Chapter 2

***

 


Four years ago, Adele left her home and wandered aimlessly.

 

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

Her situation was already very miserable. 

 

“Quiet? Modest? That’s so funny.”

 

Who wouldn’t dream of having a happy marriage filled with love? 

 

Father lying sick oin bed. 

 

A mother who spent her money on private bonds. 

 

A father who wasn’t able to stop such a mother. 

 

A mother who was happy to sell her daughter to an elderly marquis. 

 

Everything was terrible. 

 

The place where her foot stopped was the Novusvita Bridge on the Prova River. 

 

Novus Vita meant new life. 

 

Prova meant taking the test.

 

Overshadowed by its name, it was a suicidal attraction.

 

“I guess I really wanted to die.”

This was the location where she wandered without even realizing.

 

[Would it be easier if I died?]

 

Adele slowly began to walk up towards the bridge. The sun began to set, and it was dusk everywhere, no one was passing by the road because of the drizzle. Adele opened her eyes wide when she had almost reached the arch. At the top of the bridge, the highest point had a little terrace-like protrusion, someone had already arrived before her.

 

A burly man in a black hood was gazing down at the river under the bridge. Anyone could tell that he had found a place to let go of his life.

 

[Oh, that man…]

 

The moment the man leaned forward as if to jump, Adele dived and caught him.

 

“Hey! Don’t die!”

 

Adele cradled the man’s waist, which was leaning outwards.

 

“Excuse me, help me!”

He was much taller than herself. If she could have the help of one more person, she could pull him back. 

 

Adele’s heart raced like crazy when she almost witnessed someone’s death. 

 

“Let go of me.”

 

“What?”

 

She made eye contact with the man. 

 

Under the hood, the man looked very handsome. Pale skin, gray eyes and his hair were as black as the hood he wore. Adele could feel the firmness of his body in her arms as a result of touching him, holding him. 

 

The handsome man frowned.

 

“How long are you going to do that?”

 

“Oh, I’m sorry!”

 

Adele floundered away from the man.

 

“Huh?”

 

The moment Adele missed her step, her foot leaned out.  There was a valid reason why the bridge became the ultimate attraction for suicide. 

 

First, the railing height of the bridge was very low. It was easy to fall over because it was only about the height of her thighs. 

 

Second, so many people came and went to the place that the bottom stone was worn out. 

 

Everyone hesitated at least once at the last minute. 

 

However, the floor stone was slippery and the railing was low, as if she was pushing his back to say good-bye when she decided to jump. In addition since it was slippery the stones at her feet slid down like glass due to the drizzle. 

 

“Argh!”

Adele looked at the man. The man’s eyes shook violently when he saw her falling.

 

[He didn’t even catch me, traitor!]

 

Adele fell into the river with questionable resentment. 

 

SPLASH!

 

The river was so deep that Adele, who couldn’t swim, struggled. The wet skirt entwined against her feet and pulled Adele down and down. Splash. There was a loud splash of water as Adele’s consciousness faded away.

 

[Did it work out?]

 

[At least I won’t be at the wedding hall with the Marquis.]

 

***

 

“Uhhh…”

Adele opened her eyes.

Her nose and throat hurt probably because she drank a lot of water. Adele got out of bed.

 

“Where am I?”

 

It was a room with old and simple furniture. She saw a sign of the inn outside the window. 

 

Adele sighed.

“…I’m saved.”

 

She took off her wet clothes and wore thin pajamas. Adele felt empty and pulled the sheet wrapping it around her body like a shawl.

 

Creak

 

The door opened and a man entered.

 

The man she met on the bridge. 

 

He, too, was wearing a thin shirt, probably from an inn.

 

[Wow.]

 

The body line that was exposed after taking off the hood, looked like a legendary man. Even if the God of War descended. He would not look so good in front of this man. 

 

He was handsome enough to make Adele let out a sigh because of her current messy appearance. 

 

“Did you save me?”

 

[Cancel that I thought about you as a traitor.]

 

Seeing Adele awake, the man silently held out the cup he had brought. 

 

“Thank you for saving me…”

Adele drank hot honey tea. As the thick, sweet, hot liquid passed over her throat, her whole body trembled. 

 

“My name is Adele. What about you?”

The man looked as if he was asking why she was asking his name.

 

“You are my lifesaver. Don’t you think I need to know your name?”

 

“Van.”

It was a name that suited his handsome face. 

 

“Why did you go there?”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“You didn’t mean to die, did you?”

 

“Van…”

 

Adele looked at the man. He was so handsome that she couldn’t understand why he wanted to die with that face and that body.

 

“No.”

Van’s face turned gloomy and serious.

 

“Huh…”

Breaking the awkward silence, Van sighed.

 

“Why did you want to die?”

Adele opened her eyes wide and then immediately lowered her eyelids.

 

“My mother sold me.”

 

“I see…”

[They say it is better to roll in sand. I don’t think that works for everyone.]

 

As soon as the fear of death was away, the way she saw her present life now, was so suffocating. 

 

“I didn’t mean to die, but I thought I was going to die.”

Adele turned her head to look at Van.

 

“Why?” 

 

“Everyone wants me dead.”

His melancholy gray eyes looked sad. 

 

“I killed my brothers today with my own hands.”

Adele opened her mouth in surprise. 

 

“My grandmother, my brothers, and my trusted close friends all wanted me to disappear.”

A bitter smile crept on the corner of Van’s lips.

 

“The chivalry is defiled, and no one in the world wants me to live.”

Adele felt his emptiness and despair vividly.

 

[Oh my gosh! Grandma and older brother?

Do all the knights live so fiercely?]

 

“The Kinako family.”

After all, even if it was only for the Dreyfus estate, they were fighting without blood or tears for the position of the next marquis. 

 

Adele wanted to comfort Van.

 

She reached out and grabbed his hand, which was neatly placed on his lap.

 

“Van, I want you to live.”

The gray eyes, which looked numb, questionably looked at her.

 

“When everyone wants you to disappear, I’ll pray that you don’t and live here with them.”

Adele held Van’s hand tightly.

 

“I will be the person who would want you to live.”

Van was like a wounded and lonely wolf. 

 

Adele forgot her plight and felt sorry for him.

 

“Can I please?”

Adele nodded his head.

 

“Thank you.”

Van took Adele’s hand and gently kissed her on the back of her hand. 

 

Thump

Thump 

Thump

 

Van held Adele’s hand as he kissed the back of her hand slowly. It was a heart-trembling experience for her to meet a handsome man with his lips being planted on the back of her hand.

 

“Ah…”

Adele turned shy and red from the face and tried to withdraw her clasped hands from him.

A white little hand was caught by Van. At that moment, the air flowing between the two changed. 

 

Van called her in a low voice.

“Adele…”

It was a voice that seemed to originate from deep within. 

Adele didn’t know. How an innocent girl’s gesture would ignite a man’s heart. Adele forgave herself to Van with only a third kiss.

 

***

Van Helm von Alfred a brutal slayer. He was the fourth prince of the Alfred family. The Great Emperor had no daughter. Only sons were born one after another from the empress, and there were seven princes in the end. 

 

As the descendant of the emperor, he took the lives of all six brothers in order to ascend to the throne in a fierce battle for succession.  It was a tragedy of the royal family, which had a happy heir.

 

He mercilessly threw even the Empress Dowager, who supported the first prince, who was first in line, into the monastery. Thanks to this, he was known as a cold-blooded man who would do anything for the throne. In addition, Empress Dowager was imprisoned in the monastery, and died months after, adding fuel to the rumor. 

 

The young emperor gradually lost the public’s support. The title that Emperor Albert had earned while traversing the battlefield for nearly three years was ‘Cruel Slayer’… 

 

When he raised his sword, it was said that not a single enemy had survived. The emperor had been away from the palace for such a long time, but there was no problem in its internal affairs.

 

Because, in the process of ascending the throne, thirty percent of the nobles who would threaten the internal affairs were purged.

 

“I have come to pick up my son.”

 

The Brutal Slayer…

 

Adele was well aware of the notoriety of Emperor Alfred

 

[I never imagined that I, a commoner, would face the emperor in my lifetime.]

 

[I never even thought that we would meet in the restaurant.]

 

“Leo!”

Adele hurriedly got up from her seat and blocked Leo’s front.

 

“No.”

At that moment, the two knights beside the emperor moved at the same time. In an instant, the sword was pointed at Adele’s neck from their hands.

 

“How dare you!”

“Are you going to disobey the Emperor’s orders?”

Adele turned white as she looked at the tip of the sword that was near her neck. Her body trembled.

 

‘Van, I want you to live.’

Adele was confused. 

 

That night, was he really the emperor that she felt pitiful for? 

 

Adele found out that she was pregnant with Leo, so she went looking for the knight. She wrote a letter to the knights stationed in the neighboring estates, writing impressions, and went to the Wandering Knights Guild to ask questions over and over again.

 

“Van? There is no such person.” 

 

“Hmm. His dark hair and gray eyes. You can’t find people like this, girl…”

 

“There’s no one in our guild who goes by the name ‘Van’.”

 

Adele was frustrated with her growing stomach.

 

 However, Leo’s presence kept Adele alive at that time. 

 

The disappointment of her mother, who left her to remarry as soon as her father died, the mother-do who left behind the debts in front of her, and the criticism and glare from the world of having children with her virgin body. 

 

But now, the tip of the sword pointed at her neck was very frightening.

 

[If I step back from here, they will take Leo with them.]

 

[I can’t get away.]

 

[But if I rebel, they will kill me.]

 

If she gets in the way, she will die. The emperor was such a person. Adele was unable to do anything, and her whole body trembled, standing with her arms wide open.

 

“Stop.”

At the emperor’s signal, the knights immediately removed their swords. 

 

He approached. 

 

Clack clack clack, clack. 

 

The sound of footsteps in his armor resounded in her chest.

 

“Leopold.”

The emperor called out the child’s name.

 

“I am your father.”

Adele then saw Leo. Leo was hiding behind Adele’s skirt and looking up at him with hopeful eyes. She was perplexed by the interest in her young son’s eyes.

 

[I thought he was dead.]

Raising Leo, every time he looked for his father, she tried to let it go. Because in the corner of her heart she thought he wouldn’t be alive. 

 

Because he said a lot of people wanted him to die.

 

Otherwise, there would be no way that she couldn’t come up with a person who looked like him.

 

“Will you come with me?”

There was dignity in every word he spoke. Leo released the hem of Adele’s skirt as if possessed, went toward the emperor and stretched out his hand.

 

The moment he took the child’s fragile hand, anger exploded inside Adele.

 

“He is my child! I’ve been holding him in my womb for nine months! Where were you?!”

In an instant, the emperor’s cold gray eyes fluttered.

Notes

N/A

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