Thanks so much to Shinaenae for the ko-fi (๑˃̵ᴗ˂̵)! (1/1)
Since then, Adrian has had a nasty case of tinnitus.
‘The emperor’s guard dog.’
‘The noble slaughterer.’
What a headache for no one else aside from the one blessed by the dragon!
The emperor had made attempts to erase the stigma surrounding Adrian, but those attempts were futile.
The people’s fears were only further reinforced by the emperor’s restlessness.
Adrian said that it was useless, but the emperor was also a stubborn person.
After two years of this, the emperor finally admitted defeat and stopped his stubbornly persistent explanations after a small altercation at a banquet in the spring of last year.
This caught Adrian off guard.
By the time he realized that the emperor was looking for a “grand duchess”, it was too late.
His wife, whom he met in that way, was Ione.
Adrian cleared his throat slowly.
Did the emperor say that she was the daughter of Baron Clark, who lived in the corner of the Southern Territory?
His bride, who was nominated for the position of grand duchess due to her diligence in caring for her sick mother.
Only when through the mouth of a person did words become poisonous.
He didn’t need to imagine how the news and gossip reached the South three years ago.
The capital city was said to have recovered its stability from the disaster three years ago, but at that point, that news wouldn’t have yet reached the southern corner of the empire.
To the grand duchess, he was still known as a “noble slaughterer”.
Adrian, who stepped back slightly and widened the space between them, pointed his chin at the window.
“Calm down now. We need to use the warp portal to get to the grand duchy, and from there, take a carriage for another two hours. If it continues to snow like this, I don’t know how long it will take, so we’d have to leave now.”
His calm voice was no different than usual.
‘Crazy! Crazy! I can’t live with myself, really!’
I was surprised to see Adrian in my dreams, but that wasn’t the reality of the situation.
At the sight of me freaking out like I’d just encountered a bug, Adrian even erased the habitual smile off his face and gave me a stern look.
‘I must be crazy. Why did I scream? I really want to die now, so I’m going to die!’
The only other passenger, Adrian, hadn’t even gotten into the carriage yet.
This allowed me to express myself as freely as I wanted while alone in the carriage.
‘All I wanted was to live a long, healthy life! I don’t want to be killed by the original storyline!’
I banged my head against the carriage wall.
Before my possession, I was a woman so rich in physical strength that I could have easily endured staying up for three nights.
I thought people would flirt with me because I had a slim body, but I was embarrassingly wrong.
Aside from my physical health, I also had a lot of desire to challenge myself beyond my own ability, not wanting to lose to others.
Since I’ve lived like that in my past life, having Ione’s body, which would collapse on its own once in a while, was absurd.
Just like now!
‘Just because I’d woken up early in the morning, I became so groggy and sleepy that I ended up dozing off!’
I didn’t even realize that I fell asleep!
“I thought it was getting better…”
I couldn’t hide my dismay, my heart sank.
When I think about it, I can’t remember the number of times I’ve stretched as I walked around while taking care of my mother and her illness.
A sickly beauty was definitely a keyword for the female lead.
She had to be a resourceful character who could only compete with her head because her body wouldn’t be able to follow her plans.
But before you knew it, a supporting character was coveting the position of a sickly beauty!
I had to work around the clock to keep the house from falling apart.
I had to grit my teeth and steel my strength.
I thought I was fine because there hadn’t been any problems recently.
But I can’t believe that at a moment like this, my strength was being stretched thin.
‘Hey everyone! My body is trying to perform a teamkill!’
[TL/N: term for when you kill someone on your own team, used primarily when gaming]
I want to cry, but I can’t cry.
‘The position of the male lead’s supporting character ex-wife is so tough, how hard must it have been for the seniors who possessed the role of the main villain!’
Grunting against the walls of the carriage, I pricked up my ears.
Through the thick walls, I could hear the faint but fierce sound of the wind and the thick snowflakes hitting the carriage.
“There’s so much going on…”
I’ve only ever seen snowstorms in documentaries, I had never experienced them myself before.
However, the northern region where I was heading could be considered ‘extreme’, with its temperatures incomparable to the cold of the capital.
For a brief moment, my anxiety subsided as I remembered the original work.
‘There wasn’t any mention of Ione freezing to death.’
Why would the power of the original work, which made people who were living their ordinary lives get married, allow someone to freeze themselves to death?
Once I realized that, I felt a little better.
After a long wait on the padded seat, Adrian came.
“Have you been waiting for a long time?”
The moment I saw Adrian’s smooth smile when he opened the carriage door…
An ominous sound, almost like a flutter, rang in my heart.
‘When will I ever get used to that face…’
The grand carriage of the grand duke disappeared, vanishing as it became enveloped by the light that burst from the castle’s warp portal.
After seeing them off, one of the young servants ran back toward the imperial palace.
Soon, the servant faced the chief of staff, who had been anxiously pacing around in front of the main castle.
“How’d it go?”
“They’ve departed, sir.”
After hearing the young servant’s robust answer, the old man’s face filled with relief and joy.
“Then you should go and alert the emperor.”
At his impatient command, the young servant quickly moved and was soon out of the chief’s sight.
The chief of staff, who was now alone, swiped a hand across his gaunt face.
It had been terrible.
After a leisurely tea with the emperor, the grand duke announced that he and the grand duchess would return to their estate. When he was away preparing the warp portal, it had happened.
After he returned from preparing the warp portal with the wizards, he found the air on the first floor of the palace thick and heavy, as if the air drank gallons of water.
If it were painted with a colour, it would have been a dark red.
The chief’s spine tingled and his stomach churned as he reminisced what happened.
Before he was able to order anything, he caught whiff of a foul scent that he instinctively recognized. A young servant ran up to him, blue in the face.
“Sir, there’s trouble! The grand duke…!”
With a single phrase, the chief turned and ran at full speed alongside his young servant.
The chief of staff, who had never been dishevelled during his 40 years of service to the imperial family, jumped up and ran as hard as he could.
His heart pounded in his chest, full of anxiety, and his fingertips turned cold.
He headed towards the reception parlour.
It was located on the first floor of the main palace, across from the main entrance and through the courtyard.
Gasping for breath, he opened the door to the parlour, and the sight before him made his legs wobble. He fell to the ground.
There stood the grand duke with his sword drawn and four maids who had fallen to the ground.
The grand duke, with his sword hanging in silence, was a lonely figure against the murderous landscape.
“What’s going on?”
It was only when he heard the stern voice that the chief came to his senses.
“I’ve committed a crime.”
The chief could barely push himself to stand, his hands trembling.
“I asked you what’s going on.”
The grand duke remained motionless, but the chief felt as though he was being strangled.
His eyes widened as he realized that at any moment, the noble beast in front of him could easily capture him at any moment, but still, he desperately opened his dry mouth.
[TL/N: “noble beast” here was intentional!]
If he didn’t answer him, his life will end.
“Your Highness the Grand Duke, the warp portal is ready.”
The chief skillfully concealed his feelings and got the grand duke’s attention.
Although he was appalled by the unexpected sight, having not seen it in three years, he was still the chief of staff.
The chief of staff that was in charge of the imperial palace of this vast empire.
It was he who endured the turbulence three years ago and cleared the blood that formed the river.
The chief’s mind kept wandering back to the gloriously handsome man in front of him.
The bizarrely emotionless and rational grand duke, whose name contained ‘van’.
‘He’s not someone who is cruel for no reason.’
Calmly assessing the situation, the chief bowed a little deeper.
“The grand duchess is waiting for you, Your Highness.”
It was a polite but desperate plea to leave it at that.
The chief trusted Adrian’s reasoning behind his actions.
Three years ago, Adrian was thoroughly cold-headed.
Kindness or mercy did not suit him, but on the other hand, he never crossed the line.
That made it all the more heinous.
With his head bowed, Sebastian, the chief of staff, glanced over and quickly checked on the status of his maids.
He closed his mouth tightly.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Staring down at the white hilt of his sword, Adrian flicked the hilt up and cleaned his sword.
Adrian opened his mouth once more, brushing past the chief as he sheathed his sword and left the reception parlour.
“It would be much more efficient to teach the subordinates how to properly treat my people rather than to ask for excessive mercy.”
“Of course, Your Highness.”
Once the huge shadow that had been cast in front of him had passed, Sebastian slowly straightened up to see him off.
At least to the front door of the main palace.
He bowed once again until he could no longer see the grand duke, honouring the imperial family by doing so.
Sebastian waited eagerly for the emperor’s response.
Adrian knew how to most effectively lead by example.
The maids didn’t die and he skillfully showed off his authority.
Still, Sebastian was impatient.
He dared not to treat and take care of the maids in front of the grand duke, so he left them alone. However, the earlier the treatment, the better the prognosis.
If they were lucky, they might be able to save their tongues and hands.
Sebastian sighed deeply.
“What should I do?”
The maids who had fallen were the ones who served Lady Ione Clark, who had become the grand duchess just earlier today.
When he saw their faces earlier, his eyes went blank.
The servants who served the grand duchess today were all those who have served the imperial family for a long time.
Three years ago, they were full of pride, having survived by remaining loyal to the emperor until the end.
They were in awe of Adrian, who, in his short life, had wiped out all those who were disloyal to the emperor.
Adrian was a living god to them.
No one dared to approach him, but they also didn’t allow anyone to stand by him.
To these people, Ione Clark was nothing but dirt soiling the grand duke.
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