Chapter 1 - Prologue
“Lady Abigail, even though you were very much aware of my presence behind you earlier, you still voiced your murderous intent to Lady Seria, didn’t you? So I could assume two things. One, you trust me….”
“There’s no way I would.”
“Well, then you might want to listen carefully because you’re basically saying you have such poor emotional control that you verbalized your plot for murder right under the nose of someone you don’t trust.”
Abigail remained silent as she stared at Alliot quietly. Alliot said in a serious tone.
“In other words, even if it’s just for the sake of Lady Seria, use your common sense. Previously as well, if I were you, I wouldn’t have thrown my handkerchief at all at Marquis Haneton’s knight. Instead, I would have chosen the highest ranked knight and have him under my control. That wouldn’t lead to the insult charge.”
The strange killing spirit that had been slyly flowing out of Abigail quickly disappeared.
“That’s considerate advice. I’ll keep it in mind. But I disagree with one thing.”
“Which is it?”
“Instead of having him under my control, I would cut his limbs into pieces.”
The bedroom was quiet when Seria returned. The servants had already packed her things and loaded them into the carriage. With nothing left to do, she sat up in bed and blinked slowly. It was only mid-morning. And perhaps because she woke up too early, her eyelids were getting heavier.
She closed her eyes as the servants said that there was sufficient time for her to rest before she had to leave for the Laurel Manor.
‘I should not have fallen asleep.’
An hour later she let out a silent scream with great regret.
When she woke up, she found herself not in bed, but in a carriage. She heard the sound of the wheels rolling smoothly. Through the window, she could see the white birches that resembled a snowy landscape were laid out beautifully, but there was a blizzard…
In the midst of this white scene, her heart was not at all at peace.
‘No, why the sudden blizzard…?’
The weather was fine in the morning, but where did these dark clouds come from?
She glanced down at her body. She was wrapped up in the covers as if she was still on the bed. And what more, she was in her nightgown. As if there weren’t enough problems, she looked up, feeling ashamed. There was a beautiful face in front of her. Full lips, a high nose beneath the long silver eyelashes. But his eyes were strangely cold, a man who looked better from a distance than up close.
‘I was in a carriage, being held by Lesche Berg with the whole bedding.’
She was in the middle of a sound sleep, a few hours ago.
The servants hurried to wake her up. She was too sleepy to open her eyes, but before she knew it, they were scrubbing her down quickly. She even finished washing her face and brushing her teeth while on the bed. The maids said that it was suddenly snowing heavily, so the order was to leave right away before the snow gets worse….
Suddenly, her body was raised in the air…Before she came to her senses, she was moved from the bed to the carriage.
‘I honestly thought I was dreaming, but it’s reality.’
She couldn’t even get a good look at what was in front of her as the maids hurried along and pulled the covers over the top of her head, telling her it would be cold outside.
‘So did I imagine it? The man who was carrying me was Alliot or someone else, and the silver hair I’d glimpsed earlier was just a mistake?’
But that couldn’t be it, could it? She swallowed hard, and looked up at the man who was holding her in his arms, Lesche Berg. She spoke carefully.
Lesche, who had been staring out the window with furrowed brows, looked down at her. His red eyes were more subdued than usual, but she felt scared for some reason. Then, he shifted his gaze and looked out the window again at the heavy snowfall.
“Sleep more. We still have quite a long way to go.”
How could anyone sleep in this position? Seria moved her head to look at the other side of the carriage.
There was an empty seat.
“I’m going to sleep over there, so please let me go.”
“You want me to let you go?”
Lesche pointed to her feet with his chin.
“You don’t have any shoes.”
“I didn’t have time to get your shoes, so just sleep like this until then.”
He told her to sleep again, but she wanted to ask him who could really sleep comfortably in this position. On the contrary, she wanted to ask if he could sleep comfortably if their positions were reversed.
Of course, they were too different in size for one thing….
Unlike her awkwardness, Lesche was holding her very steadily. Even though she was leaning on him for most of his upper body, his big body was relaxed, and the blanket that covered her body was fluffy.
But apart from this physical comfort, Seria felt uncomfortable. If it was a problem because she didn’t have shoes, couldn’t she just walk barefoot and go to the other side? Or it wasn’t too aristocratic to do that and Lesche was the type of person who wouldn’t have it such a way?
While she was thinking this and that and staring at her exposed feet Lesche suddenly grabbed her feet.
She almost fainted at the sudden touch. (*T/N: I would faint too….🙉)
As Seria turned stiff, Lesche frowned.
“Is the carriage cold?”
Instantly, she was startled and shuffled her feet.
“Please don’t touch it!”
Lesche asked back as he let go of her feet.
“Why? Why would you touch people’s feet?”
“Aren’t we married? Young Lady?”
Suddenly, a strange thought passed through her head.
“Your Highness, could it be that you’re going to the manor to… um… have your honeymoon?”
At that moment, Lesche’s eyes opened lightly. He answered in a low voice with a bit of moxie.
However, contrary to his words, she was relieved to see Lesche’s face as he quietly affirmed.
“You’re lying. You scared me, you know that?”
One of Lesche’s eyebrows lifted slightly.
“How do you know it’s a lie?”
“I’m very good at reading people’s expressions.”
When Seria answered in a serious voice, Lesche clicked his tongue. Then, he leaned back comfortably in the carriage seat. The angle at which he naturally supported her back and thighs also changed. They were much closer than before. She could feel even through the covers that his grip on her was really strong…
Indeed, Lesche was a remarkable knight.
“I touched your feet because they seemed to be very cold. Due to the heavy snowfall, the temperature of the carriage could not be raised further and I think the best option would be for me to hold you.”
“No, Your Highness. Please, your Grand Duchess* won’t….” (*she meant his future wife.)
For a moment, Lesche’s expression hardened. She said that suddenly because she was afraid that Lesche would hold her feet until they reached the manor.
‘Was I presumptuous?’
She blinked and added.
“Or specifications in the name of Stern, who is inspecting the glacier…”
“Why are you correcting it?”
Lesche said, staring at her.
“You’re the Grand Duchess, aren’t you?”
“Yes, it’s temporary.”
Lesche neatly removed his hands from her feet and pulled the blanket down to cover them.
“If you don’t like to be the Grand Duchess, I can’t do anything.”
His words didn’t sound like a simple list of facts. His tone of voice was strange. Above all, she was the one who knew Lesche in the original story.
‘I think this man is also a bit of a mess…That’s strange. Why can’t I remember him clearly?’
She began to wonder. She memorized most of the original story. At times, she even felt inwardly satisfied that she was a genius herself. But why couldn’t she remember the hidden past of the male protagonist in the novel, who was as important as the heroine?
When she looked back at them one by one, it was as if only the memory of them were cut out.
Seria looked out the window, thinking she would have to go back to the original story later. It was a seasonal carriage used in the middle of winter, and the windows were small and narrow with thick glass. Still, it was not hard to see outside.
As she was staring out the window at the heavy snowfall, she suddenly saw one of the knights pass the carriage. It was strange. Alliot said that the knights couldn’t get into the Laurel Manor, but they could enter the main house of the mansion?
‘Isn’t that even stranger?’
“Your Highness. Are there knights in the procession?”
“Why, sir? I heard that knights are not allowed in the Laurel Manor.”
“Didn’t Alliot explain it to you?”
“He didn’t tell me anything.”
Seria blinked for a moment because she could see the confusion on Lesche’s face as he wrinkled his brows. It was as if he was forced to take on the role of conveying unwilling words.
“Anyway, he said there’s a story I should know about, too.”
However, she was prepared to accept it even if Lesche said it wasn’t necessary for her to know. When she was about to tell him she would ask Linon later,
That was when it happened.
The carriage jolted, and everything came to a stop. For a moment, the fear that she might tumble out of the carriage took over, but then there was a force that held her tight. It was Lesche. Her heart pounded as she was only putting her weight on Lesche’s arms.
There was a bang at the door, and a loud voice, presumed to be the knights, was heard from outside.
“It’s a demon! A demon has appeared!”
For a moment, she couldn’t believe her ears as she heard the words. A demon has appeared? Why?
Lesche quickly reached out and opened the small window on the carriage door. Immediately a chill swept through the air.
“What’s the boundary of the manor?”
“Right in front of us!”
“I’m relieved we have a Stern.”
With these words, Lesche lowered Seria on the carriage seat. In the meantime, she tried to keep her feet off the floor.
“Stay in the carriage, I’ll send Linon.”
“Yes, please don’t get hurt.”
Seria hurriedly nodded. Lesche was not surprised to hear that a demon had appeared. There was no one who didn’t know what horror meant on this continent. And she wasn’t as surprised as she thought she would be because Lesche had a casual demeanor.
“The weather is very bad.”
Even in that brief whirlwind of Lesche’s departure, she could feel that the blizzard had lowered the temperature inside the carriage by at least a few degrees. She pulled out her arms, which were warmly wrapped up in the blanket, and looked out the window with anticipation.