Home Post 485-chapter-3


“What does it matter if I take an outsider as my bride or if I roll around with a monster? Ah, if your nights have been lonely, I’ll personally catch a charming one for you.”

Despite the blatant taunt, Ragna remained unfazed, not even blinking an eye. Instead, he chuckled slightly.

As the old man’s wrinkled eyes curved like a crescent moon, the young king’s lips were pulled tight on both sides, showing the rising tension.

Erno took a step closer to Ragna, and a terrifying warning flowed like a hissing between his teeth.

“Ragna Nidhod, I am the Jarl, the ruler of this land, and your lord. I hope you do not forget your position and duty any further.”

“…And I am an elder of the Council, sincerely offering advice to such Jarl. I hope His Grace also reflects on our sincerity.”

“So, by your advice, I should take my little sister as a wife?”

“I admire Jarl’s insight.”

“Ragna Nidhod!”

Along with a roar out of anger, Erno’s hand reached out towards the elder’s neck. The gazes of a wolf and a snake collided in mid-air, and sparks burst.

“…This old man spoke out of turn. Forgive me, Jarl Erno.”

Ragna lowered his tail just before he was caught by the scruff of his neck. He was someone who valued his own life.

Soldiers who were willing to face death for their lord’s sake were glaring at him as if they would tear him apart. Confronting him head-on was certainly not a wise choice.

“Veronica may not be related by blood, but to me, she is nothing short of a dear younger sister. Are you suggesting that I should be no better than a beast and bed my own sister?”

Erno brought his face close to the elder and growled into his ear.

“You should have stopped treating me like a beast ten years ago.”

Stepping back as if shaking off something dirty, Erno turned his body toward Veronica.

“I’m sorry you had to hear such unpleasant things.”

“I’m okay. Ah, since I’m here, I have something for you.”

“For me?”

Veronica took out a small vial from her chest pocket. Erno received the bottle with a face mixed with gratitude and apology.

“Thank you as always.”

“No need to thank me. I’m sorry that this is all I can do for my older brother.”

Despite the fact that Veronica acted as if it weren’t important, the medicine she made was something essential for Erno.

She fidgeted in place instead of following the elder immediately.

“There’s something else you need to tell me?”

Veronica bit her lip for a moment before opening her mouth.

“I feel sorry for you.”


Veronica’s head moved up and down briefly.

“Rumors are spreading outside our land that Brother is a monster devouring brides. The current bride probably thinks the same. What if she says she’d rather die than marry my brother?”

“That’s nonsense.”

Erno smirked and dismissed her words. However, despite the confident tone, Veronica didn’t miss the faint trembling of his pupils.

“Last time was the same, wasn’t it? Don’t tell me you’re expecting this bride to be different.”

Veronica’s words caused Erno’s expression to harden abruptly. His previous bride threatened to kill herself in front of him, screaming that she would rather die than live with him. And then she returned to her family.

“I’d rather be my brother’s bride. That way, you wouldn’t have had to hear the elder’s scoldings—”

“Veronica, it’s too late. Go back now. It’s dangerous.”

Before she could finish her words, Erno cut her off. However, Veronica muttered to herself, her expression showing great pity and concern.

“How did Phenril, who once was in discussions for a royal marriage, end up like this…?”

Erno remained silent. Veronica’s provocations continued as she seemed to have recalled something suddenly.

“By the way, wasn’t it today? The day the new bride arrives. Hopefully, this bride will endure for a long time.”


◇ ◆ ◇


The servants from Phenril Castle led Diana to the dining hall.

Although it was late for a meal, Diana welcomed the idea; she was tired from the long journey.

‘Will I be dining with the Grand Duke?’

She hurriedly checked her clothes. It would potentially be her first meeting with the person who would become her husband; she couldn’t afford to leave a messy first impression.

However, the dining hall was empty. They even gestured to her, who was nervously scanning her surroundings, to take the seat at the head of the table.

Diana, sitting there for the first time in her life, made desperate efforts not to show any signs of tension or awkwardness.

“Ehem, the salad looks delicious.”

“That’s flower decoration.”

“Really… It’s a beautiful flower. What’s its name?”

“…It’s a rose. A variety imported from the South.”

But it wasn’t effective.

Diana felt embarrassed and awkward like she could crawl into a rathole if one existed. While waiting for the food to be served, she carefully observed the interior of the dining hall.

Unlike the Laffin mansion where she was born and raised, Phenril Castle was a literal fortress. Thick tapestries were hung on walls made of gray bricks instead of wallpaper. A large fireplace alone couldn’t cover the chill, so additional braziers were placed throughout, making the room warm, but the air inside was heavy, almost somber.

Diana absentmindedly stroked her arm and glanced around. While she was looking around the dining hall, the food arrived, but the Grand Duke was still absent.

“Call if you need anything.”

The maid who brought the food said so and stepped back, standing by the wall. Rather than a maid, her attitude felt more like that of a guard watching over her.

Diana lifted the tableware with a gloomy face. The food in front of her was prepared with great care and looked appetizing at first glance. However, perhaps due to nervousness, she had no appetite.

She ate without tasting the food, and when she finished, the maid informed her of the upcoming schedule.

“The wedding is scheduled to take place for three days starting tomorrow. I will inform Her Grace of the specific schedule in the morning, so please take a rest after you are finished.”

‘Her Grace.’

Today, Diana experienced many things for the first time in her life. And among them, being addressed as ‘Her Grace’ was the most disconcerting and unfamiliar.

“Well, then I won’t be meeting His Grace the Grand Duke today?”

Diana mustered the courage to ask, and, in response, the maid narrowed her eyes, seemingly suspicious as to why she would seek out the Grand Duke first.

“His Highness is returning to the castle tomorrow.”

It meant that no one would tell her where the grand duke currently was, even if she asked.

“We have prepared the room with the best view.”

Nevertheless, her palm could easily cover the only window in the bedroom.

Uncertain about how to react, she kept a vague smile.

The maid confidently crossed the room with wide steps, and then she dramatically pulled aside the tapestry decorating the wall.

‘I thought it was a tapestry, but it’s a curtain.’

Behind the curtain was a glass door larger than the one in Baron Laffin’s bedroom. Certainly, a curtain as thick and large as a tapestry was necessary to block the cold air that could seep through such an opening.

The glass door led to a terrace. Although the view the maid boosted about was not visible due to the weather, Diana could smell the scent of salt mixed in the cold breeze and hear a splashing sound.

“The sea…?”

As she listened closely, what she thought was the sound of the wind turned out to be the sound of waves. The maid nodded in response to Diana’s muttering.

“A terrace overlooking the sea. It’s truly a splendid room. Thank you.”

Diana expressed her admiration, not hiding her joy.

“Rest comfortably, madam.”

Instead of showing off or acting pompously, the maid simply bowed slightly. However, her expression as she bid farewell was much softer than when she first met Diana.

Left alone, Diana immediately headed for the terrace. Although she was from the south, she had never seen the sea in her life. She breathed in the fishy smell of salt and seaweed carried by the cold wind as hard as she could.

Beyond the terrace railing, pitch-black darkness stretched out, where the sky and the sea blended without end.

When the moon, previously concealed by clouds, revealed itself, a silvery path extended over the sea. It resembled the goddess from a story who left a trail by dragging the hem of her dress.

Diana unknowingly leaned over the railing.

Right then…

“What are you doing right now?”


Startled by a voice that suddenly came from behind, Diana lost her grip on the railing, and her body swayed forward.

Thick darkness abruptly came in front of her.

‘No way, am I really going to die like this?’

Diana tightly closed her eyes without even realizing it.