Chapter 18.
It’s Alright, Marianne.

“Have you taken any money from him? No matter how bad the situation was, you can’t take other people’s money.
Do you think I’ve seen a stabbing incident just once or twice?”


Maxim mockingly scolded her.
Marianne walked hurriedly, thinking it would be better if she had taken his money away.
The persistent gaze tugged at the back of her head.


“Is it just me? I think he’s staring at me.”




Marianne walked forward, pretending not to hear Maxim’s blabber.
There was something more important than that right now.


It was her first time to be dispatched.
Her heart was tense, enough for it to jump out through her mouth.
She was worried if she could do as well as she expected.


Marianne held her lips so that he wouldn’t notice her anxiousness.


“Hello, Inspector Maxim.”


The policeman, who was covered in his uniform, was guarding the front of the house and greeted him when he spotted the detectives.


She slowly raised her head to look up at the house before her.
It was a home which had a similar exterior to Madam Liszt’s boarding house.
A two-story brick house with a brown front door and three stones as stepping paths.


Maxim walked past him in a condescending manner.


“Thank you for working hard.”


Marianne also greeted them before going into the house.
The uniformed officers, who seemed suspicious of her, soon recognized her and whispered, “It must be the female officer in the rumor.”


“The one who flew to catch the jewelry robber?”


“A female officer? The world must be coming to an end.”


Marianne, who was entering the house while pretending not to be aware of their sarcastic remarks, stopped at the next moment.




Expression quickly disappeared from her face.
She managed to hold back her screaming by covering her mouth with both hands.


There was a dead body at the bottom of the stairs.
The body that fell from the stairs was bleeding in the back of its head.


As soon as she recognized it, Marianne’s face began to turn pale.
The first body she encountered was far more shocking than a blurry imagination.


The body of the man whose life has left like a piece of wood.
Or, he was like a well-made doll.
The strange gap brought chills to her heart.


A foul smell pierced her nose, it was a smell of filth and blood.
Marianne clenched her fist in spite of herself.
Her stomach felt like it was being turned upside down.


Maxim smiled in remorse as if he already knew it.
He didn’t even know he wanted Marianne to fall apart like this.


She didn’t mean to do what he wanted.
Nevertheless, she couldn’t stand the rising nausea.
The physiological phenomenon couldn’t be suppressed by her will.




She eventually turned around and ran out of the house.
Maxim giggled and laughed behind her, meanwhile the uniformed officers were seen shaking their heads sympathetically.


Marianne ran straight to the back of the house.
Shrubs were planted in front of the fence.
She bent down there and immediately released the contents of her stomach.




A deep sense of shame washed over her.
To herself as she couldn’t stand this much.


There was a huge gap between imagination and reality.
In her imagination, she solved the case quickly, but in reality she was frightened by the sight of body and felt nauseated.


She might have thought lightly about the job of the police this entire time.
As others say, she didn’t even figure out that she was cut out for the police job.


―A female officer? The world must be coming to an end.


What the uniformed officer said earlier lingered in her ears.




Her eyes were blurry.
She didn’t know if it was because of nausea or shame.
However, the only thing that she could make sure of was that she was pathetic because she couldn’t stand it. 


Wake up, Marianne Kloze.


At that moment when she clenched her fist.


Tap, tap.


She felt a soft touch on her back.
And Marianne became even more pale.
A familiar smell of perfume brushed the tip of her nose brought by the wind.
A deep and refreshing scent like the sea.


She knew who the scent belonged to.




He was so sensitive to cleanliness that he was thought to be a clean freak.
He couldn’t stand seeing dust in the house, and he had to change immediately even if there was merely a very small strange substance on his clothes.


When he had to shake hands with others for business purposes, he hid his displeasure under his aloof expression.
After that, he would wipe his hands when people weren’t looking.


But he was now patting Marianne on the back, who was vomiting.
Marianne’s eyes were wide open as she couldn’t believe the fact without a frown.


“Are you alright, Marianne?”


Only then did Marianne realize that she looked ugly in front of him.
I can’t believe it’s like this from the next day.
Marianne just came to realize that she must have looked ugly in front of him.
She couldn’t believe she would be like this the next day after making a huge scene?




Marianne tried to conceal her shame and nodded in an indifferent manner.
Pat, pat, his touch on her back was tender, unlike Kristoff at all.
That was the reason why she couldn’t bear to look behind her.


“Take a deep breath.”


Kristoff’s touch slowed down slightly.
The hand that was tapping on her back suddenly changed to sweeping down her back.
As if he had an obvious intention.


The fingers touching the back of her neck touched each of the bones of her spine.
Persistent and meticulous, as if counting the number of bones in there.


Marianne’s shoulders were tense because of the stealthy yet blatant movement of his hand.
Kristoff’s eyes grew darker little by little.
When his finger passed by her waist.




Marianne suddenly stood up.
Everywhere he touched, it burned as if she had been burnt with a flame.
Her heart pounded wildly.
She gradually ran out of breath.


“I’m fine, now.”


Kristoff’s hand slowly fell at her act of complete refusal.
Marianne bit her lips angrily, as if not wanting him to know about her pounding heart.


Kristoff’s stiff voice shook the air.


“Out of five senses of a human, smell is the highest fatigue phenomenon.
It means that there will be a time when you get used to it so much, even the worst smell can’t affect you anymore.”


Marianne opened her eyes wide at his remark.
How does he know that? Has he ever seen a dead body before?


Marianne’s eyes moved on him.
Kristoff, who noticed her questioning expression, slowly straightened his knees before giving an answer.


“In case you forgot, I’ve also been in charge of defending criminal cases.”




Marianne thought she knew a lot about him.
At least more than he knew about her.
However, it dawned on her that it might not be true.


“Wait here for a minute.”


At the end of his remark, Kristoff turned around.
Marianne looked from the distance as he entered the house.


Then, she heard a creaking noise of a door.




When she turned her head, she spotted a boy sticking his face out through the slightly opened back door.


He seemed to be about 12 years old.


The boy, who was staring at Marianne, sucked his thumb whilst tilting his head.
He seemed to be clumsy and young for his age.


His shining brown eyes observed her with a glint of curiosity and vigilance.
When he heard the approaching footsteps, he quickly hid himself inside the house again.
The back door that led to the kitchen was slammed shut.


The uniformed officer only stared at Kristoff, who was coming in and out of the house without a hint of hesitation.
He seemed to be overwhelmed by his powerful presence and couldn’t bring himself to ask.


Kristoff didn’t pay any attention to the officer either.


“Drink this.”


He held out a glass of water to Marianne.




She couldn’t readily take it, but simply stared at it.
After swallowing her growing sorrow, she reached out to him for the first time in a while.
Then, she slowly took the glass to her mouth.


She felt pathetic.
Miserable, too.


A voice lined with indifference came from over her head.


“You don’t have to blame yourself, Marianne.
It’s like an initiation ceremony for everyone who sees the dead body for the first time.
Male cops are not much different either.
I also saw a police officer running away while bawling his eyes out earlier.”




Marianne quietly raised her gaze at his remarks.


Was it consolation?


She couldn’t be sure because the person before her was Kristoff Schneider, not just anyone else.
The epitome of cold hard logic and rationality.


Rather than sympathizing with the victim’s pain, he was a lawyer who cut his opponent with ruthless arguments.


Kristoff was looking at her with his usual insensitive expression.
As if telling the truth just as it was.


After that, she felt more comfortable.
Marianne took her mouth off the glass and rose from her bending position.
Marianne was hesitant whilst looking down at her feet, so she whispered quietly.


“……Thank you.”


“No problem.
If you feel like submitting your resignation, I’m always willing to do it for you.”


Marianne smiled and pulled the corners of her mouth.


“It calmed me down a little.
I’m really fine now.”


Seeing her embracing herself, Kristoff moved his eyebrows lightly as if he knew it.




He revealed a mint leaf.
A pungent and cool scent filled the surroundings.


“If you chew mint, you’ll feel a little better.
I use this method sometimes…… Of course, there are scenes where even mint is useless, but wouldn’t it be better than nothing?”


“Thank you.”


Marianne chewed the mint as he suggested.
The cool scent seemed to paralyze her sense of smell.
She calmed down even more after that.


Taking a deep breath and stretching her shoulders, she walked up bravely.
Maxim, who was standing beside the dead body, spat out sarcastically with a grumpy look.


“Are you back already? I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it today, but well, it doesn’t look like you’re crying.
I thought I could see a good view, but it was such a shame.”


His intentions were clear.
So that Marianne curled up her tail and ran away.


She can not do what he wants.


Marianne looked at him and pulled up the corners of her mouth.
An elegant smile that couldn’t be beaten recklessly as if when dealing with the noblewomen.


Maxim frowned with a suspicious look.


“Thank you for your concern.”


“Whose concern?”


Marianne let his words slip into one ear and approached the dead body.
A cold, lifeless body was waiting in front of her.


She closed her eyes tightly and opened them again, looked at the body with eyes she put a lot of effort into keeping them open.
It was a young woman.
A woman who wasn’t even married yet.


Maybe about 15-16 years old.


She laid face down on the carpet and looked at the floor.
The clotted blood in the back of her head had already turned brown.
Contrary to the bloody injury, the carpet was clean.


Marianne watched the body meticulously, while holding herself back from wanting to run out from here.
Maxim spoke smugly.


“There’s no need to look at it so hard.
It’s an accident anyway.
She must have rolled down the narrow, steep staircase.
Well, a rookie doesn’t know how to figure it out.”


Marianne casted a doubtful glance at his remark.
How did he know that by just looking at the body? Maxim pointed to the woman standing beside him with one of his hands.


A middle-aged woman, who seemed to be so pale that it wouldn’t be surprising if she fainted right away, was shaking while leaning her body against the kitchen wall.
She was struggling to contain her emotions and soaring sorrow.


“She’s the victim’s mother.
She said she witnessed it.
The way the victim tumbled down the stairs.”


Marianne’s eyes were directed on the woman.
Unable to look at the dead body, the woman held her hands together.
Marianne’s eyes, which were staring at the woman’s trembling hands, returned to the dead body.


A doubtful voice slipped from her teeth.


“She’s lying face down and dead.
Shouldn’t she be facing the ceiling if she hit her head on the stairs?”


[t/n: I’m probably overreacting but Maxim makes me so mad and start to despise him at this point.
Putting myself in Marianne’s shoes and imagining myself going through this, I would have fainted on the spot.
A good thing about this chapter is that the author writes Marianne to be as realistic as possible.]

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