I Don't Need the Grand Duke's Regret - Chapter 40
“A mistress, and now a duchess! How dare!”
Despite the surprise, it was somewhat enjoyable to see the Emperor’s flushed face. On the other hand, Valerio envied Ricardo, who could excite the usually composed Emperor.
“That seems to be the case. He seems to love the Grand Duchess a lot.”
Valerio replied to the Emperor with a composed face. Upon hearing this, the Emperor’s violet eyes glinted fiercely.
“This is invalid!”
“They’ve already passed the first night, right?”
“Why is that? The Grand Duke’s marriage shouldn’t be a concern for the imperial family.”
Valerio raised an eyebrow. He tilted his head to the side as he continued.
“Please calm down, Your Majesty. Anyone who sees this would think the Grand Duke is your son.”
“Crown Prince should keep your mouth shut!”
“Who’s going to hear?”
Valerio was right. In the vast bedroom, there were only the two of them. Not even the attendants could eavesdrop on their conversation.
“How exasperating! If only you were even half as similar to Ricardo, the future of the Empire wouldn’t be so worrisome…”
Valerio gritted his teeth at the Emperor’s lament. He glared at his father before finally struggling to speak.
“I think the same. It should have been the Grand Duke, not me, who became the Crown Prince.”
And it seems there’s another person like that.
Valerio swallowed the words that were rising to his lips.
Even if he were to claim that he was attacked by an assassin, it was evident that people would say he lacked merit and credibility.
‘Maybe he will tell me to hand over the Crown Prince position to the Grand Duke.’
Valerio thought cynically. In his eyes, the Emperor’s current state was absurd.
Ricardo had married for the sake of love, and now the Emperor was agitated. Didn’t the Emperor himself betray the empress and the crown prince for the sake of love?
How could the emperor, of all people, denounce love?
“By the way, it’s surprising. I thought there was no better excuse in this world than love.”
“…Stop talking nonsense. Once Durante’s daughter debuts next spring, I’ll arrange a marriage with Ricardo.”
“But doesn’t Renato already have a Grand Duchess?”
“He can keep that woman as the mistress!”
The Emperor slammed his hand on the table again. It was a strength that didn’t seem like the one that could barely stand and walk just yesterday.
‘So that’s why Durante came.’
Valerio finally understood the situation.
The old serpent, eyeing the chance to satisfy its insatiable greed, had once again poisoned the Emperor.
Decades ago, with that very tongue, he had whispered plots to the previous GrandDuke.
‘He’s hopeless so he’s trying to marry his daughter to Ricardo.’
Valerio would never shake hands with Durante. He must have had a significant influence on the imperial court, having grown up under the Emperor’s cold rule. Durante must have known that and quickly decided on a course of action.
Valerio furrowed his brow as he thought of Durante, who had been happily wandering through the gardens. He didn’t even want to imagine what kind of scheme he was concocting.
‘Well, I don’t need to know after all.’
Valerio composed himself and soon returned to his expressionless face.
He had no intention of confronting Durante for Ricardo’s sake. Removing the threats to his safety would be enough. Moreover, both Ricardo and Durante were likely suspects.
‘It would be great if they clashed and destroyed each other.’
Valerio smiled quietly, feeling peaceful again, his frown dissipated into the air.
It seemed that things were going to be interesting.
* * *
Armilla, leaning on the bed with a pale face, looked like a pretty doll. She had crimson hair that cascaded down to her waist and emerald eyes.
“You’re not asleep yet.”
The door opened quietly, and the middle-aged woman’s voice roused the doll. Armilla, who had been staring out the black window where snow was swirling with vacant eyes, slowly turned her head. Then, she blinked upon seeing the person who had come to her.
“What brings you here, Missus?”
“Lucia asked me so persistently. You hurt your knee, didn’t you?”
Armilla understood the situation from the Missus’ words. Although Missus Catarina wasn’t particularly affectionate, she was an excellent caretaker. She had a good grasp of the maids’ abilities and placed them appropriately without discrimination.
That’s why Armilla didn’t dislike her.
“Yes, please come in.”
The Missus entered the bedroom carrying a small case that seemed to contain medical supplies. She pulled a chair next to the bed and sat down.
“The Doctor said it’s fine, but Luce kept whining and asked me to come and take care of you.”
With an expressionless face, the Missus placed the box on her lap. She opened it and glanced at Armilla.
“Ah….Yes, thank you.”
Armilla uncovered the blanket, under the glance. As she gently lifted the nightgown, her knees showed chaffed marks from the floor. The red scar on her pale skin stood out.
The Missus slightly furrowed her brow at the sight of the wound. Armilla, who noticed the hint, tightened her grip on the skirt.
“I made a mistake while serving His Grace. I should have stepped back in time. That’s why I stumbled.”
As the Missus took out the ointment and applied it to the cotton, she raised her head. Armilla hunched her shoulders as she replied under her gaze.
“You know… when serving His Grace.”
The Missus still had a perplexed expression. Armilla faltered and pressed her lips together, unable to say more.
Want to read more? Advanced chapters are available on Patreon:
For update pings, novel discussions and/or to send mistake reports, join our discord server~!