Chapter 1 - Prologue
Seria had thought several times that she wished Lesche was not the male protagonist. Each time she realized how happy she would be if he was a man who had nothing to do with Lina. Kalis’s betrayal had taken a deeper root in her than she thought.
On the other hand, she was also aware of the fact that this marriage license was a kind of marginal route.
She was the one who knew that Lina would be back within a year. She also didn’t forget that Lina was the female protagonist and Lesche was the male lead. She watched the shaking emotions of Kalis, who encountered Lina, vividly from the side. She was the one who felt it cruelly and painfully, even bleeding.
‘How on earth can such a person like me welcome the approval of marriage?’
‘How can I not think about the bloody wedding with Kalis’?
‘How can I pretend to be so innocent?’
Before the Emperor approved the marriage, it was a relationship they could step away from at any time. It was better to have a relationship that could even be called an engagement. It was a stage that had not yet been settled into such an ambiguous space, just floating in the void between the lines. Her mind was at ease then.
But, to whom could she say these words?
‘Dear Lesche, the reason I’m scared is because you’ll fall in love with Lina.’
‘It’d be a relief if he doesn’t call me a crazy person.’
Seria opened her mouth, glaring at Lesche.
“If the approval comes in a year, as is customary, we’ll be there before then.”
“Where is there?”
“We’ll be divorced before then.”
For a moment, Lesche felt as if he was punched in the cheek. He laughed wildly.
“Why? Are you going back to Kalis Haneton?”
“Why is Marquis Haneton being mentioned here?”
“Then why do you want to divorce me?”
“Did we marry in a normal way?”
“Stop talking about extraordinary marriages. Because there is no woman I need more than Stern.”
“Yes, you’re right. I’m Stern. I am happy to be of sufficient service to Berg. Now that the marriage is approved, I will do my best to inspect the glacier, so please don’t speak to me again.”
Lesche breathed heavily. He glared at Seria. It was understandable.
Seria was stripping away the truth, picking up only the words she could confide in. It was the only way. It also sounded like she was picking a fight.
‘Well, I was.’
“Seria, what are you afraid of?”
“What’s so scary?”
Recognizing the multiple layers of embedded fear in this way would be Lesche’s ability. The man who always had a casual expression on his face, at times like this, he saw it through her.
She was scared. That was Seria’s true feelings. While her heart shook every time Lesche was kind to her, she couldn’t pretend to ignore the fear that followed her one after another.
Seria gritted her teeth.
“Yes, I’m scared.”
“What are you afraid of, Seria?”
“I’m afraid that the debt I owe you will be more than I can bear, and that’s what I’m afraid of!”
A silence fell. Debt. It was Lesche who broke the silence first.
Lesche looked at Seria with a look that was difficult to read.
“So. You’re going to walk away once your debt is paid?” (Lesche)
“It’s up to me where a slave goes when he’s finished with his debt.” (Lesche)
“Who in the world would want to enslave someone… aren’t you against that?” (Seria)
“Which master is paying attention to offending his slaves? Opposite. I am concerned about your feelings. I only care about your feelings.” (Lesche)
“So am I a slave or are you a slave?” (Lesche)
The words didn’t sound sweet. He didn’t have that kind of tone in his voice. The words were red, dark and quiet, like Lesche’s eyes. Seria felt like she was hit on the head. The cold wind blowing from the north froze her ears and hands, but she could not make any reply. However, Seria smiled with a sigh.
“Are you confident that you will still say that after a year?”
Lesche’s expression became strangely stiff. What would a year from now be an indicator? Lesche didn’t get the meaning right away.
If it was a problem Seria was afraid of, there was only Kalis Haneton.
Kalis Haneton abandoned Seria in madness for a saint.
After being silent for a while, Lesche asked slowly.
“Will the Saintess come back after a year?”
If you keep your eyes on someone, it’s their expression and their eyes. Every little thing about them makes you nervous. It’s when you spend so much time trying to give meaning to those bright blue eyes and want to know what they’re thinking every time.
Even silence can be used to guess a person’s mind. Now that’s what Lesche did.
“It looks like she’s coming back. But, what does her return have to do with me?” (Lesche)
Suddenly, a thought popped into his head as if on fire.
Lesche asked very slowly, wondering what if, feeling like he was hovering around a herbivore with a hidden tail.
“Are you afraid that I might fall in love with the Saintess?”
“Yes. I forgot that I was just a rag in your head.”
“You weren’t a rag, last time…….”
“I’m a man who is suspicious of my wife, but isn’t it too much to call a rag?”
“I said you weren’t. That’s enough.”
Surprised and trying to quickly get to her feet, Seria was caught without taking a step forward.
Lesche took both of Seria’s hands in his and placed them on his cheeks. As expected, her hands were extremely cold. Clicking his tongue briefly, Lesche took off his gloves and wrapped his hands around hers.
“I’m not Kalis Haneton.”
“No, really. I’m sorry.”
“I’m not trying to get an apology, I just wish you could see me as I am.”
Earlier, when he saw Seria going on a glacier tour from his office, the thoughts he heard were different. He thought about killing Kalis Haneton. No matter how he thought about it, he felt Seria’s mood hit bottom because of her d*mn first love, Kalis Haneton.
Now that the marriage was officially approved, she might as well be reminded of her first love. And that made him mad.
But even if that d*mned Kalis regretted it now, Seria was still the Grand Duchess of Berg, and legally his (Lesche) wife. Most importantly, Lesche knew that Seria was lying to him.
Not because she was afraid that Lesche would love the Saintess, but because she was half-confident. As if she had heard a prophecy somewhere that Lesche Berg would come to love the Saintess.
He could ask questions, but he was too worried that Seria would disappear somewhere. How long has it been like this?
Seria talked about the huge amount of gifts the vassals began to send. Certainly, it was quite large even for Lesche to hear.
“I think the people in the central territory are a bit frustrated. I think they’d like it if Stern was just a little nicer to them.”
“Or maybe you like me because I’m so beautiful….”
Lesche eventually burst into laughter. He tilted his head.
“You’re right that you’re beautiful. You’re the most beautiful.”
“I don’t know if that’s why I like you.”
He has eyes, so he could tell beauty from ugliness, but he had never noticed Seria’s appearance in particular. For years it had been like that…..But now…Even if Seria was hiding in the midst of hundreds of crowds, she would be first visible to him. He was sure of it. So those blue eyes were the problem. That strangely contemplative gaze was the problem.
Those contradictory eyes that were so regal and yet at the same time, at the same moment, held this judgment that it would kill everyone in the world who looked at it…..He thought he was going crazy when the tears filled those eyes….
That was because he wondered if he liked those eyes because of something other than their looks. He never did anything else with her. But now he even grabbed her hand and kissed her forehead.
Lesche let go of Seria’s hands. Then he grasped her round, soft cheeks.
It was worse. Lesche lowered his head towards her.Then he found her soft lips and kissed them. Seria’s body shuddered as his hot tongue entered the warm, moist space and touched her tongue in a rush. Lesche didn’t kiss her any deeper, he just raised her head. It wasn’t for any other reason. It was just… It was just that she felt a strong pressure on her thighs. It was just a small reaction from Seria. If he turned her back to this frozen lake and kissed her more impatiently, it would be really difficult to handle.
Lesche took Seria’s hand. Then he strode briskly toward the horse.
All the way back to the castle, Seria kept glancing at Lesche’s head. She knew that he really had a body that she couldn’t get enough of every time she looked at him, but earlier, definitely… They were kissing.
What came next was the problem. She couldn’t understand the emotions dribbling from Lesche’s eyes as he stared at her. For a moment, her fingers even tingled. When they returned to the castle, Seria left Lesche behind and ran straight up the stairs to the second floor. She didn’t even look back. But she could still feel his eyes on her, and it sent a tingle down her spine.
Whenever she came back after the glacier inspection, her bath was always ready. She quickly took off her cloak and began to unbutton her clothes. The servants helped her take off her clothes and she was soon able to enjoy the heat of the water.
Of course, while she was soaking, she couldn’t help but think back to Lesche’s kiss. Actually, more important than the kiss was what came next. She possessed the original Seria for a year now, and the habits and common sense of being a noble remained intact in her mind.
‘It’s early. It’s really early.’
Susan came in before she knew it and applied a mixture of honey and milk to the ends of Seria’s hair.
“No one will be on the second floor until tomorrow morning.”
For a moment, I couldn’t believe her ears.
“No, I’m just telling you in advance. I’m just saying….”
‘No…Susan is smiling…’
‘Why is she smiling? ….. Why is she holding back her laughter ….?’
Seria felt a twinge in her ears. She covered her face with her hands in embarrassment.
This castle was very big, but there were also rooms on the second floor filled with all sorts of rare objects. She couldn’t believe they would leave the whole entire floor unattended.
In the meantime, the servants did their best to rub a paste mixture of crushed brown sugar and fruit bark on her body. Something cold with a fresh scent was also applied on her face.
The bath was very tedious today but also very quick. In fact, it must have taken longer than usual because the servants had carefully managed and washed every inch of her body. The fact that she thought it was over quickly was entirely her imagination.
“I’ll leave you to it then. Grand Duchess…”
Susan and the servants disappeared like the wind, and the second floor fell silent as if the words “no one will be here” were true. Seria swallowed hard and took a step.