The three day ball that would start from the evening of today, was to be held in the spacious hall of the Outer palace but the celebration party was to be held in the Inner Palace.
Their carriage arrived at the Royal Palace and slowed down as they entered into the Inner Palace. In the Inner Palace, carriages were restricted from moving over a certain speed.
Because of the slow speed, there was almost no shaking inside of the carriage. Hugo straightened up, leaned towards her, pressed against the wall of the carriage and began to kiss her. Since a while ago, he had been holding back what he wanted to do so he was irked.
At the sudden deep kiss, Lucia’s face immediately flushed crimson. When their lips separated, she looked into his eyes and saw they were filled with excitement. She noticed the pink smears on his lips and her face grew hot.
“Your lips are stained with makeup.”
Hugo rubbed his lips with his hand to check and saw that it was smeared with pink lipstick.
“If you wipe it with your hand, it will spread.”
Lucia pulled her handkerchief out from her purse and wiped his lips.
“Mine is spread too, isn’t it?” (Lucia)
“I’ll clean it for you.” (Hugo)
Lucia held out her handkerchief to him. Hugo didn’t even consider taking it and just kissed her again. He wove his tongue into her mouth, kissing her deeply then he followed it with a few light kisses on her lips. He watched her face grow bright red then he whispered to her with amusement:
“Your lips are all clean. What of mine?”
Lucia finally realized his meaning of ‘cleaning’ and hit his shoulder. While glaring at his smiling face, she wiped off the little traces on his lips with her handkerchief.
“It was perfectly placed makeup…” (Lucia)
“You don’t need it. In the future, don’t put it on your lips.”
“Just in case it stains you.”
“Then, don’t kiss me!”
“Why can’t I?”
When he sourly retorted, Lucia was speechless.
“The flower of makeup is the lipstick. It’s like the finishing touch.”
“Even without doing that, you’re pretty.”
He wanted to swallow her red and moist lips every time he saw them. He wanted to suck on her delicate lips, nibble them, and torment her soft tongue. He wanted to swallow her saliva and see her breathless with reddening eyes. Why did he have to hold it in? He had no intention of doing so nor did he want to.
Seeing his lips approaching again, Lucia blocked him with her hands. She looked at his unhappy expression and expressed her strong refusal.
“This is neither the time nor place. Please. We are on our way to an important event.”
Hugo obediently pulled back and leaned against the carriage. He didn’t know how an important event and a kiss were related but the fact that it was an important event was true. Not because it was the celebration of the King’s accession but because it was her debut stage.
The slowly moving carriage came to a stop. The door was opened from outside. Hugo rose and went out of the carriage first then he extended his hand back inside. Lucia took a deep breath then she rose as well. There was a fairly high gap between the carriage and the ground but there were simple stairs to ease that gap.
Lucia took his hand then carefully walked down the stairs and came down from the carriage.
“Are you nervous?”
“A little bit.”
Hugo kissed her fingertips.
“People with higher status than you can be counted on one hand. It is others that have to be nervous in front of you.”
Lucia smiled sweetly at him. Hugo returned her smile then he shifted his gaze and began to walk forward. Lucia stepped forward as well, looking ahead.
As soon as they entered the hall, Lucia felt dozens and hundreds of gazes fly towards her and stay on her. Unconsciously, she squeezed his hand tighter. His big hand gave her support. She was not alone. He was by her side. Her small anxiety disappeared. After a few moments of silence, the crowd stirred and gradually grew louder.
Lucia followed his lead, walking straight ahead and not looking at anything around. As she swiftly walked by, nothing was able to enter her eyes. When he stopped, Lucia also stopped. When he bent his back and lowered his head, Lucia also followed and curtsied.
“You may rise. I finally get to meet the famous Duchess.”
It was not until Lucia lifted her head that she realized who she was greeting. A man who was draped in formal attire and had a golden crown on his head.
He was the one who was enthroned today, the King of Xenon, Hesse the 9th. Lucia’s half-brother, Kwiz. Beside him was Beth who also doned the crown of the Queen.
“In private, you are this King’s sister. Isn’t that so?”
“I am beyond honored.” (Lucia)
The king who acted friendly and spoke to her was unfamiliar. Lucia’s half-brother in the dream had sent one documented order and married her off to the Count of Matin. Lucia had no grudge against the king. However, the not so innocent interest of the King was not welcome. The King’s point of interest was not in her as his sister but in her as the Duchess.
If this had been in the dream, Lucia would have probably been thrilled. After all, at this time in the dream, she was lonely and exhausted. However, in this lifetime, Lucia had a reliable husband at her side. She had no need to crave for her brother’s affection.
“You can call this King ‘older brother’.”
“How could I dare. Please withdraw your exorbitant request, Your Majesty.” (Lucia)
Her attitude, as she slightly lowered her waist with a smile and replied, was not humility for form’s sake. It was a firm and roundabout rejection.
Kwiz gazed at Lucia and gave a fake laugh. This couple was equally hard to deal with. They say that she lived quietly and invisibly inside a detached palace?
Kwiz had observed countless groups of people and from what his sharp eyes could tell, she was not a foolish princess. Her eyes were filled with intelligence. It was very rare for Kwiz to meet someone that he wanted to sit down and have a talk with. His sister that he met for the first time today gave him that exact feeling.
‘And here I thought that dead old man only left behind a son.’ (Kwiz)
Even when Kwiz was praising Lucia, he did not forget to give himself a pat on the back.
Hugo had sharply raised his guard but ended up having to swallow his laughter at her shrewd response. She was pretty, kind, clever, confident. Hugo had an endless line of rhetoric to decorate his wife.
Kwiz looked at the Duke of Taran who was watching his wife with a melting gaze and felt a tingling at the back of his head. He wanted to share his astonishment with someone. His eyes slightly met the Queen’s and she gave him a meaningful smile then she averted her gaze. The Queen already knew! For some reason, he felt vexed.
“This is Gong’s order, isn’t it?” (Kwiz)
“What might you mean?” (Hugo)
“Isn’t that why my sister is so cold to this King on our first meeting?”
“I mean, one should have done one’s role as an older brother.”
Lucia was a little surprised as she watched the two of them exchange casual words. The relationship between him and the King was much more open than she thought.
Beth laughed as she watched the Duchess look at her husband with pride in her eyes. Her deliriously happy expression as she watched her husband was cute and adorable. Beth felt like she could see why the Duke of Taran fell for the Duchess.
Curtsied: Raw says she bent her waist…which I take to mean curtsy.
This King: Kwiz does not refer to himself as ‘this king’. He uses an old fashioned title(짐) used by emperors in Goryeo and it refers to himself in third person therefore ‘this king’ is the closest thing to it.
Gong: (general description) A type of honorific. It is a title(공) given to a noble personage in a high position. It is usually a term of respect/honorific for a Duke. In this novel, it seems to apply to Marquis as well.
< — Meeting People — > (1)
Men gathered with men and women gathered with women. No one carelessly approached where the King and the Duke of Taran were discussing serious matters with foreign delegations.
Lucia was together with the Queen and other high-ranking noblewomen. She stood beside the Queen and other people stood around them. Presently, Lucia was almost at the same level as the Queen.
Lucia happened to be the only attending wife among the wives of the Duke and Marquis(Gong) Families that belonged to the royal party(1). The Duke of Ramis’ Duchess had already passed away, Marchioness Philip was absent due to mourning her mother-in-law and Marchioness DeKhan was absent for health reasons.
‘Marchioness DeKhan will soon pass away.’ (Lucia)
In her dream, Sofia married the bereaved Marquis of DeKhan. Lucia didn’t know who would become the wife of Marquis Dekhan in this lifetime.
As she replied appropriately to the women chattering around her, Lucia occasionally searched for her husband with her eyes.
That dashing man was her husband. Of all the people in the venue, he was by far the best. His imposing presence did not fade even when he was with the King. Even in her dream, his presence was obviously overwhelming.
As Lucia took continuous sips of her cocktail, her mood grew lighter. She couldn’t tell if it was because of tipsiness or because she was drunk on the atmosphere.
She laughed with the group at silly jokes, spoke at appropriate times and sometimes, glanced in his direction. The fun of peeking at him was quite interesting. A considerable amount of women kept glancing at him. She wanted to brag to them that he was her man.
On one hand, she was proud but on the other hand, she was annoyed. She wanted to say something childish like don’t look at him, he’ll wear out.
‘Ah. That woman has big breasts.’
The outfits of the capital’s noblewomen were definitely more daring than the northern noblewomen’s. A dress that outrightly revealed the cleavage was so common that people had become numb to it. It wasn’t even thought of as risque. One could often catch the sight of a beauty with thin waist and big breasts.
Lucia’s eyes kept going towards women’s chests. She acted like she wasn’t looking but she kept looking. All the women she saw in her dream had big breasts. And it was plain as day that Hugo liked busty women.
‘What do you have to eat to get it that big?’
Lucia wanted to ask. And she took a glance at her outfit. The dress itself was quite gorgeous, but the style was gentle. Even though the back was exposed, it couldn’t be seen from the front so it didn’t appear risque.
Lucia had no complaint about the dress. It suited her well. But she was a bit envious of the self-confident women who confidently showed off their body.
Lucia turned her head again and payed attention to the women’s conversation. Even if she wasn’t focused on them, she had to show that she was listening to a certain degree.
Hugo let the boring talks flow out through one ear and from time to time, he was monitoring her. As he watched her take in a few glasses of cocktail, he was worried that she would get drunk. And the moment she turned around, his face fell and his insides went up in flames.
‘What. Is That.’
Her immaculate back was clearly visible. Because all this time, he had been watching the front, he had been unable to look over the dress carefully. Who would have thought that the back would be like that? He was content with Antoine’s dresses because they were different from the usual dresses that revealed the cleavage. But he didn’t know that he would be stabbed in the back like this.
‘I’ll fire her.’
Hugo ground his teeth. The designer had to be changed. He had given so much money but did that woman actually cut out the back to save on material cost?!
Steam rose from his head. He wanted to shout for all the men in the hall to fix their eyes to the floor. He barely managed to regain his composure and called over a servant.
“Get me a shawl. One that can cover a noble lady’s shoulders.”
Although it was an unexpected request, the servant obeyed and ran off to look for a shawl that would cover a noble lady’s shoulders, from who knows where.
The cocktail was to Lucia’s taste. She picked up a new glass again.
The people around her suddenly exclaimed. Lucia began to turn her head and felt a soft shawl cover her shoulders. Then an arm reached out and took the glass of cocktail in her hand.
“I think you’ve drank enough, my wife.”
A little while ago, he was some distance away but at some point, he had gotten behind her. Lucia was taken aback and stared at him blankly. He took her empty hand and placed a glass of orange juice in it.
Lucia protested with her eyes. As though flaunting, he gulped down the cocktail he took from her in one swoop. As Lucia watched his moving Adam’s apple, the thought rose in her mind that she wanted to kiss him there and she was startled at her thought.
‘I must be drunk.’
Just like he said, she seemed to have really had too much to drink.
Lucia fiddled with the shawl. It was a blue shawl didn’t suit her pink dress at all.
“It seems cold so hold onto that.” (Hugo)
Today’s weather was closer to warm than cold. Lucia wanted to ask why but there were people around so she silently adjusted the shawl. Hugo stepped back to confirm that the half of her back was now covered and was pleased.
“Did you go looking for your wife because you couldn’t wait?”
Kwiz spoke cheerfully and approached them. Kwiz had been watching the Duke of Taran who couldn’t take his eyes off the Duchess. Even though Kwiz had witnessed it, he couldn’t believe it. A group of people came along, following Kwiz.
The women naturally went to their respective husbands and the group became a group of married couples. The people who wanted to be this group stood around them, forming a wider circle.
The men lost interest in theur current topic and the women who were engaging in small, nonsensical talk went quiet. The men began to discuss mostly about politics and foreign affairs. Lucia was not very interested in this kind of talk. They were talking about a distant country.
Lucia endured her boredom and glanced at him. He was not that involved in the conversation but somehow, when people wanted to hear his opinion and he opened his mouth, they all focused on him.
When someone in the group brought up a subject, there would be some debate on the subject. His wait-and-see manner had no intention of butting in, and the heat of the atmosphere only rose to the point where no deterrent was needed. Even so, it was quite dull to Lucia.
Maybe the alcohol was getting to her because she was getting a little hot. She wanted to take off the shawl so she tapped the back of his hand lightly. When his gaze moved to her, she gestured to take off the shawl. He frowned slightly and shook his head.
‘But it’s hot.’
Why couldn’t she take it off? She felt sullen but when she saw a busty woman pass by, her playfulness soared. She tapped the back of his hand again and gestured with her eyes that she wanted to say something.
He lowered himself and whispered in her ear.
Lucia brought her head to his ear and whispered to him.
“You like busty beauties, right?”
Hugo took a good look at her then spoke in her ear again.
“What are you talking about all of a sudden?”
“Men are all like that.”
“Don’t listen to those women who say nonsense all the time.”
Hugo thought she had heard something strange from the noblewomen.
‘Get rid of that confidence that I’m not one of the women speaking nonsense.’ (1)
Lucia pursed her lips slightly. Even though she didn’t enjoy gossiping, it was secretly quite fun. As long as it wasn’t slandering another, it was an enjoyable pastime when there was nothing to talk about and time would pass by without notice. When a noblewoman with the gift of eloquence laid it on the crowd and the laughing and chatting began, a few hours could easily pass by.
“I heard that all the women you have been with are busty beauties.”
Lucia hadn’t really heard that. There was no one around her with a liver big enough to drive a wedge between them. She had gotten information about his past women from Jerome and among those women, there was no one that particularly bothered her. Most of them were women who couldn’t even come close to her as the Duchess.
Lucia did not care about his real past women. Rather, his future lovers that she saw in her dream was more vivid in her memory so she cared more about them. It might be because she was envious of the beauty and confidence of the women that accompanied the Duke of Taran. Even the Duchess she saw in her dream was not a beauty, but her breasts were big.
Lucia was slightly intoxicated so her mood was a bit higher than usual. She got a little annoyed and was able to do something bold like teasing him.
His red eyes shook intensely. Lucia was rather surprised and widened her eyes. He was flustered. The man who seemed like he would be calm even if the sky collapsed was shaken. Lucia found it amazing and interesting. She pulled on his arm making him lower his body then she whispered in his ear again.
“Don’t tell me it’s really true?”
The sight of him stunned made her chuckle a little. And she could see a variety of complicated emotions whirling around in his eyes. It seemed like he was angry but he was showing bewilderment and disbelief which was rare and unusually precious.
‘Oh my goodness. How cute.’
The big man was adorable. He was showing this expression to her alone. Her heart was tickled and she couldn’t help but laugh.
Hugo’s eyes narrowed as he watched his fearless wife who dared to tease him. He lowered his head to her ear and gently bit her ear. She looked at him with surprise and her face gradually grew red-hot. Hugo was satisfied with her reaction and calmly lifted his head again.
‘T…T…This crazy–. He seriously…’
Lucia stared at his unconcerned shameless face with disbelief.
‘How could you do that here!’
Lucia turned away and swallowed her scream.
The people around had very strange expression and alternated glances between the ducal couple. It was rare for the nobility who strove for expression control to reveal explicit emotions in a public venue. But they were all showing very excited expressions. Lucia did not think beforehand that her act of exchanging whispers with him would attract people’s attention. She had been slightly excited because of the alcohol.
Lucia was embarrassed and her face felt like it was on fire. She had to first escape from here. Lucia tried to get away quickly but his hand was faster as he caught her waist and pulled her in.
“Where are you going, my wife?”
He placed his lips close to her ears and spoke huskily. Lucia struggled to get out of his arms.
“It is rude to ask that of a lady. Please let me go.”
The corner of his lips raised in a smile.
‘No! Don’t do it!’
For some reason, Lucia felt a bad foreboding and cried out inwardly but his lips had already descended on her lips and pulled away. There were gasps from here and there, something could be heard falling to the ground and the sound of something cracking in succession could be heard.
Lucia didn’t have the courage to look around and as soon as he loosened his hold on her waist, she rooted her eyes to the floor and ran away. Truly, it was apparent to any who saw that she was running away.
I wanted to translate this as: “How are you confident that I’m not one of the women speaking nonsense?” but I felt like that was slightly pushing it. But this should help explain the sentence better if you didn’t understand it.
Belonged to the royal party: Royalists basically. These families support the crown aka Kwiz. These people have been mentioned briefly in Chapter 58[part 1].
Marchioness: This should be quite obvious but the wife of a Marquis is a Marchioness.
Title ranking so far: Duke > Marquis > Count > Baron. Therefore: Duchess > Marchioness > Countess > Baroness.