Chapter 1 - Prologue
He was shocked and held her hand. Her red, swollen hand. She was so angry, she didn’t even feel the pain right now.
“Kalis…” Her hand throbbed slowly. “If I were you….” She said, staring at Kalis. “I would break up this marriage and propose to Saintess Lina.”
“What?” Kalis’s face distorted. “That… What do you mean? You are the woman I love.”
“Who would hold another woman’s hand in front of his supposed beloved fiancée?”
Maybe she just didn’t understand the situation, as Kalis had said. Lina was sick, so she deserved his help. But why was she so angry? She knew that Lina didn’t love him. So why? After she possessed the body of the original Seria, she struggled to live for a long time. She believed that the original story had a strong influence on her. But the fact that Kalis was a second male lead remained unchanged. He was devoted to the heroine but wasn’t chosen by her and ended up committing suicide.
Seria loved Kalis. At first, in order to live she healed his injured arm, but she couldn’t resist Kalis, who slowly let down his vigilance and became friendly with her. It was a sense of duty at first, but it became increasingly difficult to control her attraction to him. If there was a happy ending for the main leads, wouldn’t it be fair for the supporting characters to be a little happy? She rationalized it like that and did not guard her heart. In the end, one day, Kalis knelt and proposed to her.
“Seria, wouldn’t I be the best option if you had to get married anyway?”
“… What do you mean? It’s not me, but it’s you who’s in a hurry.”
“You’re still the same. Anyway, Seria, are you okay with me?”
Prior to meeting Lina, Kalis had been troubled by the sanctity of a marriage. He was romantic, so he didn’t want to be in a stereotypical marriage. On the other hand, Seria didn’t care much for political marriage. Still, she thought marrying Kalis wasn’t bad. He, the second male lead, and her, the villainess, both destined for a miserable end. If there was a way for both of them to have a peaceful ending, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to be greedy. She thought so. Even though the priests questioned her intentions, asking if they would really marry. They were worried that a Stern would belong to a family rather than a temple, so she was only able to proceed with the marriage to Kalis after she pledged that she would not forget her duties as a Stern.
They didn’t really love each other like the main characters in a romantic novel, but Seria really liked Kalis. But Kalis knew nothing. Every time she saw him, she seemed to see a foolish and tragic moth jumping into the fire without knowing anything. It was so upsetting…Her eyes were cloudy. She covered her face with both hands and turned away from him.
Kalis’s angry voice quickly subsided. Standing in front of her, he pulled her hands that covered her face. Then, he muttered in a concerned voice.
“I made you cry. I’m really sorry. Seria, don’t cry. It’s my fault.”
He then proceeded to hug her and wiped her tears away.
“Let’s go to Haneton Estate immediately after the wedding ceremony. It’s a beautiful place. After this treatment, I will never see Saintess Lina again. So please don’t cry.”
After a few minutes, Seria calmed down. Then she felt mortified. Perhaps it was because Seria had a strong pride in the original body, and after crying in front of others with this body, endless humiliation came. Kalis, though, as her fiancé, knew her disposition. He walked with her and talked. The atmosphere suddenly improved, Kalis jokingly spoke.
“And now I can’t break up with you, Seria.”
“Why can’t you?”
“Because I will definitely marry you. If I want to marry a precious Stern, I’ll have to bear this much.”
“It’s true…. Don’t be late for the wedding day.”
“Okay. I will never be late.”
“It’s hard to believe.”
“Where would you find a woman who would easily trust her fiance who asked her to change her wedding dress because of one word from another woman?”
“… Ah. Did you still have that in mind?”
Kalis looked embarrassed. “That’s… I have nothing to say. Was it truly wrong of me to do so?”
“It even made me think about breaking up.”
“What? Because of that?” Kalis said in a confused voice “But, Seria, at that time, I was angry when I heard about the designer’s insolence towards Saintess Lina.”
“Kalis, how would you feel if I ask you to change your wedding suit because of His Highness Lesche Berg?”
“Why did the Grand Duke suddenly pop into our conversation?”
“How would you feel?”
Kalis looked up into the sky and sighed. “I’m sorry.”
He took her to the stables. After Seria got on the horse, she glanced back. Kalis seemed to be talking about something with the healing priests who had come. Maybe it was about Lina. Then, she remembered what Kalis said before arriving at the stable.
“After treating her today, l will not see her again from now on. Seria, I swear to be a husband that was only faithful to you.”
Since he was designated as Lina’s protector, he said he couldn’t help it. Seria nodded slowly. As she glanced past the front door, Kalis still stood there like a dot.
Lina, who had a haggard complexion, was delighted to see Kalis.
“Lina….” Kalis approached her and sighed. “Today will be the last time we call each other’s names.”
Lina’s eyes wide open. It seemed like she might burst into tears.
“… Okay, Kalis.”
However, contrary to Kalis’s expectations, Lina was surprisingly calm and agreed. Kalis asked back in bewilderment.
“Don’t you want to ask why?”
“I was scolded by Viscount Issac. I also heard a few words from Lady Seria’s priest about it.”
From the standpoint of the temple, Lina, a Saintess, was a precious being that could not be exchanged for anything. However, that was not a reason to neglect Seria Stern’s special one treatment. They even sent high-ranking officials to the Berg territory just because Seria had a cold.
“Then, from tomorrow, we’ll call each other with formal names.”
“Yes. I won’t be able to see you anymore after the wedding.”
“You are my dear friend….” Transparent tears shone in Lina’s eyes. “It would have been nice if we met earlier.”
Kalis said nothing. Suddenly, Lina noticed a bracelet with a magic crystal in a hexagonal shape on his wrist. She didn’t see it before, and it didn’t seem like it was his taste. It looked small on his wrist. Lina knew right away that it was a present from his fiancée Seria. Lina, who was in a depressed mood, said abruptly.
“I want to be friends with Seria.”
“… Are you calling Seria by name? When did you two get close?”
“Well, we are not.”
“If you’re not close, calling her by name is against the etiquette, Lina.”
“Whatever I do it’s always manners, manners!” Eventually, Lina burst into tears. “Can’t you see me holding it in? I’m scared to go to the temple, and I’m afraid of losing a precious friend like you..!”
Tears streamed down from her eyes. Kalis panicked, trying to wipe away Lina’s tears, however, he stopped and squeezed his hand. Lina cried out in tears.
“Do you know how many times my world is changing now? You said you were my guardian. You said you would protect me forever! Was that all a lie? I was happy enough with that, but why…!”
“I’m sorry, Lina. Don’t cry. Please stop crying.”
Lina cried, buried her face in her hands. The back of her hands was covered with yellow bruises. Kalis felt weak. A sick body would easily weaken the mind. He patted Lina on the back. How long would it take for her to heal? The agitated Lina calmed down after a while. Then, she said, wiping her wet cheeks with Kalis’s handkerchief.
“Kalis, I want to go to the glacier.”
“The glacier? Why all of a sudden?”
“I said I wanted to be friends with Seria. I’m also a Stern, if I go to the glacier, I can relieve Seria’s burden, and we can get closer faster.”
“Lina, I know your good intentions, but you’re not in good shape right now.”
Lina laughed sarcastically with her crying face.
“Are you afraid that I will take away your fiancée’s reputation? Don’t worry. It’s not like that. Well, of course, I’m kind of envious of your fiancee being praised by many people, but….”
She said playfully, but Kalis’s worried expression couldn’t be resolved. Lina bit her pale lips and said.
“Are you saying that it’s not possible? Then I will go alone.”
“Lina!” Eventually, Kalis looked at Lina and sighed, feeling defeated. He had a good grasp of her personality. She was the type of person who wouldn’t take no for an answer. She would go through the window alone at night if she had to. She was a Saintess under the protection of Marquis Haneton. If there was a problem with Lina’s personal affairs, it would also affect him, and above all, today was the last day.
“Alright. Instead, we will just have a look and come right back.”
Lina was excited and immediately stood up.
“Let’s sneak out and come back secretly.”
“Don’t you know?”
“It’s fun! It’s like in a movie.”
“What is a movie?”
“Well, do you know novels? It’s like a play.”
“Is that a word in your world?”
Lina’s eyes sparkled. She was a woman with a very unfamiliar smile. She came from a different world after all… Kalis loved listening to her. He seemed enchanted.
“Tell me more about it.”
“What are you talking about?”
“The place where you came from.”
And so, Kalis left to tell the guard that he and Lina would go to the glacier quietly.