“My dear, no matter how comfortable you may feel, you mustn’t go out wearing an undergarment.”
“You’ll catch everyone’s attention.”
As I tormented the fruit on my plate with a fork, I glared at my chuckling husband who was teasing me.
“Don’t call me ‘my dear’.”
“Then what shall I call you?”
“‘Wicked Witch’ has a nice ring to it.
‘Monster’ is fine too.” People often call me a monster.
Lukas shook his head.
“Your appearance doesn’t befit either of those.”
While I was in a dilemma because I didn’t know how to act accordingly in this situation, he was very relaxed.
“…Why don’t you care?”
“I’m a witch, and you’re a human!” Unable to stand it, I shot up from my seat and slammed the table.
The tableware shook.
Nevertheless, he remained unfazed.
“Even if I can’t use magic, I’m a witch.
A couple of months ago we were at each other’s throats.” It was impossible to feel comfortable when two enemies were in the same room.
Even though the humans promised to form an alliance, they’re especially good at lying.
I was annoyed.
“You’re my wife,” he said.
“Only for a year.”
“No one knows what happens in the future.”
“So, it will end before a year passes, right?”
“It might go in a different direction.”
A different direction? Wait, what do you mean in a different direction? Ugh.
Well, a year feels like a long way off.
“I would like to address you as ‘my dear’.
I also don’t mind if you give me a pet name.”
“I’m sorry, but I’m not going to play house.” I planned to get along with him to a certain extent, but pet names were a different matter.
“It seems we aren’t on the same page.
I’m here to be a loving husband to my wife.”
“…Aren’t you here because you made a deal with your human emperor?”
It was said he had something to gain from this marriage, but now he was answering vaguely.
This didn’t help.
“You’re free to play with other women,” I said.
“I have no plans to do such a thing.”
“Don’t you have a lover?” I thought a lot of girls would like the duke because he was young.
Oh, perhaps it has to do with his personality.
I recalled the words of the soldier who escorted me here.
“My lord is a knight who lived on the battlefield since he was young.
He can be very violent.”
With how good Lukas’s background was, there should be a woman in his life.
Yet he married a witch.
Something was off.
“Everyone else runs away and screams when they see me.
They curse their luck.
Others start crying,” I said.
“Do you wish for me to do the same?”
“At the very least you shouldn’t call me ‘my dear’.”
“This marriage has to be a successful one.”
“You don’t have to be so nice.”
“Am I being nice to you?” he asked.
Why is he leading the conversation in that direction? His treatment wasn’t even close to being considerate, but it was better than the attitudes of other humans.
“A soldier told me what kind of person you are.”
“I’m certain he said I was a good man.”
“Not exactly.” On the contrary, it was the complete opposite.
“I heard you were a very violent person.”
He’ll have his mouth sewn shut for slandering a member of the royal family.”
I could sense the sincerity in his words.
I decided to change the subject before he found out who the soldier was.
“Usually, humans are eager to kill witches.”
“That’s to be expected for a normal human.”
“You don’t consider yourself normal?”
“I am quite fond of witches.”
“I like witches,” he said.
“Why are you so surprised?”
“I’ve seen plenty of humans who hate witches, but I’ve never seen a man who likes them.”
At a glance, humans were divided into groups that either want to coexist with witches or hunt them down.
Many don’t want to live peacefully with us, including a majority of nobles in the capital.
What was the chance my husband belonged to the other group?
“Are you a warlock?”
“But you said you liked us… Oh, you’re one of those fanatics, aren’t you?”
There was a group of humans who wanted to be witches.
They often wandered around in search of Kartelle.
There were also humans who thought witches were superior to humans; the Edelin Empire treated them as dangerous.
“I’m not,” he answered.
“That’s good to hear.” It would’ve been a disaster for the empire and myself if the duke was part of those extremist groups.
“Hmm… Are you an alchemist?”
Lukas grinned as if I just said something amusing.
“It appears you aren’t aware.
That’s a very impolite question.”
“Yes, you cannot just ask someone if he’s an alchemist all of a sudden.”
“I’ll be careful in the future.”
While he nodded, he didn’t answer my question.
Alchemists were scholars who study the power of witches because there wasn’t anything equivalent to magic in the human world.
Many alchemists were eccentric people.
Let’s return to the main topic of our discussion.
“Then what are you?”
“Am I not your husband?”
“I was hoping you’d give me an actual answer.
Why do you like witches?”
His response will determine whether I can trust him or not.
I tapped my finger on the table to show my impatience.
How long was he going to look like he was deep in thought?
“I owe my life to a witch.”
“…What did you just say?”
“I received the help of a witch.”
“When? Where?” I questioned.
“A long time ago, in the Ruberus Woods.”
It was a place where the entrance to Kartelle was hidden.
Humans knew of the door’s existence, but not a single person crossed the barrier.
The entrance to Kartelle changed locations when someone without magic entered the forest.
Humans called Ruberus Woods the “Forest of Labyrinths” for this reason.
“I’m merely repaying a favor,” Lukas said.
His steady gaze didn’t reveal he was lying.
I didn’t know why it felt like that.
Should I believe him? Was it worth taking the risk? As my conflicted feelings raged on, the door to the dining room opened.
Maids carrying trays filled with food appeared.
One was surprised as soon as our eyes met, and she nearly dropped the bowl she was holding.
I silently took a sip of water, pretending nothing happened.
Yes, that was the reaction of a normal human.
My husband was a strange man.
I spoke after they left.
“I believe you,” I said.
“Isn’t there another way to repay a favor without doing something at your expense? I wonder what the emperor offered up in exchange.”
“I don’t recall ever sacrificing myself.
Let me make that clear.”
“Haven’t you seen the way people look at you?”
I remembered what I heard on my way here.
Each time the carriage passed through a village, they all said the same thing.
The people felt bad for their duke becoming a victim, but the victim himself didn’t even know he was a sacrifice.
“I do pity my current circumstances.” He nodded and sighed.
“My wife walks around in her undergarments.
My woes as a husband never end.”
“…If you bring that up one more time, this fork won’t end up back in its drawer.”
Shut up, I’ve been trying to forget about what happened earlier.
Thankfully, he reminded me how annoying of a husband he was.
I’d rather think you’ve gone mad regardless.”
I’m the crazy person? Me? I gave up.
Sure, I could respond with a witty remark, but it wouldn’t hurt to understand how humans think, how he thinks.
I had nothing else to do.
“These clothes are comfortable.” I took the initiative in case he wanted to discuss my outfit again.
I made a fuss about changing my clothes, but he insisted it was fine; I remained in my undergarment.
It was embarrassing to be teased at first, yet now I was used to it.
The clothes here compared to Kartelle were different.
The outfit I was wearing now was closer to the one I’d wear in Kartelle.
“Are you going to wear that all the time?”
“It’s convenient for me.”
His expression changed slightly.
I told him the clothes in my closet weren’t good.
I also said that I thought they were for someone else.
“I planned to look the other way until you were more comfortable here.”
That was a good idea.
“However, you must live like us.”
“We have to start with etiquette lessons.
You’ll see a duke’s wife is expected to wear heavy dresses.”
“Once you learn about our history and how a noblewoman conducts herself—”
“Wait!” I felt the big picture was being completed without me.
“Learn how to live like a human? Are you serious?” I hoped it was a joke.
“I shall not treat you as a witch, but as my wife.
Everyone in this castle will respect you.”
“You’ve called me ‘my dear’…”
“I am not talking about that.” He shook his head and gave me a small smile.
“I will make you a duchess, Lukas Havel’s wife who manages the household.”
I was speechless.
Since he was a duke, it made sense that his wife had the title of duchess; however, I was a noblewoman only in name.
No one was foolish enough to give a witch the power of a duchess.
“Eleanor Havel, the Duchess of Havel.
Hmm, Duchess Havel has a nice ring to it.”
Humans and witches could never get along.
Before I knew it, he approached me, grabbed my hand, and kissed the back of it.
“Good morning, my lady.”
“Shall we begin?”
Honestly, I wanted to say ‘no’.
“…Please allow me to get dressed properly.”
“Oh, I’m afraid it’s too late for that.”
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