“Well, um… post-traumatic stress! It’s kind of like post-traumatic stress. Haha.”
“You know, when you’ve been in a big accident, people sometimes have a memory lapse or they might go partially insane. It’s surprisingly not uncommon.”
I shrugged dismissively.
“So, you mean you really can’t remember anything. Nothing at all?”
“Yes, something like that. Haha. Maybe it’s because your face is 100 points, but your comprehension is also 100 points, Your Grace!”
With a cheerful voice, I hurriedly raised my thumbs. Of course, the smile was a bonus. After all, you can’t spit on a smiling face.
“What, a 100? And why… are you smiling like that? Is what I said funny?”
‘Oh, it seems my mother’s old saying was wrong.’
As if displeased, the Duke furrowed his brow and growled softly.
“Oh my! I’m just talking to myself. I do this occasionally, haha. Don’t mind me. Just looking at your face fills me.”
I didn’t know what I was talking about, but I just laughed out loud. Of course, I was smiling on the outside, but I felt like crying on the inside.
Given the current situation, getting information through Sasha would be impossible. I had to confront him directly.
“Oh, by the way! I have a question.”
As I spoke, the Duke’s gaze turned to me, filled with interest.
“What is it?”
“So, how far has our divorce progressed?”
“Oh, my goodness.”
As soon as I asked, Sasha, who was standing nearby, muttered quietly.
Suddenly, Duke Randolph’s eyes shook violently. Unlike the arrogance he had shown a moment ago, his face now displayed something like despondency.
“Ha, do I have to answer this ridiculous question?”
I blinked and nodded in agreement. He sighed heavily and spoke in a tone of resignation.
“Fortunately, the divorce hasn’t been approved yet; it’s in the process of being negotiated.”
“Well, that’s lucky. I almost missed the chance to be with a handsome man.”
My honest thoughts flowed out of me in the blink of an eye. Watching Duke Randolph’s face buckle with every moment, I thought to myself.
I’ve definitely seen this handsome man in front of me somewhere before.
‘This is strange. I wouldn’t have forgotten such a handsome face.’
With a tilt of my head, I groped for faint memories. Just then, a dull pain hit my head as if I had been struck.
[Edmund Randolph. Swordmaster, War Maniac, Cold-Blooded, and a Murderer.]
The descriptors buzzing through my head made my temples throb with pain.
“What? Wait a moment. A… a murderer!?”
My surprised eyes turned toward the protagonist of my memories. It seemed that Edmund hadn’t escaped the immutable law that everything comes with a price.
My lavender eyes shook as I stared at Edmund. Edmund slowly met that gaze.
“It seems your memory has returned.”
Edmund lifted one corner of his mouth and spoke sardonically.
[You should have trusted me.]
Suddenly, the next scene from the webtoon I had thought of earlier flashed before my eyes. And with it, forgotten memories rushed back in an instant.
〈The Tragedy of Duke Randolph〉
I knew instinctively that all of these memories were connected to the man in front of me.
And I realized that I was the heroine in a disastrous webcomic where everyone gets stabbed to death.
‘Am I going to die, too?’
At first, my head throbbed. It felt like my body was swaying, but I quickly regained my composure. I trembled and stared at the man in front of me.
‘Ah, even in this situation, he’s still handsome.’
Caught in a life-or-death situation, my body and brain stayed true to instinct. I looked at Edmund’s handsome face and thought.
‘This is where I’ll lay down.’
If I was going to die anyway, there was nothing wrong with spending my last moments by the side of such a handsome man. At least, I’ll die happy.
〈The Tragedy of Duke Randolph〉 was one of the webtoons I had seen during my school days. It was really a long time ago, but the reason I could recall the content was simple.
The male lead was incredibly handsome.
“Sigh… I’m a successful fan.”
“What have you been muttering to yourself all this time?”
Edmund asked as I stood there, dumbfounded.
‘The picture is talking.’
Even then, I was a total simp. The grand medieval setting and a world filled with swords and magic were appealing, but it was the overwhelming beauty of Duke Randolph that set my heart racing back then.
On the other hand, Edmund carried ominous titles like War Maniac, Cold-Blooded, and Murderer.
“Oh! Yes, sorry. I was lost in thought for a moment.”
“Lost in thought? Did some forgotten memory suddenly resurface?”
“Well, not exactly. It was just something I blurted out. It suddenly came to mind, haha.”
In response to Edmund’s sharp question, I bit my lip. Then, I quickly averted my gaze, while under my skirt, my legs trembled.
Above his incredibly handsome face, the words ‘murderer, murderer’ continued to circle relentlessly.
Unfortunately, all I could do now was secretly control my breathing and try to calm my racing heart.
‘I thought I was lucky, but isn’t this a disaster? No, that’s not it. Even if this idiotic woman did such a terrible thing on their happy anniversary of all days, at least he didn’t kill anyone, right?’
He’s the swordmaster who conquered the Empire. What does that mean? It means that even if Edmund killed one more person, it wouldn’t be a problem at all.
And besides, I was caught while attempting to escape. Nevertheless, he spared my life.
In other words, there was a glimmer of hope.
‘He’s worth the investment. He still has some humanity left. Why not?’
“So, what happened on that day?”
“That day? You mean the day you ran off while I was away?”
In response to the Duke’s sharp question, I shrugged my shoulders and smiled nonchalantly as if I didn’t know anything.
“Unfortunately, I can’t remember because my memory hasn’t come back yet.”
“You can’t remember?”
Edmund repeated my words, then stood up from his seat. Slowly, he closed the distance between us.
His black gloves brushed the tip of my chin. I gulped, my mouth going dry from tension.
‘He’s so darn handsome that it’s lethal. I want him. I want this man.’
I thought as I gazed at the man in front of me. I really want him.
A war maniac? Cold-blooded? Someone who held the position of a Duke might become a bit rougher and more hardened in life. That’s only natural.
Furthermore, the backdrop of this place was the medieval era, an age of blood. Besides, my handsome husband was the hero who saved the Ravistel Empire from crisis.
Moreover, he was really rich. There was enough to spend until he died. He could spend lavishly and still have plenty left over. After returning as a war hero, Edmund received substantial rewards and territory. There’s a reason the house is so sparkly.
He’s got a lot of money, a good body, so much talent, and a good face—this is undoubtedly a gift from heaven for me, who once aimlessly roamed the world.
“Heaven isn’t far away.”
I consciously closed the gap opened by Edmund’s question. Then, I let out a heavy breath.
I smiled slyly and pieced together my scattered fragments of memory one by one.
That’s right. If things continue like this, my life will be a flower path. It’ll be really easy. He had money, honor, power—everything one could desire.
But life isn’t always smooth sailing, and heroes are often surrounded by enemies.
Instead of being known as the ‘Returned Hero,’ Edmund was labeled with extreme terms like ‘bloodthirsty killer’ and ‘war maniac.’
Of course, the number of people he had harmed was countless. And in the distant future, it was an undeniable fact that he plotted a rebellion to take the throne.
However, the world in the original work was too corrupt. Edmund despised that Emperor and wanted to change the world.
What he didn’t realize was that he was also being corrupted.
“I’ll remove that stigma from you.”
‘And… I’ll help you find the right path.’
In a fit of compassion, I squeezed Edmund’s hand. Unlike his usual composed self, he was startled and quickly withdrew it.
“Why are you suddenly talking about stigmas…?”
Rubbing the hand that had been touched, Edmund grimaced. He clearly intended to reject my offer, but he didn’t vocalize it.
I felt that I was facing a pitiful and lone wolf.
‘How unfair and heartbreaking it must have been for him.’
I didn’t know what Chloen, the original body’s owner, was thinking when she did those things, but now that I inhabited her body, the story had to change.
“That’s not what you are. That wasn’t your intention, was it?”
As I asked, Edmund’s face changed rapidly. I blinked at him, wide-eyed, as if seeking an answer.
“It seems like something’s wrong with you.”