Chapter 56: The Couple, Together and Separated.
Volume 2 — The Honeymoon of the Northern Nobleman and the Raptor Wife
The fourth day. We prepared to go to Sieg’s hometown, and left after having breakfast.
Grandfather saw us out. While wearing bear fur.
“I prepared a carriage that doesn’t put much strain on the body.”
“Thank you for your concern.”
To Sieg who might have a baby, grandfather was kind.
“Next time, let us watch the foxfires or something together.”
“When it gets warmer.”
“I’ll look forward to our next meeting.”
The two of us bowed and left the Marquess’s mansion.
In the carriage, blankets and cushions to reduce the impact were prepared. How thankful, I thought as I locked my gaze with Sieg’s.
It took about three hours by carriage to Sieg’s hometown.
“Sieg, do you want to lie down until we arrive?”
On the first day, she had morning sickness so Sieg had a really tough time. She couldn’t have her favourtie food, and she was a bit emotionally unstable. The doctor that visited last night said such things are commonly seen in the early phase of pregnancy.
Sometimes, the carriage wheels can bump into rocks making the carriage shake. So, thinking that I had to support her body while she slept, I gestured for her to use my lap as a pillow.
I laid a sheet on my laps and told Sieg to lie down.
“Is it alright?”
“Please go ahead.”
Sieg lied down, so I covered her with a blanket. Then I signalled the driver to start moving.
For some time, maybe because she was unused to such a situation, her body was stiff, but after I caressed her for some time, her eyes closed and she started making soft breathing sounds.
Moving for long periods of time, travelling, was not recommendable for pregnant women, but she did get better after the first day, so the doctor said to just not put a strain on her.
We decided that we won’t tell Sieg’s parents yet. We couldn’t say for sure if there really is a child so that’s why we decided so.
Grandfather suggested that we rest at his house until her condition is better. However, a letter from Sieg’s house arrived, saying, “Looking forward to the meeting”. When I told grandfather that we shouldn’t change our schedule like that, he too acquiesced.
Four hours later. We had been moving slowly, resting many times on the way for Sieg.
Because we arrived later than expected, it seemed that the Wattins were worried.
“We just took it slowly, enjoying the scenery.”
“Is that so, my lady.”
“I’m no longer ‘my lady’.”
The elderly butler was someone who served House Wattin since Sieg was young, so he said that he ended up saying that from habit, while smiling bitterly. That butler then guided us to the drawing room where hot coffee was served.
After the butler left, we sighed that we arrived safely at her home.
“Sorry it’s disorderly here.”
“No, not at all.”
While chatting, Sieg only enjoyed the smell of the coffee but did not sip it, just holding cup the cup.
“Pregnancy has surprisingly many limits.”
Last night, we heard things that shouldn’t be eaten during pregnancy, and the two of us were surprised at the amount.
Coffee too was one of them.
It didn’t matter if it was just a little, but Sieg thought that shouldn’t have any.
She looked over here with a serious expression. When I asked her what it was, she replied that the lap pillow was good.
“How should I say it, it feels good to sleep while feeling someone else’s warmth.”
“Yeah. It feels nice to sleep together on cold nights.”
We laughed while talking about trivial things.
Our life together was good.
So I did think that all was still good even if she wasn’t pregnant.
As Sieg was pouring fruit juice into a cup, the door opened with great force.
The person who opened the door was Sieg’s energetic nephew, Claus.
“Oi, you arrived, gra……!?”
Because of Sieg’s instantaneous glar, Claus was cut off. Diffidently, he started talking.
“Erm, grandpa, I mean, dearest grandfather wishes to talk a bit with gra…… er, aunt.”
“Alright. Claus, be with Ritzhard in the meanwhile.”
“Where’s the reply!?”
Claus was left in the room with me. For some reason, I felt sorry for him.
“Why don’t you take a seat?”
I held out the cup of juice and recommended him to sit down.
“You grew big in such a short time.”
Claus turned 13 this year, I think? It’s an age where interacting with adults is hard. I took care to not make him nervous.
He talked about school.
Apparently, Claus is in the school club for tennis, a sports that is played by hitting the ball with a racket.
“I got an award in the last competition……”
He started because Sieg taught him tennis when he was little. However, for the past few years, Sieg only taught for short intervals and did not spend much time with him.
“Tennis, I could do it well so I wanted to show her, but she always said that she was busy, so to draw her attention……”
That was why he was calling Sieg granny. Well, what should I say, I do know how it feels to want to tease a girl one likes.
“However, I was surprised to see aunt today.”
“……She was well, womanly now.”
Indeed. Sieg became prettier every day. So one must be surprised to suddenly see such a change.
“It’s been a year since she started living in the forest, so we were thinking that she might have become like a wild beast, heavier than before.”
It seems that they’re thinking that we’re a tribe eating raw meat.
Mm, our people did eat raw reindeer meat and drink their blood, leading nomadic lives, but now our life isn’t that different from the capital.
Not a long time later, Sieg returned to the room.
“Claus, you weren’t being rude, I hope?”
While looking at Claus who couldn’t look straight at Sieg, I told her that he had been a very good boy.
Then Sieg’s parents came as well.
“Ritzhard-kun, I’m thankful that you came all this way.”
Sieg’s mother and father too were happy to see Sieg again after a long time.
Claus said that adult talk was boring and then exited the room.
“My, I was surprised at my daughter’s change!”
“Indeed, I never thought that I would see my daughter so feminine and plump.”
“Father, Mother, surely you exaggerate.”
Mother-in-law wiped her tears with a handkerchief.
“It’s a good timing, so let us have a meal now.”
When mother-in-law rang the bell in her hand, servants came in the room to prepare the meal.
Today, they said that they prepared what Sieg likes. Hearing that, her expression went stiff.
For the last few days, she said that she didn’t want meat that had fat, so we led a lifestyle centred around fruits, vegetables, and light meat dishes.
Pregnancy changed how food tasted, so Sieg was avoiding heavy meat dishes.
When she was in the military, she had a lot of grilled meat for strength. She was nervous that such dishes would be served today.
I patted Sieg on the back to reassure her.
First came the aperitifs. Sparkling wine. Sieg told the servant that she preferred water.
Next came appetisers. Mashed potatoes and ham with cheese, and root vegetable soup.
The main dish was grilled veal with red wine sauce.
But of course, as soon as that came out, Sieg pressed her mouth and stood up.
She stared for a while, but soon ran out. A maidservant who seemed to have realised the reason ran after her.
I pondered what I should do, but her parents’ surprised expression I decided that there was no reason to hide it from them.
“Erm, morning sickness.”
I was worried about Sieg, but for me to exit as well would be even more worrying, so I told everything while continuing to dine.
“……Or so they say.”
“Is that so?”
Modern medical science can only discern pregnancy after five months.
“Indeed, my intuition, shall I say…… well, I had thought that she might be. She’s gotten a bit plump after all.”
She really was a mother of ten. She told me that it was fine that we didn’t tell them.
“Giving birth back in your country?”
“……No, we haven’t decided yet.”
The doctor discouraged travelling during pregnancy. So I had thought of leaving Sieg here and going home alone. However, this was not something I could decide on by myself.
After having lunch, I rushed over to Sieg who was resting in her room. She was sleeping. The servant said that she had some fruits then went to sleep. It seems that a doctor came over as well.
In the afternoon, father-in-law was going to take me to a lounge. I had to prepare. I kissed Sieg’s forehead and left the room.
In the lounges, me played card games, pool, drank alcohol and talked about world events, away from women. It was a rising resting place for gentlemen.
Father-in-law invited me to enjoy some alcohol.
“Nice place, isn’t it? You can drink however much you want here.”
“It’s like a secret base.”
Secret base, a place where children spend their time out of their parents’ sight. I knew the word, but I didn’t have the leisure to make such a base. I just said what I learned from books.
“Now then, let’s start off with a toast!”
Father-in-law ordered dry black beer. I contentedly thought that the father and the daughter were very much alike.
“How is it?”
“A bit too strong. I prefer ales.”
“No. I mean about my daughter.”
So it was about Sieg, not about the beer. How embarrassing.
Since it was a serious topic, I put down the glass and fixed my posture.
“Sieglinde-san is a lovely woman, someone that is more than I deserve.”
“R-Really!? Are you sane!?”
“Yes, I’m not lying.”
Father-in-law looked bewildered and disbelieving. I told him again that it was true.
“……No, sorry for suspecting you.”
Father-in-law invited me because he wanted to let my pent-up frustration out, but he was surprised at my response.
“Well…… my daughter was very strong and not a bit feminine. We, my family, all thought that she was in complete control in the marriage.”
“No, not really.”
Sieg is skilled in many things, but she never tried to do something better than me, her husband, nor did she try to force her stance on me. When there is a problem, we talked it out.
“I really am glad that my daughter is happy, and knows the joy of being a woman.”
“However, I believe that it’s all thanks to Ritzhard-kun sacrificing himself.”
Father-in-law, just how were you seeing your own daughter.
Working in the military from when she was 13 to 31, Sieg may have never had the time to relax with her family, to know each other better.
While sipping alcohol, I talked about our life in the snow country. In the end, father-in-law also stated that he wanted to come, which made me happy.
We returned home late at night. When I realised it, we were talking very enthusiatically.
When I heard that Sieg was waiting for me from a servant, I panicked and ran over to her bedroom.
“Sieg, sorry, I just returned.”
“……No, it’s fine.”
Sieg had her back on a backrest and was doing embroidery. Her complexion was better than before, so I felt relieved.
“So we were found out.”
“Yeah. But that might have been for the best.”
After stroking Sieg’s head, I sat down next to her.
Then I told her what I had been thinking of.
“——Sieg, why don’t you spend some time here?”
Here, the doctors can come over quickly, along with midwives that had birth experience. She could also probably spend her time more comfortably than in the remote lands.
“I’ll be back in summer.”
Well, if she turns out to be not pregnant, I can come in spring. Either way, I can’t take her to the extreme cold while she is weak.
“I-I don’t have any plans to rest here a long time.”
“There might be a child inside, I can’t let you ride a boat for two days.”
The doctor said that miscarriages are possible in this phase, and there are no doctors on board. It will be bad if anything happened.
There are elderly people who knew a lot about giving birth, but the chances of them helping Sieg is low.
“I’m sad to be split from you, but not having you for the rest of my life is more painful.”
Sieg accepted it.
“I’ll write letters.”
Her dejected expression made me feel pained as well.
However, this was for the best. I can’t push her to go back and possibly lose a life.
“Are you going back tomorrow morning?”
There’s probably mountains of work to do back home. There isn’t that much work to do as a lord, but things do pile up when I leave the house for a few days.
“I wonder how I can get rid of this fear.”
“Sieg, I’m sorry.”
“No, you didn’t make a wrong decision.”
I distressed over how I could calm her trembling grey eyes, but the right words did not come out.
“What should I say, I’m surprised myself. It seems that I relied on Ritz quite a bit.”
“That’s not true. You were doing well in foreign lands.”
“Then why is this parting so painful?”
I hugged Sieg tightly. For me right now, this was the best I could do to console her.
While I was hugging her and patting her back, someone knocked on the doors.
When I opened the door, a servant delivered a letter to me.
The sender as grandfather. It was an express delivery. When I opened the envelope while worrying that something bad might have happened, something absurd was written on it.
—— My son and his wife, I captured your parents. How should I cook them up?
It seems that grandfather found father and mother who were missing.
[There is no response. It is just a corpse.]