Chapter 0 - Prologue
Act 0: Someone Like You
‘To think that I was born to live such a pathetic and trivial life as this,’ Amber thought in her last moments, unable to make sense of it all. As her life faded away, she couldn’t help but reflect on what had brought her to this point.
*A cold, uncaring husband, and unreasonable mother-in-law, and a wrongful death — could your life get any worse? What if you were given a chance to change things? When Amber is sent ten years back in time at the moment of her execution, she finds herself face to face with the younger version of her husband, but something’s different about him… He’s completely at her beck and call! Will she be able to prevent the past from repeating itself, or will her life spiral into misery once again? Operation: Leveling Up My Husband to the Max begins now!
At twenty years old, Amber married a man she had never met by signing some documents. The man she was marrying was the Duke of the desolate East, Kalix Thales.
The emperor had pushed for the union because he wanted to keep Amber’s father, Viscount Liart, in check. Having lost political power, Viscount Liart had no choice but to obey the emperor and send Amber to the East.
After two months’ journey by carriage through the bleak lands of the East, Amber reached her destination. The day she arrived, she tried to complete the marriage ceremony by spending her first night with the duke.
The idea of being intimate with a total stranger made her deathly afraid. She had sat inside the bridal room, trembling from head to foot as she waited for him. However, the evening had turned into a night that had stretched on and on, and even in the deepest part of it, her husband did not come to her.
“You say… he left the castle?” It was only the next morning that Amber heard the news that he had left her to battle with monsters.
The East was plagued by monster attacks. They would destroy crops and harass the people, making them worse off every year.
Amber thought that her husband would return once the monster subjugation was over.
She was wrong.
Once the number of monsters had been lessened, the duke immediately went to war against the neighboring country.
“Rumor is that the emperor is so afraid of the duke’s military power that he keeps ordering the duke all over the country for different wars.” Jenia, as the only person in the Eastern lands that pitied Amber, hinted about what was happening. If it wasn’t for Jenia, Amber might have ended up never knowing the reason behind why her husband is constantly sent to battlefields.
“Since the duke has gone out to battle, it will be difficult to endure the winter without any problems,” Jenia told Amber while the two knitted winter clothes for the soldiers. After all, there was no way for a leaderless land to run well.
“While more and more citizens starve to death within the walls…” Jenia continued sadly.
Amber knew well by that point that things were worse for the Eastern land than she had previously thought.
“Your dowry was all used up to manage the territories,” her mother-in-law, who was managing the duke’s finances while he was away, informed Amber one day.
Even though her dowry had been taken from her, Amber could do nothing but silently nod. After all, there was no reason for her to complain about her dowry being used for the land. However, she still wished that her mother-in-law would have asked her first. Despite marrying Duke Thales and becoming the duchess, she still couldn’t escape feeling like she was an outsider.
Even while Amber’s dowry was being used up managing the land, her husband still didn’t return. The war with the neighboring country had gone longer than expected.
After seeing two winters pass by in this place, Amber thought that there wasn’t anything she could do even if her husband were to have died on the battlefield. The war was just that long and unbelievably cruel.
The emperor’s orders to the Duke of Thales had been clear, however: Make sure to annex the Kingdom of Kale. Don’t come back until you receive their signed surrender.
“They say that Kale is located in such impassable terrain that it is called a fortress gifted by the gods,” a teary-eyed Jenia told Amber after the maid overheard rumors from knights left behind in the castle, “On top of that, there is a granary within the Kale Kingdom’s walls, so it will be impossible for us to win the war.”
The troops that had been mobilized to conquer the Kale Kingdom consisted only of the mercenaries that the duke enlisted with some meager funds and his own soldiers. They were inferior in number and the situation in the East was poor so it was impossible for a stable supply. No one in the nation thought that Duke Thales would be able to come back alive.
However, he did, and he achieved a major victory on top of that.
It was the year Amber turned twenty-two.
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