The Tragedy of The Villainess (Novel) Chapter 25


Chapter 25


 4. Laurel Mansion

"The High Priest took Lina with him?"

"Yes."

"When?"

"Right now?"

The next day, Linon arrived early in the morning and gave Seria the unexpected news. She looked at the clock on the bedside table in the bedroom with a look of bewilderment on her face.

It was seven o'clock.

The sun shone through the gaps in the window curtains.

‘Am I dreaming or half asleep?’

Normally, at this time, she would still be sleeping.

Usually, banquets last until dawn. So, the next day, the nobles usually sleep past lunchtime. Of course, she left early yesterday but waited until 3 AM when the banquet ended. Because she had to change the castle's decorations in a hurry.

There was nothing more unpleasant than the decorations of a party that had already ended. Of course, she had to change the atmosphere to be appropriate for the High Priest's visit. At least she wanted to be the perfect hostess since Lesche sacrificed himself to save her life.

Thanks to her prior preparation, the redecoration took only about an hour. She decided to give the servants a special allowance. It would be frustrating to work like this at night and not get paid. She had to supervise here and there directly, so she went to bed at dawn.

Still, Seria made sure to ask the servant to wake her up in the morning. The servant faithfully obeyed her order. But as soon as Seria got up, she was informed that the chief aide was waiting outside.

Naturally, she was dismayed by this. She thought there was a change in the High Priest's visit schedule, so she told him to come in quickly.

"The Saint and the High Priest have already left the main palace."

"....."

For a moment, the thought of clean, unmarked bowls and cups that the servants had worked so hard to polish for the High Priest's reception crossed her mind, but… But that wasn't what mattered now.

"Did you say High Priest Amos was here?"

"Yes."

"That's strange."

He was one of the nine High Priests who worked relatively outside the ministry, not in the temple. So, he knew Seria, a Stern, whom he had never visited much before.

Seria didn't have many problems in the temple, which was her base of power. Due to her nature, it was better not to go there in the first place to avoid accidents. Amos could undoubtedly visit Seria, but he didn't even stop and left the mansion with Lina. She wondered what the reason was.

"High Priest Amos visited the main mansion half an hour ago. After having a brief tea with His Highness the Grand Duke, he immediately took the Saint with him. He didn't eat anything and didn't even finish the tea."

"Did Lina follow him willingly?" Seria asked.

"He...," Linon hesitated to speak for the first time.

"High Priest Amos was very angry…"

"What?"

‘He was angry?’

The High Priest Amos that Seria remembered was not a man who could be offended by something out of the ordinary. Even when Seria made mistakes when she was in the temple, instead of getting angry, he handled it with a determined look on his face, following the temple's rules. He wasn't a kind and warm character, but he didn't get angry either.

However, she never spent enough time with him to experience such a drastic change in emotions.

"At first, the Saint didn't want to go, but High Priest Amos got angry and asked to speak with her alone… Then she got into the carriage, sobbing. That's how they left. By the way, all of the Saint's unexplained convulsions subsided by dawn."

"I had the impression that he was very strict."

High Priest Amos was like a strict old professor, and yet Lina had a private meeting with an angry man. She couldn't help but sob.

Seria nodded at the fact that all the other priests also left with her. That was expected. In the first place, Stern's wedding was over, and the priests that Kalis invited from the Great Temple had no reason to stay after she recovered naturally.

"I will write to the priests later. I have to find out why they suddenly took Lina like that."

"Did you come to my room early in the morning, at dawn, to talk about this?"

Linon cleared his throat. Seria was still sitting on the bed in her nightgown. Well, not a nightgown, but not very different from a slip dress. The sleeves were long, and the skirt hem fell below the knees. She thought she didn't have to be too strict about it since they were friends anyway.

"Well, umm…"

"What’s the matter?"

She thought something was wrong because Linon rarely hesitated. However, before Linon could respond, there were urgent knocks on the door.

Knock, knock.

The bedroom door swung open with a crash.

It was Kalis, and the maid was seen following him with a puzzled expression on her face. He approached and stood in front of the bed.

"Seria, please give me one last moment before I leave. We need to talk."

Seria looked at him. Kalis was authoritative to continue the conversation somehow, but on the other hand, he seemed a bit uncomfortable as if he feared Seria would ask him to leave.

‘That's good. Anyway, I have something to return to him.’

"Excuse me, Marquis Haneton, but am I invisible to you?"

Kalis looked at Linon with a smile when he heard the question.

"Please excuse me for a moment, can you, chief aide?"

"Sorry, but I am here by order of His Highness."

"Did His Highness order you to expel all guests from this annex?"

"No, but he told me to be careful with troublemakers. He also told me to get rid of anyone the lady dislikes."

After hearing Linon, Seria understood why he came to her house so early in the morning.

At least Linon, who was the Grand Duke's chief aide, would have to be there to deal with the Marquis Haneton. Anyone with a lower status would inevitably have a hard time actively dealing with the marquis.

By the way, was it okay for Lesche to keep his chief aide by his side all the time like this? As far as she knew, Linon had a lot to do. Without Linon, wouldn't Lesche himself have to take on more work?

While asking herself such trivial questions, Seria gestured to the maid. That was when she nodded and left.

"Then stay there. Do as you like," Seria told Kalis.

Kalis seemed less energetic than usual. He rubbed his face with one hand, as if tired of playing against Linon continuously. Then he took another step towards Seria.

She was sitting on the bed, looking at Kalis. He stood in front of her and stared at her. Up close, he certainly looked many times more tired than usual, probably because of the dark circles under his eyes.

"Seria."

With the familiar call, Kalis knelt in front of Seria. For a moment, her eyes opened helplessly.

"I'm sorry. I can't begin to account for all the damage I caused you with this apology, but…"

Seria looked at him silently.

"Can you give me another chance, Seria?"

Without hesitation, Seria spoke.

"What would change if we got married again? Kalis Haneton, are you sure you won't run to Lina again when she calls?"

"Yes, I'm sure…."

"No. Kalis, you will run to her again."

Seria said firmly. She felt hurt saying it. Self-inflicted thoughts never crossed her mind, but yesterday she looked at the bright crystal chandelier and all she could think of were these words.

"Yesterday, you asked me if I pushed Lina, remember? The servant didn't suspect me, but you did. I understand. There are so many things I have done to you. I am known for that."

Seria understood why he suspected her. Kalis almost lost one of his arms because of the original Seria. Above all, Seria was a recognized villain in the original story. It wasn't something she (the new Seria) had built over the years, and sometimes it was frustrating, but there was nothing she could do about it.

‘I am already Seria Stern, but I want to live, unlike the original story assigned to me. So, I thought I deserved this karma, but what about my heart?’

She always knew she couldn't blame Kalis for being too kind to Lina. He was the second male lead, so it was inevitable that he would fall in love with the original heroine, but Kalis believed he loved Seria.

However, just because she understood didn't mean she could pretend to ignore all the circumstances surrounding her. To avoid a tragic death, she swallowed her miserable feelings.

“I know the situation was unreasonable, but how long do I have to convince myself that it's inevitable because the star of this original story is involved?”

Until when?

How long does she have to do this?

"I am… so hurt by you. I don't want to live in fear anymore, and I don't want to worry about when you'll go back to Lina…"

Seria suddenly broke into tears. She wiped her wet cheeks with her hand and said:

"Let's end this, Kalis."

"…"

Knock, knock.

At that moment, with a small knocking sound, the servant that Seria sent earlier returned. He had a small box in his hand. Knowing the heavy atmosphere, he quickly and cautiously handed the box to Seria and left the room.

"Kalis."

She opened it and presented it to Kalis. It was Kalis's ring, which he gave her as a token of their engagement.

"I'm returning it to you. Take it."

Kalis looked at the box and slowly accepted it. The moment their fingers touched, he suddenly gripped her hand tightly.

"Seria," Kalis said, his eyes filled with tears.

Suddenly, Seria realized something. After possessing Seria, she could read people's expressions. She thought Kalis loved her. But it was too easy to renege on the promise of a sacred marriage. Even if she could skillfully read his expression, she couldn't read the depth of his mind.

"….."

There were so many emotions on Kalis's face that it was difficult to decipher their meaning. She just looked at him silently.

Then, as if he had made a decision, Kalis squeezed her hand and let go.



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