Chapter 1 - Prologue
Seria chuckled and took a handkerchief out of her pocket and offered it to Abigail.
“If the head security, who is obligated to punish others, doesn’t file a complaint, won’t he be subject to aggravated punishment? You don’t have to commit such a crime for me, do you?”
Alliot was an open-minded person. Of course, there was very little incidence of him clashing with Seria in the original story. But even though he heard about Seria’s violence, he opened up to her without difficulty.
If it hadn’t been for Alliot being a nobleman with a belief that those who were remorseful must be given another chance, and if it hadn’t been for being a knight of Berg who had no choice but to be innately weak to Stern, he must have hated Seria for the rest of his life.
“But thank you for saying that, Sir Alliot.”
Seria said, a little embarrassed.
“Bibi, let’s go to the inn. I’ll take you there. Sir Elliot? I heard that Bibi’s quarters have been changed. Where is it?”
“I’ll take you there in person, Lady Seria.”
Seria pondered, staring at Abigail’s sword that she just received.
‘But Bibi’s words aren’t entirely wrong.’
Abigail’s words were a bit violent, but there were times when her response was correct. It was to kill those who wished to do her (Seria) harm. There was no better solution than that. Of course, she didn’t want to kill Lina and Kalis. She didn’t want to kill them at all.
However, for the past year, she overlooked something very important. She believed that if she acted differently from the original Seria Stern, everything would be fine. Don’t be evil, don’t hit anyone, don’t nitpick, don’t pour wine on people, don’t be mean to low-ranking nobles just because you are a Stern. She thought that if she did good, and did her best to repent for her terrible past (not that she did any of those, of course), she would avoid the tragic fate in the original story assigned to Seria.
‘I knew it wasn’t.’
And yet, she still thought that the world of the novel was only made up of ink. No, she was trying to think. Suddenly, the world that was supposed to be real changed, and she was given a role to play. Was the fact that it was a ‘fixed’ role shocked her?
As long as she breathed here, this world was her reality. She had to come to terms with the fact that, just as she was alive, so were the people around her, all the characters of the original story. Lina, Kalis, and so was the man Lesche Berg. They were all living people. It was her arrogance to predict that if she treated them kindly, they would return the favor, and if she treated them badly, they would throw harmful things at her. She read the original story, but didn’t read every single one of their lives….So she changed her goal. She just had to grab the rope a little tighter to help her out.
‘Buy an island.’
This Glick Empire was very large. It was only natural since it had the strongest people on the continent. She was told that the southernmost part of the Glick Empire was lined with beautiful resort islands surrounded by pretty coral and emerald-colored seas.
‘I will pick one and buy it.’
She would buy one whole southern island and not leave that place. More than anything, it was her long-time wish to travel to such a place. Before she possessed Seria, she was a poor graduate student. She lived on her lab salary and threw away her research scholarship as she barely managed to cover the tuition.
But even when she tried to get a job, her major almost always required her to go to graduate school. In the past, she was a zombie in the lab room. But even zombies had dreams, and she envied them as she searched and flipped through the photos, one by one, of the occasional vacation place she could afford. She even saved some of them in her gallery.
But now she was a Stern, and she knew the original story. Did that mean, strictly speaking, she had a much better chance of making a fortune than she did as a minor graduate student in her previous life?
‘I will earn hard and save a lot.’
If Lina returned to the real world, she would be back here in a year. So in the meantime, Seria could steadily save money, build her foundation, prepare funds, and run away. Of course, if somehow she would still get her throat cut like it was in the original story…She had already made a plan to deal with that.
‘I have to diligently inspect the glacier from now on.’
The more diligently she worked on the frozen lake, the glacier, and the Berg estate, the higher Seria Stern’s reputation would be. The increased fame would also save the lives of the nobles who were sometimes beheaded. It was the only thing she could do. In order to do that, she would have to go to the temple and ask the other Stern for permission. Of course, Seria and most of the previous Stern did not like to visit the glaciers. Visiting other places was not so difficult because of the good weather, but the glaciers, which bordered the northern part of the Berg Estate, were avoided by all, due to the freezing cold. Because of this, if she wanted to see more of the glaciers, they would be happy to oblige. She knew it was a matter of formalities and that she had to see a Stern in person at the temple and ask for permission.
‘The other Stern’s name was probably Miyot. Has she ever met Seria?’
The Sterns were close friends for generations. If the stars were solid, there would only be the Milky Way. Because it’s not the stars that would be noticed, but the path drawn by the stars that would be. The arrogant Stern and her friends preferred to shine alone. Well, even if they were arrogant they were quiet, given that there were no rumors of them being as evil as Seria.
Seria hurried to her feet, thinking she would write a letter to Miyot.
The knight’s quarters was the largest building except for the main one.
“The floor changed?”
“The knights are gone. The rooms that were preoccupied were all good rooms, so while they were available, I made sure to assign them to Lady Abigail.”
When Kalis and Seria came to the main castle here in Berg for the wedding, there were not many guests in Berg Castle, so they were able to use the best annex. Abigail was not able to come with them at that time. Since she arrived at the Berg territory a little later than expected, Abigail couldn’t stop by the main castle and had to join the Holy Knight Mage group in a hurry to defeat monsters.
Actually, she didn’t know that at the time. When more than 20 families sent their knights who represented their households in place of their masters, Seria hurriedly secured a room for Abigail at the knight’s quarters in the main castle, but the best floor was already full.
How she regretted taking the even less prestigious quarters downstairs! She didn’t consider Abigail’s liking at that time.
‘Next time, I’ll take that room.’
She was too considerate of those knights, she wouldn’t do that next time.
A trace of satisfaction seeped into Abigail’s voice. The mattress was new. The blanket was new too. It was nice. And the room was warm. Seria told Abigail not to come out and to get some rest.
When Alliot followed Seria outside, Seria asked,
“Sir Alliot, I heard from Linon yesterday, is the Laurel Manor really off-limits to knights?”
At first, Seria thought Linon was joking, because she couldn’t understand why a place like the venerable Berg’s Cradle was off-limits to knights.
“Yes, My Lady. It’s already been years since I didn’t get into the manor either.”
Alliot looked puzzled.
“Nothing about the manor is easy to say.”
“Oh, you’re right. It would be hard to tell an outsider.”
Then Alliot immediately denied with a stern look.
“That’s not what I meant. You’re no longer an outsider.”
Alliot said it so solemnly that Seria felt rather embarrassed. She chuckled, and Alliot’s expression softened a bit.
“There is an unwritten law that none of the manor’s work should be discussed with those who have never visited the manor before. My Lady will know when you go there today.”
“I understand. Oh, you don’t have to see me off. I’m going back to my bedroom anyway.”
“Yes, My Lady.”
After Seria left the knight’s quarters with a relaxed gait, Alliot pondered for a moment, then knocked on Abigail’s door before entering.
Abigail, who was glued to the window and basked in the sunlight, glanced back.
There was a faint hint of something wrong in his cold, expressionless face.
“I came to warn you about what you said earlier. It was inappropriate to ask Lady Seria if you could kill the Saintess and the Marquis. It could be misunderstood as a conspiracy to commit murder.”
“There was no one there but us.”
Abigail’s eyebrows slowly sank and came back up.
“Is Sir Alliot going to press charges?”
“No, I’m not, but I knew what Lady Abigail said was not a joke.”
“Anyway, nothing happened, didn’t it?”
It was an insincere reply. Abigail continued to try to ignore Alliot’s words, as was her habit, and then she remembered something Seria had noticed earlier. Come to think of it, this man had been watching her with sharp eyes as if trying to find out what she was capable of in her spare time, and he was also the Knight Commander of this vast land. He was certainly outstanding. Abigail could count on one hand the number of knights that were this good.
The thought of coming on stronger crossed her mind.
“My grudge is the honor of a knight. Are the insults My Lady has suffered not enough?”
“Lady Abigail, you are too outspoken. If you go up to the capital with Lady Seria, the eyes of many knights will be on you.”
“You should be careful. Berg’s knights are reticent, but those of the capital are not.”
Abigail raised one side of her mouth.
“Why should I listen to Sir Alliot?”