029 Ghost of 11 Years p.2

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“My wife saw me going back and forth from the mansion.”

The Count said in an anguished voice.

Due felt it was strange. How could he have deceived his wife for 6 years – no, in fact, it was much longer if you considered the time when Anna Marie was pregnant.

“My wife harped on the matter. Blaming me on infidelity was just the start of it. She blamed it on me learning bad habits from my noble friends and acquaintances…...she even brought out anecdotes from when I was low-ranking. I couldn’t stand it.”

At times like that, a man can never best a woman’s mouth. Especially so when one has a guilty conscience.

“Even so, I was in the wrong. Although my wife was able to bear a child, I did not have faith in her and relied on another woman. That’s why I stayed silent and listened to all her complaints, enduring till the end. I thought she might keep it up for the entire night, but I totally did not expect her to nag about it till noon, the next day.”

He might have been joking, but nobody laughed. The atmosphere in the room did not allow for it.

…...Nevertheless, the nagging relaxed momentarily after that.

The Count was a noble and Madam Joséphine was of similar descent even though she was of slightly lower class.

The Count assumed that she would understand that he was doing everything he could to preserve the bloodline and maintain the family.

But, he was wrong.

“It was when everything simmered down and I painstakingly arranged for a meeting with Anna Marie.”

The Count grew quiet.

He sent a fleeting glance to Uni.

She respectfully distanced herself from the Count.

“Dispense with the formalities, come here.”

And she complied in a reserved manner.

The Count heaved a sigh and continued his monologue.

It was probably something that she did not want to be asked of, as much as possible. Her expression became gloomier.

“......One day, Joséphine braced herself and told me. She suspected that Anna Marie had cheated on me.”

The Count spoke indignantly.

He probably did not believe it was true.

He appeared to firmly believe, even now, that his jealous wife fabricated it.

“She said she had already found her secret lover. And she claimed in glee, that if I met Anna Marie, the truth would come to light. She did not spare a thought for me.”

Due was amazed at how he could say such shameless words. Wasn’t he being too selfish to expect her to be considerate to him even though he had committed adultery first? Due himself was an uncultured man, but in any case, he could not agree with what the Count expected.

“So what did you do?”

Tullius urged him to continue. He had most likely wanted to prevent the Count from straying into idly complaining about his wife. Even now, the story was rather long. As a fellow listener, Due wanted him to get to the point and finish it.

Cartan openly showed his displeasure and continued.

“I tried to meet her. Though it did not go as planned. When I summoned her to the main residence, Anna Marie…...oh my poor Anna Marie! It was plain as day that she was worn out and defeated. It was certainly not the face of a woman who committed infidelity. What had happened to her was something else…...Ahh, I cannot even put it into words.”

The Count covered his face as he said.

Due could sense the direction the conversation was heading and he could feel his face stiffening naturally.

The secret lover his wife conveniently captured.

The worn out mistress whom he summoned.

Connecting the two, a revolting plot emerged.

Despite it being so,

“So you say it is hard to put to words, huh.”

This guy, Tullius, held no consideration for him.

“If I cannot hear about the details, then I have to respectfully decline here, though?”

“――Watch your mouth, brat!”

Sure enough, the Count stood up in a fit of rage.

At this rate, he might possibly jump over the table between them and hold Tullius up by the nape of his neck.

In order to prevent that,

“Lord Count”

It was none other than Uni.

“Please calm down.”

Cartan was flabbergasted at Uni’s monotonous rebuke.

That was probably natural. The reason he was unable to describe the exact details was because he was trying to be considerate to this girl whom he believed to be his daughter.

“B-but, Anrietta――”

“Shouldn’t it be fine, Count Cartan?”

Marquis Lavallée, who appeared to be observing quietly, finally interrupted.

“It is quite obvious that this girl is still unconvinced that she is the daughter you speak of. Expressing oneself candidly might be more productive then.”

“Even your Excellency, Marquis?”


He spoke in a deep, ghastly tone.

“Continue with the story. This will not be resolved if you don’t.”

“......I apologise for my impoliteness.”

As though he could not swallow his indignation, Cartan sternly nodded and apologised.

He continued solemnly.

“...... Anna Marie who had been accused of adultery was largely taken aback. She was so shocked that she fell from the chair she was made to sit on. The moment she saw that, damned Joséphine…… She claimed that this commoner woman had been unfaithful! She claimed that Anna Marie’s shaken expression as evidence of such. Anna Marie could not even defend herself. From how I saw it, she panicked not because she was afraid of being accused, but because she felt directly threatened. Another way to say it could be……she sensed danger to her life.”

“Ahh, I see.”

Tullius appeared to have understood something.

Danger to her life. In short, a kind of physical danger. And the false charge of adultery.

With all these information gathered, anybody can easily come to a conclusion what had truly happened.

Basically, even if she did not commit adultery with another man, one way or another, that had to turn into reality. The Count was trying to say that Joséphine must have planned and plotted to do that.

It is not possible to know if that was the truth or not. It had happened 11 years ago at an unknown family. What is certain, however, is that their marital relationship was at a state where the Count would have such suspicions.

“Sorry, please forgive me for asking impudently. What happened after that?”

“Ahh…...Joséphine brought the court officials to her side with her countless connections. From start to end, she gave Anna Marie a hard time and said that the fault laid with her.”

“......Court? By court, do you mean the High Court of Justice?”

Tullius spoke in a shocked voice.

He must have been surprised that such an organisation was involved. Due thought.

The High Court of Justice was the name of the institution that governs the judges of the Arquell Kingdom. They are mainly in charge of administering justice, recommending new legislation to the throne, and etcetera.

Honestly, it was a place of gathering for aristocrats and civil officials and has little to do with Due, who lived his life with the sword. Just remembering the general details that somebody told him of what happens in the High Court was enough to make his head itch.

After all, it was quite unusual for his wife to not care about appearances and use her connections. Though Due did not know what kind of rank the civil officials at the High Court held.

The Count glared at Tullius.

“I would like you stop interrupting me.”

“That was disrespectful of me.”

Tullius apologised obediently. Well, it is true that urging a person to continue with the main story and breaking his train of thought was a somewhat disrespectful act.

“No matter how I appealed for her innocence, my words held little weight as they believed that I was blindly covering for my lover. Everybody was saying that it was a good opportunity for me to prove who was the legitimate family.…… In the end, Anna Marie was thrown out. Anrietta was also caught up in it too.”

A tragic tale. His wife must have bribed the officials so that they would pass a heavier sentence. Also, the young lady who had turned six years old was also accused to be the child of from her adultery. Either way, it was nauseating to imagine what had conspired behind the scenes.

“It was difficult to prove Anna Marie’s innocence. Nevertheless, I thought I should at least save Anrietta who had no reason to be punished too. However, when I had finally managed to control the situation, I received word. …… that Anna Marie had been thrown to slums where public order was poor.”

The Count had to cover his eyes as he was about to tear up. Countless new smudges formed on his handkerchief.

“I was told Anna Marie and our daughter fell into the hands of a ruffian.”

If Uni was really the daughter of Anna Marie, Anrietta, that must mean she had been sold to the slave market after that.

And then, Tullius Oubeniel purchased her.

The story was starting to make sense.

“I thought both mother and child had passed away. I never thought I would see them ever again…… that was how I lived on until today – by some miracle, I was able to meet Anrietta today.”

Unable to control himself, the Count turned to look at Uni.

What does he see in her face? Did he see traces of the sweet memories he shared with his lover or perhaps the warm memories he made with her daughter in the short amount of time he spent with her? Or was he thinking about the times he will spend with her from now on?

In any case, he had finished his long story.

Tullius then said.

“So what does the Count want to do with her?”

“Naturally, to take her back. I shall rightfully give her the status that befits my rightful daughter.”

The Count replied, brimming with determination.
From his retelling of the past and the emotions he had shown to Uni, that was an answer to be expected.

“That will…… once again, cause a ruckus from your wife, right?”

“She will not have a word. If it really comes down to it, I would do what I have to do and make the heartbreaking decision.”

His words implied that he would divorce his wife. His daughter, even though she was from a concubine, had already fallen to a slave. Considering the circumstances, he has no choice but to take a firm stance against his wife, even though she had faithfully followed him for many years.

“According to the Count, Lady Anrietta had been given an exile order from the High Court?”

“What can I do about it?”

It was Marquis Lavallée who had cut into the conversation.

“It is not like she is a stranger unrelated to the Count. And the Count is so happy at reuniting with your long-lost daughter. Since it is a coincidence that I bear witness to this reunion, I can offer my assistance in this auspicious event, despite my fragile bones…...”

What the heck is he trying to say, that was the first thing on Due’s mind.
Everything here was the plot of the Marquis.

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