01 – PROLOGUE

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“What on earth have you been doing?!”

That day, outraged scolding could be heard throughout the comital Crester Manor.

Amongst the aristocrats of the Kingdom of Elgrand, not one individual was unfamiliar with the House of Crester.

They were, after all, said to be the ‘sovereigns of evil, rulers of the criminal underworld’.

House Crester had held its peerage for more than three hundred years.
Throughout that time, they had amassed an overwhelming fortune via countless crimes, although none could prove that they had done so.
Their network of connections and villainous methods had endured the succession of generations, and by now their roots had spread throughout the Kingdom.

Even if by some freak of fate one did manage to find a hint of their wrongdoings, a ‘hint’ would never be cause for their concern.
It was no skin off their back to abandon a catspaw, and never had their bottom line been touched.

Moving against them came with great risk, so any who believed in upholding justice could only watch on in impotent rage.

Well, at least that was what the rumours said.

“Is this not your fault to begin with? It would never have come to this if you had handled things properly! The palace, now, of all times?! This is the one time your stupidly intimidating face could have been good for something, but now this!”

“I-I’m sorry, Ellie.
I can explain! I can explain so please put down that vase…!”

“Mother, please calm down!”

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In the midst of the chaos were a man and woman in the prime of their lives.
To the side, a paling young man was trying to mediate.
It was what was commonly known as a family argument.

All three of them bore fine clothes, and every movement was taken with grace (so long as you ignored what they were currently doing).
They looked like they were from the upper class, and they were indeed.

These were Count Dualis Crester, his lady wife Elisabeth Crester, and the eldest son Edward Crester.
Indeed, this was the infamous House Crester.

“Do not stand in my way, Edward! I cannot abide this, not this! Anything but my daughter!”

“Your anger is justified, Mother, but if you keep hitting Father he’ll…!”

“Then let him! That stupid face looks like it could survive anything!”

“His face might look like that, but he might still actually die…” muttered Edward.

(And in truth, that did look like the face of a man you could never be rid of.)

Dualis immediately sensed Edward’s sentiment because he shouted at his son from beneath the table.

“Ed, you traitor~!”

It was hard to reconcile this pathetic sight with the term ‘Sovereign of Evil’, no matter how you spun it.

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Naturally, the talk about being the ‘rulers of the criminal underworld’ was nothing more than a rumour.
For those who knew his true self, it would be a challenge to describe any part of Dualis as ‘evil’.

Unfortunately, the rumours did not persist without reason.
And that reason was—

“What part! Of this stupidly! Cruel-looking face! Dared to tell me! That you ‘made a’! ‘Little mistake’?!”

In what could only be explained as the mysteries of DNA, House Crester was full of evil-looking people.
In fact, it would be more accurate to say that members of the Crester line could only be born evil-looking.
No matter how innocent the mother might look, the blood of the Cresters would inevitably win out, and her children would all look like little villains.

The current generation of Cresters were a good example.
Count Dualis Crester was born looking exceptionally cruel and cold, a rare ‘talent’ even for House Crester.
He did not look like some brutish ogre.
On the contrary, he was exceptionally handsome, but that face could only be described as ‘inhuman’, ‘pitiless’, ‘merciless’, and the like.
Expressionless by default, even his rare smiles were said to be sinister and frightening.
All in all, the kind of person who would make one think, ‘Whoa, no way that guy isn’t with the mafia or something.’

Uncommon for the nobility, and even more unthinkably for Dualis, his marriage had been one of love (pay attention to this part).<

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