Chapter 22 - Cancelled
“What happened here?” At the sight of Jenia collapsed on the ground with Amber’s arms around her, he looked back and forth between the two of them and the Bella hanging onto him.
“It isn’t a big deal,” Bella quickly moved to block his vision of Jenia. “It was simply a small argument with the new girl over her dowry. It seems that I am simply not good enough for that child.”
Amber resigned herself to hearing those infuriating words again in response to the current situation.
But Amber’s assumption was off. By quite a bit.
“A dowry issue?”
“Hmm?” Bella widened her eyes.
Instead of just telling the two to take care of the problem themselves, he surprised Bella with his questioning.
“What is that about?” Kalix asked once again.
Feeling that the situation wasn’t going as she planned, Bella couldn’t easily open her mouth.
“Look here.” In the end, Kalix reached the end of his patience and called for Grace who was standing behind Bella.
“Inform me of what happened here. Without a single detail spared.”
“W-Well…” Grace mumbled with her face deathly pale from fear, but ultimately could not disobey Kalix’s orders and started recounting what happened.
Of course, the story that came out of Grace’s lips was far from the truth. The story was dramatized quite a bit to make it look like Bella was the victim.
The reason Bella took Amber’s dowry without a word was embellished into Bella’s generosity to help the inexperienced new wife of the Duke in managing funds. Amber’s fair request of the return of her dowry was changed to a child desperately begging for money to spend on luxuries. There wasn’t a single mention of Bella’s attempt to strike Amber.
“And that is what happened. The madam tried her best to persuade the young madam with kind words, but…” Grace kept trying to defend Bella, but Kalix raised his hand and stopped her from speaking any further.
“Is what the maid said the truth?” Kalix asked Bella.
“Hm? Yes, yes of course.” As the story had been changed in a way that couldn’t have served her better, Bella nodded without any hesitation.
“The fact that the wife was not able to use her own dowry however she wanted.”
Kalix kept silent for a very long time.
Kalix’s stiffened and angered expression with his lips tight was frightening. Even Amber couldn’t tell what he was feeling.
The servants and the knights that had followed Kalix did not dare to open their mouths and kept their eyes on Kalix. Not a single person dared to move in the deafening silence.
Amber dug into the memories of her previous life as she stared at Kalix’s expression that was as stiff as a statue. ‘There was only one time I saw him make that kind of expression.’
In her previous life, there was a time where Amber held onto Kalix crying and begging, though it was the first time and the last time she did such a thing.
It was the day that Amber had turned twenty six.
That year, the winter was harsher than usual. All the wealth of the Eastern Lands was invested into the subjugation of the Kale kingdom while not much in reward for the completion was received. In short, there wasn’t enough to survive winter. And to make matters worse, a cold snap suddenly swept across the land which led to even the tiny amount of food left in the storehouse perish.
At that time, Kalix announced that he would once again be leaving for another battle in a neighboring country at the emperor’s order.
She could handle starving. She could handle being tired. But to manage the lives of the citizens by herself was much too difficult for Amber.
On the day that Kalix’s departure date was decided, Amber waited for him in their bedchamber, but couldn’t endure it and cried loudly. As she sobbed, words of how exhausting living in the Eastern Lands and how much she wanted to leave left her mouth as she held onto Kalix’s arms.
As Kalix watched Amber cry, he was making the exact expression on his face now.
Because of how frightening his blank expression was, Amber never spoke of how difficult and exhausting it was ever again.
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