Chapter 1. An Accidental Encounter
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Nelia’s face was red as she rushed out of the Duke Hart’s mansion and climbed into the carriage.
‘Uwah. I thought I was going to have a heart attack.’
When she looked back, at first she was taken aback at the sight of him and stood right in front of her, and second because he suddenly stretched out his hand.
She couldn’t help but keep flinching away from him due to his cruel deeds that had been deeply embedded in her unconsciousness.
And on top of that…….
‘The duke feels cold when he’s near.’
It was the same as before, too. She wasn’t sure if it was just her imagination, but the temperature of his whole body, including his hands and feet, were cold.
Was he originally born with a low body temperature? Or…… is he really suffering from cold hands and feet……?
She heard that would be likely to be the case if someone doesn’t have good blood circulation.
‘……No. that’s not important right now.’
Nelia erased the thought about the duke possibly suffering from cold hands and feet from her head.
The important thing right now is that she ended the day safely.
Getting through the first step safely meant a lot to her.
‘I’m going to return home and eat dinner.’
There was a pleasant smile on Nelia’s mouth when she already erased the thought about the duke from her mind.
However, the pleasant smile soon faded.
It was because of the human being she saw when she arrived at home and opened the door.
As expected, her prediction was correct. It wouldn’t have taken long for Leighton to return from the monastery.
If it were her, she would have left him there for years……!
Nelia thought the ba***rd like Leighton was the result of the attitude of her soft-hearted parents.
Leighton, who discovered Nelia, pretended to acknowledge her first.
“You already came back?”
“Came back? I’ve been going through so much there! How dare you tell our parents about the necklace incident?”
Leighton shouted suddenly.
“Of course I have to tell them. And I’m glad that you ended up there.”
If it had been in another family, his legs might have been broken.
Nelia shrugged as if she had absolutely done nothing wrong, and Leighton opened his eyes intimidatingly.
But then he shook his hand as if saying, ‘Huft, that’s enough.’
Nelia thought it was surprising to see him acting a bit different than he used to. She expected him to go wild like an angry colt.
Anyway, that ba***rd was supposed to get a hold of himself by going to the army, but unfortunately there was no conscription in the Andrian Empire.
“More importantly, I heard you have to work as Duke Hart’s maid.”
Leighton clicked his tongue.
“I guess Duke Hart doesn’t have anyone to take care of him. I just can’t believe he took a girl like you to be his handmaiden.”
She slightly sympathized with Duke Hart due to his remark saying that he had no one to take care of him, but his following remark was just annoying.
“If the duke wants to save his handmaiden, the queue of people will be all over the capital.”
“Shut up, I’m not doing it out of my own will.”
Nelia replied irkedly. Leighton rested his chin on his hand while staring at Nelia.
“Does he really fall for you?”
“Don’t say such a ridiculous thing.”
Although the duke showered him with kindness for no apparent reason, it was ridiculous to assume that he fell in love with her.
Leighton shook his head at Nelia’s disgusting reaction.
“Actually…… the rumor said he’s gay, so it’s not likely for him to fall for you.”
Someone brought up the assumption that Duke Hart was homosexual again.
Her parents also talked about it on the ride back home from the party.
She knew it wasn’t true because Duke Hart liked the female lead in the original story, but it bothered her quite a bit having to hear it twice.
“Duke Hart is homosexual?”
“That’s what people say behind him.”
Nelia was lost in her thoughts for a moment.
Duke Hart hasn’t met the female lead yet, but when they did, he immediately fell in love with her.
But the reason this rumor kept going around…….
“Is it true?”
Was because he could possibly turned out as a homosexual…….
As Nelia thought deeply about the duke’s preference, she heard Leighton’s voice again.
“That’s not important anyway, I have a favor to ask of you.”
“……What is it?”
Nelia’s eyebrows narrowed.
Leighton, this j*rk. He had a favor to ask, so he just skipped over the conversation they had as he pleased.
“No……. I’m just not comfortable with what happened involving the crown prince at the party that day.”
Nelia knew the day he was talking about was at the recent party.
“I want to ask the duke to do one thing. Maybe he could refrain from mentioning my name …….after what happened to the broken necklace that day and why it has to be restored.”
Nevertheless, sending him to the monastery wasn’t fruitless. She couldn’t believe he was concerned about that even though it was late to feel that way at this point.
In spite of that, Nelia was worried.
Leighton’s request wasn’t difficult, but just uncomfortable for her.
She’s already stepped on the villain’s foot and walked on eggshells, she couldn’t believe she would have to ask him such an inconvenient thing.
“What will I get if I ask him that?”
“……I’ll buy strawberry tarts from Posh Bakery.”
“Then no. I don’t have to wait in line anymore to buy it.”
Leighton asked in shock. Nelia just shrugged.
“We get something like employee benefits.”
Nelia, who refused to do what he asked, was about to go up to her room when Leighton caught her from walking away.
“Oh, wait! How about the favor I asked of you!”
“Because the reward is not to my liking.”
Leighton stood up with an unhappy face and quickly approached her.
“Then how about this……..”
“I know one of the duke’s secrets, and if you do what I asked, I will only tell you.”
She was tempted by the provocative word for a moment, but she soon shook her head.
“I don’t really want to know other people’s secrets.”
She didn’t get to hear from the person involved, and what Leighton said wasn’t really reliable either.
“It will be good information for you since you’re working as the duke’s handmaiden for the time being.”
Leighton’s soft voice stopped Nelia again.
Nellia glanced at Leighton.
Actually, even though the duke was being nice to her, she didn’t know his intention.
So, Leighton’s offer was quite tempting.
If she knew things related to him, she might be able to live comfortably rather than becoming his maid.
“What do you think? Are you considering doing me a favor now?”
Nelia hesitated and Leighton smirked at her.
But Nelia eventually turned away.
As expected, she was reluctant to do someone a favor in exchange for other people’s secrets.
Leighton’s desperate cry was heard behind her.
“Hey! Aren’t you really curious?”
Nellia went upstairs without any regret.
Nelia, who arrived in her room, picked up a book she had borrowed from the library at the weekend.
The book was titled ‘The Legend of Sigrid’. There was a gray dragon painted on the cover.
There was the same pattern in the carriage rode by Duke Hart, the symbol of the Andrian Empire. The symbol was modeled after an ancient dragon, the God of Anger and Destruction, Sigrid.
The Legend of Sigrid was one of the important stories in the ‘Andrian’s Flower’. Nelia borrowed this book out of mere curiosity.
This legend seemed to be an important key in order to unravel the original story, but she wanted to know the content inside it because she didn’t have the chance to read the original stories until the end.
The Legend of Sigrid was as follows.
A long time ago in the Andrian Empire. There was a dragon named Sigrid, the God of Anger and Destruction as well as a powerful ruler.
He hid his heart before he died and left a will to grant the wishes of those who seek for his heart.
The key to finding his heart was the ‘Elena’s Tears’, the gemstone in the necklace that Leighton touched.
She didn’t know how Elena’s Tears could lead the way to find his heart. She read the original book only until the middle.
‘What was the reason Duke Hart looked for the heart……?’
Oh, to avenge the emperor.
There was only a short scene of Archen, the emperor recalling the past when he killed Duke Hart’s father.
And there seemed to be another reason, but that’s all she read.
‘If I knew I would get possessed into this book, I would have stayed up all night to read it.’
She knew it’s useless to regret it now, but it was such a shame.
Nelia put her remorse aside and turned over the thick cover of the book. The paper had fairly faded, indicating that this was an old book.
[Chapter 1. The Grandeur of the Gray Dragon]
Only gods existed in the beginning of the world. Among them, Sigrid, who was born with destruction and anger in his blood, living up to it by committing destruction and creating war.
However, the other gods couldn’t even stop him. Because Sigrit was the world’s one and only great gray dragon.
The flames coming from his mouth could melt every solid thing in an instant, and his steel-like claws could pierce everything.
‘Sigrid was indeed strong.’
Nelia, who wasn’t interested in the fearsome description of him, quickly turned the page.
[Chapter 2. The Spring Wind that Melts Ice]
There was someone who put an end to his solitude, an insignificant and little human woman.
Her name was Elena, the only woman Sigrid ever engraved in his heart.
It was destiny that Sigrid had to coincidentally meet her.
In order to prevent Sigrid from dominating, the gods united and attacked him, but Sigrid, who was careless, lost and was seriously injured.
He fell in the countryside and was treated by Elena, who came to dig up spring herbs.
‘So that’s why he fell in love with Elena, she turned out to be the one who saved him.’
Elena’s Tears were the only key to open the way to Sigrid’s heart from the beginning, so the naming was very romantic.
Nelia quickly turned the page again.
[Chapter 3. The One Who Challenges Dragon]
‘Oho, looks like someone dares to go against the world’s strongest being.’
Nelia stopped turning the page at the intriguing subhead.
Thanks to Elena, who was able to melt Sigrid’s cold heart, peace descended on the world. Sigrid, who used to devote himself in war, didn’t fight anymore.
His dear Elena wanted it, and he also had two children that were his responsibilities.
However, the children who came to them like a gift brought happiness and misery at the same time.
Even though they were born from the same womb, the two children were born with distinctly different forms and personalities.
On the other hand, the first child, Shilin, was born in dragon form just like Sigrid. Besides, it’s Sigrid’s complacent. He was the same as Sigrid because dragons were usually born with natural qualities.
The problem occurred from there.
Shilin, who has a destructive nature, started a fight and turned his surroundings into the sea of fire. Shilin, who behaved that way was not loved by Sigrid and began to gradually fall apart.
One day, Shilin, who had grown to be an adult, spoke to Sigrid in an offended face.
‘How come Father doesn’t love me?’
‘It’s not like that.’
‘No, even if I were to stop people who pass by and ask, they will all nod.’
Sigrid was silent.
‘What have I done wrong?’
Shilin, who was enraged, began to burn his surroundings. Sigrid, who saw that, finally spoke.
‘Look at yourself. You can’t control your power, how can you not destroy everything again?’
‘I resemble you, Father.’
‘No, I had changed. If you don’t change, there will be no one who loves you.’
Sigrid’s cold eyes turned to Shilin.
Nelia’s hand, which was about to turn the page, halted.
She knew Shilin was wrong, but she felt sorry for him.
If Sigrid had been more supportive toward him at that time, Shilin wouldn’t have strayed too far like that.
At the cold-hearted words spat out by Sigrid, Shilin disappeared with clenched fists.
And the stormy days filled with anxiousness went by.
Carl let out a painful scream.
There were only collapsed houses and burning flames as he ran hurriedly toward his child.
Sigrid braced his nerves as he approached the collapsed Carl.
‘This is…… What in the world happened to you!’
‘What happened to you, Carl!’
Sigrid’s shaky pupils landed on his son’s arm. Carl’s scorched right arm was in a hideous shape.
‘My arm was caught in fire…… and I tried to put it out……. But it didn’t subside……. So I hit my arm with something.’
‘My arm……. They can’t move……’
Furious at his crippled son, Sigrid quickly figured out the cause of the fire.
So this place was,
‘I did it.’
There was Shilin, who confessed with a raucous laugh. There was just madness lingered in those guiltless eyes of his.
The enraged Sigrid shouted.
‘What the h*ll were you thinking when you did this?’
‘I thought it was only fair to lose Carl.’
‘He’s not smarter than me, not even stronger, yet he has everything. On the other hand, I have nothing. There was only a seething desire to destroy in me.’
Despite Shilin’s miserable voice, Sigrid didn’t sympathize with him. On the contrary, he closed her eyes in regret.
‘……You shouldn’t have been born.’
Sigrid said with wide-open eyes.
‘I shall put a curse on you. You will have to pay for your jealousy and spite towards your brother.’
Nelia was so immersed in the book without realizing it.
‘So that’s how Shilin was cursed.’
She wanted to know what kind of curse it was, but the back of the old back was smeared by ink, probably because it had been wet and dried up.
Nelia closed the book without an ounce of regret.
She felt sleepy after lying motionlessly in bed while reading a book.
She had to read until the end when she got a decent book next time.
She had plenty of time to look for the recently published book since the legend of Sigrid was really well-known among the people in the empire that there was no one who didn’t know about it.
For now, her priority was to take care of herself so that she would be capable of going to work tomorrow.
Nelia closed her eyes.
She fell into a deep sleep in an instant since she was quite tense today.