A sword touched the count’s arm.
Everyone’s gaze shifted.
My husband was slightly out of breath, and he had a fierce expression on his face.

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“Must I repeat myself? Let her go before I cut off your arm.”

“Get ahold of yourself, Your Grace! She’s a witch, a monster that brings misfortune upon us all!”

“Nicholas Dorison, do you know who you’re choking at the moment?”

“Of course! All witches must be removed from this land! We humans are obligated to do it for our survival!”

My husband frowned.

Then, high-pitched screams echoed through the hall.
My husband had stabbed his sword deep into the count’s shoulder.
When the blade was pulled out, blood dripped from the count’s open wound.

“You’ve entertained some awful ideas while serving Albert.” Expressionless, my husband sheathed his sword.
“I understand we know very little about each other, but I wasn’t making a threat.”

The arm was still attached to the count’s body, yet the injury was quite severe.
Even if Count Dorison fully recovered, he wouldn’t be able to use a weapon or properly hold the reins of a horse.
Struggling from the pain of his injury, the count released me.
And before I fell to the ground, my husband rushed forward and tightly held me in his arms.

He pressed his cheek against mine.
“It’s all right.
I’m here now.” His voice was very low, so much so that I almost didn’t hear him.

“My lady!”

Slowly, everyone else came to their senses.
Betty was as shocked as I was.
Alan’s face was pale, and Jade, who looked angry, checked to see if I was hurt anywhere else.
No one cared about the count profusely bleeding.

“Duke Havel!”

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The count’s men quickly appeared.

“Your Grace, what is going on?”

“As you can see, I stabbed the count.”

“Why—”

“He was too arrogant for my liking.”

No one argued back.
After all, the one with the highest authority here was Duke Havel.

Count Dorison gnashed his teeth.
“His Highness will not just stand by and watch!”

“You can cry to him.”

“…”

“I’m the one who will win in the end.”

“You shall regret the day you made His Highness and House Dorison enemies.”

“Oh my, Albert truly was a horrible influence on you.” My husband remained unfazed.
The crown prince and Count Dorison posed no threat to him in the first place.
According to what the butler told me earlier, House Dorison was on the brink of collapse.
Meanwhile, my husband was a young duke and third in line for the throne.
He was part of the royal family.

“Go ahead, tell Albert that Duke Havel unsheathed his sword and left your arm in such a state.
He’ll ask what you did to provoke me.
Then, you have to say you pointed a dagger at Duchess Havel and almost strangled her to death.”

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“…”

“You two can report it to His Majesty together.”

When the emperor was mentioned, the count’s face paled.
No matter how much the count hated witches, Duke Havel had the emperor.
It was only a matter of time before the crown prince ascended the throne; however, the emperor was the one with power right now.
Attacking a witch meant going against the emperor’s will.

“I’m glad to see it was only an arm.
You’ll draw your last breath in a pool of blood next time.”

“Tch…”

“I must take my wife to the infirmary.
Escort the count back to his room.
Clean up the floor as well.”

“Understood.”

Count Dorison looked at me in contempt, and I shuddered without realizing it.
As my husband whispered to me again and again that everything will be fine, time passed.
By how much I wasn’t sure.

“Jade.”

“Yes, my lord.”

“I remember telling you to protect her.”

“…”

“Don’t ever hesitate.
You should have drawn your weapon.”

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“I’m sorry,” he said.
“He put a dagger against my lady’s neck, and she started bleeding…”

“What?”

Maybe Lukas didn’t see it when he picked me up.
He checked my neck.
Since he also saw the bloodstains on my dress, I could tell he was more than furious.

“…Return to your assigned stations.”

“Understood, my lord.”

Lukas didn’t wait to hear a response.
With him bridal carrying a witch as he walked, everyone who passed by us stopped and stared.
The servants were indifferent, but the guests were another matter.
I could hear them talk amongst themselves.
It made me squirm.

“Stay still.
Otherwise, I will carry you on my back.” His voice was monotone.

I stopped moving.
Oh no, he was really mad.
I didn’t know why he was mad at me though.
Didn’t he almost cut off Count Dorison’s arm? Still, it wasn’t my fault this happened.
I was unlucky enough to encounter the madman, and he decided on a whim to strangle me.
Of course, Jade was the one who provoked him, but if I told my husband that, the red-haired knight might be executed on the spot.
The best thing to do was to lie about what happened for everyone’s sake.
I asked my husband if he could put me down, but he ignored my question.

…It was my first time here.
As I looked around, a strange building appeared before my eyes.
I soon realized it was House 3 which I only saw from afar.
Still carrying me in his arms, Lukas walked in.
He climbed up the stairs to the second floor; the pungent scent of medicine came out of one room in particular.

“Avery, are you there?”

“My lord, it’s not time to take your medi—Oh, goodness, my lady!”

There was a loud noise, and soon an old man ran out.
He seemed to be an apothecary who worked at Havel Castle based on the white robe he wore; however, he didn’t appear to be meticulous since his sleeves had stains on them.

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“What happened?”

“Look at her neck.
A lunatic strangled her.”

“T-There are clearly marks here.
This cut… I-I need to clean the wound first.
Have a seat first.” He pointed to a bed in between two bookshelves before leaving in a hurry.

I checked out the room I had never been to before as my husband put me down on the bed.
I grimaced as he touched my neck, but I wasn’t the only one frowning.

“Just as all the scars vanish, another one appears,” he muttered.

I turned my head to look at my reflection in the window.
The marks on my neck were more apparent than the ones I got on my first day in Havel.
Unfortunate.

“Why didn’t you resist? Summon a snake or use poison.
You should have cursed him and made his heart stop beating.”

“I can’t do that.”

I wasn’t able to cast any magic.
As I sighed, he touched my collarbone.
Surprised, I tried to move back, but he placed a hand on my shoulder to stop me.

“You said you couldn’t use any spells because of this.”

“Hmm? Oh, yes.”

He was pointing at the seal on my right shoulder.
He narrowed his eyes at it.
“Can’t we get rid of that?”

“Huh?”

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