Chapter 1

***

 

In a dark bedroom of a cheap inn.

 

The moonlight came through the window and illuminated the outline of the couple perfectly. The tangled white bodies in the darkness were as beautiful as if they were made of marble.

 

“Ha…”

 

Adele let out a ragged breath. Sweat ran down her face as she rode the slender back and shoulders of a man who was passionate about her. Adele clung to his neck as she felt the pleasure blowing like a storm. The man who had reached his climax quickly hardened. It was their first time seeing each other today. Adele was very satisfied.

 

The man held Adele and kissed her face indefinitely. He seemed full of affection in his feather-light, gentle gesture.

 

Because she had fulfilled the purpose of the deviation she dared tonight.

 

“Just do it.”

 

The man put his lips to Adele’s ears and whispered sweetly.

 

“Can I do more?”

 

Adele nodded.

 

There was no regret.

 

****

 

Four years later, Ernst’s residence.

 

An old-looking but well-kept little mansion was especially hectic today.

 

“Mother!”

 

A boy with a wet left cheek ran to Adele and hugged her.

 

“Leo. Didn’t mother tell you to wash your face and wipe the water off properly?”

 

“Hehe.”

 

When Leo tried to wipe his cheek with the sleeve of his pajamas, Adele grabbed his hand.

 

“I don’t like it.”

 

Leo chuckled as he cleaned the water off with a towel.

 

“It’s my birthday today!”

 

“That’s right. It’s finally the birthday day you’ve been waiting for, isn’t it?”

 

Adele stood up, holding Leo in her arms.

 

“I have a special menu for you this morning.”

 

“What is it? What is it? Please tell me!”

 

Adele smiled fondly at Leo, who was in too much of a hurry.

 

“Tada. It’s sautéed spinach, Leo’s favorite!”

 

Leo sat at the table, his face suddenly frowning.

 

“Mother, do I have to eat spinach?” 

 

“If you don’t eat spinach, you won’t grow an inch taller until your fourth birthday.”

 

 “Hmmm…”

 

Adele put spinach, bacon, and cheese between two sliced bread to make it easier for Leo to eat.

 

“It doesn’t taste like spinach when I eat it like this.”

 

“Not. It’s delicious, isn’t it?”

 

Leo kicked his cute feet in the air and ate his breakfast. The motion caused the juice in his glass to spill a little, but Adele decided to let it slide since it was the morning of his birthday.

 

“The sooner you finish, the sooner I can take you to the cake shop.”

 

“Yes.”

 

 “Eri watch Leo eat, then please prepare the carriage.”

 

“Yes, Miss.”

 

Adele called her maid of honor, Eri, and left Leo with her and went to her room to get ready to go out.

 

Adele changed into her formal attire. It was a simple monochromatic dress in navy blue with a row of buttons from the belly to the neck. The design accentuated her feminine charms. A long neckline, narrow shoulders, thin arms and slender waistline.

 

Her chestnut brown hair and green eyes looked brighter thanks to the dark outfit. Adele looked in the mirror and slowly buttoned it up.

 

***

 

One day, four years ago, Melina called Adele with a happy face.

 

“Adele, you’ve got a suitor.”

 

“What?” 

 

Adele was past the marriageable age.

 

However, she had to take care of her ailing father and her family’s mounting debts. Because of these circumstances, no one had sent her a letter of proposal.

 

“What? You want me to marry into the Dreyfus family?”

 

Viscount Dreyfus, son of the Marquis of Dreyfus, had seven wives. He was bald in his mid-40s and had ten children.

 

Melina spoke to Adele, who seemed to be losing her soul in anger, as if to rest assured.

 

“No, it’s not Viscount Dreyfus, it’s the Marquis.”

 

“What?”

 

Adele couldn’t believe her ears.

 

“It’s the Marquis of Dreyfus you’re marrying.”

 

The old man, who was 70 years old, would be faster to count his missing teeth in the next year?

 

“Thankfully, he has given you so many gifts that I think we can pay off all the debts.”

 

The debt from the long-standing illness without money only piled up.

 

On top of that, Melina even bought expensive medicines sold by shady gypsy medicine merchants. All of them were bonds.

 

“How can you sell me out?”

 

Adele shouted, and Melina’s face turned serious.

 

“Nonsense! How fortunate you are that you can now rely on the Marquis without worrying about your money or your clothes.”

 

“Fortunate? This is all because you bought strange medicines and were cheated by healers!” 

 

“Then tell your father to die because we lack money.”

 

Adele was furious.

 

“Are you really my real mother? How can you try to sell me to get money?”

 

Melina avoided Adele’s eyes.

 

“You must be quiet and modest until before the marriage ceremony so as not to disturb the Marquis.”

 

Adele took the suitor’s letter from Melina’s hand.

 

“I’m not getting married!”

 

“Adele!”

 

Adele ripped the suitor’s letter to shreds and threw it into the fireplace and ran out of the house.

 

“You can’t do this.”

 

Adele was famous for being a beautiful, polite, and intelligent woman.

 

However, no one loved Adele enough to take on her sick father and pay off the debts.

 

“I’d rather die than marry an old man like that!”

 

Adele walked and walked, feeling miserable.

 

“Quiet? Modest? It’s unbelievable.”

 

To think that she had to be a wife to such an old Marquis….

 

He was senile and in questionable health to spend his wedding night.

 

Adele was extremely frustrated.

 

Isn’t it like spending the flowery hours of your life as your father’s nurse, and now being sold as your old husband’s caregiver?

 

It was on that day that she met Leo’s father.

 

An unknown wandering knight.

 

He was a beautiful man who caught her eyes.

 

He was young and had an exceptional body.

 

He was unlikely to have any disease judging by his healthy, clean skin, nails and teeth.

 

Adele spent an intense, hot night with him, after seeing him for the first time.

 

She was a little worried about the aftermath, but she didn’t regret it.

 

However, what awaited Adele when she returned home after her night of deviance was an obituary that Marquis Dreyfus died of old age last night.

 

After that, things went surprisingly well.

 

The incompetent and lustful Viscount Dreyfus was ousted, and the Marquis’s eldest daughter, Lady Ellipson, assumed the position of female Marquis.

 

“Are you the daughter of the Ernst family?”

 

“Yes, I am.”

 

Adele tensed as she was suddenly summoned by the new Marquis of Dreyfus.

 

“You also studied public administration at school..”

 

Adele received a scholarship to go to school. At the age of seventeen, she earned a diploma in public administration, which was unusually early. At one time she had wanted to become an administrator like her father, but her family circumstances had prevented her from seeing the light of day.

 

“I’m going to hire you as the new administrator.”

 

“What?”

 

“You are to report to work immediately, starting tomorrow.”

 

Ernst, the administrator’s official residence.The house remained the home of Adelaide Ernst.

 

Adele became an administrator, worked, and gave birth to Leo. There, Lady Ellipson did Adele many favors, perhaps because they were both women. Adele was able to return to work after taking some time off when she gave birth to Leo.

 

A lot had happened.

 

It’s said that time flies like an arrow when you raise a child. Perhaps because today was Leo’s birthday, Adele was especially reminded of the past. Before she knew it, the carriage came to a stop beneath a scribbled sign that read Patricia Byrne, and Leo’s eyes, which until now had been clinging to the windowsill, lit up.

 

“Mother! Mother! We’re here!”

 

Adele went down first and picked Leo up.

 

“Can I buy a really big one?”

 

Adele’s little cutie always added “Yo” when he had a request. Adele smiled as she patted Leo’s head.

 

“Of course.”

 

“Yay!”

 

Leo ran happily into the store.

 

Adele watched him with satisfaction, it was then…

 

“Huh?”

 

She felt a gaze from somewhere.

 

Adele looked around. A flurry of people were busily crossing her path.

 

“Am I mistaken…?”

 

Adele flinched and walked into the store.

 

“We’ll have cake for lunch, cake for dinner, and cake for breakfast tomorrow morning.”

 

Leo begged to buy both a large chocolate cake and a cake with white cream, strawberries and candies.

 

“Leo. No.”

 

“Ha..”

 

Leo gave Adele a pitying look, but no was no. She couldn’t allow him to be spoiled.

 

This was Patricia Byrne, a popular cake store in Dreyfus territory. It was fashionable for children to buy birthday cakes from this store because it was fancy, brilliant looking, delicious, even though it was quite expensive.

 

So it was not necessary to buy two expensive desserts. The possibility of throwing it away was high due its big size and was hard to store.

 

“You can only choose one.”

 

Leo was disappointed by Adele’s decisive words.

 

Adele was paying off the debt her father had left her when he died. So the decision to buy an expensive cake like this was a burden in itself, but Leo, who was treated to a cake by his friends at play school, made a big decision that he wanted to buy one completely his own.

 

“…Yes.”

 

Leo hesitated and chose a cake with strawberries and candies. As they left the store with the cake, he looked back at the store with a sad face. Adele let out a small sigh and pretended not to know.

 

Parenting wasn’t easy.

 

As Leo grew older, he was stubborn and this happened frequently.

 

“If Leo had a father, he could buy two cakes.”

 

Adele paused at the word ‘father’ that came out of Leo’s mouth. Leo puffed up his cheeks when their eyes met.

 

“Hans says… Hans says that his father eats a lot and can eat three cakes in one day.”

 

Adele was speechless for a moment.

 

“Leo.”

 

His small eyes turned to Adele.

 

“Leo’s father is slim, so he can’t eat three cakes.”

 

Maybe the man doesn’t like sweets.

 

Adele confirmed it herself that the man didn’t have any belly fat.

 

“Let’s go now. If we don’t get home soon, the cream will melt.”

 

“Yes.”

 

Leo immediately looked unhappy.

 

Adele, on the other hand, was very concerned with Leo whenever he did this. 

 

“Huh? Again?”

 

Adele turned her head to the side.

 

There was no one in that direction.

 

‘Why does it seem like someone is watching?’

 

Adele tilted her head.

 

****

 

“Happy birthday, my dear. Happy birthday to you.”

 

Leo cackled as the adults gathered around and clapped.

 

There were a total of five servants who worked at Ernst’s residence. Butler Royce, Maid Bain, Chef Paul, Hannah, cleaning and miscellaneous tasks, and Eri, a maid and nanny, who were also commoners like Adele, so they were equal in the employ of the official residence. It was Adele’s intention to prevent the expensive cake from being thrown away that brought them all together to celebrate Leo’s birthday when they should have left for work.

 

“Thank you!”

 

Everyone was happy when Leo gave them a thank you card with just a few letters of his name written with his little hand. Leo received five small packages of cookies and chocolates that the adults had brought, and he looked like he had the whole world.

 

At that moment….

 

Bang! Bang! Bang!

 

They heard a pounding on the front door.

 

“Who is it? We didn’t invite anyone.”

 

 “I’ll go check.”

 

At Adele’s words, butler Royce rose from his seat. A few moments later, however, Royce appeared with a different complexion.

 

“Administrator.”

 

“What’s going on?”

 

Unfamiliar footsteps echoed in the hallway of the mansion.

 

Knights in uniform and light gloves rushed in and lined up in a small dining room.

 

“Here comes the Emperor.”

 

Immediately, a man walked in. A holy sword on his hip, silver armor, a cloak adorned with Tambi’s hair, gorgeous jet-black hair, and cold gray eyes.

 

That man was…

 

Adele recognized him.

 

“Stranger….”

 

The man who didn’t even look at Adele opened his mouth as he looked at Leo.

 

“I’ve come for my son.”

 

****

Notes

N/A

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