Chapter 1 - Prologue
“Why are you…?”
He must have heard Lina shout.
‘What does Kalis think of me? Will he think I’m a villain, tormenting a poor, pathetic Saint? Like I did in the original? Will he cut Seria’s head off like it was in the original story?’
She couldn’t understand Lina’s actions for the life of her.
“Lina,” she stared at this lovely saint, unconvinced. Pure fair face with black eyes. Short hair above her shoulders.
“Kalis is…outside. By the way, why are you saying that now? Because you want Kalis to hear? Because you don’t want me to misunderstand your true feelings? Or is it because you want me to look like a bad person?”
Lina’s eyes shook. Probably Seria’s eyes were shaking that much too. Normally, she would have used a polite manner on Lina, but now she couldn’t afford to worry about such things. She was really curious.
“Why on earth? I didn’t bother you…”
She really had no intention of bumping into Lina. She felt sorry for her, but that was all.
It never occurred to her to bully the god-loved heroine of the original story. What was important to her was her life. She just wanted to live. Everything she did was a result of struggling not to die.
‘What else did I do wrong?’
Lina’s face turned pale. She looked as scared as a child. In the original story, she was the heroine who wisely fended off the villain, but everywhere probability was a necessity. It was Lina who couldn’t even handle the Lady of Haneton properly. This meant that she couldn’t cope with the situation in which she would look like a villain until the beginning of the original play.
It was pointless to be like this with Lina any longer, Seria just turned around without hesitation.
Lina ran over to grab Seria’s arm. However, she slipped and stumbled heavily.
Lina’s body, which was about to fall towards Seria, floated in the air as if it were a lie.
The full moon, which she thought was big today, instantly filled her vision like the sun. Lina’s shoes fell to the floor, and her eyes immediately turned to Seria in surprise. She was being sucked into the air. Seria quickly reached out and tried to grab her, but it was too late. There was nothing to catch. The terrace was empty.
At the same time, the door opened with a clang. It was Kalis, and the servant with a worried face followed behind him.
Kalis snuggled up against the railing and looked down. He was looking for Lina. However, the only thing that remained clear was Lina’s shoes that fell in front of Seria.
“Seria…” Kalis asked in a quavering voice as he looked at her.
“Did you….push Lina?”
The words were like a blow to the head. Instantly, her hands went cold.
“Marquis? What do you mean by that?!”
The servant shouted involuntarily. Seria looked at him and he lowered his head. She went to check the glaciers every winter and she heard that Berg Castle’s reputation among the servants was improving.
She shifted her gaze and stared at Kalis.
“You’re only hurting people, Kalis.”
The moment she finished speaking, the moonlight spat Lina out.
“Aah! Aah! Please don’t take me away… Please don’t take me away….”
Lina, surrounded by panic, held her head and screamed. She sank down with a look of pain on her face as if someone had scared her terribly. At the same time, a pure white divine power bloomed on her wrists and cheeks. Seria didn’t see it herself, but she was told that this pattern was painted on Lina’s skin the first time she had descended on the frozen lake of the Berg estate.
The priest stationed in the Berg territory hurriedly informed the High Priestess of Lina’s appearance, and the High Priestess finally revealed the oracle that had been kept hidden from the public. It was the very oracle that the divine agent said would appear in the frozen lake, the glacier. It was a clear oracle with divine power. Everything pointed to Lina being a saint. The problem was that Lina would be going back and forth between the two worlds many times. Seria didn’t expect the first to be today, at this time either.
‘I didn’t expect to be suspected of being a murderer…’
She mumbled and bit her lip.
However, her voice was shakier than she thought it would be. It was obvious that she was deeply shocked. Seria looked up, hoping Kalis wouldn’t hear, but she was wrong. He was already looking at her.
“I’ll take the Saintess!”
The servant hurriedly carried Lina and went outside. The screams came from outside like a panorama. Seria was about to follow her outside when Kalis grabbed her wrist. No matter how powerful of a Stern she was, she didn’t have the talent to make someone disappear and bring her back. Kalis should know that.
“Seria, I misspoke. Please don’t look at me like that.”
Perhaps her expression wasn’t good. However, she had always kept her face stern since she possessed Seria.
But she didn’t have time to do so now. Belatedly, she found herself more shocked than she could ever imagine. Ever since she possessed the irredeemable villain, she had done her best to survive unharmed. It was easy to say. But it was definitely no easy task to revive a reputation that had been hitting rock bottom every day for a year, straining to be the lone soldier. Even though she couldn’t undo the evil deeds of Seria’s past, Kalis must have seen the good deeds that she had built with all her might.
Therefore, his apology made her truly happy. She was even grateful that Kalis began to believe in her after Seria’s misdeeds. Even if Kalis chose the heroine and put her on the brink of death. But still… she didn’t think a year of her efforts would go away.
All the time she spent feeling frustrated was pointless. She never thought the words she heard from the man who said he loved only her and wanted her back again, would stick in her mind so much until today…
She was suspected for Lina’s disappearance. She felt empty. The intensity of the shock she received was enormous, perhaps it was a mixture of Lina’s incomprehensible behavior and Kalis’s heartfelt doubts.
“My dear Grand Duchess.”
A voice suddenly interrupted. She realized that Linon was standing outside the door and called her.
“His Highness has requested to enter the terrace. Will you allow him to do so?”
“Oh, I’m coming out.”
“Seria, wait a minute,”
Linon’s voice trailed off as Kalis tried to stop Seria by grabbing her hand.
“The Grand Duke cannot ascend these steps without the Grand Duchess’s permission. It’s the unwritten traditions and His Highness cannot break it either. Of course, the rules also apply to the other nobles.”
Linon continued, “but the rest can be done by sending official documents to the Marquis of Haneton.”
In the midst of all this, she had a glimmer of a thought that she was going to cut a hell out of this in Berg territory.
Seria grabbed Linon’s hand which he put out and she took a step. Then, he asked in a cautious voice,
“Why do you look so hurt? It’s not like Young Lady…”
When she was about to answer Linon, Kalis spoke first.
“Chief Aide of Berg,”
He strode to the door and stood in front of Seria and Linon. First, he looked at Seria, then shifted his gaze to Linon.
“I’ll leave first.”
“That’s what I was hoping for, Marquis Haneton.”
Because of the loud voices coming and going and Lina being carried away by the servants, all eyes in the Grand Ballroom were now on the Grand Duchess’s terrace. The Saintess had come out, now who would be next? Naturally, it would be Seria Stern, who could enter and exit the Grand Duchess’s terrace at will. So what kind of expression would she have?
However, if Kalis left now, everyone’s eyes would be on him instead. This was a polite consideration that got through in social circles. Kalis stared at Seria, clenched his fists, and descended the steps of the terrace. The noises got louder at once, just as she expected. She looked through the window into the hall and said to Linon,
“Linon, change the music to something softer and more elegant, and serve ice champagne. Tell him to unwind.”
“Yes, My Lady.”
“Tell His Highness not to come up if you go down. It will create more stir.”
“That’s…yes, I understand,” Linon said, and as soon as he went down, the music changed.
Originally I thought it would be better to have fun, noisy music playing, but now soft music would be better to soothe people’s moods.
The ice champagne was the drink that everyone would want to taste when they come to Berg. Originally, it was planned to serve them at midnight, but now, it was good to serve it earlier to disperse people’s nerves.
Anyway, it was a year-end party that Seria had prepared diligently with Aliot’s help. She definitely didn’t want it to be ruined by something like this. When the main banquet hall became noisy again, she left the terrace and went down the stairs. She was afraid that Lesche would be standing in front of the stairs, but fortunately he was not there. If Lesche, the eye catching man, was standing in front of it, people would have gathered around again.
She walked slowly to the hall, just like the ladies of the ballroom. Everyone was busy tasting the ice champagne. This allowed her to walk out into the hallway along the large banquet hall doors, which opened with relative ease. She didn’t expect to meet an unexpected man there.
With his arms folded, Lesche was leaning against the wall, his forehead furrowed. When he saw her, he sat up and walked toward her. She thought he might be angry because she told him not to come up the terrace, but he didn’t show any emotion. He didn’t even ask any questions. After looking at her for a while, Lesche held out his arm. It was a normal escort. It was the most appropriate attitude in this situation. Without hesitation, she grabbed his arm gently.
“You look like you’re about to cry.”
Seria wiped lightly under her eyes in silence. Fortunately, Lesche kept walking forward, and he didn’t look at her, so she could wipe it with more confidence.
The year-end party ended successfully.
And the next day, she heard the shocking news.