Chapter 1 - Prologue
Kalis Haneton, seemed to have run out of patience. When he found Lesche, his face hardened.
“Why are you here? Is it because of the Saintess? Why is she here again?”
“… I don’t know about that either.”
Thinking of the missing saintess, Lesche felt tired. He hadn’t received any reports from the priest of that bothersome saintess sneaking into his abode, but she had nothing to do with Seria and her abilities. Lesche tried to rush inside. He would have done so if Kalis’ words hadn’t caught him.
“Duke, when are you going to divorce Seria?”
At that moment, a laugh burst out. Lesche looked back with crooked brows. His red eyes glared at Kalis in disgust.
“Seria is my fiance.”
“Whatever Lady Stern was in the past, she is now my wife.”
“Your Highness!” Kalis shouted.
“Wasn’t this engagement officially approved by the Imperial family? Since it has been officiated under Imperial law, Seria remains Seria Stern, not the Grand Duchess of Berg. I thank you for saving her life, but the Haneton name is enough for her, your Highness. I will marry her.”
“You’re funny. Why would you want to replace Lady Seria’s treasure?” asked Lesche sarcastically. “You and Seria have nothing between you anymore, right? So there is no reason to acknowledge you.”
Kalis’s face stiffened when he heard that there was nothing between himself and Seria anymore. He clenched his fists. Lesche was just annoyed, his eyes darkened with anger.
“Do you want to have a duel here? I won’t hold back or pretend.”
“I’m going to divorce Saintess Lina. I am also the only one here who has gotten permission from Marquis Kellyden to marry Seria. I’m amazed, but has your Highness contacted the marquis?”
As those words came out of Kalis’ mouth, Lesche’s views on the man dropped even further. Considering Kalis broke his promise first to save his own life, wasn’t he the reason why everything became so twisted like this? Wasn’t he the one who became distracted by the Saintess and even formed a covenant with her?
“You only lived because you decided to drop your fiance’s life in the mud.”
“Before the anti-…!”
Kalis’ angry words did not last. This was because the star marks in his body began acting up. There were only two things in Seria’s building that could make them react like this.
Either Seria or Lina. The two men went into the building without saying anything to each other.
“No matter how pretty you are, your birth mother was just a lowly actress, right?”
Only one line was mentioned in the original novel. A noblewoman got caught while gossiping about Seria’s birth mother at a ball. The original Seria had a bad temper, and was particularly sensitive to that topic.
No, scratch that. She was beyond enraged and thrashed out like a crazy foal. Even rabid dogs would have been easier to deal with than her.
When she was caught gossiping behind Seria… The noble Lady ended up with wine in her face.
This event described that they weren’t just sprinkled with wine, but that their whole head became soaked like they fell into a freshly picked oak barrel. Since then, she was discouraged and has never been able to set foot in the monastic world again. So who was it?
Even though it was instinct for the original Seria, she couldn’t control her anger when she met people who talked trash about her birth mother, or when she met people who gossiped after the name of Kellyden was lifted up. Her whole body trembled as though she was suffering from an anger control disorder. At that time, she felt like she became the real Seria.
She came to Berg’s estate for a wedding, which never happened. The plan was, after becoming the Marquess of Haneton, people would finally stop talking about her origins, and she wouldn’t be bullied throughout her life anymore.
“Seria, I like Seria’s origins! So what if your mother was a commoner? If you think about it, my mother is also a commoner… because I’m from a world without nobles or royals…” Lina mumbled.
“So we can say that we are from the same background!! So, ah, Seria? What is it? Why look so scary…?”
Her body began to tremble. Lina, who received Seria’s gaze head on, winced. It was too late. Seria’s hand already lifted up against her will and cast a shadow over Lina’s face.
Lina closed her eyes tightly.
Seria’s hand seemed to fall on Lina’s flushed cheek.
However, Seria finished by slapping her own cheek.
Silence filled the room. She exhaled for a long time, reminiscing about the shock of stars flashing in front of her eyes, and her cheek, which she struck with all her might, hurt so much.
“You say your teacher told you that story?”
It was her teacher, Viscount Issac. At the moment, whether or not she sensed the ominousness in Seria’s words, Lina bit her lip firmly. Clear tears filled her big eyes.
““I guess he forgot to tell you that I hate listening to that story the most.”
“No……No! Don’t be angry with teacher. Please be mad at me because I made a mistake, Seria….”
Lina’s crying appearance was pathetic and naive. On the contrary, Seria’s look matched those of a villain. Just a few days ago, She would have avoided this because she wanted to avoid confrontation, but now she was not so sure.
‘How long do I have to bend over and submit?’
‘The heroine and second male lead constantly f*** me over, but if I can’t bear it….’
‘Shouldn’t it be illegal at this point that I, the villain, get angry?’
“Lina. You’d rather that I be angry with you, right?”
“Yes? Right… You’re upset with me, Seria. I’m really sorry. My teacher has nothing to do with it…”
“Yes, then,” Seria said, touching her cheek, which had started to swell.
“I’m going to the Marquis of Haneton now. Then to the priests, and then to the Grand Duke of Berg.”
“What? Why them…”
“I have to tell them that Lina insulted me.”
“Insult? What do you mean?”
“It is a heavy insult to touch upon the sensitive family history between nobles, didn’t that pompous teacher teach you? Oh, or perhaps you want him to fight my knight? I’m willing to accept it. That is, if you don’t mind if my knight kills him.”
As if her last words sounded too intensely, a shock spread on Lina’s eyes. Her hands shook as she held them together.
“Teacher is not at fault. Just, just because I didn’t know…!”
“Because you didn’t know?”
She stared straight at Lina.
“Lina, no matter how Kalis claims it is temporary, you are now the Marquess of Haneton, the Saintess, and a Stern like me. You still don’t know that just one wrong word from a person of your position could ruin someone and turn them into a laughing stock?”
“Lina, you’re not a three year old child. Isn’t it time for you to be aware of the position you’re in now?”
Apart from situations where she couldn’t stand to deal with Lina, Seria managed to understand her on a surface level. Being suddenly transferred into another world, it was natural to be confused trying to learn a new system.
‘But to a major public figure like Lina, who would dare treat her as if she was a villain except for me? In this perfect world, even the man who was my fiance, would be wrapped around her fingers. The heroine’s innocent words were like blades ready to stab into me. How could I have stayed still?’
Lina needed to be aware of her position and the weight of her speech.
For now, she ended up slapping herself on the cheek with the last of her patience, but next time she might really slap Lina. Seria really wanted to refrain from being in these situations where she was so angry that she lost control over her body.
“Would you like to go to the Marquis of Haneton and repeat those words Lina?”
Tears formed in Lina’s eyes. She trembled and eventually rattled out, ”I didn’t know. I’m sorry…” and then ran out of the room.
“Oh, my God. You don’t want to be responsible for what you’ve done. Have you grown up to be selfish….”
Seria was brought back to her senses belatedly when Begonia’s voice rang loudly. Begonia hated losing her graceful dignity more than anyone else, while Seria looked furious and acted like a wild beast.
Her anger did not subside, but she took a deep breath and calmed down. She tidied up her messy hair and was about to apologize to Begonia when she felt something cold on her cheek.
“There is a snow crystal in this sack. It’s a semi-precious stone that emits a cold temperature like ice, so it is useful in cases like this.”
“You have something like this, Begonia?”
Begonia spoke after confirming with a laugh.
She said, “If you are a customer who will wear the main piece of this Begonia Salon, you shouldn’t have a swollen face, no matter if you are a man or a woman. This is kind of an emergency medicine.”
“Is my cheek that swollen?”
Begonia said after affirming with a smile. “If you’ll just follow my lead from now on, you’ll be fine with attending the ball until the last minute.”
“What should I do?”
Begonia, who held a pocket of snow crystals up to Seria’s cheek, shrugged. “Now, keep this on your cheek for an hour. The rest of it can be covered using some small tricks and make up.”
Putting on a hood that covered her face all the way to the tip of my nose, Seria stepped out of the door. The knights outside naturally averted their gaze. They shouldn’t have noticed the riot that happened inside of the room, but she still didn’t want to risk them noticing her swollen cheek.
She walked through the long corridor of the outer building while looking at the floor. After a while, she looked up and let out a sigh. This was when she realized that she had gone the wrong way.
With her head muddled with a seething anger, she walked as far as her feet could carry her and ended up in a deserted place.
The building given to her in the Berg estate was so large, that a group of wealthy merchants could have used it as a villa. Since the entrances were split into several halls and locations, it was possible that she took a wrong turn and ended up here.
With a sigh, she turned around and prepared to walk back. However, as she turned past a bookshelf, she ran into somebody’s hard chest. She staggered a bit, and suddenly a strong hand grasped her arm.
“…Who is this?”
“What are you doing?”
Seria looked up and panicked.
‘Did I run into Lesche’s body just now?’
He was looking at her with a strange expression.