Chapter 11.
Will a beast ever get sick?


Pavel led Altair to the drawing room.

Just as the first impression was important when meeting people, the space where the meeting first occurred when visiting a place also greatly influenced that impression.
Therefore, the drawing room was one of the places where aristocrats usually took great care and decorated.

If it’s too flashy, it would be considered vulgar, and if it’s too shabby, it would be called poor.

Many people thought that finding adequate displays and decorating the room into an elegant and dignified space would show the aristocracy’s discernment.

By that standard, the lord of Aylesford would be criticised for having a poor taste for aesthetics.

Still, he had no choice but to prioritise spending on a tight living, so there was no spare money for the drawing room.

The state itself was located in the countryside, where guests rarely dropped by.
That fact greatly influenced Altair’s thoughts on whether it’s necessary to decorate the living room brightly just for it to look good to visitors, who came and went in less than a day. 

Instead, he thought that it would be better to replace the knights’ equipment with new ones with the money to decorate the parlor, something that was not used often.

However, on a day when he had a spiteful and judgemental guest like today, he thought, ‘Should I have invested a little in the drawing room?’

“It’s still the same here, Altair.”

A man in fancy clothes that did not fit into the shabby living room was sitting in a chair.
He said arrogantly like he’s the owner of the place.

It was Balhail.

The man with bright red hair and green eyes had an impression that strangely resembled a weasel.
Perhaps, it’s because his crude personality was exposed on his face.

“If you came here for a fight, just go back.
And if you came here for business, just cut the crap and get straight to the point.”

Altair sat down across from Balhail with an unwelcoming attitude.
Balhail, who was openly treated as an annoying guest, jumped up from his seat in a rage.

“I’m your cousin! Don’t show your ignorance and be polite!”

“Who is the real ignorant one here? I’m the Lord of Aylesford.
It’s you who should be showing some manners, Balhail.”

The weasel flinched at Altair’s gaze, which was as fierce as a hawk’s.
His irritation could have subsided a little, but Balhail’s innately babbling mouth kept on chattering nonstop, triggering Altair’s bad mood.

“So you think you are so well-mannered when you didn’t invite your family member to your wedding? You even chose the bride as you wished.
It’s a big deal that should have been consulted within the family…”

“Family?”

Altair snorted as if he heard something funny.

“Only at this times like this that you decide to bring up family? If it were a real family, they wouldn’t have tried to take away the land and estate’s interests of my parents when they died in a fire accident ten years ago.”

“Ahem!”

Balhail, instead of retorting, cleared his throat awkwardly, wanting to change the subject.

As Altair said, it was Balhail’s father that tried to take away the land and interests of the estate.
He passed away a few years ago, which was a good thing.

Even the fancy clothes that Balhail was wearing could have been purchased thanks to the land his father had stolen back then.


Altair was only twelve when the previous baron couple died in a tragic fire accident.

The castle was engulfed in flames, and people noisily carried water from the lake to put out the fire.
That piece of childhood memory still remained vivid in his mind.

Several knights attempted to enter the building to rescue the baron and his wife.
But when people came to be aware of it, the fire had grown so big that it was difficult to get in.

There was no way the young Altair could have done something in that circumstances.
Altair’s name was famous in the East for being a prodigy of swordsmanship from a relatively young age.
Still, back then, he was nothing but a child in the face of a great tragedy.

The young boy, who had lost his family and was overcome with a sense of helplessness, became a baron.
At that, his relatives, who had their eyes on the ‘honey’ dripping from the estate, rushed in as if they had been waiting for it and took all the profits.

‘Your deceased father owes me a debt, so I am kind of in a difficult situation too.
Hence, you have to pay it back right away! If you don’t have money, you can pay it back by land, Altair.’

‘Oh, I lent this jewel to your mother.
Please give it back, Altair.’

Altair, Altair, Altair.

Relatives pretended to be affectionate, calling Altair’s name, skillfully luring him and taking what they wanted.
When he came to his senses from his sorrow…

It’s already irreversible!

Afterwards, Altair completely cut ties with his relatives and expelled all vassals who had colluded with them.

The reason why there were so few people at Aylesford Castle could be understood by looking at Altair’s past, when he was betrayed by those close to him.

The relatives, who had taken everything he had, didn’t protest too much to Altair’s treatment.
At least they had that much conscience left.

However, since Balhail was a rare greedy human being, he was not satisfied with only taking the land.
After having moderate wealth, he desired fame and honour.

If Altair died without an heir, the title would fall into Balhail’s hands.

Thus, he made a move behind Altair’s back to prevent him from marrying Nadia.
In addition to the fact that he was poor, Balhail spread a false rumour that he was a deformed nobleman, making him a bridegroom that any noble lady would despise.

It worked so well that no girl had accepted his marriage offer so far.

However, out of nowhere, a young lady from a capital’s influential marquis family suddenly claimed to be his bride.
Had it not been for that absurd incident, Balhail wouldn’t have had the need to fret and spy on them!

Balhail sat back in his chair, burning in anger at the baroness whom he had yet seen.

“You are already married, so I guess it can’t be helped.
But why don’t you introduce what kind of person the bride is? Huh? I’ve come all the way here, isn’t it right that she should at least show her face?”

“You will never get a single chance to see my wife in your whole life.
I was just wondering what the hell you were on about.
But that crazy sh*t isn’t funny, so get out.”

“Crazy? Wait til you know what I brought.”

Normally, Balhail would have curled his tail and run off if Altair had given him this much menace.
But today he was strangely confident.

As Altair narrowed his eyes, wondering what he was plotting, Baihail lifted his chin and pulled out an envelope from his pocket.

“Upon the news of your marriage, the Eastern Nobility Union sent you an invitation.
It’s hunting season soon, so let’s get together and socialise.
I’m here to deliver you this.”

Although Balhail was a half-like aristocrat without a title, he was actively socialising in the position of the heir to Baron Aylesford.


If Altair had been active in social activities, he would not have dared to go out.
But Altair had little time to interact with the nobles, since he was occupied with hunting for beasts to feed the poor manor.

Even if he were to have the time, he wouldn’t have been interested in social activities where people talked and laughed about pretentious stories.

“Is this just an excuse you made up?”

Altair scoffed, crumpled the envelope and threw it on the floor.

“Now that you’re done with your business, get out of here.”

“Do you think you can reject it? In case you don’t know, your wife from the capital is probably familiar with social activities.
Marriage in the countryside must be boring, and if she can’t even go outside because she has an unsociable husband, she would be quite depressed.”

Altair, who got pointed out unexpectedly, frowned slightly.

As Balhail said, Nadia came from the capital with a lot of social events.
As the capital nobles enjoyed social activities as much as they breathed, she would not be much different from them.

Well, I can’t imagine her meeting with people and laughing leisurely, but…

Seeing Altair immersed in thoughts, Balhail smirked.

If the woman herself married a man not only said to be a beggar but also rumoured to be a eunuch, she must have been quite a foolish and defective person.

If he could insult the baron and his wife by inviting them to a crowded place, his self-worth would be even higher.

Initially, he wanted to see the new bride’s condition so he could be even more convinced that he could crush her.
However, it was unlikely that Altair would introduce her to him, no matter what.
The baron seemed to be more vigilant after an assassin was sent last time.

He definitely has caught on about it!

But the fact that Altair was not aiming for his neck right away meant that there was no solid evidence.

With that thought, Balhail got up from his seat with a lighter heart.

“I heard that this time, the third prince, Orca, is also coming.
He seems to have been in the eastern Galakis Territory for medical treatment due to his weak condition.
It is a rare opportunity to see a member of the royal family, so be sure to attend with your wife, Altair!”

❈❈❈

“Madame! You’re awake?”

As soon as she opened her eyes to the clattering sound, Anna quickly approached the bed.

“Umm… How long has it been?”

“You’ve been sick all day! According to the doctor, you jumped into the cold water while already suffering from a cold, and so your body couldn’t handle it.”

She was able to understand her situation only through Anna’s words, who was, by the way, weeping.

So the reason I’ve been sneezing for the past few days is because I have a cold!

She was on alert all the time because of external problems, but she didn’t really care about her own body.

“Why did you jump into the lake all of a sudden? You could’ve just left it alone… Do you know how surprised I was?”


“But Anna was afraid.
I’m not very afraid of water, and I know how to swim, so I thought I’d just get the paddle quickly.”

At her words, Anna’s eyes were moist.

“Whether I’m scared or not is not important.
Don’t do that again next time, alright? Your safety is several times more important than mine.”

“What do you mean? Anyone’s fear or anyone’s well-being is equally important.”

No matter how strict the status system was, it was impossible to measure the importance of a person’s value.

“So, even if the same thing happens again, I will still go get it.
Of course, it would be nice if I don’t have a cold at that time…”

Because I don’t want to feel the sensation of water pulling me back down.

“Madame…”

Anna grabbed her hand with a teary face.
As Nadia’s eye movements became awkward at the sudden touch, Anna looked at her with willful eyes.

“From now on, I will always be by your side! I’m not going to listen to the other guys ever again even if they ask me to cooperate.
I listened to them this time…”

“The other guys?”

“Uh… that’s…”

Anna, who gasped at her question, gently let go of her hand with an awkward smile.

“The reason I asked Madame to go to the lake is because they told me to do so…Of course, we didn’t have any bad intentions… We just wanted you to get along with the lord…!”

In Anna’s rambling, ‘the Lord’ suddenly appeared out of the blue.
At that, Nadia’s eyes widened in bewilderment.
Perhaps noticing how she was feeling, Anna clasped her hands and smiled broadly,.

“Really! The lord was the one who rescued the Madame when you were drowning! As soon as he found you, he jumped into the lake without hesitation!”

She did remember someone pulling her out of the water before passing out.

At that moment, she felt a strange sense of security.
And the person who saved her turned out to be Altair.

“I don’t remember at all…”

“You really don’t remember anything? Even what happened after that?”

“Yes.
I have some vague memories of it, but….”

“Is that so…”

When Nadia frowned and rubbed her forehead, Anna sighed with a regretful face for some reason.
She thought she could hear Anna muttering to herself, ‘It’s a total failure, you idiots!’

“Ah! But is the lord okay?”

“His Lord?”

“Yes, you said he jumped into the lake to save me, so he might have caught a cold like me.”


“Yes? A cold? The Lord?”

Anna’s eyes widened as if she had heard something ridiculous.

“He’s lived his whole life without knowing what a cold is.
He is very strong.”

“Nonsense.
There is no one who doesn’t catch a cold.
No matter how strong a person is, there are moments when they become weak.”

“Even so, our lord is an exception.
He has never.”

“Hmm…”

She had to believe when Anna, who had served Altair for a long time, told her that.
Still, she was a little suspective.
Yet, as if they had already brushed off the subject, Anna got up and covered her with a blanket meticulously.

“I’m going to go tell the lord the news that Madame has woken up.
Once I come back, I will bring you medicine.
The doctor said that you have to rest well for a few days and take enough doses of the prescribed medicine.”

“Medicine…”

“Even if you don’t like it, you must take it! If you dislike the bitterness, I will prepare candy for you.”

Anna said with a serious look.

Somehow, Nadia felt like a child of hers, so she burst into laughter without realising it.
And a smile appeared on Anna’s face as well.
Nadia’s body was still heavy, but for some reason, her mind was at ease.

❈❈❈

Anna, who was going to bring her medicine, did not come back even after a long time.

As she lay still, waiting for her, Nadia’s thoughts wandered… to Altair.

As expected, I don’t buy it!

When she recalled the water temperature of the moment she fell into it, she still felt like her body was going to freeze.
The temperature was so low that it was numbing cold.
It would be weird if one did not become ill.

She did not believe that there would ever exist a human being who did not catch a cold.

Of course, Altair looked very strong… But maybe until now, he had pretended not to catch a cold in order to maintain his dignity as the lord…Or maybe, as Anna said, he was truly strong and she did not have to worry much, but…

Ugh…!

What if he really went down with a cold?

He jumped into the water to help me… If he got sick because of that, and I can’t even show my face…

Her heart grew heavier by minutes, and she couldn’t afford to lie down anymore.

I can’t do this!

If she didn’t check with her own eyes whether Altair was okay, her conscience pricked and she couldn’t stand it at all.

Having made up her mind, she got out of bed and opened the door wide.

 

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