“Did this happen because you were surprised by that?”
Elysia hadn’t expected this situation. While she had just dropped a teacup out of surprise, she never expected it to result in her bleeding.
“Wife should’ve been careful because you are afraid of blood.”
She resented him for turning away without answering the question about Edward, but still, did she ever tell him she was afraid of blood? She couldn’t remember.
It wasn’t relevant at the moment.
“Damon, just answer the question first.”
“Well… Technically, I didn’t do it.”
As he responded, running his hand through his hair in frustration, Elysia’s anxiety resurfaced at his manner. If he didn’t do it, then who did?
The Countess? The Emperor? The Empress? Or someone else entirely? Even if she tried to narrow it down, there are too many possible culprits. She should have paid more attention to Edward from the start. She relied on others due to her busyness and did nothing.
“There’s no way I wouldn’t be worried!”
“Elysia, Brother is not a frail person who needs to be protected as you think.”
Edward wasn’t a frail person? As far as she knew, people as powerless as him were not common. He had even taken medicine offered by the Countess, knowing it would harm his health… yet Edward was not frail?
“That’s… because Your Grace doesn’t know the truth… Edward.
“Brother Edward left for Logan Empire on his own accord.”
Elysia was astonished by the statement that Edward had left for Logan Empire on his own. She couldn’t believe that he would leave for Logan Empire since Edward had never been able to leave the empire.
He had always been too weak, both in terms of money and physical strength.
“It doesn’t make sense. Brother doesn’t have the money or the strength to leave for Logan Empire.”
It was impossible.
If he had the means to leave, he would have done so a long time ago. Edward had always been apologetic for his lack of strength.
“Do you really think he has no power?”
“He had the means to leave, but he chose not to. Now, he no longer has anything to lose, so he decided to take action.”
She understood what that meant. It meant that she was no longer of concern to him and that Edward was now free.
“Did you really think he was powerless and just suffering?”
However, based on their circumstances, both she and Edward had been persecuted within the County, so naturally, she had thought he was powerless.
“He doesn’t need someone’s protection, contrary to what the wife believes. In fact, he even seems grateful that I’m no longer interfering.”
“So… where did Brother go?”
Elysia had thought that Edward went away to recuperate, as she believed he was physically weak and easily exhausted. She knew Edward as someone with poor health and no physical strength. After all, he had always been oppressed by the Countess and the Count, so she assumed that she should protect him now.
“I only confirmed that he’s on his way to the Capital. I offered him a place to stay in the Grand Duke’s castle, but he declined.”
So, he was returning to the County.
She wondered whether it would be safer to stay in the Logan Empire rather than return to the Capital if he wasn’t going to accept Damon’s help.
“Don’t worry. There will always be people around him.”
“He said he would come and see you as soon as the preparations are done. He apologized for not sending a letter.”
So, there was a reason he hadn’t been able to send the letter. Elysia breathed a sigh of relief and wiped her chest.
“Why didn’t you tell me in advance? You have no idea how surprised I was…”
“I’m sorry. I also found out late. I was too careless yesterday.”
It was true that Damon was busy with the foundation party and the construction. In addition, there were moments when she avoided him. Regardless of how much she was worried, nothing would change.
“Don’t worry about it if it’s related to Brother’s matter.”
Elysia nodded gently. After all, her worrying wouldn’t change anything at this point.
“The real issue is the wife.”
“If I hadn’t arrived in time, what would have happened… You couldn’t even breathe properly.”
His voice seemed to reprimand her, and Elysia felt a sudden shock.
He was right. If Damon hadn’t shown up on time, she would have been in danger. At the very least, she might have fainted. Nonetheless, this wasn’t something she could just overcome easily. It was like a trauma.
“That’s an unavoidable situation…”
“There are no unavoidable situations.”
She was baffled by his unreasonable behavior. This couldn’t be solved by throwing a tantrum.
“No matter what, wife should always prioritize her own safety, even in so-called unavoidable situations.”
“But earlier, it was a genuine mistake.”
“Mistakes can’t happen either. That mistake almost made me lose Elysia.”
Even though she knew this was unreasonable, she still felt the urge to give in to this unreasonableness.
“You are my one and only existence. I can’t do without Elysia.”
Although she knew that she couldn’t be the only one for him, she couldn’t help but believe him. She wasn’t the kind of person who could win against him because he was liked by everyone, whether they were allies or enemies.
“So I can do anything.”
Elysia didn’t resist when he held her in his arms and hugged her waist. She even caressed his hair.
“Don’t leave me, willingly or unwillingly.”
Could she really leave this man? She had come to a realization.
…He knew she wanted to leave.
“As long as you stay by my side, I can do anything.”
She knew that these words were lies. Damon was pretending he would do anything for her, but in reality, he wouldn’t give her what she truly wanted.
Lying to him became increasingly difficult. Even though she had initially thought it would be easy to pretend not to leave, as time passed, it became harder to speak and suppress her feelings.
“I’ll bring Brother to the wife by tomorrow.”
“No, it’s okay.”
She understood the implications behind the words that he would bring Edward in front of her. Regardless of whether he was ready or not, Edward would forcibly bring him in tomorrow. If he did that, it might alleviate her anxiety for now, but it wouldn’t serve Edward’s true intentions.
If he had indeed left Logan Empire, there must have been a reason.
“Please bring him when he’s ready. Just let him know that I want to see him a lot.”
After she said that, Damon’s expression seemed to have subtly changed. Was it just her imagination?
* * *
So, the incident seemed to be resolved for now.
She was busy with not only the Empress’s tea party but also preparing for a party at the Grand Duchy. It seemed best to host their party immediately after the Imperial party. They had about a week to prepare.
“How should we prepare the guest list?”
“The guest list… could we work on that later?”
“Of course. You’re planning to host the party in the garden first, right?”
Fortunately, the garden had been beautifully renovated, and they could proudly show it off to anyone.
“At first, we’ll have a small garden party, and later, it would be good to host one in the ballroom.”
She had been in meetings with Julia and Sebastian since the morning. Originally, they should have started yesterday, though Damon had made sure she couldn’t do anything. Even explaining that it wasn’t a physical illness but more of a trauma didn’t work.
“Finally, a party is held at the Grand Duchy.”
Surprisingly, this would be the first party held at the Grand Duchy. They hadn’t even invited anyone before Estelle arrived.
“Have there been no parties here in the past?”
“When you say ‘in the past,’ are you referring to the first Grand Duke?”
“We don’t know about that… but the previous Grand Duke never hosted a party.”
Well, the previous Grand Duke didn’t have a wife, so there might have been no one to organize such gatherings.
“I should ask the gardeners to do more maintenance. Is there anything else you’d like to change, Madam?”
“No, nothing. I just hope the table settings and food preparation will go well on that day.”
While she had never hosted a party herself, she had assisted in organizing parties at the County. They were not as grand as this one, of course.
“Your Grace, have you ever hosted a party?”
“Hmm… I’ve assisted them, but more like a servant.”
Since there was no need to hide it from Sebastian and Julia, she gave an honest answer. She had memories of working tirelessly like a servant. What mattered most now was the guest list, so she wasn’t too worried about the rest.
She was sitting at a table, discussing the condition of the garden, when she heard a familiar voice from behind.
“It’s been a while.”