Home Post 861-chapter-32


“Kinship! What do you mean by that…”

“If I speak thus, it will be a burden to you. My apologies.”

“I fail to comprehend Your Highness’ words. Kinship, could you elaborate?”

“The sin of being born as the child of a sinful father.”

“But what sin could the Grand Duke have possibly committed…?”

I couldn’t comprehend.

“Surely you’re not implying that sending me for adoption was a sin? With no heir in the royal family, and Your Highness being the offspring of both the Grand Duke and Grand Duchess, it seemed the best course of action at the time. But why…?”

“The mother’s son is correct. I speak of a different father.”

Finally realizing the implications of his words, a chill ran down my spine.

‘Could it be that the 1st Prince, known to have been adopted, was actually the Emperor’s…?’

I couldn’t control my trembling in the cold.

“I-it can’t be… Surely not…”

The Prince remained seated as if merely recounting someone else’s story.

“She’s your sister-in-law, isn’t she?!”

My cry filled the library. It echoed off the walls.

“If it was sixteen years ago, Her Highness would have been merely nineteen. Just coming of age. But His Majesty… was thirty-eight at that time. How…?”

The tremors wouldn’t cease. The more I thought, the colder my body became. My limbs stiffened.

“It was widely known that the Grand Duke had a longstanding affair before marriage. Even on their wedding night, Grand Duke was in the arms of his lover, while the bride guarded her room alone.”

He spoke slowly, as if recounting ancient tales, his fingers laced together.

“It continued thereafter. My dear father and mother, they never once shared the same bed.”

The Prince paused briefly before asking,

“Are you cold? You seem to be shaking.”

I couldn’t reply. Then, Claude Valentine personally rose to cover me with his blanket.

I felt the warmth of woolen fabric and the large hand placed upon it. The Prince held my trembling shoulders briefly, then withdrew.

He returned to his seat.

“It was when the Emperor was touring the provinces. One day, he was to visit Camelot Castle. A welcoming banquet was held, filling the heads of attendees with wine and music… That night. The night a man first opened the door to the Grand Duchess’ chamber.”

A faint smile graced his lips, as motionless as a statue.

“Isn’t it ironic? That Valentine blood evaded the curse only that night. Just one night.”

I didn’t know what to say. What could be appropriate in such a situation? I couldn’t react at all.

“Of course, Grand Duke noticed her swollen belly, unaccompanied by our visit, and pressed for answers. Mother tearfully confessed the truth. What could be done about it? Killing the child is a grave sin. Even more so if it’s the offspring of the royal family, which had no heir until then. Eventually, they sneaked into the palace in the dead of night and confessed everything before the Emperor and Empress. The Empress flew into a rage, but the Emperor, bewildered, had one thought.”

I couldn’t fathom what the person sitting before me had endured to reach a point where he could calmly articulate and accept such facts.

But I never could have imagined.

“A few months later, I was born, and the scandal was wrapped in sincerity, attaching ‘Lucid Valentine’ to my name. The Grand Duke and Duchess died not long after. It was said to be an accident, but who knows what lies behind it. Whether it was the Empress, the Emperor, or perhaps both.”

The long confession ended. I huddled in the blanket as if it were a lifeline, barely managing to hold onto it.

“When questioned by a tearful petitioner about why I am despised, the Emperor disclosed the full story.”

Once more, his gray eyes ensnared me.

For a fleeting moment, he seemed ancient and weary, a soul worn down by life’s trials.

His lips, smooth yet tinged with sorrow, formed a slight curve.

“Sometimes, there’s a stain on one’s birth, isn’t there? My dear Kahlia, can you claim my birth was flawless?”

My voice failed me. The Prince fetched a handkerchief from his pocket and offered it to me. As I took it, our hands brushed against each other, his fingers pulling back slightly.

Dabbing away tears, I spoke.

“It is flawless.”

Meeting his gaze with unwavering resolve, I reaffirmed,

“There is no sin in your birth, Claude.”

He remained silent, reclining in his chair with arms crossed, disbelief evident.

“Your Highness. For far longer than you realize, I have endured… The burden of my lineage, the inherited sin, has weighed heavily upon me. I have endured in an attempt to atone.”

Nevertheless, he remained silent.

“Whether you believe it or not, it is the truth.”


I urged once more.

“I believe you.”

“If finding solace in such thoughts has brought you peace, then I am glad…”

His gaze was resolute.

“Kahlia, I do not share that belief.”

“Your Majesty…”

“The taint of our lineage is undeniable. It cannot be escaped. Those born into it must silently bear the consequences.”

Claude spoke with the conviction of a preacher affirming the existence of a higher power.

“That is the only righteous path. It is how we make amends for the sins passed down by our ancestors.”

“Did we endorse our parents’ transgressions, celebrate their wrongdoings, or shoulder blame for their sins? We merely existed. How can we be held accountable?”

“I have no desire to argue with you here.”

He raised a hand in resignation before imploring once more.

“As one who inherits the culpability of the guilty, it is right to apologize to the victims and seek restitution. That is justice, and I understand. I am striving to do so, knowing it may take a lifetime and still fall short. But must we also bear sins we never committed? Is that the truth?”

His voice trembled with emotion.

“I wish to put an end to this suffering…”

The Prince remained silent, leaving me in suspense.

“What belongs to our parents is theirs. Inheriting their sins differs from embodying their wickedness. Must our souls become ensnared in the tainted blood we inherit?”

At last, Prince Claude spoke again.

“You’re mistaken. I’m not referring to personality or character. I’m speaking of being born with the blood of sinners. That alone is a sin.”

His stance remained obstinate, refusing to yield even a fraction.

He handed me the handkerchief, yet tears glistened in his eyes.

Though he didn’t express anger at my altered demeanor, he found it unjust.

The gap between us felt insurmountable, and the sobs persisted.

Bowing my head, I clenched my jaw.

“I’ve been watching over you all this time.”

I flinched at those soft words.

“You’ve been watching over me?”

“Since you arrived as a freshman last year.”

It was a revelation I had never anticipated. The previous version of him had never hinted at such a thing.

I had wrongly assumed that he had no interest in me.

I believed I was the only observer who had glimpsed behind his mask.

I thought it was a one-sided perception, my solitary understanding and disregard, but I was mistaken.

“You’ve done admirably. Embracing the sin, seeking redemption, not rebelling against those tainted by their blood’s sins. People may label you as the ‘devil’s daughter,’ but that’s both accurate and inaccurate.”

His demeanor shifted from when he spoke of himself, with a faint smile lingering on his lips.

“It’s true that you inherited sin as the offspring of sinners. But if someone were to ask if you’re truly akin to a demon, no, you’re not.”

Claude’s gaze pierced deeply, his voice resolute.

“I understand. Better than anyone. Only me.”

It felt as though my heart dropped through the floor.

The next moment, even the faintest smile vanished from his countenance.

“So you can understand the despair I felt when you began to change.”


Anguish churned in my stomach.

“I denounced both a supporter and a relative. I sought sanctuary under the Duke’s protection. I conjured spirits and asserted my divergence from my father. Turning away from the stain associated with my name, living a life solely for myself.”

“Please… refrain from this course.”

“You’re a fellow convict like me. You’re the sole ally I have in this confinement. So, Kahlia,”

He sighed. Across from me, his face held only a hollow expression.

“Please don’t abandon me in this inferno.”