Crazy Duke and Fallen Queen

She's the Queen who lost a war. And he's the man who won. * COMPLETED * Theodora is the Queen of Polis, a city-state that lost the war against the most powerful empire in the continent. She is sure that they'll execute her immediately but, somehow, she survives the meeting with the Emperor, and she finds herself... Married? Tossed in a new world without connections and allies, she has to either accept her fate or lose the chance to help her people once again. She soon finds out that her new husband knows more about her than she does herself, and that his purposes are often far from what she expects. A fallen queen that doesn't know how to be anything else. A handsome Duke who's the cause of her ruin. And their efforts to find some happiness in a marriage that's been forced on them. WARNING: there are contents not suitable for a sensitive audience. The smut scenes are half-censored at the beginning, but the amount and details will increase after a few dozen chapters (according to the Queen's mood .-. ) *** «I'm sorry for lying to you, your grace...» «You're a Duchess. No one will dare to consider your words a lie: if you say that you were painting souls, then it's the truth.» «I will remember it.» «No, you have to understand it, Theodora. You're not a prisoner, but my wife. I'll protect you when you need it, and I'll help you with any issue you have. You're not just a Duchess in the name. You're my Duchess.» «It's hard to believe in such a short amount of time.» «For now, stop shaking like a chicken. I won't hurt you.» *** Cover from Vatarison.art You can chat with me on discord: bit.ly/discordxiaohai Instagram: xiaohai_23 Facebook: Xiao Hai or Xiaohai_23 (FB page) Ko-fi: ko-fi.com/xiaohai_23 (you'll find my short stories here) My other stories on Webnovel: * The Cursed Tyrant and His Reluctant Queen (historical and fantasy romance, ongoing) * Destined: the Vampire's Soulmate (fantasy romance, completed, ~150 chapters expected) * Unexpected Gift (sci-fi romance, ongoing, free to read, 1k chapters expected)

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Matters of honour

I sit down on the sofa, followed closely by the Duke.

«What happened?» he asks, whispering not to scare me more.

I clench my fists and straighten my back, but my mouth doesn't answer to my commands, and I remain in graceful silence.

«I talked with Martia. She told me that a man breached in the garden and assaulted you... How are you feeling?»

He looks quite worried. Of course, he wants to know whether I've really betrayed him.

«The Princess arrived in time,» I utter with a voice that's more firm than I expected.

He sighs, and his arms surround me. I wince and close my eyes tightly, while the Duke stops at half of what looks like an embrace.

He realises my feelings and steps back.

«Why are you so tense?»

I open my eyes and look at him.

«Because I don't want to die,» I admit. «I'd prefer to continue living...»

«To die?» he repeats, dumbfounded. «You're not in danger. From now on, one of my knights will follow you anywhere you go. No one will be able to hurt you, this time.»

A guard? To protect me?

I glance at the Duke, confused.

«You won't kill me?» I ask, just to be sure.

«Why would I?»

«Isn't the law clear about it?»

«What law?»

«Don't husbands have to kill unfaithful wives?»

«That... Where did you hear that? Some old laws allow husbands to get revenge on infidel wives, but that's not the case here. You didn't do anything wrong, right?»

«I don't know,» I admit. «I shouted to call for help, and Princess Lyland told me that I shouldn't have.»

«I'm certain she didn't tell you that,» he chuckles. «And I wouldn't kill you even if you betrayed me. After all that I've done to marry you, it would be a pity, right?»

I blink surprised. So... Will I live?

«Are you sure you won't kill me?»

He isn't telling me this just to make me relax and attack when I lower my guard, is he?

«Theodora, why are you acting like this?» he inquires with a suspicious expression.

«I hear the maids talking about the laws,» I start.

«And you believed their word? Maids, talking about laws... You didn't think of the possibility that they were speaking about something they don't have a clue about?»

«I haven't,» I admit. I sigh, even though it sounds more like a sob.

«How long ago did you hear them?»

«Yesterday, soon after it happened.»

«And you spent a whole night thinking that you were going to die?»

I nod, and he surrounds my shoulders with his arm.

«What should I do with you, ah? Why didn't you ask someone?»

«Ask who?» I shrug. «I was alone!»

«You're right,» he concedes. «Have you slept at all?»

«No, I haven't,» I admit, and I look at the corner of the table. I'm so tired and confused that I don't understand anything anymore.

«Come here,» he murmurs, and he makes me lift my legs on the sofa. I lean my head on the Duke's shoulder, and he rubs my back slowly.

«I'm sorry for making trouble,» I say.

«It was not your fault. »

«What will you do to regain your honour?»

«To you, nothing. I will find out whose idea it was, and I will make sure those people pay. But you don't need to worry about a thing, Theodora.»

«Will you ask for a divorce?»

«No, I won't.»

«So, I'm safe?»

«You are,» he nods. «But I have a few conditions, though...»

I lift my head and look at his cunning smile. Whatever, I'll accept anything in exchange for survival.

«First of all, you will wake me up every morning with a kiss. You get up way earlier than me, so it won't be a big problem for you. All right?»

I nod and wait for him to continue.

«Then, you will call me by name more often. At least once for every conversation we have alone.»

I nod again, and he looks at me with his annoying smirk.

«All right,» I accept.

«There is just another condition, but I'll tell you this evening,» he whispers to my ear. «Now, you should rest.»

I look at him, and his face somehow calms me.

«People will talk,» I point out.

«Let them talk. I won't let anyone hurt you once again. I'll be at your side all the time if that's what you need. I should have solved this earlier, though. It's my fault for understating the court. I thought they would leave you alone if you didn't show up too often.»

«Alexander,» I call him, stopping his speech. «I'm not feeling too well...»

The world around me starts to spin, and my stomach growls. I clench the Duke's shirt, and he looks at me worriedly.

«Now that I think about it, I have other conditions,» he exclaims.

I nod since I can't talk.

The Duke reaches for the bell on the table, and he calls a servant. He just told the maids not to come back, so I'm surprised to see that someone answers.

«Your grace?» a girl utters.

«Bring something to eat,» he says.

The maid bows and runs away in the hallway like a deer. Her feet are so fast that she's back after a few minutes with a platter full of food and her breath short.

«Here, your grace,» she says while leaving the food on the table. She gets out without further delay, and the Duke observes what she brought.

«You have to eat properly. If I hear that you skipped a meal, I will punish you!»

My lips twitch when a shiver makes me startle.

«How will you punish me?» I inquire, just to stop reacting like this every time. «Will it hurt?»

«No, it won't hurt,» he sighs. He cuts the beef and passes me the plate. «Now eat.»

«I want to hear about the punishment first,» I utter. Then, I can decide what I like more between that and eating.

«I won't do anything, Thea. I'm just trying to convince you to take care of your health.»

When he notices my reaction at hearing my nickname, he sighs again.

«Another condition is to let me call you Thea.»

«Fine,» I shrug. «If I let you do all of this, will you let me live?»