Chapter 1 - Prologue
“It’s really driving me crazy. If only you could tell me what scares you so much…” (Lesche)
Seria’s fingers trembled a little.
How could she tell him she was in a book? How could she say with impunity that the world he breathes and lives in was actually just a book? Wasn’t that too selfish? Seria didn’t want to shock Lesche.
“I’ve read something like a prophecy. There’s a record there that I’m going to die early.” (Seria)
She couldn’t continue to the end. Lesche took both her hands in his. His expression hardened like stones.
“What kills you?” (Lesche)
“Is it because of an illness? Will it be an accident?” (Lesche)
There was a deep concern in his voice. Seria bit her lip tightly.
“It’s not like that. I’m going to die by having my throat cut.” (Seria)
“Someone will cut my throat.” (Seria)
Seria smiled weakly.
“By the man I bullied.” (Seria)
Lesche’s expression changed slightly.
“There are many of them, right?” (Lesche)
Lesche stared at Seria, smiling almost as weakly as she did.
“It’s not a big deal, it’s just that it shocks me and I have nightmares sometimes. It’s nothing to worry about. It’s just…” (Seria)
‘It’s fine if Lesche doesn’t believe me. He might think I’m crazy, but I still said it because I feel sorry for this man who had always been by my side, watching my nightmares. This is about as much as I could tell him….’
But Lesche said something completely different.
“You think I’ll let you die because of the prophecy?” (Lesche)
“You will come out of it by not being my husband.” (Seria)
“Then the prophecy is wrong.” (Lesche)
“Before we got married, things were similar.” (Seria)
Lesche stared at Seria.
“Kalis Haneton?” (Lesche)
The name made her mouth prickly as if she had chewed some sand.
“Yes. Marquis Haneton …” (Seria)
“So in the prophecy, I just sit still like a fool?” (Lesche)
“You, in the prophecy, didn’t not care about me.” (Seria)
“Why were you sitting still?” (Seria)
‘Because you are the male protagonist.’
‘You’re the male protagonist of this novel.’
Was it her imagination, or did the silence seem tense? Lesche’s eyes were uncharacteristically somber. He stared at Seria with those eyes. His hand was holding hers.
“Seria, answer me, please.” (Lesche)
“Because you were the Saintess’ husband.” (Seria)
Lesche’s expression hardened.
“Still, I am trying to change many things. I’m sure I changed a lot. Because you’re my husband. ….” (Seria)
Of course, that wasn’t the result of her efforts. Seria’s voice slowly faded away. She thought of hiding something else after having said so much in the first place.
Seria continued slowly.
“I’m afraid all of this is going to end one day.” (Seria)
It was the most raw truth she could get out right now. She couldn’t even talk about Lina, and the red eyes that were looking at her quickly cooled down. If fire froze, it would be like that, wouldn’t it? She was not familiar with the fact that Lesche’s expression could change so starkly.
Lesche didn’t answer, but stood up. Seria blinked. The moonlight left a dark shadow on his solid muscles. It didn’t take him long. Lesche soon returned to the bed and put something in Seria’s hand.
It was a ring with the Grand Duchy of Berg’s crest engraved on it. She knew this one well. Because Lesche always carried it with him.
“Why? Why are you giving it to me?” (Seria)
“The jewel in the center. Press it three times.” (Lesche)
Seria was startled, for a small, sharp blade popped out of the ring. She pushed the jewel again with a click and the blade went inside. She was dumbfounded and just looked around the ring.
“It’s fascinating!” (Seria)
“‘The blade is coated with poison, so be careful.” (Lesche)
Seria quickly removed her hand from the ring. She was once again amazed and wondered at the bleakness of Berg.
‘Why is he giving me this?’
“If you ever feel like I’m betraying you, use this.” (Lesche)
Lesche put the ring on Seria’s hand and held it just below his chin.
“From here.” (Lesche)
His hand drew a straight line and stopped just above the collarbone.
“Draw a line to here.” (Lesche)
“I know best that I will never see a woman other than my wife, but you are so afraid.” (Lesche)
“I would like to bet my life on it.” (Lesche)
Seria couldn’t say anything. Her heart throbbed with pain. Lesche’s hands clasped hers and held them in a tight embrace. She could feel the heart beating in as they touched each other. It was a strange feeling.
‘There’s no reason for him to be so kind to me. It doesn’t matter if I’m a Grand Duchess or a Stern, there’s no reason for him to care for me this much.’
‘But in retrospect, this man had always been like this.’
‘Because I’m afraid?’
‘Because he can see I’m scared…’
Lesche lifted Seria’s chin. They stared at each other like that. She looked into his red eyes and asked.
“What will Berg do if you die?” (Lesche)
Lesche smiled in vain.
“Since I don’t have a child, you have to continue.” (Lesche)
Lesche, who spoke lightly, tilted his chin. His red eyes went down, sweeping Seria’s body and looking at her belly. Seria became embarrassed and scowled.
“Why are you suddenly looking at my stomach?” (Seria)
“I’m just looking. Because we mentioned children.” (Lesche)
“There’s nothing.” (Seria)
“I just looked at it, that’s all.”
“But don’t look at it so blatantly.” (Seria)
“Why not? I’ve already seen every inch of your body.” (Lesche)
“Really …. Why do you always talk so promiscuously?” (Seria)
“Do I?” (Lesche)
Seria slipped out of Lesche’s arms and quickly wrapped herself in the covers. Lesche erupted into a low laugh. Of course he didn’t just let her slip away. He trapped her with the blanket in his arms. Lesche buried his lips on Seria’s forehead and said,
“I’ll let you go when you’re asleep, so go back to sleep.” (Lesche)
“How about you?” (Seria)
“Well, I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep soon.” (Lesche)
“Do you want me to stay up with you?” (Seria)
Lesche’s eyes softened.
“…No. Sleep.” (Lesche)
Even though it was nothing, it gave her a strange resonance. Lesche kissed her lightly on the lips. She didn’t even want to have nightmares. She sincerely hoped that if she had, it wouldn’t be noticeable.
Lesche’s red eyes stared at her. She couldn’t look at them for long. She slowly closed her eyes.
The full-scale interrogation of Mies and the other sorcerers began. Seria decided not to go to the annex where the dungeon was located on her own.
It was a week later when Linon’s house arrest was lifted. Even so, it was sooner than she expected. When Seria visited him, he greeted her with surprise.
“How can you come here?” (Linon)
“Is there a place I can’t go?” (Seria)
“That’s true.” (Linon)
Linon’s cheeks were sunken, who quickly nodded.
“Why are you so thin?” (Seria)
“Because I’m under house arrest….” (Linon)
“If you’re under house arrest, they won’t give you food?” (Seria)
Seria honestly thought that Linon had done his best to keep to himself in his room, but Linon was really serious and came out looking very thin.
“Grand Duke will rip open Mies’s mouth…” (Linon)
“He can do whatever he wants until his anger goes away. Linon, why don’t you eat first?”
“The Grand Duchess is the only one who can take care of my food so well.”
She was glad that she told the chef to prepare the dishes that Linon liked in advance. Seria sat across from him and casually watched him as he ate. He ate very well. The noble manners were ingrained in his body, and it was amazing that he emptied the bowl so quickly. Seria rested her chin on her hand and stared at Linon. When their eyes met, she opened her mouth to say whatever came to mind.
“Linon, what is your last name?”
“The family has fallen and there is no last name.”
‘I asked the wrong question.’
Seria broke out in a cold sweat. Then she naturally changed the subject.
Seria knew Linon was from Altair Academy from the original story, but she didn’t know anything else about him. It seems that he went there on a scholarship. He was a top graduate. She skipped it without much thinking.
Suddenly, Linon spoke.
“I was born in Mullah.”
Seria shifted her gaze towards Linon. He seemed hesitant. What was it that made him so hesitant to talk about his homeland?
“It’s a southern island, right.” (Seria)
Linon’s shoulders shook.
“You know…….?” (Linon)
“Because I’m interested in the southern islands.” (Seria)
“Okay, it’s just that….The juice is delicious.” (Linon)
“Drink more.” (Seria)
“Please have some, Grand Duke.” (Linon)
Seria beckoned and soon a servant came with more juice. Linon was so thirsty that he drank several more glasses. The food that she brought today didn’t suit her taste. It was all Linon’s favorites.
Linon dabbed his eyes with a napkin.
“Why are you crying?” (Seria)
“You have prepared only my favorite foods so openly. I’m overwhelmed with faith.”
When Seria burst into laughter, Linon said, “Oh.”
“I thought of the word ‘faith’ because I’m religious, Grand Duchess.”
“Do you remember Duke Dietrich, who once visited a temple and fainted?” (Linon)
“Yes, I remember him. Why?” (Seria)
“I heard that he was ill for a few days or so. He was quite shocked when he fainted and collapsed in the temple. Now he doesn’t visit the temple anymore. He used to go every other day.”
‘He’s really narrow minded. Still, if there’s Lina, he’ll come to the temple every day.’
“But that is not important.” (Linon)
Seria’s eyes widened as she listened to Linon’s words that followed.
Duke Dietrich was very religious. Therefore, he decorated the castle in the port city of the capital as a festival god hoping for the re-descent of the vanished Saintess, as beautiful and solemn as if it were a temple.
Later on, Lina really descended to this world again, so Duke Dietrich presented that castle to Lina as if he had been waiting for her. In short, the castle was a bridge connecting Lina and Duke Dietrich.
This time, however, Duke Dietrich, who fainted because of Seria, sulked at God or something, and didn’t offer that castle as an offering, but just put it up for sale.
What a shallow faith…
If it weren’t for that castle, he would have had the chance to get that close to Lina. Seria fiddled with the circlet on her neck casually.
“His Highness purchased that castle.” (Linon)
What kind of development is this? The castle rolled into Berg?