Chapter 6

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Belviana slipped carefully into her room. She know it’s a weird look to hide in her own room, but it’s the only way to go in this situation. She was wearing a plunging evening gown, and it had only been a few minutes ago that she had been tormented by Aiden, and it was still early in the night, let alone dawn.

Since that first day, they did it everywhere: first in the study, then in the hallways off the beaten path, in the storeroom, behind the curtains, in Aiden’s room……. Now she knew very well where Aiden’s room was: thirty minutes a day. Thirty minutes a day. That was the only condition that still stood between them, and he would withdraw from her body after that time. It was hard to believe he’d been so animalistic just a moment ago. Even his clothing was always chaste. It was only she who was panting, naked and vulnerable.

In five days, her body had changed. Her inner walls welcomed his fingers with open arms. With each thrust, her juices flowed, and he could feel her nipples twitch with pleasure. As she whimpered in pleasure, Aiden smiled gracefully, commenting on how her inner walls clenched tightly around his finger.

He relentlessly teased her nipples. He bit them with his teeth, then ran his tongue over her crack. It drives her crazy. She wasn’t resisting his touch, she was wanting it more fervently. Yes, she was miserably aroused by Aiden’s hand. At this rate, she felt like she was going to say something vulgar like, “Please, fuck me,” or something. Aiden smiled as he leisurely brushed a tear from the corner of her eye. This had all happened less than ten minutes ago. Even though it was a midsummer night, Belviana shivered as if she were cold.

The hallways were circled by older servants on patrol. She picked her way down the dark corridor to her room. Fervently hoping she wouldn’t meet anyone. If she did, there was no way they wouldn’t see the bruises that stood out against her white breastbone.

She breathed a sigh of relief as she closed and locked the door behind her. It was a relief to be in her own room, a familiar space. She pushed past the maid sleeping on the couch and opened the closet door. She needed to change into something that didn’t reveal the nape of her neck before she woke the maid. Belviana grunted for a while, then changed into a dress that buttoned all the way up to her neck. Normally she wouldn’t have chosen it, as it resembled a nun’s habit, but now she had no choice. Even with his restraint at the nape of her neck, it was worse where people couldn’t see: her skin, bitten and sucked so hard over the course of several days, ached at the touch of the fabric.

The maid was still asleep, oblivious to the world. Belviana glanced at the teacup on the table. She doesn’t know if the sleeping pills were the right amount. Maybe it’s a little too much. But it was high quality, so there shouldn’t be any lingering effects. As it had been before.

The bride’s bedroom had been guarded by a rotation of maids for a month before the wedding. It was a tradition to ensure that any demons, evil spells, or unwholesome liquids were taken care of by the maids, and that the bride was clean and ready to meet her groom, but nowadays it was more about keeping a close eye on her to make sure she didn’t marry while pregnant with another man’s child. Belviana straightened her attire once more before shaking her maid awake.

“Lena, wake up.”

“What……, uh……, miss?”

“You must be very tired. You just fell asleep.”

The maid brushed back her disheveled hair. Her scorched cheeks quickly flushed red.

“Oh, my God, what have I done again? I was so clear-headed today, and all of a sudden I’m so, so tired……. That’s the second time that’s happened, miss, and I’m so sorry!”

Belviana barely moved her stiffened lips.

“You needn’t be so hard on yourself, but you’d better drink some more tea. No, that teacup has fallen to the floor, so I’ll get you a new one, and a fresh pot of tea. It might help you stay awake through the night.”

“But these are the finest tea leaves from Bertagne, you can’t make me drink something so precious.”

“You’ve barely been able to keep your own room clean lately, and you’ve been up until dawn organizing weddings and dinners.”


“It’s because I’m apologetic. When you’re done, you can go rest in the next room, and I’ll take care of getting dressed myself, you can just run a bath for me.”

“Okay, I’ll talk to the kitchen to get a hot bath on, and then I’ll have some tea. Have you picked out your clothes for next week?”

“Next week?”

Belviana rolled the word slowly. She tried painstakingly to recall what she had planned for the next week, but nothing came to mind. It was as if something dull was preventing her thoughts from rolling clearly. She finally gave up and asked.

“I must have forgotten again. We’ve had a lot of visitors lately. Who did you say was coming?”

“Lady Liliette, as the Countess said at dinner, she’s spending the rest of the summer here.”

“Ah, Liliette, that girl.”

Belviana pursed her lips at the unexpected mention of the name. She’d been so preoccupied with Aiden during dinner that she hadn’t heard anything important. Not even the girl’s name.

Liliette Aubrange Lester and her brother were the poor relatives of Belviana. Their properties consisted of barren farmland that produced less than 50,000 sols a year, and they lived in tenements that belonged to the city’s lower classes, let alone a private mansion. Belviana remembered how Liliette used to look at her with envy in the not-so-distant past. And now, her insignificant brother had become her father’s sole heir, and millions of sols a year of oily southern lands were about to fall to their hands.

“They say that once you’re married and Young Master Aubrange has finished his studies, he’ll begin training to be the heir in earnest, and then Lady Liliette will naturally come to live here, so she’ll be able to come and see for herself. The Countess has been stubbornly opposed, but I suppose she has no choice now, for under Imperial law, women cannot inherit estates and family name.”

“I remember hearing that once. Now, Liliette, how old is she?”

“She made her social debut this year, so she must be seventeen, and it was very much rumored among the maids that it was a very successful debut; since now that she had a fortune and even has a flirtatious attitude, she was making men fall in love with her one after another, though of course, now that she’s a member of the Lester family, that sort of thing would have gone out the window.”

Lena’s voice turned cold, a visceral repulsion. Lena had worked at Lester Castle from a very young age, and her loyalty to the counts ran deep. The thought of Belviana’s legitimate rights falling into the hands of someone else, even if it was for legal reasons, was the kind of thing that was hard to bear. Lena balled her fists.

“So you should be more beautiful than anyone else that day, young lady, and you can pick out what you want to wear, and I’ll have your bust mended a bit by next week; you’ve gotten in better shape lately.”

Belviana’s shoulders slumped like someone who had been unexpectedly attacked, and her trembling hands clutched the hem of her skirt tightly. Every emotion pricked at her throat like thorns. Her breasts had changed over the past few days to the point where even the most casual observer could tell the difference. It would be even stranger if they didn’t swell, even temporarily, when Aiden was teasing her so much. Even now, as she sat in her room, she could feel Aiden’s touch like an afterimage, a sensation so insistent.

The clearest of her muddled emotions was guilt. Sometimes, when she thought of Liam, she’d be overcome by an intense urge to throw herself out the window. The sight of another man’s body hidden beneath her modest dress was so repulsive, even to her own eyes, that she dared not look at it. Now all she had left was her virginity.

Belviana chose the most modest of the white dresses the maid had brought her. She didn’t want to wear anything that would even remotely satisfy Aiden’s aesthetics; he had the eyes of the most predatory of beasts when she wore indigo silk dresses. The maid held the dress against her body and examined it.

“We’ll have to take an inch off your waist, and add two inches on your bust, and what will you do with your hair?”


“Then I think it would be best for you to anoint it with perfumed oil and tie the halves with ribbons, and I’ll come by at dawn that day to help you change.”

Belviana nodded absently. No matter how hard she tried, it would all be undone by Aiden’s hand. She felt an embarrassed irritation that her every thought was coming back to him. Lena stood up, holding the dress Belviana had picked out. Belviana quickly grabbed her by the cuffs.

“Where are you going?”

“I’m not going anywhere, miss. I’m going to fetch your bath water. Aren’t you past the age of being scared of monsters in the closet?”

Lena laughed out loud, as if she thought her lady was unbearably cute. Belviana shrugged and let go of her sleeve.

Belviana sank deeper into her chair and stared at the door the maid had left through. As the maid had said, she was past the age of being afraid of monsters in closets. At this point, she wasn’t afraid of monsters or anything tangible, even if it really was Aiden, because those things could be kept at bay with a tightly guarded door.

But what she was really afraid of was…….

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