Sick Husband's Contract Wife - Chapter 45
I was ready to yell in frustration when I stopped myself. He had a peculiar expression on his face, neither smiling nor frowning.
“Anyway, thank you.”
Helping is one thing; being appreciative is another.
‘How can he be undermining my gratitude?’
It struck me as quite the skill. Why would someone be so cynical to someone who is truly appreciative to them?
“…Why did you help me?”
Curiosity got the best of me, and I couldn’t help but ask.
“I just didn’t want to deal with any trouble.”
He answered succinctly.
“Why do you have so many enemies?”
“Enemies? What do you mean?”
I was too taken aback to respond.
“When you disappeared, people were more suspicious than worried.”
What he stated was true. It was almost sad how truthful that was.
‘Now that I hear it from him, it does make more sense.’
When someone goes missing in the middle of the night, people should be concerned rather than suspicious. Unless, of course, someone is plotting and influencing things behind the scenes.
“I can’t help it.”
I talked in a hushed tone.
“In this home, I am nothing. My circumstance is quite distinct from yours.”
I could feel his eyes scan me as he peered at me silently from the darkness.
He turned suddenly and paced across the floor, ripping open the bedroom curtains. The morning light was so dazzling that I had to cover my face with my hands.
“If you’re done here, you should go.”
It was an unequivocal rejection. I fumbled and opened the door, but I didn’t fail to notice his frigid eyes looking at me from across the room.
“Take care, then.”
“Good morning, Duchess.”
A voice from behind shocked me as soon as I opened the door. I turned around and Emma was looking down at me, her face chubby.
“Did you spend the night here?”
I tensed my body to avoid cowering under her piercing eyes and returned her stare.
“You two were…”
“No, of course not.”
“But, we are married.”
I brushed past her and continued walking.
I sighed deeply only when I had passed Emma by a significant distance.
‘Is it all in my head?’
I had to dodge a slew of inquisitive stares on my walk back to my room from the main building.
‘Rumors have circulated once more…’
The mansion, no matter how large, appeared incapable of keeping up with the rate at which rumors circulated.
I flopped down onto the large sofa, even turning down Rona’s offer of assistance. My muscles hurt from battling all night; first the snake, then the impromptu carriage ride, then the situation with Amoide. My muscles, which had remained stiff ever since the battle with the snake, appeared to finally be relaxing.
<I looked around the room to see if there were any other snakes.>
A servant I encountered before entering the room had remarked.
They searched my room when I was not there and without my permission. I couldn’t help but scoff.
In this mansion. In reality, keeping one was conceivable. The mansion was enormous, and there were several other buildings, not to mention all of the rooms. One or two snakes could probably be kept hidden in a room quite easily.
‘But who would put a snake in my chamber…’
I suddenly remembered what happened when the snake emerged yesterday. Greta’s embarrassed expression as she avoided my eyes weighed on my mind.
‘That can’t be right.’
My hand trembled. It didn’t appear likely that Greta was the one concealing and nurturing a snake. But if it wasn’t Greta, who was it?
I’d have to search every room in the home to find out. Even though some of the rooms belonged to the staff, I was hesitant to dig through them.
Greta was the person who had the biggest animosity towards me right now.
<Usually, the person with the most money has the most say. But she must be furious since she can’t touch the kitchen budget anymore.>
Jean’s remarks made perfect sense. The more one tastes power, the less ready they are to give it up.
I rose from the sofa.
<Why do you have so many enemies?>
Amoide’s remarks were enough to jolt my placid heart. I had simply desired to live quietly for an indefinite period of time but my plan to live safely until I left this home was unraveling.
I couldn’t adequately probe Greta as long as she had complete control over the domestic operations.
So, “Then let’s start taking away that power right now.”
* * *
“You asked to see me first?”
Camilla stared at me with a puzzled expression.
“I asked to see you today because I have an important matter to discuss.”
With a solemn expression, I spoke to Camilla.
“Is this a serious matter?”
“Yes. Concerning the situation that occurred yesterday.”
Camilla frowned, as though the very thought of the snake was awful.
“How come there are so many snakes? I’ve clearly said that precautions be made so that they don’t crawl near Amoide’s quarters.”
Last night, though, I was the one almost bitten by a snake. Once again, I had to hold my tongue.
“Yes, and I have something important I wanted to discuss as well.”
“What is it?”
I looked at Camilla, feeling something foreboding rising. What is she going to say that is making the air so cold all of a sudden?
“Don’t we all know Amoide has a fragile constitution?”
“There were more than one or two pairs of eyes who saw you leaving Amoide’s room!”
Why is the conversation now going in a completely different direction?
I stuttered awkwardly with my mouth open.
“I told you to be careful! You should preserve your energy for the predicted night! It promotes fertility!”
I felt myself retreating into my chair as her words continued on in enthusiasm. I felt a few drops of her spit strike my face at her explosive fervour.
“What are you going to do if Amoide collapses from overexertion?”
“I was scared after the situation with the snake.”
I answered quietly.
“What did you say?”
“Because I was so afraid from the snake incident, he told me to stay with him. I had just meant to do that, but…”
As though I were in immense agony, I let out a long sigh.
Camilla seemed appalled.
“But don’t worry, Mother. Isn’t that an indication that Amoide’s health is swiftly improving?”
“If a snake doesn’t eat a mouse that is running in front of it, it means it’s seriously ill somewhere, right?”
Did I just compare myself to a mouse?
I felt as if I had humiliated myself after saying it, but no other animal had come to mind.
“As a result, this should be interpreted positively.”
Camilla’s expression changed from mistrust to reluctant acceptance.
I enthusiastically nodded.
“Indeed, he’s getting healthier.”
Camilla’s face brightened and softened in response to my comments.
“Hmm… However, too frequently is not a good thing. Regardless of how much Amoide’s vitality has increased.”
“I suppose so.”
I’d never be able to tell you about his vigour anyways.
“But, weren’t you trying to say something earlier?”
Camilla unexpectedly inquired about what I wanted to speak to her about when I came in to see her initially.
“Ah, the thing is.”
I exhaled deeply and brought up the main topic.
“Last night, as you know, a snake appeared in my bedroom.”
“And? What’s the problem? If you haven’t been bitten, everything is fine, isn’t it?”
“Well, there’s more to it than that.”
I exhaled a long breath.
“You’ve already exterminated the snakes in the garden. The snakes outside the building were all eliminated thanks to Colton’s care.”
“Maid Greta is in charge of what happens inside the mansion.”
I maintained my cool.
“This is something Greta must take responsibility for. Isn’t she the one in charge of the mansion’s security?”
Camilla couldn’t say anything else, most likely because she had nothing to rebut.
“What is it that you’re getting at, exactly?”
“Just as I said. I could have been in a lot of trouble, surely? Mother.”
It was definitely shocking that she didn’t worry at all about my safety, despite the fact that I was her only chance of having a successor. I had never expected anything from her in the first place, but it was a bittersweet confirmation.
“Despite the fact that you brought me here on a contract, I’m the one who will bear Amoide’s child. In other words, my body is a valuable asset.”
Words poured out of me like unhindered water.
“I demand Greta’s punishment.”
“Pardon me, you would like what from Greta?”
“Punishment. Because she did not carry out her responsibilities adequately.”
“What kind of punishment?”
“Temporary dismissal from the head maid position.”
Camilla’s displeasure was palpable.
“Don’t ever mess with Greta.”
Camilla scowled, as if I had irritated her. I anticipated it would be like this, but her trust and passion for Greta were beyond my expectations.
“I know Greta is a maid who was brought from your maternal family,” I said, feeling envious that Greta had a master who trusted her so much.
“Perhaps it was because of this that the other maids found it difficult to oppose her. Were you aware of that?”
“On top of that, she frequently made things difficult for the chef, who should have always had his own distinct authority in the kitchen. I believe she has been exceeding her authority.”
Camilla listened to my remarks quietly.