Chapter 28.
This is our problem

“My lover?”

There was no way that she, who had been timid and confined to her room, would have done such a bold thing.
She was stunned at the speculation that went in a strange direction.

“It’s not like that! There was a reason behind it!”

“Giving such a precious ring to a young man, it’s natural that doubt would cross one’s mind.
Even if someone else found out, they would think the same.”

“That’s right, but…Dillion said he would keep the secret…”

“Unfortunately, he was not that tight-lipped before the sword.”

Nadia took a deep breath as she looked into Altair’s sharp red eyes.
The image of Altair in the novel effortlessly cutting off his opponent’s throat with a single sword flashed through her mind.


She tried to calm her trembling body.

The Altair I know is different from the villain in the novel!

If she could just talk things through, he might understand the situation where she had no choice but to do that.
Nadia did not know if Altair would believe her story, but it’s much better than being misunderstood that Dillion was her lover.
As she clutched onto her chest and stared deep into Altair’s eyes, he was waiting for her to speak up with calm.
His gaze was still cold and indifferent, but for some reason, she felt relieved.

“Dillion is a good person.
He helped me when I was in trouble.”

“So you gave him the ring in return?”

“No! It’s not that…Dillion helped me get rid of the ring instead.”

“Dispose of it?”

Altair’s eyebrows twitched as if he couldn’t understand.

“You mean you sold the ring?”


“I heard that it is a precious ring passed down from generation to generation in your mother’s family.
Why did you do that?”

“I needed money urgently.”

“What? money?”

Marie found out about my situation and introduced me to Dillion.
He sells precious items on behalf of noble ladies.”

Altair pressed his mouth shut, speechless.
He couldn’t even guess why a young lady of the wealthy marquis was in urgent need of money.

“… I needed money for my parents’ funeral.
Specifically, for the land where the two would be buried.”

Altair still seemed like he had yet to connect the dots together.

“Isn’t the funeral of the deceased marquis couple the responsibility of the whole marquis family? So why did you have to pay for it? Besides, if it’s about the land… Doesn’t the Vine also have a family tomb?”

Most noble families set aside a separate piece of land for family burials.
The same was true for the Marquis of Vine, as all the successive marquises and direct descendants once passed away would be laid to rest there.
But her uncle did not allow that most natural thing.

“My uncle said that if I didn’t pay for the land, I wouldn’t be able to bury them both in the family grave.
He said that as their child, I, of course, had to pay for the funeral expenses.”

“What nonsense is that…The two of them are a married couple from the previous marquis generation, so of course they deserved to be buried in the family graveyard.”

“About that…he said that the damage my parents have done to the family was so great that they didn’t deserve it.”


“… My parents were said to have owed a lot of money in their lifetime.
They were deceived by a fraudster and repeatedly made meaningless investments, and eventually fell into gambling to make up for it, but even that failed.
My uncle said that if I paid the funeral fee, he would bury my parents without public knowledge.”

As the story continued, Altair’s face hardened.
At that, Nadia quickly added an excuse, fearing that he would misunderstand her parents.

“Of course, this all came from my uncle’s mouth! I know my parents well.
They are not the kind of people who would do that.
However, since my uncle had already taken control of the household, there was no way for me to go against him.”

The servants of the Marquis family were also on her uncle’s side.
All those who clearly knew the truth blamed it on her parents instead.

I’d thought about asking for help, but…

Her uncle was active in social activities, so not only did he have a good public image, but he also had many allies in the social world.
His words had great power, and they were the most powerful weapon of all.

He didn’t allow me to go outside or send letters to my parents’ acquaintances in the first place.

In a state of complete isolation, the choices Nadia could make were limited.

“The property I brought as dowry was restricted to be used after marriage, and the assets accumulated by the previous marquises were already in my uncle’s hands…I didn’t really have a choice so I sold the ring because I thought I wouldn’t be able to hold my parents’ funeral properly if I kept holding onto it.”

Fortunately, Dillion was someone calculative.
He was able to sell the ring for a reasonable price, and she was able to pay the exorbitant burial fees demanded by her uncle.
That was the best Nadia could do at the time.
After the funeral, the treatment towards her also worsened rapidly.
All the servants treated her as a criminal, saying that she was the daughter of someone who almost ruined the marquis household.
Only Marie did not believe her uncle’s framing and helped her.
Recalling the events back at the marquis family brought tears to Nadia’s eyes.
She could bear the criticism towards her, but it was hard to bear the words that condemned her parents, who were always warm and caring.
However, she had no choice but to tolerate everything in fear that her uncle would spread false rumours if she went against his will.
From then on, Nadia got used to enduring.
She held back her tears and strained her shoulders to always be upright.
Yet, in the end, she couldn’t stop her head from drooping under the weight of the past’s misery.

“It may be hard to believe, but it is the truth.”


Altair did not respond.
It was definitely a story that was hard to believe.

Even if he doesn’t believe me, it can’t be helped then.

Still, she hoped Altair wouldn’t misunderstand something outrageous.
She wasn’t just worried that the villain would cut her throat…

I don’t want to be hated by Altair.

She was just starting to realise what she had to do as a wife.
She didn’t want to lose his trust this way.

“How did you find out about Dillion and this ring? Did he spread some strange rumours?”

If the story spread that a lady from an aristocratic family sold precious jewelry because she needed money, she would quickly get caught up in bad rumours.
People would mostly think she was trying to get money by doing something shady.
If it had been before, Nadia was alone by herself, she thought it couldn’t be helped if she was misunderstood, but now that she was Baroness Aylesford, she was no longer alone.
For the sake of the honour of Altair and Aylesford, an explanation would have to be made.

“I apologise.
I will make sure to take care of it.
I won’t cause any damage to Altair and Aylesford…”

As soon as she raised her head, Altair’s fingers lightly tapped her forehead.
For that, her determination, which had risen to the top of her head, escaped her body at the sudden gesture, and her mouth was left slightly agape, as she was in the middle of her speech.

“Marie asked me to find out about the ring called Cassandra’s Smile if I want to understand you more.
It has certainly helped to understand your situation.”

“… Pardon?”

“What you’re worried about hasn’t happened.
Besides, even if that really happened, I wouldn’t ask you to fix it.”

Nadia blinked in bewilderment, and Altair’s brows slightly furrowed as he bent down to meet her eye level.

“Don’t you think I’ll help you?”

“You’re gonna… help me? Altair will?”

“Of course.
You are my wife.
Now your problems are my problems, and vice versa…”

Altair suddenly slurred his words and narrowed his eyes.

“Could it be that you don’t think you should be responsible for my affairs as well? Is that why you reacted like this?”

“Of course not! If Altair is troubled, I will do my best to help!”

Without hesitation, Nadia quickly shook her head, and the corner of Altair’s mouth went up slightly.

Then, this is our problem.
It’s been that way since the moment you and I got married.
I have the right to step forward too.”

When Nadia tilted her head, not knowing what Altair meant by ‘this’, he earnestly urged for her consent.

“Right, Nadia?”


As she nodded, still bewildered, Altair gently touched her shoulder as if telling her she did the right thing.

“Relax your shoulders for now, for I will solve ‘our’ problem.”

Nadia’s shoulders, which had been stiff all this time, loosened at Altair’s touch.
However, the tension that had been relieved by his words soon came back.

“Since it’s the Eastern Nobles’ meeting soon, you should only be thinking about that.”

The meeting will take place soon.”

A huge number of nobles will gather to talk and laugh.
Just thinking about that scene made Nadia nervous and broke into cold sweat.

I have to prepare well so that I don’t make a mistake.

She was so preoccupied with other things that she forgot about such a big event.

Otherwise, this would be how I am disqualified as a baroness!

If she attended the meeting without any countermeasures, she would only show an unsightly appearance and disgrace Aylesford’s name.
It was a time when thorough practice and training were required.
As Nadia came to the resolution in her mind, Altair cleared his throat lightly and stroked her hair.

“Then … Shall we go now?”

“Where are we going?”

“You said you were thinking of asking me to take a walk with you, didn’t you?”


She certainly did.
But that was before she could recall the important event.

“I’m sorry, but going for a walk now would be difficult.
I just remembered something important.”

“Something important?”

Curious, Altair tilted his head, but Nadia quickly called for Marie by using the bellpull.

I’m in a hurry preparing to become a perfect baroness before the meeting!


“…My lord.
Your hand has stopped.”

Pavel, who was working alongside Altair, carefully pointed out his laziness.
Even though it wasn’t a very important document, he hadn’t made any progress on the same paper for several minutes already.


Seeing as he only belatedly realised the situation after being pointed out, he must have really zoned out.

This gives me a sense of deja vu.

Pavel, who had been through the exact same situation a few days ago, narrowed his eyes.
Of course, there were differences from then.
It was Altair’s condition.
If the Altair of that day seemed to be in an unusually good mood, his mood today seemed to be hitting rock bottom.

“You know it’s the Eastern Nobles’ meeting soon, right? If you leave, you won’t be able to get your hands on work for a while, so you need to take care of a lot right now, my lord.”

I should….”

Altair gave a rough answer and flipped through the documents.
But that was only for a moment.
Pavel crossed his arms as he caught sight of Altair, who quickly lost concentration again and became sullen.

“Did something happen between you two again?”

It was a legitimate question.
It was because so far, baroness Aylsford was the only one who could make Altair like this.
However, Altair immediately denied Pavel’s guess.


“You’re lying.
I’m sure something must have happened.”

“Don’t you believe me? It’s nothing.
Nothing happened.
Everything is still normal.”

When Pavel slightly tilted his head as if he couldn’t understand Altair’s dissatisfied attitude despite those words, Altair soon gave in and let out a sigh first, perhaps feeling frustrated.

“I heard that Nadia is having tea time with the knights every day these days.”

“Oh, that.”

Words spread quickly in the small Aylesford Castle, and Pavel already knew about it.
It was said that the baroness had been inviting two or three knights every day for tea time.

“The madame is very attentive.
In fact, I was also invited to have a talk with the madame…”

“What?! You were invited too?”


“I…I’ve never been invited like that.
But even you were invited?”

As Altair gritted his teeth and clenched his fists, the pen he was holding snapped in two.

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