Chapter 1 - Prologue
“She checks the glacier every day.”
The frozen lake was a place that the people of the Central Grand Duchy could never be separated from. The demons mainly appeared in the winter, but sometimes strange demons would appear without regard to the season.
Stern was like a star. Most Stern were sacred to the demons of the frozen lake, and they also loved the prosperous Capital more, but when it came time to act a little diligently in the Central Territories, they would quickly capture the hearts of the people of the Berg Territories with ease. Of course, it would be unprofitable to put all one’s effort into the cold and horrible ‘frozen lake’ every day, since Stern would be welcomed wherever they went.
“And she works fast. I’ve never seen such a high-ranking noble other than His Highness the Grand Duke. No, in terms of efficiency, it seems that she is even faster than His Highness?”
“That’s certainly what Linon would like.”
Linon nodded. The firewood clattered and blew into the fire. Crouched in front of the large stove, Linon tried to warm up his frozen body.
At that moment, a middle-aged woman about Martha’s age came up to him and said,
“Linon, the water is cooked.”
“Thank you, Joanna.”
Linon got up from his seat.
Martha was the heart and soul of the Grand Duchy, devoted only to the Grand Duchy and only to the Grand Duchess. After the death of the previous Grand Duchess, the duty seemed to have been entirely focused on the newly emerged “temporary” Grand Duchess.
Earlier, Martha used all the hot water in the manor for Seria’s bath.
That’s why Linon had been trembling and waiting for the water to boil. Although he didn’t show it, Linon’s fingers had shrunk considerably from the cold.
Linon had just started walking, when….
“The shadows are spreading into the kitchen, it’s so bad. I finally pulled out the ingredients and now…Linon? Why are you looking so pale?”
Linon’s shoulders shook. He blinked. A middle-aged woman, also the same age as Martha, was approaching before he knew it.
“Why don’t you get into the covers? Oh, it’s because of germophobia, isn’t it? You won’t live long like this, Mr. Chief Aide.”
“I’m a clean and delicate Chief Aide, unlike the rough Susan, so…”
“I see your mouth is still alive. But I don’t want to have to clean up another corpse in this manor.”
With a serious face, Susan grabbed Linon by the neck and dragged him away.
“I can walk on my own!”
“You’ll probably freeze to death on the way there, Linon.”
“Ah! I’d like you to put on some gloves before putting your hands on my clothes!”
Linon screamed. Susan didn’t budge. No matter how hard Linon struggled, he couldn’t muster the strength with his frozen hands.
“You’re still as fastidious as ever, aren’t you?”
Susan dropped Linon straight into the deep, steamy tub.
Linon swept up his wet hair with a scream.
How can this not be a devil when it deliberately puts its hands on his clothes and body, even though it knew about his germophobia?
Ben, the butler, said politely to Linon, who looked like a wet rat.
“The laundry soap and fragrance are in the third drawer on the left.”
“I understand, so please leave, both of you!”
Linon would definitely wash his body and all the clothes he was wearing, no doubt. In fact, Ben thought if Linon was the Chief Aide, Ben would have hired him as the head of the laundromat… Ben smiled as he thought unrealistically. Because it was not bad to hear the bells ringing in this green mansion that was always quiet and thick with the shadow of death.
Susan, who had put Linon in the bathtub, seemed to be having similar thoughts. She mumbled angrily as she watched Linon searching for laundry soap.
“I’m glad the two baths in this mansion are safe.”
Her mouth was smiling, but her voice oozed quite a bit of regret.
“I think I’ve become a human being again.”
Martha also applied some fragrant oil and gave Seria a light massage, but the smell of mugwort was very strong, probably because she made it herself.
”Come on, young lady. I know it’s inconvenient, but I don’t have many clothes left in the mansion….But I’m sure you’ll be warm.”
Seria put on the fur gown that Martha had brought for her since the wagon hadn’t arrived yet and all her clothes were in there.
As she exited the steam-filled bathroom, she shivered as the cool air touched her skin. Three people were waiting outside.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, young lady. I’m Ben, Berg’s butler. I’d be happy if you’d call me Ben.”
Seria didn’t know there was a butler at Berg’s mansion. She had never heard of or met one before. She just thought that Lesche didn’t like to have a butler.
“I thought Berg didn’t have a butler.”
“Circumstances prevent me from entering and leaving the main castle. I apologize for my rudeness.”
“No, it’s fine.”
“Thank you, Lady Seria.”
Seria tilted her head as she looked at Ben, who was polite and gentle. Even in the original story, the Grand Duke of Berg did not have a butler.
Apparently, this butler gave up his position at Berg Castle due to some circumstances. The most highly paid positions in the noble houses were the butler and the top chef. It was unknown why he would give up such a position, especially when the salary of a Grand Duke’s butler would be more than the wealth of most lowly nobles.
And he was very friendly.
The neatness of his appearance, the cufflinks that clearly indicated that he was a butler, though not over the top, and the neatly combed hair gave him the appearance of being the butler of a distinguished family.
“Here, too, let me introduce you.”
While Seria was thinking, Ben pointed to the two middle-aged women behind him.
“This is Joanna, the gardener, and this is Susan, the dresser.”
“Hello, Miss, I’m Joanna.”
While giving greetings, Joanna, the gardener, suddenly stared at Seria’s hair. She was puzzled. Was there something in her hair?
“What is it….?”
Susan poked her on the side and Joanna bowed her head, looking embarrassed. Then, they retreated to dry Seria’s clothes, and Martha followed.
Ben had an apologetic look on his face.
“I’m sorry. The gardener of this manor is very fond of the color green.”
“I thought she was looking at me in a foul mood.”
“No, not at all. Who said that? Young Lady’s hair is beautiful.”
Seria shrugged her shoulders and smiled. Actually, Seria’s hair was bright green. Those who liked it said it resembled a vibrant meadow on a summer day, while those who hated it said it looked like sinister seaweed.
The latter was a bit depressing, to be honest. The Marquis of Kellyden hated it especially.
In the original, the extras courting the heroine Lina, Seria’s half-brothers, who in her memory were b*stard. They also hated her hair.
“You must be hungry. Let’s have a meal.”
Ben led Seria to the dining room.
“I’ve prepared something for you.”
Seria sat down on the chair Ben pulled out. She looked at him and spoke,
“You don’t need to wait on me.”
“Then please call me if you need anything.”
As Ben left, the dining room, which was quiet, became even quieter. She stuffed her empty stomach with a light stew, which seemed to help. As she was trying to empty the bowl, she felt a presence behind her.
It was a familiar voice. It was Linon. She casually turned around, but almost fainted from the sight.
“Oh my God!”
She thought she saw a ghost. Apparently, Linon was walking towards her, dripping wet.
“I’m sorry. The wagon hasn’t arrived yet and I don’t have any clothes to change into.”
“Martha brought me some clothes, didn’t she have something for you to wear? Oh, do you want a gown? I have two.”
“Is it your gown, Young Lady?”
“No, I got it from Martha.”
The gown was worn out a bit but Seria didn’t mind because it was nicely kept. Linon, however, seemed like he didn’t like it.
“Umm, thank you but I don’t need it and it looks like it doesn’t even fit me anyway.”
Linon was right that the gown did not seem to fit his body. But wasn’t it still better than dripping wet? Even hot water gets cold quickly now. What is he going to do if he catches a cold? Seria knew he hated being sick.
‘It’s probably because he’s a germaphobe.’
“Let’s just eat this for now. Martha made some for you too.”
“Thank you, My Lady.”
Linon sat down across from Seria. Even though he fervently refused to wear other people’s clothes, he looked alive when he saw the steamy stew.