Chapter 67 - A Painful Question
Because Ethan was deeply apologetic and ashamed of himself, Ella lost the will to blame him for his wrongdoings. She let out a short sigh, softened her voice, and firmly said, “You can’t hide anything from me, especially when women are involved. Never do that again.”
“But I have to follow his highness’s orders…” Ethan mumbled.
“Will you hide things from me again?”
Ethan could’ve just nodded to her question. However, he couldn’t do that as he wasn’t the type to break a promise, which frustrated Ella. He could’ve done everything she had asked for, but if it was to go against Cladis’s orders, then it wasn’t easy to decide. His sister was important, but so was Cladis.
Ella frowned at her brother, who stubbornly refused to support her. She couldn’t accept being compared to Cladis by him, “If I must refuse my marriage to the prince, who will you side with?”
Astonished, Ethan cried, “Ella!”
He was so surprised when he heard Ella’s declaration after he had returned home. If it wasn’t for that, Ethan, unsure if he should talk to his sister about this, would’ve still held onto the gifts. He only prayed that his confession would subside her anger.
But contrary to his wish, Ella’s anger hadn’t subsided even a little bit. She was firm on her decision with no will to back down. Ethan was becoming desperate. He couldn’t betray his sister, whom he loved more than himself. But that didn’t mean he could betray Cladis.
‘If Ella leaves him, he truly will be alone. I can’t leave him… I’m sorry, Ella, but I can’t,’ thought Ethan. He shared everything with Cladis. His loneliness, sadness, and even his self-pity. Because of that, he knew the loss the prince would feel by losing his sister.
“I think I heard your answer, then. You value his highness over me.”
“Ella, it’s not like that! I…”
Ethan trailed as if he had much more to say, but he couldn’t continue. So, she glared at him. Although he was the closest and out of her three brothers, the most beloved to Luciella, to Ella, Ethan was only a man she had met twice. He was family, but his betrayal was stronger than her feelings for him as family. Ethan was different from Evan, who Ella had spent the past three months with. If he was going to stay by Cladis’s side until the very end, then she had to cut him out of her life before getting too close to him.
“I won’t change my mind, so it’s up to you to choose. You can either be my brother or be a loyal servant to his highness. I will wait until the end of the Week of Beginning,” Ella snapped.
“I won’t blame you for choosing his highness. I’ll be off then.”
Unable to answer his sister, Ethan couldn’t stop Ella from leaving the room. As she left, she heard a long sigh from behind her, but she didn’t look back. Although it was a difficult decision, she had to make it. She wasn’t going to stop, so her brother needed to decide.
As she returned to her bedroom, Ella was deep into her thoughts. She couldn’t believe that Cladis, the man described in the book as the one who only loved Luciella, had allowed another woman by his side only because he was pressured by his peers. Not only that, he had allowed the title of ‘first love’ to have another meaning.
‘Maybe he really dreams of true love, just like Ethan suggested.’
Becoming suspicious, Ella remembered that Cladis in the book had two more wives due to pressure from other nobles. In the end, those two wives did many stupid things that eventually led to their demise. Then, her expression became dark as she remembered, ‘I forgot that this world was different.’
In this world, polygamy was allowed. Given the opportunity, there was no way a man could be satisfied with one woman. A nobleman rarely had one marriage. Luciella understood that this was the way this world was, which was why she gladly accepted Cladis’s second and third wives. It was also because of her that Cladis had accepted the other marriages. Luciella, however, did pay his other wives back whenever they tried to turn their backs on her. Ella became depressed at the thought of that.
‘It wasn’t a life of a dream. It’s the road full of thorns the more I see it!’
What’s more depressing was that it was a norm that will follow her wherever she gets married. Besides, women from a duke’s family were only allowed to marry royals. Ella wanted to be an ordinary noble lady within the country, but it seemed it wouldn’t be easy given that Clara might do something. Maybe it was best to enter the Magical Tower. There were two Empresses at the Martin Empire, so the only remaining spot there was the third Empress. And the Toiken Empire was infamous for collecting concubines without having any Empress, which was the worst of the worst. Thinking about her bleak future made her feel even more depressed.
That’s when she heard a slap and felt the heat from a strike coming from behind her. It didn’t hurt too much, but it was enough to bring her back to reality. As Ella brushed those thoughts away, Maylin began her usual lectures, “My lady, I told you multiple times that you must not sigh! Instead, you should curse! What did Ethan do this time?”
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