Chapter 1 - Prologue
“If it’s Berg’s, it’s all yours, My Lady.”
It was a surprise.
A small number of people were close to Seria at Laurel Manor. She became close to the servants, and after getting rid of Magi, they all naturally treated her as Berg’s Grand Duchess. Seria was used to it because she heard it every day there, but the truth was that there was a great deal of misunderstanding.
She was a temporary Grand Duchess with a rambunctious and flamboyant past for a marriage that hasn’t even been approved yet. The servants shuddered, and Susan immediately gave them the eye of a tiger.
“You’re sloppy. Hurry up and clean up.”
The maids hurried to clean up the broken glass vase. Actually, Berg’s servants were very good at their job. They must have the pride of being servants of a great nobleman to work so hard even in the absence of the senior employees.
However, suddenly, top class employees appeared like a comet, and they were very friendly to her. Even now, Berg’s servants were good to her, but that was only because of the notoriety that Seria had neatly and properly built up.
‘Yeah, it’s fine either way.’
She wasn’t one to dwell on such trivial matters. Rather, she felt that Berg’s mansion had hundreds of servants, and having two very friendly managers would come in handy when Lesche made her sign a slave contract again.
Seria was rubbing the pendant while thinking.
“Would you like to try on the circlet once?”
At Susan’s suggestion, Seria tried it on. Afterwards, she looked in the mirror….
“Let’s just keep this for viewing purposes.”
The circlet had a flashy design with a bright red ruby in the center of the golden star. It didn’t go too well with Seria’s unusual green hair. It was so tacky that she felt embarrassed.
She didn’t know how on earth Lina managed to wear it on her forehead all the time.
Susan smiled at her as she removed the circlet from Seria’s forehead*. Apparently, it was the first piece of jewelry that Lesche had presented to Seria.
(*Apparently it’s an accessory to wear it on the forehead.)
The first official gift.
‘According to the custom, I think you should wear it for a while.’
For a moment, she was lost in deep thought. When she thought about wearing this flashing thing on her forehead, her fingers trembled.
It was deep into the night that day.
At the end of the half-day long meeting, Lesche received an unexpected report from his aide.
“Lady Seria requested a meeting.”
Lesche’s movements stopped instantly.
“When was that?”
It was around three in the afternoon.
Lesche looked at the clock and it was already six hours past.
He immediately left his seat and went upstairs to the Grand Duchess’s bedroom. As soon as he opened the bedroom door, a cold wind blew across his cheeks. It was strange. The bedroom should be warm. With a frown on his forehead, Lesche walked into the large bedroom and shifted his gaze along the direction the wind was blowing.
The window was open.
The cool night air came straight in through the window. He could see a silhouette standing there.
It was Seria Stern.
Lesche looked at Seria’s back for a moment, then slowly stepped closer to her. Seria didn’t hear the sound of the door opening due to the sound of the wind, and when she heard footsteps, Seria averted her gaze from the window and turned.
Seria was standing against the moonlight.
Lesche parted his lips.
“Are you going to freeze to death?”
“With this much cold?”
She replied. She was only wearing pajamas. Lesche took off the jacket he was wearing and wrapped it over Seria’s shoulders. What could he say to someone who was unconscious for three days?
“You said you wanted to see me. Why didn’t you tell Linon?”
“It’s not urgent.”
As she said it, Seria suddenly spread open the collar of her pajamas. Lesche reflexively averted his gaze.
The sound of metal clashing could be heard, and soon Seria tugged Lesche’s sleeve. Only then did Lesche look back at her.
Seria had a necklace on her neck. It was the pendant that Lesche had seen before. No, it was a pendant that he remembered clearly. The Laurel Manor. It was something that Seria didn’t let go of until the end, when she passed out in the Ossuary, hidden in the green manor’s basement.
Seria opened her mouth in a tone of anguish.
“I really appreciate you giving this to me. I took it apart and made it into a necklace.”
What did she mean? For a moment, Lesche could not quite understand Seria’s words. She read his expression brilliantly and immediately frowned.
“It was a circlet.”
“It’s an accessory you wear on your forehead?”
“Yes, it is. But objectively… How can a person wear it on the forehead?”
“Was that the problem?”
Lesche laughed gleefully.
“I don’t think it’s bad.”
“Are you serious?”
“I have no reason to lie.”
“Then would you like to try it once?”
“Yes? On your forehead?”
“You can put it on my forehead or my neck. Have it your way.”
Seria looked at him as if he was a rascal in disgrace, and without hesitation, she removed the necklace from her neck. Then, she stretched her hand out and tried to put the necklace on Lesche’s neck.
“Why are you so tall?”
“You just noticed it now?”
“Bend down, please.”
“As low as you want.”
Lesche gently lowered his head. Seria’s fingers, lightly clasping the necklace, rub against his neck. It was an unfamiliar sensation to him. It seemed to be the same for Seria as well. She paused and withdrew her hand.
“I still think it will look better on your forehead?”
Seria placed the necklace on Lesche’s forehead. She was very careful and didn’t touch Lesche’s skin. However….
Lesche was now at her eyes level. He looked closely into Seria’s eyes. At that moment, Seria pretended not to see it. She didn’t even try to meet them.
“I’ll wear it…”
Seria cleared her throat and hurriedly took the necklace and put it on her neck. It looked like she was going to run away somewhere, shivering as if she was about to get caught. Seria didn’t know what Lesche was thinking as he looked at her. She just kept coughing.
“Um, Lesche? I was going to say, but I forgot, the pendant from the circlet. It holds sacred power.”
“Sounds like a holy object. It’s common.”
“It holds more sacred power than a common relic. There’s a lot more to it than that.”
“That’s why you look good.”
“Is that all there is to it?”
“Do you know how important a gemstone with this much sacred power is? You have to take it back.”
“I don’t have a hobby of taking back what I gave.”
In Lesche’s eyes, it really was Seria’s possession. It was because the black shadow gradually disappeared while the pendant was held in Seria’s hand. If anyone else had witnessed the scene, they would have thought the same.
“The shadows disappeared as you held it.”
“In the manor too?”
Lesche said, looking outside the window.
“The shadow in the manor is gone. It’s all gone.”
Seria touched the pendant and pushed it into the collar of her pajamas.
“I’ll take it, then.”
She didn’t want to seem greedy, but she also liked this necklace. It was burdensome when it was a circlet, but it wasn’t so bad wearing it as a necklace. Besides, the divine power that this pendant exuded seemed to suit her.
A winter night breeze came in through the window. What she saw from the window was just a vast garden of the Berg mansion.
“I’m going to inspect the glacier again next week.”
The first thing that came to Lesche’s mind when he heard Seria’s not-so-notice was that the knights would really like it.
It was that they opened up so easily to Stern. It was natural for the knights of the Grand Duchy to protect the glacier.
As the master of this estate, he thought it was really too flimsy to even consider, but he had no choice.
It was not that Berg’s knights liked Seria just as a Grand Duchess, but also for her character.
After witnessing the demon’s curse, they were fascinated by the constellation armor, the metal of the stars, which protected them from Magi, and henceforth they inevitably admired Stern, the God-given star.
Because they were welcomed everywhere like this, the Sterns did not feel the need to ingratiate themselves with the Grand Duchy of Berg.
“Are you planning to make all the knights in the Grand Duchy your slaves?”
Lesche was only half joking. Seria rested her elbows on the windowsill and propped her chin on her hands.
“It would be nice.”
“You would like it?”
“I want people to be nice and not hate me.”
It was a really surprising answer. Lesche frowned.
“Don’t you think the same, Lesche?” (*Seria meant that Lesche hated her too.)
Somehow, Seria seemed very different and strange.
Lesche swallowed his words. At that moment, the wind blew hard, Seria grabbed the jacket that covered her tightly with both hands. The long sleeves were curved long like wings. Her soft hair fluttered at the same time.
It slowly calmed and came down again on Seria’s shoulders and back.
“The wind is strong.”
“Berg’s winters are harsh.”
“Isn’t Lesche cold?”
“I’m not cold, why don’t you put more clothes on?”
Lesche got closer and buttoned the jacket around Seria’s neck. Perhaps feeling uncomfortable because of the close contact earlier, Seria involuntarily averted her gaze and slipped away. The gentle moonlight shone through the window. It seemed as if it smudged her white skin.
Her face strangely caught his eyes. Was the changed Seria the real Seria, or was the Seria of the past the real her…? Lesche could not tell easily.