Chapter 11

Lucia ch 11

Northern Territory (2)

translated: iseuli

edited: lili

Lucia slept her days away, recovering. She had to rest for another two days for the bleeding to stop. She felt much better, and although her inner thighs were a little sore when she moved, it was bearable.

Lucia was the only person at leisure before the departure; everyone else around her was busily taking care of last minute necessities. Jerome was mainly focused on checking the food rations and emergency medicine for their travel, as well as the necessary commodities for Her Grace’s comfort.

14 employees worked together to plan out a detailed itinerary of their trip to the North. Lucia and her two maids, Jerome, Anna, the three mute siblings, five servants, and four knights were going to be traveling together. While Lucia was enjoying her last tea time in the receiving room, Jerome decided to introduce her to the four knights who would be traveling with them. When Lucia agreed, Jerome brought the knights into the room.

‘I thought Sir Krotin would be with us.’

Among the knights, she couldn’t recognize any of them. Sir Krotin had run into the estate so vehemently, leaving a deep impression in her mind. However, she thought it would be rude to ask about a different person in front of all these people, so she decided against the idea.

One of the knights was in his mid-twenties, while the other three were about four to five years older. All of them were standing by the door, motionless like a statue. They stood a great distance away from Lucia, who was sitting on the sofa in the receiving room.

“Jerome, is there a reason the knights have to stand so far away?”

“No. However, it is just a precaution in case Your Grace feels scared seeing them up close.”

The knights were tall and bulky in build, and with the addition of armor, they appeared like giants. All of the knights were equipped with a long sword by their hips. Often times, females would be frightened to death seeing them up close.

“It’s fine. Tell them to come closer. I should at least be able to recognize their faces. If an emergency situation occurs, it wouldn’t be right to stand so far away like this.”

To Lucia, the knights’ tall and bulky build didn’t scare her at all. If that were the case, she wouldn’t have been able to approach the Duke at all. She had learned in her dream that a person’s physique didn’t define the person. Inside her dream, she had experience in running a small shop, repairing the knights’ armors and weapons.

“Understood, Madam.”

The knights walked closer until they were only a few steps away. Jerome introduced their names one by one, while the knights gave a courteous nod as their names were mentioned. Among the knights, the eldest one spoke up.

“Your Grace, we will do our best to protect you while providing the best comfort possible. Madam, there is only one thing you must keep in mind. I’m sure this situation would never happen, but in case we become tangled in a dangerous situation, please do not leave Sir Heba’s side.”

The leader of the knights introduced her to Sir Dean Heba. He was the youngest knight of the four.

“Why? Why is Sir Heba to guard me instead of the knights’ leader?”

“That is because Sir Heba is the most skilled among the four of us.”

“I don’t understand. A knight’s rank is to be decided based on skill, not age, according to my knowledge.”

The knights glanced at each other with a strange glint in their eyes. That rule was not written in law, but it was followed by everyone. It was a secretive tradition only known by those who worked closely with other knights.

“That is… because Sir Heba is…”

When the knights’ leader couldn’t reply, Dean answered personally.

“I will explain it for you. I am not of noble birth, nor have I been formally adopted by any knight companies. I’m a knight of commoner blood.”


Dean thought his words would be enough to convince Lucia, but he was taken aback when she questioned him instead.

“Because… Maybe Your Grace would feel uncomfortable.”

“To put it shortly, you thought I would feel distrust toward a knight of common birth.”

“…It is so.”

“Your birth status does not decide your skills. I do not wish to break the regulations of knights. Sir Heba, please be in charge of leading the knight company.”

Dean’s eyes trembled as he gazed at Lucia, then bowed his head.

“Yes, Madam.”

He answered with a lot more respect.

When Jerome let the knights leave, he expressed his shock.

“Madam, I didn’t know you were aware of the knights’ regulations. Truthfully, I was afraid you would feel uncomfortable with the knights and worried very much. Sir Heba is very talented despite his young age. He did not have to go through a probation period to be promoted into an official knight.”

“Oh my. That’s only possible after winning first in a fencing or horseback competition. He must be very skilled. How surprising. Based on his appearance alone, he looks very innocent.”

“Madam, you surprised me once more. You are very knowledgeable.”

Lucia answered with a slight smile.

She had not run the smithy for very long, but the experience had affected Lucia’s life a lot. Count Matin had been obese, making his overall body frame appear very large. Despite his short stature, she had always felt intimidated by him.

While she ran the small smithy, the knights who visited her were much taller and bigger boned. Sometimes they had a frightening appearance, but they were all very gentle giants who couldn’t be compared to Count Matin. Thanks to them, Lucia had been able to open up and trust others much easier.

Of course, there had been a fair amount of human trash among those people. They would demand repairs but put off the payments for later. Later meaning never. From time to time, the other knights would catch and beat up the trash for her. The difference between hired mercenaries and knights was like the ground and the sky. Knights held an exponentially higher amount of pride for their weapons than the other.

If the ending to that story was beautiful, life would have been perfect.

She had fallen in love with a man and gone bankrupt, losing her smithy. At first, she had believed he was a knight, but later she had found out that was not the case. He was a knight who had been fired for an unknown reason. The other knights had been enraged that the honor of knights had been disgraced, and had helped to track him down. However, the money that was gone couldn’t be retrieved.

The man had been handsome and strong, she should have been suspicious of his intentions from the start. He had never demanded bodily pleasures and had showered her with platonic love. She had mistaken that man’s heart as something pure and innocent.

“Sir Krotin will not be joining us?”

Jerome’s face froze for a short moment.

“How do you know of Sir Krotin?”

“I saw him running to our estate just a few days ago. I thought he was going to join us.”

“That’s not the case. He has been commanded to protect the crown prince.”

“You seem to dislike Sir Krotin.”

“…Rather than dislike… He’s just troublesome.”

‘Sir Krotin is probably not such a bad guy.’

If Jerome’s words meant that Krotin was bad-tempered and wild, she understood perfectly. That was probably the reason why he had earned the nickname ‘Crazy Dog.’ Lucia imagined a gentle but wild dog rolling around while running here and there.


Her first experience using the gate was disappointing. Her surroundings grew dark and she felt dizzy for a moment, and that was it. It was surprising that she teleported such a long distance in the blink of an eye, but it had been a lie that she would be able to see the vast land while traveling in between the two locations.

Three carriages ran along a vast barren land. One carriage carried Lucia and a few other women. The latter two were designated for servants and knights so that they could rest in rotations throughout the trip.

The journey was going smoothly. It had not rained a single drop throughout the trip, which helped a lot. They would travel for hours and stop for short meals, then continue traveling. Then, they would stop to camp, and as soon as the sun peeked out, they would be on the road once again. They could have taken the longer route, taking twice the time, so their rest points could be located in small villages and towns, but they had chosen the shortest route possible, which didn’t have a single village until they reached their destination.

It was the last night they had to camp outside. They would arrive at the castle by midday tomorrow. The surrounding knights pointed to a suitable place to camp out and ordered the servants to prepare the site.

As soon as the carriage came to a halt, Jerome reined his horse next to Lucia’s carriage and knocked on her window. During the whole trip, Jerome didn’t ride inside the carriage, but rode along with the other knights by horseback. The window, that had been closed to block out the dust, opened.

“Your Grace, we will be camping here for the night.”

“Is it okay to get off now?”

Jerome turned to the knights. After scanning the safety of the area, they nodded.

“Yes, it’s alright.”

In a short moment, Lucia and several other females got off the carriage. Everyone’s faces were pale with fatigue.

Sitting in a shaking carriage for a prolonged period of time was very exhausting. The roads were not paved smoothly like in the capital, so the carriage had kept rattling in varying degrees without stop.

Lucia endured the whole journey in silence. She didn’t speak a word of complaint, thus the other females couldn’t complain either. Thanks to Lucia, everyone was able to arrive at their destination in record speed.

“Your Grace, are you feeling nauseous at all?” (Anna)

“I’m fine. Thanks for your help earlier, I feel much better.”

The journey was nausea and headache inducing. Anna didn’t simply prescribe medication to help with Lucia’s discomforts, she also used a special technique of massaging unique pressure points on the hand to reduce nausea and headache through the whole trip. Her skills helped a lot during their travel.

Lucia and Anna went for a brisk walk in a nearby area. Just a short distance behind, Dean followed quietly. During the whole trip, Dean was in charge of escorting the Duchess.

The other people all helped set up the camp site. They fed the horses, prepared the meals, and collected firewood for the night. They chose a flat camp site, while making sure no wild animals were hiding around.

A knight in the distance gazed at Lucia’s tiny figure, and spoke of the feelings surging through his heart.

“As long as it’s a person like her, I’ll be glad to accept any escorting job one hundred times over.”

The other knights joined in the discussion.

“A wonderful person has become the lady of the house for the Duke of Taran.”


A thin layer of frost had covered the land when they awoke to continue their journey early the next morning. They went on traveling all morning, until they stopped for an early lunch.

“Madam, we’re almost there. Can you see over there? That is Roam.”

Jerome pointed to a place where the yellow dirt road ended and was instead replaced by green grass. A little further ahead, she could see buildings of varying height poking upwards into the sky. At the center of all the structures, stood a grand castle – their destination.

As soon as Lucia was able to see Roam, all the terrible fatigue of the journey flew away and was replaced by excitement. The person she wanted to meet and get to know was inside that place.

She had been 40 when she learned that the Duke of Taran had a child to inherit his position. At the time, his child had just passed adulthood (male: 19, female: 17), and would have been around 20. If she calculated the years from that time to now, his son should be about four or five years old now.

As soon as the carriage rolled into the grasslands, she didn’t have to worry about the dust any longer, so she opened the window. She enjoyed the fresh air breezing through the window, while appreciating the passing scenery. The knights on horseback were riding within a short distance around the carriage. Among them, Jerome was also riding on horseback.

‘Jerome is only a butler, but… he seems very friendly with the other knights.’

Jerome rested in the carriage for just a short while in the middle of their trip, but most of the time, he rode along and rested with the other knights, while talking about random things. The butler and the knights didn’t seem related in any way, but they looked very friendly with each other.

They arrived early. They had estimated that they would arrive in the late evening, but it was only early afternoon. The carriage rushed to the Duke’s castle in Roam, the capital of the North.

The civilians paused and gossiped among themselves as the carriage passed. The carriage Lucia was riding showed off the crest of the black lion.

When they crossed the bridge leading to the castle, loud horns sounded all around.

There were observation towers placed at various points around the outer walls. Within, there were military training grounds and schools. Spacious rooms were available for knights to rest in, as well. All the knights who were training stopped at once, saluting and bowing to the passing carriage.

The carriage continued toward the inner castle and stopped at the central tower.

At the central tower, dozens of maids and servants were there to greet them. Jerome opened the carriage door and several maids exited and propped the set of stairs from the hidden compartment beneath the carriage. Lucia descended the stairs, while Anna followed behind her.

Lucia looked around the place. The stone walls of the central tower seemed to reach the skies. There were many other miniature towers attached to the central tower. About a hundred servants stood in order with their heads bowed.

“Madam, please come in.” (Jerome)

Lucia followed behind Jerome while passing the many servants of the castle. The central tower gate was made out of a heavy wood that looked like steel. When the massive gate opened, it revealed a spacious hall.

“Madam, you’ve endured a lot during this long journey.

“I wasn’t the only one enduring. Everyone worked hard. Jerome, please give your attention to everyone who traveled together on this journey so that they can have a good rest.”

“Yes, Madam. I will arrange everything for the others, so you do not need to worry. Madam, what would you like to do next? If you would like to rest, I will lead you to your bed chambers.”

“I would like to greet the people of this castle.”

“It will be alright to greet the employees slowly at a later time.”

“I don’t mean the employees. I wish to greet the Duke’s parents. If his father isn’t here, his mother is also fine. I wish to greet his direct relatives.”

“There are no such people here.”

“Nobody… at all?”

“Yes. The prior Duke and Duchess have long left the world. This includes his direct relatives and siblings. His Grace, the Duke is the only remaining blood line of the Taran family.”

Lucia’s thoughts became complicated.

‘The only? How about his son?’

She refrained from inquiring about that. It could be that his son had not been revealed to anyone yet. But the Duke had spoken of the matter like it wasn’t a great secret.

“…I’m not that tired. I wish to look around this place.”

“I will guide you around the castle.”

Although it was very spacious, the layout of the place was quite simple.

“The first floor consists of many receiving rooms, conference rooms, and a dining hall. When you exit through the dining hall side door, you will be able to enter the castle’s garden.”

“There is a garden here? I want to see it.”

“… Please do not hold any high expectations.”

When Lucia entered the garden, she was at a loss for words. The garden was incredibly vast, but although it was spring time, not a single flower could be found. Only green trees and bushes grew throughout all of the four seasons of the year.


In embarrassment, Jerome let out a small cough.

“Due to administrative reasons…”

“…If you were going to bring the garden to this state, why did you create it in the first place?”

“The past duchess built this garden when she was alive. While the Lady of the House was absent, the garden was reduced to this state. The garden would become too ghastly if left abandoned, thus we decided to manage it in this fashion.”

“Was it the Duke who ordered this?”

“The Duke doesn’t put his mind to things like the garden.”


That’s right. Of course it would be that way.

She decided to return to the first-floor hall.

“If you go up to the second floor by climbing the stairs to the left, you will find yourself in the private quarters of His and Her Grace. The two of you have your own private bedroom, receiving room, and washroom. If you go up to the second floor using the stairs to the right, you will find yourself at Our Lord’s oval office. The two places are both on the second floor, but it is impossible to access directly. You must return to the first floor and use the stairs to access either place.”

“Jerome. I have something to ask you.”

All that time, Lucia couldn’t stop thinking about his son. It could be that the identity of his son was still a secret, but Jerome should know about him.

“Just a while ago, you stated that His Grace is the only remaining blood line of the Taran Family.”

“Yes, Madam.”

“But… he has a son.”

Jerome’s face turned blank.

“…Excuse me?”

“His Grace has a son, so he is not the only remaining blood line of the Taran family, right?”

“Madam… You were… aware?”

“Of course I know about it.”

“…I thought you wouldn’t know of him.”

“Oh my, Jerome. Did you think His Grace wouldn’t inform me of his son? He’s not such a person.”

Jerome had known the ‘type’ of person the Duke was.

“I thought I would be able to meet his son as soon as I arrived. Where is he now?”

“The Young Lord… is currently not in Roam.”

“Where is he now?”

“He is currently attending a boarding school.”

“Don’t tell me it’s because of me?”

“No it isn’t. His Grace had decided that for the Young Lord since a long time ago.”

“Since a long time ago? How old is the Young Lord?”

“This year, he is eight.”

She was surprised because his son was much older than she had originally thought. Eight years old? How old was the Duke when he’d had his son? Doing the math, he would be 17 or 18.

‘…So you were premature.’

If he had a son at 17, how early had he started getting intimate with others? Even though the current society accepted the sexual relations of men and women, it was still considered quite early.

“…When will the Young Lord come home?”

“I’m not sure. Since the Young Lord left for boarding school, he has not returned once.”

“Not once…? Then has His Grace gone to see his son?”

“According to my knowledge, he has never made a school visit.”

Lucia became confused. Didn’t he favor his son very much? Wasn’t he the reason why he went through with the marriage? Although the child was born out of wedlock, she thought the Duke loved his son to the point that he would confer his own title of Duke to him.

“Madam, if you have any further questions on the Young Lord, it would be better to ask His Grace personally. I am not allowed to divulge any information so rashly.”

“…I understand. What is his son’s name?”

“The Young Lord’s name is Demian.”

Demian. Lucia repeated his name over and over.


Roam was an old castle just under a hundred years old. Though outwardly the castle looked like an antique, the inside was comfortable and clean due to the careful maintenance and remodeling through the years. Lucia loved every bit of the place. She felt satisfied with her life. She didn’t have to lift a finger and her meals would be prepared. Her beddings would be cleaned automatically and her bath would be prepared by others. There was no way she could complain about anything.

Jerome entered the receiving room. He had a plate in one hand. He made intricate movements while laying the plate down onto the table in front of Lucia. While he was setting the tea set, Lucia didn’t hear the tiniest clattering sound.

Usually people would have separate butlers for the capital and the Duchy, but in Jerome’s case, he was responsible for both places. Jerome was a very competent butler. He was still young; it was incredible he had such talent.

“Madam, this is a freshly baked pie.”

The pie was golden brown and the sweet scent of apples wafted from it.

“Oh my, it looks delicious. Thank you for the meal.”

“Please do not eat too much. You won’t be able to finish dinner.”

“Won’t it be alright to make do for dinner with this? If I eat this way every day, I’ll get fat.”

Breakfast and lunch were prepared simply, but dinner was always a grand feast that wouldn’t lose to any banquet. She was worried that at that rate, the Duke would become broke. Not to forget all the snacks in between meals, as well.

Jerome was very friendly. It wasn’t just him; everyone was on their best behavior, doing their best, in fear that Lucia would become depressed. That was the reason they were putting so much effort into her meals.

She had just gotten married, and right off the bat, she had to live in a strange place all alone, without her husband anywhere in sight. Usually, females would cry their eyes out, but Lucia’s speed of adaptation was like a cactus in the desert.

“Jerome. I’m curious about one thing.”

“Yes, Madam. Please speak.”

The capable butler of the Duke’s castle gracefully filled her tea like usual.

“The roses of goodbye are sent by Jerome, right?”

The teapot in Jerome’s hand dropped to the table and its contents spilled all over. Jerome watched the tea spilling onto the floor in a daze. He had just made a mistake he could never retract. A few seconds later, Jerome snapped out of his daze and set the emptied teapot upright, then ordered the maids to bring a towel.

“My apologies, Madam.”

“It’s alright. The tea did not splash onto me. Rather, whose idea was the roses of goodbye?”


Cold sweat dripped down Jerome’s back. He unconsciously swerved his eyes around the room looking for someone to help him, but he couldn’t find anyone. Jerome’s usual relaxed and respectful expression was nowhere to be found, and was replaced by a nervous and stern expression as if he was about to jump into grave danger.

“After thinking about it for so long, I don’t believe the Duke would be so detailed. I don’t think he would order you to send out roses of goodbye personally.”

“…Madam, that is…”

“It’s okay, I know everything already. It’s your idea, right Jerome?”

“…Yes. I started it arbitrarily…”

“You send red roses as a message of goodbye? Isn’t that a bit cruel?”

“…They’re… yellow. Yellow roses.”

“Ah, so they were yellow roses. Why did you pick yellow of all colors?”

“…The yellow rose holds a message of goodbye among its many meanings.”

“Wow, really? How do you know so much? You must be a huge romanticist, Jerome.”

Lucia’s voice was bright and energetic all this time so Jerome was able to gradually relax his nerves. When the maids came in to clean up the mess, it felt like his heart was also getting organized.

“…My younger brother’s wife runs a flower shop. From time to time, they tell me about various flowers and I remembered this particular information.”

Of course, he always bought the roses from his sister-in-law’s shop. Fabian considered this killing two birds with one stone. Achieving everything in one fell swoop was the best for everyone’s happiness. His sister-in-law would pour all her heart and soul to make the most beautiful bouquet possible.

“So you had a younger brother.”

“Oh, it seems I didn’t tell you. His Grace’s personal aide, Fabian, is my younger brother. Have you met Fabian yet?”

“Ah, of course. The two of you are really…”

“Yes, we don’t look alike. Even so, we are twins.”

“Goodness, that’s a surprise. There are many twins in the Duke’s estate. There’s Jerome, the main chef brothers are also twins, the maids are twins as well. That’s very interesting. Oh, don’t tell me the three siblings… Ah, they were siblings but not twins.”

“Madam, after listening to your words, it seems to be so. His Grace also had a twin as well.”

“He had a brother?”

Jerome quickly shut his mouth. He’d made a mistake. In that quick short moment, he’d made two huge mistakes. A slip of the tongue at that. It was one of the mistakes the Duke looked down upon the most. Jerome’s face was full of despair and embarrassment. Lucia quickly caught onto everything.

“Could it be something I shouldn’t know of?”

“…That’s not the case. His twin has long since passed away. It’s something you would’ve found out eventually, but it would be better to keep it hidden… And not talking about this topic in front of His Grace would be for the best.”

Lucia was more curious about his brother than the roses, but Jerome seemed very troubled, so she took pity on him and changed topics.

“Okay. Let’s continue talking about the roses. Who did you send the roses to last?”

Cold sweat formed upon Jerome’s rigid face. Jerome rather preferred talking about the Duke’s twin brother than this topic. If someone could rescue him from this position, he would embrace them while sharing a deep kiss.

“I told you, everything is fine. Is it perhaps Lady Lawrence?”

“…Yes, how did you know…?”

“I somehow got to know of it. Oh, if the last person who received the roses was Lady Lawrence… Then how about Countess Falcon?”

Jerome was on the brink of going crazy. Bombs kept exploding out of the Madam’s mouth. A thing like composure could not be found on Jerome’s face. Nobody had ever given him a hard time like at the current moment.

“After His Grace broke up with Lady Lawrence, he was meeting with Countess Falcon. Shouldn’t the last person to receive the roses of goodbye be the Countess?” (Lucia)


“It’s okay. Just tell me the truth.”

The pitiful Jerome did not realize the true fear of when a woman spoke the words ‘It’s okay, so tell me everything’. If Fabian were there, he would say, ‘This is why you can’t date.’ While clicking his tongue.

“…His Grace has not given me the order to do so…”


Lucia slightly pouted her lips.

“That means His Grace is still meeting with the Countess.”

“It’s not! That’s not true at all! He has never gone to meet her after the wedding. I will swear to the heavens up above.”

Lucia burst out laughing.

“Why are you getting so serious? What’s wrong with meeting her?”


“It’s nothing. Anyway, thank you.”

“…You’re welcome.”

For some reason, Jerome felt scared of Her Grace.

“Ah, also…”


Jerome was startled. ‘Madam, PLEASE!’ he wanted to beg, but the words stopped just before his throat.

“Why are you so shocked? I was going to ask you about the maids who will be attending to me.”

It felt like someone had pushed him off the cliff and another person had caught him just in time. Jerome found relief and returned to the image of a courteous butler.

“Yes, Madam. Is there anything to your dislike?”

“That’s not it. Please do not designate a single made to attend me. Let them take turns every few days.”

“Has the maid attending to you made any mistakes?”

“If I favor any one maid, it will cause discord and friction among them. I don’t wish for any troublesome conflicts in the future. If the maids happen to split into different cliques, it may seem like not such a big deal, but it can become the source of all troubles in the future.”

Lucia was well aware of the maids’ lives and thoroughly thought of this new structure. While she worked as a maid, she thought the structure would produce the right environment to prevent any friction between all the different maids.

Lucia could not agree with her masters when they discriminated and favored the maids without discretion. Why would they act so illogically and stir up trouble for themselves?

Jerome blinked several times while staring at Lucia, then nodded his head.

“…Yes. I will carry out your orders.”

Aah. Her Grace was a very surprising woman. The servile spirit within Jerome started to react as adrenaline pumped through his veins. In his life, he expected to feel that way for only one person. It seemed he would carry two masters in his heart very soon.


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