Chapter 18 The bad wife who faces against the storm
After my firm refusal, the atmosphere here turned even more turbulent.
We glared at each other for a while.
Perhaps because he thought we were getting nowhere, His Highness Augusto began a preemptive attack.
「……Insolent woman. I don’t like your attitude」
「Replace “woman” with “man”, and I may as well return the same words back at you」
「What did you say！？」
I mean, I doubt butting in on someone else’s marriage is being mature.
「What you’re doing is just what a spoiled child would do」
「You’re wrong！I’m doing this for Erich!」
「Does my husband want this?」
If that was the case, then I’d need to discuss it with him.
But my husband has been bragging about his happy love life to His Highness so I would guess that maybe he’s enjoying being married to me in his own way.
Perhaps because he didn’t have any words to reply back to my objection, His Highness looked vexed.
I stood up, intent on having this unproductive time end.
「――I have to say that your request is absolutely out of the question」
I’d wanted to be hospitable to all the guests who visited this house but this gentleman wasn’t a man worth doing that for.
Which was why, I decided to have him go home as soon as possible.
「After I have a good talk with my husband, please come by and visit us again, okay? If he strongly desires to have a divorce, then I’ll even consider it」
I urged His Highness, who was sitting on the couch, to go home by gesturing at the exit with my hand.
But he only glared at me without moving an inch.
I tried asking if he wanted to sample the food cooked by our house’s prided chef, but no response.
「If you wish to wait for my husband’s return, then please feel free to do so. I have other business to attend to so please excuse me」
When I tried to exit from the room, thinking that I can’t put up with him any longer, I discovered that His Highness followed after me and was drawing closer.
It looked as if he was going to grab my arm, so I avoided it by turning around.
His Highness was looking at me with an intense expression filled with indignation.
「This is your last warning. Let Erich go free!」
The way he says it makes it sound like I’m the bad guy. There’s a limit even to rudeness!
But coincidentally enough, I had experienced that emotion myself.
「――Your Highness, you’re lonely after my husband got married, aren’t you?」
「What are you talking about！？」
There was a time when I, myself, couldn’t bless my sisters’ marriage from the bottom of my heart.
I even had memories of selfishly pleaded with my brother-in-laws not to take my sisters away.
It’s incredibly painful when a person, who stayed by your side up till now, marries and goes away.
It’s as if my husband went far away so His Highness was probably keenly feeling the loneliness day after day.
「As time goes by, you’ll be able to accept it」
「You’re wrong! That won’t be the case. The root of all evil lies with you」
–this guy’s hopeless.
Even though I went to the trouble of taking His Highness’s feelings into consideration, sympathizing with him, and trying to meet him halfway, he rejected it with all his might.
No matter how much I talk, my words probably won’t reach him.
「I can’t stand seeing Erich going to the dogs, that’s why you need to back off――」
Pak! A dry sound reverberated across the room so as to block his words.
I’d slapped His Highness in the cheek with all my might as he spouted that rash remark.
His Highness was holding his cheeks with his eyes wide open as if he couldn’t believe what just happened.
It made quite a nice smacking sound so I ended up smiling.
I’m not supposed to act violent, but a great deal of words he said were equally as rude. So, I got my revenge.
「I have to say the same of you!」
This man really doesn’t understand a thing.
My husband’s tenacity, his attitude in trying to protect His Highness’s honor, his devotion. He’d taken all of my husband’s effort like it was only a matter of fact.
He probably had no idea just how much trouble my husband had been having behind the scenes or how affected my husband was by the bad rumours that had nothing to do with him.
「Your Highness doesn’t understand a single thing about my husband」
「You’re wrong! I’m the one who understands him the best!」
「That’s called being arrogant」
After hearing my words, his expression turned even more cloudy.
I’ve said everything I wanted to say, so I thought I’d get slapped too but His Highness hands simply clenched tightly at his sides as they shook.
So as to not agitate the hostile prince, I spoke in as much a gentle voice as I could.
「The reason my husband has stopped meddling in work is because he recognized that His Highness has grown up」
「He’s not someone who overlooks mistakes, is he?」
「That’s… true. But why doesn’t he just say so？」
「I imagine it isn’t something that’s said out loud」
Perhaps it was a shocking revelation to His Highness, because he looked stunned.
He kept blinking and acted like he was thinking of who knows what.
After that, he began murmuring in a barely audible voice.
「……Erich had been a really strict guy」
It seems my husband, who was in charge of His Highness’s education since childhood, was an unexpectedly merciless teacher.
Although my husband constantly had a smile on his face, I hear he’d been strict with His Highness without pulling any punches.
It sounds like that sort of attitude from my husband was what His Highness was well-accustomed to.
「If he did recognize that I matured, I would’ve liked for him to say so. That guy has never praised me once……」
I thought my husband was a man as sweet as honey, but it doesn’t seem to be the case outside of here. I’m all the more surprised.
「Your Highness, allow me to just say one thing. Words that passed your ears aren’t the only things that are true. All the knowledge you’ve attained isn’t the only thing that’s right. What matters is that you think carefully before you act. You shouldn’t act when you’re being emotional. And if you don’t understand something, seek advice」
I realized this after I got married.
That it was very dangerous to act with your own sense of “justice”.
Not only was the rumour about my husband was utter nonsense, I only now became self-aware that my views were different from the norm.
His Highness seems to have changed his attitude from before and had slumped his shoulders.
When our eyes met, he started to speak in a whisper.
「Would… Erich still offer to teach me?」
「Of course he will. I’m sure he’ll help point you to the right path」
His Highness spoke “I understand” in a faint tone, and then properly apologized to me with a “I’m sorry”.
Seeing him like that, I realized why he was charmed by Keira von Plovak.
She was very nice person and would only say things that were pleasing to the ear if she ends up speaking.
But, I believe everything Keira von Plovak said was sincere and had been the sole saving grace for His Highness.
Once our conversation ended, His Highness returned home.
After seeing him off at the entrance, I sighed deeply thinking how he’d been a tough guest.
My husband returned home when night fell.
It seems today was his last day of serving His Highness, Augusto.
「I was surprised when I was granted thanks for all my services till now by His Highness」
「I see, how wonderful」
It seems like my words had somewhat of an effect on His Highness.
I feel relieved knowing that our intense exchange of words during the day had not gone to waste.
Can I take it that things are settled with this?
Suddenly, I noticed that my husband was watching me with a smile, so I asked, “what is it?”. Thereupon, he asked for his reward.
I completely forgot about the kiss on the cheek. What a blunder!
「I’ve been doing my best up till now looking forward to this」
「I keep telling you, it isn’t something worth anticipating over that much, you know」
「No, no, that’s not true. My heart was about to burst in anticipation」
It seems he’ll keep raising his expectations if I continued to ignore it so I decided to just get the kiss over with.
I stood from the couch facing opposite him and then sat beside him.
「Please go right ahead」 , my husband said, closing his eyes.
Why was he closing his eyes for? I have trouble understanding.
‘Oh well’, I decided and said my words of gratitude.
「Thanks for all your working hard up till now」
It must have been really tough to serve that eccentric prince.
But he didn’t give up midway nor spoke of his dissatisfaction or hardship, he saw it through till the end. That was the sort of man my husband was.
「You were quite remarkable. You’re my pride」
After I said this, I gave a peck on the cheek.
I immediately withdrew my lips, stood up, and returned to my original position.
Once I sat back across from him, I locked eyes with my husband who’d opened his eyes.
「――Thank you very much, Hermina-sama. I’m incredibly happy」
My husband beamed at me with the sweetest honey smile I’ve seen on his face to date.
Being that delighted over a single kiss is an exaggeration.
I wanted to leave the room from embarrassment, but I was stopped when my husband told me he had something more to say.
「What is it？」
With a broad smile and a tone of voice as if he was asking what the weather tomorrow would be like, my husband asked me:
「――His Highness came to the house today, didn’t he?」
That was something I tried to cover up by keeping the servants quiet.