How to Tame My Beastly Husband — Chapter 11. Returned Gifts
This chapter has been re-worked by Regan, we have picked up the novel from chapter 64
At Raphael’s question, Gerard was reluctantly forced to answer.
“Yes, Your Excellency.”
“I have to question the reputation of the Bavaria family, if their servants are so blatantly disrespectful. I will forgive you this time, as a gift to my wife. I will not offer the same mercy twice.”
Raphael glowered this warning, and a cold sweat broke on Gerard’s forehead. Even moments after being roused from his bed, Raphael could still breathe fire. Sudden fear for this beast of a man made Gerard briefly dizzy.
He had almost forgotten how dangerous Raphael Carnesis was. He was an outstanding swordsman, rumored to be reaching the level of Sword Master. And until a few years ago, he had been known as a brutal butcher, called the demon of the battlefield.
Gerard’s spine felt cold as ice. When Raphael said he would not give the same mercy twice, he meant it literally. Those blue eyes were blazing now, focused speculatively on Gerard’s hands and legs, as if wondering which he would remove first. Gerard’s jaw twitched.
“Tha–thank you for your generosity, Your Excellency.”
And Gerard offered a cordial and heartfelt farewell before he departed, as if he were retreating.
If I leave like this, I’ll be in trouble with the master but at the moment, that seems…preferable.
Feeling that sinister gaze on his back, Gerard hurried his pace, and escaped the Carnesis mansion.
Which left Annette and Raphael alone in the foyer. Annette felt Raphael’s gaze scorching her like the sun, and she swallowed nervously, then raised trembling eyes to his.
“I’m sorry, Raphael,” she said. “You must feel insulted, don’t you?”
She was deeply ashamed of what had just happened, and apologized frankly to him. She was trying to be brave, but she was so shocked, her heart was pounding wildly. In her previous life, she had been sick in bed, and had no idea that her own family had disregarded and insulted Raphael so profoundly.
That explained why he had been so cold to her when she woke up from her illness. She wasn’t just sorry for her family’s insult. She was sorry for her own hostility to him, when she had never realized what her family had done.
But all the heat was gone from his eyes when he looked down at her now, and for once, he accepted the apology without sarcasm or anger.
“No, I don’t really care,” he lied, even though he had been visualizing Gerard’s dismembering moments before. When he pictured tiny Annette lashing out at her family’s loyal, hardworking retainer, it was impossible to stay angry.
Actually, that had been fun.
Though he had no intention of letting this go. Annette had supported him when he was watching, but Raphael couldn’t know what she would have done behind his back. His hatred and suspicion were not that easily set aside.
“It seems the Bavaria family has overlooked basic etiquette in their servants,” he spat, his voice harsh. “Such behavior is unacceptable.”
He expected that she would be angry at the insult to Bavaria. That family was arrogant to their bones, and their pride as high as the sky.
“I know,” Annette said unexpectedly. “But they will take care of it themselves. I am the lady of the House of Carnesis now.”
Her father had abandoned her, Annette told herself again. In her last life, she had never been able to stop trying to be his good daughter. But she had no intention of doing that again. Raphael had complained, but he had cared for her until the day she died, and he was more family than her father. Even when she was dying, her father had never come.
Her answer surprised Raphael. For the first time, his cold face crumbled, revealing a flicker of his true feelings. It made her feel a little closer to him, and for the first time she looked up at him and offered a little joke.
“You’re not thinking of getting rid of me now, are you?” She asked, with her best pitiful face. “I’ve just had a terrible fight with my family, and have nowhere to go.”
“Stop talking nonsense.” Raphael refused to laugh. He still had no intention of accepting her as his family. But Annette wasn’t particularly hurt. This could have been a serious conflict, if Raphael had chosen to pursue the insult, but he had let it go.
“So why did Gerard come?” She asked, tilting her head. “I thought he was running errands.”
His face expressionless, Raphael lifted a hand to indicate the place where Gerard had been standing. A lot of crates and boxes were piled there, all of them of quality, and Annette looked closer, wondering. The logo engraved in gold foil on one box caught her eye.
They were all trademarks of the most famous workshops in Deltium. Most of them produced wedding gifts.
“No,” Annette gasped, her eyes widening. “Don’t tell me those…”
Now that she thought of it, those boxes did look familiar. Her cheeks paled. All those boxes piled on the ground were wedding gifts. Rare and precious objects that Raphael had sent to her family as their new son-in-law before the marriage.
No. Did you really just return all those gifts?
Compared to this, Gerard’s poor manners felt trivial.
The contempt of her family was far beyond anything she could have imagined. How could they have returned all those gifts that Raphael sent with his love? She had never heard about this in her last life.
“Your father rejected my gifts,” Raphael confirmed. “They were lacking in his eyes, apparently. They weren’t up to the Duke of Bavaria’s standards. He had no use for them, so he sent them back.”
Crossing his arms over his chest, he growled. And now that she looked at him, he was still wearing loose clothing, his shirt unbuttoned, his deep blue eyes bloodshot. He did not look as if he had slept well, and then he had been hauled out of bed so Gerard could throw his gifts back in his face.
Annette could not blame him for hating her at this point.
She was so upset. It was ridiculous to question the quality of these gifts. Allamand had only wanted to offer an unforgivable insult to Raphael, and let him know where he stood at once. Her father was the kind of man who wouldn’t hesitate to offer this kind of lesson.
If I had known it would be like this, I wouldn’t have agreed to the marriage.
The more she thought about it, the angrier and sadder she felt. The false accusation against her had prevented her from becoming Crown Princess. The Bavaria family had hushed up the charges, but in exchange, owed a favor to the royal family. The price for burying the matter was her marriage to Raphael. Allamand had abandoned his own daughter to satisfy the king.
King Selgratis had used the opportunity to remedy Raphael’s low birth, marrying him to a lady of the most prestigious family. Annette, who had just been involved in such a scandal, had been the perfect choice.
Allamand had been greatly displeased with the wedding. But instead of turning on the king who had engineered it, he chose Raphael as the easier target.
It was a cowardly thing to do.
“I’m so sorry, Raphael,” she apologized. “I don’t know how I can face you. I–I’ll make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Raphael’s arms loosened. With her head bowed, he couldn’t see Annette’s face, but he could hear the sincerity in her voice. The sight of her bent head and her miserable voice were enough to soften even his wicked self.
He felt he shouldn’t just let it go, though. Even though she seemed to be regretting her family’s behavior, she was still a Bavaria. There was no telling when she might suddenly reverse her stance and take her father’s side instead.
His lips parted to scold her. But oddly, the usual cutting words wouldn’t come.
What’s wrong with me?
Raphael frowned, looking down at her small head. In the end, he could only muster a perfunctory warning.
“Make sure it doesn’t,” he said. “Understood?”
Raphael left. Sadly, she turned to watch his back. She had thought he would be angry with her, but unexpectedly, he had said nothing. It was a miracle that it had ended this quietly. Maybe, by openly taking his side, she had softened his heart a little.
Left alone, Annette blinked the tears away and sighed heavily. She had just cut off all ties with her family, but surprisingly, she did not regret it. Her father had let her go first.
It’s all right. It was a good decision, she comforted herself. She had married Raphael and was now his wife, so of course it was right to side with him. And even though Raphael was a bastard, he was still a nobleman, and a war hero whose valor was recognized by the royal family. No matter how powerful the Duke of Bavaria was, he had no right to offer such insult to Raphael.
But that was only part of the question. Annette blinked, pondering.
Why bother sending the gifts back?
Somehow, Annette felt there might be another intention hidden in her father’s action. An even more insidious one.
These suspicions about her father were completely rational. The cold-blooded Bavarias never wasted their time on useless things. If her father had just wanted to insult Raphael, he could have just thrown the gifts away, instead of going to the trouble of sending them back.
With a deep sigh, Annette decided to keep an eye on her father. She couldn’t guess what his actual motive was, but she couldn’t allow him to keep insulting Raphael like this. Just the thought of the treatment Raphael had suffered this morning made her furious.
You’re the one that sent me to marry him, and now you won’t even accept him as your son-in-law. That’s so callous!
Even if Raphael was a bastard, he was still a royal bastard. The King was known to favor him quite a bit, to the point of rousing the antagonism of the Crown Prince. Even though Ludwig was the heir to the throne, and Raphael was just an illegitimate son.
Perhaps that was the reason why Annette’s father had insulted Raphael. To curry favor with Ludwig, who would be the next king. Though Allamand had no choice but to accept Raphael as his son-in-law, he wouldn’t hesitate to cut those ties.
Intellectually, Annette understood her father’s position. Emotionally, it was unacceptable. Even though he had known the accusations against her were false, he had married her off as if he were kicking her out, and then insulted her husband.
Annette clenched her teeth as rage washed over her at the full realization of what her father had done.