Completed ― Marriage by Contract? No, It’s a Marriage of Convenience – A Countess Who Had Her Engagement Broken Off Lives Vigorously in the Northern Lands

Completed ― Marriage by Contract? No, It’s a Marriage of Convenience – A Countess Who Had Her Engagement Broken Off Lives Vigorously in the Northern Lands

Chapter 1: The Disaster of the Baroness

—Goodbyes come suddenly, even on a sunny spring day.

Under the bright sun, Liddellina was hanging laundry in the mansion’s garden. A refreshing breeze rustled the white shirt.

At that moment, Gilbert, Liddellina’s fiance and the next Viscount, came. Liddellina waved to him grandly. However, his expression was unusually stiff. Yvonne, her cousin, stood next to him. Liddellina tilted her head, wondering what was going on.

With a tense face, Gilbert stopped in front of Liddellina and deliberately opened his mouth.

“Liddellina, I’m sorry. A child has been born between Yvonne and me. Could you please break up with me?”

Liddellina was stunned by the sudden news.

“I… I don’t understand what you’re saying at all.”

Was this some kind of joke?

Yvonne was Liddellina’s sister-in-law (cousin). She didn’t understand why a child had been born between her and her fiance Gilbert.

“I’m really sorry.”

Gilbert bows his head.

“Liddellina, I’m really sorry. We just fell in love with each other.”

Yvonne is crying softly beside Gilbert, and he is supporting her.

“N-No… why?”

Liddellina was planning to marry Gilbert in three months, and she thought she would finally be freed from this house.

After that, she goes to the salon in the mansion in a state of confusion, and sits facing the uncle and aunt. There, she is told that Gilbert and Liddellina’s engagement has been nullified and that Gilbert and Yvonne will now be married.

“I’m already talking to Lord Tunges.”

“Then what should I do?”

Liddellina manages to squeeze out a trembling voice. She doesn’t know if she should be sad or angry. She is confused by the sudden news. She doesn’t even know when they fell in love.

For the past few years, Liddellina has been living a cramped and inconvenient life, taking care of her uncle and aunt. She was planning to marry her childhood friend Gilbert in three months and build a warm home like her father and mother. But now…

“Liddellina, can’t you step back for the sake of the child she’ll give birth to?”

Uncle Michael Drimore says. In the first place, it was Uncle who proposed this engagement, so it’s a selfish conversation.

“Yes, I’ve been taking care of you for free parentless so far, can’t you repay me for that favor? You can’t make Yvonne’s child a fatherless child, right?”

Aunt Minerva says as if it’s natural, taking Yvonne’s side.

Liddellina’s parents passed away five years ago. The only cousin, Kurt, who was Liddellina’s ally, has been studying abroad for three years and is not present here.

“…I understand.”

There was no other way for Liddellina if she wants to continue living in this house, so she answered in the affirmative. Will she continue to be used like a servant, never getting married?

It is clear that Gilbert’s heart, which used to be close to Liddellina, is no longer with her. She knows that no one will extend their hand to her, no matter how much she cries and clings.

Chapter 2: Liddellina’s upbringing

Liddellina’s parents died in a carriage accident when she was 12 years old. After that, her uncle’s family moved into the Dolmore manor and her uncle, who was her father’s brother, inherited the Dolmore manor in place of Liddellina, who was left without parents or siblings. At the same time, Liddellina’s happy childhood came to an end.

It was still good when her cousin Kurt was there. However, he left three years ago under the pretext of studying abroad and did not get along with his indulgent father Michael and his indulgent mother Minerva, who spoiled his sister Yvonne.

Since then, Liddellina’s life has changed significantly. The room she used to use was taken away by Yvonne, and she was confined to the territory without being able to make her social debut. The uncle’s family only occasionally comes to the territory and mostly lives a luxurious life in a townhouse in the capital.

Therefore, Liddellina has had to do various small jobs in the territory in place of her uncle.

However, on the other hand, since the uncle and aunt hold all the money and personnel power, Liddellina has no money to be free and no maids to take care of her. Most of the territory’s servants have been cut down, and Liddellina does everything for herself and is chased every day by cleaning and washing, leading a life no different from that of a servant while handling the affairs of the territory.

Immediately after Kurt left for study abroad, Liddellina was engaged to Gilbert, a childhood friend of the neighboring territory at the recommendation of her uncle. Liddellina had no objections. She even thought that Gilbert was better.

Since they grew up together like siblings, there is no love between them, but after becoming engaged, they began to approach each other with a calm affection. Liddellina was greatly comforted by her relationship with him.

And if they got married, she would be freed from both this house and labor. Before she knew it, she began to dream of that day.

It all began three months ago.

“It’s been a long time. Liddellina, I’m going to have to stay in this obscure territory for a while. Take care of things around here for me.”

Suddenly Yvonne came from the capital. It was unusual for Yvonne, who likes to show off, to come at a time when the social season had just begun.

“Yvonne, how long are you going to stay here?”

This cousin is two years older than Liddellina, but she is not abusive like an aunt and teases Liddellina. She is selfish and uses people, which is depressing.

“Just for the duration of this year’s social season.”

“The social season has just begun, hasn’t it?”

Yvonne always looks forward to the social season.

“You’re so noisy. For various reasons, I’ll have to stay here until the heat dies down. Prepare some tea! You’re not very useful.”

She becomes irritable and hits out. She must have done something in the capital after all. By now, her indulgent uncle and aunt are probably covering up various things she has done.

However, it didn’t take long for Gilbert, who had hardly ever been to the capital, to fall in love with the sophisticated and refined Yvonne.

It was a shock to find out that Gilbert, who Liddellina thought was simple and honest, had a child with Yvonne in just three months.

Chapter 3: The proposal was sudden

One month after the engagement breakup commotion, I was called by the servant while I was cleaning up after dinner.

“Ojo-sama, the master is calling for you.”

“Yes?”

It has not been long since I was called by my uncle. It has been since I was rejected by my childhood friend Gilbert. I don’t want to see his face if I can help it. Liddellina seems confused.

“Come on, don’t be sulky, go quickly!”

The housekeeper of this house said this with a raised eye. The kind housekeeper who had been with us since childhood was replaced when my uncle and aunt came to the house, and was replaced by the servants who treated Liddellina rudely, despite calling her “Ojo-sama”.

However, Yvonne, who liked flashy things, never came to the countryside domain, and occasionally boasted when she met, but she was not as demanding and bullying as her aunt, so she managed to get along well. I never expected to lose my fiance…

As soon as I entered my uncle’s office, I was told at once.

“Actually, I have received a proposal of marriage from you.”

I was shocked. I had resigned myself to the possibility that I might be single for the rest of my life because my engagement had been broken off.

“Is that really true? From whom?”

If I could get out of this suffocating house, I would like to leave immediately, but the only person I can think of is an old man’s second wife.

“From Friedrich-sama of the Weller Duke’s family.”

“What? The Weller Duke’s family?”

Normally, I would be happy to be the bridal carriage. But even Liddellina, who is not well-known in the social world, has heard of the rumors about the Weller Duke.

He is a young general of our country and is called the military god, and is a memorable figure in the royal family, but on the other hand, he is rumored to be a battle maniac in the shadows. He rarely appears in the social world, and although he is said to be beautiful in appearance, Liddellina has never seen him.

It is said that this is a family that has risen thanks to the war, and it is always surrounded by black rumors. However, the Drimore family is a peerage family. Is it not a difference in status?

“Why me, for such a high noble?”

“There is no reason, it is what the other party wishes. You will be happy if you marry into the duke’s family.”

“What?”

The wounds from the broken engagement have not yet healed. In addition, the lord is the rumored icy Duke, who is known for his cruelty and lack of compassion. Despite being wealthy, the 24-year-old duke has never even had a fiancee, I hear.

“We have debts. If the Duke takes you as a wife, he will pay off our debts in your place. This matter is settled. The Duke will visit our house tomorrow. Be sure not to be rude.”

I was shocked to hear about the debts.

“Such… Uncle, what do you mean by debts?”

However, my uncle just waved his hand as if to chase Liddellina away, without answering her.

“The Drimore family owes the Duke a favor. So you should do your best with all your heart.”

“I can’t understand.”

“Shut up! You are being offered to someone who broke off your engagement. Moreover, you will not be a concubine or an old man’s second wife. This is an opportunity for you.”

My uncle’s argument is unreasonable. I can’t understand. But before I could ask for details, I was almost chased out of the office.

And at the entrance, Yvonne appeared out of nowhere.

She came into the office with such force that she pushed Liddellina away.

“Father! Is it true that Liddellina is going to marry the Duke’s family! That means, she will be a higher rank than me, who will marry the viscount’s family?”

“Hey, Yvonne, what are you saying!”

My uncle said in surprise.

“That’s ridiculous! Can’t I replace her?”

Yvonne said she loved Gilbert and was about to get married. I wonder what she is talking about. Liddellina was surprised.

“Sister is carrying Gilbert-sama’s child, isn’t she?”

Then her uncle raised his eyes and scolded Liddellina.

“Liddellina, how long are you going to stay there? Go back to work quickly.”

“But, Uncle, Sister…”

Yvonne suddenly grabbed Liddellina’s hand tightly.

“Liddellina, stay here. Father, I will give Gil back to Liddellina. And I will marry into the Dukee’s family. That way, Liddellina will be happy, won’t she?”

I was stunned by my older sister’s words.

“Sister, what does that mean? What about the child in your stomach?”

“Yvonne, be quiet! Can’t you behave properly! Hey, is anyone there! Take Liddellina out of this room.”

Liddellina was forcibly ejected from the office where her uncle was by the servants.

(What is going on? What does it mean to give Gilbert-sama back to me? I’ll ask my sister in the morning)

She was anxious and her heart was pounding, and she couldn’t sleep that night.

However, Liddellina was unable to meet Yvonne the next day. Servants stood in front of Yvonne’s room and she couldn’t even approach. It seemed that she was also locked in her room. A hint of anxiety ran through Liddellina’s heart.

In the end, Liddellina was forced to wear a dress by the maids brought from the townhouse by her aunt, and she waited for the Duke’s visit. She had no picture of him in her mind and was not prepared at all.

In the afternoon, when the tight corset had also lost her appetite, a splendid carriage of the Duke’s family with the General arrived.

Liddellina greeted the Duke with her uncle and aunt at the entrance.

Soon a tall man wearing a cloak got off the four-horse carriage. He had sandy hair like a northern person, and was tall and still young. His deep-featured face was well-proportioned and beautiful.

However, Liddellina’s legs shook with fear at the cold, icy blue eyes that glared around, the faint scar on his forehead, the military uniform peeking out from under the turning cloak, and the sword worn at his waist. It was the first time she had seen a military man.

The Duke took off his sword and handed it to his servant. Seeing this, Liddellina sighed with relief.

“This is, this is, Duke-sama, you have come a long way…”

Ignoring her uncle’s greeting with folded hands, the Duke walked straight to Liddellina with regular, rhythmic footsteps, expressionless. Liddellina stepped back on one side due to the overwhelming impact.

(I won’t be killed just because I was rude, right?)

There was a sharpness in his cold gaze that made my spine shiver.

“Are you Miss Liddellina Drimore?”

“Y-Yes, I am.”

Fearing the cold gaze that seemed to repel the warm sunlight, I tried to bow and greet him while retreating, but he knelt down before I could do so.

“Miss Liddellina Drimore, I have come to propose marriage to you. Please give your consent.”

Without any greeting, I was suddenly asked to marry after confirming the person’s identity. And Liddellina had no choice but to accept.

“Yes.”

She gave her consent in a strained voice with a disappearing voice.

Chapter 4: I cannot love you

Then, the two sat across from each other in the salon, taking a distance. For some reason, the Duke refused the presence of his uncle and aunt and cousin.

As the maid went to brew tea, he opened his mouth as if on cue.

“There is something I want to say to you before we get engaged.”

“What is it?”

I get nervous when I face this person. The Duke has been expressionless and emotionless since earlier, making me wonder if he has no feelings or if there is something that he dislikes.

“I cannot love you. So please don’t try to love me either.”

The first impression is the worst.

Although I was surprised by his words, I was not shocked that much. He has assets but has no female presence or even an engagement partner until the age of 24…

In addition, Liddellina herself has not recovered from Gilbert’s betrayal, so she thought she could not love anyone.

However, I wonder if it is really okay to say such things honestly on a first meeting. It is extremely rude. Could it not be wrapped in a little more of a veil?

“Why do you say such things?”

With a mixture of fear and unshakeable pride and curiosity, I ask with a trembling voice. I am not comfortable with this person’s sense of intimidation.

“I heard that you have just broken off your engagement and your heart still remains with your engagement partner.”

An impolite person who is rude and blunt.

“Yes.”

Perhaps because of that, I readily affirm it for some reason.

“It doesn’t matter if you continue to harbor those feelings of love.”

“Yes?”

“It is desirable for us to have a marriage where we do not interfere with each other. This is essentially a contract. If you will listen to the conditions I will now state and exchange certificates, I will assume your family’s debts.”

The face he speaks with is totally emotionless and as cold as ice. It is truly chilling. The future is uncertain, but because there are debts, this engagement cannot be broken off.

“I understand.”

When Liddellina agrees, the Duke nods.

“I cannot sleep when there is someone else in the bedroom. I can cope with work, but I do not want to include others in my private life. Therefore, I will give you a separate mansion within the property. I do not want you to come in without any need when I am in the main mansion.”

In other words, he does not want Liddellina in the main mansion.

“Then it’s like I’m a mistress in a prison cell.”

The fear I initially felt is now overshadowed by anger and doubt. What kind of marriage is this? However, the Duke’s expression does not change at all.

“I will treat you with care as my wife. The staff in the mansion understands me. I do not want anyone else close. Therefore, I would like to have separate rooms.”

Although I did not expect it at all, it was shocking.

“Does this mean that you will not have a successor with me?”

“I will do my best to protect your honor in this matter. I am also a knight of this country, so I am willing to suffer the wounds of battle and be unable to have children if necessary. And at an appropriate time, I will choose an adoptive child from among my relatives. So if you don’t like this marriage, I don’t mind breaking it off. You have the right to choose. In return, I will not let you lead a life of inconvenience. You can make a new lover if you like. Of course, I would prefer not to have it done openly, and I will not recognize any children born between you and that man as members of the Weller family.”

I was completely denied as a woman. Even being dumped by Gilbert showed me that I have no charm. My heart froze knowing that I’m not really wanted. However, what would it be like to not leave my blood as a noble?

“Why would you go to such trouble to…”

Why you want to marry me so much

Chapter 5: An absurd reason for marriage

“I inherited the title, so I can’t spend my whole life as a single person. The ministers are clamoring to marry off their daughters to me. I don’t want to be involved in such political things. Also, some of my relatives are a bit scheming. When I was away on a campaign before, they took advantage of my territory. As a military person, if a war starts, I’ll head to the battlefront. That’s why I want to entrust my territory to you while I’m away.”

(Entrust my territory to you while I’m away?)

Shocked, I blinked in surprise at the unexpected words.

“Is that because you trust me?”

“No, I had a background check done, but I don’t know your inner self. However, based on your status, I don’t think you would commit such a heinous crime. Of course, if you commit a crime in my territory, I will give you the appropriate punishment. In my territory, I have the right to hold a trial. By the way, the maximum punishment in my own territory is death by hanging if you commit a crime.”

He glared at me as if to intimidate me.

I shuddered. This person was a military person who had run through many battlefields. I instinctively understood that he was truly a killer.

“Also, if I have a noble wife, my relatives won’t be able to take advantage of my territory as they please. Instead, I will shoulder the debt from your parents’ home and give you an allowance to be free with. It’s enough money to buy jewelry and dresses. I won’t make you live in poverty. During the social season, you accompany me. Afterwards, you can do as you please with shopping or tea parties. As long as you properly do your work in the territory, I don’t care if you play around in the capital. This is a contract and a deal.”

In other words, he chose a daughter of a low-ranking noble family rather than a daughter of a high-ranking noble family. Without thinking, I tightly grasped the fan in my hand.

“So, in other words, I was convenient as a marriage partner?”

Although I thought it was rude, I couldn’t stay silent.

“That’s right.”

He didn’t move a single eyebrow. His voice was flat. Had he lost his heart somewhere?

“By the way, I don’t have experience in managing a territory, so what should I do?”

Liddellina somehow suppressed her emotions and immediately switched to a business-like conversation.

“Is that so? I heard that you were a very hardworking person who ran this territory. Well, it’s okay. You’ll learn from now on, and we have a trustworthy steward at our house, so it’s fine.”

“Then, shouldn’t I leave it to the trustworthy steward?”

“They are commoners. They can’t stop the tyranny of my noble relatives. During the previous war, when I was away, my relatives beheaded the servants on their own and embezzled a large amount of money. However, if I have a noble wife, it’s a different story.”

Liddellina was surprised. What an outrageous relative.

“You want me to stop them?”

Could I stop such greedy relatives? Would I be belittled as a daughter of a low-ranking noble family? There was only anxiety about the future.

“If you become my wife, I won’t let my relatives into the territory. In the first place, they like the capital. If they don’t want money, they won’t come to this cold and remote territory. Think of the allowance I give you as a salary, and if you properly fulfill your duties, I’ll give you a proper reward and bonus.”

In other words, this is an employment contract under the name of marriage. He is the employer under the name of husband.

Maybe it would be better to accept his conditions and make the best of it, rather than being single and bothered by this family and eventually being sent to a convent. If I think of it as not a marriage but a job, it’s a pretty good deal.

“What if I were taken in by your relatives?”

Then he smiled thinly at the corner of his mouth. Ah, this person can also smile, I thought. That expression was quite eerie and added to his strangeness…

“My relatives won’t do such sneaky things. They are more likely to try to exclude you rather than take you in. Whether you accept this marriage or not, I don’t want any other words about this matter. It’s a shame within the family.”

I feel pressure from the Duke in front of me. The temperature around me seems to have dropped by about 5 degrees. I understand well enough without being told. I don’t speak because I value my life.

Gilbert is quite different in type. Gilbert is a gentle man, but the Duke is a large and handsome man. Despite his beautiful appearance, the coldness and fear are ahead of the beauty. Even if he’s silent or smiling, he’s frightening.

“I will absolutely not talk about it. Even if I do, who will believe me? I may be seen as unfairly lowering the Duke family.”

He is rumored to be a combat maniac and has no charm with women, so he is called the Ice Dukee, but on the other hand, he is highly valued for his achievements in battle and has gained trust from the royalty and nobility. It is self-evident who trusts what others say. Daughters of barons and earls are no different from sticks.

“It’s helpful to understand quickly.”

Saying that, he closed his mouth. His face was sharp, but he seemed to have little emotion.

The Duke family owns vast territories. To be honest, I want to refuse because the burden is too great, but it is impossible for my uncle, the current owner, to be interested.

If my older cousin is here, he might have become an ally. But now there was no one to rely on.

After the Duke finished talking, he left the gift for Liddellina’s marriage and quickly returned, like a blizzard that suddenly attacked.

Chapter 6: Uncle’s family’s secret discussion

Liddellina spent the night restlessly in bed. She can only feel anxious about this marriage.

However, she couldn’t sleep and went out to the hallway, where she saw light coming from the salon. Is someone awake? As she approached, she heard voices.

It seemed that her uncle and aunt and cousin were awake too.

“Why is that woman marrying the Duke? But I’m marrying a Viscount. I’ve only seen him once at a ball. He is very beautiful, but he has never shown interest in any ladies before, so why Liddellina? I’m more beautiful.”

“You should stop talking about him like that.”

Unusually, she heard her uncle scold Yvonne.

“Why?”

“There are rumors that he surrounds himself with prostitutes and is not interested in women, only men. It’s said to be common in the military.”

“Well, even if that’s true, I have money. Wouldn’t it be better if I went?”

“Liddellina was chosen by the Duke.”

“What, why?”

Yvonne exclaimed in surprise.

“It seems you are not recognized as a proper member of the Drimore family.”

“What are you talking about? What do you mean?”

“Since my younger brother and his wife passed away, I inherited the family’s leadership, but you, our family were originally commoners. So you were rejected. Only I, my late wife’s son Kurt, and Liddellina are nobles in this house.”

“That’s ridiculous! We are real nobles.”

“It’s too much just because I’m the mother-in-law!”

Minerva and Yvonne protest.

“That’s the custom in this country. You are not recognized as nobles.”

“But we are invited to balls and treated as ladies by the nobles.”

“That’s the same for daughters of big merchants, actresses and actors as well. And Yvonne, didn’t you steal Gilbert from Liddellina because you liked him?”

“That’s not…I just entertained him when I was bored. Gilbert, that hillbilly, fell in love with me on his own and left Liddellina. Whenever I’m slightly friendly, men misunderstand and approach me.”

Upon hearing this, Otto sighs.

“Even if Liddellina gets married, she will be a decorative wife, and I hear that the duke’s territory is closed off by snow and ice in the winter. It’s already difficult to go out to the capital city. It’s not for you. Give up.”

“But she will be the wife of the duke’s family. Besides, that man is revered as a military god by the people for his past battles. It is said that as long as he is in this country, it will not be threatened by other countries. He has status, honor, and assets, so he can be extravagant. Are you going to just let Liddellina have all that?”

“You’re being deceived by the title of general and the position of duke. He is a simple man who hates flashy things, and he’s just a war freak. And I hear that his territory is a very cold place. Even if you get married, you can’t expect a glamorous life.”

“Can’t I just stay in a townhouse in the capital city?”

Yvonne says as if it’s a given.

“It’s not that simple.”

Uncle groans with a voice like a growl.

“In the first place, we should have accepted the marriage proposal from the elderly earl who came earlier. It’s presumptuous for that girl to be the duke’s wife!”

Aunt regretfully says.

“It can’t be helped. The duke’s family offered much better conditions for the marriage proposal. And this is also because we have debts in this house.”

She entertained Gilbert just because she was bored?

Eavesdropping is something only lowlifes do. However, Liddellina’s legs couldn’t move from the spot as if they were rooted. She was so angry she couldn’t help it. She bites her lip in frustration.

Besides, Liddellina was sold to the one who offered a higher price between the Earl and the Duke.

The Duke is cold-blooded and calls marriage a contract. If it’s something that can be given away, Liddellina wants to give it to Yvonne anytime.

He chose Liddellina, who has been of noble blood for generations, only for the purpose of controlling presumptuous relatives.

◇◇◇

Before half a month had passed since the Duke of Weller visited, Liddellina was told to get on the grand carriage of the Duke’s family and head to the capital city to marry the Duke.

Friedrich was busy, so it was the butler of the Weller family who came to pick her up.

“I didn’t expect such sudden news.”

Marriages of high noble families require various preparations, and Liddellina thought the engagement period would be longer.

“Yes, my lord is in a hurry to get married. That’s because in our Northweller territory winter comes earlier than the capital city and the cold is severe, so we have to prepare for winter before or after the end of the social season.”

“Prepare for winter?”

The Northweller territory ruled by the Weller family is located in the north of the kingdom, and it takes more than five days one way to get to the capital city. The Drimore family’s territory is small, but it only takes two days to go to the capital city.

“There are many things we have to do, such as procuring firewood, preserving food, and reinforcing buildings, and we can’t make it in time. So if we miss this time, the marriage will be postponed until next year or later.”

Liddellina doesn’t quite understand, but it seems there are various circumstances in the duke’s family.

Liddellina marries the Weller family with nothing but the clothes on her back, and the baron’s family will prepare everything from the wedding dress to the decorations. In addition, they will pay off the debts of the Drimore family. This marriage is a lifeline for the uncle’s family.

Liddellina looks out the window of the carriage, but she doesn’t feel any sentimental attachment to the territory she will never return to. She feels that this place, where her parents are no longer alive, is no longer her hometown.

She feels that the most important place has been damaged by the uncle’s family, and with a little sense of liberation in her heart, Liddellina left the territory where she was born and raised.

Chapter 7: From the hectic wedding to the evening party

The Weller Duke family owned a much larger and grand townhouse than the Drimore family. They headed towards the entrance by carriage from the gate.

Friedrich, who was supposed to be her husband, greeted her, but it was only a formality. He didn’t even smile and immediately took her to his office. She had prepared herself, but it seemed she wasn’t welcomed after all.

Liddellina was guided by the house steward and walked up the large central staircase in the entrance hall, down the long corridor with a high ceiling, and came to the front of the large double doors.

“This is Liddellina-sama’s room.”

When the steward opened the door, Liddellina saw a comfortable-looking sofa and chairs sitting around an intricately designed tea table. And in the large ceramic vase were large red and pink flowers that seemed to welcome Liddellina’s arrival. Then, she was shown to the bedroom, which had a beautiful bed with a canopy covered in layers of cloth. Liddellina was overwhelmed by the luxury and was confused.

(Are you welcomed by any chance…?)

After having some tea and taking a break, the fitting for the wedding dress began. It was a luxurious one with pearls decorating the pure white dress and satin fabric that shone. Liddellina was amazed by the pearls and diamonds. It was so expensive that she couldn’t believe she was going to wear it and felt like it was someone else’s.

After that, Liddellina received an explanation of the procedures for the ceremony, went to the temple to hold the wedding ceremony and greet the priests, and exchanged formal vows in front of the priests three days later. It was a simple wedding ceremony that didn’t seem fitting for the Duke family, except for Liddellina’s lavish wedding dress…

Things were so chaotic that Liddellina couldn’t fully grasp the reality that she had become someone’s wife.

She was unable to adjust to the sudden marriage and the big change in environment. In this unfamiliar life, she felt like she was left behind.

◇◇◇

The servants were all kind and hardworking, taking care of Liddellina, but she communicated with her husband through the steward. Was he really not interested in seeing his wife, or was he truly the eccentric person rumored to be?… In this uncertain state, Liddellina didn’t know how to behave in the mansion.

In addition, the terms of the marriage were strange.

The contract that Liddellina made with the Duke was to take care of the territory while he was away and protect the territory and the servants from his demanding relatives.

Meals were naturally separate for husband and wife, and it was difficult to talk directly even when there was business, so communication through written messages was quite a challenge for 18-year-old Liddellina.

She was sad and hurt when she thought he might dislike her or be distant because he was her husband. If that was the case, it would be better to accept him as just her employer.

“In other words, something like the head of the servants… I wonder?”

Liddellina muttered to herself as she drank her post-dinner tea.

◇◇◇

Three days later, she participated in a night party held at the royal palace. It was also Liddellina’s debut. Friedrich gave her a champagne-colored, luxurious dress and a large emerald necklace decorated with diamonds that was fitting for a Duke’s wife. It had sleeves that flared in the latest fashionable design.

The outfit and decorations looked great against Liddellina’s soft light brown hair and young grass-colored eyes.

The pearls and diamonds she received at the wedding were also wonderful, but she couldn’t help but wonder if it was okay to be given so much when she was in debt. These were the first things she had ever worn. Even the undergarments were smooth and comfortable.

Her maids styled her hair and put on her makeup, and she was praised with “Okusama, you look beautiful.” This calmed her nervousness and lifted her mood.

Then, the couple rode in the same carriage for the first time and headed to the royal palace. There was some business to discuss in the carriage, but the atmosphere was awkward and mostly silent between them.

Even when Liddellina expressed her gratitude for the dress and decorations, her husband just nodded and his response was weak. Liddellina’s mood quickly wilted.

Liddellina got out of the carriage and was escorted by Friedrich to the venue. His escort was a little awkward, and he seemed to be unfamiliar with women. In fact, he seemed to avoid getting too close to Liddellina and kept a proper distance between them. It felt like he was afraid of her, rather than disliked.

(… Could it be?)

Liddellina looked up at her tall husband with a puzzled expression.

He showed no signs of tension, but there was no gap in his appearance and she couldn’t find a single opening for conversation.

When they first met, he said he preferred a relationship where they didn’t interfere with each other. So was it forbidden to talk privately?

Liddellina quietly sighed at her husband, who was as closed off as a shell. She would be with him for a long time. Although she couldn’t be a normal couple with him, she had thought she wanted to shorten the distance between them, but it seemed impossible for now.

After greeting the nobles who were acquaintances of the Weller Duke’s family, Liddellina was introduced to Sir Tony Andrea, who was a colleague and knight of Friedrich’s. He had served as Friedrich’s deputy on the battlefield and had a long association with him. Tony was a cheerful person, unlike Friedrich, and Liddellina thought that there must be various types of military men.

Then, she danced with Friedrich. He wasn’t a bad dancer, but his lead was somewhat awkward. She had heard that he didn’t socialize much. He seemed to be unfamiliar with dancing.

While Liddellina was thinking about this, he whispered something to her.

“I’m a soldier. I don’t know when anything will happen. If something happens, rely on Tony.”

When Liddellina looked up in surprise, the dance was over.

After that, he was immediately called to the royal seats. It seems that his achievements in the war two years ago are recognized and he is now trusted by the royal family. He is seriously talking with the second prince of this country.

By the way, this is the first time that Liddellina has come to the capital’s evening party. It was much more glamorous than she imagined and it felt like she had come to another world.

Before she could prepare her heart, everything felt like a dream because she got married without much preparation and the reality was vague and fluffy. Maybe that’s why. She didn’t feel as nervous as she thought, and there was little tension.

Since there was nothing to do standing alone, Liddellina moved to the wall. She received a drink from the servant and sat down, and since there was nothing to do, she nibbled on a fox-colored baked confectionery. The butter melts fragrantly in her mouth. She had never eaten such a delicious baked confectionery before.

I reached out for the appetizer on the next plate. Liddellina pounded her tongue because it was so delicious. Just being able to eat this dish was worth coming to the palace.

However, the ladies had been observing Liddellina for a while and no one approached her. It is rumored that she is the daughter who was taken away from her commoner stepsister by her fiancé, and then immediately sold to the dukes’ family. On top of that, there is a difference in status in their marriage.

Everyone seems to be measuring their distance from Liddellina. There are even rumors that she will be divorced soon. The socialites love gossip that surpasses what they hear. With a fan covering her mouth, they laugh and say “that girl is just a decorative wife” with a fake smile, and Liddellina begins to feel somewhat uncomfortable.

“Liddellina.”

When she is called by name and looks up, she sees Yvonne. Hadn’t Yvonne said that she wouldn’t be participating in social events this year because of some mishap?

Either way, Yvonne is the last person Liddellina wanted to see after leaving her hometown.

Chapter 8: Soiree 1

Yvonne wears the latest fashionable dress despite the Drimore family’s debts. Liddellina clenched her own dress in frustration because she was sold to the noble house for that reason.

However, I suddenly returned to myself and wondered. Is it okay to tighten your body with a corset when you have a baby in your stomach?

“Poor girl. Being abandoned at the evening party, even though you just married Friedrich-sama, things are not going well for you.”

Yvonne’s face twisted with a sense of superiority. She was contemptuous of Liddellina, who married into the noble house because she was a noble.

“Yvonne, I brought a cake.”

Gilbert came there.

“Thank you, Gil.”

However, Gilbert stiffens when he sees Liddellina sitting in front of Yvonne. Yvonne must have intentionally targeted this timing. That’s like her.

“Your husband doesn’t even bring you food?”

She asks with a worried look.

“My husband is very busy with work.”

When Liddellina answers calmly, Yvonne clicks her tongue and frowns.

“Ara, you mean to tell me Gil’s not busy?”

Until now, she had shown no interest in Liddellina beyond mocking her as a country bumpkin, but now that she has decided to marry a Duke, she has become persistently obsessed.

“I didn’t say that.”

She answers in as calm a tone as possible.

I don’t know what touches her nerves. If you cause a fuss in a place like this, it will be a shame on top of shame. Even so, I don’t want to make a big deal of it because there are already curious gazes around me.

“You just said it. Hey, Gil, you heard her too.”

My older sister (cousin) makes a fuss to attract attention. I’m impressed that she has survived in the social scene with such a personality.

“Sister, please don’t do that here.”

I said it quietly but clearly. I can’t cause a fuss and cause trouble for my husband so soon after getting married.

“You’re jealous because Gil doesn’t love you, so you’re trying to make me jealous.”

How can someone have such a selfish and arrogant thought? I absolutely don’t want to be like her, taking away other people’s things and satisfying a sense of superiority.

“I’m not jealous at all.”

I have to clearly deny it because I am a new bride. I suppress my angry feelings and speak as calmly as possible.

Then Gilbert steps in front of Yvonne.

“Liddellina, I understand your feelings, but I’m the one to blame. So, please don’t stimulate Yvonne. It’s an important time now.”

(What do you understand?)

His words and gaze are filled with compassion as he protects Yvonne, stabbing Liddellina’s heart.

Just a little while ago, Gilbert was the only ally of Liddellina. However, if he becomes confused here, she will be caught in Yvonne’s mercy. Liddellina tried to straighten out her feelings.

“Isn’t it because you made a fool of her by saying she was an actress’s daughter?”

Liddellina opened her eyes wide at Gilbert’s unfamiliar excuse. She had heard that Yvonne’s mother was an unsuccessful actress in the past, but she was not particularly interested. Did he leave Liddellina for that reason?

Liddellina never thought of her older sister as a threat and made a fool of her. Gilbert believed Yvonne’s lie without even confirming it with Liddellina. He must have been instantly captivated by her urbanity and flamboyance.

Although I have known Gilbert for a long time, I wonder why I couldn’t even build a minimal trust relationship with him. What was I lacking…

However, now is more important than that, how to calm this place down. Liddellina is already a member of the Weller noble house. She must behave in a way that does not shame the family name. Her heart screams with pain, but she somehow swallows it and raises her face, which was about to bow down, and firmly looks at the two of them. However, for some reason, they are looking in another direction.

“What’s the fuss?”

Friedrich’s cold voice was heard. When she noticed, he was standing behind Liddellina.

“Ah, Friedrich-sama, Liddellina is still thinking about my fiancé Gil, and it’s bothering me. I don’t know what to do.”

Yvonne’s statement was frightening.

Is she planning to shame Friedrich, who saved the Drimore family from debt?

Chapter 9: Soiree 2

What do you plan to do if you are told to cancel your marriage to the Earl of Weller at the royal palace-sponsored ball after being so embarrassed here? And you have even received a luxurious dress and decorations. Liddellina’s face turned pale with fear.

However, Friedrich scolds Yvonne’s words with a cold voice.

“Are you making a fool of me and my family? Liddellina and I vowed eternal love in front of a clergyman. Who allowed you, who lacks common sense, to call me by my first name? Why are you here at this ball if you have no sense of propriety? It’s insulting. Get out of here immediately.”

The surroundings fall silent.

Liddellina trembled at Friedrich’s pressure and watched the course of events with a fixed stare.

“Such…I am Liddellina’s cousin and sister-in-law. Friedrich-sama, aren’t we relatives?”

“Stop it! Please stop, Yvonne!”

Gilbert, who quickly comes to his senses, becomes pale blue and desperately tries to stop Yvonne. However, Yvonne is unaware of the gravity of the situation. On the contrary, she is angry and glares at Liddellina, her cheeks flushed. At that moment, the Viscount of Tunges rushed over, pushing people aside and panting.

“Well, who could have thought it was the legitimate son of the Tunges family. The Tunges family has also fallen.”

The viscount, who was much older than Friedrich, bowed down to Friedrich’s cold voice and dignity.

“My Lord Duke, I apologize for my son’s foolishness…I’m sorry.”

He apologized in a trembling voice. Even the proud Viscountess of Tunges came with her face turning blue and immediately bowed her head and apologized, saying, “Please forgive us.” It was then that Yvonne finally noticed the atmosphere of the place and changed her expression.

“Why? Excuse me?”

However, there is no one to answer. Gilbert also keeps his head down, so Yvonne nervously looks around. The Viscount of Tunges opens his mouth without looking back at Yvonne.

“This girl has nothing to do with our family. It is a foolish mistake. I will cut ties with her immediately, so please forgive me.”

The Viscount discarded Yvonne as easily as he did with Liddellina. He said he had a child, but what will he do?

Yvonne collapsed and fainted on the spot. She always faints when things go wrong. This time might be an act. She doesn’t want to admit her wrongdoing and thinks someone will take care of the aftermath.

Amid the bowed heads of the Tunges family, Friedrich spoke in a heavy tone.

“I’ll ignore this time, but there won’t be a next time. Quickly take that unpleasant woman out of here.”

They quickly left, dragging Yvonne along with them.

Friedrich glared at the nobles gathered around him, and they hesitated for a moment, but then returned to the noise of the ball as if nothing had happened, with indifferent faces.

Surely tomorrow, this rumor would be all over. Liddellina didn’t feel like appearing at a social gathering again.

However, her feelings for Gilbert rapidly cooled. Until now, she had somehow felt that there had been some misunderstanding between them. But that was just Liddellina’s selfish illusion.

“Well, I have finished my greetings and business, so I will take my leave. You should still enjoy the night in the capital.”

Liddellina turned her eyes to the Duke’s words.

“Huh…?”

What can you enjoy in this situation? Without waiting for a response, he turns his mantle for formal wear and leaves.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Liddellina mutters softly and hurries to chase after him.

Even though it was for the Duke’s family, Liddellina had been in a desperate situation and he had helped her, so she had not said a single word of gratitude and had to apologize for her cousin’s rudeness. Or rather, she wanted him not to leave the venue and leave her alone as the new bride. Enjoying the cuisine served at the palace alone in this situation? It’s not a joke.

She quickly chased after him and came out into an unpopular corridor from the night venue. His feet, which made a crunching sound with military boots and walked with a wide stride, were fast.

“Please wait, my husband.”

Liddellina reached him, out of breath, and when she placed her hand on his arm, he was startled and quickly shook it off. Liddellina opened her eyes wide at the strong rejection.

Then he said, as if he was surprised.

“I’m sorry. I don’t like to make contact with people. Please don’t touch me without notice.”

His expression is hard to read, but it seems he is apologizing and there was no malice. However, it is certain that she was hurt.

“…Please tell me things like that in advance.”

Liddellina drops her shoulders and says dejectedly. The emerald necklace hanging down on her neck feels unusually heavy.

Maybe he doesn’t hate people, but rather a dislike. No, but could someone who leads an army and fights be such a thing? She is confused by his words and actions.

“So what do you need me for?”

The Duke asks with a look of deep wonder, and Liddellina feels like she is about to cry, but somehow she manages to gather her strength.

“My cousin was rude earlier. I apologize. And thank you for your help.”

“I have only done what is naturally expected of me as a member of the ducal family.”

“Yes, I am aware. However, I still wanted to offer my apologies and gratitude.”

“You are very obedient. I have to go to work now, so I will be leaving. You can stay as long as you like.”

“I will also be leaving.”

Liddellina firmly stated. This situation was unbearable for her.

“Is that okay? I will be going to the territory after this, so I won’t be able to attend such glamorous evening parties for a while.”

It was not his intention to hurt Liddellina. She felt like something was missing from this person.

It was her first time meeting this type of person and she didn’t know how to interpret it. However, the answer was clear.

“No, I will be leaving. I am not comfortable in such a place. Of course, if it is my husband’s command, I will continue to participate. That is our agreement.”

“No, you can do as you please with the evening party. I just thought it would be a nice break before you leave for the territory. In the territory, it is closed off by snow and ice in the winter, and there is nothing in the capital that young ladies would enjoy.”

From the content of the words, it was possible to feel a faint sense of consideration, but nothing could be read from his voice or cold expression.

Liddellina walked cautiously down the hallway, keeping a distance from her husband. She didn’t want to ruin his mood, and if he really rejected her, she might get seriously hurt.

It would be nice if she could find a comfortable distance with him someday.

Liddellina thought this way and followed him down the hallway of the palace, where the shadow of the candlelight swayed.

Chapter 10: To the Northern Territory

Two days later, Liddellina set off on a journey to the territory with Friedrich. Naturally, the carriage was separate.

As expected, she was able to avoid him. However, a week after the long journey ended, she thought it would have been better to have faced him and talked with the expressionless Friedrich without spending long hours in the same carriage, which was torture.

However, the most amazing thing was that as soon as they entered the territory, the road called the country road continued to shake and the carriage swayed, causing Liddellina to suffer from carriage sickness.

In addition, there were no inns, and they had to camp for two nights while continuing their journey. Even though it was still summer, the cold in the morning and evening was painful.

The dukedom was also far from the capital, but since the neighboring dukedom was thriving, there was no need to camp out on the way to the capital.

It seems that the territory is large, but it is unsettling to go to an undeveloped land. Of course, the Northweller soldiers who came with servants and guards took care of me, so I was not too inconvenienced.

I left the capital on the seventh day and entered the Weller Duke’s territory. It is said that his ancestors protected this land from the people called the barbarians.

The carriage advances towards the castle on a cobblestone road. The town does not have a desolate atmosphere, but it is not lively either.

Then, as the carriage ran further towards the small hill, the Weller Duke’s castle came into view. It has a rough stone appearance and looks more like a fortress than a castle, with a cold feeling. In the back, a strange tower that looks like a watchtower pierces the pale blue sky.

Passing through the castle gate, it splits into two paths. Friedrich heads towards the castle called the main house. The carriage carrying Liddellina goes to another house. This is according to the contract, but Liddellina was not able to greet her husband while still in the carriage.

However, when Liddellina got off the carriage at the other house, she was surprised. A three-story beautiful mansion was built in front of a well-maintained garden.

Stepping into the spacious entrance, the chandelier reflects and swings with dazzling light in the atrium. The interior is elaborate and the floor is warm with parquet.

A fluffy carpet was laid in the salon that was led to, and even a dedicated servant for the other house was provided. It seems that she is welcomed…

She had forgotten the shocking contents of the marriage contract because it was too much, but he did say that he would treat Liddellina as a wife with courtesy.

Even if the other party is the daughter of a baron, he seems to be a man who keeps his promises.

“Okusama, if you have finished unpacking, would you like some tea?”

Dorothy, Liddellina’s exclusive maid whom she met for the first time today, asks with a bright smile.

In the baron’s household, the maids treated her negligently after her cousin went abroad, and Liddellina did everything from laundry to preparing meals herself, but everyone here is very kind and helpful.

The duke’s behavior is cold, and he did not see Liddellina’s face during the long journey, but she was feeling depressed under the cold sky of the north. However, considering the kindness of this treatment, there may not be any malice. He must be that kind of person.

Maybe I can manage to do it somehow. A feeling of gratitude has sprouted in Liddellina, who has been drifting so far.

***

While enjoying the fragrant tea and simple baked sweets unique to the north, Dorothy approached her.

“Okusama, you must be tired from the long journey. Would you like a bath?”

Liddellina’s body was covered in dust from the journey, including the camping, and she was exhausted, so she was happy to have a bath. At her home, she only wiped her body, and she had not been in a bathtub for a long time.

“Yes, please.”

Before the bath, Dorothy brought fruit water. It was a very kind consideration.

“Okusama. The bath house is ready, so please come this way.”

“Bath house? Not a bathtub?”

Liddellina was confused by the words she heard for the first time.

“Yes, the bath house is the pride of the Weller family. Please try it out.”

Dorothy guided Liddellina and went down to the basement from the first floor. After walking down the chilly stone corridor for a while, when she opened the door at the end, steam rose, and on the other side of the marble floor, there was a spacious bath that was rectangularly cut out. It seemed that five or six people could easily enter.

“W-What is this?”

I gape at the bath filled with hot water.

“This is a hot spring. In the past, it was used to heal the injuries of soldiers and for the convalescence of nobles and ladies after childbirth.”

“How wonderful. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

I was moved to the point where my voice shook.

“This is normal in the northern duke’s house. There is also a hot spring in the first floor guest room. There is a small bathhouse in Okusama’s room on the second floor, but unfortunately, it is not a hot spring.”

“I-Is that so? That’s amazing. I never expected to have a bathhouse instead of a bathtub in my room.”

“If the first floor with the hot spring is okay, I can move your room there.”

“N-No need. I really like the view from here.”

That was the truth. Liddellina’s room had a view of the garden. They definitely prepared the best room for me.

“That’s all right. Here’s your clothes, Okusama.”

I was served by someone for the first time in a long time and took a bath.

I was a little embarrassed, but I was used to living that way because I had been doing it until three years ago.

It was clear that Liddellina’s treatment had worsened since her cousin went abroad to study. Thinking back, he might have been the only conscience in that house.

I slowly soaked in the bath to heal the fatigue of my journey. It seems that the vague anger and sadness I had until now melted into the water and my feelings were purified. The rising steam was comfortable. I wanted to stay in the bath for a long time, but I got out of the bath because I was told that the water was getting hot.

And cold water prepared for after the bath.

“Wow, that’s great, everything has been prepared.”

Furthermore, I don’t have to take care of my husband.

(Is this happiness… I just don’t have to hope for my husband’s love)

I’m a little worried about rude relatives, but if this is the case, I might get some change back…

***

And I drank a soup with a clear red color that is unique to this region during my solo dinner. When I put sour cream in it, the beautiful ruby color becomes muddy, but the sourness is just right and the taste is very good. Meat was also served. It has a simple taste, but it is as delicious as a royal meal.

Meat must be a valuable thing in the northern region. Liddellina directly thanked the servant and the chef for their kindness.

At the end of the tea after dinner, a young steward named Howard came from the main house. He was in his mid-twenties. Unlike the owner here, he was a friendly young man with a smile on his face all the time.

“Okusama, I will be in charge of Okusama’s education. May I start the lessons on land management tomorrow? Or would you prefer to get used to the territory here first?”

His words were soft and I felt grateful for his kindness.

“From tomorrow, please. Thank you.”

There is no point in delaying such things. I decided to start studying immediately.

(My husband has fulfilled his promises more than enough. Then, I will do the same…)

Chapter 11: Is life in the territory going well?

Two weeks have passed since she came to the territory. Her studies are going well, and she has also learned about the local specialties. She has not seen Friedrich since leaving the capital, but she is not worried.

She has been given high-quality dresses to wear, and she does not lack for anything to wear. Above all, she does not have to prepare her own food, and if she wants, she can take a bath in a spacious hot spring every day. There is also a bath in her room if she wants to take a quick bath.

Dorothy said the tub was small, but compared to the bathtub, it was much wider and she could relax with her legs stretched out.

This wonderful environment is a world of difference from before. She already likes it here. All the servants are kind and make good conversation partners. Or will she eventually be unable to endure the loneliness and loneliness of not being loved by her husband if she continues for a long time?

(No, probably not…)

Her husband has a handsome appearance, but he has a scar on his face and a sense of intimidation, so she doesn’t really want to see him if she can avoid it… maybe?

However, she wants to tell him directly, rather than in a letter, about the good treatment and gratitude she feels for this.

***

During a break from studying, she drank tea and happened to look out the window, and the tower that always stood tall towards the sky caught her eye. It is a fine one, but it seems abandoned with no sign of people.

“Dorothy, is that tower not in use?”

“Yes, she heard that it used to be used by His Lordship when enemies would attack this territory, but now it has been closed.”

“I see…”

Liddellina’s family mansion is not a castle, but just a large house. Therefore, there is no gate and no tower. So she was somewhat curious.

However, since she has been assigned a place to live, she cannot go out on her own. In addition, this separate residence is too spacious for Liddellina to live in alone, and even has a garden. There is no further luxury.

“I would like to see the inside someday.”

“I heard that it is dangerous because it has not been maintained for many years.”

“Yes, that’s too bad.”

Liddellina quenched her curiosity there and returned to studying. she has to work as the acting lord of the territory while her husband is away from the territory. He is a soldier and she doesn’t know what might happen, so she wanted to learn as much as possible as soon as possible.

Suddenly, she felt like she heard a distant howl of a wolf in the middle of the night and Liddellina woke up with a start. It was still not dawn.

She couldn’t fall asleep and got out of bed, opened the curtains and saw a big full moon floating in the night sky. It was not beautiful, but rather eerie, in a pale red moon. The tower stood quietly under the falling starry sky. she felt a fleeting light pass by there.

Liddellina stared intently. No mistake. The light was flickering and moving on the top of the tower.

Dorothy said for sure that the spire was closed. Could it be thieves? No, there is no way thieves could invade from such a high gate. There are also Weller’s private soldiers and tough gatekeepers here. Thinking that far, Liddellina became scared and quickly closed the curtains.

“No way… a ghost?”

That night, she crept into bed trembling.

***

“Okusama, there is a letter from the capital.”

In the afternoon, Dorothy brought two letters. Without being told, she prepared tea and cake with consideration. she came to trust her without realizing it. At the same time, her husband’s presence became faint.

When she looked at the address, one was from her uncle and the other was from Gilbert. she was about to throw them away without reading them, thinking it was too late for anything, but she was curious about the matter. she reluctantly cut the seal.

The letter from Gilbert said that Yvonne was suffering. Yvonne had lost her place in society after the Duke blamed her in front of everyone, so Gilbert wanted me to come to the capital in the Duke’s place and apologize to everyone at a ball in front of everyone. she immediately rejected this. she had never thought Gilbert was so foolish.

She was about to throw it into the fire, but she decided to keep it for safekeeping.

After that, she reluctantly cut the seal on her uncle’s letter. However, the content was a little serious, saying that the Duke had broken his promise and would not repay the debt. Could this be punishment for the matter with Yvonne…?

Although she is not inclined to take her uncle’s words seriously, she has to check the truth because she still doesn’t know what kind of person her husband is. After all, she came here to marry into debt.

She immediately asked Howard to arrange a place for me to talk to her husband. she gave him her uncle’s letter at the same time.

The next day, she received a reply in a letter saying that he wanted to wait a little because there were things to confirm. she wanted to meet and see his face, but he still did not seem to want to see her.

To correspond by letter while living on the same property…

***

Chapter 12: Sudden visit

She thinks it’s best to discuss financial matters face to face so that there are no misunderstandings, but if the other party doesn’t want to meet, there’s nothing we can do. She decided to wait a little.

And when Liddellina had finally recovered from the numbness, Friedrich came from the main house.

Since he had said he preferred not to see Liddellina, she didn’t expect him to come directly. she rushed to the salon where he was waiting.

“Husband, thank you for coming all the way to the other mansion…”

“No, the greeting is fine. Sit down.”

“Yes.”

Liddellina sat down on the seat opposite Friedrich, trying to be tense. she had to maintain a moderate distance from him, just a little farther than a person.

Dorothy, who usually accompanies her, was not there, and Howard was somehow pouring tea.

“The contents of this letter are nonsense. I have fulfilled the promise properly.”

Liddellina said sternly.

She was somewhat surprised by these words.

“Does that mean you have already finished paying off that huge debt?”

“Please check.”

He spreads out the documents that serve as proof of payment. Liddellina timidly reached out to them.

The Duke had paid off an incredible amount. The extravagance of the uncle’s family was astounding, and she felt that she understood why her father, who was his younger brother, inherited the title.

Uncle had always talked as if there was a debt to the Drimore family, but her parents had lived a modest life, so she could only think that they had squandered it.

“It’s a promise, so it’s only natural. The repayment was finished on the day we exchanged marriage certificates. The current debt is for new dresses and jewelry that the man’s wife and daughter extravagantly bought.”

“What! They are borrowing money again? I’m sorry for misunderstanding.”

Liddellina was amazed and embarrassed, bowing her head to him.

“No, you probably just wanted to confirm the truth. That’s reasonable. There is no trust between us.”

His expression remained hard and his tone cold, but she found him much more trustworthy than the uncle and aunt.

He kept his promises strictly, and she had no doubt that he trusted me as his wife.

“I’m embarrassed. I’m sorry to have you meet me because of such a thing. Despite the fact that you have been treating me so well all this time.”

Then he tilted his head curiously.

“Treating you well? What do you mean?”

“Well, I have a wonderful mansion, a nice hot spring, kind and attentive servants, and thanks to you, I have a very comfortable life.”

In addition, Friedrich doesn’t interfere, and Liddellina herself doesn’t even think about having a child with him, whom she doesn’t get along with.

Some people might consider it foolish, but if you cut it off, it’s actually a grateful condition. There is no love there.

At least Liddellina’s parents were kind and caring to each other. Maybe because she was raised seeing that, she now thinks a foster child is enough.

However, her husband opened his eyes slightly at her words. It was the first time she knew he could show an expression other than intimidation.

“No, I imposed strange conditions on you and brought you to this inconvenient territory, so it’s only natural. Still, I think it’s not enough.”

This time it was Liddellina’s turn to be surprised. It seemed that he didn’t particularly dislike Liddellina. Was it just that he didn’t like people in general?

However, she couldn’t believe that such a person could lead a life in the army. Or is the army a special place? Liddellina’s thoughts wandered again.

“No, that’s absurd.”

She shook her head in a hurry, denying his words. Above all, she likes the hot spring. As long as that is here, she doesn’t want to leave this place. She doesn’t want to return to a life of bathtubs and wiping herself with water.

“In addition, you became one of us. So there is no need to worry about a home without a place to return to. However, I will give you one piece of advice because I happened to be with you. Call the eldest son of that house back from abroad soon. If you don’t, that parent and child will squander his inheritance and his home will disappear.”

Liddellina gasped.

“…W-What do you mean?”

“That means your uncle and aunt are very disreputable. But the eldest son seems honest.”

It’s just embarrassing.

“As you say. Thank you. I will contact my cousin immediately.”

“Understood. I will have a letter delivered. And regarding the contract and money, I thought it was important to talk face to face, so I came here today, but I hope there won’t be any more of this in the future.”

“Yes, I will remember it in her heart. Thank you for your time.”

Liddellina deeply bowed her head.

Although he doesn’t show it at all, it’s clear that he’s trying to treat his wife politely in his own way.

After that, Liddellina hurriedly wrote a letter urging her cousin to return home.

***

TL: Liddellina’s cousin from abroad is her uncle’s son from his late first wife.

Chapter 13: To the battlefield

It was cold from the morning on that day. Is the short summer in the territory about to end? Since living in a large mansion, it has become a daily routine to walk while the powder snow flutters.

“I wonder if we won’t be able to walk soon,” Liddellina mutters.

“No, it’s not yet the season for real snowfall. It’s just a precursor to winter. Besides, is Okusama cold? It might be better to return to the mansion soon. I’ll prepare some tea.”

Dorothy is really kind.

After returning to the mansion with her, while drinking tea in the salon, a letter arrived from the main mansion. From her husband.

There was no face-to-face conversation, and if there was any business, it was a letter conversation with the servants in between. It was quite a special situation, but she had become quite accustomed to it.

However, the content of the letter was not the usual administrative communication, but something serious.

A town on the eastern border has been attacked, and war has begun with the country to the east, Friedrich will go to the battlefield for about a year.

In war, we don’t know what will happen. If he loses his life in this, it could be an eternal separation. He is trying to finish it with just one letter. It was still a shock.

But a week later, he came to another mansion. To be honest, she wasn’t expecting it, so she was surprised.

“It’s been a while.”

She was greeted in such a way by her expressionless husband. It really has been a long time, and she feels nostalgic. However, before Liddellina could speak, he immediately moved on to the matter at hand.

“As I wrote in the letter, I probably won’t be able to come back for about a year. During that time, I want you to move to the main mansion and act as the lord’s proxy. Take over from Howard.”

“Yes.”

He speaks in a businesslike tone, calmly.

“Also, there is a surplus in the budget. If you have something you want to try for the sake of this territory, try it. Of course, it should be on a small scale.”

“Yes?”

“Our territory is blessed with resources such as silver and minerals, but there are also places that have been untouched by repeated wars. There used to be artisans, but now they are fully occupied in the capital.”

“Um, does that mean I can start a business? For example, setting up a small workshop or something…”

“Keep the budget within half of the surplus, and leave the rest to your discretion.”

Liddellina blinked her eyes. She never expected her husband to say something like that.

“This war is probably the last one that will settle the matter with the neighboring country. After that, I want to enrich the territory.”

“Are you saying that you want me to help with that?”

“I’m not saying you have to. It will be a lot of work just to take over.”

“No, please! Let me do it.”

Liddellina’s eyes shone. She had always thought of herself as a convenient decorative wife for him, so she never expected such an offer. She wasn’t expecting it, but she was genuinely happy to be able to do something.

“Also, I left a will with a public notary in the capital. If I die in battle, or if her life or death cannot be confirmed, I want you to go to the capital and open it.”

Liddellina was shocked by the word “death in battle.” This is what it means to be a military officer’s wife. Maybe she wasn’t prepared for it.

“I understand. I will absolutely keep the promise.”

“Do you remember Tony Andrea, who greeted you at the capital’s evening party?”

“Yes, I remember him.”

He is a nice military man.

“This time, he’s also going to the battlefield, but if he is alive and I die, if you have any problems, it would be good to rely on Tony. He is a noble and his face is useful in various places.”

If he talks about specific things too much, she really worries that he will die.

“Husband, please be safe.”

Liddellina bowed her head to hide her inner anxiety.

She thought the conversation was over, but Friedrich hesitated for a while and opened his mouth again.

“Since it’s the last time, I’ll tell you. You probably already noticed, but I lack emotions and don’t understand the love between men and women.

I’m not particularly hating you, so I don’t want you to worry about my behavior. It’s not your fault, and you are probably a charming woman.”

Even though there is no warmth in his voice or expression, the words spoken pierce her heart. It’s almost like a will.

This is probably the best he can do to talk. Liddellina felt like her feelings were shaking and she quickly suppressed them. Even though he looks cold, for some reason, he doesn’t seem as scary as before.

He probably came to see her before leaving as a sign of sincerity towards his wife. She wondered what happened to him to become like this.

(Or was he never able to love anyone in the first place…?)

But it’s not something to delve into.

“Husband, I was grateful that you helped me at the ball. I haven’t been protected by anyone’s back since her parents died. That was enough. In addition, I am grateful to be able to live a rich life here. I pray for your good fortune in battle.”

◇◇◇

A week later, at dawn, he left with the territory’s soldiers. He said it was okay not to say goodbye, so she quietly watched from the window on the second floor.

Does Friedrich not know the joy of being loved? At least Liddellina was loved and cared for by her real parents. Her childhood was a treasure for her.

“Aren’t you lonely…?”

She whispered as she watched the carriage leave with the horse.

Liddellina entrusted Howard with giving the embroidered handkerchief to her husband. She heard it would be a good luck charm on the battlefield.

Did he accept it?

Chapter 14: The first job

The next day after he left for the battlefield, Liddellina’s room was moved to the mansion. To take over Friedrich’s duties.

When she entered the office, the remaining documents were neatly organized and a catalog was even prepared for Liddellina. Liddellina went through it and tried to grasp the current state of the territory.

The first job was the preparation for the winter of the territory, which he had started halfway through. According to him and Howard’s calculation, there will not be enough firewood this year.

Friedrich had prepared even a proper handover and instructions.

“Amazing. Was this prepared after the war was decided, her husband?”

“Yes, this week has been spent preparing for Okusama, who has been left behind every day and night.”

She can’t help but feel that he is putting emphasis on “for Okusama.”

Howard may wish for the couple to live normally in harmony.

She can sometimes feel it from the edges of his words. But this is all up to Friedrich. After all, he can’t even shorten the distance because he can’t meet.

“I see. That’s kind of you. But again, it’s a war with the neighboring country…”

Despite feeling like she was actually married, her husband left for a distant battlefield.

“Yes, I’m afraid the diplomatic issue has become complicated. I thought it ended two years ago, but it has started again.

Howard says it regretfully.

Currently, the second prince of this country is in charge of diplomacy. She has heard that he is proud and has a fierce temperament. It makes her feel gloomy to think that Friedrich, who is his subject, is involved.

“Danna-sama is a strong person, so I’m sure he’ll be fine this time too.”

Howard tries to comfort her. He is gentle and considerate, unlike Friedrich. How much has she been saved by coming to this house? But when she looks at the lined up servants, she suddenly has a doubt.

“Are there no female servants in this castle?”

“If you need one, we can bring one from a separate residence that Okusama likes.”

Howard answers with a clear face, but this seems strange to her.

“Yes, please bring Dorothy. I plan to gradually increase the number of maids, but is that okay?”

“As you wish, Okusama.”

Howard bows his head.

Does he hate women, or is he as rumored to be homosexual… However, he has said that he lacks emotions.

Liddellina stopped thinking there and decided to focus on the work in front of her.

When she looks at the ledger, she sees that Friedrich has taken his own knights and soldiers with him to the war. And he has also taken the military equipment. A significant portion of the budget is going there. If it’s a royal command, he has no choice but to go to war. If the war drags on, it will put pressure on the economy of the territory. she learned for the first time that war has a great impact on the finances of the territory.

But there is something she has to do now.

First, she must execute the top priority items in Friedrich’s instructions.

“Let’s go ask for firewood in the neighboring Sylnov territory. she would like to leave by the day after tomorrow if possible.”

“You don’t mean, Okusama is planning to come?”

Howard said in surprise.

“Of course. It’s a visit to our neighbors, and I also want to pay her respects.”

“But there are no inns on the way, and it gets cold here at night, unlike in the capital. I’m sorry, but it will be difficult.”

He lowers his eyebrows in confusion.

“It’s okay. I have a strong body, so don’t worry. Also, can you prepare the specialty of this place, the woven fabric?”

The woven fabric is the only specialty of Northweller territory.

“What do you plan to do with the woven fabric?”

“Surely you don’t expect me to go empty-handed?”

Not only Howard, but the other servants also widened their eyes.

“Danna-sama has never done anything like this before.”

“Fufufu, I’m not the lord, I’m just acting on behalf, and I’m a newcomer. So I want to pay her respects to our neighbors, and to ask for something, I need to bring a gift. After all, the instructions say that minor details are left to Liddellina’s discretion.”

At any rate, it won’t matter if she does this because the instructions say that minor details are left to Liddellina’s discretion.

***

Two days later, Liddellina set off for the neighboring territory to purchase firewood. It was urgent.

She took the letter of introduction that Friedrich had prepared beforehand and got on the carriage. She had to somehow get it done before the territory was completely sealed off by snow and ice.

She had promised him to protect the territory.

Chapter 15: Lord Proxy Liddellina 1

As soon as she entered from the Northweller territory to the Sylvan territory, the forest suddenly increased. She had heard that the territory was narrow, but it was a lush green land and the forest area was spreading.

But as Howard said, the cold of the night was extremely severe, and the cold penetrated into the bone. The turnip soup with ginger in the camp was welcome.

Two days later, she finally arrived at the Sylvan territory lord’s mansion.

It was a small castle, and she was immediately led to the guest room. She warmed up in the room with a large fireplace.

After the greeting, she gave a gift of textiles.

“Okusama. Thank you for the beautiful textile gift.”

The lord, Johnson, and his family seemed to be unexpectedly happy, which relieved me.

In the Northweller territory, they raise a lot of sheep and goats that produce high-quality wool, so it doesn’t cost much, but the ones sold in the capital city also include transportation costs, so they become quite expensive, they said. They can’t afford it.

“It’s true that things from the Northweller region are warm. Thank you very much.”

Johnson is a kind gentleman, and she was relieved.

“No, she came here to ask for some firewood.”

Of course. Since we are both northern territories, we are each other’s when we are in trouble. We have helped each other like this over the generations. However, that’s not the only reason.”

Looking at this territory and the lord’s mansion, it is clear that they live a modest life. This is a trade.

Of course.”

She heard the appropriate price from Howard. She was nervous at the first negotiation, but Friedrich had made arrangements, so it went surprisingly smoothly. Johnson was also a sincere person as he seemed, and he didn’t try to bluff me.

On the contrary, she was led to the guest room and invited to dinner with “Please, stay and rest.”

Howard was surprised and said, “It’s the first time I’ve stayed here. The gift of textiles must have been very much to their liking.”

“There aren’t many good inns in our territory. There aren’t even any tourists who visit this borderland.”

He laughed wryly. The Northweller territory is the same.

She had intended to return as soon as the negotiation was over, but she was relieved that the tired servants could rest while warming up.

***

When she arrived at the castle after a five-day journey, she was exhausted and chilled by the cold. She learned for the first time that coldness, not just heat, also consumes physical strength. She wonders what will happen if it snows.

She understands Friedrich’s priority of procuring firewood. If this continues, the subjects will freeze to death.

When she returned to the castle, she took a break at the hot spring. The fatigue seemed to melt in the hot water. The castle’s hot spring bath is even larger than the separate residence. She heard that the soldiers also use this hot spring. It’s really a wonderful facility.

In this spacious castle, they burn firewood in large fireplaces, but they use hot springs for heating, so it’s warm and helpful. It seems to be something that is not available in the Sylvan territory, and she thinks it is a wonderful resource.

The next day, she had a sudden thought and asked Howard during her duties.

“By the way, are there any hot springs in the territory other than this castle?”

“Yes, there are some places where it springs up naturally.”

“Do everyone use them?”

“Only some people use them. There are times when dangerous gas comes out, and it requires a lot of money to maintain it. There are also ones that are too lukewarm or too hot to use. By the way, the natural one that spouts out near the capital’s river is used by hunters.”

“Is there a facility like a hot spring inn?”

“A hot spring inn? No, there is only one small inn in the capital. The river hot spring is only occasionally used by hunters and the men in town, and there are no buildings or anything.”

“It’s a shame. If they created a place like a rest area there, more people could use it. They can build such a wonderful hot spring bath. You have the technology, right?”

“Of course we do.”

Howard nodded proudly. He has affection for this territory and respects and admires Friedrich. She could see this in the corners of his conversation.

“What do you think if we do it here?”

“Huh?”

“Create a hot spring inn. Will her husband get angry?”

“No, I think it would be okay because part of the management of the territory is entrusted to Okusama’s discretion, but if the war continues to drag on, even now, our sources of funds may become scarce.”

Liddellina also thought about this. The war costs more money than she expected.

“In that case, let’s do it within the range of her allowance.”

“Haa?”

“My husband gives me more than enough allowance. I don’t particularly like socializing and don’t need clothes either.”

Liddellina rarely touches her allowance. She only orders sweets when she pays for them for the servants who always take care of her.

“Okusama is going to invest her own money? Why just take a vacation in her townhouse in the capital city when the weather gets warmer? Danna-sama also said that as long as she does her duties, she can hold a tea party, go shopping, or spend time as she likes…”

It’s a nice offer, but Liddellina is not fond of extravagance. The inn is not along the road, so she has to camp out for two days to go to the capital city. That is also a concern.

“Yeah. If I don’t go to the capital city, I won’t have to pay for the travel expenses either.”

Howard was surprised and looked at Liddellina curiously. However, she was unexpectedly interested in the hot spring.

If everyone can use it, she thinks it would be great.

Chapter 16: Lord Proxy Liddellina 2

“Then, this is also a place where silver and lapis lazuli are produced, right? If that’s the case, I’d like to see the mining site before it’s sealed by snow.”

“Okusama, do you plan to see the mining and so on?”

Howard opened his eyes wide.

“If we keep going like this, we’ll just wholesale the rough stones to the capital.”

“Yes, it is still a considerable income for the territory, but what of it?”

“Fortunately, the territory is also abundant in silver, and I’m thinking of recruiting craftsmen.”

“Here on this land? Unfortunately, there is no personnel.”

But Liddellina had an idea.

“I’ll bring them from the capital. If I guarantee their clothing, food, housing, and equipment, they might come. According to her husband’s memo, it seems that high-quality lapis lazuli can be obtained, and her husband also thought about it.”

“Yes, I have heard, but each time it has been interrupted by an expedition. However, I am now busy with other work as well.”

Certainly, the lord’s work involves a lot of paperwork, and only Liddellina has the power of final decision. That’s why there are documents that Liddellina must review and confirm.

Above all, Howard is concerned about Liddellina’s health.

Recently, Dorothy also protested, “Please don’t work Okusama too hard!” She feels sorry about that matter. It is not that Howard is at fault.

“If the war drags on, won’t our assets become scarce? In that case, why don’t we try selling silver and lapis lazuli crafts made here with advance investments as a first step? This is the place of origin, so there will be no transportation costs, and we can offer them at a lower price than the capital.”

“If it can be realized, it would be wonderful. If we succeed and the scale becomes larger, it may eventually become the territory’s special product.”

She nodded and said.

“I want to somehow increase profits. There is also a contract with her husband …”

“A contract? What are you talking about?”

Howard asks curiously. Liddellina thinks of this marriage as an employment contract. If she can work for the territory, there is nothing happier.

“No, it’s nothing. Just, you know, there are things that can’t be done without being lord’s proxy.”

“Certainly, when creating a workshop or building a hot spring inn, we cannot do so without Okusama’s permission.”

“In that case, it’s settled. Thank you very much.”

“Thank you very much too, Okusama.”

Howard, who was initially bewildered, seems to have become enthusiastic. After all, he loves this territory.

“Then, let’s start with craftsmen. Let’s advertise for them in the capital. For example, the conditions are a three-year contract with an initial subsidy, and guaranteed clothing, food, and housing. If it goes well, how about raising someone locally and expanding the workshop as it becomes profitable? If the profits become large, we will pay them in excess. That way, it would be good for the craftsmen as well.”

“If we only hire one or two people at first, it will be much cheaper than maintaining a hot spring.”

“Yes, if no one comes after recruiting for a while, let’s give up this year. In any case, let’s try recruiting craftsmen before it’s sealed by snow and ice.”

After that, the two of them faced each other and spent their free time at work detailing their plans.

◇◇◇

The lapis lazuli mining site wasn’t too far from the castle, so Liddellina managed to somehow complete the inspection in the cold. Then she bought a private house between the territory’s capital and the castle and set it up.

The pond is frozen, and snow falls from the dull sky. Full-fledged winter is about to begin. When Liddellina was about to give up this year, a young female craftsman named Fie came from the capital for an interview. She seems to be about the same age as Liddellina. She is wearing a rough mantle and shaking with the cold.

She came from the capital, she must not be accustomed to the climate here. Liddellina regrets not sending a carriage to pick her up.

For her sake, Liddellina prepared tea.

As she watches the young woman drink the tea and cautiously eat the baked sweets, she speaks to her again.

“Excuse me, could we start with a three-year contract, and then renew it at the mutual agreement of both parties?”

“Y-Yes.”

The woman’s voice was high with tension.

“Could you show me some of your work?”

Wrapped in a rough cloth, the timidly presented object was a beautifully delicate pair of earrings.

“Well, I advertised for this, but why did you come all the way to the north to make these?”

Although the grade of lapis lazuli used is low, the craftsmanship is excellent, and it should sell for a certain price. The design is also good.

To be honest, she didn’t think anyone of this level would come. On the one hand, she’s happy, but on the other hand, she feels uneasy because it will probably be easier to do business in the capital.

“Why did you think of working here?”

Liddellina asks a straightforward question.

“Well, her boss said that craftsmen are not women’s work.”

“What?”

Liddellina blinks.

“All her work is sold as her boss’s or his other apprentice. So her wages have always been that of an apprentice and haven’t gone up… I’m struggling to get by. But I came here because I was told that I would be guaranteed food and a place to live. Will you not hire me because I’m a woman?”

The woman pleads in a trembling voice, as if this is her last hope.

“What do you mean?!”

Liddellina stands up in surprise, and Fie cowers as if afraid.

“I’m sorry. she just got angry.”

It turns out that she is an orphanage graduate. she has no backing, so she has been used like a slave.

“It’s okay. Here, you have guarantees and if you make a profit, you will be paid a bonus. Don’t worry. We can’t pay you very much at first. I’ll explain the terms later, so take it easy for now.”

Liddellina decided to hire her on the spot. Dorothy and Howard were also present at the interview. Liddellina doesn’t plan to go through everything alone.

They also strongly nodded to Liddellina’s judgement. It seems that they were angry at how she was treated in the capital city.

After that, Fie, who had finished the evening meal and heard the employment conditions from Howard, shouted,

“Oh! Is it okay to receive this much money? It feels like a dream.”

Hearing that, Liddellina remembered her past circumstances and felt a pain in her chest.

Liddellina was also a girl, so when her parents died, her uncle came and took over the household without any hesitation in the confusion. Because of that, she lost her inheritance rights.

Thinking about it now, there might have been a will or something from her parents. Could there have been a future where she could have taken a son-in-law and lived peacefully and comfortably in the barony…

Chapter 17: Lord Proxy Liddellina 3

At last, a full-fledged winter has arrived. The territory is literally closed off by snow and ice, and going out brings with it the danger of the cold. The plants also seem to be frozen, as if they are asleep.

However, the castle with the hot spring is always warm, and Liddellina was kept busy there with paperwork and studying the management of the territory. It was a lot of work because the territory was so large and different from her family’s territory. Even though winter preparations are over, she can’t let her guard down.

Of course, she also took breaks in between. She drank tea while chatting with Dorothy at times, visited the workshop to ask Fie if she needed anything, and passed the time reading books in the castle’s large library for a change of pace. It was all new to Liddellina, and she was awakened to the joy of learning. When spring comes, she plans to start something new.

She doesn’t know if it will safely reach the battlefield, but she regularly writes Friedrich by letter about the management of the territory and the newly started workshop. she has been told to leave everything to Liddellina’s discretion, but she feels bad just keeping quiet.

And in the letters, she attached pressed flowers of the season. He seemed to love the territory very much, and she thought it would be comforting, but he said he was lacking in emotions and might just throw them away. Liddellina was fine with that, since he was doing it on his own.

***

The winter, which she thought would be long, ended in a flash thanks to studying, work, and the comfortable environment with the hot spring.

When the snow started to melt, a letter arrived from the capital to Liddellina. It was a letter of apology from her cousin Kurt.

—I heard that while I was away, her parents and sister gave you a hard time. I am sorry to have made you feel so unhappy. As for your marriage, I am currently asking her parents what happened.

When I hurriedly returned home after hearing the news from you, I was surprised to hear that Gilbert, who was supposed to be your fiance, was going to marry her sister.”

According to the family’s story, Gilbert had a change of heart and cancelled his engagement with you, and is going to marry Yvonne. There is a lot of conflicting information, and I am still trying to grasp the facts myself.

And when I look at the financial situation of our family, I see that the debt has swollen since I went abroad. It was paid off right after you married the Duke of Weller. So you were married off to the Northern General to pay off the family debt.

However, after that, her foolish parents squandered their money again and created more debt. There was also a fuss over Yvonne’s marriage, and they are still in the midst of it. I want to formally apologize to you when things calm down.

I hear that your territory is in a very cold place. While General Weller is highly respected, there are also rumors that he is cold, so I hope you are not suffering any hardships…

It seems that cousin Kurt is having a hard time. It’s a little worrying, but Liddellina can’t do anything about it now, and Friedrich has told her not to worry about the family. Besides, she doesn’t have a place in that family anymore, so there’s nothing she can do.

It says that they are still having a hard time with the marriage, but what happened to Gilbert and Yvonne’s child? There’s no mention of that. What on earth has happened? Kurt seems to be confused himself, and he can’t get a grasp on the situation.

Liddellina put aside her feelings for her hometown and began tidying up her work after filing the letter away.

***

Spring arrived in the territory, and Liddellina visited Fie’s workshop. She seemed diligent, and there were many beautifully decorated pieces on display. They were all carefully crafted.

“It’s the first time I’ve handled such high-quality lapis lazuli.”

She said with a nervous expression. This winter, she had been blessed with food, clothing, and shelter, and her formerly thin body was somewhat plump.

“It’s amazing work. But don’t you think it’s a bit much for one person to make this many on their own? Please don’t push yourself too hard.”

“Not at all! There’s no yelling boss or apprentice brother here, so I was able to work comfortably. I really enjoy this kind of craftwork.”

Fie smiled brightly as she said that.

Liddellina had the silver necklace and earrings made with Fie’s lapis lazuli sold through retail stores in the capital. Since everything was locally sourced, there were no transportation costs, so the prices were lower. They were affordable even for people who were not aristocrats or wealthy merchants in the capital.

At first, she was nervous as she looked at the sales figures, but the reputation of the town was excellent, and the income was surprisingly high, surprising her. With this, she should be able to recover the investment right away. It looks like there will be profits soon.

She thinks it would be great if she could attract tourists to the territory, but unfortunately, there are few inns, and the roads are not well developed. With this, wealthy people with plenty of money and aristocrats will not come.

In any case, she will have to ask Friedrich about it when he returns. For now, she will continue her work in the territory diligently, pray for his safe return, and wait for him to come back.

Chapter 18: News

The next day, when the weather cleared up, they borrowed a carriage and went to visit the hot springs that flowed into the river.

Friedrich seemed to be considering digging a hot spring, and there were materials in his office that were investigating the location of the hot spring.

She was sure he was busy with the war and gave up. He said he had no feelings, but he seemed to care about his subjects. There are signs that he was planning various things to enrich the territory.

The candidate location that Liddellina had her eye on was the hot spring that flowed a little upstream of the capital river.

The temperature is slightly high, but it can be adjusted using water from the river. It is about a half hour by carriage from the castle and is just the right distance to see the situation.

According to Howard’s investigation, the period of use is only in spring and summer. She hopes to use it in winter as well. If that happens, some degree of maintenance and buildings will be necessary. She wants a facility that can accommodate one night’s stay without problems.

It’s open-air, but depending on how it’s done, it can be separated by gender. If families can come, the subjects should use this place more actively. If that happens, the number of people coming and going will increase and shops will be able to thrive. That’s what she thought.

Liddellina, who had no social plans, was spending her pocket money on what was missing. Both Dorothy and Howard were worried about this.

“Okusama, if you run out of your budget, you won’t be able to go out and play. Isn’t it allowed to use up to half of the surplus money from Danna-sama?” Howard frets.

“If you spend all your pocket money, you won’t be able to go shopping either! Don’t you want to take a break and go to the royal capital during the social season? Aren’t you working too hard?” Dorothy cares for Liddellina’s health, but they want her to rest more as well.

“It’s okay. I’m not that fond of socializing, and if I fail, it will be a loss for the territory.”

The decorative wife will have nothing to do when Friedrich returns, so she thought of leaving this hot spring, which she invested her personal money in. It’s a small job, but it can contribute to the territory.

Twice, Friedrich received letters from the battlefield. According to them, the situation is progressing favorably and he may be able to return before the end of summer.

The rest were just contact matters. So, the letters she sends also naturally become reports on the management of the territory. However, she always makes sure to express her prayer for his safety.

Although she doesn’t show it on her face, she’s sure the retainers are also worried about their reliable lord being away. And Friedrich’s relatives, who she was worried about, have not come to this territory.

When she asked Howard, he said they wouldn’t come to this remote place unless they had business. It’s true that there are no inns, so you have to camp out for one or two days. she was relieved to hear this.

I hope to protect the territory until Friedrich’s safe return, no matter what.

After all, he kept his promise, so Liddellina must repay him.

***

On a day when a short summer began in the territory, news of the end of the war arrived. It was good that the dispute was settled in a shorter period of time than expected. Liddellina sighs with relief.

After all, she was worried when he wasn’t there. It was especially good that he kept his promise safely without any trouble.

She thinks it’s okay because she’s been told in a letter that she has his approval for a new business, but she’s a little nervous about what her husband, who will actually see the site, will say.

However, within a week, ominous news flew into Northweller Castle.

Friedrich Weller’s name was on the list of missing persons on the battlefield.

Chapter 19: Ridiculous People

While Liddellina was working in the office on a beautiful afternoon, she received the news and for a moment her vision went dark. she could act as the lord’s representative, but she was not capable of going beyond that.

Without Friedrich, Liddellina had no confidence in being able to protect the domain. It was only because there were instructions that things had gone smoothly so far.

“I will head to the capital immediately.”

Liddellina couldn’t bear the worry about Friedrich’s safety and felt that she had to go. Surely in the capital, she would get more detailed and quicker information about the situation.

Besides, maybe in the meantime, Friedrich would return.

“Okusama, please don’t do that.”

Howard tries to stop her, looking flustered.

“Why? Don’t you and the others want to quickly confirm Lord Friedrich’s safety and ease your worries?”

Liddellina understands that Friedrich is well-respected by the servants.

“It’s a difficult thing to say, but given that Lord Friedrich’s safety is unknown at present, we fear that his relatives may come to this domain.”

“What?”

Liddellina had forgotten about the existence of his relatives. she had been asked to protect the servants and the domain from his greedy relatives, and that was a condition of the marriage.

“Okusama, we ask for your help in dealing with this.”

Howard and the other servants begged her. she couldn’t refuse.

To Liddellina, the servants who warmly welcomed her to this domain had become very important.

However, would the relatives really come so soon? Even if Liddellina went to the capital, it wouldn’t necessarily improve the situation.

Friedrich was a person she had married due to circumstances. she might not have feelings for him, but as she worked with him, Liddellina came to feel a certain closeness to him. she understood that he was working very hard and breaking his heart for the citizens. That’s why he would probably follow her to the battlefield.

I hope he is safe.

***

Liddellina was troubled by anxiety and heavy pressure for a few days and couldn’t sleep. Friedrich’s safety was still unknown. That night, she fell into a very shallow sleep out of anxiety.

Then, as dawn approached, she was awakened by the sound of knocking on the door. Thinking something must be wrong, she quickly put on a robe and opened the door.

“Is something wrong? Dorothy? Has her husband been found?”

To her surprise, an older man and woman appeared behind Dorothy, who had an unusually flustered expression.

“How can you sleep so comfortably when your master’s safety is unknown!”

She was suddenly shouted at by a man with a loud voice. She had no idea what was going on. Then Howard stepped forward to protect Liddellina.

“I’m sorry. Okusama is not quite ready yet. Please wait a little longer.”

“You servant, you’ve been talking arrogantly since earlier.”

The middle-aged man said dismissively. He didn’t listen to Howard and Dorothy at all, even though they were trying to stop him. Could these be Friedrich’s relatives?

“It’s rude to invade a bedroom at this time. Please wait in the salon.”

“Dammit, what an arrogant woman!”

“She’s insolent for a young girl.”

Despite their angry expressions, the man and woman left the room.

(What kind of people are these?)

As soon as she finished dressing with Dorothy’s help, she headed to the salon with a feeling of anxiety.

According to Dorothy, they had initially tried to enter the office. They were somehow stopped by the gatekeeper and male servants, and then went to Liddellina’s room. They were persistent.

Taking a deep breath, she opened the door leading to the salon.

In addition to the middle-aged man and woman, there was a young man around the same age as Liddellina. It seemed that they had come as a family. They would probably stay here for a while. she was anxious about the future.

“I apologize for the delay. I am Liddellina Weller, acting lord. What business brings you here at this time?”

Liddellina opened her mouth first.

“Don’t you have a better greeting for us who came all this way? We had to sleep in the open on the way here.”

The middle-aged woman said as if it was Liddellina’s fault.

But she couldn’t lose here.

“I thought it was inappropriate to enter a bedroom in the middle of the night.”

“What did you say!”

The middle-aged man raised his voice and looked up. Could he not speak normally?

“Could I have your names first?”

It was scary to face them alone, but Liddellina said it calmly.

“I’m surprised at you. You don’t even know our names, we were at your wedding.

However, Friedrich had not introduced them. Had they really attended the ceremony? It seemed doubtful.

“I’m sorry, but since her husband did not introduce you, I am not aware of your names.”

“What an impolite woman. I am O’Neill Frien.”

He said dismissively.

“I am Franny, his wife. This is my brother, Sam. Our daughter will come later because she has some errands. Oh, and I’m sure you know this, but we are nobility, so treat us kindly!”

As they spoke, they made noise with their rude manners, drank tea, and ate cookies, making a mess. Why had they brought not only the husband and wife, but also the brother?

“I’m hungry. Hey, first prepare a meal. Then there’s a bath and bed. We’ll take the best guest room on the first floor.

Then he said to his wife and Sam.

“You can use any room you like.”

Their insensitivity was unbelievable. They behaved as if it were their own mansion. This would be a problem.

“This isn’t enough. We’ve had a long journey. Maid, bring some cooked meat.”

Franny suddenly started giving orders, and Liddellina’s eyes narrowed.

“Dorothy, it’s late at night. Please get them something easy to do.”

“Hey, what are you telling me to do without permission?”

O’Neill stands up, his face flushing with anger.

“At this time, most servants are asleep. They cannot be awakened early in the morning. Please be quiet.”

“What are you saying? Where is a nobleman who cares about his servants. Where are they?”

Franny says in disgust.

“Hey, Liddellina, prepare the bath.”

Sam, who had not spoken a word until now, said in a rough tone. She was amazed at the sudden change. Looking closer, she sees he is wearing a sword belt. Why, even though he doesn’t seem to be a soldier?

Chapter 20: One after another

“Okusama, we’ll take care of this.”

“It’s late at night, so please go to bed, Okusama.”

Saying that, Howard and Dorothy step forward to protect Liddellina.

The servants are commoners. They know how frightening a reckless noble with a sword can be. For the sake of their brave friends, Liddellina hides the trembling of her fingers so as not to show her agitation.

“Please bring their luggage to their rooms.”

When she called out, to her surprise, servants swarmed out as if they had been waiting.

Feeling the concern of everyone for Liddellina, her chest became hot. She must protect the territory and servants from them at all costs.

◇◇◇

The next morning, when she woke up, Dorothy was not there. She usually comes when Liddellina wakes up. With a bad premonition, she quickly finished getting dressed and headed for the office in a hurry.

Sure enough, she heard the commotion. The sound of a man’s angry voice echoed through the corridor on the second floor.

“Please stop!”

Howard shouts.

“Quiet! she won’t allow any more interference!”

“You, are you defying a noble?”

When Liddellina rushed into the office in a panic, it was a terrible sight. The drawers had been opened and the organized documents had been messed up and scattered. Howard and the other servants were desperately trying to stop the chaos caused by their relatives.

In the end, Sam drew his sword and threatened them.

“If you’re going to be in the way, I’ll cut you down.”

“What are you doing! Please stop!”

Liddellina is not used to such a commotion. She was so scared that she couldn’t help it, but she entered between Sam and the servants.

Believing that she couldn’t be cut down as a noble, she stepped forward even though she was afraid.

Protecting them is a matter of life and death. Finally, she understood the generous allowance given to her by Friedrich.

“Sam, stop it. she is, after all, the marquess for the time being, so it’s not good to hurt her.”

O’Neill clicks his tongue. Sam and Liddellina glare at each other for a while. Eventually, he sheathed his sword with a look of frustration.

“Don’t enter the office without her permission.”

“What did you say!”

“I have been entrusted by the master to stay here. I am now acting as the head of the household.”

Sam once again puts his hand on the hilt of his sword. He seems to have a short temper. Although she is terrified, if she screams and runs away, they will do as they please. Liddellina hides her fear and holds her head up proudly.

“Stop it, that woman can only act arrogant for now. Soon, Hannah, our daughter, will bring good news from the capital.”

O’Neill shows a cruel smile and takes Sam away with him. When they completely disappear, Liddellina’s knees start to shake and she can no longer stand.

The thought of yet more relatives made her dizzy.

“Okusama!”

Howard and Dorothy rush over immediately.

“I’m sorry. Okusama, we couldn’t protect you.”

Dorothy, who is always cheerful, says with regret. Then, she was shocked to see the arm that was supporting her body. The shirt was torn and the blood was flowing.

“Howard, you were cut!”

“It’s okay. It’s not a big deal.”

Howard tries to hide his arm in a fluster.

“Someone get treatment. And are there any other injured people?”

Actually, since last night, several people, including the gatekeeper, were injured. Sam waved his sword at the servants trying to stop him and entered the castle using his noble status as a shield.

Liddellina asked them to report everything to her one by one.

It is her job to protect them. She must stay alert.

Until now, the castle had been quiet and peaceful, but with the attack of the relatives, it became noisy and enveloped in tension, like a beehive that had been stirred up. Franny scolded the young maids if she took her eyes off them for a moment, and O’Neill and Sam drank until late at night.

Liddellina, feeling danger, kept the female servants away from them.

In addition, they often try to invade the office, so Liddellina stopped returning to her room and decided to sleep in the temporary bed in the continuation room of the office.

If Liddellina, the mistress, was not there, she could not stop the relatives who would invade arbitrarily.

Since they always wake up around noon, she worked hard from early in the morning to finish her work before they came.

◇◇◇

Around the time the arrogant relatives had stayed for ten days, young junior servants began to say they wanted to leave their jobs. Although Liddellina tried to keep them, she was worried about the bullying of the relatives.

After all, the acting lord is not respected. Can she somehow drive them out? Unfortunately, Liddellina, who is only acting as steward, does not have the authority to hold a trial.

To report their unfair actions and hold a trial in the capital is the only option. However, that takes both money and time, and if they leave this place and go to the capital, it would be their opportunity.

Above all, Liddellina is worried about Friedrich’s safety.

Liddellina never stopped smiling in front of the servants, but she was spending anxious days without any rest, working hard every day. Dorothy and Howard, who worked hard for her, must have felt the same.

One day, while Liddellina was organizing documents and having a simple breakfast in the office, Franny came in good spirits.

Liddellina quickly approached the door to prevent Franny from entering the office.

“Do not come in here.”

Then, from the end of the corridor, a coarse laughter echoed. When she turned around, she saw O’Neill and Sam, and behind them was a lovely woman around the same age as Liddellina.

Chapter 21: Who are you

“Hannah, please come here. She’s my daughter.”

Franny introduces proudly. The number of relatives has increased again. It would be good if this woman was not selfish.

“You are Liddellina, right? Fufufu, you seem quite impressive.”

Hannah smiles with confidence and says that. She had a bad feeling.

“Hey, I’m holding this from Friedrich-sama.”

A document is presented in front of her.

“You got this from my husband?”

She had never heard such a thing. Friedrich had said nothing. Suspiciously lowering her eyebrows, she received it and looked at it…

“This is … a divorce letter.”

The familiar signature of Friedrich is on the document and everything is written down. All that remains is for Liddellina to sign it. The handwriting is definitely that of her husband.

“Friedrich-sama intended to divorce you as soon as he returned from the battlefield. You didn’t hear anything?”

While Hannah tilts her head in surprise, the pretense she has been working hard until now collapses and falls apart. She is shocked and her body feels shaky.

“Why…”

He was not a woman hater and it was Liddellina who was hated.

“Oh, it’s shocking, huh?”

“Poor thing.”

They say while laughing.

“Quickly sign and get out of this castle!”

She can hear O’Neill’s angry voice from a distance.

(I have to stand up to them, but…)

“Okusama! This must be some kind of mistake! The master never intended such a thing. The master entrusted you to take care of things while he went to the battlefield!”

Howard desperately tries to say, but a heart that has once collapsed cannot be easily repaired. Tears are pouring down. It was the moment when everything she had been holding back was cut off. All the servants gathered to protect Liddellina.

“Okusama! Oh my God!”

At that moment, the gatekeeper’s loud voice echoed up to the second floor.

When everyone turned to see what was going on, Dorothy, panting with the gatekeeper, came up the stairs.

“Okusama! The master!”

Dorothy rushes to Liddellina in panic when she sees her tears.

“What happened!”

“Dorothy, first I have to tell Okusama something.”

Dorothy comes to her senses at the gatekeeper’s voice.

“The master has returned! Okusama, please come to the salon. Colonel Andrea is accompanying the master.”

“Thank goodness…”

Liddellina mutters. This means the servants will be protected.

However, when the relatives heard Dorothy’s words, they scowled and ran towards the salon as if racing each other. But Liddellina was relieved to hear that her husband was alive and her waist collapsed all at once.

Liddellina slowly descended to the first floor with the support of Dorothy and Howard. Then several knights and officials from the capital were waiting in the hallway on the first floor, and Liddellina received a polite greeting.

If her husband has returned, she can be relieved. While feeling relieved, she also decides to be prepared to leave, considering that, judging from the divorce certificate, she must leave at last.

(I liked it here… he didn’t like me.)

Her parents’ house will not accept Liddellina. But for now, let’s first be happy that her husband is safe.

Liddellina gathered her spirits and stood in front of the door of the salon where her husband was waiting.

Then she could hear a voice leaking out from the slightly open door.

“Your relationship with that woman was frosty. There is no child as proof. You said that when you returned from the war, you would divorce that woman.”

O’Neill’s heartless words stabbed Liddellina’s weakened heart.

“Even if you say that.”

She can hear her husband’s voice, as if he is bewildered. There is no point in standing here. Liddellina summoned her courage and stepped into the salon.

Friedrich, who was slightly thinner than a year ago, sat in front, with Hannah next to him with a wife-like appearance, and Tony, Andrea, who accompanied him, on the left.

O’Neill, Franny, Sam surrounded him. Liddellina already had no place to stay. Even though Friedrich had always rejected Liddellina’s touch, he does not reject Hannah being nearby. That was the most shocking thing. Holding back the tears that were about to spill, she straightened her chest.

(I have to greet him first…)

However, when Friedrich noticed Liddellina coming in, he stood up. His blue eyes are wide open in surprise.

“Welcome back. My husband, I am glad you are safe above all else.”

With a false pretense, Liddellina elegantly folds his knees.

“Are you Liddellina?”

“Yes?”

Did he forget the face of his wife, whom he had not seen much of? Such callousness. Liddellina is crying again.

The two of them stood and stared at each other for a while. However, his cheeks are flushed and his ice-blue eyes are shining brightly.

It is certainly Friedrich’s figure, but his expression is too rich for him. Liddellina forgot the shock she had received and stared at him intensely.

“I’m surprised. What a thing. My wife was so beautiful.”

“Eh?”

While Liddellina is stunned, Friedrich walks towards Liddellina with long strides, and suddenly embraces her tightly. Liddellina is motionless as if she were in shock.

(Why? How? What’s happening?)

Liddellina is in complete confusion.

“Liddellina, I’m home! My goddess.”

He shouts as if he is overwhelmed.

“What? Wait a minute! Who are you?”

(Goddess?)

When she realized it, Liddellina shouted and tried to escape from his arms, pushing back his thick chest.

But his trained body doesn’t move at all. She doesn’t know what’s going on. Had he lost his mind on the battlefield?

“Someone!”

Liddellina struggles in his arms and calls for help in a thin voice.

It must be an imposter in disguise, Liddellina thinks at that moment.

Chapter 22: The real thing

“Calm down, Fried! Isn’t your wife troubled?”

Tony, dressed in military attire, frantically tries to intervene.

Thanks to him, Friedrich is somehow pushed away.

“What’s going on, Tony? She’s my wife, isn’t she? It’s been a long time since we last met. You said you were my friend, so why are you interfering?” Friedrich glares at Andrea.

“No, you, look at your wife who is confused.”

Friedrich directs an anxious gaze towards Liddellina. Who is this expressive person? Liddellina retreats.

With all the bad and good things happening at once, and now a husband who is like a stranger, Liddellina falls into panic.

Then Andrea stands up and greets Liddellina.

“I am Tony Andrea, a subordinate of His Excellency Weller. I apologize for not properly introducing myself at the evening party, but do you remember me?”

“Of course, Colonel Andrea. Thank you for coming all this way. However, is this person really my husband?”

She thinks it’s a foolish question, but Liddellina asks and Andrea puts his hand on his forehead as if troubled.

Did he bring a fake by accident? Or did he realize that the relatives were causing trouble and bring a double instead?

“Okusama, it is very surprising, but he is definitely my boss and friend Friedrich. We have been together since boarding school, but all the old wounds match.”

“What?”

Looking closely at Friedrich’s face, the thin scar on his temple is also present, and the characteristic ice blue eyes and sandy hair are also him.

No matter how many humans look similar, they can’t imitate old wounds or eye colors.

Friedrich, urged by Andrea, orders the relatives to leave the salon reluctantly, and they obeyed.

After paying the doctor, Liddellina is shocked to hear the truth.

“Friedrich had been taken into custody when he lost his memory and wandered the battlefield. It seems that he was shot down by an arrow when the unit was divided by the enemy army.”

“So you’re saying he lost his memory from the shock?”

Andrea nods deeply.

“Yes, it’s completely gone. He didn’t even remember his name, let alone his family name. He was even on the missing persons list for a while. However, according to the doctor, procedural memory remains, so I don’t think it will be a problem for managing the territory as long as Okusama supports him.”

“Procedural memory?”

“Yes, memory necessary for daily life. The doctor said that he has no problem with reading, writing, calculating, and general education. Of course, he also remembers how to dance and has no problem with horseback riding or fencing.”

Even if Andrea says that Okusama’s support is necessary, he is trying to divorce Liddellina. She is worried about how much to tell Andrea.

However, she can’t stay silent. And while Friedrich has been smiling at Liddellina affectionately since earlier, he sits so close to her that their arms might touch. He is the person who said he was uncomfortable with touch and was careful to keep a distance.

“Um…I’m sorry to bring this up when you’re tired, but I feel bad for taking advantage of your weakness by staying silent, so I’ll say it.”

When Liddellina prefaces it like that, Friedrich’s face looks anxious.

“What is it, Liddellina?”

Instead of feeling relieved by the warm voice, she trembled. Is he a fake after all? It’s not like him.

Then Liddellina shows him the divorce letter she received from Hannah earlier. It was slightly moistened with tears.

“It seems that you were planning to divorce me. Hannah-sama said she received this from you. All that remains is for me to sign it. I would like to discuss the terms.”

Liddellina’s confession caused the air in the room to tense up.

“What, is that so? Fried, you said you had a good wife!”

“Why, Liddellina? Did you have that much discontent with me?!”

Tony is surprised, and Friedrich shouts.

“No, this is not something I prepared. It is something that my husband wrote and entrusted to Hannah-sama.”

“Come to think of it, the girl named Hannah was acting like she’s your wife, wasn’t she?

Andrea says suspiciously.

“Ah, that insolent woman. I’m not kidding. My wife is Liddellina here.”

“No, but this is definitely your handwriting, right?”

Andrea says as if dumbfounded.

“What a fool! To divorce such a beautiful person. Liddellina, please, don’t abandon me!”

Suddenly, Friedrich grabs Liddellina’s arm.

Again, he touches her without hesitation. And because he looks at her with the eyes of a discarded puppy, she can’t shake him off.

Liddellina doesn’t know how to deal with the completely changed Friedrich. She can’t seem to talk to her husband, so she asks Andrea.

“Um, Andrea-sama. Is there a chance that my husband’s memory will return in the future?”

“Yes, it might return tomorrow, or he might gradually remember…the doctor says it might stay forgotten forever.”

“…I see.”

Even though she answers, Liddellina is in the utmost confusion. In the end, nothing has been resolved.

“As a friend, I will say this for his reputation, but when he had his memories, he never spoke badly of Okusama and was actually a good person. And he was obviously wary of his relatives.

Furthermore, it seems that Okusama is highly respected by the servants, so I would like her to stay with him for a while. This document is probably a mistake of some kind.”

Friedrich nods repeatedly like a child at Andrea’s words. However, she thinks there must be no mistake with the divorce letter written in his own hand.

“Please, Liddellina. It must be a misunderstanding. I would never think of divorcing a charming woman like you.”

Instead of feeling happy, she felt a chill at the change in him.

However, if she can stay here, she is still grateful.

So, is he the real one?

Chapter 23: Confusion? Chaos? Junk?

“Was Andrea-sama, Friedrich-sama always like this in the military?”

Thinking that maybe this was his true nature, Liddellina hesitantly started to speak. However, Andrea easily shook his head.

“No, he’s cold like the rumors say in society. Always calm, or expressionless, or like he has no emotions. But he fights bravely on the battlefield. As a general, he often stands in front of his subordinates and protects them. I believe he is truly a man with a kind heart.”

(In the end, which is it?)

“…Yes.”

Liddellina was troubled by Andrea’s passionate speech. Is he also confused?

“That’s right. Fried, when we military men go to the battlefield, we leave a will for our families. If you confirm that, you might understand his thoughts? This divorce document may be a fake made in his handwriting, but well, document forgery is punishable by imprisonment. If it’s shown to a public notary, it might become clear as well.”

“Speaking of which, I heard from my husband that he had deposited a will with the public notary in the capital.”

Pushed by relatives, she had no time to confirm it.

“I see, that’s a good idea. Let’s go to the capital right away.”

Confused by the direct, impulsive behavior that she had never seen before he lost his memories, Liddellina watched as he stood up and headed for the door. She hurriedly tried to stop him.

“Husband, please wait a moment. Before you go to the battlefield, I was asked by you to protect the estate and the servants from your relatives, and that is also written in our marriage contract. So please stay here. I will go to the capital in your place.”

“No way, Liddellina!”

“Can’t you trust me?”

Friedrich’s words of rejection sting more than expected and Liddellina’s emotions are violently shaking with all that has happened.

“You have no intention of coming back, do you?”

He looks at her with a challenging gaze.

“Yes?”

She tilts her head, unable to understand.

“I heard that I was a cold-blooded man before I lost my memories. You must have hated me, such a person.”

Friedrich lowers his eyes sadly.

“But that divorce document was written by Husband…”

“Please, madam, don’t abandon Friedrich who has lost his memories. I beg you as a friend.”

Andrea interrupts before Liddellina can finish speaking.

“What?”

“It’s okay. I’ll take responsibility for the documents and handle the procedures. Is that okay, Fried?”

“Yeah, I rely on you, Tony.”

The men with good-looking faces firmly shake hands and gaze at each other intensely. For some reason, her spine tingles.

Are military men close to each other?

“Then, I’ll go to the capital right away. You take care of yourself too.”

He stands up and speaks.

“Such a thing, Andrea-sama, at least stay here for one night tonight.”

Liddellina frantically tries to hold him back.

“No, it’s been a long time since you’ve seen each other, so please take your time and enjoy your stay as a couple.”

Even if she says that, it would be difficult to leave Friedrich in this state.

“We have a good hot spring. Please come!”

She tried to detain him with a hot spring on the spur of the moment.

“Oh, now that you mention it, I”ve heard there’s a top-notch bathhouse that’s even better than the palace.”

It seems he’s a simple person.

“Yes, please stay. At least for one night.”

“Top-notch bathhouse? I’ve never heard of it?”

Friedrich looks puzzled.

“Yes, if my husband relaxes in the bath, he might remember his memories. Let’s heal the fatigue of the journey right away.”

Liddellina calls Howard and Dorothy and briefly reports on her husband’s condition. Both of them were surprised and puzzled, but the capable duo quickly regained their senses and straightened their faces. For them, it was more joyful that their lord had returned safely, no matter what condition he was in.

“Then, Howard, please lead my husband to the bathhouse.”

However, Friedrich, who had started to leave with Andrea, suddenly stops and turns to Liddellina.

“Hey, Fried, what’s wrong?”

Andrea notices the change in him and calls out to him.

“Liddellina, you’re not going to run away while I’m in the bath, are you?”

He shakes his ice-blue eyes anxiously and asks her.

“What? No, I would never do such a rude thing. I will see Andrea-sama off and properly report on the estate’s income and expenses.”

Then, Friedrich’s brightened expression clouds over again.

“Liddellina, please don’t abandon me.”

Saying that, he kneels before Liddellina and clings to her.

“W-What?”

Liddellina has no idea how to deal with Friedrich, who is clinging to her with his large body. Even Howard, who has known him for much longer than Liddellina, is confused by the change in his lord.

“Excuse me, Husband, could you please instruct your relatives not to enter the office? Of course, if I am not with you, I will not enter the office at all in the future. In other words, I ask that it be prohibited to enter. Also, your relative Sam-sama has a sword with him. There have also been injuries among the servants, so could you please take the sword from him? ”

When she asked this, his expression changed in an instant. It tightened and his ice-blue eyes shone coldly.

Maybe it’s not a fake. Maybe his memory has returned…

“Hey, you servant over there. Bring out that man named Sam! I absolutely won’t allow him to bring a sword into my house and draw it! Who was injured and how severe are the injuries? Report it to me. Tetanus is dangerous. It must be properly dealt with.”

No, his memory hasn’t returned. He doesn’t even remember Howard’s name, whom he trusted so much. And he looks at Liddellina in surprise.

“I’m sorry. It seems that I have a tendency to get carried away and raise my voice in front of women.

It’s as if he’s a completely different person. Who is this person who tends to get carried away and is so talkative?

“No, I’m fine. Please go and rest in the bathhouse. In the meantime, I’ll start preparing dinner.

Liddellina sees a completely different person. She’s so agitated and excited that she feels like she might shout out at any moment.

After the men left, Liddellina quickly gathered the servants and explained her husband’s symptoms, giving them instructions.

Everyone was equally surprised, but they were all thrilled at the return of the castle’s lord.”

Chapter 24: New Husband

That night’s dinner was decided to be eaten by Friedrich, who had freshened up in the bath, and Andrea, along with all the relatives.

It was the first time that he had eaten with such a large number of people. Liddellina had always eaten alone, and Sam was not there. It seems that he had really been driven out.

Liddellina doesn’t know what happened to him, and doesn’t want to know when she remembers Friedrich’s sword dance from earlier.

Even though he doesn’t remember the names of the servants, his feelings towards them as precious people have not changed.

She finds some relief in that; the servants here are capable, simple, and kind people. Was the Friedrich from before, who surrounded himself with such people, really a good person? Liddellina doesn’t know much about her husband.

Friedrich pushed Hannah, who was trying to sit next to him for some reason, aside and made Liddellina sit down. As a result, the gaze of the relatives was painful. Despite having no memory, Friedrich has already begun to distance himself from the relatives.

Disgust flew around the table. The relatives insisted on living here, and the dinner was a poor one, but Liddellina was not in the mood, but Friedrich and Andrea ate well regardless of the situation.

“This lamb meat is delicious.”

As if he had never eaten before, Friedrich said,

“All we had on the battlefield was dried meat. Freshly grilled meat is the best.”

Tony breaks his face. In between, O’Neill pointed to Liddellina and said,

“How long are you going to keep this woman?”

and Friedrich almost kicked him out of the house.

Suddenly, Liddellina felt very cared for, Liddellina has nowhere to go.

The next morning, Andrea left for the capital.

Friedrich slept well or has a refreshed expression.

“Liddellina, let’s go to the office together.”

Liddellina shook her head lazily.

“If I’m treated specially, O’Neill-sama and Franny-sama will be angry. First, please check with my husband’s eyes. After that, I will answer the questions.”

She didn’t know what the relatives would say. Liddellina refused.

“I see…”

He looks disappointed. However, she is not swayed by Friedrich’s appearance.

When she returned to her room, she started packing her belongings. She doesn’t know when her husband’s memories will return. It would be bad if Liddellina lived in the mansion at that time. She decided to move to a separate mansion immediately. She thought the castle was a temporary residence and packed only the minimum, but it unexpectedly increased and it took unexpectedly long to pack.

Then, loud footsteps were heard in the hallway. It seems that someone is running. Maybe the relatives are causing a fuss again.

“Liddellina! Liddellina!”

She opened the door in a panic at Friedrich’s voice.

“Husband, what’s the matter?”

“Why, Liddellina. Why are you trying to leave?”

“What?”

Next to this Friedrich, a maid was standing and looking at the two of them worriedly. She must have told Friedrich about Liddellina’s packing.

“It’s a misunderstanding. I’m just moving to a separate mansion now.”

“What? Why do you need to move to a separate mansion? I thought you didn’t come to the bedroom last night because you thought I was tired, but you…”

He looks at her with eyes moist with sadness.

“What are you saying loudly? Please come into the room first.”

Liddellina turned red. She asked the maid to prepare tea and invited Friedrich into the room.

“Husband, please calm down and listen.”

Then, Liddellina told him about their married life, why they are living in the castle now, and why they are returning to a separate mansion.

“If that’s the case, is our marriage…”

“If you want to say it, it’s close to an employment contract.”

“In other words, a white marriage?”

“That’s what it is.”

Before white, a complete employment contract.

“S-So, have you already made another lover?”

“No, I haven’t. I’m busy with work on the territory, so I don’t have time for that. Rather than that, please come to the office and properly check the documents.”

Liddellina pushes Friedrich out of the room like a child, trying to calm him down and push him out. It would be a disaster if the relatives disrupted the office again while he is relaxing here.

However, he doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to leave the room.

“If you are checking the documents, most of the urgent ones have been settled. Moreover, I had time during this trip here, so I read your letters. I understand the situation of the territory from that. You were in a hurry to supply firewood for the subjects, and you called a craftsman from the capital and worked on the hot spring facilities, and you worked hard for the territory. When I read the letters you sent me, I was impressed that I had such a wonderful wife. You were investing your own money in starting a new business.”

“If it fails, it will be a loss of tax revenue for the territory.”

Liddellina says it as if it were natural.

“So, Liddellina, could you leave the divorce papers you showed me the other day with me? Even if I say I don’t remember writing them, there is no credibility, but the more I think about it, I can’t believe I would do such a thing. Looking briefly at the office, it seems that I valued my own territory. I wouldn’t want to divorce you, who treated it equally. Or is it something that you demanded of me because you have grown tired of me?”

“No, it’s not like that. However, I still think it would be better for me to be in a separate mansion for when your memory returns.”

“Why?”

He asks, trying to cling to her again. Liddellina subtly shakes him off. While feeling perplexed, she is gradually getting used to his treatment. If she keeps getting agitated, she will lose both her body and mind.

“Um, husband, you extremely disliked being touched by me.”

“What? That’s a lie!”

Friedrich was surprised with wide eyes. It’s strange how his ice blue eyes, which seemed so cold, now seem warm.

“Therefore, my husband, who has regained his memories, should feel offended when he sees me living here. And it would be unpleasant if it seemed like I was taking advantage of his lack of memories. So please, let me go to the separate residence.”

“Liddellina, I understand your feelings.”

It seems that he has come to understand, and that is good.

“I will seal the separate residence under my name.”

“What?”

“That way, it will serve as proof that I am keeping you here of my own volition.”

“Why would you do that?”

I don’t understand.

She asked Friedrich to refrain from sealing it off, as there is a hot spring management. In the end, Friedrich added in writing that Liddellina is in the main building of his own volition.

“Liddellina, do you have a knife?”

“Yes.”

As soon as she handed it to him, he cut his finger.

“Ah! Husband! What are you doing!”

“I put a blood seal on it so you don’t have to worry.”

“No way…”

Liddellina’s consciousness was about to fly due to her husband’s extreme change in behavior from one extreme to another. A blood seal document is disturbing and feels unpleasant. Or is this common sense for a soldier?

“Also, these collected belongings go in my room.”

“I’m not taking it!”

She firmly stopped Friedrich from trying to take them.

If a will arrives from the capital, he is sure to change as well.

He said that he would not have a child with Liddellina and adopt instead. However, he said that he would choose from relatives, the adopted child possibly being Sam.

Chapter 25: Friedrich’s brokenheartedness

Friedrich was firmly rebuffed by Liddellina and returned to the office in a huff.

Friedrich, who had lost his memory, was looking forward to returning from the battlefield and seeing his wife.

He had heard some grating rumors about Liddellina, such as that she was taking advantage of her ex-fiancé by marrying so soon after their engagement was called off, or that she was changing too quickly, but after reading her letter, which reported in detail about the territory, Friedrich thought that she must be a sincere, intelligent, and wonderful woman.

It was also nice that there were always words of concern for Friedrich at the end of the letter. Friedrich was attracted by her warm personality and her determination to protect the territory while her husband was away. Or rather, he thought he had fallen in love again at that time.

Inside the envelope, there was always a pressed flower of the season of the territory attached.

Friedrich himself, before losing his memory, had also treasured it, so the two of them thought they were a loving couple who cared for each other.

It is said that when he lost his memory and wandered the battlefield injured, he was clutching an embroidered handkerchief given to him by his wife.

And the woman he saw was much more beautiful than he had heard in the rumors, like an angel, and his heart warmed at the moment he saw her.

However, for some reason, she was distant and Friedrich was confused.

From his friend Tony and the people in his unit, it was said that Friedrich before he lost his memory always acted as a cool and perfect commander , no matter the situation, with no emotional ups and downs.

However, that also meant that he was a cold-blooded man. Every time he saw Liddellina’s timid attitude, he was worried that he might have done something to her.

Liddellina stubbornly tries to move to a separate house. She said that this marriage was based on a contract. When he went to the office with a gloomy feeling, he found O’Neill and his daughter Hannah, who claimed to be relatives. They were not very likable. Especially Hannah, a woman who persistently stuck to him, was uncomfortable.

Yesterday, when he was sleeping in the master bedroom, he heard a knock and thought it was Liddellina, but when he opened the door, she was standing there. His skin stood on end and he immediately chased her away.

Tony told him that after the war, distant relatives who had been distant before often came and took away his property. He is currently investigating the people who claim to be relatives.

If Sam pulled out his sword and injured the servants, as he claimed, it would be easy to chase them away, but these people have known Friedrich since he was a child, and claim that they have been trusted with the territory when something has happened to Friedrich.

In addition, Liddellina was supposed to break up with him and marry Hannah, their daughter. He didn’t want to believe it, but the divorce papers were written in Friedrich’s handwriting.

Since he has no memory, he doesn’t remember writing it, but there is no evidence of forgery, so it is troubling.

After chasing the two relatives out of the office, he read the documents again. The servants all say that before the relatives came, the documents were properly organized and tidy, but they were scattered while they were looking for a house.

Liddellina stopped them, and Sam stopped swinging his sword. It makes him want to cry to think that such a slender and lovely person stood as a shield to protect the servants. He doesn’t want to think that he was trying to break up with her.

He searched every drawer. Then he noticed that the second drawer from the top of the desk was double-bottomed. Finally, Friedrich found the marriage contract with Liddellina and began to devour its contents.

When he learned about the marriage, he was so shocked to learn that, as Liddellina claimed, he had asked for a separate residence that he almost collapsed. This proved her story and their white marriage. Then her sincere personality.

That’s why she was packing her things.

“Isn’t this more like a labor contract than a marriage?”

Friedrich collapsed in guilt. He has no idea why he entered into such a contract with such a charming person like her.

But why did he go to the trouble of hiding the contract? Maybe he hid it in case something happened to him and his relatives came in, so that Liddellina wouldn’t be disadvantaged.

Suddenly, O’Neill and Franny entered without knocking.

“Yes, that’s right. It seems like they are targeting my wealth, so let’s have them leave quickly.”

Friedrich, who had lost his memory, was told by Andrea that he held powerful lordly powers.

“You finally have the right attitude, Friedrich.”

“Is Howard here?”

“Yes, Danna-sama. Over here.”

He was properly waiting by the entrance. He was a newly made servant. Always following the master like a shadow.

“Immediately, O’Neill, Franny, and Hannah, kick them out.”

“Yes! As you command.”

Howard responds with a lively voice and expression.

“What are you talking about! I’m your relative.”

“We found a document outlining the conditions of the marriage.”

“That’s ridiculous, It wasn’t there when we were looking for a house the other day!”

O’Neill looks up with raised eyebrows.

“As the servant said, you were indeed looking for a house on your own. I found a document where Liddellina asked me to protect the servants from you.

It seems that I had previously told you not to enter my territory. Why are you here? Get out of here immediately. If you cannot do that, I will exercise my lordly authority. You are aware that my lordly authority takes precedence over national law, aren’t you? I have the right to judge crimes that occur within my territory. I cannot allow you to take advantage of the chaos and do as you please in someone’s mansion. Leave at once!”

He immediately exercised his power. First, he cleaned up the castle.

“What did you say!”

The wife screams in a high voice.

“You ingrate!”

O’Neill shouted as if he were angry.

“Be quiet, you shame!”

Friedrich’s angry voice, which had never been heard before, echoed down the hallway.

Chapter 26: Extreme Husband

At the time, Liddellina was in the salon on the first floor, drinking tea and holding her head.

(What should I do with the packed luggage?)

Friedrich’s memory may not return for a while. In that case, she thought she would just unpack a little and wear her clothes again. She hadn’t intended to be extravagant, but somehow her luggage had increased while she was in the mansion.

At any rate, Friedrich is always holed up in the office, so there is nothing to do. She is interested in the hot spring she fixed up, but she is afraid to leave the house where his relatives are lurking. Liddellina doesn’t want to come back and finds that she is not allowed to come and go.

As she was pouring a second cup of tea from the pot, there was a loud bang and the front door of the salon opened.

Hannah was standing there, her face contorted with anger. Something must have happened. As she cocked her head in surprise, she stormed over to Liddellina.

“Hey, how long do you plan on staying here?”

Hannah suddenly exploded with anger.

“No matter how long he asks me…”

That’s what she wanted to ask. It’s probably them who plan on staying here for as long as they can.

“It’s you who is causing us trouble by not leaving. No matter how long it takes, we can’t get married to Friedrich-sama!”

“Even if you say that, I’ve been told by my husband not to leave here.”

At that moment, there was a loud, dry sound, and Liddellina’s cheek became hot.

“Eh…”

Instead of getting angry, she was dumbfounded. She didn’t know why her cheek was struck.

“Leave now!”

As she shouted, Hannah grabbed Liddellina’s chest and shook her violently. Liddellina was shocked and couldn’t react to the sudden violence.

“It hurts!”

That was Hannah’s cry, and Liddellina’s body became lighter and she collapsed onto the sofa due to the recoil.

“What do you think you’re doing, attacking my wife!”

As she looked up at Friedrich’s voice, Hannah’s arm was being twisted.

“Husband!”

Friedrich’s eyes widen as he looks at Liddellina’s face.

“Liddellina, your cheek is red. Why did you hit Liddellina, you scoundrel!”

Liddellina is even afraid at the momentum of Friedrich’s anger. But Hannah is still arrogant.

Liddellina clings to the sofa, trembling.

”Somebody.”

She calls for the servants weakly. And to her surprise, the soldiers come in. Friedrich pushes Hannah out and tells them.

“Hey, cut off this girl’s right arm.”

Liddellina feels like her legs are giving out. But she can’t panic here.

Hannah is dragged away, cursing the servants and soldiers instead of being afraid.

“Please stop. Husband!”

Liddellina shouted.

“Since she have injured the lord’s wife, it is only fair to cut off that arm. This is an insult to the lord.”

There was the cold Friedrich she had met when they first met.

“That’s obviously not right. Please stop!”

Liddellina screams and protects Hannah, who is being taken away. Howard and Dorothy also come to see what is going on.

“Why, Liddellina. You was insulted and injured. It’s only natural to punish her.”

But Friedrich won’t accept it.

“What are you talking about! Get a grip. This is not a battlefield. What are you going to do by cutting off the arm of a lady who has a future? If you insist, I’ll stop being your wife. Then she won’t have insulted the lord, will she?”

Even though she was aware that she was saying something that didn’t make sense, she had to stop his violent actions at all costs. It was unacceptable to have an arm cut off just because her cheek was slapped. Friedrich then turned to the soldiers.

“The punishment is cancelled. Kick this woman out of the castle right now.”

He calmed his anger by taking a deep breath and shaking his shoulders, then turned on his heel. For now, Liddellina was relieved.

Hannah is being dragged away by the soldiers while still yelling.

“Hey, you”ve got to be kidding me! My luggage is still here!”

It’s true that it would be a problem if she left her luggage behind. After all, it will just be thrown away.

“Dorothy, can you tell someone who has a free hand to pack her luggage?”

Dorothy’s face clouds over, which is unusual.

“If it’s Okusama’s order, then of course, but please allow me to say one thing! Is it really okay to just drive her out of here without any punishment?”

Liddellina was surprised by Dorothy’s fierce side, which is usually calm.

“Yes, you must have had an unpleasant experience too.”

Liddellina sympathizes with her feelings.

“No, Okusama has been having a hard time.”

Liddellina’s heart warms at Dorothy’s feelings. She is getting angry for Liddellina’s sake.

“Even so, I think it’s not good to leave a bad legacy in this way.”

“A bad legacy…?”

Liddellina chooses her words carefully, thinking that a cruel and barbaric approach is not good.

“Yes, if my husband leaves a scar on someone’s body that will last a lifetime, he will be hated. That’s why I don’t think that’s a good way to do things.”

Dorothy opens her eyes wide in surprise.

“Okusama is thinking about the future… I will follow you from now on. I will take responsibility for packing her luggage right away!”

Dorothy looks at her with sparkling eyes, which makes Liddellina feel a little uncomfortable.

“You hypocrite, don’t get too big for your britches!”

Liddellina hears Franny and O’Neill’s voices snarling at her. They are very bold when Friedrich is not around.

However, they are looking at her with narrowed eyes, but still carrying the luggage with both hands and heading towards the entrance in a dignified manner. They are about to be driven out of this mansion.

“Hey, stop it.”

“It’s disrespectful to Okusama.”

The soldiers and servants are scolded by Franny and O’Neill. They must have been holding a grudge. Surrounded by returning soldiers, they are being dragged towards the entrance.

However, Hannah does not seem to be satisfied and says loudly,

“You think you covered for me?! Friedrich-sama wouldn’t have cut off my arm even if you hadn’t told him. I really hate you!”

You don’t think Friedrich in that state isn’t serious? Liddellina is amazed.

“I hate you too. That’s why don’t ever show your face in front of me again.”

Saying this, Liddellina turned her back on them.

Chapter 27: I miss you

When looking into the salon, Friedrich was sitting alone, his back exuding a strong sense of melancholy that made it hard to just pass by.

Since there was no other choice, Liddellina decided to speak to him.

“Husband, thank you for listening to my wishes earlier.”

Friedrich looked up as if he had been rejected.

“so, you’re not going to leave me, right?”

He looked at her with eyes like a scolded puppy, completely different from earlier. Liddellina involuntarily took a step back.

“Yes, as long as my lord does not desire it.”

“Is that really true, Liddellina?”

He approached her and tightly grasped both her hands. Since losing his memories, Friedrich touches her without hesitation. She wonders what happened to the person who used to be so awkward and even disliked women.

“Yes, of course. I Have nowhere else to go.”

“You have nowhere to go? What about your home?”

“Ah, did you not have any documents regarding that? I thought Husband had conducted an investigation into my assets and would have detailed information…”

Friedrich nervously blinks his eyes.

“…in that case, may I tell you the circumstances?”

The Friedrich who returned from the battlefield with no memories is kindly disposed towards Liddellina because he has no one else to rely on.

However, it is also scary how his gaze towards Liddellina changes as soon as he sees the documents about her home.

She shudders when she sees his attitude towards his relatives earlier. He is a harsh person. Even if he lost his memories, will the things at his core remain unchanged? However, Liddellina does not know the previous Friedrich well.

Liddellina decided to speak candidly about the matter of her engagement being broken off, following the sequence of events. It would be better to ask directly before finding out through documents. She explains the facts only, without mixing in her emotions, and tells him everything she knows.

“Liddellina, you”ve had such a hard time.”

Liddellina was surprised at her husband, who lamented her circumstances even though she had not meant to present herself as a victim.

“No, it wasn’t that bad.”

There are ladies who are sold as old, high-ranking noble concubines in the world. Compared to that, she thinks she was happy to be given work and even a generous allowance by marrying him.

She secretly took pride in the fact that she might have the skills to work as a secretary even if she was kicked out of here.

“So, what is your home like now?”

“Yes, as Husband told me, I wrote numerous letters to my cousin and he returned to the country. After that, we have had no contact, but since he is reliable, I think he is probably fine.”

“I see. If they ask you to do something unreasonable, feel free to consult with me anytime. I’ll try to help in any way I can, Liddellina.”

He is a reliable husband, despite having no memories…

“Well then, how about we have lunch together from now on?”

“Yes.”

“This is the first time we”ve had a meal alone together since I returned.”

Friedrich smiles awkwardly as he says this. No, it’s not just since he returned, it’s really the first time. Liddellina is confused by his reaction. She doesn’t know how to respond.

“Err… that’s right.”

“After we finish eating, let’s go to the office together. I have some questions too.”

“Understood. In that case, how about we have lunch in the office? That way we can use our time more efficiently.”

She was annoyed by the presence of his relatives before, but for some reason, being alone with him feels awkward too. She feels like there is no space between them.

“Y-Yeah.”

For some reason, Friedrich visibly deflates.

After that, the two of them went to the office and calmly went through the handover of documents. Liddellina would answer Friedrich’s questions.

During afternoon tea time, they also worked in the office. Friedrich has knowledge, but no memories, so there are things he needs to learn anew, and he is not able to grasp documents he made in the past.

Liddellina, who was working according to Friedrich’s instructions, is different. He learned from Howard at times.

In the meantime, Liddellina must work efficiently so that the work will move smoothly. In the end, she ended up helping him until he was able to grasp all the work as acting lord.

This way Friedrich won’t break up with her anytime soon. However, she suddenly thinks about what will happen when the work is on track and his memories return, and she becomes unnecessary.

She then remembered the spa facilities she had started to work on. She heard that the local peasants were using it, but it was mostly men and the usage rate by women was low. It seems that a clean and safe facility is necessary after all.

Liddellina thought she would go and see the state of the local spa after a long time. She thought she would consider making it easier for women to use.

Since Friedrich seemed to have finished his work, Liddellina spoke up.

“Husband, I would like to go and see the state of the spa and workshop tomorrow. Is that okay? I will make sure it doesn’t interfere with your work.”

“In that case, can I come with you?”

Friedrich shows a childlike smile as if he found something to look forward to.

She can’t refuse.

“Of course.”

“I’m looking forward to it. The business you started.”

“It’s not that big of a deal. The crafts have been selling well, but the number of visitors to the spa has been unexpectedly low.

“Fewer people are using the hot springs? That’s surprising. There is nothing so wonderful.

He says this in a surprised tone, and his expression becomes lively and cheerful.

“Then, see you tomorrow.”

Liddellina feels a sense of discomfort and stands up.

“Ah, thank you for staying late. It was a great help. I’ll rely on you again.”

Friedrich stands up from his chair and comes over to Liddellina, offering his right hand.

For some reason, he always asks for a handshake from Liddellina when he finishes his work. It’s strange.

Chapter 28: Two-person inspection

The next day, when she went to the workshop in a carriage, Fie greeted her. Friedrich seemed surprised when he saw her, and awkwardly greeted her while stiffening his body. Meanwhile, Friedrich was fascinated by the craftsmanship.

“This is amazing.”

“T-Thank you for your praise.”

Fie’s voice trembled and she was visibly nervous.

“It’s a beautiful hair ornament.”

Friedrich took the hair ornament embedded with lapis lazuli and showed interest.

“Yes, everything Fie makes is wonderful.”

Liddellina is pleased to hear the praise for Fie’s work.

“Then I’ll buy this hair ornament.”

“What?”

Liddellina and Fie looked at each other in surprise. Then Friedrich paid Fie the money on the spot and received the hair ornament.

“Liddellina, it suits you very well.”

He said this with a bashful smile, and handed the hair ornament to Liddellina.

“Thank you very much.”

Liddellina was unexpectedly pleased. It was something Friedrich had chosen himself. Liddellina didn’t usually wear ornaments, but this hair ornament was just the right size for everyday use and the design was cute.

“Did you say your name was Fie? Do you plan to expand this workshop and train apprentices?”

“Y-Yes.”

Fie nodded firmly, though she was still trembling. Friedrich seemed interested, so for the time being, Liddellina was relieved.

Then the two of them headed to a hot spring using the river. During the ride, Friedrich happily put the hair ornament in Liddellina’s hair.

“Ah, as I thought, it really suits you well.”

From being silent to being talkative… Liddellina was busy being confused and taken aback by his extreme changes.

And when they arrived at the hot spring, the tension ran high among the customers who had been leisurely soaking in the water.

“Y-Your lordship!”

Everyone seemed to prostrate themselves when they saw Friedrich getting off the carriage, so they quickly excused themselves from there.

“Huh. I was apparently quite feared by the people.”

Upon seeing Friedrich’s perplexed face, Liddellina smiled for the first time.

“No, I think it’s normal for people to be like that.”

“But you seem to be admired by everyone.”

“That’s not true. Anyway, Husband, what did you think of that hot spring?”

“Yeah, it’s just for male customers.”

“Yes, that’s right. The number of users has increased, but the facilities are poor and women don’t feel comfortable entering.”

“I see, so you want to invest in the facilities.”

“Yes, please, would you allow me to do that?”

Liddellina wants women to be able to fully enjoy the hot spring. She briefly considers whether, if her husband’s memories return and they are separated, she might be able to work at this hot spring.

“Of course, that’s fine. But I want you to stop using your personal funds like before. Use your allowance as an allowance, and use it properly. It’s also important to have some time for leisure.”

“Yes, I understand.”

Liddellina made a note in her mind to write down a record of this agreement, even though there was no written contract, in case his memories returned.

“Also, I don’t think I’ll be serving in the military anymore.”

“What?”

Surprised by this unexpected statement, Liddellina blinked. He was a military man who was even called patron saint of this country.

“It seems that I am no longer useful on the battlefield after losing my memories. I was told that even though I have the skill with a sword, I may not be able to make calm judgments on the battlefield like before.”

“I don’t think that’s true. However, I am grateful that Husband will be here in the territory.”

This was Liddellina’s true feelings. She couldn’t manage everything alone, and the servants would also be worried.

“Oh, if that’s the case, then I’m relieved.”

Friedrich chuckled and the faint scar on his temple from a sword wound slightly creased.

No matter how much his personality or preferences changed after losing his memories, he was still Friedrich himself. He wasn’t someone else.

“Liddellina, I’ve relied on many people after losing my memories. From now on, I’m sure I’ll cause you a lot of trouble, but I’ll definitely repay you, so I want to stay with you forever.”

For now, Liddellina can only pray that he won’t change his mind even if his memories return. However, she doesn’t feel any sense of reality as his wife. It’s just that he seems to have changed from a cold employer to a kind one.

Chapter 29: Husband Remembers the past 1

There was a visitor the next morning.

Dorothy had come with a message, so she was rushing to get dressed, and the visitor was Colonel Andrea and Friedrich was greeting him.

As soon as she heard this, Liddellina was enveloped in a sense of tension. He had brought the will as promised. Maybe this will lead to a divorce.

With that resolve, they entered the dining room where the two of them were, and were greeted by their smiling faces.

After greeting Andrea and finishing the greeting, Liddellina got to the point.

“So, what did the will say?”

“Oh, I haven’t opened it yet. I thought we could look at it together, Liddellina.”

Friedrich answers.

“What?”

“I want to build a trusting relationship with you. So let’s open it together.”

Friedrich says, embarrassed.

“Yes … thank you very much.”

She doesn’t feel bad when he says that.

After that, the three of them finished their meal in a harmonious atmosphere.

Liddellina managed to keep Andrea there again, and he decided to stay to enjoy the hot springs.

For some reason, she feels uneasy when it’s just her with Friedrich. Andrea is used to Friedrich’s treatment and the two of them are talking in a relaxed manner, so it’s a relief.

After that, Andrea went to the bath house to relax from his travels, and the two of them moved to the office to open the will.

The contents were no different from the contract signed at the time of the marriage, but there were additional items.

First, the naming of an heir.

“It seems that I was trying to make a relative’s child in another country my successor.”

“Do you have relatives in other countries?”

“There are documents in this office, and I confirmed them. According to them, “his” family seems to have many children. Oh, and Liddellina, look at this. He’s asking you to raise the successor.”

“Well, really…”

She was surprised. Friedrich seemed to trust Liddellina for some reason.

“Then, there’s a section about the distribution of assets. I’m giving you one third of the assets and lands in the area along with a separate residence.”

“Eh!”

Liddellina was surprised. she has a rough understanding of the assets of this house. If she could get a third of it, she wouldn’t have to worry about food for the rest of her life. Plus, it comes with land.

“Why did Husband treat me so well?”

“I told you, didn’t I? I have no intention of divorcing you. Plus, I think I liked you. It was strange. The letters you sent me were carefully stored, even on the battlefield. And then the pressed flowers you sent me.”

“Oh…”

She had no idea who Friedrich was before he lost his memory. Wasn’t he a cold-hearted person…?

“And, look here, read this. Those relatives are excluded from the heirs. In other words, they have cut off their ties. Look, Hannah’s name is also here. After all, there’s no way I would divorce you and marry her. Maybe she found out I was missing and came here? Transportation to the capital is inconvenient and the information tends to be delayed. What a bunch of jerks.”

She was relieved to hear that.

“Then, as long as Husband is here, they won’t come.”

“That’s right. I will lock them up in Sam’s cell one of these days, for their misdeeds in this territory. Even if I’m not here, I’ll make sure they never step on this land again.”

The ice-blue eyes shone coldly. After all, Friedrich is Friedrich. When she sees the scars on his temple in these cold eyes, she can’t settle down. And the new fact that Sam, who was driven out of here, was thrown into a cell becomes clear. Well, since he swung a sword and injured the servants, including Howard, Liddellina has no objections.

Despite not having memories, Friedrich is quickly gaining control of the castle’s servants. He is a man of leadership, and probably a lord by nature. His personality seems to have changed in the opposite direction, but he seems to be excellent in the same way.

Is he also excellent as a soldier…? It’s hard to believe that he has become useless.

“Um, so what do you mean by throwing him in a cell?”

She asks about his uneasy statement first.

“Of course, it’s a crime of insulting and forging documents. I’ll also find the ghostwriter. I’ll make sure you’re convinced that I had no intention of divorcing you by gathering evidence.”

She swallows the words that she doesn’t need to do all of that. At least he didn’t cut off Hannah’s right arm on the spot.

“…I see.”

It looks like the marriage will continue.

“But I don’t have any clues from before I lost my memory.”

“Clues? Haven’t you asked the servants or the military?”

“Yes, I’ve asked, but the military says that most of them are silent and indifferent.”

She thinks she needs to follow up.

“Promises are always kept.”

“And?”

“…”

She doesn’t know what to say because she doesn’t know him well.

“Tony told me that before and after I lost my memory, I was a completely different person.”

She nodded to that.

“I have to admit that the impression I get now is softer than before.”

He used to be scary normally.

“If “he” had left something like a diary, I would be able to find out what kind of person he was.”

“A diary…”

She can’t imagine the previous Friedrich being the type to keep a diary.

“Yes, a diary. It seems like the actions of my previous self were contradictory.”

“Is that so?”

She doesn’t know him that well. She even wonders if it’s okay for her to be his confidant. Howard or Andrea would probably know much more.

“It’s clear from the marriage contract that I was also a cold husband to you. But I kept your letters carefully and wore embroidered handkerchiefs and pressed flowers like talismans. It’s strange.”

“What? You were even wearing pressed flowers?!”

Liddellina’s eyes opened wide in surprise. There’s no way he looks like a romantic. Perhaps he had a deep attachment to his fief.

Friedrich nodded seriously and opened his mouth gravely.

“I think something happened in the past that made me unable to express my feelings openly.”

There were emotions in the past him.

But could it be that something happened that he had to bury those feelings deep inside?

Chapter 30: Husband Remembers the past 2

“I checked the office first, but I couldn’t find anything. So, I’m going to try looking for rooms that I used to use when I was a child or rooms that are not being used.”

“Is that the same thing as searching the castle?”

“Yeah, I looked through the castle roughly, but there doesn’t seem to be any clues.”

“Did you go around the entire castle and look at everything?”

He have amazing motivation

“There are so many rooms, it’s impossible to search them all thoroughly, but I tried my best. Did you live in this castle and not notice anything?”

“I only went to the office on the first and second floors and my room, so I didn’t.”

Friedrich says, surprised.

“That’s why.”

“Because I was living in a separate mansion until Husband returned, I thought it would be rude to enter places that had nothing to do with me.”

“Liddellina, I’m really sorry for making you feel cramped.”

He bows his head dejectedly.

“No, I didn’t mean it like that. Actually, I was very busy with work, so I didn’t have time.”

She wasn’t interested.

“Even though I treated you coldly, you honestly did your job.”

“That’s not true. I thought the treatment was very good. The conversations with Husband were through letters, but during his absence I enjoyed making a workshop and improving the hot spring.”

Liddellina smiles. She really enjoyed talking with Howard and listening to Dorothy’s opinions. This place was the best, both as a workplace and as a place to live.

“Do you want to make the facilities you’re working on now bigger? If so, let’s work hard together. But if you want to do it alone, I’ll support you with funding.”

Her husband respects Liddellina’s feelings.

“Thank you.”

Friedrich happily smiles at Liddellina’s words.

But when she receives such a kind offer, she can’t help but think.

“Is my husband worried because he doesn’t have any memories now?”

“Of course, I’m a little worried, but Liddellina is here, the household staff are honest and hardworking, and Tony is reliable, so it’s okay.”

If his memories returned and he started rejecting Liddellina again, it would be inconvenient… or rather, she have a feeling that would be more hurtful than good.

“… wouldn’t it be better to just relax and let time take its course?”

Is this Liddellina’s selfish thought? As her husband, he might be worried and as his wife, she should try to help in some way.

“Is the current me better than the previous me?”

It’s difficult to answer that.

“…I didn’t know Husband previous very well. We didn’t talk much, so I can’t answer.”

“I see.”

He nods.

Liddellina doesn’t have the right to stop him. But if the previous “him” suppressed his emotions, it’s likely that something significant happened, so she wonders if it’s really necessary to remember the past.

She was happy before she found out about Gilbert’s (Liddellina ex-fiance) betrayal. Not knowing can also lead to a joyful life. Which is better for him, or for her? Liddellina’s feelings are wavering.

“Liddellina, I made a very rude contract with you.”

Friedrich says flatly.

“No, I saw it as an employment contract and didn’t think about it. And I”ve received a lot of pocket money.”

Liddellina asserts this, and he looks shocked.

“Isn’t that the problem? As a wife, isn’t it strange for a husband to adopt a child from his own relatives? Isn’t it a foolish story? In such a case, it’s usually the woman, you, who is spoken ill of in society.”

“No, regarding that, my husband said that… due to injuries from the war… he couldn’t have children.”

It’s hard to say and she’s hesitant.

“What! Is that true?!”

He opens his eyes wide and stands up, causing the chair to creak. His body is large, so it’s a little intimidating.

“I-I don’t really know for sure. “He” said that he takes responsibility for it and will protect me.”

But Friedrich is shaking and trembling.

“What a thing. It might be better to ask the doctor. Yeah. I’ll ask Tony. He’s been with me since the dormitory days, so he might know something.”

“Husband, Andrea-sama is currently in the bath house. Why don’t you wait until after he leaves?

Again, he’s trying to rush off.

“In that case, I’ll go to the bath with him. Sorry, but can you continue organizing the documents?”

Leaving those words behind, he left the room with a blue face. Liddellina wonders if she said something unnecessary.

After a while, perhaps because he went into the bath house, he returned with a refreshed face.

“It’s okay, Liddellina, it seems that there are no problems for me. I even confirmed it with the doctor.”

He’s in a good mood.

“that’s…”

Should she say it’s good? In the end, she doesn’t know how to answer and her face turns red.

He notices her demeanor and becomes flustered.

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have talked to the lady like this. Ah, and Tony will stay overnight again tomorrow.”

That’s a relief. Just the two of them having a meal feels awkward. So, after clearing her throat, Liddellina announced her plans for tomorrow.

“I want to go check out the hot spring by the river now. Is that okay?”

“In that case, I’ll go too.”

Friedrich immediately tries to follow.

“Husband, you have guests to entertain. And today, I want to consider what kind of hot spring is easy for women to use, so I’ll bring Dorothy.”

She also wants to hear the voices of the users. If Friedrich is there, they get nervous and it’s difficult to get honest opinions.

“Yeah, that’s true. I understand.”

Friedrich nods with a visibly disappointed expression.

Chapter 31: Discussing the territory with two people

Liddellina had a plan for a hot spring facility. First, she wanted to make it easier for women to use. For this, safety was the most important, followed by cleanliness.

She would like for it to be used in the cold winter, but that will require an addition to the building, which will be expensive.

Eventually, she will have to consult with Friedrich. He said earlier that he would contribute money, but it is uncertain if he will change his mind if his memory returns. It is a difficult situation. She will have to consider this as well. No blood debt.

In addition, there is winter preparation for the territory and a portion allocated for military equipment, so it is not clear how the budget for this year will be divided.

However, Liddellina thinks that if the capital prospers, the lives of the residents will become easier.

It takes two days to camp out to get from the capital to this castle, and since coming here, she doesn’t even want to go back to the capital. The roads are not so well maintained and the circulation is bad anyway.

So, she wanted to solve that problem too.

While her husband was away, Liddellina had grown attached to this territory, even though she was just acting as a lord in his place.

***

It was almost dusk when they set off on their return.

“Liddellina, welcome back!”

Her husband came to meet her at the entrance hall. He seemed to have been waiting for her return, wagging his tail like a large dog.

“You must be tired. Would you like afternoon tea before dinner?”

Liddellina was escorted to the salon as is. That awkward escort seemed surreal. It felt like a real husband and wife or lovers, Liddellina thought. In the salon, Andrea was there, and it was a little relieving.

Liddellina is still not used to being alone with Friedrich.

The three of them drank tea and had dinner together, spending a peaceful evening.

◇◇◇

The next morning, Andrea left. Liddellina feels a bit lonely without him, who was cheerful and kind.

This time, Hannah is carrying the divorce papers and the complaint that Friedrich wrote. Friedrich is talking about how he intends to sue for forgery.

“You have to do something about people like that.”

Liddellina thinks it would be better to quickly adopt a child and give them a successor education.

And at the tea time in the morning, they went to the salon instead of the office today.

Until now, they had just finished things casually in the office, but since the handover has settled down, this is the first time they have taken the time to have tea together as a couple. Friedrich seems to be in a good mood throughout. Liddellina was relieved that the atmosphere was not as awkward as she thought it would be.

—One week passed, then two weeks, and peaceful days continued. When Liddellina had become fully accustomed to her husband, news came from the capital.

While drinking morning tea and taking a break in the salon, Friedrich came in.

“Liddellina, the penman who imitated my handwriting and wrote a fake divorce document has been caught.”

“What?”

That’s right, Friedrich had said he was going to file a complaint. Andrea must have arranged it.

“It seems an official who was short on money did it. In case something happens to me, it would be Liddellina who would have a problem if this is not properly taken care of. From now on, no matter what happens, they will not be able to enter this territory. If the crime is proven, they will probably be removed from the nobility and sent to labor.”

In other words, they will become criminals from nobility at once.

“Um, is that okay with you, Husband? They are your relatives.”

“They are distant relatives to begin with, and if they came again in this state concerning an heir, they would have a hard time.”

“In that case, we must adopt a child quickly.”

There will be no worries about a successor and no strange relatives will come to visit.

“No, that’s the thing, Liddellina. Can you wait a little longer?”

Friedrich pleads with a sincere expression.

“What?”

“I want time to understand each other.”

Now that he mentions it, it’s true. He is currently able to have proper conversations with Liddellina. They may also be able to discuss education for an adopted child.

“I understand.”

She hopes he stays this way. If he goes back to being distant again, it will be lonely in its own way. Liddellina watched over Friedrich, who was sometimes reckless like her sister.

“So, Liddellina, you said it was inconvenient to come from the capital to here without a hotel.”

The topic changes and she feels relieved.

She thinks it’s very inconvenient. It’s dangerous for women to travel, and there are almost no travelers coming to the capital. Even the craftsman Fie seemed to have a hard time coming here. Also, it’s not easy to go to the capital casually. Even if there are more shops and inns in the town, no one will come if it stays like this.

In small territories, the lord’s mansion can sometimes serve as a substitute for an inn, but it is unusual for a territory of this size to have almost no inns. This is also because of the war.

“As you said. In addition, information from the capital tends to be delayed. That’s why I think it would be better to have inns, as you said earlier. How about trying to operate one inn on the road to the capital as a test?”

That was exactly what Liddellina was thinking.

“Absolutely! That way, I think more people will gather at the workshop.”

There are resources, but the lack of personnel is a major concern. It is difficult to expand because it is a border territory and people do not gather easily. Fie just happened to come by luck.

This is also the case with the hot spring. There is technology for excavation and maintenance, but there is a shortage of personnel.

“Yes, I currently only sell in the capital, but if the roads are improved and it becomes easier to come and go from the capital, I can expand my sales channels and increase profits.”

Friedrich thinks deeply and says.

“Yes, I also want to see the situation in the capital, and I wouldn’t know what’s popular here if I were here.”

“In that case, shall we go to the capital together?”

For some reason, Friedrich asks with sparkling eyes.

“No, not yet. Husband’s health is not perfect, and the budget is also a concern.”

There is the uncertainty of his memory, and his personality is completely different.

“There is no budget problem. I received an incentive, so I will use it for a new business.”

She didn’t expect her plans to be realized so quickly. It will probably be busy from now on, but the fun will also increase.

“Since getting married, I’ve been causing you trouble all the time.”

Friedrich said as if he were sighing.

“That’s not true. It’s much more fun and happy than when I was at my parents’ house.”

Friedrich’s eyes widened in surprise.

“Is that so?”

“Yes. Above all, the hot springs here are the best.”

His expression clouded slightly.

“You’ve really been through a lot until now.”

“Not that much.”

It’s embarrassing to be thought of that way. At least when her parents were alive, she was loved and happy.

“I won’t be sent to war anymore, and since diplomacy has been handed over from the second prince to the mild-mannered third prince, there won’t be any wars.”

Hearing that made her feel relieved.

After that, they decided to make plans and prepare for the inn before the winter preparations began.

Chapter 32: Preparing the inn. And the second winter comes

Friedrich, who was looking for a candidate location for an inn, found a dilapidated house just right for rebuilding along the roadside.

“Liddellina, I found some documents in the library, and it seems that there were two inns along this region’s roadside in the past.”

He is diligent in his studies and often stays in the library after work. He is desperately trying to remember something he has forgotten.

“Oh, so that’s it.”

“Probably there were times when it was more prosperous than now. It completely declined in the war, but I’m going to buy and rebuild this dilapidated house from now on.”

Friedrich is full of enthusiasm.

“Well then, let me help you with something.”

“Liddellina, you should stop. I heard that you were suffering from carriage sickness on the way here.”

It seems he heard from the servants. He speaks worriedly.

“Yes, that’s true…”

That was tough. The road was desolate and bumpy. If she feels sick along the way, she’ll trouble everyone and cause inconvenience. Liddellina gave up this time.

“If we’re going to build an inn, we have to fix the road as well.”

“It will be a big construction project.”

She’s looking forward to the inn being built.

“Yes. Let’s hurry and fix the road so you can go with peace of mind. First, we have to gather people. Let’s try to get the inn open for business next summer as soon as possible, and in the meantime, let’s proceed as much as we can. Then we’ll decide on the interior together, making it easy for female customers to use as well.”

Liddellina was happy to hear Friedrich’s words.

After that, he energetically went to the construction work with his able soldiers, while Liddellina took charge of the castle’s affairs.

Today was the first time in five days that her husband returned to the castle.

Recently, Friedrich has been out a lot for road maintenance and inn renovations. The two of them had dinner together for the first time in a long while.

Before she knew it, she had gotten used to being with him and felt incomplete when he wasn’t there.

“Liddellina, I went around the distant silver mine this time.”

The silver mine’s mining plan had been stalled due to the overlapping wars with neighboring countries. Currently, only those in the vicinity of the capital are being mined.

“Well, do you plan to dig it up?”

“There is a sufficient amount of buried silver. Liddellina, the silverware in our house was made of silver mined in this territory.”

“Oh, was that so?”

“Yes, I found some documents from that time, so I’m thinking of producing silverware again.”

Friedrich speaks lively. He must have managed the territory during the intervals of war for the past few years, and he is ready to roll up his sleeves from now on.

Liddellina listened to his territory development plan with a smile.

She hopes this peaceful time will continue forever, she thinks without realizing it.

***

While the two of them were busy, the season passed in a flash and a long winter began.

Fortunately, this year they had enough firewood and, with the war over and bonuses paid, their budget was much more abundant than last year, so they didn’t have much trouble preparing for winter.

Even though there were instructions from Friedrich, they were able to divide up the work she did alone last year.

Sometimes she just had to answer Friedrich’s questions that he couldn’t remember, and Howard would follow up on everything else. There wasn’t anything that particularly burdened Liddellina.

In fact, in the afternoon she even had the leisure to drink tea and chat with Dorothy while embroidering.

Liddellina was able to relax and spend the winter in the castle without going to the annex. And, as last year, she enjoyed the castle’s large bathhouse.

There is a separate bathhouse for the castle’s servants. As the number of female servants in the castle increased, Liddellina and Dorothy improved and arranged the facilities together, which was popular among the women.

After that, Liddellina was able to make a small inn that could be stayed at before winter in the hot spring by the river that she had set her eyes on. As a result, the number of female guests increased, and the territory’s residents came in the winter season, and the reputation was excellent.

This was all thanks to Friedrich’s generous investment. If it had been just Liddellina, it would have taken more time and hit a wall somewhere.

If the improvement of the roadside and the creation of the inn proceed, tourists can also be expected. Tourists who come from the capital for the hot springs may increase.

Although Friedrich has lost his past memories, he has not caused any problems in the territory management. On the contrary, he is reliable. He was originally suitable for it.

Looking at his physique, he is much larger than standard and has rough hands. He’s a warrior afterall, but when she sees his emotional self after losing his memories, she almost forgot who he was a year ago.

Although he was once a person who was so scary and hard to approach, now and then the two of them played games in the recreation room and talked about the future of the territory.

He laughed a lot, listened to people’s stories, and didn’t reject Liddellina. Most of all, he was kind. She hopes this is his true self.

Something must have happened that made him become a cold person like ice.

(Which is his true nature…?)

Liddellina wishes he would stay this way, but for him, not having memories must be unsettling and anxiety-provoking.

Liddellina put that problem aside and decided to enjoy this life, which might end at any time.

Chapter 33: Snow melting

“As the buttercups begin to bloom in the garden, the temperature gradually starts to rise, and eventually the snow melts. As she thinks that the long winter is coming to an end, she feels uplifted.

“Liddellina, shall we have tea time?”

Today, Friedrich looks different from usual and has a worried expression on his face.

Is something wrong? Is he remembering something from his past?

Suddenly, Liddellina’s heart made a nasty sound.

She is afraid of going back to her past. She doesn’t want to lose the warm life she has now.

But what about him? she can’t just wish for her own happiness. She reminds herself of that.

As the maid prepares the tea and leaves, he opens his mouth with a somewhat nervous expression.

“Liddellina. I want to try searching for my past.”

“What?”

It doesn’t seem like his memory has returned.

But if he does remember, will it turn into another pen talk? And will Liddellina have to move back to the other mansion again? The future of the land they planned together in various ways…

But for him, not knowing the past must be troubling. If that’s the case, Liddellina can’t stop him.

“Is that so?”

Liddellina suppresses her emotions and replies calmly.

“That’s why I want Liddellina to help me.”

“Uh? Me…?”

She was surprised.

“I want you to help me search for my past together.”

“But isn’t that a very private issue? Won’t it be okay if I intrude?”

Friedrich looks surprised with wide eyes.

“What are you talking about? Aren’t we married?”

Maybe that’s what he thinks now. But…

“I had almost no communication with Husband before, but if it were “my previous Husband”, he would definitely dislike it. So I think it’s better to stop.”

Liddellina said firmly. She doesn’t want to take advantage on him, who doesn’t have memories.

“Liddellina, I’m still me, both before and now. Was the me from before that scary?”

In addition to various rumors, he had a dignified but cold appearance, so he was scary. Above all, the air around him at that time was always tense.

“Yes, a little bit.”

She answered modestly.

“Well, I’ll just write “him” a note and tell him he asked for your help.”

“No, there’s no need for you to go that far.”

“Well, can you help me then?”

There’s a sound that seems to be begging in the sincerity. He’s relying on her.

“…If it’s okay with you, I will.”

That’s all she can say.

“So, I asked the oldest servant here, and apparently I was in a tower outside of this castle, not in this castle, when I was a child.”

This castle, surrounded by castle walls, was originally like a fortress, so there is a high tower like a lookout tower.

“It’s closed now, right?”

Now that she thinks about it, she saw the light on that tower at night when she came here. Was that a dream?

“It was closed after “he” became lord.”

“Does the servant not know about Husband’s past?”

If he knows so much, it would be easier to ask him.

“Unfortunately, he is a lower-ranked servant, so he doesn’t seem to know the details. When I inherited the household at the age of 18, my parents had passed away, and it seems that I dismissed the old servants and hired new senior servants like Howard.”

He had cleaned out the servants of the past.

“Based on what I heard, isn’t it better not to force memories?”

She has a bad feeling.

“But I want to know why I made such a terrible marriage contract with you. Liddellina has no fault. I want to apologize to you properly after knowing my past.”

Honestly, apologizing or anything else doesn’t matter. The servants here are kind, and as Liddellina, she hasn’t suffered any disadvantages. On the contrary, if she had stayed in her parents’ house, she would have been sold to another place.

But when she looks into his sincere eyes, she can’t push him away.

“Does sealing the tower mean sealing the past? And does the fact that Husband currently doesn’t have memories of the past mean that it would be painful to remember?

I want a husband who can talk about various things like now. If we go back to the relationship we had before, I will feel lonely.”

Liddellina honestly expressed her feelings.

“At least you are accepting me now. It’s nice to be able to say that and to be able to be told that. I’m not forcing you. But I’m going to try to find my past. And after everything is settled, including apologizing, I want to cancel the marriage contract.”

“What do you mean?”

Is he saying he wants to divorce?

“Well, I want to be a normal couple with you.”

“A normal couple?”

“Yes. It would be good if we had children as heirs.”

She would have been confused by this proposal a little while ago, but now she is happy that he is saying it. But she’s scared of what will happen if he remembers his past and suddenly changes. Liddellina’s heart is violently shaken.

“If you’re with me, I feel like I can stay as I am now.”

It’s also scary to think that he will search for his past alone and remember it in a place where Liddellina doesn’t know, and change suddenly at that moment.

“Okay. I’ll help you.”

Liddellina has decided to cooperate.

Chapter 34: To the tower

Early the next day, after he finished his work, he invited Liddellina and headed for the tower, which is now closed.

Howard worried and wanted to follow them, but to leave the work of the marquis’s house, he brought a guard instead.

Then the servants opened the entrance, which was firmly sealed with chains and a padlock.

And while the tower was open, the guard stood at the entrance.

The heavy door opens with a creaking sound.

“It seems we have to oil the hinges.”

Friedrich gave instructions to his servant in his usual calm voice.

“Come on, Liddellina, you look like you’re on shaky ground.

Saying that, he offered his hand to Liddellina without hesitation.

Although she took his hand, she remembered the disgusted expression when she touched him at the capital’s evening party.

It’s scary to think that Friedrich might remember the past.

It is clear from the fact that there were no female servants in the castle until Liddellina went to the castle that he was extremely hateful of women. Or was he afraid of women?”

Step into the tower. It’s dark and gloomy.

“It feels colder inside than outside, probably because the sun doesn’t shine. Despite wearing a coat, Liddellina shivered.

There is a staircase in the center, leading up to the second and third floors.

“Where do you plan to investigate?”

“I was thinking of starting from the top floor.”

“Why is that?”

She wonders if he has any idea.

“I found a map of this tower. I thought the top floor was used as a lookout, but it seems to have been used to imprison people.”

“What?”

“I think that might be me.”

He said seriously, holding a lamp in one hand in the dark tower.

“No way. Isn’t His Lordship being raised as the heir?”

“Did you really think that about me when you saw me before?”

She is at a loss for an answer. She feels like he was raised more strictly rather than being raised with plenty of love.

He never laughed, and he was always a very thorough person.

“I heard from a colleague that when “he” went camping, “he” didn’t seem to like tents very much.”

“Huh?”

“Apparently, “he” usually slept in places with bonfires or lights on.”

“Did you fear the darkness?”

He nods at those words.

“I was asked about it by the servants when I returned here. They asked if it was okay to turn off the lights in the room when sleeping.”

She has a bad feeling.

“So you think you were locked up in this tower?”

“Yes, I think so. I’m sorry to have made you go through this. But I’m afraid to confirm it alone. I can feel at ease with you here.”

Friedrich tightly grips Liddellina’s hand.

“What about Andrea-sama?”

“I trust him, but you are the one who will live with me from now on. That’s why I want to confirm it with you. That marriage contract was terrible, but when I saw the will, I was convinced. I may have trusted you, or even deeply adored you in my heart.”

Although it didn’t look like that at all, the will shows that he left an excessively large fortune. It doesn’t seem to be despised. There must have been some reason why Liddellina, or rather women in general, was disliked.

Liddellina slowly climbed up the tower, being led by the hand. As expected, he was out of breath when he reached the top floor.

At the end of the stairs, there is an open door and gentle light shines through the window of the lamp holder, illuminating the sparkling dust. It’s more peaceful than she thought, and she takes a deep breath.

“Liddellina, look at this.”

Turning around to Friedrich’s tense voice, the door across the way was destroyed.

And beyond that, it was closed off in darkness, and nothing could be seen. This might be the room where Friedrich was locked up. Liddellina backed up.

“I’m going.”

Saying that, Friedrich takes a step forward towards the other side.

Before she knew it, he had quickened his pace, and their hands had parted. Liddellina frantically grabs onto his coat and follows him. She must not let him go alone, she thought.

Standing in front of the door that was destroyed like with an axe by someone, Liddellina enters. The room is dark, and it has a rotten, unpleasant smell. It is a very poor environment where nothing can be seen because the room does not receive any sunlight.

“Husband, won’t you stop now?”

Liddellina whispers in a trembling voice.

“Liddellina, please wait here.”

Leaving Liddellina outside the doorway, Friedrich enters alone and checks the inside of the room.

As soon as he comes out, he tries to enter the room again with an axe in hand.

“What happened, Husband?”

“There was a board nailed to the window.”

“What?”

She can only feel a bad premonition. The smell of feces is mixed with a faint smell of blood.

After several sounds of the axe being pounded, bright light from outside shines into the room.

I was dazzled for a moment, and then she saw the room in ruins, with the desk and the rough bed cruelly destroyed.

And then, the next thing she sees is the distorted letters carved into the wall.

“Help.”

Liddellina gasped.

Chapter 35: Conflicts and anxieties

A silence fell between the two, as if time had stopped, but Liddellina was the first to recover.

She frantically ran up to Friedrich, who was standing in front of her in a daze, and touched his back.

At that moment, he flinched and she was startled, but he just turned around and immediately hugged Liddellina.

“Ah, Liddellina, I must have been locked up here when I was a child.”

She was relieved that he had not rejected her, but her chest was tight with the thought of her childhood circumstances. Friedrich’s large body was trembling. Liddellina stroked his back soothingly.

“Please, my Husband, don’t overdo it. Let’s go back to the castle for now.”

“I’m sorry I got you into this mess.”

He said with difficulty. His face also looked bad.

“In any case, let’s leave here immediately and return to the castle.”

Liddellina took him out of the tower while soothing him.

***

It seems that he was in shock after returning from the tower, but he calmed down a little after drinking some warm tea.

“Husband, let’s end this now.”

Liddellina became worried seeing Friedrich’s quiet appearance.

“Liddellina, I remembered one thing. That letter was something I carved with a spoon when I was a child.”

He is going through a desperate childhood. What could have happened?

“Husband, I don’t need an apology. I am happy as I am now. So please stop searching for the past.”

Liddellina pleaded. She doesn’t have any special dislike for him after getting married. On the contrary, she is happy. She shudders at the thought of being in her inherited family home, taken over by her relatives, as it was before.

“However, even so, I can’t say that I am facing you sincerely.”

“That’s not true. You are an honest person. You probably forgot because you don’t want to remember, right?”

“I am running away from myself. Yet I want to be a normal couple with you… Isn’t that cowardice?”

“Cowardice? What’s wrong with that? If it’s painful, then it’s okay to run away.”

Friedrich looked up in surprise at Liddellina’s unusual fierce tone.

“If you don’t like it, just run away with all your strength! You have experienced many battlefields, right? Have you ever run away from an enemy you can’t beat? Have you ever stubbornly stuck with your subordinates against an enemy you knew you couldn’t win?”

“…I don’t remember, but if I did, I wouldn’t be alive now.”

Friedrich answers as if pushed by Liddellina’s momentum.

“This is a strategic retreat. Run away, run away, just keep running. There’s no need to remember the painful past you’ve forgotten and get hurt again.”

“Liddellina… thank you.”

Saying that, he gently hugged Liddellina.

Since then, there have been times when he sometimes sulked, but he gradually recovered his energy.

As if forgetting the day he entered the tower, her husband was running around the territory and was absorbed in his work. He started a new silver mine excavation and not only in the territory but also recruited people from neighboring territories, and began paving the streets. Busy days continued.

One evening during dinner, her husband told her,

“The inn’s building is completed. I have something I want to ask you.”

“What is it?”

She was finally allowed to help him. She is glad to hear it.

“Since I don’t seem to have any sense of style as far as castles go, I want you to think about the interior together.”

Things have been slowly changing since Liddellina came to live in the castle, but it certainly has a rugged feel to it.

“The other house I lived in initially had a very nice interior.”

“Ah, that seems to be the place where my grandmother lived after my father inherited the household.”

She was a little startled to hear a story she had never heard before.

“Is that so? Did you remember that?”

She looked at him anxiously.

“No, I just looked at the records.”

“So you were still searching for the past.”

Liddellina was worried about him. If he remembered the past while she wasn’t around, he might suddenly become like before one day.

“It’s okay, I’m not forcing myself. If anything happens, I’ll always consult you.”

Saying that, he smiled peacefully.

Chapter 36: Ripples

She and her husband left the castle in a carriage before dawn.

Finally, the inn’s building was completed. It’s not yet ready to accommodate guests, but it’s been made simple enough to stay for one or two nights, so the two of them set off on a trip.

Liddellina’s chest had been excited with anticipation for a long time.

The road had been much improved compared to before, and the carriage journey was comfortable.

When Liddellina arrived at the site, she was surprised by the impressive exterior. She had heard that they had bought a derelict house, so she had imagined something more humble.

“It’s quite impressive,” she said.

“Yes, we have some land and we didn’t want to skimp on anything small. We said we were going to renovate it, but it’s almost like rebuilding it from scratch,” he replied with a wry smile. Liddellina could feel Friedrich’s enthusiasm.

Liddellina entered the three-story inn and looked around the interior, which had not yet been touched.

Rather than furnish the inn with extravagant furniture and amenities, she decides to first furnish it with the things she needs and wants in the inn.

If possible, she would like to have a bathtub as well as a bathtub for wiping. However, there should be some things that want to stay cheaper than such things.

Depending on the room, Friedrich decided to equip the facilities while also listening to the opinions of experienced people recruited when he opened the inn.

Since most of the territory is engaged in agriculture, Friedrich had collected experienced people from other territories and the capital. After all, when the lord takes the lead, the scale is different and the work progresses smoothly.

After that, the progress of the interior construction work was also smooth, and the first inn was completed during the summer. This summer is probably the limit. Liddellina hopes it stays on track.

“Liddellina, I plan to build another building next year. Of course, we will continue to maintain the road at the same time.”

Friedrich is full of enthusiasm.

“I’m looking forward to it.

“Because even if we have resources, we can’t use them if the transportation to the capital is inconvenient forever.”

Liddellina is delighted to see him happily talking about the future of the domain.

Somewhere along the way, her husband’s face had returned to being cheerful. It seemed that something had been blown away in him, and Liddellina was relieved.

“And I’ve found a good property. If you”re okay with it, I’d like to buy it.”

“In that case, I’ll go with you.”

“Liddellina, let’s wait until the road is more improved. It’s much closer to the capital than the inn we have now. I’ll go first. And don’t you have another important job?”

There were also negotiations to expand the workshop, which Liddellina had led.

She also had to interview new hires. Even without posting a recruitment notice in the capital, there were more people attracted by Fie’s craftsmanship and fortunately applying from the domain.

And there was also the matter of the hot spring inn. Liddellina didn’t want to stop at just one.

For that reason, Liddellina continued to work at the castle while consulting with Howard and Dorothy and looking around the capital.

Her husband was devoted to maintaining the road and building inns. Recently he has been away a lot, but it is much easier than when she was working alone.

Now, the couple is working hard to enliven the territory by cooperating with each other. It was a development that she did not expect at the time of her marriage.

The work of the marquis is fulfilling, needed, and she is busy but enjoying her life every day.

And when the two are in the castle, they talk about the future of the territory and enjoy a leisurely meal. Liddellina was savoring a busy but peaceful happiness.

◇◇◇

Because her husband resumed mining at a distant silver mine, Liddellina left the castle with a two-week plan to go and see the situation. Liddellina was already accustomed to her duties and was able to work smoothly and efficiently every day without any problems.

However, she is anxious about being away from her husband for a long time. After returning from the war, he was away from the castle for five days at most.

The dining table that had always been surrounded by the two of them became lonely and she felt a sense of loneliness as if a hole had opened in her heart.

One day, unexpectedly, there were guests from the capital. The gatekeeper had contacted her, and Liddellina hurried to the castle gate.

There, she saw a face she didn’t want to see twice.

“I’m surprised. It’s quite a rural area, isn’t it?” said Yvonne with a sigh.

“It was really hard to come all the way here. Weren’t there any inns on the way?” said her uncle, seeming tired. They must have saved on lodging fees, although there were some.

“But you seem to be living a very good life. That dress, you’re using a fine fabric,” said her aunt, eyeing her and speaking in an annoyed tone.

“What are you doing here after all this time?”

Liddellina didn’t say a word of welcome. She didn’t want to let them into the castle.

“Hey, that must be worth nothing!”

“Yeah! I thought it was pitiful to be without parents, so I raised her, but this ingrate!”

“You’re welcome, I don’t remember being spoken to like this!”

Yvonne spat out foam at the corners of her mouth.

Did they not notice that the castle guards and servants were looking at them suspiciously?

Because they were all shouting, Liddellina reluctantly let them into the castle, giving up on chasing them away here. It was probably a request for money.

She has no choice but to give them a few coins from her allowance and chase them away.

She wonders what Kurt is doing. He’s the only well-named.

Her parents had died and Liddellina was grieving, but Kurt had taken over the household on his own and sold the estate to pay off debts to the noble family. Normally, her uncle should have been a guardian for Liddellina until she became an adult. Liddellina learned a lot of things here and realized the unfairness of the past.

However, thanks to that, she is now living a happy and luxurious life and has been given a meaningful job. As a result, Liddellina has mixed feelings about her fortunate life.

Chapter 37: Annoying People

Unfortunately, when they went to the salon, her uncle’s family was struck by its luxuriousness.

“I’m surprised. It’s almost as if it could be used for a ballroom, with its spaciousness.”

“Yes. Although the exterior looks rough, they have laid quite a high-priced carpet. And there are even fancy drape curtains. I wonder how much they”re spending on the interior?”

Her aunt talks only about money.

“Is the tea ready yet?”

Since she can’t have the servants who are busy to attend to her uncle’s family, Liddellina decided to attend to them herself.

She knows they want money. But she has to ask how they came to come here in this situation.

She hasn’t received any contact from Kurt recently, but she wonders what happened for them to come all the way to this distant territory.

“So, why did you come all the way to this distant territory?”

“Liddellina, we came all this way after a long journey, so don’t talk to me like that!”

Her uncle tries to calm down her angry aunt by saying “calm down”.”

“We actually came to pay a visit.”

“A visit? What for?”

“It’s because His Excellency the Marquis has lost his memory and we heard that you were having a hard time.”

However, there are no gifts for the visit.

“What? That’s a story from last year.”

Liddellina is surprised.

“It’s too cold to come here in the winter. Besides, his memory hasn’t returned yet, and he doesn’t socialize either. It’s also rumored that he can’t work as a soldier anymore.”

“And so what?”

What he was saying was rude, and she was deeply curious about what it has to do with them. Liddellina’s voice rises naturally.

“I thought maybe we could help out in some way.”

Her uncle said briskly. What can these people do besides squander their money?

“No, don’t worry about it. We’re not in any trouble at all, so if it’s something like that, please go back.”

Liddellina said firmly. she wants to somehow send them back before her husband returns.

“What are you trying to do, acting all high and mighty? It’s not you who’s important, it’s your husband who’s important, right? Don’t get it wrong.”

Yvonne says, getting angry. She really cries, screams, and gets angry a lot.

Is her emotional state unstable?

“Hey. You’ve really risen in status.”

My aunt sneers.

“Excuse me, but Okusama is the acting lord of the Weller earl’s household. While the Lord is away, Okusama is the head of this castle.”

“Yes, when the Lord is away, Okusama takes care of business, so she is busy.”

Howard and Dorothy, who had been silently standing in the background like shadows until now, speak up as if they can’t hold back any longer.

She appreciates and is grateful that they are worried about her and are in the salon together, but having them here is slowing down the work at the castle.

“Well, no. Have you even trained your servants?”

Yvonne’s condescending tone annoyed Liddellina.

“Don’t speak so rudely! They are important people both for this house and for the estate.”

As she sternly says this, Yvonne’s nose reddens.

“Wh-what are you talking about? Suddenly acting all pompous.”

She turns her head away petulantly like a child.

“More importantly, Yvonne, how is your child doing?”

“What?”

Yvonne looks flustered.

“Haven’t they been born yet?”

As Liddellina says this, the faces of the uncle and aunt change.

“No, it’s not like that. I haven’t had a baby yet.

“What?”

Liddellina tilts her head. Gilbert had said they were getting married because they had a child.

“Apparently it was just a false pregnancy.”

Yvonne says it offhandedly. Liddellina took a deep breath to calm down her anger after hearing this. Then she dismissed the servants, except for Dorothy.

Only Liddellina, Dorothy, and her uncle’s family are left in the salon. She was sorry for Dorothy, but she thought she would ask her to keep her company for a while, after all they were all liars.

“So, what’s happening with Gilbert-sama?”

“Oh, Liddellina, do you still like him? Even though he dumped you. Haha, how pitiful.”

Yvonne gives a wicked smile.

“I’m not that kind. I’m just asking if you’re still not married to him.”

She doesn’t have any lingering feelings for such an insincere and rude man. She hasn’t thought about him at all recently and has completely forgotten about him.

“Ha! You can’t do this! You disgrace me at the ball. When it was discovered that I didn’t have a child, the engagement was immediately called off! What are you going to do for me?”

Saying that, she starts to cry and scream. Her aunt and uncle seem unable to do anything about it.

They were left with no choice but to interrupt their discussion that day. Liddellina still had work to do. However, she couldn’t just force them out against their will.

It was already late, so she decided to let them stay for the night.

After returning to work, Liddellina sent a letter asking Kurt about the circumstances that brought them here, sending it with a swift horse.

If they didn’t return, she wanted him to come and take them back. She didn’t want to trouble Friedrich with this matter.

And before she knew it, she was in bed, but a confused-looking servant came to Liddellina’s room.

According to reports from the servants, they were freely coming and going from the kitchen, letting them carry alcohol and nibble on things, and holding a banquet in the dining room and causing a commotion.

By the time Liddellina, panicked, heard the report and managed to persuade them to return to their room, it was well past midnight.

Liddellina shook her head at the audacity that was no less than Friedrich’s relatives. She feels sorry for the people in the castle who have been troubled.

Chapter 38: Unreasonable People

The next day, she tried to talk to them again during morning tea time, but they were still sleeping and didn’t wake up.

They must be hungover from drinking a lot last night. They drank top-quality alcohol and even had their hands on what was supposed to be reserved for winter storage, so Liddellina had a headache thinking about how to apologize to Friedrich.

Dried meat is a valuable protein source in the long winters of Northweller territory. Liddellina immediately gave instructions to the servants and decided to help out herself later on.

In the afternoon, she planned to go to Fie’s workshop and inspect the hot spring inn near the capital that Liddellina is in charge of, but she canceled because she did not want her uncle’s family to do whatever they wanted.

She can’t bother her husband any more, so she decided to prioritize the urgent work that Friedrich has asked her to do.

Without waiting for a reply from Kurt, Liddellina decided to expel her uncle’s family. If this continues, the work in the whole castle will be delayed.

***

It was finally time for afternoon tea and they woke up.

Today, Liddellina hurried to the salon, leaving the management of the house in general to Howard and Dorothy. You never know what they’ll do if you don’t watch them.

Sure enough, her uncle’s family were bullying the servants and behaving arrogantly as if they owned the place.

“Uncle, Aunt, and Yvonne-sama, could you please not give orders to the servants arbitrarily? This is not your home.” Liddellina said sternly. She no longer had any obligation to call Yvonne “elder sister”.

“What? We are guests. I heard that in the north, guests are treated kindly. So what is this place? The cooking is all rural dishes and they’re not to my taste.” Yvonne said, looking offended.

“You are not guests if you break into the food storage without permission. So what did you come to this territory for? If you stay too long, it will be a nuisance to my husband. Please tell me the purpose of your visit.”

Liddellina couldn’t stand being evaded and said directly.

“How rude of you to say that! You forgot the kindness of the person who raised you. We should have left you in an orphanage.”

Her aunt stood up and screamed at Liddellina, but her uncle managed to calm her down and make her sit down.

“Liddellina, that’s not very nice. We didn’t come here to fight. We’re here to help you support your amnesiac husband.

This time her uncle spoke in a cat-like voice.

“When you say help, what specific things can you do?”

“You must be busy too. I used to manage the territory of a baronial family. So can’t you leave it to me?”

“Why don’t you help Kurt instead?”

“That’s because Kurt brought a fiancée from a neighboring country on his own and we were forced out, leaving them to manage the estate. But this estate is vast. It must be difficult for you to handle it alone, especially with a sick husband. And there are also mansions on the property that are unoccupied. It would be a lot of work just to manage them. They’ll fall into disrepair if nobody lives in them. Let us stay here.”

Her uncle speaks as if he is sympathetic, saying cunning things. It seems he intends to stay here. He tried to take over the family’s management in the same way when she was a child. He probably thinks the same trick will work on adult Liddellina.

“You really are a pitiful child with little connection to your blood relatives. How are you going to have children in this condition?”

It seems like it would be better to adopt a child soon. There may be an opportunity to interfere.

“It’s none of your business. So what are you two doing here?”

Liddellina looked at her aunt and cousin.

“Of course I’m here to support my husband. That’s natural for a married couple.”

Her aunt didn’t let go of her arrogant attitude. Liddellina clenched her teeth inwardly. How much was she bullied as a child?

“Then, Yvonne-sama, what are you doing here?”

“I’m surprised. You shouldn’t say it like that. I heard that you left your townhouse in the capital without any socializing. So I’ll manage it for you. In return, I can do some socializing for you.”

She says an outrageous thing despite having done something bad in the social world for a long time. Now she won’t even be invited anywhere.

“That’s enough. We have trustworthy housekeepers here and the estate is being properly managed. Please do not visit here arbitrarily. Therefore, there is no need for you to help us, so please leave.”

Even her Uncle is surprised by Liddellina’s firm attitude.

“But we came all the way to this remote northern estate and even camped out on the way, spending money out of concern for you. Shouldn’t you consider our feelings?”

Is he trying to stay or does he want money…

“I understand. I will prepare the money, but please do not come here again. It is an inconvenient place for any reason.”

At those words, her Aunt becomes agitated, slams the table and stands up, grabs Liddellina and tears the delicate lace on her collar, choking her throat.

“You”ve got to be kidding me!Why do I have to be treated like an idiot by a little girl like you!”

This is her bullion.

“Yes. You’re just a decoration of a wife! Don’t you know you’re being made fun of in the social world?”

Yvonne shouted and, taking advantage of the chaos, pulled Liddellina’s hair and stole her hair ornament. It was something Friedrich had bought for her at Fie’s workshop before. It was Liddellina’s favorite and she always wore it.

“Hey, stop it, Minerva, Yvonne.”

Her uncle pretended to stop them and smiled thinly.

Even when the maid tried to intervene, they couldn’t do anything and shouted for help. The servants who were waiting outside the door rushed into the room.

In an instant, the three of them were apprehended.

“Ow, it hurts! What are you doing! There’s no need to go that far.”

Her uncle turned red and yelled, and the castle guards said to him.

“The Lord has instructed me to send anyone who tries to take advantage of Okusama to prison without any questions. Come on, take them away.”

The uncle’s family is surrounded by well-built soldiers.

“What? What are you saying? We are nobility! Know your place in front of us, commoners!”

Uncle scolds the guard.

“It’s you who don’t know your place!”

A cold, whip-like voice echoes. Her husband stands there, surrounded by a freezing atmosphere.

He glares at them with his icy blue eyes, intimidating them, just as he did when she first met him. she can even feel his killing intent.

Liddellina shudders at the sight. Is my husband remembering the past?

Chapter 39: Fainting

Her uncle’s family panicked at the sight of Friedrich.

“No, this is a misunderstanding. I was just trying to stop Liddellina from causing a commotion!”

Her uncle quickly tells a lie, but Friedrich ignores him and gives orders to the soldiers.

“Take them to the underground cell.”

Then Yvonne pretended to faint and scream. But no one tried to support the collapsing woman.

Her uncle and aunt were not thinking about their daughter at all, they only cared about saving themselves. They probably didn’t initially intend to go this far. They must have taken advantage of the fact that Friedrich was not there.

“No, that’s not right. It’s a misunderstanding. We really didn’t do anything.”

Then Friedrich turns his gaze to the maid.

“They all teased and violently abused Okusama, and I’m sorry we couldn’t protect her.”

She appealed with tears. Liddellina herself may not have gone that far, but the maid must have been regretful.

“Wait a minute, do you believe what that servant says more than me, a noble?,” uncle said, flustered.

“That’s right. Liddellina, nothing happened here, right? We took care of you after your parents passed away. Don’t you owe us for that?”

Liddellina was dumbfounded by her aunt’s words.

“You’re the ones who squandered the assets after taking advantage of me, who lost my parents. Don’t treat me like a child who doesn’t know anything anymore. Please don’t cause any more trouble on this property.”

“Nonsense! You agreed to it,” uncle said, his face turning red.

“I just nodded when you said we would live together for a while? Why would you do that to a child who has just lost her parents and is feeling depressed? Don’t say such ridiculous things! And besides, it’s a lie that there was already debt on that land. My father and mother were not as luxurious or wasteful as you, and they weren’t sloppy either. It was Uncle and Aunt who created the debt.”

The uncle and aunt turned blue in the face at Liddellina’s counterattack. Then Yvonne, who had been pretending to be unconscious, sat up with a start.

“You, just because you married into a decent house doesn’t mean you can take advantage of your husband’s reputation! It’s a ridiculous countryside, and on top of that, your husband has amnesia and is useless as a soldier…”

She never finished what she was saying. She was touched by the soldiers’ anger and dragged out of the room screaming. The same thing happened to her uncle and aunt.

“Hey, Liddellina, help us!”

“Yes, we just came here with good intentions to pay our respects,” said Liddellina’s aunt.

This time, Liddellina could not bring herself to help them. As they were dragged out screaming, only Liddellina and Friedrich remained in the silent salon. Liddellina knelt in front of Friedrich.

“Please forgive my relatives’ many rudenesses.”

But Friedrich tightly hugged Liddellina.

“Stop it, Liddellina! I’m sorry. I’m not worth anything if I can’t even protect my wife.”

When Liddellina looked up in surprise at his face, she saw that his eyes were moist with sadness. She was relieved to see her usual gentle Friedrich.

“Ah, it must have hurt so much. Were your hair pulled? Speaking of which, what happened to the hair ornament you always wore? Did that woman take it by any chance?”

Friedrich’s eyes briefly became cold. As usual, seeing him like this made Liddellina’s heart race.

“Yes, it seems that way.”

Even if they were caught by the soldiers, she must have kept the hair ornament she took from Liddellina.

“I must give them a fitting punishment. Hey, is Howard here?”

Friedrich is surrounded by an uneasy atmosphere. Liddellina also thinks it would be better to cause them some pain this time. So they won’t come back to this land again.

“My Lord, what should we do with them?”

Howard’s eyes, which never stop smiling gently, are frightening. His loyalty is strong, and he must be angry that his beloved master has been mocked.

Suddenly, Liddellina’s chest began to flutter with anxiety.

“Uh, Husband, I think punishment is necessary, but please don’t cut off their hands or anything like that.”

There is a limit to everything.

“Of course not. I wouldn’t do such a thing. It would leave a stain behind.”

He sneered and chuckled coldly. Liddellina shivered with chill.

(He really has lost his memory, hasn’t he?)

“Howard. The two commoners (aunt and cousin) will be hanged in a week. As for the nobleman (uncle), we’ll deal with him later.”

“It’s been a while since we”ve had a public execution.”

“Hii!”

Liddellina let out a small scream and fainted on the spot at the conversation between Friedrich and Howard.

Chapter 40: Secret talks in the Office

“Liddellina, Liddellina, are you okay?!”

Liddellina opened her eyes with a start at her husband’s desperate call. It was the familiar bedroom of Liddellina.

“Husband…”

Remembering what had happened before, Liddellina got up stubbornly.

“No way, are my aunt and uncle already gone?”

“No, they will be executed a week later.”

“Please, Husband. Please stop! This is not a battlefield. Please don’t kill anyone. I apologize for the disrespect towards my uncle’s family, please.”

Liddellina desperately bows her head.

“Stop, Liddellina is innocent. I am angry that you have unfairly demeaned and subjected to their one-sided violence. And they even touched the winter preserved food that the servants were preparing, opened up a lot of alcohol, and wasted leftover food.”

In this cold place, winter alcohol is a necessity. It is natural for a lord to be angry.

“No, it’s because I failed to keep them out of the castle. Insulting the lord is not allowed, and I made the servants feel uncomfortable. Please, let me make amends.”

Tears flowed down Liddellina’s cheeks. Friedrich gently wiped them away.

“There’s no way that’s true? You”ve done well. Liddellina, why do you protect them so much? Aren’t they just scumbags?”

“Even so, just the thought of being hanged…”

Of course, she hates them. They probably intended to use and hurt Liddellina, but they shouldn’t have intended to harm her.

“I am satisfied as long as I can’t see the faces of people I hate. It’s fine as long as they never appear in front of me again. And since I caused everyone trouble, I’ll help make preserved food.”

“No, it was minimal because Liddellina stopped it. There’s no problem.”

Nobles have their pride. Liddellina is well aware that this cannot be allowed to continue as it is.

“Husband, please…”

Liddellina sobbed and hugged Friedrich as if to confirm his body temperature. Friedrich hugged Liddellina’s slender waist and gently stroked her back soothingly.

“Wait a bit, I won’t dispose of them while you don’t know, so rest for now.”

Saying that, Friedrich gently stroked Liddellina’s hair and laid her down on the bed.

“Husband, stay here a little longer.”

She was worried. It seemed like Friedrich was changing while she didn’t know and might return to his original cold self.

“It’s okay. I’ll stay here until you fall asleep.”

At Friedrich’s request, Dorothy brought warm herbal liquor.

By the time she finished drinking it, Liddellina was taken to sleep with her hand held as if wrapped in Friedrich.

***

Friedrich looked at Liddellina, who had fallen asleep, with love for a while, then tightened his face and returned to the office.

In addition to Howard and Dorothy, the main soldiers were waiting in the office. They all had stern expressions.

“How is Okusama doing?” Dorothy asked worriedly about Liddellina.

“Oh, she’s sleeping now.”

Hearing this, everyone seemed to be relieved and lowered their chests. Liddellina is liked by the servants. They were angry that their important Okusama had been badly treated and that the lord had been insulted.

“Lord, we have received an advance notice from Lord Drimore. He will arrive soon by fast horse.”

“I see, the current lord, Kurt.”

“What are your plans for the execution of the sentence?” Howard asked with a hard expression.

“I want to hang them immediately, but if I do that, Liddellina might fear me and not listen to me.”

He, who usually makes quick decisions, puts his hand on his forehead in distress.

“That’s troublesome. I also think it’s a fair punishment.”

Howard nods next to Dorothy’s words. Liddellina knows the simplicity and depth of emotion of the people of the north, but she doesn’t realize their severity towards enemies.

“I really got along with Okusama. It’s a shame if it comes to this.”

Everyone sighs at Dorothy’s words at the same time.

“Yes, we can’t dispose of them in this domain. We’ll see how Kurt reacts first. Did he send that family to this domain because they were troublesome, or did he neglect to manage them and let him run wild?”

Friedrich’s ice blue eyes shone sharply.

Chapter 41: Liddellina anxiety

When Liddellina wakes up the next morning, Dorothy comes worriedly.

“Okusama, how are you feeling?

“Yes, I’m fine. Sorry for the trouble.”

Liddellina’s eyes were swollen because she fell asleep crying.

“It’s not a problem at all. We are sorry that we were not able to protect Okusama. Okusama, please put this on your eyes.”

Dorothy offers a cold towel. Liddellina obediently puts it on her eyes. The coldness feels good.

“Thank you, Dorothy. So, how is the preserved food coming along?”

“Don’t worry about that. We will have enough for two or three days in a few days.”

Then, a servant brings a light breakfast for Liddellina.

Liddellina doesn’t feel like eating, but she eats anyway because they worry. She starts on the warm soup and salad and eats half the bread.

Next to her, Dorothy pours a little bit of brandy in a cup of tea. Liddellina takes a sip and then opens her mouth as if she has made a decision.

“So, where is my husband?”

“He is currently attending to guests.”

“Is it possible that my brother Kurt is here?”

Liddellina hurries to get up and start getting dressed.

“Okusama, please calm down. Please trust your husband. He would never do anything to make you sad.”

Dorothy says pleadingly.

“Trust…?”

There is definitely a bond between her and her husband now. However, they have completely different values and personalities. That’s what worries her.

“In the end, Liddellina ended up taking a day of rest in her room due to exhaustion. She wondered what happened to her uncle’s family.

As the day grew darker, the sound of knocking echoed. When Liddellina answered, it was Friedrich. His expression was harder than usual.

“Husband, I truly apologize for the inconvenience I have caused.”

“That’s why I’m saying that Liddellina doesn’t need to apologize. It’s just that Kurt wasn’t good enough.”

“Did you speak with brother Kurt?”

“Yes, I asked him what happened and we discussed what to do in the future.”

“I wasn’t allowed to be there, was I?”

Liddellina hung her head and shrugged her shoulders. Friedrich sat Liddellina on the sofa and sat down next to her. He gently pulled her closer and hugged her shoulders.

“Calm down and listen. First of all, the conclusion is that he offered the return of the Barony of Drimore.”

“What?”

“In the first place, that family took over the house and stole the head of the household from the children. He left for abroad to study because he was indifferent to that and couldn’t get along with his parents. He deeply regretted that. It seems he didn’t know you were being treated unfairly, but it’s easy to guess that it was those parents. He seems to feel responsible for that. Although it can’t be said that he has no guilt.”

“Well…”

“So, I reduced his father’s sentence.”

Even though they don’t see eye to eye, he’s still Kurt’s real father.

“What about Aunt and Cousin?”

“He said he didn’t care if they were hanged or anything else.”

“What? My brother would say such a thing?”

She couldn’t believe it.

“Liddellina, while Kurt was studying abroad, they squandered the fortune. In the first place, a lot of money was spent on his study abroad. That also came from the Drimore family’s fortune in the first place. When he returned home in a hurry after receiving your message, it seems that the territory was in a precarious state of survival. And it is still in crisis now.”

“So, why did Uncle and Aunt come to this territory? Were they driven out by my brother?”

“Regarding that, he said he had locked them up in a secluded mansion on the territory. So that they could no longer go to the capital or lead a lavish life. But they had money that they had kept secret from Kurt, money that they had obtained by selling the Drimore family’s property without permission… They came here because they heard rumors that Ihad lost my memory and had become useless.”

“That’s terrible…”

“Well, some of the reason those rumors spread was because I didn’t go out much in society… So Liddellina doesn’t like the idea of being executed?”

“Yes.”

This is probably just Liddellina’s selfishness. He has his dignity as a nobleman, and it’s unacceptable for a commoner to do as they please in the castle.

“I’m afraid. If I had been more responsible, this wouldn’t have turned into such a big deal.”

Friedrich shakes his head as if to deny this.

“It’s not your fault. Then we’ll offer up the victim and turn the offender over to the royal guards in the capital.”

It’s only natural to receive punishment for committing a crime, but Liddellina’s hands trembled.

“It’s okay. Liddellina, I’ll plead on your behalf to avoid the death penalty.”

Liddellina looked up at her husband in surprise. Even though his honor has been damaged, he’s willing to compromise for her sake.

“Thank you, Husband…”

Even though her swollen eyes had finally gone down, she was once again covered in tears.

“Liddellina is a crybaby today.”

Saying this, he gently touches Liddellina’s hair.

“Anyway, rest well for now.”

“No, I can’t keep relying on you like this. I still have work to do.”

“It’s okay, take a break for a while. You”ve been working too hard. Rather than that, can we have a meal together today? I’ll be lonely by myself.”

Friedrich gently smiles and softly embraces Liddellina.

Chapter 42: Friedrich’s Circumstances

After Friedrich finished his meal with Liddellina slowly, when he returned to his office, the servant and soldiers who had been in charge gathered again.

“So, my lord, what will you do in the end?”

Howard spoke on behalf of the room. They all felt that a lenient punishment was unacceptable.

They know how much they have trampled on Liddellina’s life, and they cannot forgive the insult to the Marquise’s family. They are proud to work here.

“First, the barony will be returned to Liddellina. However, I cannot become a son-in-law and succeed to the title, so I will become a guardian and make Liddellina the provisional ruler. I will explain the circumstances and obtain permission from His Majesty the King.”

Friedrich looked around and nodded unanimously.

“Then, the problem is how to deal with those guys who were tied up in the underground prison, but Liddellina said it was fine as long as she didn’t see them.”

Everyone is looking at Friedrich with a serious face.

“So, how do you plan to handle this?”

Howard’s words cause Friedrich’s face to suddenly cloud over.

“It seems appropriate to send them to the penal colony in the north. Take all three of them together and make sure they never come back. However, keep this quiet from Liddellina. Tell her that they have been assigned to labor.”

They all know how harsh the penal colony in the north is, with poor meals and labor in the extreme cold.

“Understood.”

Everyone nods in agreement, understanding that Liddellina is the weak point and returning to their respective places.

Then, only Howard and Dorothy remain.

“So, my lord.”

“What is it?”

“How much of your memory has returned?”

Friedrich groans and holds his head at Howard’s sly question.

“Ah, I want to cancel my marriage contract with Liddellina and renew it.”

Friedrich squeezed out.

“Well, it seems that your fear of women has been cured, which is more than anything.”

Howard says modestly, but happily.

“It’s strange. Thanks to Liddellina, I was able to understand that there are also good things about women.”

“Yes, I think both men and women have that. There are plenty of bad men and good women.”

Dorothy says.

“Yes, Dorothy is right… I vividly remember the day when I first met Liddellina.”

“That was the day you went to propose marriage.”

Friedrich shakes his head when Howard answers.

“It was the same obligation that I fulfilled on a daily basis. But when I got off the carriage and saw Liddellina, the sound disappeared.”

“What?”

Dorothy and Howard open their mouths blankly, not knowing what their master is saying.

“She shone brightly, and the sound and scenery disappeared, and I headed straight for her.”

“Oh, my God…”

Dorothy sighs softly, while Howard opens his eyes in surprise.

“My lord, isn’t that love at first sight?”

“that…yes, is that so?”

After saying it as if in shock, Friedrich regained his composure and hit his head hard on the desk.

“Damn it, I remembered what I said to her before marriage. How can you say that you want to be a normal couple after saying such horrible things to her?”

He clutches his head.

The origin of female terror was the quarrel between his mother and his father’s mistress. As a child, he was almost killed by his mad mistress and suffered a scar on his face. The scar on his temple was not from the battlefield.

His mother locked him in a tower and told him not to be like his father and said “Always remain a child.” He was only given poor meals.

His father was preoccupied with war and did not care about his son. When his lover’s son died, he remembered Friedrich’s existence and took him out of the tower to train him as a warrior and train him to be an heir.

But none of that excuses the way he treated her.

Every time Friedrich’s past gradually comes back to him, he suffers and his love for Liddellina grows.

There were also times when he was busy, but his feelings for Liddellina became uncontrollable and he often went out on inspections alone, leaving the castle.

◇◇◇

After taking a couple days off, Liddellina returned to her duties. However, there was no work backlog and her husband and Howard had taken care of everything. Dorothy was taking care of the details of the workshop and hot spring inn.

Friedrich was energetically working on the construction of a second inn before winter, traveling back and forth on the road. However, he no longer had to leave the castle for more than three days.

Liddellina also had plans to increase the number of hot spring inns in her territory, and recommended young people from the capital who wanted to work in Fie’s workshop.

Of course, Fie’s opinion was important, because she was choosing her apprentice. Sometimes Dorothy also joined them and they seriously chose a person out of the five who came, and hired one of them.

“They have a good sense, enthusiasm, and seem to have a good personality, so it’s good.”

Fie says with shining eyes. She looks so bright and cheerful now, unlike when she first came here, when she was thin and seemed to lack confidence. It was good to hire her.

“Fie, someday I want to sell it in the capital too.”

“What? The things made in this workshop?”

“Yes. Let’s show those bosses and fellow apprentices who made fun of you!”

“Okusama…”

Fie smiles shyly and nods repeatedly.

Since the lord returned and the work on roads and civil engineering increased, the population has increased and the town has become lively. As a result, there are many more restaurants and miscellaneous goods stores, and the first cafe in the capital opened this summer.

Liddellina is happy that the entertainment of the subjects has increased. In any case, before being closed in the cold winter in this territory, she has to do as much as she can.

This winter, the capital, which is often quiet, is expected to be livelier than usual due to the increase in stores.

After that, when she asked Friedrich what happened to her uncle’s family, her uncle was removed from the nobility and is working as a laborer with his aunt and cousin. She seems to be relieved that they avoided the death penalty.

And Kurt returned the barony to Liddellina and is now serving as an official in the palace. It seems that he was abandoned by his fiancée from the neighboring country due to his poor life.

Although Liddellina had not originally intended to return the territory, she was admonished by Friedrich: “Liddellina, don’t easily give up your rights. It’s a territory that has been guarded by your ancestors for generations. Besides, even Kurt alone couldn’t do anything, and the territory is in a hopeless state.” Friedrich again offered to help keep the territory.

“Let’s go to visit the graves of your respected father and mother this time.”

He made such a proposal. The hometown that she had thought she would never return to had returned in an unexpected way.

Liddellina is full of gratitude towards Friedrich. She had intended to support her husband, who had returned from the battlefield with no memories, but she had been supported without realizing it.

Chapter 43: Friedrich’s Confession 1

And a full-blown winter came to the territory. The two of them always stayed close together, even outside of work. The servants watched this warmly.

One night, while enjoying fruit wine in front of the fireplace, her husband started in a serious tone.

“Liddellina, this is actually about the marriage contract.”

“Yes.”

“I think I mentioned this before, but I want to be a normal husband with you. It’s selfish of me to unilaterally impose harsh conditions, but could you consider it?”

“…Yes.”

It was not at all unpleasant. Rather, it was happy. However, more than that, she was worried.

“Um, my previous husband disliked even touching me.”

But now he is touching her shoulder and twirling her long hair around his fingers and stretching it out.

“I can’t help wanting to touch you.”

Liddellina blushes at those words. But at the same time, she is also afraid.

“If I were to become a normal married couple with you and spend time together, what do you plan to do if your memories return? Won’t you reject me? That’s what I’m afraid of.”

(I trust him and have faint feelings for him. So if I’m accepted and then rejected after that, I won’t be able to bear it. It will probably hurt more than Gilbert did.)

“About that thing… Actually, my memories have already returned.”

Liddellina lost her words. She was quiet for a moment. The two of them looked at each other intensely.

“What? W-When? Is it true? Why is it okay to touch me now? I mean you haven’t changed at all since returning from the battlefield! Why didn’t you tell me anything before?”

Liddellina opened her eyes wide in surprise, and in an unusual move for her, leaned forward and stood up.

“Previously, I had a fear of women, but thanks to losing my memories and being able to build a good relationship with you, it seems that I have completely recovered.”

The conversation was almost non-existent and was done through writing. It’s hard to believe that.

“Did you really recover? Even though you remember the past? Isn’t it just that you don’t remember the cause of your fear of women?”

Friedrich shakes his head.

“No, I do remember why women became scary. You probably noticed it too. Sometimes you looked at me with eyes that seemed to fear me.”

“I’m afraid of my husband when he gets angry, so I thought I’d leave things as they were before. But he’s never gotten angry with me.”

She had realized that he had a fear of women before he went to war.

“Oh, but I forced the marriage contract on you and threatened you with your words. You seemed very afraid at the time, and I really couldn’t stand it.”

Friedrich resides, bowing his head.

“No, my husband was afraid of me because I am a woman at that time. Well, now that I think about it, I remember.”

“It’s an unpleasant story, but I want to tell you why I became that way. If you’re uncomfortable, I’ll stop in the middle, and you don’t have to feel sorry for me.”

“If Husband is okay, please let me tell you the story.”

When Liddellina expresses her honest feelings, he begins to speak about the past calmly.

***

His father Georg always threw himself into battles because he liked them. At that time, he was arranged to marry Princess Theresia, the fourth daughter of a neighboring country. This was a political marriage by royal command.

However, the prideful and hot-tempered Theresia and the aggressive Georg did not get along.

Even after Friedrich was born, Georg did not care about his family and took a mistress. Of course, Theresia fiercely resisted and disliked letting the mistress into the castle.

So Georg created a separate house for his mistress and spent all his time there, eventually giving birth to a boy. The mistress also hoped to make that child the heir.

Friedrich was locked in the tower by a mother who had gone mad with jealousy at being unloved by her husband.

“You’re not allowed to grow up,” and no matter how much he (Friedrich) cried and screamed, he was not allowed out of the darkness and into the light, and was not given enough food to eat.

At first, he thought someone would rescue him someday, but no such miracle occurred, and he spent an interminable amount of time in a dark and unsanitary prison-like room, his emotions worn thin.

But one day, the sound of a large axe hitting the door repeatedly echoed. Eventually, the door was destroyed, and Friedrich squinted at the bright light he hadn’t seen in a long time.

The one standing and holding the axe was his father’s lover. He thought he could get some help.

But she swung the axe at Friedrich.

“Your mother definitely killed my child! So, you die too!”

When his father rushed to the side of the half-mad, screaming and swinging woman, Friedrich had suffered serious injuries to his face and body.

Chapter 44: Friedrich’s Confession 2

Later, Friedrich was moved to the castle and received attentive care. It seems that the love child was not killed, but died in an accident, and the father remembered Friedrich’s existence because of this.

However, one night, the mansion was in turmoil.

“There’s a fire!” The voices of the servants shouting in unison can be heard.

Friedrich, who had just recovered from his injuries and was thin, looked out the window and saw the lover’s house on fire. He whipped his emaciated body, which had lost strength due to malnutrition, and headed for the fire. He felt that he saw his mother there.

Exhausting his strength and barely breathing, he arrived at the fire site and saw his mother laughing cheerfully in front of the burning lover’s house.

“Ahaha, foolish woman, good riddance.”

After laughing for a while, she turned to Friedrich.

The mother’s hair, illuminated by the flames, looked disheveled and demonic.

“The impure are purified by flames. Impurity is wiped away by God! Come on, my cute child. Let’s go back to the tower.”

Theresia said cheerfully as if singing, grabbing Friedrich’s thin arm. Though he wanted to shake her off in fear, he couldn’t. She grabbed his arm with barely enough strength. Her claws dug into Friedrich’s thin arm, and a faint blood appeared. His mother had gone crazy. Friedrich realized it with his child’s mind.

Then the father and the guards came and his half-mad mother was taken away somewhere. Friedrich lost consciousness on the spot due to lack of physical strength.

When he woke up the next morning, his father came to the bedroom.

“Friedrich, you are the only heir now. But if you are weak, you will not be recognized as the heir of the Weller family. If you swear loyalty to the kingdom and become a strong knight, this territory will eventually become yours.”

The mistress burned to death and the biological mother was sent away somewhere under the guise of convalescence.

After Friedrich’s body wounds healed, he entered a knight training boarding school. Five years later, he graduated as the valedictorian and returned home to find out that his mother had died. Later, his father also fell ill on a campaign and died on the battlefield.

“Then, I devoted myself to studying wholeheartedly and becoming a first-class knight, and threw myself into battle.”

As Friedrich spoke, Liddellina shed tears.

Even though he had experienced such terrible things, he was a strong and wonderful person who was able to believe in people again. He overcame his past without returning to his former self when he remembered it.

“That’s enough. That’s enough. How terrible.”

Liddellina pounded the sofa with both hands.

“Liddellina, I’m sorry for the unpleasant story.”

Friedrich, who had been calmly narrating his past until now, becomes flustered at her tears.

“But please don’t feel sorry for me. The treatment I received and the treatment I gave you are different. Please don’t misunderstand.”

“Sympathy? I can’t help but be angry!”

“What?”

He looks like he has been punched in the gut.

“Don’t you ever think about the past and feel regret or resentment? That’s not right!”

Saying that, Liddellina tightly embraces Friedrich with both arms. The sight of him calmly talking about his tragic childhood is sad. It’s not his fault.

“I did get angry. Occasionally, I went to that closed tower.”

“What?”

“I was an adult and inherited the family when I violently broke the door of the room in the tower and destroyed the room. It’s a shameful story.”

He shakes his darkened eyes and says.

When he was first married, he heard the distant howling, the light attached to the tower, that was his anger with nowhere to go.

“It’s not shameful at all. It’s natural to be angry.”

“Thank you, Liddellina.”

Friedrich smiles softly.

“All that’s left is to mourn… for the child you once were. You couldn’t resist because you were powerless. You are a victim.”

Friedrich opened his eyes wide as if he had been told something unexpected.

This person must have been driven to war without healing the wounds of his heart and hadn’t even mourned for himself until now.

Liddellina’s heart aches for Friedrich’s helpless situation. If it were possible, she would like to rescue the child he once was. She gently extended her hand to his cheek.

“Liddellina… you are…”

A single tear flowed down Friedrich’s cheek. It was the first time he pitied his past self.

The next morning, they woke up in the same bedroom, but it was just a sleepover. They cried and held hands and fell asleep. It was nice to wake up, but it was embarrassing.

After awkwardly facing each other, Friedrich resolutely decided to leave.

“Liddellina, it’s a continuation of yesterday, but I imposed such harsh conditions on you, and I’ve been wondering how I can humble myself and become a normal couple.

Like a scolded child, Friedrich slumps down dejectedly. Liddellina, unable to leave him alone, gently strokes her fingers through his smooth sandy-colored hair.

Sometimes, despite his large body since returning from the battlefield, her husband strangely seems cute. And dear… Liddellina clearly becomes aware of her love for him.

“My husband, shall we become a normal couple now?”

Friedrich suddenly raises his face.

“Is that okay, Liddellina?”

He looks at Liddellina with pleading eyes.

“Yes.”

When Liddellina nods, he flushes and wears a joyful expression.

***

The next day, during a break from work, Liddellina was invited by Friedrich for a walk. The two enjoyed the scenery while walking leisurely.

Suddenly, Friedrich stopped in a field of white clover flowers.

“Husband, what happened?”

Liddellina asked suspiciously.

Suddenly, he knelt in front of Liddellina.

“Liddellina, will you marry me?”

He said, offering a ring. It was a delicate and beautiful craftsmanship, probably by Fie’s hand.

“What, we already…”

“I want to start over. From the proposal.”

Without hesitation, Liddellina took Friedrich’s hand and laughed as the flowers bloomed.

He stood up and hugged Liddellina.

“I also want to have the wedding ceremony again.”

“Yes?”

Liddellina blinked in surprise.

Chapter 45: Final Chapter

This season, they have decided to attend the royal court’s evening gathering together. Since Friedrich’s memory has returned, they can’t afford to skip socializing too much.

“Husband. Somehow, I’m nervous…”

Liddellina blushes as she is escorted by her husband down the long hallway of the palace. She didn’t feel this kind of excitement when she came here for the first time.

“Liddy, not “husband”. We promised to call each other by our nicknames, remember?”

“Yes, Fried.”

(TL: the “Husband” originally is “Danna-sama” we change it for aesthetic purposes.)

The two of them awkwardly meet eyes and smile.

Their behavior, which looks like they’re going beyond being friendly and being overly affectionate, causes a commotion in the venue. Everyone seems to be afraid of Friedrich. While Friedrich looks lovely to Liddellina, he seems a little different to those around him.

However, when he is called by the royal family, he returns to his dignified face, called the “military god”. Liddellina thinks that her husband, who used to be clumsy, has become quite skilled.

As Liddellina looks at Friedrich with warm feelings,

“Liddellina.”

She was called out. At first she didn’t recognize him because he had changed so much, but it was Gilbert. In the past, she felt that it was somewhat well-raised, but now even that is not the case.

She was surprised that he called out to her after all these years.

“It’s been a long time.”

Ignoring it would have been fine, but Liddellina formally returns the words.

“In the past, I did something terrible to you. I’m sorry.”

She’s amazed that he’s apologizing now. If he had those feelings, he could have written a letter anytime.

“No, it’s not a problem.”

She wanted to end the conversation as soon as possible.

“So, are you happy now?”

She gets a little annoyed at his familiar tone even though she’s not his fiance anymore.

“What do you mean?”

Then Gilbert says nervously.

“Well, I heard that your husband is not feeling well.”

“What source did you get that from? My husband is very healthy. It’s still the same as before to believe in strange rumors.”

It clicks and creaks. (TL: ?)

“No, it’s different. Liddellina, I was completely deceived by that woman. Now I”ve come to my senses. But more importantly, Liddellina, you”ve become very beautiful.”

“What?”

Liddellina was confused. What could be the purpose of his talking to her?

“Your manners in speaking to the Marchioness are too rude, are they not?”

Turning at the voice that interrupted, Andrea was giving Gilbert a stern look. It was the first time she had seen him with such an expression.

Gilbert, recognizing the emblem on Andrea’s collar in his formal attire, fled in fear and confusion. Liddellina was taken aback by his pitiful appearance.

“I’m amazed…”

Both at Gilbert and at the past self who was deeply hurt by him.

“That guy is really frustrating. What does he think the Marquise’s family is?”

“Andrea-sama, thank you for your help.”

“No, no, I’m always happy to help. That clown. The Tunges count’s house will be succeeded by his younger brother. Now, there are rumors spreading, and it seems he doesn’t have a marriage partner either.”

“I see… That’s what happened.”

“He’s also lost the backing of his family and seems to be working. Normally, someone like that wouldn’t be able to enter such a grand evening gathering, but perhaps he used some connection to meet you.”

While his attitude earlier made her angry, listening to Andrea’s story makes her feel a little sorry for him. He must be struggling in his own way.

After that, Andrea brought some fruit water for Liddellina. He smiles and changes the topic.

“Okusama, the second wedding was wonderful.”

“Thank you.”

Liddellina blushed. In the end, she held a second wedding with Friedrich in the territory. Is there anyone who holds a wedding twice?

From the time he was called the Marquis of Ice, he had a reputation and soldiers from all over the country gathered at the castle to admire him.

As a result, the wedding was somewhat rugged and rough rather than glamorous, but it became much more grandiose and flashy than the first one.

They held a garden party in the castle’s courtyard, ate feasts and danced, and Dorothy and Howard, among other servants, cried and rejoiced.

Then, at Friedrich’s request, they held a formal introduction in the territory.

It was embarrassing to parade through the capital in a carriage, but they were warmly blessed by the citizens more than expected.

The roads have been paved and trade has become lively, and merchants who come to buy jewels, silverware, and textiles have increased. The territory is steadily prospering.

As Liddellina was chatting with Andrea, a well-mannered couple came over.

“Excuse me, is it okay to talk to you for a moment? I am the Count of Dolan, Kane. This is my wife, Samantha. We would like to greet Marquise Weller.”

Liddellina was surprised that they were speaking to her, but returned the greeting and asked with a smile, “What is it?”

“We heard that you have some high-quality fabrics and a wonderful hot spring here,” the well-mannered lady said.

“Yes, that’s correct. Our prices are more reasonable than you would find in the capital, and we have a wide variety of fabrics. In addition, the hot spring is suitable for postpartum, recovery from illness, and rest. We also have accommodations in the capital and the roads are well-maintained, so you can have a comfortable journey. Please do come and visit us. We look forward to welcoming you.”

Words spilled out of Liddellina’s mouth, selling off her domain. Tony(Andrea), who was listening, offered his support.

“That hot spring is truly wonderful. When I go to the Northweller domain, I end up soaking in it every day.”

“Yes, Tony-sama comes often, doesn’t he? We’re grateful.”

“Yes, the Northweller domain has excellent soups and drinks.”

Before she knew it, a circle of conversation had formed around Liddellina. The ornament that Fie, who Liddellina was wearing, made also became a topic of conversation.

“Soon, it will also be distributed in the capital, so I hope you will have a chance to try it.”

Even though she intended to just show her face today after taking a long break from socializing, she found herself promoting her domain without realizing it.

Why was she so afraid of social gatherings a few years ago? She had only seen one side. And her husband…

“Hey, Liddy, you seem to be having fun.”

When Friedrich returned there, the tension in the room naturally ran high, but generally they were able to have a good time.

There was no awkwardness in dancing together, and they enjoyed the night party by dancing repeatedly until they got tired.

Liddellina thought that socializing was a surprisingly good way to relax. However, even in such splendor, the territory is always on her mind.

That northern land is her hometown.

After that, Liddellina and Friedrich went out to the balcony with champagne served at the royal palace. In front of them was a magnificent garden and a starry sky spreading out.

“By the way, why Husband not chase me away and leave me when your relative came and showed you the divorce papers?”

“That’s because you were the first to say, “Welcome home”. You were the only one who said those words besides the servants.”

He chuckled bitterly. Liddellina’s uncle’s family was terrible, but his relatives were also quite something.

However, she would probably never see them again.

“I’m really glad you’re okay.”

As Liddellina smiled, he looked down embarrassedly.

“When I was wandering around after losing my memory on the battlefield, I dreamed of a gentle and beautiful goddess descending from the heavens. That was you. So I thought… no, it might actually have been the case that I fell in love with you.”

Liddellina blushed upon hearing this. What a romantic person he was.

“Fried, I’m glad I met you.”

“Liddellina, I love you.”

Amidst the falling shooting stars, the two embraced and savored their happiness.

——End——


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