Why Are You Sorry, Darling?
It took a lot of courage for the lady of a duchy to meet with the woman that her husband was carrying on with behind her back. At least, it would’ve, if I’d been the real duchess. But things were different for me, who’d just woken up one day as the wife of a major character from a story I’d read.
Poor Tareya’s husband secretly met with another woman every night, in a place he’d paid for with his own money, and the woman was a commoner far below his station. And on top of that, the two of them were passionately in love.
The slender woman’s shoulders trembled. Her neck was long, white, and pretty, reminding me of a graceful doe.
Oh, but I was getting off-track. I tapped at my teacup as I retraced my memory. “I’m sure you already know who I am.”
She fixed her gaze on the table, unable to meet my eyes, as if something terrible might happen if she did. Considering how her clenched fists were shaking terribly, it seemed she thought that I despised her.
Maintaining my elegant posture, I stared at her pale exposed shoulders. Her thin arms and slender fingers made her look more frail than thin, and her flowing hair was as light as her skin. She seemed like she could be blown away by the wind—a woman who made you want to hold and comfort her, like a baby bird that had fallen from its nest.
“Yes… I do, Your Grace,” she said shakily.
Her hands wouldn’t stop quivering. I could see she was extremely nervous. What was I supposed to do next? Thinking of my next steps, I picked up my glass of water and then set it back down. The woman sitting across from me visibly flinched.
“Then you already know what I’m about to say,” I said.
Whoa. Cool it, sister. I had no intention of baptizing her with this glass of cold water sitting in front of me—though of course, this was about when I’d let it rip and send her straight to Splash Mountain, according to all the daytime soap operas.
“As you know, my husband is Duke DeLov.”
Just three months after the duke married his wife, he’d taken a mistress and purchased a cozy little house where he frequently met up with her. In other words, that simple but snug space was their love nest. And that mistress? The beautiful commoner Seira Torsone.
“And you are?” I asked, feigning ignorance.
The woman flinched again but replied, “I’m... Seira Torsone.”
I woke up in the body of the wife of the arrogant Duke DeLov, who also happened to be the teacher of the male protagonist. When I opened my eyes, I was in the world of this novel, and I remembered everything about her role as I adjusted to my situation.
The duke, who had always been a selfish and promiscuous man, had kept many mistresses before getting married, but had gotten rid of all but one of them now. And that woman happened to be Seira. It likely meant she was just that beautiful and kind, but in any case, it was clear that the two were passionately in love.
In the novel, I was caught in the crossfire of a power struggle and wound up dead, and Seira naturally took over my place. After that… I’d stopped reading, so I’m not sure what happened next. I was too pissed off wondering what the male lead was doing learning from a teacher like that guy.
But Duke Delov was an expert swordsman and was competent in strategy, and he was skilled enough to be the male protagonist’s teacher. He was also an aristocrat with great political influence, and he was so handsome that people would stop to stare at him in awe. He was an attractive man, and women couldn’t help but fall for him.
And I was his wife, the woman who cried her eyes out over him every night, keeping all her pain bottled up inside until she ultimately ended up dead in someone else’s mess. Just like every other case where the main character was transmigrated into the body of a fictional character, I was aware of the dark future ahead. I didn’t know the exact cause of death, but I had a good idea of when it would be. So wouldn’t it be best to avoid it?
“Don’t all the paintings here have such distinctly beautiful colors and brushstrokes? This incredible place even has a lounge, so it’s like paradise for people like us.”
The atmosphere was so awkwardly tense that I attempted to ease the mood by making small talk, sticking to Seira’s interests, but she remained frozen despite the change of subject to paintings. She was shaking so hard that it was difficult to believe she’d so boldly committed adultery.
“Um, Your Grace!”
Oh. Was she finally ready to talk? Seira, who had been trembling like a scared rabbit all this time, finally lifted her head.
“Yes?” I replied.
She anxiously eyed how my fingers were fiddling with the cup before me, then squeezed her eyes shut and shouted, “I-I don’t know how you’ll take this, but His Grace and I are in love!”
She opened her eyes and stared at me, and I couldn’t help but admire her light blue eyes. She truly was a beauty. I forgot about the situation we were in for a moment and just admired her. Unable to hold eye contact for even a few seconds, she quickly dropped her gaze, but bit her bottom lip as if determined to not take back what she said.
“Oh. Do you mean you’re going to continue to meet my husband?” Without thinking about it, the lines flowed smoothly from my lips. I didn’t have to hear her next words to know what she would say.
“Yes. I’m sorry. I have no intention of ending things with His Grace.”
“That’s fine. You can keep seeing him.” I didn’t regret the words I just said. Why would I? I would be grateful if she took him from me... or rather took him out, like the trash he was.
“Pardon?” Her eyes grew as big as saucers. “Wh-what did you say...?”
Her eyes were so big and clear like glass beads that it looked like they would pop out if I touched them. Seira looked confused, as though she thought she must’ve misheard me. As the moment stretched on, she looked more and more doubtful.
Instead of repeating myself, I slowly pulled out a white envelope. “Take it.”
Inside was a bunch of bills that could be immediately exchanged for gold at a nearby bank. Upon seeing this, she pressed her lips together and clenched her fists. She seemed to have been expecting it.
“This is exactly one hundred thousand pounds. You’ll never be able to get your hands on that kind of money otherwise.” I said my lines calmly and glanced at Seira, noticing she looked about to cry.
“Y-you can’t bribe me into breaking up with His Grace with this money!”
“Good. You shouldn’t break up with him.”
She was about to protest, but paused when she saw me nodding in agreement. “What?”
“Keep seeing him. That’s what I’m giving you this money for.”
Seira looked at the white envelope, then back at me. It seemed like she hadn’t misheard this time. She opened her mouth, but no words came out. She still looked suspicious, and I started to get frustrated. How else could I tell her to just keep him?
Honestly, I’d been waiting for this moment. I might have been his wife right now, but why would I stay married to him? I didn’t want to get tangled up in a tiresome fight with Seira like the wife had in the novel. It wasn’t like I was in love with the duke, so I could let him go without any tears. There was no reason to continue a loveless marriage. I didn’t want him, so she could have him.
After adjusting to this life in the novel, I found out that I needed a liable reason to get divorced. That meant things needed to be really, really, really bad to get a divorce! But apparently, the duke having a mistress wouldn’t be enough on its own. I couldn’t believe I was in a world where my husband’s adultery wasn’t considered legitimate grounds for divorce.
So, Miss Tress, please help me. I’ll give you the manpower and the money. Oh, right. By “manpower,” I meant my husband, of course.
“Is this not enough? I can give you as much as you want. Name your price.”
Seira looked bewildered, as if she couldn’t understand what was going on. She shook her head, saying, “I-I can’t accept this money. No matter how much you give me, I will never leave His Grace!”
That wasn’t what I’d meant, but she clearly thought I was telling her to break up with him because I was offering her more money.
“I really love His Grace. I’ll... I’ll never be separated from him, even if you should never forgive me for it.”
“That’s the spirit.” I clapped, nodding. “Keep it up.”
I really was rooting for her. I had no plans to remain in House DeLov until my death. I didn’t know why I’d come to this world and become the duchess, but my survival was the most important thing.
Fortunately, the duchess was from a decently respectable county. Not only was her family’s territory a famous vacation spot, but they were also extremely wealthy. In other words, the duchess had been born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Her parents also still seemed to cherish her, even now that she was all grown up and married. That meant I had somewhere to go even if I got divorced.
Seira was now completely flustered.
I did see my husband often, and I could admit he was a man that many women would covet. He was handsome, wealthy, and competent, with alluring eyes and a nice body. But so what? His background was so complicated that hanging around him was enough to lead you to death. I prioritized safety above all, and I thought the best thing in the world was to be rich and funemployed. Hurray for peace.
“Seira.” I placed the white envelope in her slim and pretty hand, and she automatically accepted it in a daze. “You’re doing well. Keep up the good work.”
With a little more ambition, the House of DeLov would be all hers. She could do it. Stay strong, Seira!
“Let me know if you need anything,” I finished.
I’d needed to hide my identity, so we were meeting in a place that was popular with the middle class: a gallery where commoner artists showcased their works and sometimes sold them to those who wished to purchase them. We were sitting across from each other at a table in the gallery’s lounge, and the noise and my plain clothes helped me blend in very easily.
“Oh, by the way, my husband is going to Pavel in a week. You should join him. It’s a vacation spot, after all.”
I felt apologetic toward Seira for this puzzling situation, but I didn’t feel bad for my husband at all. In the novel, he’d elevated his mistress without so much as batting an eye after his wife’s death. There was no reason to be sorry. I left without giving the still-stunned Seira a proper goodbye.
As soon as I left the gallery, I quickly glanced at the alley, spotting someone’s back disappearing into the shadows. Good. Of course he was following me. I pulled my lips up into a smile. My husband’s servant had witnessed my meeting with Seira, exactly as planned. He’d inform my husband about it soon enough. I quickly lowered my gaze, my lashes casting long shadows across my face, and put on a sorrowful face like I was mourning a death.
After all, I had to ensure that the second tail shadowing me, who was certainly lurking somewhere nearby, would see me as a wife shocked and heartbroken by coming face-to-face with the mistress.