Oh, that’s alright. You don’t really have to…. The apprentices or squires would suffice.”
“No! We’ll do it instead!”
Elody glanced at Dame Solar who stood next to her with a troubled expression. Solar shrugged her shoulder and replied by whispering into Elody’s ear.
“Just let them pamper you. They’re really strong.”
However, Elody was uncomfortable with the mercenary-knights.
She remembered them glaring at her wherever she went, and their eyes were full of hostility… In addition, they seemed to have a close relationship with Princess Larissa.
Today, the knights were… not as hostile to her as she thought they would be. Rather, they seemed to look a bit… dispirited.
“Alright. Then, can you start by moving that boulder over there?”
When Elody spoke reluctantly, Heinz replied by telling her not to worry. Then, he dragged his men to the forest.
“Madame, why is Sir Heinz doing that for you?” Solar asked, confused.
“I do not know…”
She was also curious about it herself. What in the world made him act like this?
“How suspicious… He used to despise you, but now he acts as if he’s your number one supporter. I wonder what made him change his mind… You must be wary of him, madame,” Dame Solar warned.
Elody nodded her head in response. He was definitely suspicious to say the least.
* * *
The boulders were too heavy to be carried alone, so several knights had to work together to destroy the pieces first.
Elody felt bad for the knights since it looked very tiresome.
They already hated her, but the fact that they had to do this made her feel even worse about herself. What if they hated her even more after this?
Well, it didn’t really matter if they actually did, but she still couldn’t help feel but uncomfortable at the thought.
As Elody watched the knights, she suddenly thought of something.
“Madame, what’s wrong?”
Then, Elody had her servants bring a large bowl and packs of ice from the castle.
“I’m going to make a fruit punch.”
“Oh, fruit punch?”
“Yes. I think it would be great if we’re all able to drink it together.”
Elody started making fruit punch with the peaches she had from the greenhouse and the raspberries she harvested from the forest.
Anna lifted her thumb up after she tasted it.
“Delicious! Shall I give these to the knights?”
“Yes. Everyone has had a rough time carrying those rocks. This is my way of thanking them for their hard work.”
Anna thought that it was a waste to give them to the knights, but in the end, she thought that they deserved it since they had been suffering for quite a while.
Seeing the maids distribute the fruit punch to the knights made Elody smile. She was happy to see such a lively atmosphere in the mansion.
Caville called her from behind.
“Caville, what’s going on?”
“I was supposed to catch you a fish from the river.”
“Do you really want to? You must be busy with work…”
“I’ve finished them all.”
The knights and servants glanced at the ducal couple having a friendly conversation.
Elody personally guided Caville across the forest. And the person following behind them was none other than Sir Brien.
“Sir Vedos, are you alright?”
Elody asked after seeing his terrible complexion.
Truth to be told, none of them looked fine. Caville had dark eye-bags underneath his eyes while Sir Brien looked as if he had been crying all night.
“Don’t cry, you’ll make other people feel bad…”
Elody looked at the river. The water seemed to be denser than yesterday. Just the mere sight of it made her feel refreshed.
“See you in a minute, my wife,” Caville said, kissing the back of her Elody’s hand.
Elody was startled and immediately ran back to the forest.
“I’m gonna die from excessive cuteness,” Caville murmured while staring at Elody’s back, while Brien creased his eyebrows in return.
* * *
“Well done, everyone.”
Elody wanted to express her gratitude to the knights who had worked hard.
“Thanks to you guys, we were able to finish our work quickly as well. Thank you.”
“You don’t need to thank us. It was nothing,” Heinz replied, blushing and grinning at the same time.
The men who stood behind him glanced at each other. They thought it was strange that the duchess had personally thanked them herself.
“By the way, madame. The fruit punch you gave to us was really delicious.”
“I’m glad to hear it. Do you want more?”
Elody only said that for courtesy’s sake, but Heinz’s eyes were shining so brightly it was hard to refuse.
Thus, Elody nodded her head and instructed Marie.
“Bring more peaches from the greenhouse to make the fruit punch.”
Marie glanced at Heinz before heading to the greenhouse with her maids.
Now it was time to start working.
Elody rolled up her sleeves and began harvesting the berries and mushrooms with the maids.
‘Did the trees grow again?’
The tree where she picked the mushrooms yesterday was now growing with new mushrooms.
Just like the peach tree in the greenhouse.
“The duchess, she’s so kind.”
“Yeah, she’s not like the rumors.”
“She seems to have a good relationship with the leader….”
Heinz’s men were sitting under the shade of a tree while enjoying their time off.
They chatted while drinking the fruit punch that the maids gave them.
It was really refreshing.
Drinking the sweet fruit punch while the cool breeze of fresh air swept away their sweat.
Ah yes, this was life.
The sun was shining, the flowers were blooming, the birds were singing, and the atmosphere was lively.
Everything was perfect.
They thought that the duchess was a cruel and cold-hearted person. But she gave them fruit-punch and even thanked them in person.p
They thought she would ignore them and looked down on them for being former mercenaries, but the duchess had no such expression on her face.
Today, they had finally felt like they had actually settled in the estate. That feeling made them very excited.
There was only one thing they had always wanted. It was to be recognized and accepted.
They were those who returned with the young lord who was discriminated against on the battlefield. They had helped him fight in war, so they wanted to be recognized.
However, the knights who remained in the manor disregarded their hard work and secretly discriminated against them for being a mercenary.
They thought that the duchess would be the same.
However, Elody actually acknowledged their hardships and treated them fairly from the very beginning.
“This sounds like a nice place to live.”
The knights ended their conversation with a smile on their faces. They thought that it was a good idea to have come here to the duchy with the leader.
Elody set aside her harvest and headed for the river, carrying the fruit punch she had left for Caville and Brien.
“Madame! I’ll hold it for you. Why are you carrying these things by yourself?” Heinz said as he took the tray from her hands.
Elody purposely brought it herself to let the maids take a break…
Heinz smiled and looked at Elody.
“Why don’t you use the medicine I gave you for the wound on your forehead?”
“This is my proof of loyalty to you, madame,” He answered proudly.
Did he pick up the wrong medicine somewhere and ate it?
‘I heard that when a person suddenly changes, it’s likely that they are dying… ‘
“I’m sorry, but you should give that loyalty to Caville. He deserves it more than me.”
Elody again took the tray from Heinz and headed to Caville.
But after a few steps, Elody stopped her tracks.
Caville smiled when seeing his loved one in front of him.
The bucket by the river was already full of big fishes.
‘Why is he naked?’
Elody bit her lips as she looked at Caville’s naked torso.
It was the second time she saw Caville’s grown-up body.
But last time, she was too concerned about Caville’s wounds, so she felt nothing when she saw him shirtless.
Elody, feeling her cheeks burning, turned around and handed the tray over to Heinz.
She immediately ran away and headed for the forest again. Her cheeks, ears, and neck felt hot, it was as if she was burning from fire.
It was the moment when Ifrit’s advice to show his abs finally worked.
However, Caville only blinked and looked at Elody’s back without knowing what had just happened.
“Why is she running away from me…?”
Likewise, Heinz, who did not know a thing about love, was confused by Elody’s bizarre actions.
Nonetheless, he disregarded it as an impulse and approached the duke who stood in the river.
“Leader, this fruit punch is made by the madame. It tastes amazing. The vice-commander should try it too!”
Caville ran out of the water with a gloomy expression.
“Gosh, it’s hot.”
Heinz took out a handkerchief from his bosom and wiped the sweat from his forehead.
And at that moment…
When Caville’s low voice sounded a bit grumpy, Heinz raised his head with a dumbfounded look on his face.
When Heinz saw Caville’s terrifying expression, he got chills all over his body as if a bucket of ice had just fallen on top of his head.
Caville parted his mouth and spoke, “Why do you have that handkerchief?”
[T/N]: It was at this moment Heinz knew, he f***** up. LOL
[ED/N]: Caville is ready to not sleep for the rest of his life for Elody. This much should be expected. XD