At Kalion’s audacious words, Erna’s eyes went ablaze. She asked, “Why?”
“Why do I have to do that? Why is it that you are telling me what to do? And so what if I don’t?”
Kalion couldn’t find the words to reply with. Did she mean:“Frankly, even if I had a lover like other aristocrats, what does it matter to you?” But it made him upset to think about that. Erna spending time with another man; eating with him; sleeping with him; talking to him…
Kalion had seen a different side of her over the past few weeks. He remembered first how she’d gasped and called out his name in his arms. Just thinking about the way she had cried and hugged his neck always made Kalion’s mind flash white.
Every time he had moved she too would shake alongside him. Then, as soon as he could no longer put up with it and poured out his desires, Erna also had trembled, hugging him tightly. The satisfaction of that moment was incomparable to anything else.
Imagining her that way with another man, he thought about how he should get rid of him more than a monster.
That isn’t the only thing.
Being in bed with Erna wasn’t the only thing he didn’t want to share with someone else. While pretending to be a perfect grand duchess outside, acting calmly and dignified, Erna rolled around like a cat on a spring day whenever she entered a room.
Spreading her body on the sofa like it were a bed; reading; suddenly getting up to take a look at the map; and if there was an area she didn’t know, she drilled him with questions about this, that, and the third.
At first, he used to think that was annoying. She would irritate him with so many useless questions when the map didn’t even concern Kalion. Her questions, however, had all been regarding internal affairs of Hessenguard, and Kalion had answered obediently, thinking that it was an extension of his duties. After a while, their conversations naturally became longer.
A story that would begin about the meeting agenda that Vanessa’d brought in would end with something about the total tax rate of Hessenguard next year. To Kalion, the time spent talking about that stuff was not bad. No, he kind of enjoyed having someone to worry about such problems with.
No matter how much Vanessa, the head of the head council, consulted and gave advice, the final say was given to the Grand Duke of Hessenguard. He continuously had to worry about how much of an effect his decisions had on the people.
Is it right like this? Is there any problem? Is there not another way? Even though he had been the grand duke for the past ten years, Kalion always felt as if he was taking a test.
He was still nervous as to whether he would be thrown out of Hessenguard if he happened to make even one tiny mistake.
He had always thought that he was the only one who had that feeling, but talking with Erna made him realize that she had the same inner struggles as him.
Was that it? From some point on, Kalion kept asking Erna first about this and that. Every time he did, she listened to him earnestly and spoke her mind.
There had been plenty of times when she’d fallen asleep on the sofa when Kalion sat at his desk, going through documents.
He had frequently watched her fall asleep with books about magic on her chest—books he knew absolutely nothing about. With the sound of firewood in the fireplace crackling nearby. In a warm space. And the sound of Erna’s light breathing.
Kalion realized what he didn’t want to share with others: Their worries together, their enthusiastic conversations, and… her face when she fell asleep comfortably.
That was the Erna only he knew. He never ever wanted anyone else to see that part of her.
Despite her staring at him in front of him right now, Kalion’s palms itched and his heart was racing like hell. It felt like a wild bird was frantically flapping inside his chest.
Up until now, he had desperately denied what that tickly feeling meant.
He used to think it was poison from a demon. The priest had said there was no such thing, but there had to be. Otherwise, he had to admit it.
The fact that he had fallen in love with his wife, who had been bothering Kalion for the past ten years.
Erna tried to snatch her wrist that was in his grip, but Kalion’s hand was too firm. She thought about storming off, but that would be a futile act as well. She was just exhausted, drained. Her head was blank since she had cried.
Should I use magic to fly away?
But she couldn’t. She didn’t want him to see her like that, and she also didn’t want to throw him down mercilessly. What if Kalion faints after that?
Erna was scared of the ruins. Though it was Kalion whose stomach turned upside down, it was better than him not being here. Then should I beat him up with magic if he goes outside?
Erna bit her bottom lip. If she had intended to, she would have already flown away when Kalion was following her. But she didn’t do that. Because she was annoyed yet relieved at the fact that Kalion was following her.
Erna looked at him grabbing her with a hardened face. She knew exactly why she was annoyed by saying this to him.
She didn’t want him with any other woman.
As soon as she thought about the voice that whispered her name all night saying another woman’s name, she felt a sharp pain like an ice pick had pricked her chest.
Kalion, who annoyingly brushed her hair whenever she lay down; after rolling around naked together, he thoroughly wiped her, gave her water, and warmed up her stiff body.
He was the first person in her life to touch her in that way. When they had s*x, he acted however he wanted, and when it was over, he was careful with her as if holding a thin glass. That’s why the time they spent at night together was good, though exhausting.
The s*x with him wasn’t bad, and she liked the hands that took care of her after it was over. More than the five pieces of the sea.
Her vision became blurry because of the tears. Erna wanted to calmly refute Kalion’s words like she used to do. Why was the thing that used to be easy now so hard to do?