Chapter 1 - Prologue
The situation was completely different. In the beginning of the original story, Lina wanted to make a good impression on Lesche, the lord of the castle, so she followed him around.
But how did the cold and indifferent male protagonist act? Lesche found Lina annoying and wouldn’t look at Lina, who followed him to the frozen lake.
Then suddenly a thick mist appeared and a large moon floated over Lina. Lesche rushed to catch Lina, but in the end, the original story said that Lina was returned to her world by the moon.
Seria squinted. She could see Lesche in the distance. He was talking to the priests, and the atmosphere seemed strange.
It was understandable because of what had just happened.
As Seria turned around and headed back the way she came, she thought it over.
It wasn’t uncommon for someone to develop other feelings if they thought about someone for a long time. As far as Seria knew, that was the case. In the original story, Lesche felt guilty for not being able to catch Lina, who cried for help. That emotion was the ignition point of his romance.
It was the guilt that came from missing Lina.
In a way, it was still going in the same direction as the original.
The priests knew that Lesche lost Lina right in front of them.
‘Is he feeling guilty right now for not being able to help Lina a while ago?’
Then someone suddenly grabbed Seria by the wrist. Seria turned around.
“You just stared at people and walked away?”
‘Did he see me?’
Seria didn’t know Lesche was watching her, in fact, she didn’t even know when he approached her.
“I thought you were in a meeting with the priests.”
“It’s not a big deal.”
Answering simply, Lesche wrinkled his brow.
“Are you not feeling well?”
“Your eyebrows look shaggy.”
“My eyebrows have always been like that.”
Seria raised her hand and stroked her eyebrows. It felt the same to her, but Lesche’s gaze was focused on her the whole time. Once again, Seria realized that while his gaze was basically cold, it often had a darker, sinful tinge to it. Just like now.
Was that why? Seria suddenly felt like asking Lesche. One question that rose up like a cloud and filled her mind.
“There is something I would like to know.”
“But it might be a bit of an uncomfortable question.”
“What is it?”
“Are you feeling guilty, by any chance?”
“Guilt? To whom. You?”
Since she was asking anyway, Seria wanted to make it clear.
Lesche didn’t answer right away. Rather, he looked at Seria as if he was looking at a strange creature. He looked around as if to check if anyone was around. Then he looked at Seria again.
“Did you just ask me that?”
“… If it’s not you, who else is here?”
“I thought you were asking someone else a ridiculous question.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about. Why would I feel guilty about a saint?”
“I heard you couldn’t catch Lina.”
Seria hurriedly added.
“I’m not blaming you.”
“Are you worried?”
Lesche had a look of triumph when Seria answered.
“I didn’t know you saw me as a saint.” (*Lesche meant that he didn’t know Seria thinks of him as a nice/ kind person like a saint.)
Lesche said, raising his eyebrows.
“It was the Saintess who ran out of the barracks without permission. I didn’t yell at her to leave, so why would I feel guilty about it?”
Seria blinked slowly. As was her habit, she tried to read Lesche’s expression. But he wasn’t lying. He wasn’t the kind of man who would lie anyway. He just spoke his raw sincerity without hesitation. Who dared to say something?
“I don’t feel any guilt.”
Lesche said with a strong voice as if he thought Seria was doubting him.
“Seria. Who the hell am I in your head? I can’t figure it out.”
Surely it wasn’t guilt. Lesche was just irritated by the current situation. When Seria was being embarrassed about her question, Lesche suddenly raised his head. A knight approached with a haggard look on his face.
“I’m here to pick you up.”
“High Priest Amos has entered into eternal rest.”
“May he be at peace in the arms of God.”
Amos’s immediate high priest already had swollen eyes. He simply retreated with tears streaming down his face as if he no longer had the energy to speak in his usual long-winded manner. Seria didn’t see Amos’s body until the end.
However, she had a pretty good idea of his condition.
A handful of hair was cut off to mourn the deceased, and Lesche put it in the coffin. He said it was a useless thing to do, but he cut his hair anyway. It was a relief that it was winter.
The Great Temple and the Imperial Court each dispatched people in rapid succession, and since they were always together, the nobles involved in major incidents were busy covering up.
“I heard Lady Eloise Hedon helped the Saintess escape.”
“She was running away with her lover, leaving her fiancé behind.”
“I can’t believe they took the Saintess to that dangerous place…..”
“I heard that Heden was completely turned upside down.”
Just like the high priest, who was busy crying and trying to get the situation under control, Lesche was also very busy. Everywhere, it was the same for the person with the highest title, and Lesche was one of the highest-ranking men in the entire continent.
He decided that there was no reason to stay here any longer, so their belongings had already been packed and loaded onto the carriage. Seria walked slowly around the barracks, waiting for Abigail to return.
Before she knew it, the world-shattering snow had stopped. The sky was clear and the sun was warm.
But it was still as cold as ever.
Seria shivered lightly. The winter wind was blowing. Her barracks had already been dismantled by Berg’s followers. It would take a lot of work to clean it up, especially since it was cold and there would be no place to sit and rest.
She sat down in one of the chairs that the knight had placed next to the barracks. As Seria was slouching against the cold, a group of apprentice priests, trays in hand, hurrying along, came up to her at a trot and bowed.
Then a young priest politely offered Seria a cup. It was a rather clunky cup made of wood, and inside was a warm liquor. It was a drink to honor the deceased. It was customary in this world to pass around liquor when a person died.
Since the person who was a big figure had left the world, the original etiquette was to serve it in a glass cup. …. It seemed that they had hurriedly flown in some wooden cups because of the situation.
The liquor in the wooden cups was warm, but the scent wafting through the air was a bit unusual. As Seria sniffed to see what it was, she jerked her head away in surprise.
The liquor was made from snake strawberries. Seria couldn’t drink it.
Suddenly a familiar voice called her name. Seria looked up. Kalis was right in front of her. He looked worn out.
Kalis took the cup Seria was holding and offered her a water bottle he was carrying.
“Here, drink this.”
Seria didn’t take the water bottle that Kalis offered her.
“I already had a drink.”
Kalis grabbed Seria’s hand and placed the water bottle on it with a thud.
“You’re allergic to snake strawberries.”
It was so long ago but Kalis still remembered. He looked at Seria and immediately turned away without saying a word. Seria frowned as she watched him walking away.
The water bottle Kalis gave her was warm, but she wasn’t going to open it and drink it. But that didn’t mean she was going to chase after him to return it.
She was about to leave it, but then discovered that the lid was sterling silver.
On the gleaming sterling silver was a small design of the Haneton family’s seal, and to anyone who looked at it, it belonged to Kalis, or the knights under Kalis’s command.
Seria turned away from the symbol and looked around. If anyone else saw this, it would be the opening of the second act of the scandal.
She didn’t need to become the talk of the town. Seria grabbed the water bottle and stood up. She didn’t feel like going directly to return it to Kalis. So she looked for an apprentice priest to bring it back to Marquis Haneton.
It was then that she heard Alliot’s voice. He called out to her, certainly from a very far distance.
But in no time at all, he was standing in front of her. The Knight Commander, Alliot, who had run a short distance at a fast speed, didn’t show any signs of distress.
“There you are. I’m here to pick you up.”
“Are you done packing?”
“I’m almost done. We should be ready to board the carriage…What’s that water bottle? It has a Haneton’s symbol.”
Good kinetic vision was a common trait among the knights. Alliot perceived the Haneton’s symbol engraved on the nail-sized lid as if it were a demon.
“By the way, what’s in the cup?”
“Liquor. Because the liquor is prepared here from snake strawberries. I can’t drink liquor made from snake strawberries.”
“It’s not a drink for nobles’ palates. And to be honest, heating up liquor brewed with berries is also a strange alcoholic beverage that I wouldn’t even look at if I wasn’t in this situation.”
“It’s not that. It’s because I’m allergic to snake strawberries.”
Alliot blinked slowly. He scratched his chin lightly.
“I’m sure His Highness won’t be too happy to hear that.”
“His Highness? Why?”
“No, I can see why His Highness would want to keep a guard on the young lady all day.”
“I have spoken very little with Kalis.”
This practically was the first conversation Seria had with Kalis since she arrived at the barracks. At that moment, one of the apprentice priests sauntered by.
“Here! Stern, did you call for me?”
“Could you please bring this to Marquis Haneton?”
The apprentice priest replied politely and held out his hands. Seria placed the water bottle on his hands.
“I see it belongs to Marquis Haneton. I’ll bring it to him right away.”
Suddenly, his voice trailed off mid-sentence, as the water bottle in his hands was suddenly lifted up. His eyes and Seria’s lined up to look at the man who had taken the bottle.
The man’s red eyes stared at Seria with deep frustration.
“Did he come to bother you again?”