Prologue

Prologue. 

 

Oh, happy Marquis.

 

“Mother, mother. The bird was so big! Long legs! Long neck!”

 

The child chimed, his eyes shining. Swinging his short legs, he was explaining to his mother the animals he saw today. The gesture couldn’t have been more lovely.

 

“Yes, Abel. I was surprised, too. It was huge! Do you remember the bird’s name?”

 

The child’s mother asked affectionately.

 

“Ah, um… a giraffe? A peacock?”

 

The child tilted his head to the side and frowned. He saw so many animals today that he confused their names. As the mother shook her head repeatedly, the child bit his lips, perhaps because he was frustrated.

 

“Os…”

 

Then the father of the child, who was watching them happily, gave the boy a hint.

 

“Oh! Ostrich. It’s an ostrich!

 

The child recognized his father’s hint and shouted the an answer in a hurry.

 

“Haha, that’s right. Our Abel loved the ostrich the most.”

 

The child’s mother smiled as she stroked the boy’s fair blond hair.

 

“By the way, you were afraid of the ostriches, weren’t you?”

 

Perhaps jealous of the heartwarming scene, the father playfully teased the child.

 

“No! I wasn’t scared!”

 

“Really?”

 

The father asked again with a mischievous look.

 

“…Of course! The Empire’s sword wasn’t the slightest bit scared.” 

 

“Is that so? It seems that father was mistaken. The Empire’s sword isn’t able to reach an ostrich, much less my leg*.” 

[*E/N: he’s calling him short :P]

 

“Mother! Father keeps-!”

 

The child was in his mother’s arms with a tearful face at the father’s continuous teasing.

 

“No, my Abel is brave, isn’t he? You even touched it in the end. Amazing! Mother was too scared.”

 

The child’s mother smiled, comforting her child.

 

It was a happy evening for the Blanchett estate.

 

A homely and dependable father. A sweet and wise mother. An adorable and lovely child.

 

It was so picture-perfect that she was anxious.

 

***

 

That night. 

 

The couple, who had just put their child to sleep, came to the bedroom and made small talk.

 

“Honey, I noticed yesterday that your office desk is old. I’m going to call a carpenter to commission us a new one. What do you think?”

 

As the end of the social season approached, the whole family moved from the estate to the Capital due to the Marquis’ busy schedule.

 

This year, they moved earlier than usual, so there was still plenty of time until the social season. During that time, the Marquis’ wife decided to repair a few things.

 

“All right, thank you for your attention, my Lady.”

 

The wife liked her husband’s low voice. It was late, but she still wanted to talk to him about a lot of things. She knew that if she did, it could cause trouble for him tomorrow.

 

“I’m going to call them tomorrow. What should I do with the documents?”

 

“Please put them off to one side so that they don’t mix.”

 

Perhaps because the day was tiring, her husband’s voice began to show signs of sleepiness.

 

“Oh, but there are also locked drawers, right?”

 

“In the morning…”

 

Her husband’s voice became smaller and smaller, making it more difficult to understand.

 

“What?”

 

“I’ll give you the key in the morning…”

 

A locked desk drawer was a space that was difficult to touch, even between couples. That was because it may contain the owner’s secrets, such as confidential documents, letters, or diaries.

 

Nevertheless, her husband willingly entrusted the keys to her. It was unknown whether he trusted her or if he was sleepy.

 

“Okay. Sleep well, darling.”

 

“Yes, my lady. Sleep well, too.”

 

Her husband tried to say something further, but the contents were not fully conveyed. But even that was very cute to her.

 

It had been eight years since they had been married, yet the blinders on this wife’s eyes could not be peeled off. Such a happy day had come to an end.

 

***


“I love this design! Please contact Maurice and ask him if he can deliver it today.”

 

Marchioness Blanchett said, pointing to a design in the catalogue.

 

“Yes, Madame.”

 

The Marquis’ old butler politely agreed with the Marquis’ wife and left. He was such a meticulous and perfect man that he would certainly bring the desk today. 

 

“Huh, then I…”

 

With a sigh of satisfaction, the Marchioness headed towards the Marquis’ office. She put her hand in the pocket of her skirt and checked for the key. After her husband left this morning, he really left the keys with his wife before setting off for the Imperial Palace.

 

‘How can my husband leave his key so easily when other husbands are busy hiding it? I’ve married well.’

 

The Marchioness seemed to feel better the more she touched the key.

 

At the ladies’ meeting she recently went to, the wives disclosed that they were not even allowed to enter the study, so she was even more happy.

 

The Marchioness felt her heart fill with the trust given to her by the Marquis.

 

“You look happy today, Madame.”

 

Jane, the maid who had been following her all morning, spoke as if her emotions were reflected in her expression.

 

“Hmm, is it too obvious?”

 

“It’s just… you keep smiling, skipping, and humming.”

 

Jane, who had been with her a long time, said playfully.

 

“Jane, keep making fun of me. You’ll meet the wrath of the Marchioness!”

 

The Marchioness laughed quietly at Jane’s words, and jokingly responded. After having a fun conversation with Jane, she entered the office, looking at the garden outside the window, and receiving bright greetings from the maids.

 

She was a moderately friendly, moderately dignified Marchioness to her servants. As such, she was loved by many because of her gentle personality.

 

She may have been mistaken.

 

***

 

Chloe organized the documents herself. She stacked them to one side, like her husband, Gerard, had asked her to the previous evening.

 

“Sigh, there’s a lot more than I thought.”

 

Chloe took a deep breath, placing her hands on her waist.

 

‘Should I have asked Jane for help?’

 

Chloe shook her head. She wanted to look around her husband’s study comfortably, alone.

 

In fact, Chloe was pretending not to, but she was expecting to find something in the study that showed Gerard’s inner feelings.

 

She began to stack the papers again. Before she knew it, there were only three drawers left that had to be opened with a key.

 

Click. 

 

Chloe gulped as she opened the first drawer. Despite trusting her husband, she was somewhat nervous.

 

She wanted to know what the inside of her husband, who was affectionate but blunt, was like. But at the same time, she was afraid to know her husband’s hidden intentions.

 

However, after opening the first drawer, second drawer, and third drawer, nothing happened. All that was to be found were confidential documents that were more important than those on the desk.

 

What Chloe expected was not this businesslike and rigid, but something a little more private and soft. 

 

“I’m so… I’ve got to get this straight.”

 

Having lost interest, Chloe picked up a bunch of papers and started moving them. At that moment…

 

Fwoosh. 

 

It was when Chloe moved a bunch of papers from the third drawer. A piece of paper, smaller than the document, fluttered down at her feet.

 

“What is it?”

 

Chloe put the papers down to one side and lifted the small piece of paper. The pink stationery seemed infinitely harmless.

 

But the letter contained enough content to bring down Chloe, a mother, and the wife of Marquis of Blanchett.

 

Oh, poor Marquis…

***

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