The Time-Limited Duchess Will Do Anything for Eternal Life - Chapter 2
Eventually, even though the Empress didn’t want to bring up these circumstances from long ago that could wound her friend’s honor, she spat them out anyway.
‘Who was it that saved you when you were abandoned by your father and sold as though you were livestock?! It was me! If it weren’t for me, you would have died when you were ten—you never would have been able to have a family! Did you forget all that?!’
Asmov’s eyes had already lost their light in them, but at Akali’s words, they trembled once more. However, she quickly killed these agitated emotions and replied in a calm voice.
‘Yes. That happened.’
‘—If you remember, then leave us now.’
‘But that’s not the right way to determine debt.’
Asmov ignored Akali and reached out to Ludwald’s children who she hid behind her. At this, all the blood drained from Akali’s face.
‘Don’t do this. They’re the princes of this Empire.’
‘You signed a contract. You’re bound by magic.’
As soon as Akali said this, the mana in the air began to stir. This ferocious mana stained with gold was the trademark of Archmage Asmov.
Akali and her children immediately sensed this danger and tried to escape, but there was nowhere to hide when the golden haze of mana had already dominated the space.
‘I lost my eternity because of Ludwald’s atrocities. And since my only child, Eddie, died as well, the history I’ve helped prosper shall also end with me. This great history was built up with anguish and tenacity.’
‘Nothing will change even if you do this!’
‘And it doesn’t make sense that only Ludwald’s offspring would remain.’
‘I exchange for sparing these children’s lives, I shall let Ludwald suffer for eternity.’
At Asmov’s firm declaration, the children cried ‘Ack!’ at the same time a sharp blade of mana had cut their fingertips. Blood splattered through the air, and their blood hardened like rubies.
After this, Asmov’s mana moved away from the children, and Akali hurriedly looked at the faces of her sons. After confirming that her children were safe, she didn’t care whether Asmov would turn her attention to the Empress.
Asmov retracted her golden mana and spread the blood out towards the ceiling.
‘Is this the blood of Ludwald? It’s red. How infuriating.’
‘What are you doing?!’
‘I’ll lift this here, and…’
‘—W-Wait, what are you…!’
As Akali’s eyes were focused on Asmov, terrible screams filled the room.
There was no time to cover the eyes of the young princes. In an instant, the metallic smell of blood permeated the air and reached their noses, their eyes, their clothes, their memories.
Asmov lifted the two rubies towards the ceiling and had her own heart in another hand. With a white face and with blood spurting out of her lips, she stood as though she were a representative of Libra herself, holding the scale of justice.
’Cough! This is… This is my resentment. Cough! Haa… Under the constellation Libra, a hellfire shall continue without ceasing. And what is burned shall soon turn to ash!’
‘Ash! Ash, what are you doing! Are you crazy?! Help! Help!! Is there anyone out there?! Please help! Hurry!!’
While Akali watched the dying Asmov, her own face turned ashen as she shouted desperately. As the archmage died, the haze of mana soon scattered. Soon, servants and medics came outside the door, but they couldn’t enter.
After losing her husband and her friend in just one night, Akali struggled with despair. Why? What ruined their relationship?
The past, which had been filled with trust and faith, was still so vivid behind her eyes—her heart ached.
‘Cough! Will Ludwald’s blood disappear first—or my resentment? Huuk, ugh, cough! It’s such a pity that I can’t watch.’
‘Ash! Asmov Rubaltberg!’
The great archmage who unified the continent collapsed. Asmov died, having only her tearful friend’s face as the last thing she saw.
She had no regrets. Her life was nothing as a price of paying it all back. What regrets about living would she have when her family was no longer in this world?
Right now, all she wanted was to meet Ludwald once again in hell so that she could spit it in his face that she had cursed his bloodline.
“But I really didn’t think this would happen.”
The woman, who brutally killed herself in the name of revenge, was laying down right now. She wasn’t on a dirty, blood-spattered carpet like before, but she was on a bed full of moisture.
She couldn’t stand to see her face in front of a mirror because it was so strange. It’s a face that she’d looked at countless times already, but she couldn’t acknowledge it as her own.
Then, from her bed, she heard someone banging on her door. Before she even answered, the door swung open.
“What are you doing, Duchess?! If you’re awake, then you have to say so! Do you have any idea how anxious your doctor has been? You’re being so troublesome!”
“Unlike people at the Grand Duchy, we’re all busy here at the Pantheon estate! It’s already been six years since you got married, so couldn’t you get used to how it is in this household?! Anyway, I’ll call the doctor, so stay right there!”
The maid donned in a thick, rough garb said what she had to say, and slammed the door behind her back.
Just as the maid said, right now, Asmov was the Duchess of Pantheon, and that arrogant was her personal maid.
That’s her name. Caria. She frowned at the inconsistency she felt as she recited a stranger’s name.
Caria Pantheon. She’s the illegitimate child of the Emperor’s brother, Grand Duke Lutherbert.
In this Empire where a long time had passed, she was reborn as a descendant of the person she loathed with all her being, Ludwald.
As Caria got out of bed, she opened the window and was faced with a biting, cold wind. As she stared at the landscape, she recalled what had happened to her now.
Everything started with a seemingly happy step.
Six years ago, Caria visited her father’s office when she was called by him. It was very unusual for her father to ask for her presence.
As she arrived with excitement, Caria was handed a portrait, not knowing why.
’Look at it.’
‘What’s this, Father?’
‘It’s a portrait of the Duke of Pantheon.’
The Duke of Pantheon was a man surrounded by many rumors. While staring at the portrait, she recalled that he became the head of the family not long ago.
He was a robust man with a handsome appearance, and he was a diligent man who led a Duchy. However, she once heard that he was struggling to pay off the debts of his predecessor.
‘The Pantheon family is loyal to the land and kept their faith even when the Empire was divided. And you’re both around the same age.’
‘What do you mean by…’
The Duchy of Pantheon was one of the few families who could stand on par with Caria’s status, since she was the daughter of a Great Duke and was connected by blood with the Imperial Family. But because she was an illegitimate child, such things as ‘financial difficulties’ with the Duke’s family was not enough reason for her to refuse the Duke.
The Great Duke had a huge influence on the nobles and was of a notable influence on the Emperor. From the standpoint of a lord from a land where winter was harsh, and even with their household with finances holding on like a precarious candle being blown by the wind, the Duke would not have been able to reject this marriage either.
As she realized this conclusion, Caria looked at her father with trembling eyes. But without returning her gaze, the Great Duke spoke with a blunt voice.
‘It’s said that he has a two-year-old son and a newborn daughter, but there’s no problem since his ex-wife is dead.’
‘The daughter is a newborn? Then it hasn’t been long since—’
‘They said there were some complications. But the children are young, so they’ll need a new mother right away.’
Her guess wasn’t far off. Her father was really planning to send her to a man who already had two children. Caria couldn’t hide her disappointment.
She was happy that her father had called her for the first time in a long while, but he just said what he needed to say without even offering her a cup of tea.
’I’ll follow Father’s wishes.’
She was flabbergasted, but at the end of the day, she would still follow her father’s words. She was going to get married at some point anyway. It wasn’t the worst kind of situation, too, since there wasn’t much of an age difference between them.
Right after that, wedding preparations were carried out quickly. Since the Grand Duke was the one who reached out to the Duke for the marriage, everything from the ceremony’s planning and down to the clothes and gifts were prepared by the experienced noble lady, the Grand Duchess.
Caria only remembered eating a few meals with the Duke, then she found herself wearing her wedding gown and standing in front of the officiator. The guests gave their blessings to the beautiful couple who matched well, as though they were a painting.
However, between the newlyweds themselves, they had no conversation at all until the ceremony had ended.
’Wife, I will respect you.’
When she entered the Ducal estate after suffering under the presence of numerous people all day, Ruvidolf Pantheon, Caria’s husband, spoke in a low and serious voice.
’Although we got married even though we didn’t want this, we can be friends as long as we can agree on setting boundaries and living our own lives.’
During the first night of her marriage, Caria sat on her matrimonial bed and listened to her husband say that he only wanted to be friends with her.
This could be seen as him being considerate of her, however, at the same time, this was like a declaration that he would never love her.
’I won’t force you into anything, Wife. You don’t have to act the part of a wife or a mother. You can just live quietly as you are. As long as you don’t cause trouble for the household.’
Ruvidolf Pantheon said this, then turned his back and lay in bed. After a while, she could hear his even breaths, but she knew that he hadn’t fallen asleep yet. He just did not wish to talk to her.
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