‘What the hell is going on?’


I looked at the necklace in front of me in confusion.
There seemed to have been a big misunderstanding again, so I thought to try and resolve it quickly.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not here for this—”


“So you’re here to take something else?” Countess Cardell asked in a rather sharp tone.
Despite her defensiveness, you could see tears threatening to spill from her eyes.


‘No, why are you crying—?’


I quickly handed her a handkerchief I found on the table and consoled her, “Don’t cry.” I even tried smiling to look kind.
This proved to be ineffective, however, as Countess Cardell clearly saw my supposedly kind gesture as patronising and condescending; the act of handing over the handkerchief also screamed ‘I’ll hit you if you keep crying’ to her.


Countess Cardell started letting out uncontrollable hiccups.


“Here.” I reached out to pat her on the back.
“Are you oka—”


The Countess leapt up and shouted, “I’m sorry!” And then she burst into tears.
She thought I was going to hit her again! It would be less humiliating to apologise than to be beaten up in front of the other young ladies; the countess thought so and thrust the necklace box into my hand.
“I apologise, so please just return with the necklace! Please!”


I looked down at the box without saying anything. ‘They don’t even care about what I actually want to do, they just want me out,’ I thought seriously. ‘Ophelia must have had a talent for extortion.’ 




“Hm?” Sylvester saw someone familiar outside the window; there exists only one woman in the Empire with such striking silver hair—his wife.


‘Why is she here?’


Sylvester was also visiting the estate because he had some business with the Count—business that Ophelia had nothing to do with.


“And don’t you hate the Count?” Sylvester muttered as he recalled his past memories of Ophelia, who frequently ordered servants to burn letters from the Count of Cardell.


“Your Excellency? Are you all right?” Count Cardell called out to Sylvester, who was busy staring outside the window.


In response, Sylvester slowly turned his head to face the Count.
“It’s nothing; I saw my wife.”


“Pardon?” The Count, surprised, snapped to look in the same direction as Sylvester and there he saw the famed Duchess Ophelia.
“That’s…” He unconsciously clicked his tongue at the sight of the Duchess. 


Sylvester raised his eyebrows, “What’s wrong with you?” Tilting his head at the Count, he continued, “You don’t seem to welcome my wife.”


Count Cardell waved his hands in disagreement, refuting the Duke’s words, “Oh, that’s not true! It’s just that I don’t think she was on my wife’s invitation list.”


“When did my wife start to be invited?” Sylvester turned his body completely towards Count Cardell, his face basking in the sunlight pouring from the window. 


Count Cardell lowered his eyes in haste, “I apologise…” He was embarrassed; he wiped his hands on his thighs and was covered in cold sweat.
The Count couldn’t help but glance outside, worrying over how “that” Ophelia was with his wife, so he risked being rude and asked the Duke for his patience.
“I’m sorry, but may I be excused for a while? I think I should go visit my wife.” 


The corners of Sylvester’s lips curled up.
“Yes, take as much time as you want,” he replied, remembering how Ophelia burned the ends of the Countess Cardell’s hair once in the past.
“My wife shouldn’t be playing tricks after all.”


“…” The Count thought the same thing, but his face turned pale and he bent down in a hurry, leaving with a short, “I will be right back.” As if someone was chasing him. 


After the door closed, Sylvester leaned his head against the window and looked out once more; Countess Cardell was in tears while Ophelia sat still beside her without a change in her expression.


‘You must’ve done something,’ Sylvester grinned and folded his arms knowingly.
Ophelia had always been like this; everywhere she went, misfortune followed—just like a parasite and its host—whether or not she intended for them to happen didn’t matter.
Everyone around Sylvester hated Ophelia because of this bad luck that surrounded her; “It’s hurting your reputation,” they said.


But, “I like it.” Sylvester had liked Ophelia from the beginning; other than the Emperor, she was the first woman who wasn’t phased by his charms.
If Sylvester didn’t know it was because of her skill in black magic, he would’ve doubted the effectiveness of his own abilities.
Ophelia had exceptional talent as a black magic user—exceptional enough to be immune to demonic deception.
However, she never bothered to develop this talent and instead used it to curse people she didn’t like.


‘What a shame… Well, maybe it’s not so bad.’ 


“As long as you don’t bring the soul in,” he mumbled, touching the window.
Anyhow, if Ophelia caused any more trouble in the Cardell estate, it would be hard to handle.
“Now is the right time.”


White fingers laid atop the transparent window, blocking the light from coming in, replacing what was supposed to be sunshine with dark shadows.




“May I come in?” A familiar voice came from behind the door.


Sylvester took his hand off of the window and replied, “Come in.” As soon as the two words left his lips, the door burst open showing a man with light brown hair and sturdy build—he was Neil, Sylvester’s aide.


Neil leaned slightly towards Sylvester and pointed at the door with his thumb.
“I was late ‘cause I was chatting with the coachman, but I just ran into the count and he looked like he was in a hurry, what happened?”


“Well.” Sylvester stroked his chin slowly.
“Must be because my wife is here.”


“Pardon?” Neil came closer to Sylvester and looked out the window, seeing Ophelia.
“Why is the madam here—”


“That I don’t know,” Sylvester answered back, shrugging his shoulders as if he were talking about a random stranger.
“Maybe she’s here to help her husband with his work.”


“Yeah, I bet she is,” Neil gritted his teeth and replied, then he slapped his mouth and said mockingly, “Oh my— I’m so sorry.
I can’t say that about the madam.”


“Just try saying that in front of Ophelia herself and your tongue will be cut off.”


“I can’t work with a severed tongue, so maybe I can finally quit my job as an assistant.”


“Then I’ll use your son as my assistant.”


“I can’t believe you would hire an unborn child—I’m crying because I’m thankful, by the way, I’ll be happy.” Sylvester burst into laughter as he watched Neil shivering, causing the latter to smile alongside him.


“I heard that the Madam talked about divorce again yesterday,” Neil said, observing the laughter that lingered on Sylvester’s face, “but you refused her again.”


“That’s right.”


“Why?” He asked.
“Actually, isn’t it a great offer? If you look at the madam’s behaviour, even filing a divorce is not enough.”


Sylvester frowned at his statement, but Neil chattered on, eventually asking again, “Why won’t you divorce your wife?”

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