Chapter One: I Died
“I heard that Viscountess Verdi was criticized by her in-laws for being unable to conceive, and that she was told to find a mistress right to her face.”
“My goodness, I heard that too! But I heard the one who is actually impotent is her husband.”
“My goodness, I heard that too! But I heard the one who is actually impotent is her husband.”
“You think that’s bad? My close friend got married recently, and apparently her in-laws
got involved and tried to tell her how to take care of her husband in bed!
The ladies, mouths covered by their fans, were excitedly gossiping about that one topic.
I, who had somehow got caught up in all of this, was doing nothing but sipping champagne.
“It’s been five years since I got married, but they still check my dresses every day.
They declare that I cannot bring down the dignity of the earl and come to inspect them each morning.”
“I have to report how much my husband eats each day.
At this rate, they’ll ask me to check how many grams of sauce was on the meat he ate.”
Underneath the fancy chandelier.
The ladies, dressed beautifully, looked at each other and shared a long sigh.
All were united in their stormy expressions.
Just because a woman and a man marry each other out of love doesn’t mean that love alone can help them.
Although they are technically family, one’s relationship can never be as close as a true family.
The wives who had just sighed looked over at me, who had not said a word this whole time.
“Your Royal Highness Lapileon, you haven’t said anything.”
As if those words were a trigger, everyone’s eyes widened as they watched me.
Their flickering pupils clearly said, ‘you spill some tea, too’.
“Hasn’t it been a year since you got married?”
It had already been a year? I hadn’t even realized.
“The Lapileons still have the early Grand Duchess, Gloria.”
“Wow, she’s still healthy?”
At the mention of Gloria’s name, everyone started trembling as if they had seen a ghost.
“To make things worse, His Excellency is quiet.
At least our husbands are full of affection…”
“To think that she has to deal with His Excellency and Madam Gloria…”
“Oh my, now that I think about it, doesn’t the Lapileon family also have Sercia?”
“Ah! His Excellency’s older sister…!”
I still haven’t said anything yet.
Why are you all looking at me with such pitying eyes already?
I looked slowly at the ladies who were chattering amongst themselves.
After putting down the empty champagne glass, I finally spoke.
“It’s true that Grand Duchess Gloria and Lady Sercia are there, and that His Excellency is quiet.”
Everyone started tutting and offering words of pity.
On their faces were sympathetic smiles that said ‘at least I’m better off than her.’
These people, who only felt superiority when they put someone below themselves.
These people, who felt relief to see the suffering of others.
They were a given at a gathering like this.
As I was about to speak, I felt an arm wrap around my waist.
“I finally found you, wife.”
A familiar scent and black hair tickled my cheek.
“W-we greet His Excellency…!”
At the sight of my husband whom they’d called cold only a moment ago, everyone hurriedly offered their greetings.
However, my husband, Theodore Dane Lapileon, didn’t even spare them a glance, and hugged me in his arms.
“I looked for you for ages.
If I don’t see you for even a minute, I feel so anxious that I can’t breathe.”
At his small complaint, I pushed his cheek away with my palm, as I always did.
“It tickles, and there’s too many people watching, so get off me.”
As I said that, a small child popped up from the right.
“Your Excellency! Mom says it tickles! Hurry and get off of her!”
It was the heir of Grand Duke Lapileon: my legal son, Celphius Sultan Lapileon.
The child pulled at Theodore’s uniform, trying his best to pull him away from me.
“Yes, what kind of shameful act is that? Theo.”
A red-headed woman easily removed Theodore from me, before tutting her tongue at him.
Then, she smiled widely before spreading her arms wide towards me.
“Sasha! I’m here.”
“…Older sister Seci.
You get off me too, it tickles.”
It was Theodore’s older sister, Sercia Jane Lapiileon.
“Where is it itchy? I’ll scratch it for you!”
*TL/N: Itches and tickles is the same word in Korean.
Behind Sercia, who had me tightly in her arms, popped up a tiny girl even smaller than Celphius.
Hug me too!”
One of Theodore’s only surviving blood relatives, Violet Lapileon.
“Violet, haven’t I told you that you should address her as Her Royal Highness and not sister?”
Theodore’s uncle, Finneas Gun Lapileon.
“Why are you making such a fuss in the ballroom?”
It was Gloria Em Lapileon, the early Grand Duchess, who was very healthy, in spite of her white hair.
At the sudden appearance of the Lapileon family, the faces of the ladies whitened, and they couldn’t seem to lift their heads.
“It’s difficult to attend balls at this age.”
Gloria made her way to my side and sighed dramatically as she grabbed my arm.
I smiled slightly as I supported her.
“You’re still so healthy.”
“Whenever I show up, everyone’s so busy trembling in fear.
What about this oldie is so scary?” said Gloria, clicking her tongue as if chastising the ladies in front of her.
As she had said, everyone in the ballroom seemed to have turned our way the moment she entered.
“Sasha,” Gloria called me affectionately.
“Hurry and choose if you don’t want us to follow you like this,” she continued, laughing slightly.
“Should I give you a mine, or perhaps Lapileon land? I already told you I would give you whatever you want, since you saved us.”
“I really don’t need anything.”
“If you really don’t choose, I might end up giving you the entire Lapileon duchy.”
Everyone gasped after hearing what Gloria said.
I could feel their admiring gazes on me.
I looked at my in-laws, who were standing around me so staunchly that it seemed they could part the Red Sea, with a ruined expression.
‘…But I need to file a divorce.’
My problem is that my in-laws are too obsessed with me.
* * *
While all other living things came alive in the springtime, I was dying.
My husband, Siph, sat next to me and asked “Does it hurt?” in a worried tone as if he had been waiting for this day.
“If you think you’re going to die, then just die.
Why are you still breathing and clinging to this life?”
My husband who had promised that he would love me.
My love who said he would make me happy.
There wasn’t a trace of the Siph who would smile shyly in front of me.
His lips, which had once given me happiness…
“Just die already.”
“You have to die for the inheritance to be mine.
I have a mountain of debt.
You love me, don’t you? So, you can do me this small favor and die, right?”
Siph moved the hairs that were stuck to my sweaty forehead.
I wanted to get up and slap that thick face.
But strangely, my body would not listen.
“You can’t move, right?”
Siph smiled as if he had seen right into my mind.
“That’s because of the curse.
They said that I could kill you with this.
It’s expensive, but it was the best option to kill you without leaving any evidence.”
Your gray hair and those bright eyes haven’t changed at all.
But inside, you’ve changed.
A teardrop that had been caught on my eyelash rolled down my cheek.
At that moment, the bedroom door opened,
“Is she still alive?”
And I heard a voice dripping with disappointment.
I got goosebumps all over my body.
‘How did I get here?’
When I looked around in dismay, I saw my stepmother and my sister Reina, who was not related to me by blood.
“Like your father, your lifeline is quite long.”
“Don’t look at me with those eyes.
He was the one who looked into your lifeline.”
They were my family that had always smiled so kindly at me.
My one and only family, that cried when I was having a hard time and rejoiced when I was happy.
“If he had written a will promising you the inheritance, this situation wouldn’t be happening… what a shame.”
Her words were thick with greed, and she looked different from usual, her red lips turned up into a snake-like smirk.
“We could have had a good mother and daughter relationship.”
“Mom, does this mean we’re going to be rich?”
Although she was someone that my stepmother had brought in from outside, I had truly considered her to be my sister.
Siph approached Reina and wrapped his arms around her waist.
And as if telling her she was lovely, he kissed Reina’s left cheek.
“Of course, my princess.
You had a hard time, right? That will all end today.”
“It’s okay, Siph.
I believed in you.”
What? Reina was calling my husband’s name in a sickly sweet manner.
My lower lip began to tremble.
The sound of my heart racing spread through my entire body.
It can’t be? This isn’t….
It’s not what I think it is, rightt?
As if Reina had
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