Chapter 6

Lucia Chapter 6

Shall We Marry? (4)

translated by: iseuli

edited by: lili

Lucia let Hugo wait in the receiving room, while she returned to her bedroom to change.

“Princess, where are your maids?”

“Um… You see…”

When she mumbled out the reasons to the maids following behind her, their faces paled into a blue hue. The top palace maids were usually the ones responsible for assigning palace duties among themselves. Thus, they would be the first ones to be punished following today’s events.

While she was changing, the maids put in all their efforts to care for her. They were doing anything possible in order to lighten their punishment.

Lucia feigned ignorance. They were the ones who chose not to carry out their duties. She didn’t have any intention to call them out for this, but she didn’t intend to protest if they were to be punished.

The palace maids who were here today were not here because they were worried about her. They were here because they feared the honored guest who was visiting. In other words, they were afraid of the princess who had the backing of a powerful Duke.

In the receiving room, Lucia looked at the tea served by the palace maids with amazed eyes. They actually had such skills. There was no tea in this palace, but they managed to get a hold of some and prepare it so fast. How long had it been since she’d drunk tea served by the palace maids?

He looked to the corners of the receiving room; two palace maids were standing in each corner. They were ready to carry out any orders and they were here so that an unmarried princess would not be alone in a room with another man.

“Have you been well? From your strength before, you seemed to be well.”

Lucia’s face flushed red upon the Duke’s greeting.

“Yes, Your Grace. Have you been well? I was shocked from your sudden visit.”

“I’ve just followed your example.”

He was currently pointing out her previous action of suddenly visiting the Duke’s mansion. She was the one in the wrong, so she couldn’t say anything. This guy really held his grudges.

‘So when there are other people around… he will speak formally to me.’

It was not a surprising action, but it felt like he was being very kind toward her. It seemed his sudden change of tone shocked her quite a bit.

“I have some important things to discuss with you, so it would be better if you could replace those maids with your most trusted servants instead.”

“Huh? Ah… I don’t have any maids with me at the moment…”

“Did they leave for a task? There isn’t a single one?”

To be precise, she didn’t have any maids at all. However, Lucia just nodded her head. He thought silently for a moment, then stood up.

“Would you be alright with going for a light walk?”

Lucia glanced at the two maids on standby and stood up as well. The only place they could walk around was the tiny garden by the palace, but if they distanced themselves a bit, they would be able to talk without being overheard.

“Why are you personally overseeing your maids’ duties? Have you mistaken yourself as a maid? You even leave the palace with a maid’s permission slip.”

As soon as they were alone, he dropped all formalities. It seemed it was his own style to talk casually when they were alone. It was shocking last time, but listening to him talk that way a second time, it felt like they had grown a bit closer and it didn’t feel so bad.

“…There’s no one else around to do it.”

“What are the maids doing then?”

“Um…. That is… Truthfully… I live here alone.”

“…You don’t have maids?”

“I don’t.”

“In this detached palace, you live alone?”


“How about your meals and cleaning? Do you take care of those yourself?”

“…Yes. It’s not too tiring. I’m not looking after others, I only need to take care of myself after all…”

“Do you think that makes sense?”

He had been suppressing his voice all this time. He suddenly burst out in roaring laughter.

“Since when?”

“…It has been several years now.”


So that was what it meant when Fabian reported that she had no other maids residing in the palace with her. He had assumed she had a unique personality that caused people to run away.

Although she was low in rank, she was still royalty. It didn’t make sense that a person of royal descent wouldn’t have a single servant. That was a major mistake on the administrators’ side. It was mind-boggling that they would handle the administration of palace workers so poorly. If the subordinates working under him carried out their duties in such a manner, they would be killed by him on the spot without another word.

“What important things did you want to discuss with me?”

“His majesty has given his permission for our marriage. When the exact date of the wedding is decided, I will let you know ahead of time. You won’t have to wait longer than a month.”

He felt fatigued after a long morning struggling with the Emperor to get the upper hand. The Emperor had never bothered himself with the princess before, but during the exchange he had spoken of her like the most precious daughter of his royal palace. The Emperor’s mind was full of greedy intentions as the intense war of nerves had kept going for a while. In the end, they had compromised on terms they both agreed with.

She had said the Emperor would not remember her existence. During their discussion, it was clear as day that the Emperor didn’t know who she was. His lies were too obvious. Hugo had referred to her as ‘the 16th princess’ from beginning to end, being careful not to reveal her name. The Emperor as a result, referred to his daughter as ‘the 16th princess’ until the end, without being able to bring up her name once throughout the whole proceedings.

Right about now, the Emperor would be busy trying to find out the identity of the ‘16th princess.’ Though in reality, it would be the servants under him that would be running around the palace like their feet were on fire.

Hugo didn’t understand why, but he felt great irritation toward the Emperor. He never liked him to begin with, but held no grudges against him either. Even though he was a father, how negligent could he have been that a lone girl had to walk into a man’s house for his hand in marriage like that. Inside her own palace, she had to do her own laundry and clean with her own two hands. She was clearly being discriminated against even with her royal identity.

He empathized with her distress a little, while agreeing with Kwiz’ malicious criticism of the Emperor; the Emperor only knew how to piss his seeds in the palace.

“…You’re incredibly… fast with taking care of business.”

Lucia had to take some time to understand his words. She had thought it would take at least half a year to finalize everything. This speed was astonishing.

“I will look into what happened with the maids.”

“You don’t need to. Even if you don’t act, someone will be punished eventually. If Your Grace personally gets involved, everyone will end up with a harsher punishment. I don’t wish for such an end.”

“The people who didn’t properly carry out their duties should be rightfully punished. You’re being uselessly tolerant.”

“You might think so, but I liked living alone in this palace. I had complete control of my freedom. In the end, you’ve also benefited as a result.”

“…How so?”

“This marriage. Aren’t you satisfied with our deal? I believe it’s the reason you were able to close the deal so fast. If I remained quietly in the palace, I would have never been able to offer this marriage, either.”

She had a strong spirit. Where could such strong willpower come from such a small body? She seemed like a good candidate to become the lady of the house. Hugo dazedly started picturing her future as Taran Dukedom’s lady of the house.

“As soon as our marriage becomes official, I plan to return to the North. We will remain there for a while.”

The Duke of Taran’s territory was located in the North. It was a wide, barren land with unending wars.

“I don’t plan to hold a wedding ceremony. What are your thoughts on this?”

Without the ceremony, all they would need to do was get a couple of people to witness the two sign their names onto a marriage certificate. She didn’t want to walk down the church aisle holding her father’s hand. The only person who would want to congratulate Lucia for her wedding would be Norman, but because of her commoner status, she wouldn’t be able to attend. Lucia didn’t care how their marriage would be settled.

“Yes, that’s fine.”

Any other woman would have been jumping with anger if their wedding was composed of signing documents. A marriage was something women dreamed of their entire lives. However, this wasn’t a common marriage, as one party was shamelessly leading it, while the other party agreed like it was some trivial matter.

“Your Grace, I have one request. It’s about Norman… the female author you’re familiar with. I’ve written a simple letter to her. Would it be alright if your people delivered it for me? There isn’t any significant information in it. It’s alright if you read the contents as well. If we are going to the north, it will be some time before I’m able to contact her again. I don’t want her to worry about me.”

“That’s fine. Hand me your letter, I will deliver it for you.”

It became strangely quiet and Hugo looked away while his eyebrows twitched. Lucia had been staring at him with eyes that were flowing with overwhelming gratitude as she held her two hands together. Those were the same eyes he would get from females after he gifted them expensive jeweled necklaces. In fact, Lucia’s eyes were sparkling with even more blinding joy.

“Thank you, Your Grace. Your Grace is much more considerate than I thought- I mean you are a gracious person as I originally thought.”

This female didn’t fear him, but she had thought of him as a shameless villain. It seemed very simple to change her prejudiced view of him as a villain to that of a good human being.

He was confused whether it was something to celebrate or not. Anyway, he felt very strange at the moment. However, it wasn’t an unpleasant feeling.

‘It seems I won’t have to spend too much money.’

He lightly cleared his throat and spoke.

“You will need to move out of here. This place is too isolated and with poor security. The news that I’ve come by will travel quickly. Those who are interested in me won’t leave you alone. Many guests will come to find you.”

“…I see.”

“Don’t stray off on your own, be good and stay home. Don’t agree to meet everyone who wants to see you.”

How was it possible for a person to speak so unkindly? As if she were a stupid girl, like he was speaking to his subordinate. Earlier, Lucia had seen him in a new gentle light, but now all those feelings were no more. All the charming points he’d managed to gather, had gone in the negative.

‘It’s weird… that I don’t hate him…’

Was this the charm that had all those women clinging onto him? He was selfish and rude, but he didn’t feel disagreeable.

“Yes. Do you have any other commands?”

He paused for a moment and answered, “No,” with a smile.

This woman was definitely different somehow. She always spoke her mind about everything, but remained dutiful during the important moments. Yet at the same time, she wasn’t servile. He found the shameless and proud bunch unpleasant, but he disdained those who groveled while licking his shoes. It was difficult to find the perfect balance between those two points. She was a satisfactory person for the contract.


The Duke returned to his mansion and made his way to the receiving room. Jerome and Fabian followed him in. Hugo took off his coat, while Jerome took it and left the room. Fabian, who had been keeping quiet all this time, suddenly opened his mouth and a flood of words spilled out.

“Where did you go? I’ve told you that you shouldn’t go off alone in secret. Is it so hard to at least let us know where you are going?”

Fabian was the only person brave enough to nag at Hugo. Even the vassals whose hair turned gray from old age didn’t have the bravery to do so. Hugo would often imagine slicing this guy’s chest open to see it filled with nothing but guts(1).

“Didn’t you say it was your day off today?”

Fabian kept to his scheduled hours like it was the law. After working five days, he would make sure to get a day off. Fabian stated his family was as important as his duties under the Duke. He was the only person who would shamelessly state that to the Duke’s face.

Even so, Fabian never hesitated to follow the Duke into months long wars. Fabian wasn’t an underhanded or calculating fellow by nature. He never refused important duties, but still made sure to get all the additional side benefits in the process. In this manner, Fabian and Jerome, although brothers, were complete opposites.

“You didn’t say anything about leaving the house yesterday. If you brought it up, I would have assisted you.”

“I went to the palace.”

Fabian let out a sigh. How could a Duke enter the palace without a single attendant by his side? He wasn’t like this because he was worried dangers would befall the Duke. There probably wasn’t an existence that could get rid of the Duke by physical force under the heavens.

This wasn’t the battlefield. Even without a sword, this place had countless other ways to kill a person. A small pretext to an event could snowball into a huge disaster.

The Taran family was originally neutral to all political factions. But it was different this time. It was the first time in history that the Taran family decided to support a side. It wasn’t publicly announced as of yet, but holding hands with the crown prince was the same thing as stepping into the whirlpool of power struggles between the different factions.

The crown prince had many enemies. Everyone was eyeing them, looking for the smallest fault in order to create havoc. The nobles with strong political power never went around alone. There had to be an eyewitness around, in case something happened.

There were times when the Duke would be too callous. The person who would have to run around tying all the loose ends was Fabian. The Duke didn’t show any care to the circumstances at all. After ordering Fabian to settle the problem, he wouldn’t put his mind on the topic again. There wasn’t anything more annoying than finding the Duke going around by himself.

“…Did you go visit the Crown Prince?”

“Hmm? Ah… I should have done so since it was on the way.”

“If you didn’t need to visit the Crown Prince, what was your reason…?”

“I’m getting married. I just got permission from His Majesty.”


Fabian took deep breaths. He had his mouth shut tight as only rude words would come out at the moment.

“With that princess?”



“Probably within a month’s time”

One month? Fabian tried his best to suppress his chest heating up with anger.

During war, he was his adjutant. During regular day to day life, he was his aide. He had always known this about the Duke, but the Duke would often throw him into a random situation without a single explanation. In other words, the Duke would make all the decisions, then he would be responsible for making it all happen.

“Don’t let this spread around the Kingdom.”


“As soon as we finish the necessary documents, we will be leaving for the North.”

‘And when did you decide this?’ Fabian was despondent over having to organize a moving company to the North. Fortunately, he had one month to take care of everything.

“There’s no reason for people from the Dukedom to come over for the wedding. A simple note of my marriage will be enough.”

He had decided that none of his retainers needed to attend the wedding. Fabian thought of the few people who would be shocked senseless and felt pity for them.

The current Lord and Duke of the Taran family ruled like a dictator. There was nobody else that could act as prideful and self-righteous as Taran’s Duke.

Fabian honored his Lord as the Duke, but as a human being, he wanted nothing to do with him. The Duke easily stepped over people’s lives. One should not even hope for something like consideration or benevolence.

He felt great sympathy for the princess who would become the Duke’s wife. If the Duke’s wife was hoping for anything out of this marriage, she would live a very sad life.

“Didn’t we have an island? With a mine?”

“…Are you talking about the diamond mine at archipelagos islands at Saint?”

“Yes. Prepare that as the dowry.”

“…Your Grace, that is too much….”

Fabian couldn’t keep quiet as usual. This wasn’t just extreme, this was severe. Fabian had been in charge of investigating, so he was aware of every detail of the situation. That was a lowly princess whom the Emperor could not even remember. Her birth mother’s identity was ambiguous, and she didn’t have a single relative.

“I’ve already concluded the discussions with the Emperor. We won’t hold a separate wedding. We will settle everything with documents.”


He was at a loss for words. This wasn’t a simple bill; how could the nation’s Duke not hold a wedding ceremony? Although he was not someone of royal birth, she was still a princess. Wouldn’t it be the same as mocking the royal family? All the same, he was just as equally speechless regarding the father who exchanged his daughter with a diamond mine so easily.

It wasn’t unusual for a marriage to be concluded informally. Sometimes the situation was too urgent, like during warring periods; informal marriages were common. A single thought passed through Fabian’s mind.

“Is that why you are returning to our territory right away?”

The Taran territory bordered a very violent group of barbarians. There was never a safe moment. They always had the excuse of urgent business in the Kingdom.

“It’d be good and we might as well.”

“…Is there really something going on in our territory?”

The Duke answered with a light laugh. Fabian understood him well. There wasn’t anything going on in the Taran territory. The reason they were skipping the wedding was because the Duke thought it was too troublesome. A proper wedding took at least half a day. He definitely didn’t want to do something so annoying.

“I will pass over some things for you to take care of. I don’t like annoying things so make sure rumors don’t spread.”

“Yes, Your Grace.”

Fabian easily submitted to his Lord’s decisions. He knew his place very well. He simply needed to assist in tying the loose ends of the Duke’s decisions. He had no place assisting the Duke in making those decisions. He never crossed the line while working together, thus he was able to continue serving under the Duke for so long.

‘Is it… because of his son…?’

It was the only reason the Duke would think of marriage.

‘What a pitiful princess.’

He drew a mental image of a lonely princess crying every night while trapped inside the mansion of the monster Duke. If Jerome knew that Fabian considered their Lord a monster, he would punish him to death.

It was because Jerome never saw their Lord in action. If he saw the Duke fight for himself… Fabian suddenly shivered as a cold chill ran down his spine. But it was not like Fabian wished for Jerome to ever see that side of their Lord. He hoped Jerome would see the Duke of Taran as nothing but their noble Lord.

How long would the princess be able to endure under that selfish and heartless man? Women were beings who lived for love. That was what Fabian’s wife had taught him all these years. She would become like a flower slowly wilting away as the Duke continued to ignore her.

She would probably become an alcoholic to endure her loneliness. Maybe she would try to fill the emptiness inside her heart with luxuries. There was only one thing that would be guaranteed. No matter how much the Duke’s wife changed or despaired, the Duke would not care one bit.

The day the Duke visited Lucia was the day she was told to move out. She was moved from her detached palace to a beautiful small palace that was within the central palace, where those of high status resided. Although the place was considered small, it was more spacious than the detached palace she had lived in for all those years.

It was a small corner of the central palace known as the Rose Palace. The Emperor had great affection for that place. The palace represented the respect and honor he held for his loved ones. The small palace was surrounded by a huge rose garden. In the late spring, every sort and color of roses could be seen in full bloom. The plentiful roses would spread a gentle fragrance far out into the distance.

Lucia would probably not be able to see that view. It was such a pity, she thought.

Her life in the inner palace was very comfortable. All the palace maids acted as her arms and legs, and she felt like an extremely important person, whose life was drowned by nothing but luxury. Different from his warning, guests did not come and visit her. There was only one person who consistently came to bother her.

“Please tell them I am ill.”

Today, the Grand Chamberlain was here. Lucia was sitting at a table on the terrace and drinking tea like always. No matter how one looked at this situation, she was feigning illness at the moment. The Grand Chamberlain was having a hard time.

“Princess, His Majesty is not feeling well and hopes Princess could come visit him.”

“What a pity. Please send him my regards. I hope he will regain his health soon. I’m feeling ill as well and am unable to move.


“Please see yourself out. Let’s not waste our energy here . You already know I won’t go there.”

Lucia didn’t care that the Grand Chamberlain would be getting an earful from the Emperor. Although it was trivial, it was her own way of exacting revenge.

‘Since you’ve never turned around to see me, I will not look for you, either.’

When the Emperor had sent some people to her, that was what she had decided in her heart.

The Emperor didn’t want to see his daughter. The person he wanted to meet was The Duke of Taran’s fiancée. That position held high prestige. Although she was a mere 16th princess, the Emperor couldn’t forcefully drag her out.

The maids didn’t seem to be aware that she was the Duke of Taran’s fiancée yet. Even so, she was able to treat the Emperor so rudely yet nothing happened to her. The palace maids all struggled to perform their best as to avoid offending her.

It was laughable. Her status had changed overnight. She began to understand why the Duke was so arrogant. If anyone was surrounded by such people all their life, anyone would turn out like the Duke.

Time passed; no one knew this girl would be getting married the next day. Lucia thought he did not wish for senseless rumors, so she didn’t say a word about it to anyone. No matter how much the palace maids sucked up to her, Lucia maintained her distance from them.

It was already late into the night, but she couldn’t fall asleep. She sat by the window and gazed at the moon in the night sky. Her heart was restless.

All this time, he had not come to visit again. From time to time, he would send some people to check if she needed anything. She already had everything she needed in this place, but just one time she requested for something.

‘I don’t want to meet with the Emperor. Please protect me from him.’

She was afraid he would appear as a witness during their informal wedding. She had requested this two days ago and she had yet to receive a response. However, it seemed he had gotten the message and had sent out his people to make it happen.

The moon was very bright today. She felt a bit regretful. One of her wishes in life was to live out a happy life together with her future husband, surrounded by their children.

‘I’m the one who chose this road.’

She was not going to regret anything. No matter what came rushing into her direction, she would not do such a thing as regret. She had already regretted more than enough inside her dream.


“Will you really be this way?”

Kwiz yelled at the top of his lungs. The smooth gentle approach had not worked, so it was time to use anger. If he failed once again, he would try the gentle approach one more time. These days, it was a repeat of this situation.

“Whatever you say is useless, I’m going.”

Hugo calmly drank his tea while Kwiz continued to jump around in his seat.

“Why now? Don’t you know how many people are aiming for my throat…?”

After Hugo informed Kwiz that he was returning to his territory, he had been acting like a begging child. ‘You can’t go like this, you’ll have to kill me before you can go, how can you be this way?’ If anyone heard, they would think he was trying to court a lover.

The Crown Prince’s servants were embarrassed, but like Hugo, they maintained a blank expression.

“The Taran family has owned that territory in the North for tens and hundreds of years already. Just because the Duke takes a leave for a while, the land won’t disappear.”

“A store owner who leaves his shop empty will be in trouble.”

He had left his territory for too long due to the war. If he wanted to rest a bit, Kwiz would hold onto him without letting go. He had promised to help the crown prince, but he had no thoughts of protecting him from each and every political enemy. His base was in the north.

“Then you’ll leave in two days?”

“I’ve told you many times already.”

“Even when I beg you in this state?”

“Please stop with your crying. Just because I’m not here, it doesn’t mean anything will happen to you. Even if I remain here, there’s nothing I can help you with.”

“Why not? Just by standing there, people will feel wary of me!”

“And you like that? They should feel wary of the Crown Prince. Why should they feel wary of me?”

“It’s better that way. Since the war has ended, people will start officially making their move. Do you know how much they are fighting over the spoils of war at this moment?”

“The spoils of war?”

Hugo laughed through his nose.

“Everything is mine.”

“Yes, everything is mine.”

“I’ve told you it’s mine.”

“Everything that belongs to the Duke belongs to me.”

Hugo let out a small sigh. His mind was probably filled with nothing but devilish snakes. But Hugo did not dislike the crown prince’s character. It was better than the ones who were overly cautious.

Among those with power, Kwiz was the first person to treat him the same upfront and behind his back. Up until now, he was the only person with such a personality. Thus, he had decided to hold hands with the Crown Prince.

“I’ll remain there for only two years.”

“Too long! Only one year!”

“Two years. Who knows what will happen after the next Emperor is enthroned. His Majesty’s health doesn’t seem good these days.”

“With all the chronic illnesses, his body’s age should be in the 80s. Just a few days ago, he had a girl by his bedside. That old geezer. He only has energy for such things.”

The Crown Prince’s lieutenant faked a cough from embarrassment. The Crown Prince glared at the lieutenant for interrupting his chatter.

The Crown Prince always referred to the Emperor as: that old man, old geezer, horrible vice-emperor. No matter how many times they heard this, they could never get used to it. The only person who could listen with a blank expression was the Duke of Taran.

“I’ll take my leave.”

“Why don’t you eat dinner before you go?”

“I’m busy.”

“You never let anyone hold you back.”

“Oh. I’m getting married tomorrow.”

For a moment, silence hung over the room. The Crown Prince and everyone else in the room was frozen solid.

“…What will you do…? Duke, what will you do?”

A diamond on a dunghill was still a diamond. As an Emperor, he was one through and through. The Emperor had promised his wedding date would not be known to anyone. Until the end, not even the Crown Prince had been aware of the marriage. Although the Crown Prince spoke badly of the Emperor, he never took action to go against him. If he acted rashly, he would only suffer a backlash.

“I’ve already discussed it with the Emperor. The wedding will be held informally, so there is no need for you to attend. Oh by the way, the person I’m marrying is a princess.”


The crown prince shouted, but Hugo just bowed and left the room. Once Hugo left the room, the spoiled brat-like behavior of the crown prince disappeared at once. His expression was as fearsome as a demon(3). He roared at his adjutant.

“What are you doing?! How is the Duke of Taran getting married tomorrow, yet I wasn’t aware until he personally told me?”

“I apologize.”

The adjutant’s face paled.

“Hurry and figure out what the hell is going on!”

“Yes! Your Highness!”

His eyes burned with rage as he fumed, breathing roughly.

“Princess? Bullshit. How many princesses are in this place? If he was interested in princesses, he should have told me sooner. I would’ve gladly given him my sister.”

When Hugo informed him that he would be getting married to a ‘princess,’ he could imagine what had happened.

“…That wretched old geezer.”

Kwiz gritted his teeth. The Emperor seemed aloof from worldly affairs as he kept to himself within the inner palace, but behind closed doors, he controlled everything from the dark shadows. He imagined the Emperor’s smug face, ‘No matter what you do, you’ll remain in the palm of my hands.’

Kwiz loathed the Emperor. He hated him to the core of his bones. Although the Emperor was aware of this fact, he still gave Kwiz the position of Crown Prince while laughing mockingly, as if asking for a fight.

‘Let’s see how long you’ll be able to remain this way.’

Kwiz’ blue eyes burned with rage.


Foot Notes:

(1): Hugo would often imagine slicing this guy’s chest open to see it filled with nothing but guts. – In Korean, Guts/Liver/Bravery is spelled the same. In the Korean text, it said his chest was filled with nothing but liver. This is a sarcastic pun implying Fabian is stupidly brave.

(2): “Taran Family” – I don’t want to spoil the story. But as we already saw, Hugo pretty much lives alone with servants in his mansion. But still, I add ‘family’ for the sake of including all the past people before him.

(3) (Kwiz’) expression was as fearsome as a demon: The Korean text said ‘a female demon.’ But, it just doesn’t translate too well. LoL.

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