Chapter 1 - Prologue
“So, you can’t get in touch with him after he went out?”
Grand Duke Lesche Berg, asked the guard coldly. His eyes were bloody red as if he was about to cut people’s heads off, and the guard who came to report the news bowed his head at Lesche’s merciless gaze.
“Yes, Your Highness. All contact with Marquis Haneton was cut off.”
“Are they insane? Have the Saintess and Marquis Haneton go crazy together? Does he have any awareness that his wedding with Stern is two days away?”
“I believe that a blizzard struck suddenly and they lost their way.”
As the guard said, there was a sudden blizzard two hours ago. The sun had already set and the darkness outside somehow seemed distressing. Lesche got up right away and said.
“Get a search team ready.”
“Sir Alliot is already preparing it.”
“No. I’m coming.”
“What? Your Highness?” The guard said with a surprised look on his face.
“Now!” Lesche gritted his teeth and walked out of the office. He knew how important and dangerous the wedding with Stern was. Punctuality and place compliance. If one of them was violated, a Stern’s divine power would explode like a firecracker in her body. Unable to overcome the shock, Stern would vomit blood and get injured, or die in more terrible cases.
Because of that, Stern’s wedding had to be in a designated place. Since Lesche knew this, Kalis must have known it as well. He was chosen as Stern’s man after all. Kalis, who had already ended the covenant ceremony at the temple, had to be more modest and quieter than anyone else until the wedding ended. He shouldn’t have done what he did. Unless he had gone completely insane, and it would be difficult to understand the intentions of Saintess from God.
“But he still went out.”
Lesche thought that if he had known this, he would have knocked Kalis out the first day he came to the manor and put him in a temporary prison in the castle. Hence, something like this wouldn’t happen. One of the few places that could hold Stern’s main altar was the Berg Castle. Although Berg’s owner, Lesche, hated it, he had the bloody duty to administer it. Both annoyance and irritation rose up at the same time. Lesche called Linon and gave some instructions, then suddenly looked out the window. One short moment later, his forehead frowned. This was because Seria Stern was seen in a search team with a number of lit torches.
“Is Lady Seria Stern going with you?”
“Yes? Yes! Maybe she’s worried about her fiancé….”
“Yes, Your Highness…..”
Lesche’s office was on the second floor. And, like any knight, he had very good vision. It was not difficult to see that the deep blue eyes of Seria Stern were sunk in. It was strange indeed. Last year, he could see the arrogance in her eyes. It was the same with her attitude. She seemed to behave gracefully in front of the Grand Duke, but not with the others. The description about her, ‘crazy foal circulating in the social circles’, was a perfect fit. Could a person who had been acting so audacious change like that in a year? Did she love Kalis that much? Would a person change that much when she’s in love? Lesche had an incomprehensible feeling.
“It’s funny. If she was the same as before, she would let them freeze together while strutting Stern’s insignia around.”
It was harsh, but the guard didn’t even panic. Lesche Berg was a watchman. When he hunted beasts, he would often swear.
“Tell Lady Seria Stern, she is not allowed to take a single step outside the castle.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
The guard saluted and ran straight away. Lesche, wearing a thick fur cape over his armor, headed straight out in the snow.
“Isn’t your wedding two days away?”
It was the unwritten rule of designers to check on the wedding dresses until the day before the wedding. Designer Begonia, who was repairing her wedding dress, had already heard rumors. She looked very confused.
“This is the work I’ve been most concerned with throughout this season, and because of this scandal….”
Scandal. Begonia described it as a scandal, but said that it was a rumor outside. Two days before the wedding, the young and handsome Marquis and the bright and beautiful Saintess both went to the glacier on a winter night and disappeared.
Begonia was a designer who was very proud of her work. When Seria apologized carefully, Begonia slightly frowned her forehead.
“Why does the Lady apologize? Lady Seria, you may feel bad, but this is… What is the difference between this from an affair?”
Seria had nothing to say. She knew it was not her fault, but the shame was inevitable.
“Whether they are found or not, I don’t really understand why they had to create such an uproar. How lowly they think of others besides themselves. Irregardless if they’re a Saintess or a Marquis.”
Begonia blurted out as if she was truly in a bad mood. Then, Abigail came in with a knock on the door. Her head, shoulders, and her cloak were all covered with white snow. The maid hastily brought Abigail a towel to wipe it off. After saying thank you, she wrapped her frozen hands in the towel.
“Did you find Kalis and Lina?”
Seria looked at Abigail with some expectations, but she shook her head.
“The blizzard gets worse as it goes near the glacier, so we couldn’t get in further anymore. With one wrong turn, the whole team could get lost.”
“Half the search team returned to the castle, and the other half decided to set up barracks on the glacier and stay overnight. As soon as the day comes, we will continue the search.”
The search party was extremely large. Not only the high-ranking knights of Haneton, who were in the Berg estate to attend the wedding joined it, but also the Knights of Berg. Begonia, who was listening quietly next to Seria, said, shaking her head.
“How deep did you go?”
It felt like something was coming out from inside her. Seria pressed it down firmly and blinked her eyes, but Abigail suddenly used her cold hands to grab hers.
“My Lady. I have a message from Grand Duke Berg to you. Can I say it here?”
Abigail smiled when Seria nodded. But in an instant, her smile faded. Suddenly her eyes shone brightly.
“I’ll tie that bastard up with a rope and throw him into the wedding hall even if there’s no news of him until the day of the wedding, Seria Stern.” (*Abigail is mimicking Lesche’s voice here~)
Seria was shocked at the fact that Abigail was really reciting what she heard from Lesche. She even copied his tone and his deadly eyes.
“Lady Stern should be prepared in advance. The wedding will go on as scheduled no matter what.”
When the solemn declaration ended, Abigail’s eyes returned to normal.
“That’s what he said. I don’t know why he said it so frightfully.”
Seria nodded. She wondered why Lesche told her that much, because she knew she had to be in the wedding hall at the appointed time. She was repeatedly told about this at the temple. Stern’s wedding was all about punctuality. Even if the guests believed the scandal of Kalis and Lina and laughed at her and decided not to show up. Even if the wedding hall was empty, she had to stand at the altar. ‘But….’ Somehow she felt something strange about Lesche’s message.
Suddenly, Begonia said, “Come on, young lady.” While holding her arm lightly. “Since the Grand Duke had spoken so frighteningly, I want to do my best to prepare. It is not bad if the wedding is a little late. All the guests will need time to appreciate this dazzling wedding dress.”
As Begonia was a person who paid a lot of attention to her work, she was being very considerate right now. However, Seria could only look out the window once after putting fifteen pieces of jewelry on her head. The outside was covered with white snow. The blizzard from the glacier was still severe. She wondered if Kalis would come back on time for the wedding? She prayed that he wouldn’t be late. She couldn’t fall asleep until late that night.
The next day.
The search team did not return.
The morning of the wedding day.
Even then they didn’t.
“The blizzard does not stop….”
Lina muttered over the window, listening to the sound of the blizzard raging. It wasn’t like this at the beginning. Not long after they entered the glacier, snow began to fall. It was dangerous when it snowed, so when Kalis said to go back, Lina was unsatisfied, but she could not help it. However, on the way back, the snow fell heavily, soon it turned into a blizzard. The two of them quickly lost their way in the pouring snow.
After wandering for a while, they managed to find a cabin. The glacier was vast, and the winter weather was volatile, so these cabins had been built here and there for a long time in Berg. There was also a map showing the location inside. Kalis was able to figure out where they were by looking at the map. He said with a serious face.
“We came in too deep. Have we truly wandered this far?”
“Did we get too far away?”
“It’s dangerous. I’m glad we found this cabin.”
Just in case, when they left the castle, Kalis brought food with them. Berg has been guarding the glacier for a very long time, manuals and backpacks for glacier inspections were always available. Almost all of them were items to maintain body temperature. Even in the small cabin, dry firewood, a small stove, thick blankets, and beds to avoid the cold of the floor were provided along with preserved food. A blizzard shouldn’t last all season. It was enough to hold on to it to sustain their lives. The problem was time. Kalis knew he had to go back to the castle on time somehow. If he didn’t, he would feel irreparable regret.
Lina, who was sitting on the bed, widened her eyes when she saw Kalis put on his cloak.
“I have to go back to the castle.” He spoke.