Differences in the way beds are shared
Unknowingly, her jaw slightly dropped open.
The poverty was worse than she imagined.
Anna then became anxious at her dumbstruck look.
She seemed worried that she might have made a slip of the tongue.
“Pavel knows the details… Should I go get him right now?”
If it was Pavel, it was the butler whose name Anna had mentioned way too many times.
At the thought of meeting someone new, her timid heart began to pound wildly.
It could not be helped though, as it had always been her nature that way.
The maintenance of the castle was the responsibility of the mistress.
She was to call on the butler to take over the ledgers on the first day she got here.
However, the transference was delayed because she fainted.
If she were to postpone this any further, she would be labeled as a lazy lady who only knew of playing and eating.
In order to establish one’s position, a person must first get close to the employees.
These were the teachings of her late mother.
“Alright, I will meet the butler… No, NO!”
As she made up her mind and nodded seriously, she then immediately remembered her unsightly appearance and hurriedly waved her hands.
She got drunk and passed out last night, so she looked terrible at the moment.
She could not meet the butler like this.
“I think I need to take a bath first.”
“Ah, yes! That’s the first thing that needed to be done.
I shall prepare water for your bath right away!”
Anna jolted as if the thought had yet to crosse her still hazy mind from alcohol and hurried into the bathroom.
Perhaps because she was not that proficient in her work, there was a loud noise every time she moved, but her hands moved fast enough to quickly prepare a warm bath.
“I will help you wash up.”
I can do it myself.
Will you prepare a meal for me while I take a bath?”
After Anna left, she took off her clothes and submerged herself in the bathtub with warm water.
It felt like all the fatigue from the night before had completely disappeared.
When she saw Anna’s clumsiness, she didn’t expect much, but the water temperature was just right.
And even though it was a low-end product, she also prepared perfume for her bath.
However, as she tried to get out of the tub after her bath, a problem arose.
Perhaps Anna was so focused on preparing the water that she forgot to have a towel ready for her to wipe her body.
All it took was a pull on the string of the bellpull in order to call a maid.
Yet, as it had been mentioned, the bellpull in this room was broken.
That was the problem.
What should I do now?
Sitting in the bathtub, her eyes wandered around the room in boredom.
The water gradually cooled and her body became cold.
She might catch a cold if she stayed like that any longer.
She figured she should hurry and get out of the water.
As soon as she got up, the sound of door opening from the room outside was heard.
Has Anna brought the towel?
It was, by all means, a sensible guess, since Nadia and Anna were the only people who could come in and out of the baroness’ room comfortably.
However, it was not Anna who opened the door and entered.
Instead, a man whom she never thought would be there stood tall with his eyes wide open at her.
She froze at the sudden appearance as she was leaving the bathroom.
Altair also stood motionlessly briefly after opening the door, tending to enter the room.
It was as if time had stopped.
“My Lord, what are you doing? Are you not coming in?”
It was a familiar voice that broke the awkward silence.
It was the knight named Blan, who acted as the groom’s representative at the wedding.
As soon as she heard his voice, her head, which had been as blank as her body, was alerted of the situation at once.
She screamed and ran back into the bathroom, slamming the door behind her.
Her heart was thumping violently.
She worried that her heart might explode at this rate.
W-w-what-what do I do?!!
She was standing in front of Altair without a single piece of cloth on!
Her eyes twirled with surprise and embarrassment.
“Huh? Madame, did you just scream? What is the mat-..?!”
Blan’s surprised voice snapped at the same time as the ‘thump!’ sound was heard.
“Ugh, my lord! If you close the door so suddenly like that, I’ll bump into it and my face might get smashed, you know.”
“You just did and you’re just bluffing.”
“I am not exaggerating.
Do you think a knight is made of steel? I think my nose is broken.”
“If your nose breaks, then that’s good.
Stop whining and get lost.”
“But Madame’s scream inside…”
“I’ll take care of it.
Get out of here!”
The conversation ceased at Altair’s typically roar.
It seemed that Blan had no choice but to follow his command, and in an instant, the surroundings became quiet.
Still, her mind was buzzing.
What on earth was going on and how was she supposed to deal with this? Minutes later, her brain, which had failed to function for while due to the chaos, found the answer.
L-Let’s get dressed first!
Fortunately, the clothes she had taken off before entering the bathtub were still inside.
She quickly picked up her clothes while stealing glances at the tightly closed door.
She was in a hurry because it felt like Altair would open the door to the bathroom at any moment.
Contrary to her hastened mind, her hands did not quicken.
Her whole body was drenched, so she couldn’t get dressed as fast as she thought.
She could not tie the strings in the back by herself.
It’s not necessarily needed when undressing, but in order to put on this kind of clothes, the help of a maid was required in the first place.
While she tried to get dressed in haste, it was quiet outside the whole time.
Did Altair go back? But she didn’t hear the door open.
She took a deep breath, trying to calm her palpitating heart, and carefully opened the bathroom door.
Using the door as a shield, she quietly peeked her head out.
Altair was still standing at the entrance.
The only difference from before she ran into the bathroom was that he was hiding his face in his hands and had his head down.
“What the hell…”
Perhaps sensing her presence, Altair opened his mouth with his head still lowered.
“What the hell is wrong with you..? Why are you in that state?”
She choked up at the scolding tone, clutching the hem of her skirt.
He was the one who trespassed, so she should have been the one to feel embarrassed! It was her, not Altair, who should be reprimanding someone in this situation!
However, the protest that came out of his mouth was very timid, unlike his scolding.
“This is my room… I thought no one would come in… If you had given me a notice beforehand, this wouldn’t have happened.”
As she hesitantly and cautiously stated her opinion, Altair smirked and raised his head.
As soon as their eyes met, she could clearly sense her shoulders shaking.
Whenever he was angry, his face turned stone cold….like now.
“Then do I have to give a notice every time I go to this room?”
“Why do I have to send words every time I come to my room?”
“But… this is my room…”
The conversation took a strange turn.
Altair took a step closer to her, sweeping up his hair roughly, seemingly frustrated at her words.
“Since when did a married couple’s bedroom belong solely to the wife?”
“A married couple’s bedroom?”
It was the first time she had ever heard of it.
Could those two words be used in one sentence?
Her head went blank as she found it hard to comprehend his words.
“Then, ‘couple’s bedroom’ means…”
“This is your room, but it’s also my room.
It’s natural for a married couple to share a bedroom and a bed together.”
“I’ve never heard of such a thing before…”
A married couple slept in the same bed only on certain days.
On other days, it was a custom for capital aristocrats to spend the night in their own bedroom.
If a married couple shared a bedroom and the same bed every night, they would be criticised for being vulgar and undignified.
Sharing a bed every day, every night… That only happened between lovers.
“My parents always had separate bedrooms and all the other nobles…”
“Are you telling me that I have to be wary and avoid a woman at this age? And that woman is my wife?!”
When she saw Altair pinch his forehead as if he was in trouble, her shoulders shrank.
In the east, do married couples always share bedrooms like this?
She was aware that different religions had different customs.
However, it had never occurred to her that their cultures would be this distinct since they were from the same country.
Therefore, she didn’t think much about the marriage or moving to an unfamiliar place.
But to share a bedroom with her husband? More so, her husband, ‘the villain’ Altair? Her body was still wet since she couldn’t dry off properly, and her clothes were also a bit damp owing to that.
Upon remembering her embarrassing state, her body started to shiver.
Altair’s forehead crumpled, as if showing distaste.
The sight caused her shoulders to flinch.
Not knowing what to say, she lowered her head weakly and put all her strength onto her small, timid hand on the dress’ hem.
Just then, something heavy fell on her shoulders.
When she raised her head in surprise, she found her shoulders covered with a coat.
It was on Altair a while ago.
And Altair was…
‘Bang!’ – a sound of the door closing violently.
And with that, Altair’s figure disappeared.
Altair slammed the door harshly and bailed.
He had been walking across the hallway for a long time, as if he had to attend to something serious.
He suddenly stopped and buried his face in both of his hands.
“…This is insane.”
Altair’s ears were burning.
He let out a series of deep sighs.
Even if he tried not to think about it, the scene he saw as soon as he opened the door stayed stuck in his head.
Her gentle scent was so pleasant.
How would he be able to wipe it out of his mind now?
When he thought of Nadia with her head bowed and her small shoulders trembling in front of him, he couldn’t help but feel the heat rising within him.
In front of Nadia, he desperately tried to be patient and act all gallant by covering her with his coat, but he almost inadvertently touched her.
Recalling that moment again, Altair involuntarily gripped his forearm.
However, unlike Nadia’s body, which looked white and soft, his arms were muscular and as hard as rocks.
Snap out of it, Altair Aylesford!
Altair bit his lip and shut his eyes tiredly.
He began singing the Imperial Army anthem in his head.
Only after singing three times from the beginning to the end, was he able to regain his composure.
He took one last deep breath and opened his tightly closed eyes.
He made eye contact with Pavel, who was looking at him, dumbfounded.
“…My eyes are not seeing things, right, my lord?”
Pavel’s skeptical eyes swept Altair from head to toes, as if he had just seen something bizarre.
“There’s a lot of weird stuff going on today.
Blan’s nose was broken and he was bleeding.
And my lord is standing in the hallway like a madman.”
“I was just standing here.
What’s weird about that?”
Altair coughed awkwardly a couple of times trying to ignore Pavel’s piercing gaze, who seemed to have a lot to say.
Pavel was holding a pile of documents in both hands, so he quickly changed the topic.
“What’s all that?”
“These are the estate records from the past three years.
I was about to give them to the Madame, since she will now be in charge of managing the castle.”
“She will manage it?”
Originally, it was a given that it was the Madame’s job to manage the castle.
Regardless, Altair doubted that the little, frail woman, who fainted from fatigue, would be able to do that job.
“If you can’t do it, don’t pass it on to her.
I’ll try instead and do it myself with little help at times.”
“She’s from the Vine Marquis household, one of the most prestigious families in the Empire, so she should be a lot more capable of doing this than I am.”
“What? Someone like her?”
Altair frowned and lightly tapped Pavel’s shoulder at the words that contained a hint of discrimination regarding her origins.
In most cases, the butler that managed the internal affairs of the castle usually came from a family that passed down the position from generation to generation.
However, Pavel was a commoner with no lineage or experience.
“Don’t use strange things as your reasons.
Do you think that I don’t know you’re making excuses because you don’t want to add on to your work?”
“Oh, I got caught.
That’s too bad.”
Pavel sighed exasperatedly as he shrugged.
“Then I will be on my way to see the Madame now.
As my Lord said, I shouldn’t use strange excuses to laze around.
We need to fix the string on the bellpull, it’s been procrastinated way too long.”
Altair hastily stopped Pavel, who was about to move.
While trying to find the right words to explain, Altair’s face grew hot as he remembered that image again.
He balled his fists and clenched his teeth, to erase his thoughts.
“In any case, no.
Go see her in an hour-… no, two hours.”
You know that you’ve been acting suspiciously for a while now, right?”
Pavel narrowed his eyes at Altair.
Sure enough, the Lord was very different from usual.
Did something happen between him and the Madame?
Altair’s sigh reached Pavel’s ear, who was being pensive.
“And make up a room.
So I can get some sleep.”
“A room? Are there any guests coming?”
Altair’s personal relationships were very scarce, so it was very rare for guests to visit.
“Just clean it up as I told you to.”
“What kind of coercion is that…”
“I don’t have the energy to argue with you.
Get the hell out of here.
Don’t forget to be back in three hours.”
“Yes? You just said to come in two hours…”
Did I say that?
Altair, who pondered for a moment, frowned and opened his mouth again.
“…then make it six hours.”
“WHAT? Six hours?! Why did the delay time extend again, My Lord?”
“Two multiplied by three is six.”
“No, what nonsense is that…My Lord? My Lord!”
Pavel, who was not convinced by his order, called after Altair at the top of his lungs.
But Altair continued to walk down the hallway without looking back.
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