The Marquis’ Amnesia 12.5
Chapter Twelve and a Half: A Mysterious Courtship (Liliana’s Father’s POV)
“Count Eighton, I’d like to marry your sickly daughter.”
At the evening party I attended, a gentleman whom was the center of women’s attention approached me. The crown prince stood beside him. Without sparing me a greeting, he brought up the proposal after a small talk.
For a moment, I couldn’t comprehend what he was saying. But the gentleman didn’t appear to be joking or lying. Slightly surprised, the crown prince looked up towards the gentleman.
A muscular body that was one fist taller than me. His lustrous amber hair, bright blue eyes, and masculine facial features exuded a friendly atmosphere. As of the present, the man was smiling at me.
In the Kingdom of Cresion, there wasn’t a single soul who didn’t know him. Everyone—be it a commoner or an aristocrat, would recognize him.
The man was the hero of the kingdom. At the same time, he was also an excellent knight, who had been promised the position of knight captain in the future. A great aristocrat with a vast and abundant territory. Most aristocratic ladies yearned to become his wife.
Why, if he wasn’t the Marquis of Springfield, William Ignatius de Lutherford.
As I stumbled with my words, the marquis glanced at my wife and daughter. Upon meeting the marquis, Margaret’s white cheeks were immediately dyed in a pale pink color.
“Marquis, have you seen my daughter?”
My wife, Sandra, turned a hopeful gaze towards the marquis. As she beamed with excitement, Margaret held her chest.
Perhaps, I misunderstood. That wretched, younger, daughter of mine… there was no way anyone would want her. I was sure that any man would prefer Margaret, instead. She was a fine beauty, just like Sandra. Within the last eight years, no one had seen my younger daughter, except for a limited number of servants. It was related to her physical condition.
Then, the marquis turned his blue eyes towards Margaret. However, his gaze wasn’t flattering. It wasn’t a kind of gaze that’d be directed at the woman he wanted to marry. Albeit the gorgeous smile on his smile, his blue eyes betrayed a slight contempt—if not plain disdain.
“Let me reaffirm myself, Count. It’s not Lady Margaret that I want to marry, but Lady Liliana.”
In the unbelievable words, our family could feel nothing but surprise.
“I’d absolutely like to welcome Lady Liliana as my wife.”
“But, Marquis, it’s unknown whether or not that sickly child can conceive an heir… Also, unlike Margaret, that other daughter of mine is both clumsy and naïve.”
“That’s right. Margaret is a better choice than her…”
“Count, after my friend has firmly declared so, you have no right to question it.”
The crown prince, Alphonse, turned his gaze to the marquis. His sweet face showed a sly smile.
“—After all, it’s a marriage that my misogynistic friend has finally wanted.”
The words he had casually spoken was heavier than lead.
The crown prince’s sky-blue eyes narrowed to drawn an arc. It had an intimidating feeling.
In another word, I, as a count, couldn’t resist. The marriage of the marquis was supported by the royal family.
Sandra might have noticed that, as well. Her cheeks were pale. Her hands, which were holding her fan, were trembling ever so slightly.
“I, I’ll be happy to accept the proposal.”
“Thank you, Count. We have prepared a room. Let’s continue our conversation there.”
The Marquis, whose smile became even wider, looked back at the doorway. I followed the back of the marquis, who greeted my wife and daughter before he began to walk. I wondered if the crown prince would come with him. However, the person in question left, saying “I haven’t finished greeting everyone, yet.”
The servant whom was waiting in the corridor guided me. Away from the venue where the evening party was held, we headed for a secluded room.
Upon arriving, the marquis urged me to sit down on the couch. Then, he asked the maid to bring us some liquor. I had a feeling that he had planned everything since the start. Two wine glasses and a bottle of wine were delivered immediately. Then, after the table was ready, the marquis forbade any entry to the room, and paid the servant.
In the room with just us two, the marquis took out a bottle of wine from the basket. With a fluid motion, he opened it and poured the content into my glass. The mellow aroma of red wine stroked the tip of my nose. Afterwards, he pushed the glass to me, before pouring some for himself. Seeing the marquis’ gesture of picking up the glass, I did the same. We made a toast. Thus, a faint noise fell into the quiet room.
The room, which was far away from the hall, was untouched by the hustle and bustle of the party. Despite having such a mellow aroma, I couldn’t taste the wine. It was like drinking water.
While enjoying the aroma of wine, the marquis began to speak.
“The engagement ceremony will be held in a month. Two months later, the wedding will follow. I’ve already applied to the church. The date has been set.”
Utterly taken aback was I, that I was rendered speechless. In fact, I had almost dropped the glass. To disguise it, I put it back on the table. The marquis chuckled and took a sip of his wine. He swirled it within his mouth, enjoying the taste.
“Please rest assured, Count. All you need to do is come to our house by yourself.”
“…Nevertheless, why? She’s so sickly, she can’t socialize properly… Not to mention, by connecting with our family, you won’t reap any benefit?”
I tried to discover the marquis’ true objective.
Six or seven years ago, the marquis had a fiancée. At that time, the war with the neighboring kingdom was still raging. If I wasn’t mistaken, his fiancée also came from a marquis family. However, despite the marquis’ heroic deeds, which in turn won him the war, the young lady died of pandemic. Meanwhile, her family, who no longer had any successor, had fallen. As of the present, they were but history.
As per the rumor, Marquis of Springfield was saddened by the death of his loved one. It was said that he loved only her. He became misogynistic because he could love onlyher. Such a famous story it was.
“…By any chance, have you met my younger daughter before?”
“No, I only know her through rumors.”
While emptying the content of the glass, the marquis chuckled again. Then, he lifted the bottle once again, and refilled his glass.
“I heard it from your kind wife and Lady Margaret. Lady Liliana, who can’t even get up from bed—I found myself feeling concerned and sympathetic towards her.”
The marquis shook the glass. The wine, which spread along the inside of the glass, appeared even redder. The aroma also became a little stronger.
“I lost my fiancée to illness. I may have found her remnants in Lady Liliana. I, who wasn’t there during her last moment, felt as guilty as a sinner. For me, it’s a form of penance. I’d like to support Lady Liliana, who’s in a similar situation.”
The Marquis drank the wine all at once, emptying the glass he had just filled. With a thud, the glass was put on the table.
“…Truth to be told, Marquis… this is a secret that I’d like to keep hidden, but—”
If so prefaced, the marquis slowly nodded and urged me to get straight to the point. After some back and forth, I fixed my gaze on the glass on the table and spoke.
“At the age of seven, Liliana was attacked by a thug. As a result, she suffered a great injury from her left abdomen down to her waist. The scar is terribly horrifying, and not to mention, revolting. I can’t even think of it as a same human skin… it’s as if she has turned into a monster.”
Remembering that of my daughter, I felt repulsed. Thankfully, I only suffered a slight graze to my arm. By chance, nearby knights rushed in, and the thugs scattered away like baby spiders.
However, Liliana was injured. Moreover, it wasn’t just any kind of injury. It was one that left a horrid and ugly scar on her body.
“My body is hardly beautiful, either, with all the past wounds inflicted during the war.”
“With all due respect, Marquis, you haven’t seen it with your own eyes. You see, it’s not just a mere scar. It’s as if some sort of chemicals were applied to her skin, turning it purple, and also, red…! Not to mention, it’s ugly and deformed…! Not only is her body unappealing, I also doubt she’d be able to give birth to a decent child. No, actually, the moment you see that scar, I don’t think you’ll find it in you, the will to give her a child…”
The marquis quietly stared into my eyes.
“—So? Even if I don’t have a child, my younger brother is old enough to succeed. Therefore, I don’t have to worry about succession.”
To the marquis, who had abandoned the most important duty of the aristocrats, I was at loss for words. From then on, however, I couldn’t muster a word.
“…If you give me Lady Liliana, so that I can ensure that she’ll live in good health, I’m willing to take over your debt of 30 million rills?”
Towards his bright blue eyes, which narrowed into a crescent shape, my heart instantly froze.
He wasn’t supposed to know that. Why did the marquis, a total stranger, know about the debt? Not even Sandra knew. If it was to be exposed to the public and was sniffed by the House of Lords, the Alwin family was done for.
“Count, I want to marry Lady Liliana as soon as possible. Won’t you allow me?”
With that said, the marquis tilted his head. Towards his ruthless smile, I could only agree.
Two months later, the marquis truly welcomed Liliana as his wife.
At her engagement, I asked him once again—are you sure that you want to marry this girl? Again, I recommended Margaret, and reminded him of Liliana’s scar. However, the marquis said that Liliana would suffice.
Sandra, who realized that she had no choice but to give up due to the pressure of the royal family, was angry. Margaret was also having it rough. The proud Margaret couldn’t allow her stepsister, who was far inferior to herself, to marry the hero of the kingdom. I could understand Margaret’s feelings. Compared to Liliana, Margaret was far more excellent.
Margaret excelled at socializing. Above all, her beauty, which she inherited from her mother, was as bewitching as a glittering jewel. As a result, she’d receive constant invitations from numerous gentlemen.
After her younger, inferior, sister had hurt her, Margaret bought many dresses and jewelries as a healing method. Margaret proclaimed, “My husband will definitely be better than hers!” A new goal was born in her chest. Sandra and I, of course, agreed. We decided to focus on finding a partner for her—to make our daughter’s dream come true.
When she was about to get married, Liliana wasn’t that ill. However, upon staying there, her sickness became worse. I heard rumors that the Marquis’ doctor would often visit her during the six months.
But after half a year, the doctor’s visits became less frequent. Unfortunately, her condition had showed signs of recovery, it seemed.
I didn’t know if the couple was doing well.
The marquis didn’t send her sickly wife to the social gatherings. Even if she were to receive an invitation to a tea ceremony or evening party, she’d refuse under the pretext of her sickness. Nevertheless, the rumors about Liliana began to spread in the social circles. Perhaps, it was because her servants spoke to other servants.
“The Marquess of Springfield is a beautiful, gorgeous, and innocent woman who can be mistaken for the moon goddess. She’s a wonderful and eloquent lady.”
The rumors made the social circle lively.
Regardless, both Sandra and I snorted. That girl? A moon goddess? She couldn’t even drink soup properly! What part of her was a lady? Rumors were truly unreliable…
Nevertheless, Margaret, who wasn’t blessed with a good match, was heartbroken once again. To comfort her, I bought her a jewelry and a dress. Margaret’s attendance at the evening party required her mother, Sandra, to accompany her. For Sandra, who struggled to find a wonderful partner for Margaret, I had also prepared the exclusives jewelries and dresses.
However, it was difficult to find someone who was better than the Marquis of Springfield. As a result, Margaret was livid. Sandra was depressed by her daughter. I, myself, was also stressed. Thus, I turned to gambling.
About a week ago, I suddenly received a letter from the marquis.
Liliana wanted to see her younger brother, Cedric. As such, the marquis wanted our permission to visit.
I doubted my eyes.
While Liliana and Cedric might be siblings, they shouldn’t be acquainted with each other. Cedric hated Liliana. When she came to our presence, Cedric would silently leave the room. It was unnatural for her to want to see him. Therefore, I penned a letter of refusal.
Still, the marquis insisted. Thus, a letter with the same content would arrive every day.
The letter I received two days ago said something slightly different.
“—If you let us visit, I promise to help the Alwin family, Liliana’s precious family.”
In other words, he was offering yet another financial assistance. I clenched my fist in joy. I had almost forgotten how charitable the marquis was. Didn’t he give me 30 million rills in exchange for my defective daughter? From now on, we could ask for regular help. If the marquis were to refuse, I’d bring up the topic about divorcing Liliana.
Nevertheless, she couldn’t meet Cedric. He was the successor of my home. I didn’t want Liliana to cause any adverse effects. I’d just say that he was asleep with a cold.
As soon as I sent a reply to the invitation, I got a reply. The marquis said that they’d stop by at my house on the weekend. The scheduled time of visit was after the bazaar held at the orphanage of the marquis’ family.
On that day, Sandra was invited to a tea party. As a countess, she couldn’t refuse. Thus, Margaret gladly offered to welcome the marquis in her stead. I fully supported her. I was concerned if Margaret would despise the idea, since Liliana would be there as well. But, in my relief, she was eagerly awaiting the day.
When asked for the reason, it seemed that she heard rumors that, “The Marquis of Springfield finds his sickly wife bothersome.”
“—Therefore, if he were to behold this healthy and beautiful me, he’d pick me anytime of the day!”
Margaret was truly excited.
I shared her sentiment. The marquis might have begun to wake up. I was eagerly awaiting his divorce with Liliana. After all, if he were to marry Margaret, he might pay us more. It went without saying that Margaret was more valuable.
Before going to the casino, I ordered the servants not to be rude to the marquis. Perhaps, luck was on my side. After gambling, what little cash I had on me swelled. My steps became lighter. At the thought of the marquis’ assistance, I was about to fly.
Finally, the day arrived. I was ready to welcome the marquis with Margaret, who had dressed up beautifully.
“What do you think, Father?”
Margaret twirled in front of me. The bright red dress looked magnificent on my daughter.
“Oh, how beautiful, my adorable Margaret. The moment he laid eyes on you, the Marquis of Springfield will be fascinated, for sure.”
I giggled along with Margaret. She was truly adorable.
“My lord, the marquis has arrived.”
In the news of the butler, I headed for the entrance with Margaret.
When I thought about the future, my cheeks burned. Margaret was also excited. I could see it from her expression.
As soon as he beheld the beautiful Margaret, I was sure the marquis would be captivated. The future of my house was secured. Perhaps, one of these days, I’d plan a trip with Sandra. Before that, I’d surely be busy with the wedding preparation.
However, Margaret and I scrunched our noses.
At that moment, we saw the marquis hailing from the carriage, holding Liliana like a treasure.
I felt like I heard a cracking sound in my ear.
***T/N: I was HELLA scared during the earliest chapter, man. Thinking that Will might accommodate Liliana’s father’s gambling habit cause he shrimps for her.
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