Chapter 1 - Prologue
Seria was in the large banquet hall. Transparent air bubbles came up from the champagne glass and burst.
‘I can’t believe it predicted that Lina would come back within a year…’
The moment she heard the confidential Oracle from Kalis, Seria calculated the schedule quickly in her head. Soon, she thought it was strange.
‘The Oracle came too quickly.’
Even in the original story, every time Lina descended, the Oracle came first. That was the case. But now, time was moving too fast.
The Oracle came down again after Lina returned to the real world for the first time. It said that the Saintess will descend again. In the Great Temple, it seemed that based on previous experience, they determined that Lina would return one year after this Oracle descended.
But in the original story….
‘It’s also weird to use the word ‘original’ because of Tuban.
There was such a thing as a habit. Seria kept her train of thought going.
In the original story, the second Oracle came down.
Exactly one month later, Lina came back.
She got the Crystal Mine. She even discovered an additional constellation gold mine, and her position at the Great Temple had hit the heavens. She also learned how to purify magi with the circlet.
She didn’t want to be blindsided and have a hard time welcoming an unidentified Saint in a situation where she already had doubts about Lina’s identity.
It was then. Marlesana whispered in a small voice.
“Seria. Are you sure you want to go to that knitting gathering?”
“Yes, well… It sounds interesting.”
“Isn’t it? I’m looking forward to it! I’ll go with you!”
The knitting gathering was the information Marlesana had brought earlier.
Seria was tempted the moment she heard about it. She thought it would be such a small and cute gathering. And she had a desire to give something to Lesche as a gift. The best thing she could think of was jewels. She was going to give him a lot of jewels, but she wanted to make a big wrapping material for them.
Perhaps it was because she was thinking about Lesche that she suddenly heard whispers of laughter among the noble ladies, “Grand Duke Berg,” and small voices cackling.
Seria naturally looked over to where Lesche was.
He was positioned on the other side of the room with the male nobles. She had to stretch her head out a little longer to see him.
The longer Lesche stayed in the ballroom, the less people’s gazes fell on her like she was possessed by sin. However, it was still he who occupied the attention of the most people.
Seria looked at Lesche’s face, sipping her champagne for no apparent reason, and then tilted her head.
‘He doesn’t look happy.’
Seria quickly excused herself from the noblewomen and stepped into the corner of the room for a moment. After that, she gave a small beckon to Abigail. Abigail, clad in the distinctive ceremonial cloak that signified the knight of Stern, immediately approached Seria.
“My Lady? What’s going on?”
“Bibi. Did Lesche hear the conversation that I had with the Marquis of Haneton earlier?”
Abigail blinked and looked at Lesche, then looked at Seria.
“Miss, did your husband say that?”
“Then what’s wrong?”
“I just feel….He doesn’t look happy.”
Abigail seemed to be thinking about something and gave Seria an unsure look. This was right before Seria asked, “Why?” Abigail said in a calm voice.
“No, he didn’t hear you.”
“Really? Hmm… so it’s just that Kalis came and made him feel uncomfortable?”
Abigail nodded. Seria looked at Lesche again. If Lesche’s expression continued to look bad, she would think there was definitely something wrong, but Lesche’s expression immediately unraveled when he unexpectedly met Seria’s gaze.
‘I guess I was wrong.’
The atmosphere of the ball had just begun to heat up.
The high-ranking priests greeted her as they were leaving.
“How rare is the Stern with its insignia… Once again, congratulations.
“Please, you don’t need to see us off.”
Seria walked out into the hallway out of Stern courtesy and turned away from Kalis’s pale face.
“Your Highness, Your Highness, they say that a man with a sense of righteousness is said to be unattractive.”
At these words, Lesche stared at Linon. Linon immediately flinched.
“I just… heard it from the capital.”
Linon counted the number of times Lesche had taken the gloves out and put them back in today, and then erased his thought.
As Berg’s chief aide, Linon was skeptical about killing the Marquis of Haneton so soon.
Where would the Grand Duchess’s suspicions lie if Kalis Haneton met a sudden death? Even a monkey would suspect the Master (Lesche) of the Berg Knights.
The only legitimate way to kill him was to duel him, but no matter what the evidence said, the title of “Stern’s former fiancée” was a problem. How long will it be up and down in imperial society…At the end of that terrible scandal will be the death of one of them….
It was a situation that only favored Kalis Haneton, due to social conventions where people who die for love were regarded as romantic. Why make him the hero of a tragic love affair when he’s the one who cheated on her in the first place?
So either way, it was too negative for his Master. As Linon was deep in thoughts, he glanced at Lesche.
Lesche looked at the procession of priests leaving the mansion and frowned.
Kalis Haneton looked only at Seria, like a dog in the rain, the moment he arrived at the mansion.
He (Kalis) even wanted to perform the wedding ceremony with Stern again. Lesche’s nerves were so focused in the prayer room that he didn’t understand the feeling behind those words.
If Seria had agreed, or if there seemed to be even the slightest hint of such, Kalis Haneton’s head would fall off his neck already. Linon kept his mouth shut, knowing that it seemed barbaric to even bring up such a subject.
Lesche didn’t want to put Kalis and Seria in the same space again, even for a moment. Don’t be with her, even for a moment. Don’t even look at her.
But Lesche did. As Seria’s bright blue eyes looked only at him (Lesche) all day long, he wanted to buy a deserted castle and take her away, embrace her, bite and kiss her all day long. Even if she had to push him away in pain, she wouldn’t hate him.
But he just waited outside the prayer room.
He did that because he was scared.
He thought she would hate him.
“Your Highness, the Grand Duchess is here.”
Lesche turned around reflexively. Seria walked over and opened her mouth.
She stared at him and suddenly asked.
“Can I kiss you?” (Seria)
Instantly, Linon coughed loudly.
Anyway, Seria’s gaze was fixed on Lesche.
Thanks to this, Lesche practiced what he rarely did, which was to manage his facial expressions.
“You seem to be in a bad mood.” (Seria)
Lesche chuckled faintly.
“Are you trying to keep my mouth shut?” (Lesche)
“That and because you’re very handsome today.”
Linon disappeared very fast on his feet.
From the moment he saw Seria, Lesche’s overflowing murderous intent had diminished considerably. It became tamer as it subsided.
Linon was once again relieved.
The timing was so perfect.
It was night. A spring breeze blew and Seria’s hair fluttered lightly. Lesche said, putting her hair behind her ears.
“You said you don’t like crowded places.” (Lesche)
“What can’t we do, everyone is kissing everywhere. We’re a couple.”
With those words, Seria lifted her toes and kissed Lesche.
As a result, Lesche’s heart swayed like a wave. Soft and warm touch. That softness that made his heart tighten every time, and even hurt at times. He couldn’t understand the feeling of the complicated heart melting like snow.
Seria’s kisses were, as always by Lesche’s standards, woefully insufficient. A kiss that tickled and fell without undue effort could not be very irritating to one. Lesche hurriedly tried to trap Seria in his arms and kiss her, but to no avail.
Seria pushed Lesche away, shaking her head.
Seria said, lightly touching her wet lips with her fingertips.
“Why? It’s a ceremony in my name, I have to finish it well.”
Lesche hugged Seria tightly once with regret and then released her.
“How do you want me to finish up?”
“The senior socialite will teach you now, so make sure you learn well.”
Lesche let out a low laugh. Seria also chuckled and held out her hand to him. Lesche took her hand in his. Unlike usual, Seria grasped his hand with all her strength. It was a ticklish grip for Lesche, but strangely enough, it felt like it grabbed his whole heart.
“I hope it makes you feel better.” (Seria)
“Why do you care so much about what I feel?” (Lesche)
“Don’t you always care about the mood of the people you love?” (Seria)
“…Do you say that to others?” (Lesche)
“Are you a stranger?” (Seria)
Lesche felt one side of his chest stiffen somehow.
“No, I’m not.” (Lesche)
“Right? I’m a perfect Stern who even has the insignia, so I’ve decided to live more charitably.” (Seria)
Seria smiled triumphantly as she walked away.
It was strange. Like the warm night breeze and the sparkling lights that decorated the mansion. Music, jewels, and flowers. It was dazzling.
But none of those came into Lesche’s sight. Not even a little.
The only thing that came clearly into his vision was Seria. For a moment, he was blinded. Her long hair, and white hands. Blue eyes that looked back at him again. The lips he had always wanted to kiss. Her smile. Only things about Seria.
So in retrospect, it was then.
It was when he realized that he was in love with her.