Prince Smirnov’s personal physician was unable to disclose the fact of infertility to the person involved.

She was already fragile, and it would be a shame if her health deteriorated further from the shock.

It was even more impossible for Mr. Pavtisky Smirnov, who was scared for his daughters.

So he quietly summoned Katya to his private practice and told her everything.

Katya nearly fainted on the spot from shock, but she gritted her teeth and held on.

She had to be strong to protect her family.


“Dad and Bianca must never find out. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“Yes. I’ll take it to my grave.”

“Destroy the medical certificate.”


Ivan, who had only heard the latter part of the conversation in the alley, believed like a stone that Katya was infertile.


“You think I’m going to marry a bastard like you for this?”

“If you don’t, I’m going to expose the secret you’ve been hiding all this time, are you okay with that?”

“What do you mean, a secret……?”

“You said you can’t have kids. I saw you ask the doctor to destroy your medical certificate, and I have it.”


Ivan said he would never tell her about the secret if she would just marry him.

He was on the right track, and he had proof to support it.

When he first threatened her at the villa on Petrozsky house, Katya thought to herself.

‘If I hold my tongue now, Bianca won’t be judged by the world.’

Like a fish on a chopping block, she didn’t dare to think about what cruel things they might say about her sister.

People were always cruel to others.

What’s wrong with not being able to bear children?

Isn’t a woman only worth something when she has children?

By then, Katya had decided that she didn’t care if she never married.

But Bianca was different.

She was searching for her first love, but she wasn’t the type of mature unmarried woman who could endure all the rumors and scorn that came her way.

So Katya decided to take it all in her own hands.

Fearing that Bianca’s medical certificate would be found out, she did what Ivan asked her to do.

In fact, even before she met Ivan again, she had been researching fertility treatments.

One day, the Duke’s doctor said in passing.


“I read somewhere that a herb from the Eastern Continent was so effective in treating infertility that it was passed down as a secret among the ladies of that country.”


From that day forward, Katya pestered her physician, stomped her feet, and tried to procure the herb.

But the Hersian Medical Association didn’t recognize its efficacy.

In fact, fertility treatments were not studied at all because the priests believed that children were a gift from the gods and were beyond human power.

There were even priests who demanded donations from infertile couples, claiming that they needed the gods’ permission for conception and insinuating that their intelligence was lacking.

Furthermore, in the the Eastern Continent feared the leakage of their medical knowledge to foreign lands, so they classified it as an export-restricted item.


“I’ve decided, I won’t marry unless I have to lower my eyes to the underworld!”


The declaration of not getting married was actually to buy time until Bianca got married, in order to seek a cure during that period.

She knew that her father was old-fashioned and intended to marry her sister off first. So, she openly declared her intention not to marry.

During that time, she was imprisoned in the Petrozsky’s villa but managed to escape and, with the help of Nikolai, embarked on a journey to the Count’s residence. During their journey together, he proposed to her.


“The tea prince?”


While contemplating Nikolai’s proposal, Katya learned another nickname he had.

After learning that he had a monopoly on the cultivation and importation of black tea in Hersen, Katya confided in him shortly after Nikolai and Ivan’s tea drinking showdown.


“Do you think you could make a deal with us to export Hersian black tea and lift the export restrictions on the Eastern Continent?”

“That shouldn’t be hard.”


With the lifting of the export restrictions, Katya was no longer afraid. She set a trap for Ivan in the courtroom.

She had planned to receive herbs to cure Bianca, but she ended up revealing her sister’s own infertility to her, publicly disclosing the secret of when Bianca had learned about it.


“I’m fine, sis, I can’t see you suffering this much because of me. Petrozsky, if you’re going to point fingers at me for being a flawed woman, do it to me, not to her.”

Bianca said to Ivan with tears streaming down her face.

“I don’t care if I can’t get married. I don’t care if I live alone for the rest of my life, despised by people, I can’t see my sister being unhappy…….”

Bianca Smirnov’s innocent and pitiful face was covered with dewy tears, and everyone watching was heartbroken.

The women who projected themselves onto her sympathized deeply with her childlessness, and the men with her sweet face.

Beautiful, kind-hearted women don’t lie.

That was the general consensus.

Men disliked the tomboyish Katya, and women disliked her for being an embarrassment women, but everyone, young and old, liked Bianca.

But as she watched things unfold, she realized that Katya, the ‘wicked woman of the south,’ was going to sacrifice her life for her sister’s sake and marry a man she hated.

“How can the sisters be so close?”

“Don’t you mean to tell me that this madman has been tormenting these good, supportive princesses all these years?”

“How can a gentleman resort to blackmail using a lady’s weakness? Curse him! Tsk!”

Public opinion quickly turned against Ivan.

Bianca’s suitors, who had paid Ivan to marry Katya, also felt guilty.

“Poor Lady Bianca… I have also caused Lady Katya to suffer so much that I deserve to die.”

Count Gregory began to sob uncontrollably, and the eager suitors, including Olen, jumped to their feet and began throwing things at Ivan on the stage.

“You’re the worst scoundrel in the world!”

“You should be punished! You should be punished!”

“Ivan Petrovsky, who brings shame upon men, get lost!”

All sorts of things flew at Petrozsky, as if in a ritual exorcism.

“Why are you all so mad at me? You thought the same thing as I did! You called her a wicked woman of the south! You said someone had to come along and tame a tomboy like that! You’re the ones who are so easily swayed at the drop of a hat, you savages! Do you understand?”

The knights of the Grand Duchy went into a frenzy and quickly overpowered the rampaging beast of a man from both sides, bringing him to his knees before their new Grand Duchess.

Grand Duchess Katarina walked slowly to Ivan.

Her Highness as head of state was now palpable, even in the small gesture of her hand that told the knights to stand down.

Ivan suddenly burst into tears and clung to her by the hem of her skirt.

“I was only guilty of loving you too much–”

“It doesn’t matter how great your feelings are. You can’t force a marriage based on one side’s love alone. Women have the right to marry who they want, just like men.”

“Katya, I did everything wrong, please just look at me…….”

“You said it yourself. The husband is heaven and the wife is earth. That’s right, that’s what people think. The husband is the master, the ruler, the protector, the monarch of his wife.”

Katya began to speak of the old, outdated values she had been fighting against all this time.

“They say that an angry woman is like cloudy water, ugly and muddy, and that she has lost her beauty. Many men say that they would not drink a drop of such water, no matter how thirsty they were. They would not have such a woman, even if she gave it to them.”


“You’ve said it before, that a husband only wants affection, a beautiful face, and sincere obedience from his wife. That’s what a wife is supposed to do, what she owes to her monarch, her husband. You’re not the only one who thinks so, everyone else does, and that’s why any woman who goes against that, like me, is considered a sinner.”

They called her a ‘wicked woman of the south,’ a heretic of society.

Your ideas are wrong, they say, and they want to ostracize her and crush her.

In the name of enlightenment, they would commit outrageous acts of disrespect.

“Many men have tried to break my stubbornness just like you. They dreamed of taming and conquering a strong-willed woman like me, thinking it would ignite their competitive spirit or something.”


“It’s true that after facing such situations repeatedly, I’ve wondered if there might be some truth to it, if I could be the one who’s wrong. Honestly, there have been moments when I’ve felt unsure. I question if getting married means I have to abandon my true self to make it possible.”


“But you know what? A man appeared who doesn’t demand those three things from me. He loves me without forcing his own emotions on me, cherishes the woman holding a gun and a sword rather than a needle in her hand like other women, and he lifts me up when I fall, instead of trying to change me into someone I’m not.”

Nikolai was the only one who told her that they were equals.

“A man who loves me for who I am without trying to change me to suit his tastes, that’s the Grand Duke.”


“Even if the Grand Duke had nothing and came from a lower status, I would have chosen him. Even if the whole world opposed it, there was never any doubt that I would marry you. It has been that way until now, and it will be in the future.”

“Katya, uhuh…”

“Don’t try to tame a tomboy, or anything else alive in this world. To be alive is to have a life, and you deserve and have the right to be loved just the way you are.”

After finishing her long speech, Katya paused, as if something had come to her mind, and then parted her lips again.

“And get the titles straight. I am…… the monarch of this country.”

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