Governor's Bride - Chapter 20
As she recalled the events that had unfolded the first time she opened her eyes, Helen brought in a large basin full of water. Taking out a clean towel, she wet it in the basin. The cool cloth wiped away the cold sweat on her body, leaving her feeling refreshed.
Deertes glanced at the clothes placed before her. The pajamas were not inferior in quality compared to those found in the home country in the slightest.
Since she has yet to recover from her fever, her pajamas had to be changed several times a day as a result of her cold sweat. Though this set of pajamas she has on now was different from the one she had worn to sleep. Helen must’ve changed her into a fresh set while she was asleep.
Deertes was usually a light sleeper, so it was unusual for her to fall into such a deep sleep she failed to notice when her clothes were even being changed.
‘Mr. Craig did mention that she had taken numerous sleeping pills.’
When the pain worsened throughout the night, the medicine she took before going to bed had a strange grassy taste to it. Luckily, this helped to alleviate the pain and her fever would subside. As Helen was finishing up her wipe down, Deertes spoke.
“You must have a hard time taking care of me every night. Thank you for that and all the change of clothes.”
For a moment, Helen turned to face her before leaving the room without a single word.
‘Come to think of it, I’ve yet to see her talk to Craig. She must be unable to speak.’
With that, Deertes’ eyes stopped at the door where Helen had left.
Before long, the door creaked open and she returned with a large tray. It was such a hearty meal that even though this was breakfast, it could have almost been mistaken as dinner. Most breakfasts would have been a bowl of soup, bread, vegetables and a few pieces of fruit, but Helen brought not only those but also meat and fish.
Staring at it for a while, Deertes finally picked up a fork. The various dishes were cut into small bite sized pieces, likely due to the fact she could barely lift up her arm. Thanks to this, Deertes was able to enjoy her meal with little hassle. Though the fork she held did not reach towards the meat at all. It’s not that she couldn’t eat meat. Instead…
“How many times have I told you! You are…!
Flinching, Deertes out down the fork. It was as if her father was in front of her, she could vividly hear his voice. She looked at the food again.
At first glance, it looked no different from the food from the home country. Yet, upon taking a bite, she had to pause for a while as she let the unfamiliar taste sink in.
Vegetables that looked like lettuce tasted sweet, whilst red fruits that looked like berries tasted bitter.
What she had thought was beef ended up being a much darker shade of red, and the fish on her plate was the first of its species that Deertes had ever seen.
It was after all those encounters did Deertes realise that she was indeed in Saul.
After the meal, there was nothing else for Deertes to do. That was at least until Criag entered. Carefully, she pushed herself up on the bed. Every movement shot a sliver of pain down her shoulder but curiosity of the view of the outside overpowered her.
As Deertes stood up, Helen quickly moved a chair in front of the window, as if expecting that she would make her way there. She wrapped a thin blanket around Deertes, who was now seated comfortably in the chair, before she returned to her own seat.
Thick white curtains covered the windows, preventing the sunlight from entering the room. The curtains were fixed in place to prevent fluttering, so Deertes could only look through the small space between the curtains.
As she took in Endeavour’s familiar scenery, one thought came to mind.
‘I wonder just how far Bernst is past those hills.’
When she was onboard the ship, she had managed to take a look at a map of Saul that the captain took out. Since investigations and exploration of the terrain is still being carried out, only the edges and coastlines of the continent was marked out.
On it, the locations of Endeavour and Bernst were clearly marked out. Sadly, a proper scale was not used and Deertes was unable to determine just how far apart the two cities were.
‘There must definitely be a way to…’
Deertes sighed as she thought about just how she would make her way to Bernst.
‘Will I be able to get there with such a body? Before that, how will I even get a horse? Are there small towns between the two cities? What about the desert? What about the forest? What about the natives?’
‘I have to get to Bernst so that Serene will be safe.’
Annoyed at the Captain’s practically empty map, Deertes thoughts were swirling as she soon got lost in them.
Then, she shook her head. Why fill it all with useless ambitions? Hadn’t she already sworn to Lachlan anyways? She had sworn. Had made a much stronger binding as compared to a promise. Said the words that held so much power.
The vow has to be kept.
‘Somehow… I just have to make him get rid of the vow.’
If Lachlan were simply a normal soldier, then maybe she’d be able to convince him to change his mind. However, he was instead a governor. There was nothing she could offer him that could sway his decision. She had even heard from Craig that Lachlan was in charge of many of Endeavour’s mines and a large portion of the land. Is there even anything that can shake him…
As she was pondering, Deertes attention was diverted to the people that were making their way out of the mansion.
In their hands held many items, it was apparent a major construction project was ongoing. Rotten wooden boards, faded and dirtied carpets, dusty frames, broken pieces of colored glass. Those were just a few of the objects that were taken away by the people.
However, what caught the eye of Deertes, in the midst of all the items being carried out, was the tree that several workers carried. Its dried up leaves rustled and it’s withered branches were thin twisted together.
Deertes jumped onto her feet as she heard the sound. She heard it. The voice of the tree. Leaning closer to the window, she could see the tree slowly being moved away. It was then that one of its withered branches started to give out a blue glow.
The branch stretched out towards Deertes. Green leaves that hung at the tip of the branch started to shake before drying up and falling.
That was the last of the tree’s voice. It was then Deertes realised that its voice was the same as the one that had saved her. For a while, she remained there, staring out at the tree being carried out by the workers. Slowly approaching her, Helen quietly placed the blanket back onto Deertes’ shoulder as she wept.
That night, Deertes had a fever again. This time, her body temperature was much higher, resulting in Craig having to make the medicine stronger. When she saw Helen walking in with a medicine bowl, she shook her head. No, she didn’t want to eat that and put herself in more pain.
She should’ve been more sick. She shouldn’t have taken such a dirty vow and should’ve lived a pure and comfortable life. Every time she thought back on the vow, the more distressed she would feel.
The vow was not a commonly talked about topic. But everyone knew a woman could only pledge a vow once in her life. A vow held the same, if not similar meaning to a marriage.
Though the vow did not contain words of marriage, pure women are those who do not take vows. Even if the vow had been made to save her life, that doesn’t change the fact that she has pledged a vow. There was no turning back from now.
As such, Deertes could not fall asleep. The aftermath of what would happen should the home country find out what she did haunted her thoughts.
Will the vow she made be known to those in her home country? Could news of it have already reached the ears of those in Bernst? Had Lachlan sent letters there yet? What would happen if he did?
Deertes struggled to breathe. The thought of all the spit, finger pointing and eyes of contempt directing towards her, overwhelmed her emotions. The consequences of going against the vow were unbeknownst to her as well.
When she imagined Serene’s reaction when she caught wind of Deertes’ vow, more fear seeped into her mind. The fear that grew within her slowly ate her up. Serene was so weak that standing up on her own was a difficult task. Will I become like that as well?
After continuously tossing and turning around, she still couldn’t get herself to fall asleep.
‘How long has it been?’
Suddenly, her eyes opened as she sense someone’s presence nearby. Someone was in the room. The person who’s presence she had sensed, walked to the bed and grabbed her by the hair. Deertes called out the first name that came in mind.
Deertes’ voice made the person pause. It was then she could smell the familiar scent of the sand. Deertes’ eyes widened. This person wasn’t Helen.
Lachlan. He’s here.
Silence filled the room. Both of them were shocked at each other’s presence.
Deertes was puzzled as to why he was here, until it struck her. She was staying at the governor’s residence, and he was the governor. There was no reason as to why he shouldn’t be here.
This was the first time she had seen him after she had woken up. Frankly, a reason why she deigned to ask Craig of his whereabouts was because she didn’t want him to approach her.
To Deertes, Lachlan was like an unfulfilled promise that she did not want to recall.
Deertes didn’t even know how she should treat him. Before she had passed out, she was bristling with anger. Soon, the hatred dwindled little by little.
As compared to willingly taking up a vow, she would’ve been much more furious had she been forced to take someone else’s hand in marriage. Ever since the moment Deertes got here, she has been treated so well it could almost seem hospitable.
To be able to stay in a clean and spacious room with a maid and doctor at her side taking care of her day in and day out. Every meal would be delicious and if there was anything she wanted, they would listen to most of her demands. The one demand they wouldn’t fulfill is her contacting the people in Bernst.
Hencewhy Deertes was confused and could not fathom Lachlan’s intentions. What the motives were behind his actions.
Pledging a vow is equivalent to a marriage.Yet, if that were the case, Lachlan would most likely come and stay the night. But he didn’t. The person whom the woman has pledged to will be a complete subordinate to the woman. After all, a vow involves not only the heart, but also the body.
TL/N: Subordinate in this case probably meaning like, dominant and subordinate relationship. Though I’m not sure if this sentence means that Deertes will have a choice in being the dominant or subordinate one. Will see how it goes in the next few chapters… Sorry… ㅠㅠ
‘He must’ve been waiting for me to make a recovery first.’
As soon as the thought crossed Deertes’ mind, her body tensed.
Both the pairs of eyes that had been looking at each other for a while now. It was Lachlan who was the one to break the silence.
“…You didn’t take any medicine.”