Chapter 1 - Prologue
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Linon was in a state of pride.
The Grand Duchess was invited to the Duchess of Polvas’ tea party. Naturally the Grand Duke said he would escort her.
Seria was really impressed that she could even understand the social trends of the capital. She has been doing a lot of planning lately.
And so Lesche followed Seria to the Polvas residence. They had to visit the imperial temple soon anyway.
However, Seria noticed something funny.
She as the Grand Duchess was wearing a blue dress, and the Grand Duke wore a matching blue suit.
It was common for husbands and wives and couples to match their dress codes, but it was for large banquets.
At such a small tea party, of course, the host and the participants were all of the leading members of the Glick Empire.
Still, it was a small tea party.
‘I look like a weirdo.’
It was all about escorting Seria and bringing her back.
‘You’ve really changed, haven’t you?’ (Lesche’s thoughts about Seria)
Anyway, Seria looked happy. And indeed, she felt good.
“Welcome to Polvas, Grand Duchess and Grand Duke.”
“Welcome. The plain of Polvas extends a hearty welcome to you both.”
The Duchess of Polvas, Marlesana, was by Duke Polvas’ side. Considering Berg’s powerful position and influence, it was a natural hospitality.
Duke Polvas had a quiet impression. In fact, he was actually quiet. And when others looked at it, it seemed that he was not interested in his wife and would not give much love to his family.
But Seria knew.
That man, she had read about him in the original story.
He never remarried after his wife’s early death. He rarely went out in social circles, but every once in a while, when there was an imperial banquet that he had to attend, he would.
He appeared wearing only an outrageous pink suit.
The reaction from the social circles was not favorable. Everyone whispered, “Why? What’s wrong with him?” Lina, however, was different. She felt a great deal of curiosity about the conspicuously dressed Duke Polvas, and approached him later because she had to get acquainted with him on the mining issue.
That was what he wore to mourn his dead wife.
Because his wife, the Duchess, had a rare pink hair.
Knowing this, Duke Polvas looked at his wife a little differently.
She could see that Marlesana treated Duke Polvas with no difficulty at all.
He was a man who listened to his wife.
Seria said quietly to Lesche.
“Lesche, that duke is a good man.”
Lesche looked carefully at Duke Polvas.
“What do you like about him?”
“He listens to his wife and he’s gentle. He seems to be an unexpectedly faithful man in that aspect.”
“Did they get married by love?”
“Hmmm, I remember it was a political marriage.”
“Is that so? That’s strange. Isn’t that unusual?”
“Yes, it’s rare.”
Linon, who was listening in the background, was speechless at the conversation between them. ‘Someday,’ Seria murmured, and a strange idiom popped into her head, the meaning of which she came to recall at a glance as she grasped the context before and after.
‘You’re really talking about yourself, aren’t you?’
The tea party with Marlesana was fun. Even though it was kind of like an obligation that she (the Duchess) had to be nice to her saviors (Seria and Lesche), it was fun nonetheless.
No, that quiet man who could barely do fifty words or so a day. After his wife died, he hid his burning love for her by wearing an outrageous pink suit as a gesture of condolence….
It was very interesting.
‘The transport to the mine was also resolved very smoothly.’
The benefactor who saved his wife’s life was asking for my help, and of course any sane man would accept. And Duke Polvas was a sane man, so he accepted immediately.
Seria happily headed to the imperial temple.
There were a number of temples in the capital alone, but this was the largest of them all.
“Stern! How have you been?”
“Stern, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen you.”
The priests, even if Seria had become Grand Duchess, she was still an important Stern, she greeted them with an acquaintance.
This huge temple was divided into several buildings, and they headed to the far end. As with any building, the further in you go, the stricter the conditions of entry become. But Seria was Stern, so that was not a problem.
Seria was in a good mood. It had been a long time so she thought she’d go and pray inside Stern’s insignia.
“Good morning. Stern.”
Seria turned around at the sound of a heavy voice of the middle-aged man.
“Do you remember me? I’m Duke Dietrich.”
“Yes. Of course I remember you.”
Duke Dietrich. He was the one who gave Lina many awards until she took her place in the imperial society. Almost at the end of the book, he even played the role of Lina’s adoptive father.
Even as the novel progressed and all the Dukes fell or stagnated, he was the lone Duke who succeeded until the end and later became the empire’s top figure.
In common parlance, he held the rope well.
And he didn’t have a good relationship with Seria, who had confronted the heroine herself and was a rotten specimen of rope. It was no wonder.
“It’s been a long time since I saw your face because you haven’t come out to the social world. It’s hard to go to a private townhouse.”
As the story goes, Duke Dietrich was quite frequent in social circles. It was because of the lust for power. He was a man who cared very much about expanding his influence.
“I will be out more from now on.”
“Oh. I’m sure you will. I’m late in greeting you. Congratulations on your marriage. Myote Stern is getting more beautiful every day, but she is no match for Seria Stern.”
‘Why is he comparing Stern for?’
“Yes. I’ll tell her about it the next time I see Myote Stern.”
“You’re going to meet her?”
Duke Dietrich, who had been smirking, gasped. The fact that he didn’t like Sterns to meet each other wasn’t a secret. It was a story that anyone with a great deal of influence over information would know. Seria was a Stern too, but…..Still, it didn’t matter because she had a stronger ego.
‘And on top of that, why is he picking a fight with me?’
Well, there was Lina, so of course it was rare for people to like Seria the crazy foal, but this wasn’t the middle of a social banquet hall, or a temple where you have to be strictly chaste.
Seria quickly turned to Duke Dietrich. In her hand was a chalice filled with holy water.
Seria gave him a toothy grin. But the Duke was puzzled, as if he had seen the devil. After all, a not-so-good smile on a not-so-good guy. Well, it didn’t matter.
She poured holy water on the floor without caring. It didn’t just swell. She did it again and again, after halfway, she poured it all out.
Duke Dietrich took a step back in fear.
Splash, splash, the holy water crashed to the floor. Duke Dietrich, who was staring blankly at the holy water, asked in a puzzled voice,
“Stern? Now… What are you doing?”
“I prayed for the Duke’s well-being. Holy water is precious, but I am Stern. I can use this amount of holy water for any private purposes, can’t you?”
“Yes, so are you saying thank you?”
“Don’t be too ungrateful.”
“Ah yes, thank you. ”
Duke Dietrich seemed to be somewhat concerned. Anyway, if Lina comes, he’ll press Seria in all directions again, so what’s pretty?
Seria walked in front of the altar, leaving behind the uncomfortable Duke looking down at the holy water sprinkled on the floor. There was an insignia hanging on the altar, and she suddenly felt the necklace hanging on her neck was hot.
She took out the necklace and the insignia seemed to be pulsating. It was like it was trying to move closer to the front. She placed the necklace against the insignia, and at that moment.
A tremendous amount of divine power exploded from the necklace, and she heard a scream from behind her. And at the same time, there was a sound of crumbling. Seria removed the necklace and turned around. Duke Dietrich had fallen unconscious.
“What? What is it? D*mn it.”
Seria hurriedly put the necklace in her pocket and rushed to Duke Dietrich.
“Duke, wake up? Priest! Is there anyone?”
“What’s going on? Oh my god, Duke Dietrich!
‘The divine power exploded like that, didn’t they know outside?’
“He collapsed suddenly. He seems to be very weak. Call someone quickly.”
Duke Dietrich was carried out by the holy knights. Seria looked around the altar.
‘What is it? I feel like I was possessed just now.’
Seria squeezed the necklace tightly and quickly unclasped it.
Not a single part of the necklace was hot, as if it wasn’t hot in the beginning.
‘What the hell was this all about?’
Seria stared at the dazzling Stern insignia adorned on the altar.
Seria focused on the altar at the stern words of the High Priest. He recited a prayer and prayed.
“You can go in now. How long do you plan to stay?”
“I think I’ll know when I go in.”
After the incident at the temple, Seria left for the main temple from the Capital the next day.
Seria left the High Priest behind and went inside. This was the Oracle Archives located in the heart of the temple.
The good thing about being in Stern was the fact that it was such a simple procedure to enter the Oracle Archives, where others couldn’t apply for access, and even if they did, they had to undergo a five-year review.
Inside, she could smell the old wood and paper. She liked the quietness of such a place, but she had no time for sentimentality.
She had to check the Oracle.
The Oracle Archives in the temple were divided into three categories.
One was that the subject and the prophecy were clear.
The second was that the subject was clear but the prophecy was unclear.
The remaining third has an unclear object and an unclear prophecy.
Of course, most oracles fall into the third category.
Oracles themselves don’t come down often…. There weren’t that many oracles gathered over thousands of years.
Seria looked up oracles. There was no number one, of course, and there was no number two either.
She searched number 3….
But it was still a lot. It would take a few days to check each and every one, and Seria sighed for a momentarily. Her eyes, which had been passing through only the marked dates without much thought, suddenly grew.
“What is this?”
She remembered the day she got married. It would be rare for someone to forget.
It was originally the wedding day of Stern, who had tried to marry Kalis and had ended up with Lesche as her husband. The oracle had come down on that day.
Seria hurriedly opened the book and had to stop as if struck by lightning the moment she read the sacred print being written.
“What is this?”
[Only when the holy relics of the hidden pentagonal star are turned to the master will evil be punished.]
The pentagonal star….
Seria reflexively grabbed the circlet that she wore on her neck. The circlet that was hot in the Imperial Temple was still calm and quiet today. She slowly removed her hand from the circlet. Then she swept her face with both hands.
‘This circlet was the holy relic recorded here. And its master is Lina, and I’m evil.’