As she gasped because she felt her throat was stuffy, the carriage slowed down slowly.
Herace, who was staying still, hesitated, grabbed her trembling hand and looked out of the carriage again.
A few metres ahead, she could see servants lining up under the stairs on the exterior of the building that she was familiar with.


‘……you are still here.’


Herace took her eyes off the blonde woman standing in front of the servants.
Even after a few years, when she saw the beautiful woman, her heart stung.
However, it was not as hard or painful as it was when she first saw the woman.
She was just wondering why she was there.


Herace, who had been absent-minded, suddenly smiled.
It was because a few years ago came to her mind.
At that time, it was that woman who was in the carriage, and she was standing there, but now the situation was the opposite.


‘It was natural to see her standing there.
It is natural since she has lived in this castle longer than I have.’


Charlotte, who was standing in front of the servants, was the proud hostess of the castle.
Herace, who let go of her empty smile, touched the floor with her feet.
She refused to look at her(Charlotte) not because she didn’t like her, but because she couldn’t hide her empty feeling.


As soon as she moved her feet with shackles on, her ankles began to sting under its weight.
Herace stopped moving at once.
The carriage door opened with a rattling sound, and the tyrant-like man appeared.


Ezekiel ordered Herace, who was sitting still, in a much colder voice.


“Get off.”




She got it, but she couldn’t even nod.
Herace got out of the carriage as if she were being dragged out by Ezekiel’s firm grasp.


The clatter of shackles was loud.
Herace blushed as if she had become a sinner and looked down at her legs, which were not free.


Ezekiel also seemed to have heard the sound of the chain.
He looked at Herace with a frown, twisted his mouth, and began to move.


“Please, walk a little slower.”


Shame smeared with each step.
Herace begged Ezekiel to remove the servants surrounding them, but he ignored her request by rushing his steps.
Herace barely held back her tears and walked as if she was a sinner dragged by Ezekiel.


It was after Charlotte’s face became clear that Ezekiel stopped walking.
Charlotte glared alternately at Ezekiel and Herace with a fierce look.
She didn’t say anything, but one could tell how angry she was just by looking at her eyes.
Herace avoided looking at Charlotte’s rusty eyes, distorted by hatred.




Then, a child’s bright voice broke the horribly cold atmosphere.
As soon as everyone’s eyes reached the child next to Charlotte, a small body jumped up and dug into Ezekiel’s arms.


“Congratulations on your return.
I’ve been waiting for you for a long time.”


Miguel was more mature than his peers while keeping a child’s characteristic innocence.
Herace unknowingly bit her lips down at the child, who looked a little taller than Erzen.


She couldn’t believe that the child who looked just like Ezekiel was the same age as Erzen and was his half-brother.
The child, not only his height, but also his fair cheeks, fine hair, and clear eyes, he was ahead in everything of his younger brother.


Besides, the child’s clothes were noteworthy too.
Unlike Erzen’s clothes, which were clean but clearly worn here and there, Miguel was wearing nice, ironed clothes.
It wasn’t obvious in the mountain village, but when Herace looked at it, it came to her how bad their situation was.
Erzen couldn’t eat and wear properly there.
Thinking like this, Herace’s heart sank.


“It’s still cold, but you’re all coming out to meet me.
I’m proud of you, Miguel.”


Ezekiel, who looked at Herace with a sidelong glance, smiled unlike him and patted the child’s head in his arms.
The gentle language was full of consideration for the child.
Herace looked up as the child smiling happily and nodding to his father.


Ezekiel, who noticed her stare, twisted the tip of his lips as if he were satisfied when something glistened in her blue eyes glancing at him.
He grabbed his wife’s arm randomly and dragged it in front of Charlotte and Miguel.


“Greet her.”


Charlotte’s eyes became more fierce at the plain words.
It was so obvious that she was shaking with her fists clenched, but instead of her who should be feeling shame, the embarrassed servants lowered their backs deeper.
Anyway, it was the order of Ezekiel, the owner of the castle.
Charlotte flinched over Ezekiel’s cool face, and bowed her head reluctantly.


“It’s been a while since I saw you…….”


“Who told you to greet her?”


It was before Charlotte’s head went down completely, Ezekiel reached out and blocked Charlotte.
He pushed Herace in the back and said a more poisonous word than before.


“……there was a sequence of similar situations.”


She couldn’t understand it at all.
Not only Herace and Charlotte, but also nearby servants had puzzled eyes for a moment.
However, Charlotte and other quick-witted people soon understood Ezekiel’s intentions.


Several of the servants looked almost shocked and at the same time, Charlotte looked at Ezekiel with a look of wonder while raising the corners of her mouth.
She asked in an excited voice when she made eye contact with him.


“What do you mean, Ezekiel?”


It was a question, but a voice that was already certain of the answer.
Charlotte’s grin glistening with malice was directed at Herace, who felt the finger of the man poking her back like an arrow stabbing her.


After confirming that her blue eyes began to tremble, Ezekiel drew a line by climbing up Herace’s vertebrae with his long fingers.
With a creepy sensation, the tip of his finger soon touched her neck.


“I mean, we have to set the order properly.
If I don’t set the rules of who will be at the top and bottom, the house will be ruined.”


He randomly grabbed Harace’s neck, which was clearly revealed.
It was a shallow travesty that the noble Duchess would never do.


Herace slowly raised her head to look at Ezekiel at the insult she suffered in front of many people.
Her blue eyes spoke silently with eagerness.


‘Don’t do this.’


The invisible wound was as clear as the burn she had just received, but Ezekiel wanted to engrave it more clearly, like an imprint, rather than erase it.
Ezekiel opened his mouth to Charlotte without stopping teasing her.


“Charlotte, you are the first to become a mistress and you are the one who gave me my first child.
So it’s no wonder you will be the hostess of the house.
Of course, she has been the Duchess before, but…….”


Ezekiel paused for a moment.
His eyes had a frighteningly cruel look.
He went on again, looking up and down at Herace.


“……She kicked it away, so I’m taking it away, but that’s not my fault.”


No one could not understand such blatant words Ezekiel was speaking.
Herace is no longer a Duchess.
She’s just like Charlotte, or a mistress below her.


It was a punishment that no one expected.
Ezekiel caught his wife who ran away from him after three years, giving her unimaginable insults and shame.


Her lips turned blue like her eyes in indescribable misery.
It was difficult to see her reeling dangerously as if she would collapse if she was touched even a little.
However, the man who brought his wife down by the cruel announcement only ordered without hesitation.


“What are you doing, Herace? Greet your Madam.”


Herace did not reply.
No, she couldn’t.


She was out of breath and her head hurt as if it were splitting right away.
As if someone had scattered it in front of her, everything seemed bent and shook as if it would melt down at any moment.
Herace put her hand up and put her finger on her forehead.


“What are you doing…No, what are you trying to do? Can’t you hear the Duke? It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other.
So you have to greet me.”


Charlotte crossed her arms with a triumphant face and said in a carancan voice.
Her words, however, did not reach Herace’s ears.
The only sound that lingered in her ears was a high, terrible tinnitus.


Her senses slowed down by a beat.
Herace even noticed the fact that her body was losing balance and tumbling down after seeing other people’s expressions.




A firm hand grabbed Herace and immediately hugged her.
She fought persistently even though the grip of her entire body was blurred.


Herace closed her eyes slowly to let go of her mushy mind.
But just before the vision was completely closed, a strange light glistened at her.


When she blinked her eyes that were about to close, she could see the beautiful golden eyes bent into a half-moon shape as if she was being sucked in.
A red tongue crept out between the small, thick lips.


The coiled snake whispered to her in a seductive voice.


[Do you need my help?]




Herace was lying in a separate room in the corner of Serpence Castle.
With her eyes closed tightly, her pale face looked like a corpse.


The detached building, which was renovated, was located in the innermost part of the detached building where the least number of servants were allowed to enter, especially the inner room where Herace is currently lying.
Therefore, only three people, including Herace, were silent in the room now.


“It’s decorated nicely.
But it still looks like a pretty cage.”


Miguel walked around the room as if he was used to it.
He approached the window that occupied half of one wall.


Usually, transparent windows were normal when seen outside the building, but beyond the window, there was a pretty indoor glass greenhouse with various plants growing, and beyond that, there was a high fence and an outdoor garden.
Decorated in several pieces with green vines, the wall was quite beautiful, but higher than the height of two adult men gave an intimidating pressure first.


Miguel stared over the window at the fountain in the middle of the glass greenhouse and stared at the statue of the woman at the top of the fountain.
The statue of a woman with her winding hair down to her toes was flowing transparent water down with the bucket at an angle.


Miguel, who was reaching out as if trying to catch the water pouring out of the statue, turned around with a laugh when he saw Ezekiel reflected on the window.
He was carefully kissing the fallen Herace on the forehead.


“That was a fake announcement…… wasn’t it too much? I’m afraid that she might abandon the status of being your wife.”


Ezekiel gave strange orders to the people of the castle.
Taking the Duchess’ authority from Herace, he gave it to Charlotte.
But, he also told her(Charlotte) not to use the Duchess’ title until she was ordered.


At the same time, he did another thing.
Herace had been deprived of her authority and title, but she is still the only Duchess of the Serpence Castle.
He will cut the heads of whoever neglects to serve the Duchess.


“Because of one crazy owner, people in the whole castle are going to act like they’re not even close to each other.
What the hell is being a Duchess but not being called or treated as a Duchess? If that’s not what you want, give a real announcement.
Don’t confuse others.”


Ezekiel did not respond much to the sarcastic remarks.
After he took his mouth off Herace’s forehead, he said as if it were natural.


“Herace is my wife, and we are a legitimate couple who swore before God.
Now that I’m the Duke of Serpence, naturally she’s the Duchess of Serpence till down her grave.”

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