Chapter 1 - Prologue
Lesche and tears were as incompatible a combination as seawater and cotton bedding. Even in the original, he had never been depicted as crying.
Lesche asked sensitively, even though Seria didn’t look at him for very long.
“No. It’s a little red under your eyes.”
Seria regretted it immediately after she said it. So what if Lesche was red under his eyes?
“If you’re in a lot of pain, should I go down and get some painkillers?”
“Yes, or I can call the doctor.”
“Do you think I cried because I was sick?”
Lesche laughed in exasperation as Seria stood still, having been shown the error of her ways.
“My eyes are always like that.”
“Is it strange?”
“No, it’s not strange.”
It was true. It wasn’t that Seria thought it was strange.
“I’ve seen you for a long time, and it’s weird that I just noticed it now.”
“You are usually afraid to look at my eyes.”
If a person has too intense of a look in their eyes, the others can’t recall them. Lesche was just such a case. To a great extent, this man was the same way with the rest of his body, which was also equally intense. His face, his body, his height were immediately overwhelmed by his appearance so much that the small details were not yet captured.
Lesche asked in a slightly slower voice.
“How about now?”
Seria turned her gaze, which she had been secretly avoiding, back to Lesche. His eyes were cold and expressionless, but the red eyes and the silvery lashes that fell …. There was a strangeness in Lesche’s eyes that remarkably fascinated people.
Certainly it also showed in one’s face that he was a great man. Seria suddenly found herself staring at Lesche in a daze. After a moment, she realized that he was also staring at her.
She wondered if “accepting” was the right word. She felt as if his eyes were biting her. Red shining eyes. It was like after all this time, their close proximity was being recognized. Silence. A strange tension. A close distance that felt like it was about to reach somewhere at any moment.
Seria couldn’t help but turn her head away, feeling odd at that moment. Roughly, she stared at a corner of the bed.
That was when a firm hand grabbed a strand of her hair that was flowing down her cheek and passed it behind her ear. A fingertip passed through her ear and lightly touched her chin before leaving. As it grazed her skin, there was an unusual heat. Seria felt like she was burning a little.
Lesche, who’d been staring at Seria the whole time, said,
A low voice breaking the silence. It was late at night.
“…… Good night.”
Seria hurried out of Lesche’s bedroom. As she walked toward the Grand Duchess’s bedroom, she raised her hand and touched her ear. It was a moment of heat. Of course it had already disappeared, floating in the air.
Somewhere in her heart, the water seemed to fill slowly. It was such a strange feeling.
It was early in the morning of the next day, not even the sun had risen yet.
Lesche woke up. He used to sleep less and wake up earlier in the morning. If there was something that was different today, it was the wet, foreign feeling he could feel on his forehead. It was a wet hand towel that Seria had placed on his forehead.
After she left the bedroom last night, Lesche lay down and stared at the hand towel, letting it rest on his vision. He did so for a period of time that was not quite short.
After that, he slept with it on his forehead.
Lesche, who was reflecting on what happened yesterday, sat up after a while. There was a document that drew his gaze to a small table placed right next to the bed.
The cover letter was the size of a gate, so he couldn’t help but look at it. It was that document that Seria had left behind. Lesche smiled as he covered his mouth with his hand.
He wondered where Seria learned all this stuff.
Lately, whenever Linon had a document that needed to be approved, he would print it out with a lot of ink like this and put the title on the cover in a weird way. Thanks to this, even if there were a hundred other documents scattered about, Linon’s document would be the first to catch his attention.
A title-writing style that reveals its unique presence. Lesche’s eyes turned round. He wondered in what spirit she had devised this bizarre method of not being swamped by other documents, but he guessed Linon had learned it from Seria.
‘Where on earth did she learn such a thing?’
Everything about Seria these days was a mystery to him.
Anyway, the only thing that was amazing was the pressure to read this document as quickly as possible. Lesche pulled the string and the servants came in immediately.
The servants had a curious look on their faces. Because Lesche was holding a document in one hand and a hand towel in the other.
The document made sense, but the hand towel?
Since Lesche, the master of the house, always woke up at a certain time, hot water was always prepared in the bathroom at this time. But this was the first time in their lives that they had seen the Grand Duke with a hand towel, so… The servants didn’t know what was going on, but they couldn’t ask.
After getting out of the bath and straightening his clothes, Ben waited. He bowed deeply to Lesche and asked,
“Your Highness, how are you feeling?
“Seria gave me a fever reducer.”
“Yes, Susan told me.”
“You got better in a day, even without eating. The Grand Duke didn’t want the Duchess to have to take care of him.”
Lesche was very aware that he was the Grand Duke of Berg, though it was rare for him to be sick. He would have called his doctor if he had a feeling that he was going to be in a lot of pain because if he put off the treatment and his symptoms worsened, and he had to rest, the work of the Grand Duchy would be completely paralyzed.
In other words, there was nothing wrong with having such a meeting for nearly eight hours yesterday. The Grand Duke would just go straight to bed and sleep it off.
“Still, Your Highness. You’re less hurt thanks to Young Lady.”
‘Less hurt’. It wasn’t the wrong word. Lesche thought of the pill that had tumbled out of Seria’s hand last night. No, to be honest, the memory of her fingers touching his lips lingered still lingered. And he held Seria’s hand with the medicine up to his mouth unknowingly.
‘What was I doing?’
Lesche felt stupid.
“Please come, Your Highness. I’ve prepared a meal for you.”
Ben was smiling. Lesche clicked his tongue at the apparent intent of Ben’s smile.
Despite the fever boiling up like that, Lesche was completely healed the next day. The male lead with amazing physical strength was really… a scam, wasn’t it?
Of course, even when he was sick, he was busy checking all the garden related documents.
Seria herself had a habit of handling her work quickly because of her previous life, but what on earth was Lesche? She felt like she understood why Linon, a talented man, would make Lesche his lord.
But so be it.
A few days passed. Seria saw the empty garden again today. When she first saw it, she thought, “I guess there are no ruins like this,” but now that the construction plan was almost complete, her mind naturally pictured a garden full of greenery.
To put it more bluntly, a garden that smelled of money…
“O’Bron handed in his resignation in the morning. My Lady.”
“Resignation? Is that even necessary?”
“He looked very sick.”
“Why? He was in good health until a week ago, wasn’t he?”
“I’m sure you’ve heard this before, Young Lady, but people who almost get eaten by the demons can suffer serious mental injuries.”
‘Wait a minute.’
Seria lifted her eyes as she listened to Linon.
“So are you saying I’m a demon?”
“The difference between awe and fear is a small one. As a matter of fact, every time I look at you, I think of the demons.”
Seria crossed her arms when Linon said that with a smile.
“Don’t try to put this on me. Do you think I don’t know that O’Bron quit because he feared retaliation. After all,you, Linon, were kneeling down?”
Linon’s smile deepened a bit more as he flinched for a moment.
“It’s not a lie.”
“That’s enough. Go on.”
“Yes, My Lady.”
Perhaps he was busy worrying about the garden, and Linon disappeared in a flash. Seria looked out the window and was lost in thoughts.
She had belatedly heard the news that Eloise Hedon canceled the engagement with her fiancé. It turned out that she was almost taken to the High Temple with her secret lover.
They came to the conclusion that the Saintess had disappeared from the world altogether, and it was God’s will, and they were soothed by it, but it would all go right down the drain.
In the original story, Lina didn’t disappear with such a fuss… this time, the High Priest was involved and died and evaporated from the place where numerous Glick Empire nobles were, so an even bigger ripple effect was expected.
There would be whispering for a long time until Lina showed up again in a year.
Seria decided that for the time being she would try not to go in front of it instead. It would be a good idea to avoid noisy scenes everywhere.
There were things to do.
One of them was to send a letter to the other Stern, Miyot.
Since she had become Lesche’s slave anyway, Seria decided she would start inspecting the glaciers of Berg again next winter.
This was actually the first time Seria had sent a letter to Miyot, as the Stern had very little contact with each other. She was a little worried about how the reply would be received, considering the haughty nature of the Stern people.
[Why don’t you stay at Berg for the rest of your life?]
The reply came very briefly.
Seria folded the letter, put it in the box, and looked out the window.
The Berg mansion was noisier than usual. After the end of the year party, the nobles gathered again. This time, the reason was a bit more polite.
It was to congratulate her on her marriage to the Grand Duke of Berg.