Chapter 1 - Prologue
The next day.
“Lock them all in Berg’s prison.”
“Load them up!”
Alliot and the other knights put the fainting and limping sorcerers on the wagons and took them to the main castle. The sorcerers made trouble last night and were in bad shapes. In the midst of all this, one of the knights was surprised to see the black shadow on the walls of the manor, he drew his sword and stabbed it, but Alliot stopped him.
Other than that, it was peaceful.
Seria tasted some of the sugar rocks that Susan and Joanna had picked at dawn. It tasted amazing. The sugar was used to make apple jam to eat with toasted bread.
People were talking and laughing comfortably. When Seria asked Ben, the butler, why the Blue Sea box was locked up in the storage room, he gave her a neat answer.
“Lord Mies was caught trying to steal it.”
“Who is Lord Mies?”
“He’s the illegitimate son of the previous Grand Duke.”
“……Oh, uhm, can you tell me about that?”
“I don’t know about anyone else, but it’s not something to hide from the Young Lady. After all, you’re the Grand Duchess of Berg.”
‘Is that so? I don’t think so…’
Somehow, that was the phrase Seria heard often ever since she came to the manor.
This was the last night before leaving the green manor. Seria was restless and couldn’t fall asleep even though it was a little later than her normal sleeping time. As she was staring at the ceiling…
She heard the sound of metal plates moving. She tried to pass it off as no big deal, thinking maybe the servants were doing something downstairs.
Clattering, clattering, clattering, clattering, clattering, clattering.
Startled, Seria reached out and grabbed Lesche, who was lying next to her.
“Lesche? What’s that noise?”
Lesche asked after a short pause.
“What are you talking about?”
“You don’t hear anything…?”
Seria was being serious, but she was also scared. Unlike her, Lesche was one of the best knights of Berg, so all of his senses must be sharp. But was she the only one who could hear the strange noise? Seria started shaking and realized a moment later that she was squeezing Lesche’s hand.
She also noticed that Lesche’s hand, which was hard perhaps from holding the sword for so long, wrapped around her hand.
“Your Highness, no, Lesche. Really…Can’t you hear it?”
“I can hear it, Seria. I was joking when I said I couldn’t.”
“You were joking?”
In a flash, Lesche got up from the bed and neatly lifted Seria up as she stared at him with a puzzled look on her face. She blinked several times.
“Lesche….you don’t care if I go crazy, do you?”
“You have a vivid imagination. I joked because you suddenly hold my hand.”
‘If only you weren’t an authority figure….’
“Can I ask what you’re thinking?”
“I’m thinking if Lesche wasn’t my husband, I would have punched you.”
“If you have to hit someone, it’s better to hit me than to hit another man.”
“Are you serious?”
“I’m always serious when I talk to you.”
Seria clenched her fists tightly but then gave up. Lesche’s body muscles probably were as hard as a rock, even if she did punch him, her hand would probably get hurt instead. But she thought she shouldn’t make a big deal out of a joke.
She was actually relieved.
“Really, I thought I was the one who heard it.”
Lesche heard it too.
“Can the others hear it?”
“I thought I was crazy. It turned out no one could hear it.”
“Is that the sound?”
‘It sounds so bad… but only the two of us can hear it?’
Seria’s head began to spin quickly from the inexplicable fear. She thought about the similarities between her and Lesche and why they were the only two who could hear the sound. What immediately came to mind was divine power. Lesche and Seria both have divine power.
Because Lesche was one of the heads of the 17 families.
Seventeen families of the Glick Empire with divine power.
The original story was accompanied by a very detailed explanation.
Greme, the founder of the Glick Empire and a great sage. This founder was said to have been blessed by the gods. He accepted and took care of a small baptist who was being persecuted by the existing indigenous religious forces at that time with the eyes of a wise man.
Later, the Baptist became a savior and blessed Greme with two divine blessings. One was the prosperity of the current imperial family of the Glick Empire. The other was the emergence of 17 families that would be prosperous for eternity with the Glick Imperial Family. They were called by their family name, Grand de Shette.
Over the centuries, the seventeen families rose and fell. At times, some families fell to the lowest rank in the nobility, but the legacy did not cease. Of course, the fact that there were such people meant that there were families that still maintain their power at the top.
The Marquis of Haneton, the Marquis of Kellyden, and the Grand Duke of Berg were among the most prominent.
Their successors were set to possess some degree of holy power from generation to generation, so it was natural that they could make contact with Lina, the Saintess.
Seria left Lesche behind and walked with trepidation. Her destination was outside the bedroom. Oddly enough, as soon as she opened the door, she didn’t hear any more sounds. But when she closed the door, the sound continued. Seria looked around with a pale face.
Rattle. Rattle. Rattle. Rattle.
Wasn’t this the situation right before something happened in a ghost story? Since when did this novel become so scary? As a person who was afraid of the horror genre, this was too much for her.
Suddenly Lesche grabbed her hand.
“Why are you shivering so much? Are you cold?”
“No, it’s scary.”
“I really don’t understand you. Weren’t you the one that went down the stairs last night alone and met scary people?”
“Do you still remember that?”
“I want to remember it for the rest of my life.”
“Can you be generous?”
“A narrow-minded husband would be hated by any woman.”
Seria was shaking and looking around nervously, and said whatever came to mind.
“How do you know that?”
Suddenly, the sound became louder.
In a world where there were sacred powers and gods, there couldn’t possibly be ghosts, could it? It seemed there were….
Seria froze, concentrating on her mind. Divine power seemed to be the answer. Was it fortunate or unfortunate? She didn’t have to wait long before she decided to find the root of the problem. There was nothing on the first floor. There was nothing on the ground floor, but there was something further down: the basement.
Come to think of it, the Magi’s root was also in the basement.
But there was something Seria didn’t understand. The root of the demon shadow should be something evil, similar to demonic energy, but what she felt just now was the subtle sacred power.
“Is there a temple in the basement by any chance?”
“There’s nothing like that down there.”
“But I could feel the divine power very faintly from below.”
Lesche stared at Seria then said,
“It could be an old holy object that gives out that energy….”
Suddenly Lesche grabbed Seria by the shoulders and led her straight to the bed. She blinked and looked at Lesche curiously.
“Go to sleep. I’ll go down and check it out.”
Of course, Lesche couldn’t go alone.
No matter how much Lesche wanted to leave Seria alone in the big, dark, empty, and noisy bedroom, Seria wouldn’t want to stay behind.
Besides, thinking she was a Stern, and she was the one who could sense that divine energy. How could she stay put?
Of course, Lesche was just being considerate because Seria was scared and shaking.
There was nothing in the underground basement. The only thing lying on the floor were the scraps of the imprints that the sorcerers had left burning.
The basement seemed to be much larger than the first time she came down, perhaps because there were many people down here at the same time.
Lesche walked towards the Blue Sea Box and Seria walked to the other side. She was scared, but she wanted to check and get it over with as soon as possible.
The light was dark. It looked like the lamp was running out of oil.
As she walked toward the wall and lifted the lamp up to see it close up, she could see dozens of frozen faces like wax figures appeared on the wall.
The moment Seria wobbled, unable to scream, a firm arm immediately squeezed her shoulder. The dim lamp tumbled to the floor, and she gasped. A moment later she realized that she was held in Lesche’s chest. Seria shuddered and said,
“Lesche. I saw faces over there.”
Lesche shone the light on the wall. Seria slipped out of his embrace and turned around. She saw it in the light…
Jumped up at the sight of the portraits, Seria felt embarrassed, but at the same time, she was terrified. As she pressed her cheeks with her hands, she heard Lesche’s voice.
“First time seeing it might be scary.”
Seria looked at Lesche.
“You’re saying this because you think I might be embarrassed?”
Lesche clicked his tongue. He turned away from the portrait and picked up the lamp on the floor and handed it to Seria.
“I’m just saying.”
His answer was short. But for some reason, it brought a smile to her lips. The lamp that Lesche held up illuminated the white portraits. Beneath them, were small inscriptions of names, all had the same surname.