Lately, John, a servant at the duchy, had been in a terrible mood.
The cause? The slave Kian the Duchess brought in a few days ago.
He couldn’t stand it. Kian was a thorn in his eyes.
To be exact, he hated the way Kian was preciously treated.
Aren’t slaves like livestock? Then you should clean up the stables, smell like dung, and sleep on stools–like all the other slaves.
Of course, John knew that not all slaves lived horrible lives. Especially slaves with excellent abilities or good looks.
He was told that such slaves were excluded from hard labor and given special affection from their owners.
Just like Kian.
A few days ago, John was astonished to see piles of boxes piled like towers on the mansion’s porch.
-No, what’s all this?
-She said the presents she bought for Kian.
-What? John is dumbfounded.
This is all for the slave? Not yours?
“All for a lowly slave….!”
Here he was working all day, but somehow that slave earned the goodwill of the lady……
That wasn’t the only favor Kian was given to John’s astonishment.
Kian slept in a room as spacious and luxurious as a noble’s room, and all he ate was the finest cuisine.
The slave was living a life more luxurious than himself without doing anything. And that fact made John livid.
The more he thought about it, the more outrageous it was.
It was unbearably that he was worse off than a slave.
John did not count his own blessings that included his normal life, freedom, and the generous salary he earned under the Duchess of Ashford, especially compared to other families.
John was being treated well enough. But he was making the mistake of falling into an endless misery by comparing himself to others.
Angry John kicked around nervously. A rock, hit by his foot, fell into the lake. The flock of birds that resided in the lake peacefully fled at the disturbance.
Somehow, John wanted to make a mess of the slave who didn’t know his place.
He was sure he would be damned if he was found out, but his injured pride outweighed his caution.
‘I’m going to give that arrogant slave a lesson in humility…. No matter how precious you are, you are still a lowly slave.’
John vowed to educate him ‘a little bit’ so he would know his place.
[Slaves are human livestock.] It was what a distinguished scholar of the Empire taught.
As long as you were a slave, you had better realize you were an object or livestock. Otherwise, it’s just heartbreaking.
So when Kian heard Olivia, he had no choice but to wonder.
-You just need to eat well, rest well, and relax in this house. That’s all I want from you.
Wasn’t there a purpose in mind when you bought slaves at a high price? Slaves served a function.
No one buys a slave to treat him as a whole person.
Why did she say that?
And why not let him do anything… Kian was confused, and no matter how hard he thought about it, he couldn’t answer.
Suddenly there was a knock.
Kian stopped thinking and woke up. He opened the door and faced a visitor.
He checked his face. It wasn’t Olivia.
‘Where have I seen his face…’
Kian recalled the duchess’s employee. John.
John said, “The lady said the other day that you should tour the mansion, right? Well, I was charged with this task.”
‘It was true that Olivia asked me to look around the mansion with her. Did she order John to replace her?’
“What are you doing? Hurry up and follow me.”
John strode ahead, and Kian had no time to think further. He had to quicken his steps so as not to lose John.
After the restaurant and kitchen, John guided him to a wine cellar in the mansion basement.
The warehouse was littered with large oak barrels. The sour smell of mature wine wafted out when John opened the door.
“The wine cellar in this mansion has been built over a hundred years. It’s a place with a very long history, so go in and take a look. It’s a rare opportunity,” John suggested.
He couldn’t say no, so Kian walked into the warehouse. The interior was much more expansive than he had seen from the outside. Large and small oak barrels were listed endlessly.
It was when Kian came halfway through the cave-like warehouse, there was a sudden squeal of satisfaction.
Kian looked back. The entrance to the wine cellar was closing.
” . . . ! “
Kian hurried back to the entrance, but the big door closed before his eyes. There was laughter. He tried his best to pull the doorknob, but the door didn’t budge.
John locked him in here.
‘Why? What the hell?’
Kian had rarely spoken to John.
‘I didn’t do anything to incur a grudge….’
So naturally, Kian asked.
“Why are you doing this?”
Beyond the door came John’s bitter voice.
“I don’t like you.”
“What are you talking about?”
“I hate to see a lowly slave like you come into my vision and eat well.”
The absurd answer left Kian speechless for a moment.
“You may be favored now because of that face of yours. But how long do you think it’ll last?”
“She’ll get tired of it soon. Then it’s only a matter of time before you’re abandoned,” John’s malicious, one-sided accusations continued. “No matter how good you are, you’re a lowly slave anyway. Don’t forget that.”
John laughed satisfied.
The sound of John’s footsteps gradually moved away from the warehouse.
The warehouse was quite cold, perhaps because it was for storing wine. Kian felt even colder because he was wearing light indoor clothes.
“Is anyone there?”
‘Is there anyone passing by?’ Kean knocked on the door with a little expectation. But even after shouting and banging several times, he couldn’t hear an answer.
‘How long has it been?’
It was bearable at first, but gradually his body shuddered.
With a resigned sigh, Kian curled up tightly to preserve any warmth.
“I must have misheard, right? Right?” asked the Crown Prince again.
He seemed to hope that my purchase of Kian was a groundless rumor. But it was only his wish.
So far, the Crown Prince has not been actively pushed away. The moment I openly refused his courtship, I didn’t know how he would retaliate.
But I can’t put it off any longer. I’ll have to cleanly and clearly reject him.
“No, it’s as you heard it.”
When the resolute answer came back, the prince’s face, which was only as hard as a wax figure, had a subtle crack in it.
He said, “The Kian slave… I heard he was used as a bedroom slave until you bought it. Did you bring him here knowing that?”
What, did you do a background check on Kian? So you were staring at me like you didn’t know anything.
I said, barely keeping a smiling face. “It doesn’t matter what Kian has done before. And I didn’t buy him to use him as a bedroom slave.”
“Then why did you buy a slave that can’t even work?”
Because I have to stop the blacking hero and increase my lifeline.
To tell you the truth, the Crown Prince has calculated I am a crazy person.
“Because he’s worth it,” the crown prince smiled dejectedly.
He said, “Olivia, I could raise you to the second-highest position in this Empire. That’s not a bad condition for you either, is it?”
Without a doubt, he thought I’d accept the crown princess’s seat—the status of a future empress.
It was the crown prince’s mistake to choose the wrong person…..
“Your Highness, I’m afraid to say this…” I said, putting down the teacup. “You seem to be mistaken.”
“Yes. I’m afraid I don’t intend to be a Crown Princess.”
The prince’s face hardened at the blunt remark. He asked in a voice that seemed genuinely curious.
“What’s the reason?”
“I’m fully satisfied with this position now.”
He replied reluctantly, with a look of understanding.
“Oh, of course, it’s good to inherit the duchy. However, if you become the empress, you will have a power that suppresses a duke.”
He tried to coax me. But I didn’t even have to think twice. “My decision won’t change.”
The Crown Prince’s eyes narrowed.
He peered at me without saying a word, trying to read my hidden intentions. It was an uncomfortable silence, the crown prince opened his mouth.
“‘ I am satisfied with my current position’… Is there really no other reason besides that?”
“Do you have another man in mind?”
I have a rough idea of who you have in mind.
You think I’m in love with Kian, that’s why you’ve been looking into it. But it’s not that reason.
“Oh, okay…” it was still a doubtful tone.
A few more words have been exchanged since then, but the dialogue has not progressed because opinions have not been narrowed.
Finally, the Crown Prince shook his head and said, as if he had given up persuading me.
“I thought you could trust me and leave me a seat next to you…” he said with a look of regret and a tone of voice.
“I must have been mistaken.”
You’re the one who made a wild mistake by yourself. Maybe if he hadn’t been the Crown Prince, he would have at least had the mind to ask me.
“I’m disappointed, Olivia,” the crown prince stared at me with cold eyes for a while, then rose from his seat.
He said to his escort knights. “Let’s go.”
“Was this just a waste of time?” murmuring to himself.
The crown prince turned his back on me without replying to my answer.
I stood at the front door of the mansion and watched the Crown Prince’s carriage leave.
I did well rejecting him, so he won’t come to see me anymore.
‘What is Kian doing now?’
As soon as the crown prince left, I naturally thought of Kian.
Just in time, the maid Becky was passing by the hall, so I beckoned her. “Would you call Kian? We’re having dinner together. Bring him to the dining hall.”
Said Becky, restless as a nervous man lost, I only assigned her a simple errand run. “That’s. .. I’ve been looking for him for a while, but I can’t find Kian.”
My heart sank at the unexpected answer.
Let’s stay calm. Maybe Kian got lost in the mansion when he went out of the room alone.
“When was the last time you saw Kian?”
“I saw John and Kian together three or four hours ago,” Becky said quietly, “Oh… I remember something else.”
After a brief investigation, Philip and Jesse said the same thing.
“John told Kian that he would show him around the mansion….”
Why would John show Kian around the mansion? I’ve never given such instructions. I called John to question him immediately.
“Why did you do something I didn’t ask you to do? Where the hell is Kian?”
John hesitated and avoided answering.
Being impatient, I raised my voice. “Tell me before you regret it!”
“The truth is ······.”
When I pushed him hard, John, who was frightened, confessed everything. The story he told was shocking.
Because you didn’t want to see Kian?
You did it because you were jealous that he was treated like a precious guest?
I couldn’t speak properly because I was dumbfounded.
What if Kian blacked out?
In the meantime, John, who did not know what he had done, was eagerly making excuses.
“I don’t want to hear excuses!”
I cut off John roughly, forgetting to keep a noble lady’s dignity.
Then I grabbed John’s collar and demanded, “Tell me where Kian is right now.”