rything about her illness annoyed him.
However, on the other hand, the thing that frustrated him the most was the fact that she had brought up divorce again.

Fine.
He was angry.
He was going crazy in anger!

Was their marriage something so cheap that it could just be ended like that? What divorce? How could she say it so easily that she wants to end their relationship?

Eric couldn’t tell why he was angry.
It could be because of Chloe’s condition, or because she’s hiding her illness, or because she’d been preparing to leave him.
Or it could be all these reasons.

Why does she want to leave me?

What kind of illness does she have?

These two questions were swirling in Eric’s confused mind.
Having been surrounded by only machines all his life and even becoming wrought with a machine-like mind, it was like a cog within him had gotten clogged by an obstacle called Chloe.

So he had to figure it out right away.

The reason why she wants a divorce.

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The reason why she’s sick.

“Daniel!”

Daniel appeared even before Eric’s shout could echo throughout the place.
Eric beckoned him closer.

“Yes? Why did you call, sir?”

“Find the doctor in charge of Chloe in the north.”

Eric took out a cigar as he said this.

“I need to know what’s going on.”

This was his right as a husband.

Of course, it could be that he was acting this way because of the guilt from being a cold-hearted husband who had neglected his wife.
But it didn’t matter.
Whatever it was that he was feeling, Eric was bent on finding out the secrets Chloe was trying to hide.

“And—”

He also needed to know why she wants a divorce.

But would Daniel be able to dig up the reason for this?

He already knew it was impossible.

“No.
Never mind.
I’ll take care of it.”

Eric’s eyebrows furrowed as he drew in deeply on his cigar.

’It’s too late.’

What do you mean, late?

’It’s already the end.’

Nothing has ended.

Eric clenched his fist and walked briskly.

 

* * *

 

Chloe blinked slowly.

After she had slept while not knowing how much time had passed, her fever had subsided a lot.
Fortunately, she could move alone now.

So right now, Chloe was thinking about it.
If Eric really came to meet her.

She wanted to believe that it wasn’t just a dream.
At that time, she was so delirious because of her fever—the conversation she had with him was a blur in her mind.

However, it might not be a dream.
It didn’t seem like a dream when she could still feel so vividly the heartache, the sadness, the sorrow she felt while she was talking to him.

That’s right.
It wasn’t a dream.
In fact, she had yelled at Eric.

Recalling this fact, her cheeks became even more flushed despite her fever.

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Why did she do that? Just why did she do that?

It might be because she was too feverish.
That’s why she was out of her mind.
This was how Chloe rationalized it.

But she soon shook her head and pulled the rope.

“Madam!”

Shortly after, Andrea knocked on the door.
Chloe could barely muster a loud enough voice to let her come in.
Then, the door suddenly opened.

“You finally woke up, Madam! Are you alright? Goodness, this isn’t the time.
I’ll call the doctor!”

Andrea spoke in a noticeably frantic voice.
She was usually calm and composed.
This was how affected she must be about what happened to Chloe.

“Andrea.”

Chloe called her name carefully.

“How long have I been unconscious?”

“Let me see.
It’s been…”

Andrea looked towards the ceiling for a moment, then she answered.

“It’s been four days since the Madam woke up for a short while.
So in total, it’s been a week.”

Chloe bit her lower lip.
It’s been that long? Her husband already had suspicions about her illness.
It was clear that she wouldn’t be able to clear those suspicions by now.

“Where is my husband?”

“Milord went out for a while.”

“Really?”

Chloe cleared her sore throat for a moment, then she continued.

“Do you know when he’ll be back?”

“His Excellency mentioned that he would come back this evening, but it’s not certain.
He’s a person who’s not very conscious of time.”

“Alright.”

Chloe was thinking that it was fortunate that Eric wasn’t home right now.
She knew that they would only fight again if they saw each other.

Why had they become like this?

She tried to think of the reason, and the answer came to her quickly.

Because he didn’t love her.

Because she loved him very much.

Love was a terrible emotion.
Even if she wanted to throw it away, it wouldn’t get thrown away.

And it was the same with the hope that would come alive just because of that love.
No matter how hard she tried to let go of him, she couldn’t let go entirely.

Chloe spent several years like this.
Alone, she loved, she hoped—to no avail.

Perhaps her life would only be complete with love.
That’s why all her life, she had only wanted love and looked for nothing else that she could want—she looked only at her husband.

With an indistinct smile on her lips, Chloe blamed herself for being so pathetic.

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