The End of Your Arrogance - Chapter 3.1
Evelyn suffered all through the night. It was late when her eyes fluttered open. The man sitting in the small chair by her bedside sighed and looked at her.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
She was about to respond but only a hoarse croak came out of her mouth. She nodded.
“I… lost control last night. I will restrain myself from now on.”
The doctor and the maids, who were standing behind him, blushed at the Archduke’s words. She was relieved. It was a success. She felt like she was finally regaining her energy. She hesitated before grabbing her husband’s hand. He raised his eyebrows but didn’t push her hands away.
With her fingers she spelled out a word because she was still having a hard time talking. H-U-N-G-R-Y
Evelyn looked up at him. He looked relaxed and she knew he had slept soundly for the first time in his life. She also realized that he had been feeling guilty over what transpired last night and he had stayed by her bedside and looked after her all day.
Evelyn was certain that for a few days, he would be generous towards her. Ilya grinned at her as he instructed the maid standing behind him. “Bring her some food. Something she can eat easily.”
Something big was going to happen, Evelyn needed her strength. She hadn’t mentioned the conditions of their deal yet. She hadn’t intended to bleed to unconsciousness, after all.
Moments later, the room filled with the delicious aroma of food as the maids brought them in. Trays of food heaped with warm potato soup, soft bread, fruit juice and the like.
Evelyn couldn’t even lift her hands because of weakness so the maids tended to her. “My Lady, let me get a spoon for you. Please be careful, it’s hot.”
The maid lifted a spoonful of soup to Evelyn’s mouth. The soup was delicious. The tasty soup lingered in her mouth.
The maid urged her to open her mouth for another spoonful with a gentle smile. Evelyn had never thought that these people could be kind like this. She felt saddened and lowered her eyes.
The maid cut a small piece of bread and placed it in Evelyn’s mouth. The buttery bread was really soft. The bread she ate in the annex building was hard as a stone… and sometimes had mold on it.
“Everyone will think you’re starving,” said Ilya as he watched her eat.
She ignored him and continued eating. Will I be given delicious food from now on since he needs me?
After she was done eating, she lifted her gaze and looked at her husband. Ilya sat up straighter as the doctor and the maids backed away into the room.
“Tell me about this deal of yours,” said Ilya. “I, too, must keep my end of the promise.”
Evelyn cleared her throat. She took a deep breath. She coughed several times. It was so difficult to make a sound. “There are two conditions. First…,” she began. Her eyes shone in the light. “Kill all the men of Maduse family.”
Ilya thought he had heard her incorrectly. He hadn’t expected such brutal words to come out of such a demure-looking woman. He had come here thinking that, at most, she would beg him not to throw her out with her child. He now looked at the woman in front of him more carefully.
“Kill them? Your father and your brother, too?”
“Yes. They have crossed the limits of my tolerance.”
“May I ask why?”
“They pose a threat to me and my child.” She smiled bitterly. She couldn’t tell him the whole thing. She didn’t know if he would even care. If you divorce me, I will be sold to some old pervert. I will be violated by him until the day I die! And they will torture my son! I cannot let that happen. As long as men in the Maduse family are alive, they will always find a reason to exploit me and my son. It will only end by their deaths.
Evelyn tried to compose herself and to hide the overwhelming anger and pain she felt. “I can double as a spy. I can do it,” she said in a trembling voice.
Ilya was perplexed. But he nodded. “I accept your first condition. I wanted to kill them anyway.”
“What’s your second condition?” he asked.
“You cannot divorce me until the whole of Maduse family is exterminated. We can only part ways when my vengeance, and yours, is settled.”
Divorce. He had wanted to divorce her. His mood darkened at the word. “So, you want to demand a lot of alimony by dragging this out, is that it?” he asked in a cold, sharp voice.
“No,” she said weakly. “When we divorce and part ways, just let me take my son and leave. I will not demand anything more and never bother you. We will go somewhere far away and you will never have any trouble from us.”
Ilya was even more confused. Her second condition was even more unexpected. “How can a woman like you, who hasn’t ever known hardship in her life, raise a child alone?”
Evelyn smiled sadly and assured him that she was capable of making her own way for her child. “You won’t admit this… but our son is the eldest child of the Ajauntice family. If you take another wife and have another child… I know that my son will be killed. So, I will just take him and leave. He and I will never bother you again.”
When Evelyn had found out that her husband’s relationship with her family had fallen apart, she had imagined her last moments with him. It had hurt too much. But if he granted her this much, she would be happy. She interlocked her fingers with his. “I will find another way for your… condition before I leave so that you won’t need to rely on my blood forever. I am aware that you hate me.”
Ilya remained quiet.
“I have never asked you for anything. So, please… Ilya.”
He still didn’t respond.
“I promise I will never bother you. You won’t even know of my existence. I promise. So, please?”
He was overwhelmed. He had been indifferent when this woman was brought to his castle to marry him. Later, he had started hating her.
“I wasn’t worthy of a title of nobility, but I took it anyway. He is my child. Do you think he will grow up any differently?” he spat out.
Evelyn looked up at him with tearful eyes. “Then, do as you please. Those are my conditions. It is for you to decide, Archduke Ajauntice, whether you agree with them.” She was frankly tired of this conversation and his attitude.
“Fine. I accept your second condition. You can leave with your child after the divorce. And while you are here, I guarantee yours and his safety.”
“Thank you so much.” Evelyn was so relieved. That’s all she wanted.
Ilya felt a mix of emotions in his heart as he watched Evelyn smiling brightly. The deal felt suspicious. His steps felt heavy as he turned away and left the room.
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