Chapter 1 - Prologue
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Seria told Abigail to be as picky as possible because the later the better, and she seemed to be doing well.
Seria looked with amusement at Nissos, who was smiling as he tried to stay close to her. It was interesting to see him dressed like that, aware of the eyes on him, but afraid to go anywhere because of the Marquis’ orders.
Meanwhile, the first dance song was over.
While standing by the wall with Nissos, Seria lifted her gaze.
‘Why did you come?’
Marquis Kellyden was coming towards Seria with his wife and Cassius. As they approached, countless aristocrats hurried to clear the way.
They stopped in front of Seria. In fact, it was the first time Seria was with the family since she possessed the original Seria.
In the meantime, Cassius came alone, wondering where he had left Lady Mensla. As usual, when Seria saw him she felt nervous and her body trembled, but it was much better than the first time.
“Why aren’t you two dancing? Are you going to be a flower on the wall side by side?”
When the Marquis asked in a terse tone, Nissos whined like a baby.
“Seria says she can’t dance with me.”
“Why is that?”
Seria answered without hesitation.
“I’ve already scheduled the first dance with the Knight of Berg.”
Nissos clung to Marquis Kellyden.
“Look, father. I don’t have a chance, can I dance with another lady?”
“Nissos Kellyden. Have you forgotten my words already?”
The Marquis reminded Nissos again. At that time, the Kellyden relatives, who were one of the most powerful aristocrats in the West, began to approach the Marquis and the Marchioness to have a conversation. The Marquis and his wife turned their gaze towards Seria from time to time.
It was when they played the dance song three times.
It was Cassius’s voice, sounding low. Seria looked back. Cassius was approaching. She clenched her fists in a cold sweat, but she steeled herself, folded her arms and asked,
“What is it?”
“Stop being so stubborn and dance with Nissos. When you leave, Nissos will be ridiculed in the West, as the brother who only hangs around his sister, and can’t even dance properly.”
‘Oh, are you threatening me now?’
“You sound desperate.”
Cassius’s expression hardened immediately.
“Is there any reason why I should consider Nissos’s reputation?”
“Have you ever thought about my reputation that way?”
“You have never acted like a decent woman.”
“So all you did was just pretend not to see me and ignored me altogether, didn’t you?”
‘Come to think of it, even if I ran away from the Kellyden, they could have come looking for me. They didn’t even do that. I didn’t even run away quietly, and the first time I ran away, I was really confused.’
“I can tell you’re tired of my viciousness and don’t want to be bothered with me. So I didn’t say anything, but now you want me to hold his hand and smile?”
Cassius’s bright blue eyes looked Seria straight in the eye.
“Can’t you just bend over a little this time to apologize for your evil behavior?”
“Yes. If you do that, we’ll look at you differently. Wouldn’t it change a lot if you were a little obedient?”
‘I’m sorry, but I’ve figured out the power structure here. Being obedient was enough for the Marquis. No, who the hell are you to tell the Duke of Berk to be obedient in the first place?
That’s arrogant too.’
Seria responded with a mocking look.
“I don’t want to.”
Cassius yelled low through clenched teeth, so Seria flinched and closed her eyes. And at that moment… Her pride was very hurt.
“What is it?”
‘What on earth could Cassius have done to Seria to make her so scared? D*mn it, should I just call Abigail to kill him right here? It isn’t too much work to have two funerals, right? So I can just send them off together?’
Seria was so scared just a moment ago that such a senseless thought disturbed her mind. It was a vivid fear that was imprinted on her body. Her body began to shake like it did when she first saw Cassius, or when Lina mentioned Seria’s biological mother.
Cassius didn’t move away from her, even though he should have been able to see Seria’s bright blue face properly. She managed to squeeze out Seria’s characteristic venom. She thought about getting up the courage to quickly step on Cassius’s foot with the sole of her shoe, but…
“Cassius, what are you doing?” The Marquis asked.
An unexpected savior. Seria stared at the Marquis, she didn’t know when he had come. Cassius looked a little embarrassed, perhaps he didn’t expect it either.
Marquis Kellyden carefully examined Seria’s expression and opened his mouth.
“Seria doesn’t look well.”
“Perhaps it’s because Seria has been standing too long. I will take good care of her, and father can go talk to relatives…”
Seria quickly cut off Cassius’s words. She immediately approached the Marquis and grabbed his arm. She felt the Marquis’s arm hardened, but she didn’t care. Her hands were shaking and she thought, ‘This much is okay.’
“Cassius keeps threatening me.”
Instantly, Cassius’s ceremonial smile hardened. The Marquis immediately asked back.
“Seria must be mistaken…”
Seria quickly stood on her tiptoes and whispered to the Marquis.
“He told me that if I don’t dance with Nissos, he’ll not let me get away with it.”
“He doesn’t listen to father and acts like he’s the Lord.”
Seria deliberately chose only the most provocative words, and the Marquis immediately scowled in displeasure.
“…Don’t try to drive a wedge between the family with such awful words, Seria.”
“That is my own personal opinion, but what I said before is true, father.”
The Marquis did see Seria’s pale expression earlier, so he should believe her.
“I always tremble when I see Cassius.”
The Marquis looked at Seria and said to Cassius.
“Cassius, your sister hasn’t been here in a long time, do you have to behave so harshly instead of welcoming her?”
Cassius’s shoulders shook as the Marquis’s voice became colder than ever.
“I’m not finished with my words yet. There are many eyes here.”
Cassius quickly bowed his head at the Marquis’s cold response. It was then. The Marchioness, who seemed to be quietly watching the situation from a fairly close distance, approached quickly.
“Seria? Did I hear you wrong? Cassius… what?”
“You’ll have to ask your father, Marchioness.”
Normally, the Marchioness and Seria maintained this level of firmness in their conversation. Unexpectedly, however, she looked surprised when she heard Seria.
“Oh, Seria. Why do you speak so coldly?”
Seria gasped, tilting her chin and immediately fuming.
“.. Are you crying? Right now? Marchioness?”
The Marchioness was in tears.
“Do you really have to talk like that? It’s been a while since you’ve been here like this. I’m already sad that you didn’t dance with me. Seria…”
Her tears were powerful. It was very rare for a noble as high ranking as her to cry in a public place. And because it was rare, the effect went without saying.
“Also, I recommended Marquis Haneton, but you refused and humiliated him.”
‘I humiliated Kalis?’
Some of the nobles were particularly upset by the Marchioness’ words. All of their faces were new to Seria, but she could tell because the pattern of their family crests was clearly engraved on the banqueting cloak that one of them wore.
They were the vassals of Haneton.
Seria’s head ached instantly. The word “humiliated” was far-fetched, though it was true that she avoided Kalis.
There were so many people here and she could catch the sharp glances of some of the nobles. So she avoided Kalis, knowing that the extent of it didn’t matter, but if the Marchioness continued being this blunt and kept bringing it up, the situation would change.
Now was just the time. The Marchioness’s words and her actions met and the atmosphere flowed badly.
Murmurs broke out here and there.
“What a disgrace!”
“She wants to humiliate the people of the West just because she became the Grand Duchess of Berg?”
“That’s not true.”
“It’s too arrogant and disrespectful of you to behave like that.”
‘Isn’t it too much to try to tie me up with the Berg family?’
Seria searched her memory without getting upset first. However, the original Seria’s response to such a disadvantageous situation was to glare at them with venomous eyes, shout, and pour the champagne she was holding and break the glass.
Those methods were not good to use now. The Marchioness continued to speak.
“Seria, even though you broke off the marriage with Marquis Haneton, isn’t that in the past? You don’t have to be so hateful towards him. A true noble would never act like you did. You know how polite the Marquis of Haneton was to you, don’t you?”
Seria’s hand went cold as she held the champagne glass.
Other people would break off engagements for business reasons as the calculations between family crests no longer match up, and the rank of the pattern changes, but they would pretend to be friendly anyway. However, they didn’t almost lose their lives like Seria did. And their fiancé wasn’t like Kalis who chose Lina over her.
But it was certain. It was clearly self-fulfillment to bring this up.
Seria had no desire to buy sympathy votes with such words here, where the place was filled with people who did not like her.
What would be the point of looking pitiful to the nobles who were in the midst of preparing to bite her off? In the long run, it would only come back to her in losses.
Seria glared at the Marchioness and lowered her gaze. She couldn’t think of any other way other than to retreat to the wall now.
Just then, a voice sounded. It was none other than Kalis’s.