Diana Brien’s first life was, if anything, a normal life.
She was the eldest lady of the Brien family in the Fanberoux Kingdom. Diana Brien was the kingdom’s top marriage prospect as well as the legitimate daughter of the Brien family, who had gained the king’s trust.
She was of noble blood, had a calm personality, and even her abilities were remarkable.
Having lost her mother to an illness at the age of twelve, Diana Brien demonstrated maturity that went beyond her youthful age, quietly learning the household’s affairs.
If one were to point out a flaw in Diana, it would be her appearance that didn’t match her age or, more precisely, her facial expressions.
Despite her undeniable beauty, and maybe because she had lost her mother at a young age, she always wore a somewhat gloomy expression.
Some mocked her, saying that the shadow cast on her face wouldn’t ever fade.
However, even that changed with age. When her womanly grace—as a fruit ripening—bloomed in her, a faint smile hung from her lips. Although she lacked that characteristically girlish charm, her maturity and calmness beyond her age shone brightly.
The gloominess of her face turned into an enchanting melancholy as she grew, making the hearts of all men flutter. Unlike a fully bloomed flower smiling broadly, she was like a flower pitifully bowing its head, damped and trembling woefully. It was even more touching and beautiful.
She was born into a prestigious family with refined uprightness and had received a ‘proper’ education. Her demeanor was flawless, quiet, and gentle. She appeared seemingly indifferent to everything at times, but her ocean-gray eyes seemed to shy away.
Unlike most women, her voice was low and calm, and whenever she laughed, it was as sweet and enchanting as the melody of a cello playing.
Who would have the joy of marrying Diana Brien?
Although the Brien duchy had yet to announce her engagement, people confidently predicted that she would become engaged to Prince Ferdinand, the first prince of Fanberoux.
It was plausible since King Maximus, King of Fanberoux, had a close relationship with Duke Brien, Diana’s father.
In Fanberoux’s social circles, all eyes were on Diana Brien.
Intrigue grew over the possibility that, instead of royalty from another country, the most coveted noblewoman in the kingdom would become queen.
People wondered who would be lucky enough to marry the esteemed daughter of the Brien dukedom.
Diana Brien, with a quiet smile that revealed little of her intentions as always, listened to words of praise. She politely declined the suggestions from gentlemen eager to court her and boarded her carriage to return home.
Upon reaching the duke’s abode, Diana Brien glided with elegance toward the mansion. But soon after, she skipped ahead, lifting her skirt and springing forward like a playful foal.
An adorably girlish brightness began to overshadow the tranquil expression and melancholic eyes that people praised so much.
It wasn’t an intentional effort to remove the social mask she wore; the change in her expression was only natural.
The girl approached a boy in the back garden.
At first glance, the boy looked scrawny, but he was a tall lad with a thick build.
The boy, who was moving luggage, turned around. He was a young man of unbelievably handsome appearance, almost too attractive to be called a servant.
Amethyst-like purple eyes looked back with a stoic expression.
“You’re back, Milady.”
In contrast to the girl’s kindness, his response was quite stern. There was a hint of loathing and contempt in the eyes that looked at her, but the girl remained oblivious to it.
“Did the people in the mansion hit you again?”
Guiscard was a famous ‘slave’ boy brought by Duke Brien when Diana was around twelve years old. This lowly slave was the only one who could make the esteemed lady of the Brien family smile appropriately for her age.
“Who on earth did it?”
She reached out and opened Guiscard’s clothes. Even though he flinched for a moment, the young man didn’t resist her touch.
Brown lines marred his pale skin as if blood had drained from the bruised areas, but there were no fresh wounds.
“What a relief.”
Feeling relieved, Diana placed her hand on the healing bruises, causing his body to flinch once again.
She showed kindness to him simply because he was pitiable. Her late mother had taught her that everyone, regardless of their status, deserved kindness.
A slave was not an exception.
The battered boy recovered thanks to Diana’s care, enjoyed the meals she provided, and engaged in conversations with her.
The only thing Diana could do was tend to his injuries, skillfully evading the watchful eyes of Mirba, the head maid, who considered herself the lady of the mansion.
What crime had this helpless child committed?
It would have been preferable if her father hadn’t brought this poor child up as a slave and left him to fate. As the lowest-ranked slave in the mansion, he endured torment and abuse while her father looked the other way.
The days of fifteen-year-old Diana Brien were ones where she remained oblivious to the filth of the world, not even knowing that her ignorance was itself a dirty sin.
Some would hate such ignorant innocence, while others would crave it to the extent that they couldn’t bear its existence.
Nevertheless, the young man accepted such a contradictory world, with his body living in hell and his heart burning in flames of desire.
Warmth spread throughout his body as Diana’s white hand touched him.
His disdainful purple eyes fixed on her pale face, harboring a sinister, covetous desire.
Those were the days of Guiscard Lodbrook, the seventeen-year-old hidden prince of the Lodbrook Kingdom.
When Diana Brien turned twenty, the Lodbrook Kingdom invaded her homeland, Fanberoux.
Leading the charge was the newly crowned King, the hero who had slayed the fearsome venomous dragon, Fafnir.
Within the estate, an uneasy atmosphere lingered, akin to fragile ice on the verge of shattering. The absence of social gatherings during the season hinted at the gravity of the political situation in the capital.
After this, Count Kalkos, who guarded the borders, surrendered. The knights who resisted, not wanting to surrender like the count, either perished or were captured.
There were rumors that the army of the Lodbrook Kingdom would soon march towards the capital of Fanberoux, Tallinn.
Diana trembled anxiously. The thought of death scared her, but she chose not to flee. She was the esteemed lady of the Brien duchy, and as a noble, she needed to maintain her dignity.
It was the way she had been raised.
However, her father left with her elder brother down the estate. In reality, they were fleeing, but Diana tried not to think of it as such.
Preserving one’s life as the Lord and successor of the family was a matter of course for a noble who had the obligation to continue the family’s lineage.
The only ones who remained were her younger sister, Alexia, and herself. She gracefully paid severance to the servants who decided to leave and stayed with those who, out of loyalty, remained until the end.
The day when the capital would burn to ashes approached. The ruthless Lodbrook army trampled over Tallinn.
Diana sat in a chair, waiting for the Lodbrook army to invade.
Her death approached. She lifted her head, closing her eyes.
“Guiscard.” An unforgettable name escaped softly from her lips.
If she had one last wish, it was to see that boy again.
On the day Diana turned sixteen, she discovered the seal to undo the restraints in her father’s room. While Guiscard slept soundly, Diana carefully unlocked his shackles.
“The only one I can protect. Wholly mine. My life. My sanctuary,” she whispered tearfully.
She didn’t want to send him away. Diana had created many precious memories from the age of twelve to sixteen. But she had to let him go.
Diana fully understood that these four years had been nothing but humiliation and suffering for him.
As she gently kissed Guiscard’s forehead while he slept, she prayed,
“May the gods send their golden dragon to protect Guiscard.”
“Mother, please protect Guiscard, as he is my precious person.”
On that dawn, Guiscard left the Brien estate.
Though her father had ordered his search, fortunately, he managed to escape. He wasn’t kind, but having him allowed Diana to endure her lonely life.
She hoped for news of his well-being, but she knew: in a residence where everyone disregarded him and mistreated him, how could he convey any news?
‘If I could see him alive before dying,’ Diana thought, ‘I would have nothing else to wish for.’
While thinking he shouldn’t be caught in this war, the door creaked open.
A man strode up with determined steps.
She raised her chin proudly and tried to open her mouth but halted. The man’s body was dripping with blood as if he had been showered in it.
Step by step, dripping blood, he tinted her favorite patterned carpet red. The man’s purple eyes glowed ominously.
Diana knew those eyes very well.
Could it be that the gods had granted her wish?
Forgetting her situation, she reflexively called out his name, smiling brightly. After all, they had spent their childhood together.
He was the only one she could genuinely smile at.
How could they reunite like this?
“Do you remember me, Milady?”
Diana nodded with a bright smile. A light of joy appeared and vanished in his purple eyes.
“Why are you… What on earth are you doing here?”
“Perhaps, are you here to save me?”
Even though it was a question so innocent to the point of being revolting, it wasn’t a question she uttered out of pure naivety.
In such a bizarre situation, her question contained her last glimmer of hope, a prayer that he was there for her and not otherwise.
Although she wanted to protect her noble dignity, the appearance of such a man, bathed in blood and invading her mansion, required keeping her guard up.
However, the man scorned her pureness. A look of disgust crossed his face as he approached.
The stench of blood suddenly filled the air.
“Young Lady, run!”
Not long after, a voice echoed from behind. It was one of the family’s loyal knights. He raised his sword and attacked Guiscard.
Just as she was about to scream, Guiscard stabbed the knight in the stomach. Blood gushed out as a choked sound escaped through the knight’s mouth.
For Diana, who had only seen graceful and pretty things, this scene was excessively brutal.
Looking at her, frozen in panic, Guiscard flashed a cruel, sadistic smile.
As if intentionally showing off, he slit the knight’s neck, who was still barely alive.
Blood splattered like rain.
Diana widened her eyes, stepping back in an attempt to escape.
Guiscard approached slowly, holding the sword.
As she stumbled backward and glued her back against the wall, the man grinned slyly.
“I’m here to send you right to hell.”
Like that, the world of an innocent noble lady was cruelly shattered.
And thus, Diana’s hell had begun.
tl/n: Hello, everyone! I’m Jess, the new translator who is in charge of doing this book! I kindly ask you to please go to NU and give a good review if you like my work, and please support me, Nabi, and Mystical! Thank you so much!