Chapter 2.
This marriage is ruined!


The doctor scratched his cheek with a troubled face.

“Well…that is what ordinary people do.
Your wife seems to be especially vulnerable, so you have to take extra care of her.”

“…looks like I have gotten myself a very demanding bride.”

When Altair’s eyebrows furrowed as he muttered, the doctor quickly rose from his seat in fear of the chilly air that arose around him.

“A-anyway, I’m going to prescribe some medicine for your wife to maintain her health’s condition.”

The doctor’s gaze was not fixed on Altair, but on Blan, the man behind him.
He was the one who stood beside Nadia as Altair’s lieutenant at the wedding.

The appearances of Altair and Blan were as different as the night from the day.
Unlike Altaire, who had dark hair and always wore a cold demeanor, he was a young man with bright blonde hair, plus a cheerful expression was always hung on his face, making it much easier to talk to.

“You have worked hard.”

Blan seemed quite familiar with this kind of situation, he calmly gave the doctor the money he had prepared in Altair’s stead.
The doctor, whose complexion had slightly turned pale, immediately regained its initial harmonious colour, he greeted them with a happy mood and hurriedly left.

“My Lord.”

Blan narrowed his eyes and poked Altair’s side with his elbow.

“You need to fix that tone of yours.”

“What’s wrong with my tone?”

“The poor man just now was already sweating at the mere sight of you frowning with that ferocious tone.
Not to mention the Lady, a woman, saw you show up covered in blood, no wonder she was staggered, she must have been shocked to the core.”

“What nonsense, I spoke as kindly as I could.
You didn’t hear I swear, did you?”

“No, the standard of the ordinary,…it’s not…urgh!”

Blan ran his hand through his hair frustratedly, he was helpless before his insensitive superior.

Because of the barren conditions of the Eastern land, making it a difficult place to survive, the attitude of people within the Aylesford territory got affected a whole lot.
Among them, Altair was particularly a pain in the neck.

He became a lord at a relatively young age and was soon accustomed to leading subordinates that were much older than him, but even in adulthood, the unpleasant habit of treating people inconsiderately with his heart of stone remained unchanged.

Blan, who had been training as a knight for a long time in the central part of the country, also had a hard time adjusting to it when he first returned.
He, a soldier with a mind of steel himself, was like that, let alone a delicate aristocratic lady from the capital city, who grew up with a silver spoon in her mouth.
Needless to say, It was undoubtedly a horrendous experience for her. 

“Anyway, please be kind.
Do you think that it is common for a noble woman to marry a poor baron in the countryside? I can’t be grateful enough about her coming here, but you, you scare the hell out of her with that clearing corpse threat, and now you question how she fainted?”

“Be kind? What now? You know I even killed those who I sensed following me from afar.”

“Isn’t it because of our situation that they followed you in the first place? They must have been sent from the Balhail side.”

As the name ‘Balhail’ was mentioned, Altair’s already cold expression hardened and became even more menacing.

Balhail was Altair’s cousin, the closest heir to the title Baron Aylesford, which at the moment, had no heir.
If Altair were to pass away without an heir, the title would automatically be passed on to Balhail.

The territory may be poor, but his title was precious.
Balhail had long been aiming for the position of Baron Aylesford.

While he was patiently waiting for his turn, he seemed to have been shaken by the news that Altair, who could hardly find a wife, was getting married.

“Don’t forget why this marriage is necessary.
You should have a successor as soon as possible.
That way, the Balhail side will give up on false hope.
Well, it won’t be easy since you guys have been like this right on the first night.”

Blan glanced at the pale unconscious Nadia, emphasising with a serious face.

“Well, it can’t be helped, so please rest well today and please have dinner together with her tomorrow.
Or prepare some food yourself and bring it to her first thing in the morning… Don’t people usually like the person who takes care of them and brings them food? We will prepare dinner for her tomorrow evening to make her feel better, so you’d better attend it with her…”

“…”

Altair remained silent, but Blan knew he would listen to his advice.
Altair Aylesford was an assertive man, he would definitely reject from the beginning if he truly despised it.

“You have to make a good impression as a human first, before you get her affection as a husband.
That’s the order of how things work.”

“I know, I know, what do you take me for, an idiot?!”

Sure enough, it will not be easy since he had messed up from the start.

“Anyway, cheer up.
I will do my best to help you!”


Blan clenched his fists, bringing them to his front and did a cheering gesture as encouragement.
Suddenly, something hit him, it seemed like he was reminded of some important issue as he switched to sharing his concern with his master, Altair.

“Oh, by the way, my Lord.”

“…?”

“You know how to spend the night with your wife, right? If I’m not mistaken, isn’t this your first time?”

“Hey, what kind of question are you…”

“Shh! You will wake the lady.
I’m sure she would be scared to death if she saw you yelling like that.”

Altair, who was about to shout as usual, immediately shut his mouth at Blan’s words.

Perhaps his reaction was so funny that Blan burst into a fit of laughter.

“…get out.”

Altair gritted his teeth and pushed Blan roughly.
However, his voice was much more subdued than before.

Plus, his ears were strangely red…

“Hmm, so it is your first time, my Lord.”

“Shut up!”

❈❈❈

It was morning when she opened her eyes again.
The first thing she laid eyes on was an unfamiliar ceiling, she then gradually noticed the weird surroundings, a bed harder than that she usually lay on, a strange-looking room which was not as spacious as hers or as any normal noble’s.
She was lost, not knowing where she was or what to do.
After a while of emotionally panicking, she began to rack her brain, hoping to get a glimpse into her last piece of memory before she got transferred here.
Before long, the visage of a man with crimson eyes emerged in her mind, ensued by her vision spinning, and collapsing the moment after.
There was no need for any further explanation, she could now intuitively tell whose residence was it, it was that person’s. Her facial expression came from perplexed to agitated, then devastated.

After having successfully solved the case, she learned to accept the reality, reluctantly and despondently.
She carefully stepped out of bed and looked in the nearby mirror, she looked terrible.
Her hair was disheveled, her lips were dry and the colour was a bit bland, she looked a little haggard but her complexion had been somewhat improved.
Though her cheeks were not as blush as usual, at least it was not pale and lifeless like yesterday.
Her present appearance was far different from the beautiful bride she had been at yesterday’s ceremony.

She was a total mess…just like her future.

She sighed deeply and took a look around the quiet room.

Everything was neat except for the bed at the corner with its rumpled drapery, where she had been lying uncomfortably.
No one seemed to have come in and out all night.

It was not intentional, but she was not given that much of a warm welcome from the first day.
She herself did not even know whether this was fortunate or unfortunate.

When she decided to get married, she thought a lot about what the first night would be like, she envisaged all kinds of scenarios and came up with plenty of countermeasures, but none of the cases she studied were like this.

At least now she did not have to worry about that.

Rumbling.

A loud noise came from her lower half.
Her stomach was growling.

I’m hungry…

She traveled a long way in a carriage and attended a wedding, she was so exhausted that she thought she was going to die because of hunger.
She was starved to the point that she felt her inside emptied and the system had started to devour itself, and what was left was her skin and flesh wrapped around her bones.

She found it funny to see herself feeling hungry even in this situation.

No, what’s so funny about that?

Being hungry means she was still alive.

Yesterday she collapsed like the world was over, but she was still alive and nothing had happened that was worth worrying about.

“I need to pull myself together, from now on, I just need to keep a cool head and do well.”

She was the one who decided to leave the capital.

That was how she arrived at the decision to get married.

And it was her who accepted the husband that her uncle had picked.

It is the consequence left by your rash decisions, so how much longer are you going to be shivering? The world hasn’t collapsed yet, Nadia Vine.

The mere sight of Altair’s face with his blood-shot eyes that came back to her mind when she reminisced that day was enough to make her tremble in fear.
It was like she had just woken up from a horrifying nightmare, but the cruel reality once again hit her hard as she knew from this moment onwards, she would be living under the same roof as the devil himself.
She wrapped her arms around her shaking body as she felt the chills from before just got worse, she tightened the grips with all her might to hold herself together.

If she was going to die quivering while being paranoid twenty-four-seven like a wimp, she might as well just have waited for the doom day in the capital.


But I’ve decided not to.

She closed her eyes tightly and inhaled deeply.

First, let’s fill up the stomach, and recharge the energy.
I can’t really think of anything when my stomach is empty.

It was morning, so she expected the breakfast to be ready soon.

However, there was no sign of the door opening even after a long time of waiting.
Normally at the Marquis’ estate, this would be the part when she heard a knock on her door, promptly followed by a maid’s voice, asking her to come down for breakfast.

Nonetheless, the situation might be different in each family, so she waited patiently.
But no matter how long it took, the maid did not come.

The meal aside, but no one even bothers to help me wash my body and change clothes?

There was never a case in which the maids were insolently disrespectful towards the Madame of the house like this.

Perhaps rumours had already circulated that Altair threatened to send her neck flying at the wedding.
There were quite a few people there, so the word of mouth must have spread quickly.

She could not possibly think of another reason.
If not, there was no way for the servants to treat their new mistress, who was not welcomed by the headmaster, as a proper Madame.

It’s no different here, my existence is still the same as back then, unwelcomed.

Even back in the Marquis of Vine, she was ‘the ugly duckling’.
To be precise, it was from the point her parents passed away in a carriage accident and the title went back to her uncle.

If she had been a son, she would have been able to inherit her father’s title and his legacy.
Or at least, she could have brought in a spouse to succeed the title as his son-in-law, that way it would not have been transferred to her selfish uncle given that he was the only legal heir at that time.

Still, the accident was too sudden, she was too young and helpless, plus, with regard to her personality, she would never have calculated that far ahead, especially when she was on the verge of a mental breakdown.

Her resourceful uncle, while she was grieving the loss of her parents as a young child, he naturally took the title and locked her away.

Ever since then, she, who once was the Marquis’ beloved daughter, became a leech niece who only ate, at least that was how her uncle perceived her.

The servants of her family, who used to support and serve her like their goddess, quickly turned their backs, they kissed up to their new ruler and ignored the lonely little girl, who had just become an orphan.

My uncle did not even give me the dowry, which is the right of the daughter of the Vine family.

In the least, she had an amount of property that her mother had personally entrusted to her, allowing her to bring the money as a dowry.
Of course, it was a very meager amount, so it was not enough to save her face.
Traditionally, the parents, or in this case the guardian, would place a dowry on their daughter, which consisted of a large sum of money, to maintain her dignity.
Now that being mentioned, families additionally tended to seek for a political marriage or search for a spouse that would benefit them.
Her uncle could not care less to preserve the family’s prestige and just went for the worst and also the easiest option.
He must have hated her immensely so as to get rid of her as soon as possible.

The more deeply she dug into it, the more she could understand the attitude of the Aylesford servants.
She would not be surprised if the maids were trash-talking about her at some corner of the manor.

The more she thought about it, she could not have been in more disgrace as the bride who with a little dowry, was neglected by her husband since the wedding.

But at least give me something to eat… 

Did they discriminate against her so aggressively that they refused to spare her any food? Even a dungeon provides food to the prisoners.

She groaned and walked towards the window.

When she opened the window to get some fresh air, a cool breeze flushed in and the picturesque landscape of the Aylesford estate came into sight.
The countryside was indeed far different from the dynamic capital.
It was barren all right, but it was neither rugged nor desolate.
The vast field could not be described as lush as there were areas exposed with bare dirt and patches of dry hay entwined in the green spaces, but overall they blended with each other harmoniously.
As she shrunk the immense view into her sight, waves of rolling hills began to appear from afar, near the horizon.
She could barely see the roofs of tiny houses peeking out behind those slope lines of hills as they caught the light as it broke through the clouds.
The wind rustled through rows of trees and came caressing her hair, soothing the stirred up emotions inside her.

It’s peaceful.

But the owner of this peaceful estate was a mad villain.
Her shoulders drooped at the fact that swept past her mind, she still found it hard to accept, everytime she recalled, it still came to her as a huge bummer, as shocking as it was back when she first knew it.

Then she heard the door open.
It seemed that the maid had finally prepared her meal.

It was the first time she had been this glad to hear the door open like this.

She smiled broadly and turned her head, but was soon dumbfounded when she realised that the person who opened the door was not a maid.

Altair was standing in front of the door.
In his hand was a tray with a ready-served meal.

“Oh, uh, erm…”

At the appearance of a completely unexpected person, she froze and stuttered like a fool, clutching the hem of her skirt.

Altair’s eyes were as cold as yesterday.

The confrontation continued without any exchange of words.
Altair was the first to speak.

“…eat.”


Altair placed the tray down on the table and ordered her.

She calmed her trembling body and looked at the tray.

It was not a grand meal, it was just some steaming hot soup and a little hard bread, but her mouth was watering.
Last time she checked, she had been starved for over twenty-four hours.

After a fierce battle between appetite and fear, instinct prevailed in the end.

She glanced at Altair and slowly approached the table, intensely alert of him.
When she reached out for the bread, Altair frowned at the sight.

“Will you stand and eat?”

“Oh, no! Of course not! I will sit down to eat properly… “

She quickly settled down in a chair at Altair’s implication.

“Eat.
Before it gets cold.”

“Yes…”

She hesitated and took a bite carefully.

Oh?

It tasted good compared to its hard and dry look.
Thanks to this, her cautious movements began to speed up little by little as she swallowed the bread delectably.

The soup, which was quickly spooned, was also excellent.
The dish seemed to involve few ingredients, but they were soft and flavorful.

She tore the bread into large pieces, soaked it in soup, and shoved the moistened bread into her mouth.

It’s so tasty…

She did not know whether it was because she was suffering from hunger or because the food was delicious, either way, what truly mattered was that it was the taste of joy.

As soon as she reached out for another slice of bread, filled with emotion, her whole body hardened as a minacious source of energy was felt from above her head.

As she raised her head stiffly, there Altair was, looking down at her with his arms folded in front of his chest.

“Cough, cough!”

It was such an intimidating look that she did not dare to touch the food he gave her.

His frightful-looking face even got worse when his forehead crumbled at the sight of her coughing.

“T-the food is quite enjoyable…e-eat…I’m eating well…”

She quickly made an excuse and stuffed the bread in her mouth, as if she was afraid that he would snatch it away from her.
Of course, tears unknowingly rolled down her cheeks because she was petrified, her conscience was screaming internally.
The bread suddenly became oddly hard to swallow.

I’m afraid I’m going to have a stomachache.

A meal that seemed like heaven just a moment ago turned into hellish torture in a wink.

Altair sat there until she finished all the soup and bread.
Her stomach was bloated because she was stuffing food with discomfort.

I feel like vomiting.

She patted her chest with her hand and stole a glance at Altair.

Even after the tray of food had been emptied, he was still looking at her with fearful eyes and arms crossed.
The gaze of a hawk looking at its prey might be the best image to describe this tension.

She shuddered as she looked into Altair’s eyes, wondering with a constantly trembling heart whether she had offended him somehow.

I wish he could stop doing that this instant.

Altair showed no sign of moving.

She had a hunch that if she kept looking at those terrifying eyes, the blood pressure in her veins would make them burst before the food could be digested.

“Do you, umm, have something to say?”


She eventually mustered up the courage to ask Altair.

“If that’s not the case, I’m sorry, but you keep staring at me…”

Altair’s shoulders flinched at her question, his cheeks and the corner of his eyes slightly twitched.

She was certain that it was clearly something out of anger.

She jumped out of her seat, knelt back on the chair and shook her head.

“I-I’m terribly sorry! I asked a pointless question…”

Despite her sincere apology, there was no response from Altair.
Her shoulders shivered as the silence continued to flow.

“…for dinner.”

After a while, Altair parted his lips.

“Come down to eat.”

“Pardon?”

“They’ve all worked together to prepare a welcome dinner for you.”

Welcome dinner? Prepare? Who?

Questions endlessly popped up in her head.

“…I believe I have made myself clear.”

Perhaps the sight of her sitting absentmindedly was tasteless to see, Altair frowned and vanished with the tray.

Altair’s face was still as emotionless as a statue when he pulled the door open, but it was good that he disappeared from her sight anyway.

“I-I’ll come…”

She slid down from the chair and sat down on the floor, sighing in relief.

Thank God.

Altair Aylesford was a pretty scary guy, but he had the generosity to forgive her if she got down on her knees and apologised.

Fortunately, she had the cheap pride to get down on her knees to beg, so she did not think she would be decapitated any time soon.
It was not something to be proud of, in fact, it was quite lowly for a noblewoman to do so, but her life was more crucial than her dignity.

Still, if I kneel like this every time, my knees will be swollen.

She was already in trouble, rubbing her tingling knees.

Shall I make a knee protector?

While she was thinking about it, the door opened again.

Was Altair back?

She hastily got down on her knees again and raised her head towards the door direction with a servile posture.
And then her eyes met a woman who was tossing at her a questionable look.

“…”

“…”

A brief silence passed as they faced each other awkwardly.

The first to break the ice was the woman who came in without notifying beforehand.

“Uh…Madame…? What are you doing on the floor…?”

_____________________

Revelation

Blan

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