“Mm…”

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It was a while before I opened my eyes and was greeted by an unfamiliar ceiling.
My heart stopped beating for a second.
Only for a second.

“Right.
I’m married.”

After remembering the situation that I was currently in, I sighed and lay down again.
Judging from the quiet surroundings and cool air against my skin, it was morning.

“I’m still alive.”

My life, which I thought would end last night, continued.
I don’t know how far I’ll get.
My stomach rumbled.

“I’m hungry.” I jumped out of bed.
“It’s been a while since I had a decent meal.”

Was it because I was about to die? I skipped breakfast and lunch yesterday because I had no appetite.
I also skipped dinner because I was so tired that I forgot my hunger.
Was it the feeling of being alive that made me famished?

“Who’d have known I’d be starving before my husband kills me.”

I couldn’t help it; I had no choice but to find something to eat.
I strode to the closet.

“If I go to the kitchen, I’ll get some stale bread.
Milk if I’m lucky.”

I didn’t even want warm soup or fresh fruit.
I didn’t care as long as it was enough to fill my stomach.
I opened the closet door and…

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“What is this?” Yesterday when I checked out the room, I just gave it a glance, but with sunlight pouring in from the window, it was more extravagant to see.
“Why do I have so many clothes?”

The closet was packed with dresses of the highest quality.
“None of them suit my taste.” I prefer simple designs, so I felt these were too flamboyant.
How long have they been there? “Oh, maybe they aren’t mine.”

No wonder this room had too many clothes just for one person.
Regardless of whether or not there were enough dresses for each season, I didn’t think I was the right person to feel the affection in every piece of clothing.

“Do you have a secret lover? Unsurprising.” I quickly closed the closet door.
If these clothes do belong to my husband’s lover, I can’t use them.
It’s fine, I didn’t like them anyway.

I opened the drawer and found it contained simpler clothes.
These must belong to me.
“The fabric is quite soft.” There wasn’t a corset, and I liked its design.

After changing my clothes, I left the room.
“There’s no one here…”

It was quiet outside.
Only late last night did I hear a murmur outside the door.
Because it was still dawn, I didn’t even see anyone.
This was an opportunity.
“Where’s the kitchen?”

When I first entered this place, I instinctively stepped back, recalling the smoke coming out from the right side of the castle.
I was nervous about encountering other humans along the way, but fortunately, the castle was silent as if someone cast a spell on it.

“Ella?”

I stopped in my tracks at the sound of an echoing voice from the hallway.
I knew who it was without having to look back.
There was only one person who would call me by my name despite the fact that I was a witch.

“What are you doing here?”

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As expected, as soon as I turned my head, dark blue eyes were right in front of me.
Who was it? Obviously, it was my husband who signed that hundred-year contract of “peace”.
Crap, I didn’t expect him to be the first person I meet.
Rather than feel welcomed, I was unexpectedly irritated.
Humans who were reluctant to treat witches as monsters were awful, but being treated so casually wasn’t great either.

“You’ve been busy since you woke up, huh?”

“I’m a bit of a hard worker.” Lukas shrugged, but he said those words with pride.

My question was about where he went.
I sighed and stared at him.
Seeing he was wearing a light gray dress shirt and pants while holding a longsword, I assumed he must have been training.
Only then did the rumor that he was the strongest knight, the Black Reaper, feel real.

“Are you afraid of swords?”

“Shouldn’t everyone be scared of them?” I asked.

“It’s just a sword.”

“You never know when a sword will slice my throat open.”

Lukas tilted his head as he glanced at the sword in his hand.
Then he looked at me with his beautiful, blue eyes.
“This sword will protect you.”

“A human protecting a witch?” Hahaha, I couldn’t help but laugh.
“What a joke!”

If he plans to hunt me down himself, then sure, he’ll protect me.

“I don’t think that’s something a husband who strangled his wife on their first night would say.” Didn’t he have a history of threatening my life already? Of course, I said it to reaffirm something.
I refused to believe his words right away.
In order to spend the next year together comfortably, it was best to keep an appropriate amount of distance.

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“Ah, are you disappointed? You wanted more, but I ended up not meeting your expectations.
Am I correct?”

“…”

“Shall we try again tonight?” He narrowed the distance between us instantly.

“No thanks!” Is he insane? I turned around and started to walk.
It was awful.
I spent my energy on useless things, and my stomach was crying for food.
It didn’t have to be stale bread, but I had to chew something.
“I have my own business to take care of, so why don’t you and that sword go back to training?”

I began to walk faster.
No, I had to walk faster.

“Wait.”

Damn it.
He caught up to me instantly with his long legs and grabbed my arm.
Suddenly, I remembered that last night he was touching my sleeping face.

“Since I forgot to tell you yesterday, you should be more vigilant.”

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“I’m a witch.”

People run away in fear, hoping not to make eye contact with me, even if it was by mistake.
Meanwhile, this husband of mine approached me without a hint of wariness.
To be honest, I don’t know how to deal with this kind of person because I never met anyone like him before.
It’d be better if he viewed me as a monster like everyone else…

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“You can’t use magic here.”

“…”

“I will consider this a victory.” My husband knew how to deal with witches.
“In any case, I shouldn’t be the one who needs to stay vigilant.”

“Excuse me?” I stared at him.

“Have you been walking around the castle like this? Please tell me you haven’t, Ella.”

What was wrong with my appearance? I liked this short, light pink dress.
There weren’t any excessive frills, and it was easy to move around in since it didn’t trail on the ground.
If there’s a problem, it’d be how it’s too plain for a noblewoman to wear, right?

“Are you saying you dislike my current outfit?” I recalled the dresses in the closet.
If those were what he preferred, I understood the meaning behind his question.
But you know what? “We may be allies for now, but I’m not your doll.”

If controlling what I wear was a means to show humans can tame the monster called a witch, I planned to stop that right now.

He laughed.
“No, no.
What my wife is wearing right now suits my taste.” He sighed and twirled a lock of my hair around his finger.
“I was worried that you were embarrassed, so I didn’t say anything.
However…”

Lukas whispered, “My dear.”

“…”

“You’re wearing an undergarment.”

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