Chapter 1 - Prologue
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“I’ve been waiting to escort her. So….”
“Lady Seria.” Lesche decisively cut Kalis’s speech. Then, Lesche looked at her and asked. “It’s better for you to choose. Who would you like to escort you to the Castle?”
Seria put her hand on Lesche’s arm without any hesitation.
“I’ll be imposing on you, Your Grace.”
“None at all.” Lesche said, smiling faintly.
Seria didn’t know why he was smiling.
“Such a thing is unnecessary between a married couple.” Lesche spoke casually.
After hearing that sentence, Kalis’s face hardened.
Seria turned her head away from looking at him.
Knowing that Kalis and Lina would be watching, until the end, she struggled to walk like an elegant noblewoman. When she had walked far enough to be out of their sight, she finally relaxed. Just then Lesche opened his mouth.
“Your hand is cold.”
“I guess it’s because I’ve been out for a long time, that’s why.”
“Linon,” Lesche called out to him as he followed behind them.
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“Haven’t you been here all this time? You could have given her your jacket.”
‘Does he think I’m some kind of jacket collector…?’ She couldn’t help but giggle.
Linon made a polite excuse.
“I really wanted to take off my jacket and cover Lady Seria. Unfortunately I couldn’t because I would catch a cold, Your Highness.”
“From now on you must bring with you two jackets.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Seria ended up bursting into laughter. It wasn’t long before she was in her element. After she had been treated and bandaged by the Priest, she asked Lesche, in a more relaxed mood.
“Your Highness, would you be so kind as to treat me to a cup of tea?”
“Don’t you usually treat me to a cup of tea?” Lesche asked.
“I’m sorry. My place is occupied by someone.”
“Should I drive them out?”
“Even if they are Marquis Haneton? I’m sure they will faint one after another. Don’t trouble yourself, Your Highness.”
“I’ve never felt troubled.”
“You’re kidding, aren’t you?”
“Let’s go to the office.”
She was a little puzzled. Seria Stern came to the Berg estate almost every winter to inspect the glaciers. Lesche had a cup of tea with Seria on the first day. Well, of course, their interaction was literally over after drinking tea. In the original story, and in some of the memories left in Seria’s body, it appeared that she had never had much conversation with him. It was the first time in her life that she came to his office. Sitting face to face with Lesche on the sofa on one side, she first bowed her head.
“Your Highness.” She tried to get up and knelt down, but she failed to do so because Lesche raised her up quickly. He lifted her up like a paper doll.
“Lady Stern, did you hurt your head?”
He was looking at her as if she was a maniac.
“I didn’t hurt my head.”
“Then what are you doing?”
“I’ve been out of my mind so far…”
The wedding, which was ruined by the secret outing between Kalis and Lina.The sudden wedding with Lesche Berg, and so on. After all the chaos and confusion, she finally had a decent idea of what was going on. Infact, she hadn’t thanked him properly yet.
“Thank you for saving my life. Thank you very much.”
It was true that she owed him her life. In other words, Lesche Berg was now her benefactor. Usually, people say they will return the favor in the name of their family, but unfortunately, Seria did not get along very well with Marquis Kellyden. So it would be better to say that there was no family.
“Your Highness, as you know, I isolated myself from my own family, Kellyden, and I will return your favor with everything I can…”
Lesche looked at her with a frown and pulled her by the arm. He made her sit right next to him.
“What kind of influence is this strong?”
Lesche asked, and before she could answer, he spoke.
“Are you really Seria Stern?”
“…What? Of course I am.”
She was shocked by the unexpectedly accurate question, but fortunately she answered in a calm tone. The male lead was the male lead after all. She was left with the awkward memories of the original Seria, but it was strange to see how good he was at words that made her feel guilty even if it was a joke. Lesche asked, as he looked carefully at her face.
“Did you change your soul with a Saint?”
“What…. Absolutely not.”
That much she could assure him. When Lesche heard her answer, he just stared into her eyes, not knowing what to think, as if not being able to shake off his doubts. At that time, she felt sleepy so she gave strength to her eyes and looked at Lesche.
‘This guy….He’s really handsome.’
The first time she possessed Seria, the thought she used to have while adapting was that it was really strange to see the characters from a novel she had read, live and move in front of her eyes.
She couldn’t take her eyes off him for a while. Before the heroine Lina appeared, the original characters she could meet were limited, but she still thought the male lead, Lesche, was really fascinating. He was just like the description in the novel. Dark red eyes that seem to have blood in them. They’re cold and sharp, and maybe there was even a triple vision, the expressionless Lesche was intimidating, and made her hands break out in cold sweat.
However, other parts were also faithfully following the description of the male protagonist in the novel. He had a perfect appearance. A blessed height of 190cm, long arms and legs, perfect shoulders. An innate build conveying its sturdiness even from beneath his garments. Obviously, there’s a reason why Lesche’s name has been the main conversation topic of many aristocratic women even though most of the time he was barely even present at the Imperial capital.
Seria suddenly broke into a cold sweat. The male protagonist whose fate was to remain society’s center of attention till the day he dies, had asked for her hand in marriage in order to save her. This truth reached her down to the very bones. The first marriage of the Grand Duke, who was the only one in the Glick Empire…
“…I will do my best not to block your marriage path.”
“My marriage path?”
“You’re the first woman who cares about my marriage path.”
“I don’t mean anything bad. Of course, Your Highness could always set fire to the ladies’ hearts even if you’re married many times or even in a courtship.”
Lesche was now frowning his forehead and spoke.
“Do you see me as a womanizer?”
Surprised at his question, Seria widened her eyes.
She felt awkward. She had never really thought Lesche was that kind of person. He didn’t look like that, and he had no past or future with other women besides Lina in the original story. Though, she thought it was a waste.
“Your Highness,” she opened her mouth hesitantly in fear of hurting Lesche’s feelings again. “Does it offend you when I say while we’re temporarily married, I will do my best for the Berg estate as a Stern?”
“Are you against it?”
‘Should I have just kept my mouth shut?’ She thought.
Lesche asked while looking at her with a serious expression.
“Why is Lady Stern so wary of me?”
‘I’ve never cut back on your budget. I’ve never given you any probation.”
“Are you afraid of me?”
Seria wasn’t really afraid of Lesche, but she was afraid of his position. The male protagonist. The problem was that Seria, the villain, who was intertwined with the heroine’s man and politics, was horribly murdered because it was the story of the novel. So she decided to be honest.
“I’m not afraid of you.”
“If not, then?”
“Your Highness is a man of high status, so I’m just being careful.”
“And yet you yelled at Marquis Haneton and his status is quite high as well.”
She coughed in vain as Lesche continued.
“I thought you were trying to kill the Marquis.”
Seria couldn’t control her expression at the moment. she didn’t know exactly what kind of expression she made, but Lesche smiled lightly. Then, he let go of her arm, which he had been holding all along, and leaned his back against the sofa comfortably.
“The Treasurers will be pleased to hear that Lady Stern will do her best.”
“I’ll work hard.”
As Lesche said, the Treasurers of the Berg estate had always expected a massive expense every winter. He’s always paid keen attention to Stern’s work. It was an inevitable fact that a Stern had to come to the Berg estate every winter to help with glacier inspection. It was an obligation, so the Stern should not violate her duty. However, the duration of the visit was entirely at Stern’s discretion. In extreme cases, this meant that there was nothing that could stop her from helping the inspection for one day and then leaving. For this reason, all the noble families in the Berg estate were busy trying to please Stern. If she asked her room to be decorated with gold, she would get one right away. Of course no one wanted Stern to go that far.
However, winter in Berg estate was severe. It was only natural, since the magical lake that embraced the northern part of the country made it so harsh that it was uninhabitable. It was better to go to the warm and glamorous South for winter socialising than to visit the glaciers in such a cold place. Inevitably, winter in Berg became the season of Stern. The warehouse was always packed with expensive items so that Stern wouldn’t leave early. This includes food. Every day the table was filled with meals as hot and sumptuous as that of the royal family who sometimes visited the Grand Duchy.
‘Honestly, the food was good.’