Saturday, January 19, 2019

027 Marriage Blues

Enjoy reading! I am always looking for proofreaders so feel free to join as one if you feel the text isn't too fluent
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TL: yAmi
Editor: King of the End


    As expected, the job he entrusted her with was harsh.

    Firstly, to ensure that she does not shame the noble she serves for even a second, she went through rigorous etiquette training from the maids in the residence. She was trained intensely to move and speak according to the other party’s social status to show respect. She was completely looked down upon by the maids teaching her. Because she was a slave. Even if she was a person important to their master, they made sure to pick on her whenever they could, though, they did not go as far as to treat her violently. They would beat her mercilessly if she make any mistakes, and it soon became a daily practice for her lowly self to be abused.

    She did not utter a single word of protest. There was no problem with the contents of the training and it was also for the sake of her master. For his sake, wholly for his sake. Just like how she had been given her name, she fully accepted the training. After three years, around the time when the other maids could not longer put up with her master’s deeds and quit, she became complete as a maid who would not shame her master no matter where she went, even though her body was so small.

    In addition, he had her train her body. Right from the beginning, she solely ran on the fields. This was to build stamina for future training, he said. It was like forging steel. Strike the iron while it is hot. Remove her weaknesses and give her strength so that she can never crack nor break. After she gained a certain level of stamina, the amount of basic sword training she was given increased. While one was growing, it was not good to learn a fixed style, so all she did was repeat and repeat the basics. The guidance of the boy, her coach, or more like his commands, became useful.

    She made not a single complaint. It was because the stronger, the faster and the more skilled she became, the more smiles she can evoke from her master. All for him. Just like how she had received her name, she trained tirelessly. After a year passed, around the time when the man contracted to guide her master started indulging in liquor, she became strong enough to beat the average adult.

    When her fitness and skill with the sword grew to a certain level, magic and thieving lessons began. She demonstrated an aptitude for Wind and Earth magic. It was surprising that she would learn the complete opposite type of magic to the female adventurer whom she received guidance from. Her thieving lessons were in a certain sense, crueler than her other trainings. Especially, the training to conceal and erase her presence for several days per session. It was because she could not learn other skills during those periods.

    She showed no signs of slacking during training. She refined her techniques, heightened her magical skills, mastered her techniques in thieving to the extent of being an expert, all so that she could have a wide range of abilities to be of use to her master. It was for him. Just like how she had received her name, she devoured all there was to learn. After four years, she even eliminated her teachers to seal their mouths when they suspected her master of abusing her.

    The toughest part of her training was actually working as an assistant in alchemy. Right off the bat, she learned the recipe to make medicine, studied the basics and concocted potions to secure funds. Those were fine. However, her master bought slaves with the money they made and started using them for human experimentation. She had to treat those people, who wore the same collar as her, inhumanely. The spectacle of expending them like tools was terrifying. It was not because her master killed them nor was it because she was killing them. It was not that it was scary to imagine herself being killed by her master like them. It was about becoming useless and meaningless subjects to the master like them, that was scary. Her body was revived for him, and the broken pieces of her heart were stitched together for him too. Rather than being a short-lived thing to him, she wanted to be of greater significance to him. That was why she devoted herself into various fields of study.

    She did not let out her worries. It was an unnecessary worry since she was still useful to her master, and she would be eliminated like her precedents without hesitation when she becomes useless to her master. Since she existed just for him. Just like how she received her name, her sins piled up. After four years, when she exceed expectations, she went knocking on the door of the adventurer’s guild alone.

    He ― her master ― was a cautious man. While he praised her loyalty, deep down inside his heart, he definitely had his doubts. He did not consider about having a yardstick for showing her affection, joy and patience. The reason for that was, ironically enough, that she was too excellent.

    Every time he made her master a difficult task, she gains new strength. In the one in a million chance if she decides to betray him, she would be able to kill him instantly.

    He feared death and sought after eternity. He longed to reach the state of immortality, even if it meant sacrificing each and every being in this world. That is why he was afraid that she would act beyond what is expected of his pawn. If she acts beyond his control and spoiled his plans, who knows if she might betray him and point her blade at him. If he detected any signs of that, he would surely dispose of her, a talent whom he personally groomed, without hesitation.

    …...She did not want that.

    Dying was fine. If she ended up as a sacrifice for him, she was more than willing. However, she did not want to end up as a hindrance to his goals.

    The reason was that she was born to be useful to him.

    That day, she begged of him.

    “Master, I have a request to make.”

    “What is it?”

    “Please make me a more complete slave.”

    The tendency to rebel was a useless function.

    It was a deeply rooted redundancy.

    She wished for her master to remove that.

    …...He smiled happily.

    “......Aha”

    It was a smile from his heart. He was a youth who always had a smile on his face and appeared gentle, but that was entirely a disguise. Not once has she seen his genuine smile.

    The day her bandages were removed and she was born.

    Since that day, he had never showed that smile. Her chest tightened uncontrollably at the sight of it.

    “I have always been hoping to hear that ever since I got my hands on you.”

    “Ahh...”

    She exhaled deeply.

    She processed what he said and came to an understanding.

    Everything he did for her was so that she would say this.

    Providing hot meals, tasty sweets, a clean bedroom, the luxury to clean herself, praising her, being lenient with her…...everything was for this.

    She regretted what she had said.

    “......Sorry to have kept you waiting, and for the trouble of operating.”

    She should have said it earlier, she thought.


    ※ ※ ※


    “Well, well, is it not elder brother. It has been a year hasn’t it!”

    I raised my voice in joy as I should be, for a person returning home.

    Brother even specifically went to the entry hall to welcome me. Of course I thought nothing of the sort that he would be there to welcome me. Because I could see him chatting with other guests here and there. I believe he was in the midst of welcoming guests who came from afar.

    “Tullius, you came back. It must have been a great trouble for you to come a long way for tomorrow’s wedding.”

    Linus said with a smile befitting a young noble, no matter which angle you look at it from.

    This was supposed to be the heart-warming reunion of brothers, but brother chose to use “great trouble” but not a single word of “glad” or “happy”. Oh boy, it has been one year already and he is still such an immature person. How can he lead a marriage life like this?

     “I offer my sincere congratulations for your wedding. I am equally as happy as you are. Elder brother is indeed the pillar of the family. Even as a foolish younger brother, I feel at ease knowing that you are settling down.”

    “Hahaha…...don’t say that, Tullius. I am still a youngster. The way you put it, doesn’t that mean my marriage seems delayed?”

    “Oh, how discourteous of me. Looks like I have many ways to go.”

    Due and Laubert, my attendants, were enjoying our conversation from behind and said something.

    “Please translate it for me...”

    “Erm, first of all, his Excellency said, ‘Please stop meddling with me since you’re going to be married from now on.’ And his brother replied with, ‘I refuse. And whose fault do you think it is that I am marrying this late?’”

    That was rather accurate, but that was so mean of you, Laubert.

    In any case, from our conversation, I have ascertained that my elder brother has no intention of changing his attitude from hereon. Well, with that Marquis by his side, the prospects of that happening were dim in the first place.
    Next, a woman forced herself into the conversation after entertaining a guest.

    “Oh my, how mean. Not bringing me along to greet your younger brother.”

    “Lady Simone―”
   
    “‘Lady’ is unnecessary, dear.”

    From the way she spoke, this woman must be brother’s wife and, of course, my sister-in-law. In short, my superiors. Perhaps it is wise to show some etiquette in advance.

    “Pleased to meet you. I am Count Linus Oubeniel’s brother, Viscount Tullius Shernan Oubeniel.”

    “Oh my, how polite.”

    The woman stared in surprise. Most likely, she has heard of the bad rumours about me. About killing slaves mercilessly or about being lacking in etiquette befitting a noble. That is the truth of the matter, though.

    “Then I shall introduce myself too…...I am Simone Meslier, from the Pontauban Baron family. I will be the wife of your elder brother from tomorrow onwards. Let us get along well, viscount?”

    Her flawless behaviour was polished and she had the presence of a honourable lady. Her family’s name was not well known, but it seems like her parents were very strict with her upbringing. Not to mention, she was a beauty with a refined look. It looks like elder brother has found a good catch. So much so that marrying into this family, made notorious by me, seems to be a waste.

    Meanwhile, I increased the level of courtesy after receiving her introduction.

    “Please do take care of me, Countess.”

    “W-Whoa, is he actually properly greeting somebody? Who is he?”

    “He appears to be his Excellency…...Could it that our master has changed for the better?”

    …...Due and Laubert. I can hear you guys!

    Especially, Laubert. I am behaving as he wanted me to so why is he making all those remarks.

    Putting aside the extremely rude bystanders, sister-in-law smiled gently after receiving my greetings.

    “Seems like rumours are not be trusted, huh? I am glad to have an outstanding brother-in-law.”

    “Not at all. I was young while I lived in the capital and did do some childish things. I feel very apologetic for you to have heard such disgraceful things.”

    As I said, I remembered the days when I was in the capital. I really did do some inefficient experiments in the past. With my skills now, I do have confidence that I can prevent at least 30% of those deaths.

    “Cough cough.”

    All of a sudden, elder brother interrupted with his coughing.

    “I do think it is good to have a better relationship with your soon to be sister-in-law, but Tullius, you should bring your retainers in. I shall grant them an audience.”

    In essence, hurry up with the introductions and get inside. Perhaps he did not want his younger brother to stir up weird things in his new wife.

    “Indeed, I cannot bear to let them continue waiting either…...Laubert and Due. These two will represent my retainers and will introduce themselves.”

    “Haah”

    The two of them who were called for, took a step forward and went on their knees.

    “Having a meeting with the Count gives me great joy. My name is Jean Jacques Laubert. I work as a governmental official of your Excellency’s brother.”

    “I-I am extremely grateful to have an audience with the Count. I a-am Due Schwarzer, a military officer under your brother!”

    Due’s introduction was pathetic compared to Laubert’s perfection. This is the result of him speaking like an ordinary person too often. When I return back, I shall let Drei know of this so that she can tease him.

    Elder brother controlled himself at Due’s behaviour and ignored him while focusing on Laubert.

    “So you are Laubert? You come from the Laubert Baron family?”

    “Yes. I am the fourth son.”

    “If my memory serves me right, I hear you are a well-read youngster. Please do continue supporting my brother.”

    “I am extremely thankful for the undeserving praise.”

    On the surface, Laubert was behaving respectfully but what about how he really feels, I wonder. Surely something along the lines of, if you knew that, then why didn’t you employ me?

    “And, you are Due Schwarzer? I seem to have met you somewhere before.”

    “Yes―! I was extremely discourteous― then!”

    He repeated whatever Victor and Laubert told him to say in a disjointed manner.

    He was referring to the rude way he spoke to him a year before, when we were departing. I did not think Due would ever meet elder brother again at that time, so I let Due speak as he wished. Well, that was immediately after I had finished with his adjustments, so there was not much time to correct his way of speaking too.

    “It is fine. If you have reflected on it, I will not nitpick on each and every mistake.”

    “T-Thank you very much.”

    The edges of Due’s mouth was shaking from speaking in an unnatural way.

    “Still, it is very surprising to see that you have been included among brother’s retainers.”

    “W-With all due respects…...urm...my vulgar self am...u-undeserving of…...m-master’s patronage.”

    Hey hey, why does he seem like Charl before he was reformed?

    Also, elder brother has a terrible disposition. Surely he can see that he is bad at speaking formally. And yet, he continued on while letting out a slight laughter.

    Just when I thought I should step in to stop the conversation.

    “Oh?”

    Miss Simone seemed to have noticed something at the end of the line of my followers.

    There was a person in maid uniform who stood out among the others who were kneeling as she completely prostrated herself.

    Needless to say, that was Uni.

    Nobles show respect by showing their faces, lower class nobles and commoners like Due and Laubert kneel while slaves like her have to prostrate themselves. It was cruel, but such was the logic of this country, or more like of this entire world.

    “She is?”

    “As disgraceful as I can be, she is my slave and a maid.”

    “Goodness gracious!”

    Miss Simone was in disbelief.

    Uni was a slave. The lowest of social classes. It was common sense to not mention an existence like that in a setting like this. For a wedding ceremony, it was basically a custom to not bring attention to oneself, as a slave. Bringing a slave, was of course, out of the question.

    However, I have nothing to do with such customs. The other slaves were currently on standby outside the residence, and would be stationed at an inn during the wedding, but Uni was special. She was my most trusted bodyguard and attendant. I brought her here knowing brother and sister-in-law would say something about it.

    Even then, if they said they did not want her to be around, Uni could easily hide herself in the ceilings.

    “I beg your pardon, but could she be allowed to stay in the residence?”

    “Allowing a slave during a wedding?”

    As expected, Miss Simone could not hide her bewilderment. Her response was extremely natural as a noble who received a proper upbringing. In fact, her reaction was the most appropriate of the various scenarios I predicted.

    “She has to be your attendant?”

    “Also the fact that she is my longest serving follower.”

    “Just for reference, how long?”

    “For roughly 11 years, I would say.”

    “That long?”

    She was slightly astonished from the figure I gave. That is to be expected. She has been following me since I was eight. Uni was six years old then. She was really a slave that has served me well for a long time.

    “That is why, she is the one I know the best among my followers. Once again, could you overlook this?”

    “Hmm…...I do not mind. Right, dear?”

    Miss Simone looked towards brother.

    “Why…...no, what is it?”

    “Could you also let this pass? This much should be fine, right?”

    Ohh, what a capable woman. She is really a waste for elder brother. Actually, perhaps only a person with such an assertive nature would be able to marry elder brother.

    If possible, I would want her to stop brother’s conspiracy from the side, but that might be too much for her alone. From the perspective of the social standing of her family, she also would not have an influential voice both in official capacity and in underground discussions.

    As such calculations whirled in my head, I looked at elder brother.

    “......Do as you please.”

    He turned around abruptly.

    Huh?

    Weird. Given elder brother’s nature, even if he would relent in the end, I would think he would at least appear more displeased than that.

    After all, Uni should be most hated after me for him. Victor did suggest that it is possible for Marquis Lavallée to be second though. In any case, Uni was one of the collaborators of the long spanning experiments that brother was disgusted by. Why would he agree with this so easily?

    I do not feel that there is a trick here, but perhaps he is trying to appear magnanimous to his bride?

    “Thank you. I strive to express my loyalty once again to both of your deep benevolence.”

    “...Hmph.”

    Brother snorted unpleasantly.

    …...Why does he hate me to this extent? I am not a big fan of elder brother from the start, but I did not detest him so much that I would murder or brainwash him. Though, the main reason is that the risks are too high to do that. And yet, elder brother was betting the entire family ― even running the risk of destroying the family ― to have a shot at killing me. I do not understand.

    Firstly, ever since I went to Marlan, I managed to revitalise one of the deadweight regions in the Count’s territory. I have been properly paying tax as stipulated by brother and the Kingdom. I did not, however, report on an important mine. Well, since I am giving much higher returns, it would be preferable if he forgives me for the suffering I caused when I was in the capital. It would be better for me to have one less enemy too.

    As I pained over the antagonism between us brothers, Miss Simone walked up to Uni.

    “Please raise your head.”

    “Yes. However, I am afraid this lowly self…...”

    “I am ordering you to look up.”

    Uni looked up after the brief exchange.

    It was not that sister-in-law was being haughty, nor was Uni overly servile. This was the normal exchange between a noble and a slave.

    “......”

    Miss Simone gulped instinctively.

    That is to be expected. Even for me, as her master, to not judge her with bias, Uni was pretty. So much so that her terrible condition when I first bought her would be unimaginable. Nobody has said anything ill about Uni’s looks. The most they would say is that she has a seductive face.

    Sister-in-law stayed silent in surprise for awhile before opening her mouth.

    “......You, what is your name?”

    “I am called Uni. I do not have a family name.”

    “He said you have served him for 11 years. But are you still serving as a maid?”

    “Yes. There are some other things that I help with.”

    Towards Uni’s reply, Miss Simone placed her hand on her temple as though she was troubled. Next, she appeared to have made her mind and turned to look at me.

    “Sir Tullius.”

    “Yes, what could it be, countess.”

    “How long do you intend to keep her as a slave?”

    “......what?”

    What a minute, I do not understand the point here?

    She gave a big sigh at my perplexed look.

    “You know. Sir Tullius. As your sister-in-law from tomorrow onwards, let me give you a piece of advice.”

    “Yes.”

    “What are you planning to do? Keeping a female servant by your side for over ten years.”

    Countess Simone raised her voice sharply as though her gentleness previously was an hallucination.

    She is angry? Why?

    “It is unavoidable to fall in love with a partner with a great difference in social status while single. Still, you cannot be treating females, even if they are slaves, like pets, no? You know, there is a proper way to select――”

    “......Hey, Laubert. What is this lady saying?”

    “Ah―she has probably misunderstood the relationship between his Excellency and the Chief Maid, I guess?”

    While I did not know why I was being preached to, Due and co were whispering behind me.

    Ah, is that what this is?

    I have an inkling as to why she became angry at me from their whispers.

    “Um, Countess. No, sister-in-law. There might be some misunderstanding here.”

    “Misunderstanding?”

    She stopped her incessant verbal onslaught.

    Whew. Looks like she was a woman who can listen to others.

    With the temporarily sense of relief, I continued my explanation.

    “Uni and I are…...with all due respects, not in the kind of relationship as you are imagining.”

    In any case, looks like she thought that Uni and I had an extraordinary relationship in terms of men and women. Hence, I had to be honest with the facts.

    “......Huh?”

    Miss Simone was like a pigeon who was shot by a peashooter. Also, she had an expression that was in obvious disbelief.

    “Really?”

    “Yes, really.”

    “Even though, she is that...pretty?”

    “I do admit that, but, on the other hand, we do not have such a relationship.”

    She was a cute slave. So we do share some physical contact here and there, but I do not remember going too far. In the first place, if I did that, there was a chance her stomach will be filled with a heavy baggage and her capabilities would greatly decrease. I can make preparations beforehand to avoid such a circumstance, but there is no 100 percent guarantee. If it means we have to abort the baby, it would have a considerable impact on her body too. It may not harm her loyalty towards me but the impact on her mentally could be a variable.

   
    Her body was not something to be used for satisfying one’s lust. Well, it would be a different story if I were to achieve my goal of immortality, though.

    I digress.

    Miss Simone looked at me as though I was a rare species in a zoo or something. She was a daughter of a noble. She would have been taught thoroughly about her duties after marrying into another family. Her education would surely include manners in the bedroom ― more specifically, about men’s sexual appetite. Putting it altogether, it certainly might seem hard to believe what I said.

    Elder brother’s eyes were wide open in surprise too. And his face was turning pale too. Was it that surprising? The girls in the same school as I was when I was at the Academy were able to accept that Uni and I did not have that kind of relationship. Something like, ‘Since you are such an oddball. It is not that unthinkable that as a male, you might be lacking in something.’ Though that sounds impolite.

    “......Unbelievable.”

    Her head swung to the side in confusion, but I too, am in confusion.

    Somehow this ended up as the discussion for our first meeting.

    “Though I say so, I have no proof for it.”

    “I would guess so…...then, let’s leave it at that.”

    Looks like she backed out even though she does not seem to fully comprehend. In any case, ending it off like this is helpful. No matter how lacking I am in noble-like hobbies, I did not want to continue the conversation while there are still other nobles around the entrance.

    “Somehow I led the topic into this. I apologise for keeping you here with it.”

    “No, no. I, too, have bothered you with this on the night of your wedding.”

    After exchanging apologies, our conversation ended.

    Nevertheless, while she was a little carried away with her assumptions, she was a woman with a good heart. I am totally for brother and her to build a happy family together. So if he backs down from now on, I would not have to waste unnecessary time.

    Speaking of which, brother seemed to be brooding over our earlier conversation. Why would he be that affected by the kind of questions his younger brother was asked.

    ※ ※ ※

    “My apologies. I somehow spoke without discretion.”

    “Do not worry. It is rare for anybody to maintain composure when speaking to that guy.”

    While offering words of console to Simone, Linus was frantically battling with his internal turmoil.

    That annoying slave killer, who treats moralities as though it was tissue paper, has not laid his hands on that female slave? Can such a thing be possible?

    Or maybe, precisely because he is inhumane that he lacks such human urges. In any case…

    He suddenly remembered the day he first ushered Marquis Lavallée inside the residence.

    That day, after being cornered by the Marquis, he released his anger on a nearby female slave as much as he wanted. If he could not hit something, if he could not release by turning it into a violent impulse, he would have gone mad. No matter how he reflects upon it, it was the most deplorable event of his life. After that, whenever he could not control his temper, he would take it out on the slaves. He found that part of himself to be most irredeemable.

    That female slave was, at present, still in the residence.

    If he carelessly fired her, somebody similar to the Marquis might start a pointless investigation into him. Even then, finding an appropriate reason and killing her was not an option too since he was reluctant to fall to the likes of his younger brother.

    Like his younger brother.

    Perhaps he has already reached that point. For Linus, that was his worst fear.

    (......No)

    He shook his head and tried to erase his doubts.

    Nobles having sexual relationships with slaves might be an act that is frowned upon, but that may not be the case too. What about Tullius the slave murderer? Even if there are no laws preventing it, such an appalling thing might make a timid person faint.

    Hence, he should be much better than his younger brother…

    ‘It is unavoidable to fall in love with a partner with a great difference in social status while single. Still, you cannot be treating females, even if they are slaves, like pets, no? You know, there is a proper way to treat them――’

    The brunt of Simone’s words turned from his brother to him.

    Linus has a relationship with a slave.

    Not with any ordinary etiquette too, he treated her violently like how he would for pets.

    A proper way to treat a female slave? Not once has he thought about it.

    What if Simone was let known to this fact?

    “Ugh……!?”

    He instinctively shut his mouth.
   
    A sudden surge of nausea.

    “Are you okay? Your complexion does not look too good…...”

    Simone sounded worried.

    It was not that she loved Linus. There was no such time to develop such sweet feelings with their rushed engagement, rushed wedding and other matters. In fact, she should be holding scorn for him since the wedding was used as a strategy against his younger brother.

    However, she was an impartial person. She even felt pity for that eerie slave earlier. While she might look down upon the bitter feud he has with his younger brother, she has shown understanding towards how he treats other nobles.

    That is why, if she knows about how he uses a female slave as an outlet for his vulgar acts, she might just disappear in the blink of an eye.

    “It is nothing…...”

    He replied, as though persuading himself.
    Right, there should be nothing more to it.

    From the beginning, he did not expect to even dream of having a harmonious loving marriage. Couples are made to preserve the bloodline ― that is no more than an agreement between men and women. There might be room for love to grow if both parties have matching natures, but one cannot possibly wish for that as it is something that comes down to luck. Marriage is about marrying first then finding common ground between partners.

    Then, she should hate him from the start. A person who is concerned with having his flaws found out then must be nuts.

    Simone sensed his stubbornness and let out a small sigh.

    “......If that is the case then please try to stay dignified. It is as though I am ill-treating you if you go pale before the wedding, is it not?”

    “Sorr...”

    “Also―”

    There was a glint in the corner of her eye.

    “You still will not forgive your brother?”

    Simone could clearly see the disgust he has for his brother.

    Although both of them did not love each other, as a daughter of a noble, she viewed the wedding ceremony with importance.

    It was the day she reveals the results of spending half her lifetime improving her grace and refined beauty. It was the one big moment of her life. There might be some rare people who experience it several times, but those people are the exceptions. It would be perfectly normal for a normal woman to be unhappy with their big moment being used as a ploy.

    However, it was not that Linus was sloppy with the event planning. It would be extremely troublesome if he was exposed to have made light of the holiness of a wedding.

    “Of course. Even if I have to put the heavens and gods on the line, I will never forgive that demon……!”

    That was the determination of his that motivated him to make use of his wedding as part of the strategy.

    “Do you have such a deep grudge against him?”

    “What are you saying now. Surely you would have heard what he has done in this residence, have you not?”

    After all, Simone’s family was the Pontauban family. Their family was the kind of cold door that had to follow the whims of other nobles and be forced to have their daughter marry quickly into another family. It should be impossible for a person like that to be unconcerned with the rumours among the nobles. She should be well aware of how his foolish brother soiled their family’s name. The truth of the matter is that the day when they exchange marriage vows would be the very day she steps into the castle of a demon lord. Does that not give her face cramps?

    “Indeed, I did hear of the terrible rumours about him. But is that not a thing of the past?”

    “The past?”

    Linus’ face turned grim spontaneously.

    “Do you know, when I ordered him to leave the capital for Marlan a year ago, he killed slaves as a parting gift? And that was when he should be busy preparing for departure! How much can change in just one year!?”

    Remembering what happened was annoying enough. Tullius, who was told to lock up the basement where he did his slave-killing research, decided to kill all his remaining slaves and prepared an elaborate cremation. Either he was finishing up the evil research he was doing with the slaves or he just enjoyed killing slaves.

    While I am at it, there was a boorish man called Due serving Tullius. I heard he was employed right before his departure and had only spent one night in the residence. I should have seen that scene. I wonder what kind of person he must be to serve such a madman.

    She sent a sharp look of rebuke to Linus, who had raised his voice.

    “Shh! Quiet down.”

    He was lost for words. They were still in the entrance hall. Guests who were bored were chatting with one another and there might be somebody else coming from outside. Right now, the surrounding guests were sending looks of puzzlement to the groom.

    “......Sorry.”

    “Please make your excuses later. Certainly he did do some conspicuous misbehaviour a year before, but has he not worked seriously as a lord of his territory? Now that he is like that and you try to push him aside. What should I make of it?”

    “......”

    “In the first place, punishing him by death for misbehaviour is too much and if he is obviously running afoul of the Kingdom’s laws, then is the job of the High Court of Justice. At any rate, I cannot think of any logic behind you hatching this plot to reject―”

    “That is enough.”

    Linus held his palm up and uttered.

    She was right, logically. It was a sound argument. However, if he could become patient from listening to sound arguments, he would not be directing all his murderous impulses towards his brother.

    Additionally, the damage done to Linus and their family was not so shallow that reason could heal it. The harm dealt by Tullius’ notoriety for killing slaves was not something that could be compensated by his achievements of revitalising the rural area.

    “I am the head of the Oubeniel family. The family head is not seeking for your opinion.”

    As such, Linus, the family head, decided that Tullius ought to be removed.

    This decision was not something a young lady, whom he was engaged to only 1 month ago, could overturn.

    “I see…...”

    Simone took a step back and stopped talking, perhaps giving up on changing his mind.

    Linus snorted and tightened his cravat in an attempt to hide his anger.

    There was no way she could prevent the Marquis’ plans during tomorrow’s wedding, no matter what she thinks and what she does. The only people who know the details of the plan are Linus and the person who devised the plan. She could not possibly give a clue to Tullius since she knew nothing and even if she rushed to the High Court, nothing could be done. The most cunning part of the plan was that there was nothing illegal about it. Even if Tullius sees through the plan, all that awaits is disappointment from failure. There was no way Tullius could come up with a counterattack.

    Whatever Simone is thinking or is going to do, it has nothing to do with Linus. She was not somebody who could even affect him on the surface level. She was nothing more than the backdrop of the stage to welcome the target. Strictly speaking, as a person from Marquis Lavallée’s camp, she has already outlived her use.

    Of course, she was still an important tool for the Oubeniel family to carry on by bearing a child.

    Tool.

    Yes, a tool. A tool to provide an heir to her husband and a tool to show others the facade of a happy family. A wife of a noble is, in the end, all about these goals.

    Inadvertently, Linus remembered his mother’s face.

    A woman who his father never paid much attention to when she was alive, a woman who lost her life in exchange for giving birth to that demon.

    Her sad-looking face overlapped with an image of Simone.

    (I am doing what father did…...)

    A father who incompetently and stupidly ignored his own shortcomings while demanding excellence from his children. The stupidity to let mother die unsympathetically and letting that monster lead to the downfall of the family.

    With the recognition that everything is going back to square one, his stomach started to ache and he could feel something thick rising up in his throat.

    “Ughh.......”

    He tried to withstand his nausea by placing his hand on his mouth.

    He could tell that he was going pale.

    (No……! No……!)

    He should be different from father. He was different from that imbecile who turned a blind eye to his own failings, who blamed Linus for his mediocrity, who let mother die after giving birth to an unwanted child, who died in fear of Tullius.

    Rather, he was the one trying to cleanse the flaws within the Oubeniel family.

    ―And what about him being taken advantage of by Marquis Lavallée, leading to this situation beyond his control?

    (Didn’t I say this is not true……!?)

    You are the same as your brother. Somebody declared aloud.

    ―Your brother kill slaves, while you violate slaves. Don’t they only differ by the weight of their sin?

    You are the same as your father. Somebody laughed.

    ―In the end, you and your father are both causing the downfall of the family for Tullius. Nothing much has changed, no?

    You are just a man from the Oubeniels. Somebody said in disdain.

    ―All men from the Oubeniel family are the same. The disgrace of nobles, trash with zero value.

    Who was laughing at him? Who was scorning him?
    Simone?
    Mother?
    Father?
    Marquis Lavallée?
    Or Tullius?
    Or could it be…...himself?

    (Shut up…...I am different!)

    With the growing nausea in his stomach, Linus shook his head many times over and endured it.

    It was a hallucination. He was seeing a hallucination. Surely it was the doing of Tullius. It was definitely a shady magic or drug that he had concocted, since he was always doing those shady experiments. As long as Tullius is gone, his suffering would end. As long as he disappeared, he should be as happy as everybody else.

    He told himself repeatedly while swallowing his nausea.

    …...This time, Simone said nothing.

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20 comments

  1. Thanks for the chapter!

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  2. Can't wait to see their faces once linus deals with their plan, hah

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    Replies
    1. Tullius you mean, right? Linus is the brother getting married. Tullius is our lovable(?) MC.

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  3. Simone can probably already see the signs of how her marriage is going to work out at this rate.

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  4. so this is uni´s arc Nice!
    the Ship is finally sailing♥

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  5. Thanks for the chapter, I know its twisted but I hope Tullius can help him by brainwashing and using him as a pawn.

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  6. Thank you very much for the chapter!

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  7. The only way they can have a happy marriage is if the MC brainwashes them, looking forward to it

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    Replies
    1. If you think aboit it, its so fcked up dude

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  8. thanks for the chapter ! Cant wait to see Tullius handles them later.

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  9. Funny. Simone is the first noble in this series that I don't hate.
    But, considering her most likely fate, I'd prefer her to be someone wicked.

    And fucking hell, I forgot Linus is a rapist. It would be nice if he and Tullius killed each other, but...

    ---

    Thanks for the chapter.

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  10. Can't wait till Tullius deals with Linus

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  11. THANKS For the chapter! Have a good day.

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