Chapter 1 - Prologue
I really just want to lie down. I’m so angry. How can I be evil? Seria is the evil one, not me!
…Even though I scream like this, it’s inevitable because I’m Seria.
I try to calm down. Whatever the Oracle said, I want to live.
But, am I really evil?
Maybe it’s a rationalization that I can’t talk about. But the reason why I think so is because I suddenly remembered what happened on the Tshugan plain. That pure white snowfield, the isolated Saintess, and the black fog that moved around Lina’s body…
Since that day, I’ve been searching pretty much everywhere for a lead, but I still don’t know what it is. I know intuitively that it was not a good thing.
I can see that this is a very useful justification. I’ve been beaten up enough in the past year to just lie back in peace, and believe only what I want to believe about myself.
Just in case, I must get a holy relic and hide it again in the basement of the manor. I’ll stick to a gold ornament in the shape of a star.
It’s a kind of insurance, and if I’m doomed to be a target that must be recognized and treated as evil then Lina can’t be, but if I go into the green manor and look for holy relics….
Would Kalis really cut my head off then, just like in the original story?
I have a bitter feeling. I’m horrified by the fact that such an Oracle had come down, and that it was, in everyone’s eyes, out to get me. What had I done so wrong? What’s so wrong about being possessed?
With the oracle in my heart, I sighed involuntarily. If it was an ordinary piece of paper, I would have ripped it up, chewed it in my mouth, and swallowed it. Since I’m under a spell, I have to be patient.
(*back to third pov)
Linon was waiting for Seria when she came out of the Oracle archive.
“Grand Duchess, did you find what you were looking for?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Knight Alliot and Abigail are also waiting for you. Since it’s too late, we’ll stay in the war zone today instead and return to the capital tomorrow. I’ve informed His Highness.”
It was a planned trip instead of a sudden decision. Seria was not able to wait for Lesche’s itinerary because she was suspicious of the holy relics.
Lesche assigned the Chief Aide and a Knight Commander to go with Seria. Anyone knew what that meant. Seria squeezed the circlet that she was wearing on her neck for a moment and then released it.
“Yes, Grand Duchess?”
“I need to get a higher level holy relic. In secret, of course.”
“A holy relic?”
“Isn’t there an auction house for that?”
“Of course there is, albeit in a dark auction house. Would you like to go there?”
“I suppose so.”
“Then I’ll have everything ready for you. Don’t worry about anything.”
Linon’s strong answer lifted some of the burdens from Seria’s shoulders. It was then that she realized something. That she was so nervous about the Oracle.
Did Linon know it and say that on purpose?
Anyway, there were only good people in Berg. Seria stopped and called out to Linon.
“Linon, thank you very much.”
“Huh? Huh? Um… It’s so sudden.”
“I’m suddenly grateful.”
Linon’s eyes fluttered, and he cleared his throat.
“Will you praise me when we go to the Green Manor later?”
Suddenly, Linon’s smile rapidly began to fade.
“What’s wrong?” Seria asked, and Linon suddenly gulped hard.
“Grand Duchess, could it be…could it be? You’re not… you’re not going to buy a slave, are you?”
“That auction house is a bit… It’s a very popular place for female nobles.”
“Slaves are popular among female nobles?”
Seria immediately noticed and shook her head.
“I’m a healthy Stern. I’ll just get the holy relic and leave right away.”
“You will? If the Grand Duchess buys anything else, I’ll die.”
“I said I won’t.”
That night, Linon came to visit Seria again.
Linon did not come into Seria’s room because it was late at night. He just stood there in front of the door. He was a cautious man.
‘No, I know there are a lot of them, but…’
“I heard that this time there will be more slaves than ever, Grand Duchess.” (*Linon is afraid that Seria will buy male slaves 😂)
“…You’re really quick with your information.”
“No, Grand Duchess. I will be honest with you. I’m so worried, I can’t sleep. Don’t you think so? There are times when people are as quiet as a stone and have no desire, but when they see gold they are attracted to it. If you do the bidding by mistake, you will not be safe, neither will I. My dream is to live a long life, but ah! Of course, I can gladly give this one life for my beloved Stern, but this kind of death is so regrettable that I am really too ashamed to say anything anywhere, and I will resent the Grand Duchess even as a ghost, and in the end, white bones…”
“Stop it, stop it!”
“If you’re so worried, I’ll go with Lesche!”
It was a sunny day, exactly two weeks after. Linon had gotten tickets to the dark auction house, which he said was difficult to get. After all, he had the ability. And as it was, shaking and shouting for everyone to hear in the Great Temple, the precious Grand Duke Berg was with Seria.
“There’s nothing to be busy about.”
Seria’s eyes were wide open as she looked at the ceiling. The decor of this dark auction house was truly unique. Mirrors were hanging on the ceiling as well. The color of her hair that reflected in the mirror was not green and was a relatively common black.
Ladies and noblewomen with green hair were so rare that it was almost like wearing an identification card on the foreheads. It was a very unfavorable physical condition in such an illegal auction house. For this reason, Seria wore a wig. She also wore a hat with a ribbon on top.
Furthermore, she wore a white veil, which was a requirement to enter this auction house. At first glance, it was just a veil of pure white cloth, similar to the robes used in cathedrals.
Seria liked her reflection in the mirror.
“Don’t you think dark hair is nice?”
Lesche gave Seria a light glance.
“No matter what you use, I like your original hair.”
“Is that so? It’s rare for someone to like the color of my hair.”
“What’s so unusual about it?”
Lesche asked with an expression of incomprehension.
“Really. It’s beautiful, like a summer leaf.”
His words oozed sincerity and for some reason, Seria felt embarrassed. She tugged on Lesche’s hand, aware of Alliot and Abigail standing behind her. Lesche obediently followed as Seria pulled him.
The auction room consisted of a wide corridor with many corners. Everyone, young and old, males and females, had a pure white veil on their heads. It seemed embarrassing to show their faces in front of God while spending money in an illegal auction house.
It was a dark place, so Linon couldn’t even follow. In his place, Alliot and Abigail came. That was all. Only one guard per person could be brought in.
Every time they walked a few dozen meters, a door appeared, and they checked their tickets all the way through that door. While Lesche and Alliot showed their tickets for the last time, Seria looked around, touching the ribbon on her hat again to make sure it was tied well to her chin.
The walls and floor were black and navy blue. Of course, it was marble. She could see just how much money had been spent on it. The atmosphere was definitely decadent.
Then, with a loud bang, many people walked past at once. Seria widened her eyes. Two aristocrats, dressed as nicely as she was, along with two knights, who appeared to be guards, emerged. Then there was a large group of what seemed to be the staff and guards of this place. And the one following them at the back….
“He’s a slave.”
Abigail’s voice pricked up her ears. Perhaps because she had seen so many knights before, she could immediately tell that the slave in the rags was a former knight.
‘Linon’s story is true.’
Half of the healthy slaves that appeared at these illegal slave auctions were fugitive knights. They were knights who escaped from the battle to defeat the demons…. If they were caught, they would either be executed according to military law or sold secretly like this.
Usually, the slaves brought to slave auctions were war slaves. However, because of the rampant demons in this world, there was no room for war between countries. The reason was that it was more profitable to use those troops to defeat demons. The moment trade would bring more money than war, wars would be greatly reduced. It seemed to be no different here.
“They’re slaves too. Miss.”
Another half of them were slaves from the heretical missionaries.
The Nestla sorcerers she saw in the green manor looked the same.
Although hidden by their distinctive, shimmering vestments, the sorcerers were quite muscular. The wobbly sorcerers seemed to have been eliminated by the dangers of traveling to distant lands to proselytize under the eye of the Great Temple.
As Seria stared at the sorcerer’s slave, she suddenly felt odd.
The gazes of the surrounding guests glanced at Lesche’s back…
It was too obvious.
‘What’s wrong with them?’
With a frown on Seria’s forehead, she looked behind Lesche as well. The annoying thing was that she knew immediately what the reason was.
Lesche was wearing a black coat that was made of luxurious material, but had very few decorations, and it was cut to fit his body almost perfectly.
Everyone here was crazy enough to buy slaves with money, so when they saw a man, especially someone like Lesche, their lustful gaze seemed to turn that way.
The women were fine, but why was that old man also looking at Lesche? Seria first thought it was Lesche’s identity, but it was not the case. She could clearly see the male noble licking his tongue through the pure white veil that covered his face.
The problem was Alliot.
Did Alliot see what she saw? Lesche was still not looking this way, but Alliot was the knight who had originally come to escort. He had been looking around all this time, sensing the atmosphere and keeping a vigilant eye out, so it was impossible for him not to notice that deep stare towards his lord.