Chapter 1 - Prologue
“I see you’ve finished the banquet preparations.”
The sight of Lesche in a white suit that matched his silver hair was enough to put Seria in a moment of daze. His dazzling look was like cold water to cool her boiling head. This man definitely looked good in a suit, perhaps because he had a great body.
Naturally, she knew she had to finish getting ready as soon as possible to attend the banquet.
“My apologies, Your Highness.”
She bowed to Lesche and walked away quickly, and he began to follow her. Seria looked at him in bewilderment.
“Your Highness? Why are you following me?”
“Don’t we have the same destination?”
‘No, I never revealed where I was going.’
Her question was met with a puzzled look from Lesche.
“Didn’t you notice?”
“I’ve been following you since you stepped out of your bedroom.”
“Yes,” Lesche added, frowning. “Did I follow too quietly? I’m sure I walked along making a lot of noise.”
Seria shook her head in a hurry.
“No, I didn’t hear you because I was thinking about something else. I apologize.”
Briefly responding, Lesche looked at Seria and asked.
“Where are you going with a strange thing on your face? Is it a trendy accessory in the capital?”
Only then did she realize that she must look ridiculous with the ice pack. But in the meantime, she didn’t want to hide her face by lowering her head because Seria had a strong confidence in her beauty….No, because she knew that no matter what Seria’s face looked like, Lesche wouldn’t think much.
‘He isn’t the type of person who can be fooled by a woman’s face, I should be honest about this.’
Seria started to speak as she removed the silk pouch that she wore on her face like a mask.
“It’s not an accessory. This…Your Highness?”
Suddenly, Lesche lifted her chin, she couldn’t breath and just blinked in bewilderment. It was strange to see Lesche’s red eyes right in front of her field of vision. Unlike her embarrassed face, his brows furrowed.
“How did you get hurt?”
“It looks like something from the past.”
‘How did he know…?’
By the way, the original Seria had slapped other people’s cheeks with such strength. She now knew why over 100 servants were sick of her.
Seria swallowed hard and said.
“That’s right. I slapped myself on the face. But, Your Highness, could you please let it go….?”
Lesche stared at her, and after a moment, he released her chin. Her heart was pounding violently in her chest. She took a deep breath and looked at Lesche again.
“During an argument with Saintess Lina, I slapped myself.”
“Yes,” she said distantly, because it was hard for her to explain.
Lina had mentioned her mother’s identity, and she was so mad at her for it that she almost struck her. But she exercised her last bit of patience and lifted her hand and hit her own cheek. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to tell Lina because she wanted to hide it. It was the same logic that caused Seria’s whole body to tremble when her mother was insulted, regardless of her intentions. For Seria, the owner of this body, insulting her mother seemed to be quite a blow. Thanks to this very unkind explanation, Lesche stopped asking any farther, he just stared at her. After a moment, he asked.
“Who else were you with besides the saintess?”
‘Is he going to call Begonia in to question her?’
That would be better.
In the meantime, she tried again to fasten the silk pouch to her cheek. It was certainly better than ice. It should have melted by now and let the moisture seep in, but it was good that her cheek didn’t get damp while it kept it cool with little moisture. She now understood why Begonia always had it on hand. However, it was a bit of a challenge, trying to hold it in place all by herself without a mirror. At the sight, Lesche clicked his tongue and reached out. He easily wrapped the strap around, secured a silk pouch on her cheek, then raised his head without hesitation.
“Since we’ve come this far anyway, we can go together to the hall for the banquet.”
“Can I wait in the annex?” Lesche asked.
It would take Seria at least three hours to finish all her preparations, and he wanted to wait for her here?
“I’ll go to the main hall when I’m done, Your Highness.”
“I think Marquis Haneton will be here before Young Lady gets to the main hall.”
“He already came. Will he come again?”
Lesche stopped for a moment. He looked back at Seria, as if he knew that Kalis had already come to see her. He nodded.
“I could smell his perfume.” Seria said.
Seria noticed it the moment Begonia pushed her outside the door, Kalis’s perfume was faintly fragrant. She could smell the scent at once, as her place was exceptionally clean and well-kept.
When she saw that Kalis was nowhere to be seen, she thought that he must have come to her other building and chased after Lina when he saw her running away crying.
‘I felt even worse. I even took the wrong road.’
Lesche spoke slowly.
“His perfume scent?”
“Yes, there is a perfume that Marquis Haneton often uses at every banquet…”
Lesche’s expression changed slightly. Seria asked.
“Your Highness? Are you offended?”
Lesche’s face instantly stiffened. When she shrank back, he said shortly.
“It reminds me of the High Priest.”
“Yes, that’s right. It would be too much trouble to tell him.”
The ordinary nobles, and even the king of the kingdom, welcomed the High Priest visit with open arms. The High Priest was the most senior of the hundreds of thousands of clergy. A personal visit from him meant that he would be blessing the land he’d trod on while conveying the blessings of God. Above all, it was a great honor. But there were different kinds of people everywhere. One of them was Lesche. Of course, with Lesche, there was no need to add the honor of the High Priest, as he already had so much honor in his possession. Because he was a man who held the unprecedented title of Grand Duke of Berg. He didn’t need any more honor and glory. Perhaps that was why, for him, the visit of the High Priest was just one more troublesome event to add to his list.
Seria decided to rest for an hour on a garden bench. She sat down and glanced discreetly at Lesche, who sat next to her. He followed her and sat next to her, not saying a word. Leaning his back against the bench and staring straight ahead, Lesche asked without looking at her.
“Why do you keep staring at me?”
‘What? How did he know I was watching him?’
Getting caught red handed, she told him frankly.
“I was just wondering if Your Highness’ white clothes would get dirty.”
Lesche looked at her with a wistful expression.
“I really want to open Young Lady’s head once.”
“My…why my head..?”
Whether Seria was surprised or not, Lesche spoke in an insignificant tone.
“You think of everything, don’t you?”
“However, you don’t know your garden bench is being cleaned every day.”
“It doesn’t matter because Linon cleans your place every day.”
‘The Linon I know? The Chief Aide of the Berge estate?’
Seria looked back to see how long he had been doing the servants’ chores as well, and quickly swept the benches with her fingertips, thinking how ridiculous it was that he had to wipe the benches every day.
She wondered if there was any dust on it, but to her surprise, there was none, and then she was more than a little perplexed.
“What on earth… You have your aide doing the cleaning?”
“Of course. He’s a germaphobe.”
“He has germophobia?”
She had never heard of it before. In the original novel, the story was mainly about Lina and her men. Lesche and Kalis, so to speak. Some more of the others. There were no detailed mentions of the supporting characters like Linon.
‘By the way, how could a germaphobe come out and clean my place….Does he think I’m very dirty?’
She was so shocked and spent nearly an hour in a daze. And since there wasn’t much time left before the ball started, she got up as soon as Lesche said it was time.
“Your Highness, did you say you were coming with me to my room?”
‘That’s a little strange.’
Lesche walked behind her without replying. It was somewhat awkward, and her hand tingled as she unconsciously fumbled with the silk pouch that contained the snowflake crystal. As she spread out her hand, she suddenly felt a hot temperature. It was Lesche. He took her hand lightly and released it.
“Your hands are cold.” Seria said.
“Your cheeks must be colder.” Lesche responded.
Flustered, Seria pretended to clear her throat and looked away.
“That’s good. Even enemies will fall in love with you.”
Begonia looked pleased. Her light pink dress, elaborately beaded with hundreds of silver beads, shone magically even in the small light. Seria turned around, admiring Begonia’s skills.
Awkwardly, Lesche was sitting there. This was her bedroom, but she had no choice. The parlor hadn’t had any visitors in the past few days, so the whole place wasn’t heated, and the hallway was chilly. Therefore she couldn’t let the master of this castle stay in a cold place. Besides, Begonia wanted Lesche to be in the room. She said something about how seeing a beautiful creature gave her strength. Seria wasn’t a designer, but she understood what Begonia was talking about. Lesche Berge was a man whose appearance was truly breathtaking.
“Your Highness,” Begonia asked Lesche with a smile. “It may sound rude, but as a designer who created a masterpiece, may I ask how do you feel about your wife’s dress?”