Predatory Marriage — Chapter 195. Nausea (1)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
Leah rose from her seat and slipped on a robe. As soon as she was away from the food, she felt as if she were coming to life. But Cerdina moved over to the breakfast table and sat down.
“Let’s talk while you eat,” she told Leah with a smile. “I don’t want to interrupt your breakfast. Blain will make a fuss.”
If Leah lost weight, Blain would blame his mother. Cerdina shook her head as Leah reluctantly sat back down.
“Could you pour us tea?” Leah asked Countess Melissa.
Helplessly, Leah lifted her cutlery, trying as much as possible not to smell the food. She could feel sharp eyes on her.
“You don’t look well.”
“I have a slight headache. Thank you for worrying about me.” Leah nonchalantly popped a forkful of food into her mouth and swallowed it. Then she forced a smile.
Unmoving, unblinking, Cerdina watched as Leah’s hands moved mechanically under the pressure of the Queen Mother’s gaze. For as long as Leah could remember, Cerdina had always been kind and gentle to her, but Leah was afraid of her without even knowing a reason. Whenever she was in her presence, fear gripped her as if it had been engraved into her bones.
Leah couldn’t understand her. Their personalities and the ways they thought were entirely alien to each other.
After Blain’s ascension to the throne, Cerdina had been given the title of Queen Mother, though didn’t like being called that. She believed it made her look old.
Perhaps due to her obsession with her youth and beauty, Cerdina looked far younger than her actual age. Often she liked to seduce the younger knights in the palace, and occasionally she even held orgi3s that included other women. It was not a secret. Cerdina made no effort to hide it, so even Leah had heard about it.
That was another area in which Cerdina differed greatly from Leah. Sometimes she asked openly if Leah had had s3x with Blain. But even that was not as disturbing as the pure malice Leah sometimes saw in her eyes.
Unblinking, the Queen Mother watched Leah as she chewed quietly and swallowed.
“Is there something you want to tell me?” Leah asked.
A smile appeared on Cerdina’s expressionless face.
“No. I’m just enjoying watching you eat.” She glanced down at the food in front of Leah and pointed. “You don’t like that?”
It was thin slices of dried ham. Leah had avoided them because of their unpleasant smell, but now that Cerdina had pointed it out, she had to eat it. Poking at the thin strip of meat with a fork, she put it on a piece of bread and took a bite. Cerdina watched as she chewed, swallowed, and bit again.
Countess Melissa appeared with a cup of tea and placed it before the Queen Mother, and she turned her attention to that instead, looking around the room rather than at Leah. As soon as she stopped watching, Leah set down her cutlery, measuring the quantity of food she had consumed. It was the usual amount she ate in the morning, but she would have liked to eat less.
There was an unpleasant sensation in her mouth as soon as the Countess handed Leah a cup of tea, but Leah drank it quietly, listening as Cerdina began to talk. There was no significance to her meandering stories; she was only filling the silence while Leah drank. Finally, Cerdina rose from her chair.
“I have to go. I have brought you some medicinal tea, you must drink it three times a day.” Cerdina reached out to cup Leah’s cheeks in her hands, peering into her eyes. “If you have any problems, tell me.”
“…Yes, I will. Thank you for taking care of me.”
A finger gently brushed the cheek that Blain had slapped.
“I love you as if you were my real daughter.” Cerdina kissed the red, swollen cheek, and departed.
As soon as she was gone, Leah turned to the Countess.
“Let’s go for a walk for a while.”
Together they walked in the garden behind her palace. Since it was close by, there was no need for the other ladies to accompany her.
The garden looked shabby. All the flowers and trees were dead, leaving only thorny gray-green bushes. Surveying the pitiful state of the garden, Leah turned to the Countess.
“I’m cold. Could you bring me a blanket? And some tea to drink? I will be at the tea table.”
Leah’s stomach churned as she watched the Countess returning to the palace, and she turned to walk calmly through the garden. As soon as she was sure the Countess was gone, she counted to thirty in her mind and went into the bushes.