Chapter 42 - The Fall Into Despair
Elena’s lips, or rather her whole body, trembled. Her hands, which grasped onto the reins, as well as her heart shook painfully. Gareth was not joking about this matter, and the harsh reality made her body ache.
“For me?” Elena repeated back to confirm what he just said, and Gareth nodded indifferently, as if he found her bothersome. Still having pride in her family’s name, Elena managed to hold her head high and asked, “You’re not joking around, are you? Did you plan to do this from the beginning? Did you have no intention of getting married in the first place?”
Gareth could sense that Elena was becoming teary, but only stared at her, then gave a cold smirk.
“Why are you doing this? Is it because you’re a mercenary?” Elena asked again.
“I’ll say that’s the reason,” Gareth replied.
Without realizing it, Elena let out a snort. Gareth frowned at the unexpected response. Elena rubbed her chest with one hand. Her heart had become stuffy in an instant. She had never felt this way before—the feeling of betrayal. She had already spent her first night with Gareth and had let him hold her in his arms until now. She already belonged to him; it was as if she had already been marked with a branding iron. Still, he wasn’t willing to call her his wife…
“What are you going to do if I go back home?” Elena forcefully straightened her back and challenged.
“Then the contract is over. You won’t be able to go to the nunnery, and the count won’t accept you again, anyway. Do you really think there will be a place for you back there?” Gareth shot back immediately.
Elena became speechless at his response. ‘There’s nowhere for me to go…’ She knew her father wouldn’t accept her if she went back, and the Townsend estate was going to suffer from Logan’s threats once again. She could have at least spent the rest of her life at a nunnery if she hadn’t spent her first night with Gareth, but even that was no longer an option.
“Don’t you think it would be better here?” Gareth asked gruffly, then reached out to grab the reins to Elena’s horse once again and led her forward. “I don’t think there will be a problem as long as you continue what you have been doing so far. That includes the duties in the castle and in the bedroom.”
Elena pressed her lips into a tight line and remained silent. The color had drained from her face and her hands were still shaking slightly. She couldn’t think of anything, since her mind had turned blank. She had never considered that they wouldn’t be blessed by God. She felt sick to her stomach once she realized that her child might be an illegitimate one.
“Do you understand?” Gareth asked. When Elena didn’t answer, he barked loudly, his voice piercing her like a sharp spear. “Elena, answer me!”
Instead of answering, she narrowed her eyes at the scenery in front of her. A scarlet red suddenly came into her view. Elena squinted her eyes to figure out what it was and saw that it was someone’s red hair flying in the wind that had caught her eye. She could tell at a glance that the woman possessed outstanding beauty.
Elena wasn’t the only one who saw her. Gareth’s eyes also narrowed when he caught sight of the woman. “Lydia?” he asked.
Elena was taken aback by the name that naturally flowed out of Gareth’s mouth. She focused her eyes back on the woman who was now running towards them. Gareth’s men began to talk amongst themselves as well.
“Gareth!” the woman called out with a terribly charming voice. Elena’s stare hardened as Lydia approached them. Gareth effortlessly dismounted his horse then wrapped his hands around her waist to help Elena down.
Elena unwittingly shook Gareth’s hands off as her eyes focused on Lydia, causing Gareth to forcibly grab her by the waist to get her off the horse. As soon as Elena was on the ground, the woman named Lydia brushed past her and threw her arms around Gareth’s neck.
“I’ve been waiting for you, Gareth,” Lydia said as she hugged him without hesitation.
Elena continued to stare at Lydia with a hardened expression. Gareth reached out and pushed Lydia away, seeming a little flustered. He then glanced towards Elena who was now as pale as a ghost. She was staring at him with vacant eyes and trembling lips as if she was about to cry.
“Why are you here?” Gareth interrogated.
“I’m here to become your wife,” Lydia whispered in a confident and captivating voice, seeming not even a bit bothered by Elena’s presence.
“What?” Gareth asked with a disbelieving voice. Elena’s lips began to tremble more harshly.
“It’s an obvious thing to do, when your child is growing inside me,” Lydia replied.
Elena’s face turned gray at that instant. Her eyes automatically scanned Lydia’s body, starting from her attractive face, thin neck, seemingly voluptuous breasts, then her abdomen…
“I have a lot to discuss with you, Gareth. Let’s get back to the castle quickly,” Lydia urged.
Gareth forcefully pushed away Lydia who was hanging on to his arm. Lydia smiled as if she knew he was going to do so, then moved her eyes to the pale Elena.
“Oh, I see that this is your beautiful trophy. Hello, I’m Lydia, the king’s sister,” she greeted.
Elena stared at Lydia, who was proudly introducing herself. ‘The king’s younger sister…’
“What a convenience. I won’t be able to quench Gareth’s desires, so I’ll leave it up to you for a while.” With her captivating lips, Lydia tore up Elena’s heart in an instant.
Elena couldn’t even start to think about how to respond. Gareth had already told her there wouldn’t be a wedding nor children. ‘That means I am… I am just…’
At that moment, Gareth grabbed Elena’s arm that had hardened like stone and spat out, “Stop talking nonsense, Lydia.”
“How could I, Gareth? I know you so well. Well, it’s natural that you don’t believe me, but you’ll know better than anyone else when the child is born, and you see who she looks like.”
Elena couldn’t move. It was as if she was in a terrible nightmare. When Gareth dragged her by the arms, she staggered as if she were going to fall. Gareth then bent over and lifted Elena into his arms. He paused for a moment when he felt her body shaking. He could feel her heart beating unsteadily through her back.
‘Why now…’ Gareth made his way into the hall alone to find Madel and her children waiting for him.