Home Post 1231-chapter-23


It was a time of coexistence and confrontation. I found myself at odds with Edmund, who resolutely stepped into a bookstore.

“Pick something that suits your level.”

Before us lay titles like “Our Baby’s First Letters,” “Learning Simple Words,” and “Starting Ravistel: Level 1” — an array of charming books for young children scattered everywhere. Looking at them, I truly felt like an idiot.

“Hmm, this book might be a bit challenging for a beginner.”

While I hesitated, Edmund browsed the shelves actively. A young woman, presumably an employee, approached us.

“Aren’t you the Duke and Duchess Randolph? May I help you find something?”

“Ah… we’re just looking around.”

My awkward reply was born of embarrassment, but Edmund was brimming with eagerness. He didn’t even look up from his book to see who I was talking to.

“It seems you have young children among your staff. You’re looking at books suitable for them. Is someone learning to read?”

At her question, my face flushed with embarrassment, feeling as if my deepest insecurities had been exposed.

“Ha, yes… well.”

I laughed awkwardly, trying to end the conversation, when my husband’s voice rang out.

“We’re looking for something to send to a relative living far away. Do you have anything suitable? These seem a bit complex.”

“How old is the child?” asked the employee.

Edmund’s gaze, intense and red, snapped to me.


As he spoke, one corner of Edmund’s mouth turned up in a sly smile, making my heart race with the fear that he might reveal ‘who’ the learner was.

“Roughly… five years old?”

At his response, my heart sank, and I sighed in relief, unnoticed. Despite everything, I didn’t want to be treated like a fool who couldn’t even recognize a single letter.

After all, I had pursued an excellent course of study at a national university, albeit a provincial one. My extraordinary intellect and remarkable abilities could not — and would not — be defeated by a mere language barrier!

“Um, that’s a perfect age to start learning. These books are a bit advanced, but the ones on the right are easier and more accurate.”

Contrary to my concerns, the employee recommended a few books and left. My sharp glance immediately found Edmund.

“I told you to buy them secretly.”

“Any normal person wouldn’t think these books are for you.”

“Still, it bothers me. Since we’re here, let’s look around a bit more…!”

“I’ll come with you.”

“Oh goodness!”

I started and turned around at the sudden feeling of warmth on my hand.

Seeing my discomfort, Edmund couldn’t hide his irritation.

‘Is she offended? By me?’

Chloen’s standoffish attitude ignited a fiery passion within his heart.

It was indeed summer.

* * *

The carriage ride back was as dark as night itself. Throughout the journey back to the manor, both occupants sat in silence.

With a low sigh, Edmund looked across at Chloen. She was immersed in reading, even humming to herself.

The “Plant Encyclopedia” they had just purchased seemed fascinating, largely because it was filled with pictures and easily understandable. Its utility was indeed 100%.

‘Even though she can’t read.’

Pretending not to look, Edmund followed Chloen’s movements closely. Just as her delicate white hand tirelessly flipped through the pages, a fleeting memory crossed his mind, making him grimace. His red eyes slowly shifted down to his own hand.

“I’ll come with you.”

It was the moment he had caught Chloen as she was about to leave, startled by the unexpected touch himself.

“What a shock! How can you just grab my hand like that? You’re always saying ‘no contact’ and to keep our distance, but why are you acting so differently now? They say sudden changes can be deadly…”

Chloen jerked her hand away as if it had been burned, making him feel both embarrassed and awkward about her reaction.

If asked why he had grabbed her hand, he wouldn’t have been able to answer. It was an automatic reflex and not something he had consciously thought about.

But what puzzled him the most was the feeling of disappointment and emptiness that filled him at that moment.

‘I must be going mad.’

The wife who once flirted and tried to make any contact with him was no longer there. She seemed to have lost interest, not sparing him a single glance on the way back to the mansion.

Her eyes were only for the thick “Plant Encyclopedia” she held in her hands, making him feel as neglected as cold leftover rice. Edmund growled low, clenching his fist.

‘Has her memory really returned? If not, what caused her to change her stance so suddenly? There must be a reason behind this sudden shift.’

His mind was a whirlwind of thoughts. He didn’t know why he was so fixated on this small woman, but he knew they needed to resolve this issue.

The tension between them was unbearable, and he felt like he might explode if it continued.

* * *

“I’ll go in first. Thank you for today.”

Her tone was even, void of the lively chatter and laughter that usually accompanied them. Chloen turned away without a smile.

Watching his wife, Edmund felt an inexplicable anxiety. After some hesitation, he called out to her retreating figure.


At his call, Chloen turned around without a word.

“Do you have something to say to me?”

“About the reading lessons. Ten o’clock every morning. How about doing it in my office?”

“It’s really fine. Like I said earlier, I have books, and I’ll try to learn by myself slowly. I’ll ask you if I really can’t figure it out, so don’t worry too much.”

Chloen replied with a reassuring smile, concluding the conversation. Edmund’s expression hardened noticeably.

“Then, if that’s all…”

As she turned around with a terse smile, she suddenly felt an intense pain in her back and a shiver down to her toes.

A scream escaped her parted lips as she lost her balance, her legs pitifully shaking.


She thought she heard Sasha’s voice calling her, but it must have been her imagination.

I’m done for…

Just as she resigned herself to her fate, opening her arms, she was caught in a strong embrace, like a scene from a tango.


It happened in an instant. Edmund’s surprised face came into view, his large hands firmly holding her back.

“It’s okay, I’m okay!”

Startled, Chloen’s eyes widened as she clumsily steadied herself. After a moment of struggling, her slender body finally stood tall.

A relieved sigh escaped her lips, grateful not to have embarrassed herself. Meanwhile, Edmund seemed fed up.

After what felt like an eternity, Edmund’s tightly pressed lips finally parted.

“Do you now find it so horrible to even touch me?”


Taken aback by his unexpected question, she tilted her head in confusion.

“You used to try everything just to touch me, and now you’re asking as if you’ve lost interest?”

Her face puckered in frustration at his complaint.

“Am I supposed to react? You get mad if I come close, and you get mad if I stay away. What do you expect me to do? Even pancakes aren’t flipped this much!”

Feeling wronged, her eyes reddened, and she sniffled occasionally.

“You were the one who set the boundaries! I’m trying to respect your wishes by not touching you, so why am I the one getting blamed? Do you think I’m some sort of punching bag? It’s always my fault…”

Chloen’s voice faded as she glared at Edmund. She then burst out, unable to hold back any longer.

“I’m trying here! I want to make a good impression on you, to get along, but why do you always have to see me in a bad light?”

“No, that’s not what I meant…”

A hint of confusion flashed across Edmund’s eyes, betraying that even he, who was as strong as a fortress, was vulnerable to tears.

“Let’s just stop. I want to go inside.”

Chloen spoke in a deflated tone.

“Wait a moment.”

Just as she started to walk away, Edmund hesitated before firmly grabbing her hand.