Sick Husband's Contract Wife - Chapter 36
“I skipped to the end because you already know everything,” I stated.
“So, why did you go?”
“Why would I go to a pharmacy? Of course, for medicine.”
“You could have informed Raymond if you required medication. He would have prescribed it after consulting with you. Why did you have to travel so far?”
“I went there to ask about a particular medicine.”
“Medicine? What type of medicine?”
“I heard that that particular fertility medicine is very effective for pregnancy, even before I entered the household.”
My words came out without guilt. In reality, Walter’s pharmacy was well-known for selling fertility treatments of varying efficacy, so it wasn’t entirely false.
“So, you’re going to take medicine prescribed by a quack?”
“He’s a pharmacist, not a quack. We can’t always put our faith in Raymond, can we? I went there in desperation.”
“Raymond is one of the very best doctors one can find.”
“Yes, but even after taking the medicine he prescribed, I still haven’t conceived.”
As I spoke, I locked my focus on Camilla.
“I reasoned that while I was helping to care for Amoide’s health, wouldn’t it also be good to try another approach? That’s why I sought his counsel.”
Camilla raised a cup of tea to her lips as she listened.
“But… Why was I followed? It seems undignified.”
Camilla blasted my face with the tea she was drinking.
Droplets of tea poured down my cheeks and landed on the floor.
“It’s fine,” I responded meekly, bringing out a handkerchief to wipe away the moisture.
“What, what did you just say?”
“Why was I followed…?”
“Oh… do you mean, undignified?”
Again, silence descended.
Camilla’s cheeks flushed and paled alternatively as I stressed the word.
“But it’s never a dignified act to follow someone without their knowledge or consent… Am I wrong?”
I bowed my head and raised both hands in supplication.
“Of course, that was not directed at you, Mother. Someone else must have acted rashly. But why would they feel the need to have someone follow me?”
When dealing with someone stronger, it is vital to weave flattery into one’s accusations.
“You were the one who lied about where you’re going.”
“That is true. But telling others I was heading to the drugstore to get fertility medication is a little… you know. So, like I usually do, I asked you.” I smiled sweetly as I lifted my tea cup.
“And what I requested was a monthly outing. I never said the sole purpose would only be to see my siblings.”
Of course, there was hardly enough time to meet my siblings on a usual outing. It was practically already dark by the time I returned from my aunt’s – even for a short visit.
“You granted my request, and I returned safely. What exactly is the issue?” I blinked naively.
I knew it would be difficult to argue my words were wrong. I had not acted inappropriately. Neither in the past nor now. I was absolutely adhering to the terms of the deal, not violating a single rule.
“In the end, I’ve decided not to take the medication. My inquiry was brief, but like you said, it’s better to put greater faith in Raymond. Mother is right, I was short-sighted.” I added in a genuine tone.
Camilla kept her gaze on me for quite some time.
There was no big misbehavior on my part, and I promised not to do what she was concerned about, so she should have nothing further to say.
‘However, she would undoubtedly be upset.’
It’s at times like this I’m reminded they are mother and son. Whenever she looks at me like this, it’s difficult to breathe.
The sound of a knock resonated just when the quiet became too long. Greta walked in with a tray.
Camilla averted her sight when the fresh tea cup was placed on the table.
Greta seems to have given me an opportunity to regain my breath. I swiftly raised the tea cup to my lips and calmed my heart.
“The tea is delicious. Did Greta also brew this?”
Greta looked at me as she replied, with her butter-wouldn’t-melt smile.
“Indeed. No one can compete with Greta’s tea-brewing abilities.”
I cracked a sardonic smile in response to Camilla’s complement.
Greta was a maid brought in from Camilla’s maiden household when she married the former Duke. She was the only one who could pander to Camilla’s exacting demands. And so her word was absolute among the maids. Everyone had to be conscious of Greta, because falling out of her favor meant being kicked out of the estate.
“It is said that a maid takes after her master. She must have gained a lot from you because she has been serving you since before your marriage.”
Even without any sugar coating, the sentences came out like silk.
Camilla, sitting opposite, studied me, perplexed. It must be the first time she’d heard such blatant praise from me. It’s no surprise she was taken aback. I felt a little taken aback by my own actions to be honest.
“Greta is really fortunate. To serve someone who acknowledges her skill, like you, Mother.”
Greta’s eyes widened as well. She spoke with shaking cheeks, matching Camilla’s bemused expression.
“Thank you for your praise, my lady.”
“Not at all. Greta’s strength is her ability to serve her master without equal.” I answered with a smile.
“If it is Mother’s order, you will obey it, no matter the cost.” With a cheerful smile, I added.
Greta smiled in response.
“It’s what I should naturally do.”
I hadn’t seen her smile with so little resistance since the last occasion she brought pills.
‘Because Camilla is here.’
In reality, only Camilla had the right to ignore me. She was not a person to let it slide if a maid were to disregard me in her presence. Of course, the servants and Greta would just wait until it was a place Camilla’s gaze did not reach.
‘Is she the one who had me followed?’
There was no point in asking. It was obvious. There were many eyes inside the duke’s mansion at the time of the snake incident, but Greta and the head butler were the only ones who could manage the Duke’s stable.
Camilla could not control the butler as easily, as he had always directly served the dukes, not the duchess. Greta had to have been the one to put a tail on me. Keeping a close check on everything I do and wherever I go.
Greta must have been hoping Camilla would be agitated by my movements. Because Greta was unable to take away the authority Camilla had given me, perhaps she planned to erect as many roadblocks as possible in order to force me to capitulate.
“By the way, I heard Jean’s renovation of the kitchen is nearly complete. I’m glad Amoide can have his meals prepared in a more pleasant setting.”
“It’s for my son. Don’t thank me. Don’t spew nonsense.”
“I apologise. I don’t know what came over me. It wasn’t my place.”
I cast a quick glance towards Greta.
“It’s just that it was something I did because I wanted the place where food is made to be clean. But there was a lot of opposition, so I’m very thankful for your strong support, Mother. It would have been tough if I’d tried on my own.”
“Isn’t that so, Greta?”
“Greta, you’re not very talkative today, are you?”
“You had a lot to say about the kitchen last time you visited my chambers. Your ability to judge when to take a risk and when not to is outstanding. It comes as no surprise that Mother adores you.”
Greta’s face purpled gradually, as if she was swallowing something sour.
“All right, I’ll go see Amoide now.”
I stood up, pushing back my chair. I’d said my piece, and it was time to leave the stage.
“He must’ve been bored all day without me.”
The scenery I encountered in the garden en route to Amoide’s chamber was one of upheaval. The servants were upsetting various portions of the garden; shoveled dirt was piled haphazardly here and there, and enormous netting was being placed all around.They were mostly concentrated in the overgrown or hidden areas of the garden.
“Ah, My Lady.”
Colton, the butler, noticed me and bowed politely. Despite his advanced age and white hair, he personally handled the mansion’s operations.
“Colton, what’s going on here?”
“We’re driving out the snakes.”
“We’re enlisting the help of the servants and gardeners to expel the snakes from the mansion. It was Lady Camilla’s command.”
“She told us to catch every single one of them so that none of them could crawl out again.”
The old butler’s face looked worn. I could understand his exhaustion, given how much Camilla fretted regarding matters related to Amoide.
“But, how are you managing to do it?”
“First, we set out nets to restrict the snakes’ movement, and then we lure them with snake berry juice. This is the easiest way to gather the snakes in one location.”
The gardeners were moving about, spraying some kind of liquid over the nets.
“It’s much easier to catch the snakes once they’re all gathered together.”
“I see. That makes sense.”
I nodded as a disturbance erupted on one side of the garden.
“They appear to have caught one.”
As Colton said, I could see the gardeners deftly catching a snake with a strong branch and placing it into a bag.
The snake’s massive body writhed in the air. I recalled the snake that had slid down my shoulder just a few days before. My skin crawled just thinking about that sensation.
“There might be some danger while we’re catching the snakes, so it would be best if you don’t come for walks in the garden for a while.”
“…Okay.” I answered, then turned my attention to the bag containing the snake.
The leather bag tossed fiercely as the snake inside continued to thrash about. I briskly moved on after watching it for a time.