Chapter 33

Before her stood Lejandro. Lejandro was ascending the hill with several attendants in tow. Lariana knew all of them.

Lejandro was already holding a bow, though his archery skills were rather lacking. Although she didn’t feel like greeting him at all, Lejandro was the prince of Martessen. Unavoidably, Lariana forced herself to bow in greeting.

Jenox and Leandro—both were detestable even more than the deranged Cain. She wished she could return to her mansion with her crazed husband right at that moment. Lariana called Jena and briskly started walking, but Lejandro, who she met halfway up the hill, blocked her path.

“Lari, it’s been a while.”

Since her marriage, this was the first time Lariana had engaged in a conversation with Lejandro alone. They had occasionally exchanged words at parties and gatherings, but it was always just formalities due to the surrounding gazes.Truthfully, it was more comfortable for her that way. She had no desire to interact with Lejandro, the man who had hurt her in the past. Who would want to see their exes anyway?

“Are you doing well? Why do you seem so distant?”

Lejandro, just like in their lover days, gently took Lariana’s wrist. His overly affectionate gesture was repulsive. She quickly brushed off Lejandro’s hand.

“I heard rumors that the Duchess Dowager and Cain are making your life difficult.”

“No.” Lariana replied with a cold attitude.

“Even during the wedding celebration, Cain didn’t participate. He hasn’t attended any events with you since you got married. And what about Duchess Dowager?”

“Stop it. I don’t regret my choices. Being the Duchess and enduring hardship is better for me than being the Prince’s mistress and enjoying power.”


Lejandro opened his mouth to speak but then closed it, bowing his head deeply. His red hair, lit by the sunlight, had a certain shine to it. It almost looked like it was glistening like blood. Thinking of blood, Lariana was reminded of Jenox’s words, making her fearful of leaving Cain alone. She quickly tried to move away, but Jenox, who had followed her down the hill, grabbed her.

Suddenly interjecting, Jenox, with his head bowed, spoke to Lejandro.

“Your Highness, didn’t you say you had a message for my sister?”


At Jenox’s words, Lejandro gestured around him as if he had forgotten. The two seemed to trust each other considerably.

“Lariana, didn’t I tell you? Marrying Cain would only make you unhappy.”

“Could you please get to the point?”

Lariana’s face showed irritation so strong it was almost impolite, but Lejandro paid it no mind.

Lejandro bent one knee and looked up at Lariana. It was like a knight swearing an oath to a lady. It was clear he was rather intoxicated by his own actions.

“I will be your paramour1It was supposed to be the equivalent of mistress for men? Cmiiw.”

“What are you talking about?”

Lariana questioned her own ears. She shielded her face with both hands. It was as if she needed this gesture to prevent herself from pouring out harsh words to Lejandro right at that moment.

“Grant me the honor of being your paramour?”

Please, please don’t provoke her. Just leave her be for a moment. Why does fate constantly test her in such damning ways? She forcibly suppressed the scream trying to escape her throat.

In this brief moment, Lariana repeatedly questioned the Divine Vuerin. Why was life so relentlessly harsh on her, as if she had committed some grave wrongdoing?

“Please refrain from uttering such nonsensical words.”

A high-ranking prince couldn’t become the paramour of a lady. While among themselves, they might refer to the man as the paramour, to outsiders, the lady remained the mistress. In other words, it was akin to Lejandro asking her to become his mistress, which was unthinkable.

Silence descended on them like a dead weight. It was so still that it was almost deafening.

Someone removed Lariana’s hands covering her face. The familiar touch sent shivers down her spine. She looked at the person who had taken her hand away. His deep blue eyes were intense, almost terrifying. Before her stood her husband.


Could there be a more absurd melodrama? And it wasn’t just Cain. Behind him were Marcella with her distorted face of anger and other nobles.

In a fleeting instant, numerous nobles had gathered.

“So, it’s true that she had been meeting with His Highness, the prince.”

“To blatantly deny it like this, the Duchess truly has no shame.”

“Indeed, that’s how it is.”

“The Duchess of Delacroix is facing such disgrace.”

“How did the Delacroix Duchy end up in such a state?”

The nobles of the Princess Sonia’s Faction berated Lariana while the nobles of Prince Lejandro’s Faction pretended to support the Duchess but sneered behind Marcella’s back.

However, the one who truly fueled Marcella’s anger was someone else. It was Marcella’s younger brother-in-law, Vyus Delacroix, who had been coveting Cain’s title for a long time.

He approached Marcella and whispered to her.

“Sister-in-law, you’ve truly gained an exceptional daughter-in-law. If she gives birth to a heir, we must surely assign kinship verification to the Imperial Court. We can’t tell if the child is Cain’s or His Highness Lejandro’s.”

“How dare you say something like that…”

Marcella, with her fists clenched tightly, confronted the nobles who had gathered around.

“You’re making a fuss. Didn’t everyone hear him? His Highness the Prince wanted to become my daughter in law’s paramour?”

Marcella forcefully took Lariana’s side to protect her own honor. Although the nobles no longer openly discussed the matter, they exchanged knowing glances and began ridiculing Cain and Marcella.


Cain’s voice scratched like a wild beast, calling Lariana. His presence exuded dominance and energy.

How could she get through this situation without a hitch? Lariana closed her eyes for a moment and collected her thoughts. There was simply no way to escape this.

“Your Highness Lejandro has sent me a proposal.”

The more she tried to defend herself with excuses, the more ridiculous the situation between Cain and the family would become. Lariana forced a playful smile, acting as if it was nothing.

“Your Highness, you’re still so cheerful. However, I’m concerned that Empress Yulia might find your recent joke displeasing. Thank you for your wedding congratulations. We shall take our leave now.”

Lariana gestured her farewell to Lejandro, linked her arm with Cain’s, but he roughly shook her off and walked ahead. Lariana hurriedly followed him and looked back.

Lejandro looked at her with a regretful expression, and by his side, Jenox smirked maliciously.

Lariana found herself walking alongside her husband into the mansion.

He sat on the bed, silently inspecting the weapons he would use in the hunt.

An uncomfortable silence prevailed. She wished he would get angry instead. Unable to even take a seat, she stood, scrutinizing his reactions.


Marcella, who had followed the young couple into the mansion, approached Lariana agitatedly. This time, Lariana couldn’t maintain her dignity, as she knew she was also at fault. She bowed her head, gathering her hands and nibbling on her lower lip.

“Turning the Delacroix into a laughingstock, aren’t you? Even if you’re his mistress, you’re still the Duchess of Delacroix. Don’t you realize that we represent the Princess’ Faction? If you were so intent on continuing becoming his mistress, you should’ve married that cousin of yours! In Martessen, there’s no precedent of a Duchess becoming the mistress. If you wanted to act as the mistress, you should have divorced!”

Marcella’s face flushed with heightened emotion. Just moments ago, she felt a surge of blood coursing through her at the very thought of the events that had transpired. The nobles’ words still resonated vividly in her ears. Countless of them had ridiculed her and her son, hoping for the humiliation of the Delacroix Duchy.

Such a situation had never arisen before Cain’s marriage. All of this was due to Lariana.

“Mother, please understand. His Highness Lejandro acted unilaterally.”

“Unilaterally? You must have given him some encouragement.”

“No, Mother. It was Lejandro’s decision to spend time alone with me.”

Lariana felt wronged, her feet tapping restlessly as she grasped Marcella’s hand. Unable to contain her anger, Marcella swung the hand holding Lariana, a frustrated motion.


Struck by Marcella’s forceful hand, Lariana let out a whimper and tumbled onto the carpet, her platinum blonde hair sprawled untidily across the earthen floor.

Cain raised an eyebrow, his arms crossed, as he looked at this scene. An annoyed sigh escaped his lips.

“Mother, we must prepare for the hunting festival. I want a moment of tranquility.”

“I apologize. Rest well since I will accompany Lariana outside.”

“It’s alright. We need a few servants around, after all.”

Lariana lifted her head at the mention of servants. Looking up from her position, she found herself feeling less like his wife and more akin to a maid as she met his gaze.

Cain reached into a pocket and retrieved a blood-stained bandage. He dropped it on the floor as if to suggest that she pick it up.

Lariana wordlessly began to roll up the bandage in a submissive manner. Perhaps her demeanor had slightly appeased Marcella, as she vacated her spot without a word.

Lariana brought a vial of ointment and placed it on the bed. Without even looking at her, Cain extended his hand.

“Don’t you have any honor of being a duchess? Or are you intentionally humiliating me?”

“Neither, really. I coincidentally encountered His Highness Lejandro. You must have witnessed it too. His Highness spoke unilaterally. it wasn’t something I desired.”

Lariana defiantly raised her chin.

“Enough. You’re being noisy.”

Lariana bit her lower lip and looked at Cain’s hand. His previously stitched hand had ruptured in several places.

“Cain, the wounds have worsened. We should call for Damian.”

Seeing Lariana with Lejandro had made Cain clench his fist, forgetting about his wounded hand. The wounds had burst open by the time they arrived at the mansion, blood dripping from his clenched fist.

“You’ll be the one treating it.”

Cain’s grip on his fist seemed to convey frustration as he spoke.

“Don’t clench your fist. The wounds will only worsen. I’m can’t do immediate treatment. I will call Damian.”

“If Damian sees this, he won’t allow me to participate in the hunting festival. Treat it yourself.”

“You want to participate in the hunting festival? No, absolutely not. How could you even think of joining the festival with your hand in such a state?”

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    It was supposed to be the equivalent of mistress for men? Cmiiw
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