Theodore was inwardly impressed.
After being told to pretend to love him, Annette fully grasped the situation. Her acting was also beyond his expectations.
The woman, whom he thought was a corpse, turned heads with aplomb. Instinctively, she figured out a way to survive and clung to it desperately.
While Theodore secretly applauded Annette, people were astonished to see him.
“Did I just hear the word ‘wife’ come out the Grand Duke’s mouth?”
“Has anyone seen the article about the Grand Duke getting married again?”
“More than that, he’s married to the crazy woman Annette? She murdered the Marquis of Scheringen and fled, and yet she’s right here!”
The Grand Duke came to Elysia in search of his beloved Grand Duchess.
People wondered many times about this unbelievable fact.
First, the Grand Duchess? Although Theodore was a Grand Duke, he had no wife. A few years ago, a wedding was attempted, but as soon as the ceremony began, the bride died.
The newspapers of the time were flooded with futile and impassioned debates about whether or not the marriage should be considered to have taken place. The consuming controversy led to the opinion that it was not a marriage because it ended before the vows were exchanged.
Therefore, if the Grand Duke was looking for the woman who was about to become his wife, the place he should go to was the cemetery, not the insane asylum.
And then there was the “beloved” part of the problem.
He was not a man who knew how to love.
Theodore grew up with the boundless favor of the previous emperor, but his natural temperament was cruel and arrogant, and he did not know how to give the love he received to others. For him, love was as meaningless as a sigh in the void.
However, this Theodore came directly to a place like Elysia, looking for his beloved wife.
The most interesting part here was that the person he claimed to be the Grand Duchess was Annette.
Everyone knew that Annette loved
The Crown Prince except the Crown Prince himself.
The onlookers could not decide which part of the story was the most surprising or fake, so they doubted Theo’s identity. No matter how much they thought about it, Theodore wasn’t a person who would whisper love, even if someone tears open their heart.
So such a man….
“I was too late.”
He held the woman dearly and comforted her.
The nurses clamped their mouths shut as Theodore stroked Annette’s cheek gently with the hand that broke the doctor’s nose.
It was a terrifying sight to witness.
This was more obscene than Theodore’s scandals, which were exposed daily in the tabloids.
Annette dug into Theodore’s chest, conscious of people’s stares.
‘I don’t know what’s going on, but I must be this man’s beloved wife and follow his lead. Let’s see what happens next.’
She imitated a desperate lover.
She thought she had abandoned her will to live, but she wanted to seize the opportunity that had arisen.
In fact, she wanted to live. She knew better than anyone how diabolical Theodore was, yet she was determined to hold his hand.
“Why did you come now?”
Theodore replied, “The people who trapped you here falsified your identity. They admitted you to the institution under another name, not Annette Scheringen.”
“I knew someone had planned to imprison me.”
“I’m sorry I left you alone in this place.”
“It’s all right. After all, you found me.”
Her slender limbs looked pitiful as she hugged Theodore’s sturdy body.They looked like two affectionate lovers who had reunited after going through a sad separation.
However, the reality was completely different. They were busy wondering about each other.
Who is this man?
Who is this woman?
Why are you pretending to be my husband?
Why do you match my performance?
You show up out of the blue and want me to cooperate with you if I want to live?
You show up out of the blue and demand that I understand your every word at once?
But since this was an inappropriate moment to get to know each other, they decided to concentrate on acting.
“No one believes that we are a couple.” (Annette)
“Does it matter that we had a secret wedding? If they knew how much I loved you, they would not doubt our relationship.”
“I can’t open my mouth right now, so why don’t I just be quiet.” (Annette)
Annette muttered a curse inwardly. She sounded like she was being considerate, but the reality was quite the opposite.
If Annette, who did not know the scenario, kept talking, she could have said the opposite of what Theodore had concocted. It meant that she should keep her mouth shut and be calm because her weaknesses should not be exposed.
She was angry, but the moment she made a mistake here, the escape would end in failure. She had no choice but to give him the answer he wanted.
“Yes, I will.”
It was a hastily concocted con play, but the audience was fooled because the acting was masterful. They really looked like they were married.
When the play was going well, a man rushed into the room.
“Greetings to Your Highness, the highly esteemed Grand Duke. I am Walter Rogner, director of this institution.”
Walter arrived as soon as he received the call and was clearly panicked. He was the director of a mental institution where street vagrants were treated. The Grand Duke was too high a person for him to deal with.
Theodore was the half-brother of the current emperor and the uncle of the Crown Prince.
Since his aim for the throne, he had become the bane of the emperor and an enemy of the crown prince, meaning that Theodore was big enough to covet the imperial throne.
Why on earth would such a man be looking for his precious wife in a sweltering hospital? Walter saw his son bleeding against the wall, but he made no protest.
“The director of this institution?”
“Yes, yes, I am. I am the director.”
“I would like an explanation right now as to why in the world the Grand Duchess is being abused in this place.”
“I am sorry, but I am ignorant and have not heard the news of the Grand Duke’s marriage……”
“Do I look like an idiot who can’t even tell that I’m married?”
“No! It can’t be. It seems I was too lazy to read the newspaper.”
The Director flustered and waved his hand. Theodore shot past him and called for someone who was standing outside the door.
Theodore beckoned, and his lawyer presented the papers to the Director. It was proof of the marriage of Theodor Kleist and Annette Scheringen.
“Due to unavoidable circumstances, we had postponed the announcement of our marriage. We were about to reveal the truth, but the Grand Duchess went missing.”
“This…I can’t believe it. You’re married….”
“Will you believe me then if I take off my clothes and sleep with Annette right now?”
“Then I think this is the end of the explanation that I got married.”
“And your explanation?”
Theodore’s voice sent a chill down Walter’s spine, but he couldn’t understand the meaning of the unkind question.
“Explain why my companion, who disappeared overnight, is here.”
“You need to explain enough to convince me.”
Walter rather wanted to bash his head against the wall, but now was not the time to bash his head against the wall, but to roll over.
How could he make him understand the fact that he was paid to lock up Annette by those who wanted to take the Marquis of Scheringen’s place. To reveal to the Grand Duke that the Grand Duchess was abused to make it look like a suicide.
It was Annette’s voice that prevented Walter from committing suicide.
“Honey, I am very afraid.”
Annette grabbed Theodore’s collar in a tearful voice.
“Can’t we leave first? It’s very hard.”
“I’m sorry, Annette. I was short on thoughts. You must have been so scared, so let’s get out of here quickly.”
Theodore stroked Annette’s hair.
Their acting was amazing, but there was no script. In order for their improvised acting not to be discovered, they had to match their lines blindly.
Theodore internally rejoiced by Annette’s cleverness, who had just made an exit at the appropriate time.
She was a woman who could use her brains. He had a feeling that the money, the time, and the mental strength he spent would be worth it in finding this woman.
Theodore lightly picked up Annette’s emaciated body. Several people marveled at the smooth motion, confusing whether his strength was good or Annette was weightless.
Wasn’t that exactly how the knight who saved the princess in the castle of the demon king in the legend looked like?
As Theodore, holding Annette in his arms, passed through the iron gate, Walter, whose soul had been drained, said helplessly.
“The patient’s discharge is with the permission of the doctor in charge…….”
Theodore said, “Annette is not a patient. Even if she were a patient, she must be treated at home, not in a gutter like this. I am taking her as my wife’s guardian.”
Walter was silenced by the momentum. With the money he had received, he tried to keep Annette here, but there was no way it would work now.
Theodore walked past Walter with Annette in his arms and stopped for a moment.
“There will be a thorough investigation into my wife’s abduction and confinement.”
“Abduction is outrageous!”
“You forced someone to come here and it’s not abduction?”
“I didn’t drag her here. Her family brought her here and left her with me, I know nothing about it…..”
“Her family? You mean that someone from the Scheringen family instigated it? I’ll use you as a witness then.”
Walter shut his ugly mouth.
“Yes, His Highness.”
“Inform the institution the charges we will be sending and the various legal actions we will be taking.”
“I will inform them one by one.”
Hans dutifully bowed his head.
Theodore left the institution while the director was frozen in place. A carriage was waiting with its doors wide open.
Theodore, holding Annette carefully, lowered her onto the seat and the door closed.
At the same time, their masks were removed. They looked directly at each other but no one opened their mouths.
It was only after the horse moved with a crying sound that their lips parted.
“Who are you?” (Theo)
“Why are you taking me?” (Annette)
These were not the right words coming from a couple who referred to each other as passionate lovers.