A low exclamation slipped out through his teeth.
Why did he keep shaking her like this? She lifted her head in resentment.


If he had paid attention to her a little earlier, she wouldn’t have had to travel this far.


Kristoff, who was staring at her with a sharp gaze, suddenly pulled up his lips.
Could she be shaken by him now? Like the grumble of the chestnuts.


That would be great.


“Let’s go in.”


Contrary to Marianne’s concerns, the staff were friendly.
They didn’t do anything as foolish as distinguishing guests by their clothes.
Kristoff, who ordered food for them, looked at her,


“How’s your work? Isn’t it harder than you think?”


Putting down the bouquet of flowers on the empty chair, Marianne looked stunned once again.
She still hasn’t gotten used to his friendly attitude.


“If you want me to return……”


“No, Marianne.
Go wherever you want, and do whatever you want.”


Kristoff backed off readily.
Her blue eyes stared intensely at Kristoff as if delving through his ulterior motives.
She looked at his eyes as if contemplating whether he had been possessed.


“I will do whatever I want, too.”




Marianne called him.
It sounded like a sigh.
Kristoff waited until the staff put down all the dishes before continuing his words.


“I realized I didn’t have to take you to where I am.”


Did he finally give up?


The moment Marianne grabbed her dress and quietly dropped his gaze.


“As long as I’m where you are.”




Marianne unknowingly let out a relieved sigh.
Then, she realized that she was afraid Kristoff would give up.
Another deep sense of shame tugged at her ankle.


Marianne replied wryly.


“You’ve changed so much that I can’t get used to it.”


“Me too, Marianne.
I never knew I had this side of me, too.”


Kristoff started eating.
Born and raised in a nice family, he was impeccable even in terms of table manners.


Whenever Marianne ate, she would unknowingly look at him.
At that moment, Kristoff looked up as if he had just remembered something.


Marianne, who was staring at him, lowered her head hastily.
And she only cut the innocent meat.


“However, you’d better contact your parents.
The same happened to Veronica, so they were worried about you because they also lost contact with you.”


Marianne opened her eyes wide at his remark.
She couldn’t think of that because the things in front of her were urgent.
Kristoff, who stared at her, put down his fork and knife to ask.


“Would you rather I send someone?”


“No, Kristoff.
I’ll do it.
I’ll go back and write a letter today.
……Thank you for your concern.”


Kristoff nodded nonchalantly.
He resumed his meal.
Marianne also took the meat to her mouth.
As Commissioner Simon said, the food was pretty good.


“By the way, didn’t you say you had something to discuss about the case?”


“Oh, you said it.”


Kristoff put down his fork again.
He quickly put his brain to work again.
So that she didn’t realize it was just a bit to have a meal with him.


“I’m going to let the reporters know that I’m taking over Paul’s case.
I’ve informed Oscar, so it will probably be published by tomorrow morning.”


“How come?”


“To attract people’s attention to the case.”


Marianne looked at the table with a thoughtful gaze.
Then, she soon realized what he meant and nodded.


“You said the judge was an old-line, right? You’re trying to pressure him.”


Kristoff opened his eyes slightly wider.
As if it was unexpected.


It occurred to him that it might be him, not Maxim or Florian, who had been ignoring her the most.


“That’s right.
Kristoff Schneider, who returned to Blauberg, has decided to take on Paul’s case, and the fact alone would explode to the public and you’d wonder what the hell Paul’s case was about.
My name and the halo of the Schneider Family, as well as people’s interest in the case.
No old-line judge will not be moved.
I intend to mobilize all the resources I have.”


“The trial begins outside the courtroom.”


Marianne, who murmured, looked at him worriedly.
She said cautiously and hesitatingly.


“However, your disadvantage remains.”


“You’re right, Marianne.”


Kristoff nodded.
He stared at Marianne.
After giving a persistent gaze, he spoke.


“Therefore, I need your help.”


“My…… Help?”


Her eyes turned round.
Kristoff continued calmly.


“I’ll have to go back to the beginning again.
I might have missed something, and what Paul’s mother knows.
However, you know Oliver is not here.
I need someone smart and trustworthy right now, Marianne.
And I wish it would be you.
The officers are incompetent, and Oscar is not my man, so there’s no one like you who is fit for this job.”


Someone smart and trustworthy.


Marianne knew she had to shake her head.
There was nothing good about being involved with Kristoff.
It would only make her lingering feelings grow stronger again.


Nevertheless, she eventually nodded.
Kristoff asked for her help.
In other words, the man acknowledged her ability.


Marianne knew it was a trap, but she had no choice other than to jump in.
As if a moth jumped into a flame.
Kristoff’s lure of acknowledging her ability was as sweet and tempting as it was.


I’ll help you, Kristoff.”


The lame excuse that lingered in her mouth was shoved back and swallowed down along with the food.
The next moment, her eyes shone brilliantly.


“So what am I supposed to do from now on?”




Kristoff went on quietly.


“Will you have a talk with Paul’s mother? She might have a hard time talking with me, or she might not talk at all.
I’d like you to bring out the hidden truth from her mouth, Marianne.”


“Leave it to me.”


Marianne nodded pleasantly.
She strained the corners of her mouth as they tried to curve up.
However, Kristoff’s eyes were already fixated on her lips.


He knew Marianne wouldn’t refuse his offer.
And Kristoff wasn’t a stupid man to miss an opportunity.
The eyes that had achieved their goal had a satisfactory glow in them.




After getting out of the van, the two walked to Paul’s house.
There wasn’t any friendly conversation shared between them.
They just kept pace and walked side by side.


However, it was very unusual.
Only then did Kristoff realize that whenever they went out, she had always followed him one step behind.


He had to face his past every moment.
The miserable past that hurt Marianne without even knowing about it as she stared at him.
As if it was an abyss of monsters.


“You promised to give me one day.”


Kristoff suddenly opened his mouth.
Marianne frowned awkwardly at his unexpected remark, and Kristoff continued casually, pretending not to notice it.


“How about the next holiday?”




“The Marquis wanted to see you.
It would be nice to have a meal together at the castle.
Of course, that is if you don’t mind.”


She owed the Marquis, and she couldn’t turn a blind eye to him.
Marianne opened her eyes slightly wider at his words.
Then, a faint smile erupted on her face.
She wouldn’t refuse to have a meal with the Marquis of Schneider even if he didn’t bring up her promise.


However, it was hard to believe he brought up her promise to have a meal with the marquis.
Should she say he was prim or just not pulling any kind of tricks on her?


Marianne, who had never noticed that it was Kristoff’s slick ruse, nodded with a gentle smile.


“Alright, I will make time for that.”


“Thank you.”




This time, Marianne stopped walking.
Kristoff, who stopped walking as well, looked back at her as she stood ahead of him.


It was the first time she’d ever heard thank you from him.
Marianne looked at him with a shaky gaze.


Kristoff waited for her silently.
Not one step ahead, but until she reached his side.


After a while, Marianne began to walk again.
Only then did Kristoff take a step.


Upon hearing that Marianne was going to meet Paul’s mother, Maxim laughed when he thought Marianne had a sort of lingering feelings for the woman and said, “You’re spending your time on the things that have been done.”


However, Nicholas thought differently.
He nodded gently.


―Since this is your first case, it’s a good thing that you decided to see it until the end.
It’s better not to leave any regrets because your first case will be especially memorable.
Let her do it.


Kristoff thought about Marianne, who heard that.
A disapproving voice unintentionally slipped out through his teeth.


“You know what, it’s about you.”


Kristoff, who paused in his place, casted a thoughtful gaze on her.
Marianne tilted her head slightly.


 “Isn’t the way you look at Inspector Nicholas a little disquieting?”



In which way?


Marianne tilted her head with a puzzled expression.
If she had to say, she liked Nicholas.
No, respect might have been more appropriate.


He was a man of keen eyes, and he had a tendency to be quite harsh to his subordinates, but he was surprisingly attentive.
He was decent as a boss.




Kristoff let out a short sigh at the sight of her.
That was the way she was.
His stomach flipped when he saw her looking at someone other than him with twinkling eyes.
His eyes saw red.


Then, he felt pathetic for himself because of being such a narrow-minded man.
However, he couldn’t say that out loud.
He didn’t want to see Marianne getting disappointed with him.


Kristoff answered in a nonchalant tone, pretending to be insignificant.


“Officer Nicholas, he was rumored to be a devoted husband.
I heard he has three children.”




So what about that?


Marianne still looked at him with an unknown gaze, and Kristoff clicked his tongue lowly as he had no intention of explaining with his own mouth.


Then, he saw a man glancing at them from over the fence.
Kristoff slowed his pace gradually, and Marianne stopped.


Was the owner of the house next to Paul’s, just one narrow street away.


“Are you cops?”


He asked curiously.
Marianne nodded beside Kristoff, who was trying to build up his pace again in an uninterested manner.


“Yes, that’s right.”


Kristoff stood on his spot again.
He thought talking to the man was a waste of time, but he didn’t have the courage to tell Marianne.


Once again, Kristoff didn’t want to disappoint her.
He’d rather waste his time than do that.


“I’ll give him three minutes.
The act was masculine, for men to usually keep it brief and concise, but he wasn’t unhappy about it.


“It’s awful.
I heard Paul killed my sister.”


[T/N: the man referred to the victim as ‘noona’ here which implies he is her younger brother.]


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