For a moment, Tessa’s face brightened, and her heart pounded.
She made it herself, but so she was even more unsure of the taste of the cookies.
It was also uglier than that of the Marchioness’ that she saw when they had baked together.
But knowing that Hert found it delicious made her feel better.
All the cookies were spilled out, but she seemed to be rewarded.
“But why did you make so many You don’t even touch the sweets.”
Hert asked, wiping the crumbs from his lips with his fingertips.
The last words almost sounded like a grunt.
“Janet and Mani…”
“You have too many cookies for the two of them.”
Hert responded by looking at the cookies left in the basket and the cookies scattered on the floor.
Tessa hesitated for a moment, then bowed her head obliquely.
“That… And, in return for sweets…”
Hert turned to Tessa.
She kept her head down, her face blushing.
Seeing this, Hert let out a small sigh and looked back at the basket in his hand.
So this was in return for the sweets he gave.
Unknowingly, the corners of his lips were rising.
But Hert struggled to school his features.
“This doesn’t count.”
“Bake it again, properly.
Even the packaging.”
Hert said firmly, picking up another cookie from the basket and putting it in her mouth.
The cookies he ate this time seemed a little sweeter than before.
* * *
Sitting in her wheelchair, Elena looked from the spire as the man and woman slowly moved away.
It was fortunate that the atmosphere between the two of them seemed better than expected.
Elena turned her wheelchair and steered herself in front of the table.
There, the maid was preparing a piece of paper and a quill for a letter.
“The two look good together, don’t you think”
Elena, having naturally received the quill from the maid, asked as she sat down in front of the paper. Yes. The maid nodded her head lightly, took the sealing wax from the brown bag and placed it on top of the glass bowl.
The wax began to slowly melt into the preheated glass bowl.
“I wish we could keep it like this.”
“Don’t worry, the two will be fine.”
“Yes… Only then will this little peace last long.”
Elena began to write on the letter paper with her flowing cursive.
There was nothing in the place where the recipient’s name should have been, but they both knew who it would be sent to.
Because sending letters had been a constant thing since a year before they first met.
“It’s not long before I part with you.”
The maid silently stirred the melted wax with a small spoon.
Elena continued her words, not minding the maid for not answering her.
“Thank you for that.
I was able to come this far because of you.
Now back to the castle…”
Because there are many eyes to see in the castle.”
Elena, who had written the last sentence, looked at the maid.
The maid, as always, looked down at her with a dull expression.
“Didn’t you filter out all the spies”
“They will come back soon.
It’s best to just let go of Marquisate Jutert.
He can’t block everyone no matter how much he tries to block them.
I have done something before.
The spies will slowly come in, one by one.
So you have to be careful.”
Up until now, under the protection of Marquis Borwen, things had been done as quietly as possible, but in the end, there were bound to be limitations.
In acquiring this large estate, there was inevitably a noise.
One of the great noble families in the country was cut off due to a battle for territory.
The Marquis’ opposing forces in the royal capital were not the ones to stand by and watch.
The heads of some factions must have started making moves after hearing about the Jutert territory.
If they leave it like this, they will be giving the marquis more power.
Therefore, it was time to maintain the defensive line from now on.
“The master must have prepared everything, but there are always exceptions.
You have to consider that exception.
I will try to filter it from the side as much as possible.
“I know, I understand.
I will be careful.”
“Still, it’s best to stick with her as much as possible.”
The maid took the letter, which Elena had folded into an envelope, and poured wax on it.
When the wax was pressed into the seal, a pattern formed, sealing the letter.
She looked down at the letter in the maid’s hand that might be the last, and said this time again, bluntly.
“Use that girl if you need to.”
* * *
The two did not return to the castle immediately.
Because Hert led Tessa’s horse to another place.
Where were they going Tessa took turns looking at the castle, which was getting farther away than before, and Hert.
She gulped quietly.
Moreover, it was questionable that he had come to her even though it was not dinner time.
Was he planning to do something with her
Hert stopped the horse only after he had reached the entrance to the forest.
Tessa stared at the sparsely populated path leading into the forest.
Why were they here… But before she could utter a question, Hert grabbed her and lowered her down.
Hert said quietly to Tessa, who didn’t understand anything.
“The doctor said that walking is good for you.”
Here. Hert held out his hand to Tessa telling her to hold it.
But Tessa did not readily grab the man’s hand and just stared at him.
Seeing that, Hert felt uncomfortable on one side.
She used to come first and grab hold of it even if he didn’t bring it out…
If you fall, you and I will get in trouble.”
Hert led the woman’s hand who reluctantly took his hand with strength.
As the small and delicate hand slipped into the palm of his hand, his uncomfortable heart was relieved.
Ever since he found out that Tessa had been abused, he had to touch her skin somewhere even when she was by his side.
‘I still don’t know what I’m thinking…’
Hert looked at Tessa, who barely reached his chest.
The bright girl was gone, and there was only a poorly emaciated woman in front of him.
He himself has changed quite a bit after rolling in the mud in the past seven years, but Tessa could be said to be a completely different person except for her looks.
Because of that, he couldn’t take his eyes off her in a different sense than before.
‘Is this what it feels like to leave a child by the stream’
Hert took a deep breath.
“I’ve been thinking.”
Hert suddenly pulled Tessa towards him.
Tessa looked up at Hert from a distance where her nose could reach him with just a little movement.
His face seemed to have sunk a little.
“You and I need to talk.”
Tessa breathed in at the man’s straight gaze.
Talk… What conversation to have with the traitor Has he still not given up hearing the reason for his betrayal
Tessa’s body slowly hardened, and her head bowed down.
Then, at Hert’s next words, she stopped.
“Why didn’t you tell me”
“You were beaten by that bastard.
The wounds on your back.
It wasn’t your fault, so you should have told me.”
Tessa’s mouth, which was half open, was closed again.
Tessa didn’t say anything.
Her throat was suddenly tight.
Her heart pounded wildly as the words “beaten” and “wound on the back” came out of Hert’s mouth.
She felt a tingling sensation in the wounds and scars on her back that she had forgotten for a moment.
‘I just wanted you to pretend you didn’t know…’
Tessa wanted Hert to ignore her past abuse and move on.
At the very least, she always wished he hadn’t brought it up in front of her.
There were many reasons Hert would probably sympathize with her, and Tessa hated it.
Because it was not right to give sympathy to the traitor.
She also felt like a nuisance to Hert.
The sixth wife was abused by the Young Marquis in this Jutert castle, and everyone kept quiet about it.
No one here said aloud that she was being abused.
If they said it out loud, they would admit to the shameful act of the son beating his father’s wife.
Of course, it’s not like everyone had their eyes closed to it, but the difference between admitting it directly and not admitting it was clear.
In particular, Marquis Jutert valued dignity, so everyone in the castle tried to cover up Tessa’s situation by pretending not to know.
Tessa, too, shut her mouth to the fact that she had been brutally abused by the Young Marquis.
It was funny how… when she didn’t say it out loud, it really felt like nothing had happened.
Tessa, too, behaved like someone who had never been abused during days that the Young Marquis did not hit her.
In fact, it would have been difficult to stay sane if she didn’t think like this.
It was a little semblance of tranquility that she had achieved in her own way.
So Tessa hoped that Hert wouldn’t even talk about it either.
The moment he mentioned it out loud, the pitiful peace would be shattered, and Tessa Jutert becomes “a traitor and, at the same time, a foolishly abused bitch.”
This too was a cover-up, but Tessa didn’t want to reveal her bottom completely to Hert.
If he asked her why didn’t she tell him…
At that moment, hallucinations began to come from a distant place.
Tessa felt her heart swell together with her whole body and took a step backwards.
A large shadow of a man covered her trembling body.
“If you had just spoken in the first place, I wouldn’t have treated you that way.
I would have been more considerate than I was back then.”
“Actually, I still can’t believe you betrayed me.
So, even now, tell me honestly.
“Let me go, let me go.”
Eventually, Tessa couldn’t stand it and shook her body, trying to get her hand out of his grip.
It looked like tears were about to fall.