You Can Keep the Male Lead Chapter 43

YCKTML Chapter 43

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As soon as I arrived at the townhouse in the capital, I stretched and washed up.

Now that I’ve decided to push through with the divorce, this house didn’t make me feel relaxed. Still, I couldn’t ignore the comfort of the bed and the bathroom with hot water.

When I woke up at around noon, it was to the sound of birds chirping outside the window. 

I combed through my frizzy hair with my hands then opened the windows. The warm late summer breeze passed through the leaves and blew my rose-pink hair.

I closed my eyes for a moment, enjoying the wind, then found Rupert staring at me in the middle of the garden.

What, since when have you been looking at me over there?

Startled, I slammed the window shut and closed the curtains. For a moment, I wondered why he was doing that but felt uneasy because it was as if I could read his mind.

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I had to tell him I was planning on divorcing him, but I didn’t know when to say it. If he acted as he did before, I wouldn’t have hesitated. 

But he’s changed.

I didn’t know if it was related to the changes I showed since I possessed Erin’s body, but Rupert’s attitude now was completely different from when I met him on our wedding day. Obviously, he had feelings for me, Erin.

Moreover, after the accident, guilt was added into the mix, and now he kept looking at me like a lost dog. However, that did not weaken my resolve; I was worried the situation would interfere with a smooth divorce.

“He still probably likes Chloe…”

That was another annoying part. Of course, at this point, it would be even difficult for him to give up Chloe and go all-in on me.

“How troublesome.” 

Chloe didn’t go to the mansion, so she probably went straight to Count Andron. Why didn’t she go with Rupert? 

Chloe was definitely suspicious, but she was the heroine who must be tied to Rupert. That was the only way I could benefit from her existence. 

Don’t tell me you’re going away because of me. 

The thought made me anxious. 

I’d rather bring the two closer so that Rupert wouldn’t pay attention to me.

I shook my head. I told myself I was no longer getting involved. 

After pondering on it for a while, I pulled back the curtains and opened the window once more. He was no longer there. 

Just as I was about to turn around and leave, I heard the sound of a horse running from afar. 

I narrowed my eyes to stare at the person approaching. It was only when they were close enough that I recognized who it was.

“Richard?”

He had only visited recently, but why was he rushing back? 

I hurried out the door and ran downstairs to meet him. When I reached outside, Richard was almost there, and Rupert, who probably had seen him in the garden, was by the front door.

As I approached, I heard Rupert’s voice. 

“What’s the matter?”

“His Grace’s health has turned for the worse. I think you should hurry up and go.”

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As soon as I heard him, I thought back to the timeline in the novel. Although they didn’t specify the date in the novel, the Duke’s death was definitely near this point after the hunting competition.

Maybe… It might be possible to save him.

However, could I do that?

“Madam, let’s go together. We need to take off right away.”

I didn’t answer right away. The thought of my impending divorce made me hesitate. 

“And you can go and stop by Count Spilet’s grave.”

Ah, so Erin’s father’s grave was there.

I finally nodded when Rupert looked at me as if to ask for consent. I had been in correspondence with the Duke this whole time, and even though I had never met him, I had a shallow affection for him. But, of course, the fact that he was on Erin’s side in the original also played a part.

That’s why, no matter how close the divorce was, I wanted to see him at least once before he passed away.

“Then let’s get ready to go.”

As I entered the main building with Rupert, I pondered for a moment.

“What is Miss Chloe doing?”

At my question, he frowned. Come to think of it, whenever I mentioned Chloe, he would never have a good reaction.

“Perhaps she’s resting at her house.”

“…Is that so.”

As expected, he answered in a plain tone. Are you really not taking Chloe with you? 

It was nice not to see people I didn’t want to see, but it was still concerning.

In the novel, Chloe and Rupert went ahead, and Erin rode a different carriage. However, even before Erin arrived, the Duke had already died. 

But Chloe wasn’t even here, so were Rupert and I going together? More than that, wasn’t the time shorter compared to what happened in the original?

Shaking off my thoughts, I called Jenny to pack simply. 

“Lia, send this to the Imperial Palace.”

In the meantime, I wrote a short letter and had it delivered to Enoch through Lia. He would probably contact me about something related to the magic stone mine, so I thought I should inform him of my absence in advance.

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When I arrived in front of the carriage, Rupert was already there, standing by the door and holding out his hand. Such a gesture wasn’t normal between us. 

I climbed onto the carriage while holding onto his fingertips. I let out a small sigh without realizing it. 

I was hoping for a smooth and quick divorce in the future, so it’s not good for him to be kind to me. However, I couldn’t even point it out. 

It was confusing to see Rupert sitting across from me. Even if it hurt, I would have preferred he treat me the way he did before. 

As the carriage departed, I closed my eyes and tried to recall the shame I felt at the wedding and the betrayal I felt when I fell off the cliff.

When I opened my eyes, Rupert’s eyes were also closed. What a relief.

How long would it take to reach the Duke’s estate? 

I looked out the carriage window and tried to estimate the distance, but again, I had never gone this way, so I couldn’t guess.

Could we arrive on time? 

Could I reach the Duke when I arrive? Could I recognize the maid?

And… could I save him?

“It takes about half a day to arrive,” Rupert muttered as if he read my thoughts. 

“…Oh.”

“My father has always liked Count Spilet. And Erin, you too.”

I had to keep a straight face as he mentioned the past. I knew nothing about Erin’s childhood, however, I was able to give an appropriate answer. 

“That’s why I’m going to see him, even though he’s your father.”

Rupert, who had little response to my blunt answer, slowly opened his mouth. 

“I’m sorry about that day.”

My eyes widened at the sudden apology, then realized he was talking about what happened on the cliff. 

“That’s enough. The profit I’ve gotten at the cost of my life was significant. Of course, I don’t think it’s because of you.”

“I just caught the horse that was near me at the moment,” he continued his excuses regardless of my answer. “…it wasn’t because you were less important.”

I bit my lip. Let’s not be weak.

“It doesn’t really matter. Whatever your heart is.”

“I know you hate me so much.”

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I avoided his eyes and looked out the window. I felt betrayed and sad as soon as I fell, but I didn’t hate him that much in the first place. 

I never had much expectations in the first place. But if it happened to the real Erin Spilet, she would have hated him already.

“Don’t you? I’m the one who took your lover hostage and threatened you. It wouldn’t be too strange if you didn’t save me.”

So, should I now check the real Rupert’s heart?

“But… Now that I think about it, I wonder if it was too much. I’ve been turning a blind eye to you that long.”

Ah, don’t do that! Why are you trying to forgive Erin so easily? I took your cherished lover as collateral.

“…I can still tell the Duke that I’m in trouble because you and Miss Chloe are still seeing each other.”

“Really? You’ll really say that?” Rupert asked, his expression brightening. 

I kept my mouth shut because I felt like I was being dragged into an unintended direction. 

I could be effortlessly cold to those who were strong against me, but I couldn’t do that to those who were weak and soft. Be it reason or emotion, this was my basic attitude towards people.

Even so, I would divorce him anyway. The more that person showed such feelings, the more resolved I was to get divorced.

It was better for the both of us. I didn’t like Rupert. And while Rupert’s been acting like he has special feelings for Erin lately, I don’t think he’s really in love with Erin.

As expected, should I be nosy? Or should I stick to him the way Erin did to make him want to get away from me? 

While I wondered how to cut off Rupert, the carriage quickly arrived at the Duke’s estate.

Thanks to its mild weather, fertile land, and large port, the Clifford’s estate was a thriving and abundant territory.

They were contributors to the founding of this empire along with the Archmage Rikephoros. For this reason, he supported only the Crown Prince, who was the head of the Imperial faction and had a clear lineage of the Archmage.

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So, the Imperial family always favored them and welcomed many Empresses from the Clifford family into their homes.

I heard that the previous Earl of Spilet was originally a vassal of the Duke of Clifford. However, they weren’t just vassals; they even climbed up to the status of their predecessors.

Just as the Cliffords produced many Empresses, the Spilets produced many Duchesses.

Following that, Erin’s attempt to marry Rupert wasn’t that excessive. In hindsight, Chloe pushed Erin out in the name of love…

When I leaned my elbow against the window and looked outside, I froze. 

What’s wrong with what Chloe did? It didn’t matter whether Chloe was good or bad. Unless she touched me directly. 

Contrary to my troubled heart, the wind was gentle, and the emerald sea was calm under the warm sunlight. As I looked at the sea, I thought of someone.

What was he doing now?

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