“Is there any way…?”
Momentarily confused, Eve quickly came to a conclusion. This man must feel as uncomfortable and repulsed by her as she was by him.
“It is as I suspected. All of his previous actions were nothing but lies.”
Still, it was quite unbelievable that he would reveal himself to this extent. It was truly unexpected.
“Could his mind have deteriorated further?”
Even so, Charles, who had unintentionally made a fool of himself, soon released Eve. Fortunately, her tears had stopped.
Then he chuckled, as if in self-derision. He was confused by his own actions of surprise at Eve’s tears and hugging her and trying to comfort her. He had never done such a thing before.
What was even more absurd was that Eve was relieved that her tears had stopped.
“Eve, you’re really weird.”
Charles inadvertently whispered in his usual tone, and Eve muttered to herself that he was even stranger. His actions of hugging and awkwardly trying to comfort her were completely out of character for him.
Has his intelligence diminished further?
Still, Charles seemed to think that it was enough, so he gently let go of Eve. In relief that her tears had stopped, Eve looked at him strangely.
‘This is not like you at all… Why are you acting like this?’
Whether he understood Eve’s inner thoughts or not, Charles just smiled happily with a relaxed expression on his face.
* * *
“Um, wouldn’t it be better not to?”
Emma broached the subject very carefully while dressing Eve. Eve had been thinking and raised her head. She was not impressed with the dress she was wearing. ‘This dress isn’t very flattering,’ she thought.
“Better not?” Eve’s face turned pale at the mention of ‘better not to.’
“Um, Your Grace.”
At the mention of ‘Your Grace,’ Eve’s expression became even more anxious. She asked urgently, “Do you have any suspicions about this? Why does he have so many wives?”
Until a moment ago, Eve had been complaining to Emma about Arsen’s strange behavior, avoiding women of his taste and behaving awkwardly around her. It was too strange.
Emma had been with her since childhood, like a childhood friend, and Eve relied on her a lot. She could even say that the reason she was able to endure her previous painful life was because of Emma. Therefore, Eve naturally paid close attention to what Emma said.
After hesitating for a moment, Emma continued, “Well, it’s a really rude thing to say, but… maybe, um, as a man, he might be… experiencing a decline in… his virility…”
Eve coughed and choked at Emma’s suggestion.
Her face turned beet red as she coughed, and Emma blushed at her own brazenness. The two young ladies, now resembling red radishes, looked at each other.
“Emma, do you really think so?”
“Well, it’s just a guess, but… if you think of it as some kind of disease, it might explain his behavior so far.”
“Yes, it’s true. A man who is obsessed with women suddenly pretends not to recognize them. It wouldn’t make sense unless it was an illness.”
“Of course, we have no proof, Madam!”
“Hmm… No, that seems like a plausible explanation.”
Eve nodded thoughtfully. Arsen’s strange behavior of avoiding women with his tastes and acting awkwardly around them was indeed inexplicable. But if the problem was with him, perhaps his pride prevented him from acknowledging it, leading to his avoidance of women.
“But what if it’s a problem on his end? If he realizes that I know, things could get complicated. For now, let’s call a doctor under the pretense of my illness, Emma.”
“Are you sure about this? You have the tea party to attend soon.”
“It’s okay; I’ll still go to the tea party. I must go, of course.”
Ten days prior to her return, Eve had suffered great embarrassment at a tea party hosted by a prominent couple. Arsen hadn’t shown up, and the guests had openly shamed her for attending alone.
Especially the Marquise de Dubois, who had once secretly loved Arsen, and the mistress of Viscount Alain, who had feuded with the Fontaine family. They had led the charge to humiliate Eve.
But the Eve of today was different from the one back then. She knew exactly what would happen that day.
Although she wasn’t planning any elaborate revenge, just seeing the distorted expressions on their faces would be enough to satisfy her.
“I should change my dress. Shall we go to Mademoiselle Veronique’s boutique, Emma?”
“Yes, Madam! I think it’s a great idea!”
Eve laughed happily, looking forward to what was to come as she discarded the unsuitable dress.
* * *
“Come on, Arsen, try it.”
Charles looked at the bowl in front of him with a puzzled expression. It was a dish of silver cod, and despite his usually peculiar eating habits, this was… impossible to eat.
Charles hesitated, and Eve urged him on.
“Well, it’s good for you. It’s made from the essence of the essence, boiled for half a day. Especially the tail, you must eat the tail. It contains all the power.”
“Come on, it’s good for you.”
With some hesitation, Charles finally took a small bite of the dish.
“Although I enjoy eel dishes, this… How in the world was this prepared?”
“It’s made for your good… I’m sure of it. It will help you recover.”
The eel that had been cooked for hours looked unappetizing, with a mushy texture, a strange color, and a pungent smell. It was far from appetizing, but finally, under Eve’s persistent gaze, Charles reluctantly cut off a small piece and tasted it.
“It’s… It’s good.”
“Yes. I think it tastes better, considering you made it for me.”
Eve felt a little uncomfortable with this excessive praise. She wondered if she should be pleased or worried that Arsen was so easily persuaded by her.
But Eve didn’t care as long as he ate it. She hoped this dish would help him regain his lost vitality.
But then she unexpectedly dropped a distressing statement.
“Well, from now on, you should eat this three times a day.”
Charles couldn’t help but be horrified by her suggestion. Although he was open-minded when it came to food, it was impossible to consume something like this on a regular basis. He couldn’t help but suspect that Eve was trying to poison him.
However, he realized that he had to react calmly to the situation.
“I think this might be too much for you. How about we compromise and you eat it once a day?”
“But if I don’t take it for you all day, you’ll be upset and call me a bad husband.”
Inwardly, Charles sighed, thinking he would never understand her intentions. Still, he kept a calm smile on his face.
“All right, I understand. I’ll eat it as you wish.”
“Thank you, Arsen.”
Charles smiled warmly. Inside, he couldn’t help but wonder if Eve was up to something, but he didn’t want to jump to conclusions.
Changing the subject, Eve mentioned the Prime Minister’s upcoming tea party.
“Oh, by the way, there’s a tea party coming up, hosted by the Prime Minister.”
“Ahh, that guy is hosting such an event, huh?”
Arsen had never mentioned meeting the Prime Minister, so Eve found his comment unusual. She raised an inquisitive eyebrow, but Charles just smiled mysteriously.
“I’m aware of that. He was quite interested in such things, you know?”
Eve couldn’t help but be suspicious. Why did he know so much about the affairs of the royal family?
“Anyway, we need to go together. Will you be able to accompany me?”
“Actually, I should be the one to invite you. Will you join me, my dear?”
Charles’ casual attitude took Eve by surprise. At first she was afraid that he might suspect something or that she was plotting against him. Still, his calm demeanor made her feel uneasy.
Eve was about to respond when Charles added, “Besides, it’s good for a husband to show off his wife, isn’t it?”
His remark left Eve in a state of disbelief, and she couldn’t help but think, ‘What a strange man.’
On the day of the tea party, Arsen had used an excuse of not feeling well to skip the event. He had informed Eve of his condition the same day she went to the Prime Minister’s mansion.
She had waited for him, foolishly expecting him to arrive, but when she heard his excuse, she felt a mixture of disappointment and frustration.
You are a fool, Eve.
Eve, the once foolish and pitiful woman, died after consuming poison. This time she would not wait for him to return or hide the truth.
“All right, if he doesn’t come, I’ll go first.”
Eve spoke coldly and rose from her seat. Charles watched her leave and waited until she was completely out of sight before picking up his fork and knife.
“She really is something. I should try her cooking later.”
He chuckled at the thought as he cleaned his plate.
* * *
“Madam, you look absolutely stunning!”
Emma exclaimed in admiration as she looked at Eve dressed in a red gown. Eve smiled graciously in response.
“Thank you, Emma. It seems Veronique’s touch is making a difference.”
“Is it just Veronique’s skill, or is it because Madam is naturally beautiful?”
Eve smiled at Emma’s compliment. Today, she had elegantly arranged her shimmering silver hair and added to her allure with a blue topaz necklace and earrings that matched her sea blue eyes.
Of course, the jewels and the dress were high-end. Unlike the previous tea party, where she had opted for cheaper accessories to save the Duke’s money, this time she had spent quite a bit. It was still a fraction of what she earned from her work and far less than Arsen spent on his extravagant “hobbies,” but it was worth it.
Even though she had only spent that much, it still weighed on her mind. Arsen, on the other hand, did nothing but accumulate wealth. She couldn’t help but marvel at the audacity of a woman who wasn’t appreciated by her husband.
This time, Eve had invested in a custom-made dress and exquisite jewelry, spending a significant portion of the Duke’s money. It was a stark contrast to her previous frugality.
“Well, shall we leave?”
“What? It’s still early, and His Grace hasn’t finished his preparations yet…”
“His preparations will never be finished. Let’s go.”