032 Countdown to a Comeback p.3

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“Um, umm...”

He turned his head to the voice. For a moment, he wondered if Simone had came back to apologise for her mistake, but he was wrong. It was a female slave. The usual female that served him.

“What is the matter?”

He sounded like he was growling.  Just as he was looking for an outlet to vent his frustrations, she appeared as though she could see what he was thinking. That made him further irritated.

“T-There was a loud sound and the ma’am left...”

It got on his nerves again at the very mention of “ma’am”. He was already considering if he should beat her. Nevertheless, he still had some self-control. If he did something like that, it would just give Simone another reason to blame him.

“And then? You are looking for me?”

“Um, umm...”

“Don’t test the patience of a noble, you collared slave. How audacious.”

Linus said and extended his hand, pulling the slave’s hair violently. Obediently, she let him have his way as usual, and the sound of lips smacking leaked. As he retired to his room, he locked the door.

So as to get further excited from when it was Simone as his partner.

  ※ ※ ※
“Really! Your brother is such a jerk!”

“Please do not say that, sister-in-law. It is troubling for me to hear this.”

Tullius responded with a bitter smile to his sister-in-law who came to pay a visit to his room.

Simone poured her grievances to none other than the notorious second son of Oubeniel, Tullius. Before she met this villian, she was still apprehensive of him. However, after having a real conversation, she found him to be a calm and gentle person who should not be hated by anybody. In a stark contrast to the rumours, he was kind to his slaves, and she could not see how the maids were subjected to horrible treatment.

Uni ― or more accurately Anrietta ― was perfect in both her education and beauty. So much so that she had suspected if she was his lover. After Anrietta was taken away, the replacement slave maid also maintained a similar level of cleanliness to Anrietta. Not only the maids, the male slaves dressed in butler clothing were the same. It appeared as though the rumours, which shocked the capital, were untrue.

“Still, isn’t alarming for the newly-wed wife to hang out in her brother-in-law’s room? Weird rumours might start.”

Tullius said so with some anxiety, though it was already too late for that.

“Rumours have already started when I was married to this family. Things like what happened such that I had to go to the Oubeniels. So much so that the remarks have gotten beyond rude.”

“Sigh… I guess so. Ah, forgive me.”

He gave a slight nod, appearing as though he had never heard of the rumours. Compared to Linus, who was conspiring with others on others, she had less to fear of Tullius.

“It isn’t like I am alone with you, right?”

She said as she gazed around the room. Laubert, a young low grade noble and Due, a renowned bodyguard were standing by the wall uncomfortably. A butler and a maid pair of slaves were prostrating themselves before her. These slaves were really well trained.

“Ahh, please stand. I allow you all to stay relaxed.”

“Thank you for the considerations …Get back to your work. Bart. Emily.”

“We are grateful.”

After receiving permission, both the slaves relieved themselves of their prostrating posture and returned to their jobs.

“What were you making them do?”

“Tea preparations. It is about time for tea. Would you like to join in, sister-in-law? It might not taste as good as the rare leaves that brother uses, though...”

Simone was drinking tea with Linus just earlier. Still, their conversation was unpleasant from start to end. Hardly anything enjoyable.

“I will be pleased to. My throat feels dry from all the talking.”

“Hahaha. It looks like you will be staying here complaining all day again. Gosh, how surprising. I thought things would go well for brother with a lady like you.”

“...You must be joking?”

Her voice was completely flat. Tullius took notice. Was it...that surprising?

“Tullius, do you know what kind of woman your brother likes?”

“Well...He would prefer women with dignity and grace? He was always nagging about etiquette and formalities in the past.”

“True, he does consider those important. But I do not think he considers those traits important for the wife of the main Oubeniel family nor as Linus Strein’s partner.”


While the slaves adroitly set up for tea time, Tullius continued listening to Simone.

“I mean, isn’t it the case? The ultimate role for the wife of the main Oubeniel family is to bear children and raise them. That is something which does not require an emotional bond between him and I.”

“That does not sound appropriate for a newly wed.”

“It is because I have just married, that I am able to say this much. I…, knew from the very beginning. Linus would not be a good match with me.”

She could recognise that much from the interactions she has had with him up till now. Linus does not desire her. The reason why Simone was in this home was not because he wanted her, but because she was good for the circumstances. She was the person randomly selected to fit his need of getting married at the right time.

Of course, most marriage between nobles were like that. Love can be cultivated after marriage. That was something that could not be fought against as well as it being the price to pay for a luxurious life that a commoner could never achieve. A noble ought to have patience and act within one’s assigned role. She knew that.

However, Linus had not shown Simone the minimum level of respect to his partner who was fulfilling her role as his partner. Everything he said was for his convenience and nothing he did was for her consideration. He acted and used her coldly while pretending to speak with respect.

At last, the one thing that he is most concerned about and the one that could make him laugh is the schemes targeted towards his brother. It was ridiculous when he tried to make her agree when what he was saying was in disdain of his only kin. There would not be a woman who would open her heart to a heartless man like him.

Scratching his cheeks, Tullius replied.

“Just for reference, then what kind of woman would brother prefer?”

“Oh, shouldn’t that be something one would hesitate to ask a newly wed?”

“Sorry, that was careless of me.”

“I was joking. I do not mind. I have taken a liking to your candidness.”

As she said that, Tullius became visibly perplexed. His age was supposed to be the same as Simone or 1 year younger than her, but his expression was so childish.

“Hmmm. Somebody who matches him… perhaps a woman that is completely opposite of me?”

“A complete of opposite of sister-in-law?”

“Yes. For example, a woman who would stand quietly beside without making any objection, even if she did not have a proper noble upbringing. A sweet and modest wife who hides beneath her husband’s shadow. Honestly, as a male, what do you think of a woman who is that convenient to her husband?”

“Isn’t sister-in-law not lacking in modesty?”

“My modesty is only towards traditions and courtesy. What that person desires is modesty towards himself. As for me, I am increasingly trying to act according to how a splendid wife should.”

“Haha. So you mean that would make any man lose their nerve. I can kinda get that. I am somewhat like that too.”

Indeed, there are times when he feels like that as a docile son. He appears so harmless in reality but for some reason, there are so many rumours surrounding him.

“...Lose their nerve? Have we ever seen master lose his nerve?”

“Hardly ever.”

His retainers were whispering something barely audible.

As Tullius tried to strain his ears to listen closely,

“...The tea is ready.”

The male slave called Bart placed the cups quietly on the table.

“Thank you.”

After receiving the thanks from Simone, the butler quietly bowed and took a step back.

Tullius also received a cup and saucer from the maid.

Peering into the cup, she noticed that the colour of the tea was tinged with a slight yellow rather than red. There was a peculiar sweet fragrance to it.

“What is this?”

“It is an herbal tea. I have had rosehip prepared for today.”

The tea was infused with some herbs. Among the nobles who enjoy drinking high quality tea, there are some that denigrate it by calling it a “tea substitute”, but when Simone was at her home, it was something she had during her breaks when she was studying. Well, she did not use rosehip before, but it was still nostalgic.

“I prefer it lighter so it might taste somewhat sour. Feel free to add some honey or jam.”

“Really? Then I shall have the same as you for starters.”

Indeed, it tasted sour, but was on the mild side. There was some gap between associating the fragrance with sweetness, but that would vary from person to person. It was not bad.

On the other hand, Tullius grimaced as he sipped his tea.

“Ugh, too strong...”

He murmured. It seems that this was brewed stronger than what he would have preferred.

“My apologies, master.”

“No, it is alright. I made you prepare the tea on a short notice after all...”

To the apologising maid, he waved his hand graciously in forgiveness. However, he appeared to be looking faraway, as though he was thinking about somebody else. He said that the maid was made to brew tea at a short notice. Then who was in charge of this normally?

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