Chapter 1. An Accidental Encounter
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The duke looked up.
“My right arm heats up whenever I see the duke. It feels as if it’s burning.”
Carlos’ black eyes sank deeply along with his words.
“People say I was just born with a disability, but I don’t think so.”
Carlos’ black eyes and Duke Hart’s silver eyes directed at each other.
Black and white, such colors showed a clear contrast, but their eyes created a fairly similar atmosphere.
“My right arm that never gets better and distresses me for my entire life is definitely close to being called a curse.”
Duke Hart thought about it.
How could he find something in common such as a curse with the mean crown prince whom he couldn’t expect to share a commonw with?
However, he let out a series of laughter rather than pitying him.
The curse of becoming a ferocious monster and the occasionally paralyzed arm couldn’t be compared.
He spoke such a thing like a curse in a self-pitying manner, but can he still call it a curse after knowing about his secret (Duke Hart)?
“Why do you talk about that with me?”
“I told you, my right arm feels burning whenever I see you.”
“Perhaps, it’s because you don’t like me.”
When Duke Hart replied absentmindedly, there was a vicious gleam in Carlos’ black eyes for a moment.
“Do I look like I’m joking?”
“I’m trying to say that I have nothing to do with His Highness’ right arm.”
The air in the dining room was so edgy that it felt dreadful due to the stern conversation.
“Duke, I told you that I meant everything I offered to the young lady just now.”
“I already stated it clearly. I won’t let Nelia get entangled in this.”
The duke’s voice dropped even further.
However, Carlos continued regardless.
“At first, I admit I provoked you out of curiosity about what you were up to. But it’s not the case now. I need your handmaiden.”
Carlos pulled himself from leaning against the back of the chair.
“I definitely knew it today.”
Then he shifted his right wrist back and forth.
“My curse is alleviated when I’m with your handmaiden.”
The silver eyes of the duke turned to Carlos. The distant voice like an abyss was heard shortly after.
“If it’s because of that, I shouldn’t let Nelia and Your Highness get more entangled.”
The burning smell grew thicker around him.
Meanwhile, Nelia followed the maid and walked down a long hallway.
She asked the maid again as she ought not to be more than a certain distance from Duke Hart.
“His Highness’ chamber is not far away, is it?”
Nelia was relieved and picked up her pace again.
‘How can I end up in Carlos’ room?’
As if Carlos’ office wasn’t enough, now she’s heading into his chamber.
Did she ever expect it? Who knows that she would go to Carlos’ room in the original story, the emissary of hell who led her to a miserable death.
But there’s nothing she could do other than changing clothes here.
But…… There was something strange about this place.
“Excuse me, but why are there women’s clothes in His Highness’ room?”
Did Carlos have a secret lover before meeting Charlotte? Or a secret habit……
“The clothes are delivered from somewhere else. First of all, the nearest bathroom is in His Highness’ chamber, so we’re heading there.”
Nelia was embarrassed by the maid’s firm remark.
She shouldn’t have imagined that……
“Here it is.”
The servant halted her feet and opened the door.
Unlike the duke’s residence that was filled with extravagant and expensive decorations, the Crown Prince’s chamber was rather monotonous.
It rather matched Carlos’ personality, as he usually seemed to be edgy and would hate to be bothered by such things.
“I will fetch another servant to help you wash up. If you’re washing up, the new clothes will be delivered in no time.”
“N-no! I can wash by myself.”
Nelia waved her hand hastily.
It was very cumbersome having someone to help her wash up because it became a habit to wash by herself in the ducal residence.
Nelia detested it, so the servant nodded.
“Yes, then wash and relax.”
Nelia was alone when the servant disappeared, so she entered the bathroom and began to wipe her wet leg with a towel.
The tea wasn’t filled with sugar and it wasn’t sticky, so just wiping it was enough to clean it.
Nelia looked around the bathroom while waiting for the maid to bring new clothes for her.
Even though the room was neat, it looked sparsely decorated.
The first thing she noticed was a sword hanging on the wall. Each type of sword was displayed in the cabinet, like a stage of a swordmaster.
The desk was placed beside it.
There was nothing on the desk that she wondered why it was there in the first place.
Whenever she saw this, she felt Carlos and Duke Hart were the polar opposites of each other.
‘The duke’s desk is filled with books.’
But when she observed closely, there was a book there.
As she wondered what book Carlos had chosen, Delia approached the desk. Nelia approached the desk with thought of what kind Carlos had selected.
[The Legend of Sigrid]
Under the title was the illustration of a gray dragon.
Carlos would also gradually become interested in the Legend of Sigrid. He had to take care of her right arm.
Nelia suddenly wondered.
Why is Carlos’ arm suddenly stiffened? It appeared as nothing to others because it constantly returned to normal.
Is this the inevitable fate of the male lead?
It was a shame whenever this happened.
‘If I knew I would fall into this book, I would have read it all to the end no matter what……!’
Nelia looked down at the desk with a regretful expression. The barely opened drawer of the desk was protruding slightly.
She couldn’t just pass something sparkling in the drawer.
Like a mirage in the desert. The bluish sparkle gave the illusion as if her sight was shaking.
That might be the reason why Nelia reached out to it as if she was possessed and opened the drawer slowly, even though she clearly knew she shouldn’t be doing this.
A bright light suddenly filled Nelia’s vision entirely as soon as she opened the drawer. When the light dissipated, she gradually learned about the object inside.
Nelia blinked her eyes.
‘…… This is Elena’s Tears.’
Hidden inside Carlos’ drawer was Elena’s Tears, the item that should have been put as a display in the Imperial Palace.
However, she wondered where the strand ended up, only the gemstone, Elena’s Tears, remained there.
Nelia looked baffled while staring down at Elena’s Tears.
She wasn’t aware on the day Leighton dropped the necklace at the party since so much happened, but the gleam of Elena’s Tears were incredibly beautiful.
Even her, who didn’t know much about jewelry, acknowledged that this jewelry seemed expensive, so his behavior explained everything.
‘Above anything else……’
Nelia thought this was a great opportunity. It happened that she was considering the way to look into Elena’s Tears.
It’s obvious that the key to finding Sigrid’s heart is through Elena’s Tears.
However, he said that the mages and alchemists had visited the Imperial Palace and did everything, but there were no results.
Then, there must be another way…..
Nelia didn’t know how Charlotte in the original story invoked Elena’s Tears.
It’s because the story began in the middle.
Instead, Nelia decided to think of Charlotte, whom she had recently met.
There was nothing bizarre apart from her slightly dazed personality and a beautiful face.
No, the most bizarre thing about Charlotte was the fact that she was the female lead of this world. She suddenly remembered what Leighton had said.
Only the chosen one had the ability to invoke Elena’s Tears.
If that was true, she didn’t stand a chance.
Nelia looked down at Elena’s Tears with a sullen face.
At that moment, she suddenly found a small cut in the bottom part of the back side of Elena’s Tears.
It was impossible that this rare gem would have an odd cut. Or, was it the mistake the craftsman made?
It was when Nelia was observing the cut closely.
For a moment, she imagined Elena’s Tears were glinting.
‘What was that……..?’
She looked around, but didn’t find anything that would possibly illuminate light.
Nelia looked at Elena’s Tears again.
But Elena’s Tears was glinting again, as if confirming that her imagination was a reality.
She didn’t know if it’s just her imagination, but the glint was similar to a sign that indicated something.
‘The maid who went to fetch the dress seems to come again soon…….’
Nelia looked at the door before turning her head around again.
Then she reached out to pick up Elena’s Tears. It felt quite heavy in her hand when she lifted it.
Nelia brought Elena’s Tears in front of her face and silently stared at it.
It was then.
[Gotcha, you finally come around.]
There was a voice of a strange man.
[How can such a young person be so clueless, how can you be like that?]
His voice didn’t seem to be that old, but his tone was almost similar to that of an old man.
Nelia looked around in confusion. But she didn’t see anyone around.
Then, where does that voice come from? She wondered.
Nelia looked down as it said. There was nothing on the floor. She would freak out if she had seen something.
[No, that’s too low. Look at your hand.]
Her hand? Nelia looked at it.
There was Elena’s Tears in her hand.
‘Does he mean Elena’s Tears……?’
She couldn’t believe she could hear the deep voice of the man from this beautiful jewelry.
It’s not important now, but she somehow sensed a big difference. The name of this gemstone was Elena’s Tears, which automatically reminded her of a delicate woman just by listening to its name.
“Who are you……?”
[I’m Zenuit, the follower of Sigrid, the Great Gray Dragon.]
Zenuit sounded like an imitation of Sigrid’s name.
She assumed all the people involved with the Gray Dragon used ‘d’* in their names.
Nelia thought about the name, and realized that wasn’t the important point now.
‘I can’t believe Sigrid’s follower wasr really trapped in Elena’s Tears.’
The duke was right.
‘According to the ancient book, Sigrid must have entrusted the role of a guide leading to his heart toward his follower. His follower must have been asleep somewhere.’
The place he slept in was Elena’s Tears. So Zenuit would guide her toward his heart?
[Since I’m done introducing myself, now get me out of here.]
“Get you out of there……?”
[Yeah, I’ve been stuck here for decades, I feel like I’m going to die if I stay here a little longer.]
So he didn’t just come out on his own. Just as she expected, the main story of the original book couldn’t have been solved so easily anyway.
“If I get you out of there, will you show the way to Sigrid’s heart?”
At last, the bunching thread seemed to untangle little by little. But there still lies a big problem.
Nelia asked while staring at Elena’s Tears.
“Pardon……. But what should I do to get you out of there?”
[*Ok this is a bit difficult to explain but in the Korean alphabetical system, their names are literally spelled ‘Jigeriteu’ and ‘Jaenuiteu’ respectively, I think the author was trying to point out the last letter of their names ‘teu’. Since the t and d sounds similar in Korean language, I decided to translate it that way.]
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