Adrian’s blunt remark left the emperor speechless.
He, too, was reaching the end of his limit.
The emperor had intended for his fiancée, Lady Garnett, and his brother to greet each other today.
The official excuse for bringing him out of the North was the matter of the Grand Duchess, but now that that issue had been resolved, it will be even harder to see his face in the future.
‘But why is she late today without even contacting me once?’
He became worried and sent servants to check up on her, but there was no contact from them either.
A loud gust of wind hit the window.
The sound made Adrian turn his head. The snow that had begun falling earlier in the morning had now turned into a blizzard.
“Carriage accidents are common on days like today.”
The emperor’s thoughts were cut short by Adrian’s dry words.
“I’m sure you’re aware of the obvious reason as to why she’s so late.”
The emperor laughed bitterly as Adrian gestured out the window at the frightening blizzard.
Of all days.
In the end, the emperor could not catch Adrian, who left with an elegant greeting.
Leaving the emperor’s private quarters, Adrian headed straight for the ladies’ room on the first floor of the empress’ palace.
Originally, it was used as the empress’ reception room, but in the over 20 years of absence of an empress, the room came to be known as the ladies’ room.
Since then, it has been open to the ladies who have been invited to the imperial court.
But the room was currently empty.
Adrian looked at the empty ladies’ room and opened his mouth.
“Her Highness the Grand Duchess… Is she here?”
The two knights stationed at the ladies’ room stiffened at Adrian’s question.
They arched their eyebrows and darted their eyes in a different direction.
Thump thump. Thump.
The knights’ hearts, pounding in their ears, quickened slightly.
Adrian knew very well what their reactions meant.
They didn’t have any information.
Suddenly, it felt as though lightning struck during a clear, blue sky.
He recalled the image of the maids escorting Ione Clark out once the emperor’s decree had been issued.
Ione, embarrassed by the ‘congratulatory order’, hesitated for a moment before being ushered out.
“Your Highness the Grand Duke…?”
“I’m afraid I’ve come to the wrong place.”
In one long stride, Adrian moved far away from the ladies’ room.
It wasn’t long before Adrian found himself in the reception parlour on the first floor of the main building.
It was a place where anyone who was invited to the imperial palace could rest.
Just from placing his hand on the closed door, the heavy wooden door swung open.
Inside, he saw Ione alone, whose eyes were closed as she leaned against the sofa.
There were no knights nearby the door, no handmaidens, no servants on call, no one.
Adrian stepped into the faintly warm parlour.
The level of hospitality wasn’t bad, as it was still a place nobles and members of the upper echelon came and went. Still, it was definitely not a place suitable for members of the imperial family.
Right there, in the room, was his wife.
The grand duchess was sleeping and unescorted in such an open space.
In a few steps, Adrian found himself standing in front of Ione.
The only thing left in front of Ione, who was asleep, was a cup of tea with a particularly light colour.
The only plate of food was empty, and there were no tea kettles nearby.
Adrian’s forehead, which had been smooth this entire time, became faintly wrinkled.
‘The wife of Adrian van Presse, whose last name contains ‘van’ and has inherited the power of the dragon, is currently like this.’
If the emperor was the person who ruled the empire, the successors of ‘van’ were those who defended the empire.
Even if she was a grand duchess who had been newly appointed by the emperor, Ione was still a grand duchess.
The lady-in-waiting and servants dared to look down on someone carrying the surname of ‘van’.
“How dare they.”
Adrian’s pupils rose like blades and his irises split into two.
The blood of the arrogant dragon coursed through his veins, which only further fueled Adrian’s rage.
He hadn’t felt any emotions after a long time, and the unfamiliarity of it all only made him more sensitive to them, stimulating him more.
‘Bring the sinners right away, make them kneel down, and with those hands that have forgotten who they were subject to, and those heads that judged arbitrarily…’
Adrian’s thoughts, which were endless and vicious, were cut off the moment his eyes laid on Ione.
He had forgotten for a moment she was here as well.
His cowardly, unscrupulous wife.
With her back to the wall, she eagerly accepted the luxurious conditions proposed by the emperor.
However, after signing the contract, he wondered whether it was real.
“Please limit the duration of this marriage to three years.”
Watching her try to run away from this marriage was a pretty spectacle.
Adrian looked at Ione with a newfound interest.
In contrast to her fine black hair, her white skin looked pale and unnatural.
Her long lashes were casting shadows on her face.
Her elaborate features certainly made her a beauty.
But was it because there seemed to be a lack of life?
If it wasn’t for her chest rising and falling with each shallow breath, she would have resembled a corpse.
“Don’t kill her.”
At that moment, the emperor’s request came to mind.
“Lady Clark is a pitiful girl.”
[TL/N]: mistranslated in ch2, super sorry!
Even though the woman who fell asleep as if she were dead had no business ethics, as the emperor said, she seemed very pitiful.
“Madame, wake up.”
Those words weren’t enough to arouse her from her sleep.
Adrian, who reached out towards her with a gentle sigh, held Ione, who was still asleep.
She had a body so light that he couldn’t believe it belonged to an adult woman.
‘Is it usually like this…?’
It happened as Adrian held Ione, who weighed too lightly, close to him.
Ione’s eyes, which had been tightly shut closed, flashed open.
“Oh, you’ve woken-”
At the strange sound, Adrian stopped talking and looked down at Ione.
“Oh my god!”
Ione, who turned pale as though she had just seen a ghost, was trembling.
“W-What did I just do! I must be crazy!”
A clear, high-pitched voice.
While Adrian froze at the unexpected screaming, Ione twisted and fell down from his arms.
Before Adrian, who was in a state of shock, could catch her properly, Ione quickly escaped from his grasp and straightened herself up.
“I-I’m sorry, no, this isn’t…”
Ione, who had now closed her mouth, was shocked to see him before her.
Adrian furrowed his brows with a clear disgust.
She looked like she just stepped in poop.
There were two ways people treated him.
In fear or in reverence.
He’d never been treated like this before.
Adrian van Presse.
He was a man of unprecedented ability as the only magical swordsman in the empire, as someone with a noble lineage and was first in line to the throne, as someone with inhuman beauty, and as someone who had been blessed by a dragon.
And this was how this woman was treating him…?
A woman who had become a ‘wife’ to him, not a stranger.
How could this woman be so consistently rude?
“This man can’t be… Am I still half-asleep?”
Ione, who was muttering something he couldn’t understand, raised her hand and grabbed her own cheek.
His thoughts were interrupted by Ione’s groans.
“What are you doing?”
Adrian quickly removed Ione’s hand, which had been mercilessly pinching her own cheek.
But her hand had already imprinted on her cheek, with red marks adorning her white skin.
“It’s not a dream.”
“I’ve never heard of such a dream before.”
[TL/N: the translation is “I haven’t heard of any disease”, but I changed it to make the story flow more smoothly]
With a small click of his tongue, Adrian did not even attempt to hide his sarcasm.
At that moment.
Their eyes had met by chance, and he saw Ione’s real expression, which he had missed previously.
A pulse faster than average, dilated pupils, and a tense, stiff neck.
And the clear repulsion and unmistakable fear of him in her vivid, green eyes.
Adrian recalled his forgotten notoriety.
‘The Noble Slaughterer’.
It was a label that had been stuck with him ever since he decided to get his hands dirty three years ago.
It didn’t bother him much most of the time, but once in a while, it did.
Just like right now.
The emperor, who ascended the throne at a young age 10 years ago, managed the empire skillfully, contrary to the concerns of those surrounding him.
The decisions he made were reasonable, wise, and even thoughtful.
Under the reign of the young emperor, the empire was blessed with an unprecedented revival.
In a world where ‘tomorrow’ was granted to be better than ‘today’, the people of the empire naturally wished for a better future.
But the problem lay with the nobles and their unrealistic expectations.
“Even if you’re smart, you’re still just a kid!”
“Maybe if you persuaded the young emperor well enough, you would be able to bring him to your side?”
It was three years ago that the nobles’ delusions became so overinflated and ultimately created a disaster.
The nobles began treating the emperor, who at that point had been well into his adulthood, as if he was still the same as the child from ten years ago.
Due to that, no one could forget that at his young age, Adrian skillfully unravelled their dark schemes.
“Your Majesty, if he became enemies with the throne, it would only spell trouble, so take the oath of allegiance to the grand duke.”
What they didn’t realize was that the emperor wasn’t the only one who could punish those whose greed crossed the line.
Adrian, who had taken a step back and was simply watching, pulled out his sword at those who dared to doubt the ‘van’ lineage.
If one were to start making exceptions when they were supposed to be leading by example, it would only lead to pointless slaughter.
Adrian wiped them all out, making no exceptions at any point.
And because of that, countless people have been killed at his hands.
[TL/N]: hello! I realized I mistranslated some stuff in ch1-2 that didn’t really click until now, so I’ll be listing them here (aside from the one mentioned earlier in this ch!)
– ‘A baron family who couldn’t even be called a priest’ should have been ‘A baron family who couldn’t even call a priest’ in ch1
– in ch1, I originally gave Adrian the title “noble beast”, not necessarily a mistranslation but going forward it will be “noble slaughterer”
– in ch2, I translated it as “then, while the contract is being prepared” … the contract was not getting prepared, they were preparing the warp portal (did not click until I began tling ch4, super sorry!!)
If there’s anything else that I may have missed, I hope u look over them with a generous heart LOL I’ll be more careful with my translations moving forward so that this doesn’t happen again! I hope u enjoy the rest of the story : ) of course, if you have any particular questions for me you can always ask in the server hehe
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