TWB (Novel) Chapter 110

C110

Ironically, however, the first queen died of puerperal fever shortly after giving birth to Princess Odelli.

The king mourned the first queen for three years, but he couldn't leave the queen's throne empty forever. And the position of queen eventually went to the second queen.

The divorce procedure was simple because the viscount, who was the second queen's husband, had already fallen in love with the second queen. So Jacob and the second queen were able to enter Lahoz.

The king didn't neglect Jacob. Perhaps because he worried that he hadn't seen his face even once since he was born, he felt sorry for him. But that wasn't the case with the second queen.

The king avoided the second queen, and it was even difficult for him to make eye contact with her. The only time the couple stood side by side was in public.

The second queen achieved what she hoped for, but she was not loved by the king. Longing for the king's love, she became insane and even neglected her own son, Jacob. Unable to overcome it, she finally committed suicide.

So Jacob was born as an illegitimate child but eventually became a prince and grew up being treated like a prince. But there was a clear line between him and the offspring of the first queen. The original sin imposed from birth weighed heavily on Jacob, and it was natural for him to resist such discrimination as he grew up as a prince.

"It is said that Prince Jacob fought countless times with Prince Gautier since childhood. As they are brothers with a small age difference, it is natural for them to grow up fighting, but... Well, being an intelligent person, he must have known the situation he was in. It wouldn't be strange if there was some injustice. Still, the king tried to provide fair treatment without discrimination, even if he was on Gautier's side in his heart.

It was when Odelli and Jacob fought that the king's true intentions were clearly exposed. From childhood, Odelli and Jacob were bitter enemies. Gautier tried to act like an older brother, but Jacob resisted, and the hostility between Jacob and Odelli was mutual.

"But when Prince Jacob and Princess Odelli fought... He didn't even try to pretend there was no favoritism. People around him say they had never seen the king so angry as at that time.

She was the king's sore spot. It was because he saw her as proof of the first queen's acceptance despite his infidelity. She even resembled the first queen, so his favoritism reached its peak.

It was absurd for Odelli to argue with Jacob, who was nothing more than a reminder of the king's infidelity. If he had any involvement with Odelli, the king would reprimand Jacob, and it didn't take long for Jacob to start avoiding any involvement with Odelli to the extreme.

Yvonne and Bianca have been confined to the Arno estate until now, but only Bianca didn't know what Yvonne knew so well... Bianca once again felt how little she had cared about her surroundings. This shouldn't be the case in the future.

Frustrated, Bianca bit her lower lip.

"But why are you making that expression?"

"Expression...?"

It was then that Bianca realized what kind of expression she was making. It was an expression that was perfect to misinterpret as anxiety. Bianca laughed awkwardly and excused herself.

"It's nothing. I just don't like having to worry about him in this way."

"... It's because I'm not good enough."

"No. How could that be?"

As soon as Zachary blamed himself, Bianca quickly waved her hand.

"It's enough that you care. But with Princess Odelli, I just wanted to tell you that you don't have to worry."

Bianca explained how strong Princess Odelli's shield was, but Zachary's expression didn't improve. Zachary whispered with a stiff expression.

"You seem to believe a lot in Princess Odelli."

"Of course. Besides, the princess is a very pleasant person. She's not bound by her age, she's free to think..."

Bianca rejoiced and spoke of Princess Odelli's virtues one by one. But the more she did, the more Zachary's cheeks trembled slightly. There was no way Bianca couldn't read such a surprising reluctance. What is Zachary resisting... Embarrassed, Bianca looked into Zachary's eyes and asked softly.

"Perhaps... Is there any reason why you shouldn't be involved with Princess Odelli?"

"No, but..."

Zachary continued to hesitate and hesitate to speak. What is it that he can't say? While Bianca's pale green eyes stared at him, Zachary quickly turned his head to avoid her gaze.

"No. I was childish."

"Childish? Please let me know if there's something bothering you. I don't know much, so maybe I made a mistake..."

Bianca was irritated inside. It was obvious that something was bothering him, but he wasn't saying it, so she couldn't figure it out. The truth was that Zachary wasn't satisfied with Bianca being involved with Odelli. She tried to think if there was any reason why she shouldn't be friends with Princess Odelli. But nothing came to mind.

While Bianca's head spun, Zachary's lips twisted.

"...me."

"What?"

Bianca, who couldn't hear well, asked again. Zachary sighed deeply. He seemed very nervous, still unable to make eye contact with her. His shoulders, wide enough to sit Bianca on, were somewhat slumped from depression. His appearance was so gloomy that titles like "Hero of the Battlefield" and "Iron Blood Knight" seemed false.

Zachary de Arno can't even make eye contact with a woman!

It was a story that others would laugh at and not believe if they heard it. Bianca, seeing it with her own two eyes, still found it hard to believe.

Zachary looked into Bianca's eyes and murmured softly as if confessing the deepest part of his heart.

"...Princess Odelli lives freely. On the other hand, you married at a young age and almost never lived a single life... I fear that as you spend time with her, you might feel frustrated by the fact that you're married... There must be some things I haven't been paying attention to. For a moment, I worried that you might be dissatisfied with that."

"What?"

"But now that I think about it, if you're aware of such inconveniences, it's fine because I can fix it. I had a shameful concern for a moment that wasn't very manly."

Saying that, Zachary tilted his head and apologized to Bianca. Zachary himself knew very well that he was afraid that Bianca's heart would turn elsewhere. But the opponent was no one else but Princess Odelli!

Zachary's ears burned, perhaps embarrassed by having been preoccupied with such narrow-minded thoughts.

Bianca, who belatedly understood the cause of Zachary's strange hesitation, stared at him with her mouth slightly open.

The redness beneath her silver hair penetrated Bianca's eyes. As she always looked up at Zachary's chin, her heart pounded at his appearance. She never thought that Zachary would care about that. Without knowing what to say, Bianca moistened her lips.

"But... you have to tell me. I'm quite clumsy, and I don't have the ability to figure it out. If you tell me, I'll fix it."

As Zachary repeatedly asked, Bianca, who couldn't remain silent, struggled to respond.

"There's no inconvenience. I don't regret marrying you."

Of course, what Bianca said was a lie. If she counted the number of times she regretted marrying him in her previous life, her fingers wouldn't be enough.

If Bianca had gone back to the moment before the wedding, she would have witnessed the terrible marriage of her previous life and would never have accepted marrying Count Arno. To that extent, Bianca regretted her marriage...

But when she returned, she was already married and had no other choice.

Of course, things were different now.

Strangely enough, she rejected Zachary so much at that time. But Bianca was satisfied with her current marriage. His consistently frank attitude shook her heart, and Bianca finally gave her heart to Zachary.

Although she doesn't know how far Zachary's heart has reached, Zachary will do everything for her. To him, she is his only woman... That fact filled Bianca's childish jealousy and desire for exclusivity to some extent.

If it were the current Bianca, even if she went back before her marriage was decided, she would have chosen to marry him.

There were no other men like Zachary.

In her previous life, she hadn't understood that what she had was worth more than anything else.

---

In her previous life, Bianca thought that Zachary made her unhappy, but if Zachary can't make her happy, then no one else can.

However, he had such a keen gaze that those subtle emotional changes went unnoticed. Zachary looked at Bianca with a bewildered gaze, as if he couldn't believe Bianca's words. Without averting her gaze from him, Bianca looked at him and smiled, naturally hiding the secrets of the past.

"I'm always anxious," she whispered in a hoarse voice. The chair they were sitting on was moderately far, but also close enough to notice that the back of her hand on her lap was being tightly squeezed. Zachary tried to smile, but his left cheek trembled. Zachary clenched his teeth and murmured quietly, as if whispering a taboo that should never be spoken.

"All men desire you."

"That's absurd," Bianca shook her head as if it made no sense. A bitter smile appeared on her lips.

Although far from the blond hair and blue eyes that were the symbols of the Sevran royal family, Bianca was an objective beauty. Her facial features were clear and delicate. With her cat-like uplifted eyes and small, full lips, her appearance was so grand that no one could refute the words that said Jacob, the second prince, fell in love with her. But Bianca was skeptical of her appearance.

At one point, Bianca even thought she was an attractive woman worthy of love. It was during her most beautiful time, when she bloomed in the arms of her beloved Fernand.

But Fernand's betrayal shattered her pride. Fernand's words saying "the lady is the most beautiful of them all" were just empty words. Since then, Bianca has come to regard her appearance as nothing more than compliments from those who, like hyenas, seek the support of the family behind her.

Zachary was very anxious, but Bianca didn't believe him at all. Zachary's voice, frustrated by Bianca's attitude, rose even more.

"All the men in the banquet hall desired you. Even if I didn't tell you, you would have noticed the covetous gaze of the second prince."

"Please, don't flatter me too much. The second prince... he was just trying to use me."

"You don't know much about men."

Zachary firmly told Bianca, who spoke clumsily.

Is Jacob doing that to take advantage of Bianca?

Zachary couldn't agree at all. As such, everything Jacob did to Bianca was irrational and worthless. Until now, the man who had only slightly shown the surface of his true thoughts in a smart and cunning manner, and clung to what was truly important, expressed his sincerity in the garden on the day of the victory banquet. Such an action was impulsive enough to be lucky not to get caught in a storm.

That's why he was even more angry. Because the other person was sincere.

But he couldn't even explain those things to Bianca.

Bianca was an example of an arrogant, haughty, cold, and aristocratic person. However, Zachary knew that behind that facade, she was kind to those who were kind to her, and there was goodness inside her as well.

He now hated Jacob, but... if he ever finds out that Jacob's actions are sincere... he didn't believe that she would deceive him. However, Zachary didn't want Bianca to give any meaning to the man who admired her. Even if it was just a hint of sympathy.

It would be disgusting to see how the current feeling of hatred for Jacob could distort in Bianca's heart. On Zachary's dark eyes, shadows projected as dark as the eye sockets of a skull.

Even though he slept with Bianca, it didn't mean he had the honor of being in Bianca's heart. That made Zachary nervous.

How many times a day does Bianca think of him...?

The greed of a man has no end, and even though he had enough in his hands, he wanted more than that.

At that moment, Zachary froze. It was because he realized that he expected so much from Bianca without realizing it.

"How many times a day does she think of me?"

It felt like just yesterday when he looked directly at her for the first time, at that moment he felt so enchanted that she looked at him directly even though her face was so pale...

His true feelings were so childish and unpleasant. If Bianca were to discover how he feels. No, she shouldn't.

She would be disappointed and could say, "I never thought such a great man could be so childish, intolerant, and obsessive." She should never know that.

Zachary hardened his expression, worried that even a fragment of his thoughts would remain on his face.

But it was already too late. Bianca silently observed Zachary, holding her breath, like a wildcat stalking a sparrow. Bianca blinked fiercely and then asked a question that Zachary had never thought of.

"Are you jealous?"

"Jealous?"

Zachary also fixed his gaze on Bianca. He heard it clearly with his ears and even repeated it with his mouth, but the word didn't enter his mind clearly. Once, twice. Zachary murmured the word "jealous" in his mouth.

There was no way Zachary didn't know the word jealousy. When Gaspard first stepped forward for Bianca, when she became friends with Sauveur, when her lap was filled with roses... Zachary was always jealous.

However, it was difficult to find a connection point between the current situation and jealousy. When Zachary was jealous, it was mainly when Bianca positively accepted the favor of other men. But Jacob had already been expelled from Bianca's heart. As he never thought he would be so jealous of such an opponent, the sudden word seemed unfamiliar to him.

But he definitely felt the same. When he said jealousy, the things that had tickled him so far disappeared in an instant. As if the missing pieces of a puzzle were filled all at once.

"That's right. This is jealousy."

Zachary, realizing the new fact, repeated the words to himself. It was getting worse. Zachary sighed as he realized that his desire for monopoly had no end.

Zachary was a man who didn't know he was tired even after spending several days and nights on the march, but there was nothing he could do to look inside himself and penetrate his mind.

Exhausted, he buried himself deeply in the back of a chair.

"You didn't even know you were jealous, did you?"

"... Now that I know, I'm not confused."

Zachary's voice was a little gloomy as he responded. He was jealous of someone who meant nothing. This was not anything positive. No, jealousy itself was like that in the first place. Jealousy was originally not allowed for Zachary... A feeling of guilt overcame Zachary.

He and Bianca were nominally a couple, so it was natural for a husband to be jealous of a man who hovered around his wife. However, there was a variable to precisely define that.

It was about how their marriage came about.

Their marriage was a business. Purchase - sale. What Zachary paid was the war victory for which he risked his life. So, what Zachary got was...

400 calves, 900 pigs, 100 units of silverware, 300 rolls of silk, 2 boxes of jewelry, and a part of a territory. Dowry that he could still recite by heart. Equivalent to a two-year budget for the de Arno family.

But if that had been the case, Zachary wouldn't have felt guilty.

However, what he received was the most precious thing he had ever had. Even if he spends his whole life surrounded by rotting corpses and pools of blood, he will never be able to repay her...

That was Bianca.

What should one do if they make a transaction and what they receive is too valuable compared to what they paid?

Some would pretend not to know and swallow the price, but Zachary was not the type of person to do that. If he had been a little more capable, he would have sent the young Bianca back and broken off the marriage... At the age of twenty, he was mediocre.

He had just received the title of baron and couldn't reject that deal.

In the end, he succumbed to the situation and received Bianca, whom he couldn't handle with his own abilities.

And soon he became entangled with the sacrifice of Bianca.

Bianca would never agree, but Zachary was the center of the young Bianca's world.

Not because he was her husband, but because he was an adult.

He was her guardian, someone who she came to rely on in an unfamiliar place far from her family at a young age. And that was a much heavier and more challenging task than expected.

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