Chapter 80

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Her eyes suddenly opened at dawn.

Artizea dazedly pulled the blanket while sleeping. The cold air shook her bare shoulders.

She suddenly realized that she was in the bed with her naked body.

‘Ah…..’

She came to her senses.

Artizea recalled last night’s event and her face turned red.

The inside of the blanket was chilling.

Artizea hesitated to lie back.

Cedric sat in front of the fireplace with his shirt on. He was picking up firewood with poker and lighting up a flame.

The red fire made his face line look deeper. Whenever the flame grew, the shadow on her eyes shook.

His face seemed to be engulfed in agony.

Artizea briefly looked at Cedric’s side face.

After the anger and enthusiasm faded away, was he regretting it now?

Artizea was caught up in such anxiety.

Artizea, herself, did not regret it.

No, she regretted it.

A little bit of favor and a little bit of a friendly hug can be forgotten if you turn a blind eye to it. However, this cannot be said to have never happened.

Can they separate like this? After she breaks up, can she casually remain as his servant?

She won’t be able to.

Artizea knows that she will carry last night’s event for the rest of her life.

However, she did not regret it. Even if this was a sin, even if it was for a single night, she was happy.

“Ahhh……”

A long sigh flowed out.

She had a lot to think about.

How will she atone the sins to Lysia.

With a simple contract marriage, it was already a great sin for her to hold the name of his wife for a while.

So is what she promised Cadriol.

What she suggested to him was something she had to do anyway.

Rather, it was a bigger concern that he had memories of the past.

It was the first time that such large-scale magic was actually cast, rather than trying a simple and small magic such as “Light”.

There may have been something wrong.

Or maybe it’s a flaw inherent in magic itself. She didn’t study with a magic example that was completed in the first place.

At that time, she thought she drew the magic circle perfectly, but when she thinks about it now, it might not be.

She used to think that she was able to think properly, but she might not have been sane because the aftereffects of torture remained.

Maybe someone else, too, has their memory other than Cadriol.

Then there was a need to make a full revision of the plan.

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Uncertainty increases with the existing information. There will also be those who are hostile to her like Cadriol.

Most of all, when another person who knows her in the past appears, it might be then Cedric really knows what kind of person she is…

“Tia.”

Dazed in thought, Cedric felt her awakening and turned his head.

He put down the poker and approached Artizea.

“Did I wake you up because of the rustling?”

“No.”

Artizea replied with a split voice. Her throat was sore, so the sound didn’t come out well.

Cedric sat by the bed and covered her in the blanket thoroughly.

And he looked down at her with a somewhat complicated face.

“It’s still long before dawn. Sleep more.”

“Yes…..”

Artizea softly closed her eyes.

But Cedric was right next to her, so she couldn’t fall asleep easily.

As she felt her breathing trembling, Cedric asked in a soft voice.

“Do you regret it?”

“…..no.”

“I thought you might ask me to forget it because it was a mistake.”

“……Lord Cedric…..”

She wanted to ask if it was a mistake.

However, she didn’t ask until the end, afraid of the answer that might come.

Cedric was silent for a moment. So Artizea became scared. Anxiety shook her body.

His hands covered Artizea’s eyes.

Cedric sighed. He then bowed his head and put his lips on her temple.

“I’ve never thought about it like that. I’ve never made a mistake about something like this….”

“Lord Cedric…..”

“Rather….. I thought I should have done this a long time ago.”

There was a faint trembling in his voice, as he was saying ‘a long time ago’.

So Artizea tried to ask about what it meant.

However, she forgot about it because of Cedric’s next words.

“I’d like to make it as if we didn’t have a contract, Tia.”

“Yes…..? “

Artizea was surprised and tried to raise her body. Because she understood it to mean to cancel the marriage.

But Cedric didn’t remove his hand that covered her eyes. He was able to defeat Artizea’s resistance with just a little strength in his hand.

“Please make the proposal I made as just a proposal. Regardless of the contract or the like.”

Artizea took a breath. Cedric said, still covering her eyes.

“Give me your left hand.”

Artizea hesitated to pull her hand out of the blanket.

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Cedric held her left hand lightly. Cold metal passed through her hand and caught on her wrist.

She hadn’t taken it out for months, so Artizea knew right away what it was. It was the diamond bracelet she got from Cedric.

“Would you marry me, Marchioness Rosan?”

Artizea held her breath. The answer was stuck in her throat and could not come out.

Cedric smiled generously and faintly.

“We already had a wedding, but it doesn’t mean anything. I just wanted to.”

“….. Yes….”

“Far a long time ago, I should have done this. “

He said so in a soft voice.

Artizea thought it was fortunate that Cedric covered her eyes.

He won’t be able to find her eyes with tears or her body trembling under the blanket.

“Before… You told me to ask you if I felt suspicious because it seemed that you’re hiding something.”

“Yes…..”

“I’ll ask instead. Don’t forget what I’m saying now, even if we’re against each other, if you’re suspicious of me or I’m suspicious of you, on the contrary.”

Cedric removed his hand from her eyes. Then he bent over and looked into Artizea’s eyes.

“No matter who you are, no matter what you do, even if you put a dagger in my heart, you are my only wife.”

“…..”

Artizea couldn’t answer.

Cedric said as she lowered her gaze down.

“Tia, what is the answer?”

“I understand….”

How could Artizea say it shouldn’t be?

She replied, pressing her thumping heart. Cedric smiled faintly.

A sweet kiss fell over Artizea’s mouth.

As Artizea flinched, she grabbed the hem of his shirt and gently opened her mouth.

Cedric lifted her lips and opened his eyes. Then he touched her hair and smiled.

Artizea, bowed her head, blushing.

“Now let’s go to bed. When we get up, we have to start with the stronghold.”

“Lord Cedric, you too….”

She was embarrassed to ask if he was sleeping. It was because she was going to ask if he would lie next to her.

Cedric said.

“I just refilled the fireplace with firewood. I need to make sure that the fire catches on. Go to bed first.”

Artizea nodded her head.

Cedric stood up and patted her sweetly.

Artizea boiled down surprisingly easily this time.

Her body was very tired, and her hands and feet were warm. The inside of her chest was still thumping and it made random noises, but she quickly forgot.

Cedric sat in front of the fireplace until the fire rose. Then he returned to the bed.

And he sighed out loud.

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Artizea was deeply asleep. After confirming it, he confessed directly to her.

“You are the first and the last woman I thought I wanted. Before and after. Maybe, even if I had another life to come, it would be the same.”

Of course, a sleeping person cannot answer.

But it was good enough for him.

Cedric laid next to Artizea and hugged her. It felt like he was embracing regret and happiness together.

***

The next day, Artizea woke up early in the morning.

The mayor’s wife, who woke her up, said with regrets.

“It would be nice if you can settle for one more day and then leave tomorrow….”

“Because what happened to the stronghold is not a small issue. We can’t delay.”

Artizea said so.

It was better to go to the stronghold to settle things.

She slept warmly last night, but she can’t get Cedric stuck that way all day long.

The heating facility of the official residence fell far short of the Grand Duchess’ room in the stronghold.

Artizea borrowed the mayor’s wife’s clothes instead of her ruined clothes. She dedicated both of her only coats of fur to Artizea.

Artizea decided to give her a reward beyond that.

Cedric finished the preparations early and shared a meal with her.

He was back with a cool, usual face, whether all of his fatigue had been relieved by just having a good night’s sleep, or thanks to the solution to the frustrating problem.

“Do you have anywhere uncomfortable?”

“There isn’t”

Artizea said, blushing her face a little. In fact, it wasn’t without any at all.

“The road will be a little rough because maintenance is not possible due to the snow. The carriage wouldn’t work very well.”

“I think it’s better to go back and rest. I’m worried about the stronghold.”

“Thank you for understanding.”

Cedric nodded his head.

“I had something I wanted to tell you.”

Artizea said so carefully. Cedric spoke ahead of her.

“If you’re talking about the South Sea people, it’s okay not to explain it. You’re not someone who does things for no reason.”

“Not that. Last night… I wanted to tell you about what you said that trust is an illusion.”

“Tia.”

Cedric looked at her with wonder.

“I never thought that Lord Cedric’s trust was built on an illusion.”

“Tia…..”

“I think betrayal can happen anywhere, but… nonetheless, the people of Evron Grand Duchy haven’t really betrayed. It’s just that they think differently about the way Cedric and Evron are.”

Artizea said earnestly.

She knew that Evron really didn’t betray him. Rather, if the trust was broken because of her, betrayal could have really sparked.

“Everyone’s thoughts are different. I know. I just realized it anew.”

Cedric said.

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“Don’t worry. I still believe in good intention and justice.”

He said so. Then he bowed his head and kissed Artizea.

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