Chapter 1 - Prologue
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“Now, wait a minute!”
The priests hurriedly interrupted, their faces pale as the air slowly began to tense.
”Your Highness! Marquis Haneton! Let’s go to the prayer room first. This is a ceremony requested by the Grand Duchess herself, how difficult can it be if it is disrupted?”
“Yes, that’s right. If the Grand Duchess increases the number of prayers in order to rent the insignia, she may have to stay in the prayer room all day. If she does that, she won’t have much energy left.”
“It’s a forced march of prayer that the priests are also suffering greatly from.”
Only then did Lesche and Kalis eased up a bit. The priests reviewed the advice they had heard before coming to the capital.
“If the two of you try to fight, no. It is unconditional if you think even the slightest spark will splatter! Make the unconditional excuses for Stern. Stern will be sad, resentful, suffering… If you think like that, you will manage to keep the atmosphere down.”
This was the advice of the high ranking priest who had served High Priest Amos closely.
He was glad that it worked well.
It was into this subtle and tense atmosphere that the procession of priests made its way. There was a completely different path than the corridor leading to the banquet hall, and the further they walked, the quieter it became. It was forbidden for outsiders to enter or leave.
The high ranking priest opened his mouth to see if he could evoke an atmosphere.
“The Grand Duchess must have been very happy, as she hosted such a large banquet.”
“Oh, the host was the Grand Duke, priest.”
“His Highness? Is that so?”
The conversation continued in a friendly manner. The high-ranking priest believed that somehow the atmosphere would flow in a less stern direction like this. He believed so…..
“Marquis Haneton. Do you have something to say?”
Lesche’s cold voice shattered the priest’s belief. Kalis, who was staring at him, also replied coldly.
“It pains me to think of the hardships Stern has endured.”
“You know how hard it is to prepare for a banquet, don’t you? It was also sudden.”
Kalis was serious. The thought that Seria’s reluctance to speak with him for so long had caused the Grand Duke of Berg to embrace the complicated preparations for the banquet before the big day of delivering the insignia left him speechless.
“Yes. It’s hard.”
Lesche spoke without hiding his expression.
“I know well because I prepared the banquet.”
“And you. Why are you so concerned about my wife’s safety?”
“Isn’t the safety of the Stern the concern of any head of the seventeen families?”
“No head of a family is as arrogant and caring as you are.”
“Did you say I’m arrogant?”
“Your earrings are ringing properly.”
“That’s outrageous. Grand Duke.”
Lesche looked at Kalis with cold eyes.
“The only thing you should care about is your wife. If you’re the husband of the Saintess, you should keep your mouth shut and pray.”
“Hey, calm down! Please calm down!”
The high-ranking priest, who was wary of the situation, rushed to interrupt the fight.
“Your Highness! Marquis Haneton! Stern is waiting!”
“Yes! How important punctuality is to her! If we don’t, Stern will be very angry if the ceremony is obstructed!”
Lesche looked away, clicked his tongue low in displeasure. Kalis did the same.
“Go, go quickly.”
“Yes, she’ll be waiting.”
Eventually, the two men took their steps again.
The priests were worn out. They clearly realized why the deceased High Priest Amos had returned to the Great Temple in such a state of exhaustion.
*the poor priests 😂
“I’m so curious how Marquis Hanetone looks like.”
Abigail replied in a quiet voice to Susan’s words.
“I’m tempted to cut him off.”
“I heard he’s very generous.”
Seria pretended not to hear Susan and Abigail’s whispered conversation. It was late yesterday evening. Susan and Ben had come back to the house. They must have been suitably surprised. They came and suddenly a banquet was held at the mansion… And with Lesche hosting and preparing it….
Actually, it was this morning. When she saw Lesche coming to escort her, Seria mistakenly thought that she hadn’t woken up from her dream yet.
So she slapped herself on the cheek, and when the action was repeated for the third time, Lesche grabbed her by the wrist.
She knew for a fact that Lesche was handsome, of course, but today she even felt dizzy, probably because Lesche put extra effort into dressing up. His silver hair was pomade. His dark suit billowed fiercely with every movement he made, and Seria naturally imagined the muscles inside and drooled without realizing it. 😂
Begonia went to dress up Lesche today instead of Seria, blowing all her doubts away in one fell swoop. Now Seria was glad that Lesche was her husband. She could actually touch that body.
‘He suddenly said he was going to hold a party today. ….Does he want to show off his good looks again?’
At that moment, the servant came running to announce the news.
“The procession will arrive shortly.”
Seria was waiting in the corridor in front of the prayer room. It was a prayer room that had been temporarily set up in an annex of the Berg mansion to receive the Stern insignia. Only certain people were allowed to enter this prayer room. Abigail and Seria entered the prayer room together.
An altar in the center and chairs lined up. The dark colored floor. Flowers and candles. It was bright with the afternoon light streaming in. Seria stood in front of the altar and waited for the procession.
The door was opened with the voice of the priest. Two high-ranking priests split off to the left and right, followed by four priests who walked in in a praying posture.
At the end of the procession was Kalis, holding the Stern insignia.
His eyes hardened the moment he saw Seria. Seria looked away. Because she didn’t want to accept his gaze.
Besides, the most important thing for her right now was the Stern insignia.
Actually, she couldn’t see anything else when she saw the insignia.
The Great Temple was generous to Stern, but again, it was really rare for them to hand over the insignia. They would have given it to her in thirty years if she had not discovered the Constellation Gold Mine.
Kalis stopped in front of Seria.
“…Thus is the boundless piety and sincere faith of Seria Stern…”
Finally, after a long prayer, Seria reached out to Kalis. She was going to take the insignia, but…
Seria panicked as Kalis suddenly sat down on one knee.
This had not been expected by the priests, and they too looked perplexed. In the midst of all this, the prayers kept coming….
She didn’t try to interpret Kalis’s hidden gaze on her. She just…she didn’t even look at it properly.
She just bent her body slightly and took the Stern insignia.
It made the circlet hanging inside her ceremonial dress shake a little. Suddenly, something she had thought about many times came to mind again. How would Kalis react if she held the circlet up to the insignia?
Would he faint?
Or would he be fine, like Lesche?
The high ranking priest announced in a solemn voice that the ceremony was over. Handing the Stern insignia to the priest behind her, Seria looked at Kalis, who was standing up straight before she knew it.
The last conventions were still in place.
The kiss on the back of Stern’s hand. And that deliverer was Stern’s former fiancée, this was the first in history.
Seria swallowed a sigh and held out one hand to Kalis.
Taking her hand in his, Kalis bent down and kissed the back of Seria’s hand. Seria glanced at him. Somehow she was glad she wore gloves.
Kalis’s grip on Seria’s hand tightened, but Seria didn’t show any sign of faltering as she pulled it out.
“I hereby declare that the insignia has been completely handed over to Stern.”
“Ha. This is my last prayer for the evening…”
Seria was to take full possession of the insignia, but she could not break the promise she had said before. She still decided to pray for one more month after compromising.
‘I can’t believe I’m praying when there’s a banquet going on outside.’
If other people saw her, they would misunderstand that it was her faithfulness. Absolutely not.
As a result, Lesche was the lone host outside.
And sure enough…. She clearly realized the fact that he was not only handsome in her eyes. Everywhere Lesche went, eyes were drawn to him.
‘I guess you could call it a dreamy look that makes you forget yourself.’
Why is he so handsome.. Even if he wasn’t a male protagonist, he’s still so handsome.This is unacceptable.
Seria had to put on a new pair of gloves.
Besides Seria, Lesche was naturally among those who were allowed to enter the prayer room. His credentials were as a knight of Stern. He was an honorable knight who had been officially knighted.
So as soon as the ceremony was over, Lesche came to Seria and took off her gloves. She didn’t know why he looked her right in the eye as he peeled the gloves off her hands. Seria was glad the priests left. Lesche had a look of making people thirsty for no reason.
“I’m glad this prayer was short.”
It took less than ten minutes.
That was when it happened. The door of the prayer room opened quietly.
It was the priests who had built this temporary prayer room in the mansion. So today, it was agreed that only the main people of Berg’s mansion and the priests would be allowed to enter the prayer room.
Of course, that didn’t mean that the priests would come in at any time.
A large banquet was prepared with plenty of liquor for the priests to enjoy.
Seria didn’t have to think long to figure out who it was that came in.
After praying quietly, Seria got up from her seat. She tried to turn around and walk away, but failed. It was because of the man standing behind her.
“Praying is done sitting down, Marquis Haneton.”
“Please don’t call me that.”
Seria tried to walk straight past him, but it didn’t work out the way she wanted. This was because Kalis suddenly held out a gift box or something like that. The ribbon was untied, and the lid was open.
Inside were a pair of pure white silk women’s gloves. Kalis spoke with a pained expression.
“…I think you already threw the gloves earlier away.”
Of course it was Lesche who had stripped them off, but Seria didn’t want to explain. Besides, she had gloves.
“Take it. Seria.”
“No, thank you.”
“Seria, please. You can at least accept this much.”
She was tired of arguing with Kalis, so she accepted it for now. Well…it did look very expensive.
‘I’ll have to give it to Alliot as a present when I leave.’
“Are you done? Then pray well.”
Nevertheless, Kalis did not move away.
“Are you still mad at me, Seria?”
“Don’t call my name.”
“You are Seria to me. What should I call you?”
“Call me Grand Duchess.”
Kalis said with a pained expression on his face.
“…Grand Duchess? I’d rather jump into the contaminated land with my bare skin than that.”
Seria couldn’t believe he said those words after directly participating in the demon subjugation.
Anyway, she didn’t feel any reason to avoid him all the time when she had never done anything wrong.
She thought it would be better to end the conversation and leave as soon as possible.
“What can I do for you, Marquis Haneton?”