Chapter 1

“The signature goes here.” 

 

The man pushing the contract toward me was beautiful. 

 

The bridge of the nose that dropped in a way that could make anyone feel dizzy, and the deep, sultry eyes. 

 

Each and every one of his distinctive features was perfect, like a great work of art. 

 

It was understandable, his arrogance while looking down on other people. 

 

I clasped my hands together in front of my chest and took a deep breath, feeling my mind wander from just looking at him. 

 

The man laughed briefly, thinking that my actions were due to my being nervous.

 

“All you have to do is sign here.” 

 

His eyes were not smiling, and the smile that lifted the corners of his mouth was devoid of any emotion. 

 

It was as though he had been trained to smile like that. 

 

Nevertheless, my heart fluttered, even though I knew clearly what type of person he was behind his beautiful smile. 

 

Adrian van Presse.

 

He was the one and only grand duke of the empire, and he was the male protagonist who would soon become my husband, whose hands I was fated to die at. 

 

***

 

Not too long ago, I was known as Choi Eunyoung, an ordinary office worker in Korea. 

 

My last memory as Choi Eunyoung was reading the last page of “The Wife of the Monster Grand Duke” after work. 

 

“Like the snow that piles up, their happiness will increase with every moment.”

 

I smiled and closed my eyes as I read the last line of the happy ending, which couldn’t have been more perfect. 

 

I thought I’d fallen asleep just like that. 

 

My head was dizzy, but I thought it was because I was sleepy. 

 

However, when I opened my eyes, the first I saw was a stranger crying and wailing. 

 

“Oh my god!” 

 

There was no lack of sincerity in the stranger’s excitement at my waking up. 

 

Aside from not understanding what the hell was going on, I, Eunyoung, was not unfamiliar with this type of situation.

 

…No way, possession? 

 

Well, that explained everything all at once. Although, I found it weird that I suddenly was reincarnated even though I wasn’t hit by a truck. 

 

Instead of saying things like, “Excuse me, who are you?”, I opened my ears wide, listening. 

 

“Ione! Oh my god, you’re awake! We really thought you were going to die!” 

 

My name is Ione. 

 

‘A baron family who couldn’t even be called a priest, the prestige of our Clark family has fallen like this.’ 

 

My new full name is Ione Clark. 

 

The dignified young lady of the Clark family.

 

‘Your mother took care of you while she was in her hospital bed… how worried your father was that something was to happen to the both of you…’ 

 

Ione Clark, the young lady of Baron Clark’s family, whose mother suffered from an illness. 

 

Listening to the sound of the loud wailing, I could clearly realize where I have reincarnated to. 

 

“The Wife of the Monster Grand Duke”. 

 

It seemed that I had reincarnated into the last work I was reading right before I had closed my eyes. 

 

Ione Clark, the ex-wife of the male lead, who was brutally executed. 

 

It was fortunate that it was not one of those possessions where it was a work that I couldn’t remember well because it had been a long time since I had read it, but the role I possessed was really bad.

 

Ione Clarke was a character with no future. 

 

‘She tried to kill the male lead, who had inherited the power of the dragon…’ 

 

In the imperial family, each child was born with the dragon’s blessing. 

 

Ione was the wife of such a blessed grand duke. 

 

There was only one problem with the man, who was perfect in terms of birth, ability, and beauty. 

 

He was devoid of any emotion. 

 

This was due to a constraint put on the imperial family by the very dragon who blessed them. 

 

A long time ago, the founder of the empire saved the life of a dying dragon. 

 

The dragon, whose health had recovered, wanted to repay the favour, and so the founder made a wish. 

 

“Share your mighty strength with me, and allow me to pass that strength on to my descendants.”

 

The dragon agonized over doing so. 

 

The power of a dragon wielded by mere humans? 

 

The dragon imposed those restrictions because if not, it would be more dangerous than giving a three-year-old child a knife. 

 

The dragon sealed away all the emotions of those blessed so that their power could not be manipulated by others. 

 

But the founder was a pretty clever man. 

 

He asked the dragon for a condition in order to prevent his descendants from living half-heartedly. 

 

It was an extremely romantic condition. If they were able to find their ‘fated partner’, they would be able to unseal their feelings. 

 

Thus, those blessed by the dragon, which were those who inherited the last name ‘van’, instinctively set out on a long journey in search of their destined partner, hoping to reclaim their sealed feelings. 

 

But the male lead, Adrian, was different. 

 

Born as the most powerful man in history, he was so devoid of emotion that he didn’t even feel the instinct to find his partner. 

 

His older brother, the Emperor, had to step in.

 

Countless banquets and tours of the empire were arranged as excuses to get him to meet people, but he showed interest in none of them. 

 

Then it happened. 

 

Adrian mercilessly killed those who tried to overthrow the emperor. This earned him the title of “Noble Beast”, and with it, the fear of the people. 

 

But the emperor did not give up. 

 

He began to secretly gather volunteers who would meet with the grand duke, offering titles, vast sums of money, and a one-time pardon for any sin in return. 

 

Ione Clark was one of those volunteers. 

 

It was to pay for her sick mother’s medications. While at first glance, it may seem like she had a leading role in the story, Ione was actually a supporting character. 

 

A villainous supporting character who fell in love with the grand duke at first glance and who ended up being executed. 

 

“If I can’t have him, nobody can!” 

 

After being consumed by her obsession, Ione lost not only her reason but also her intelligence. She attempted to kill the grand duke but was instead executed for the attempted murder of an imperial family member. 

 

‘I can’t die like that.’ 

 

The period of my adjustment to this new world was not long. 

 

However, I only wanted to rest because of the memories of being overworked in my previous life. 

 

All I was left with was boredom and complacency. 

 

I’m going to die, but I don’t care about the male lead. 

 

After organizing my thoughts, I did not even turn my head toward the capital. 

 

Instead, I took care of my mother with the utmost care in order to prevent the fate of Baron Clark, who would have ended up declaring bankruptcy due to the cost of the medicine. 

 

Perhaps my desperate attempts worked, as my mother’s illness improved. Thanks to this, the family was saved from being overwhelmed by debt. 

 

Everything was going smoothly. 

 

Until word of Ione’s filial piety spread and Ione became nominated for the position of Grand Duchess. 

 

Who the hell told you all to be so nosy!

 

***

 

“Ha…”

 

It makes me even more angry thinking about it.

 

“Why, is there something bothering you?”

 

Only at the words of the emperor did I realize what I was doing. 

 

I was on the verge of becoming husband and wife with the grand duke, as I had been in the original. 

 

I looked at the emperor, who was looking at me, and then at the grand duke. 

 

Unlike the fresh green eyes of the emperor, the grand duke’s blue eyes looking at me shone coldly, as though they were crystals. 

 

I should be scared of this inhuman figure. 

 

I should be. 

 

“…”

 

I, who had managed to turn my eyes from the grand duke’s gaze, clenched my teeth. 

 

‘Wow, it’s crazy.’ 

 

What a beauty he was, enough to destroy a person’s survival instincts. 

 

I definitely vowed to not get caught up like the original Ione, but doing so was definitely not going to be easy. 

 

Even though I knew the ending of the original story, Ione, who would have known nothing, must have felt helpless at the sight of him. 

 

If I don’t stay focused, I will end up like the Ione in the original work. 

 

“Lady Clark. Feel free to let me know if you have anything on your mind or if there is anything that you want. I made sure to pay attention, but I’m sure there’s something missing.” 

 

What? 

 

My ears perked at those words. This was an opportunity. 

 

At this moment, I would be stepping into the original development of the story, but this was an opportunity to create an escape path.

 

“Then I’ll…” 

 

“Oh, of course. Don’t hesitate to say anything, Lady Clark.” 

 

I spoke courageously, feeling supported by the soft tone of the emperor. 

 

“Please limit the duration of this marriage to three years.” 

 

The female lead is scheduled to make her appearance in three years. 

 

“You want to limit it to three years…?”

 

It was as if his friendly attitude was all a mere illusion, with the emperor’s face now turning cold as he repeated my request to me. 

 

When he removed the smile from his face, the emperor looked amazingly similar to the grand duke next to him. 

 

As I faced their cold-blooded expressions, it dawned on me that these two were twins. 

 

I took a deep breath. 

 

Unlike Adrian, the emperor seemed to have a sense of humour. 

 

It was only ‘mercy’ that the emperor showed me, not kindness. 

 

This new realization raised goosebumps on the back of my neck. 

 

But I knew. 

 

If you showed a frightened appearance or retreated, you would die due to your arrogance. 

 

I, holding my trembling hands together, moved my stiff cheeks stuffed with tension and smiled. 

 

“With your permission, I’d like to explain why.” 

 

The emperor nodded, although his expression was still frighteningly cold. Swallowing hard, I opened my mouth.

 

“I would be honoured if I were to be His Highness’ ‘fated partner’, but if not, there would be no reason for me to be kept around. However, if His Highness were to get divorced just after he got married, there will definitely be gossip.” 

 

As soon as I finished speaking, the emperor burst into laughter. 

 

‘Who will allow this divorce?’

 

The message behind that laughter was naturally translated in my head. 

 

“Your Majesty, I don’t think that it would be right for the future of the empire if I were to become the lifelong companion of His Highness the Grand Duke if I were to not even be his ‘fated partner’.”

 

“…Could it be possible that you are the grand duke’s ‘fated partner’?”

 

I’ve been caught!

 

The emperor’s expression, clearly softened by the mention of the empire, allowed me to speak more easily than before. 

 

“It is possible, but it could also not be possible. So, I would like to have a deadline, Your Majesty. In about three years, no one would blame you if it was revealed that I was not the one.”

 

“There’s no guarantee that his ‘fated partner’ will show up in three years though?” 

 

“Then how about extending the contract for one year every year after the first three years? If his real ‘fated partner’ appears later, I will step down right away.” 

 

The answers that followed were unstoppable, each one surprisingly advantageous to the grand duke. 

 

The emperor narrowed his eyes. 

 

“Why is Lady Clark doing this?”

 

Why? So I won’t die! 

***

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