TPCP – 185

Lucerne looked like he had already stabbed someone to death in his head a thousand times. But that someone was not Elisha. He imagined murdering the man she had written a marriage contract with first.

“Don’t treat me like a fool, Elisha.”

Elisha’s eyes trembled, her gaze wavering.

“… … . What do you mean?”

“You already know everything. How obliging do I have to be?”

“… … Please explain.”

“First–Physically, I’m your first man, right?”

Elisha flinched. She didn’t expect him to know. Although she bled a little bit when they had their first relationship, that didn’t necessarily mean he was her first.

“Is that important?”

“Don’t avoid the subject. As you know, if physical relations are absent from a marriage between aristocrats, it’s invalid according to the law.”

“… … .”

“So, fortunately, the previous marriage must have been annulled. Then, don’t I just need to shut the mouths of the people involved?”

“Do you think so?”

Lucerne met her gaze completely.

“Elisha, you lived in a monastery, and then were dragged away by Jacob to be held captive and forced to work. Therefore, it is highly likely that the marriage contract was forced upon you. Probably because of wealth.”

She flinched. She couldn’t deny a single thing.

“So, Elisha.”

He leaned over and said,

“Go ahead and tell me the other person’s name.”

“… … .”

“If you offer me someone to punish instead of you, you will face less admonition. You’re clever, you know,”

Lucerne whispered gently as if he were pacifying a child. Finally, she opened her mouth.

“You are right. I almost got married by force.”

Elisha sat next to him and resolved herself. Little by little, she found her composure, grounding herself with her hand on the couch.

“Where I worked, in Jacob’s laundry room, before I met you…. there was a story that the women worshiped like a fairy tale. Jacob offered to reward a knight who won merit. The knight asked for a woman as his prize. She was a woman who was in the same situation as myself and the others, an enslaved ‘collateral.’ The story goes that the woman married the knight and lived happily as a proper wife, without having to work or pay off her debts.”

“Are you the protagonist of that romantic story?”

Lucerne asked coldly. Elisha flinched. Indeed, he was quick-witted.

“That’s right.”

He nodded to encourage her to continue explaining.

“It happened when my father died and I was just captured.”

It was the night the castle of Lor burned. At that time, she resided in a monastery, isolated from the world. In the middle of the night, she was abruptly torn from her bed and abducted by Jacob’s knights.

Elisha was barefoot, and her long blonde hair was disheveled. Because she was roughly dragged away, the skirt of her nightgown tore.

She was brought to a cabin in the woods surrounded by Jacob’s soldiers’ camp, where they had set up their barracks. The cabin door burst open, and people came in.

A knight in front of her held a man’s neck, dripping with blood.

She only found out later that the bloody neck belonged to her biological father, Count Lor.

“They said the knight’s name was Zain. Although he belongs to the House of Cartier’s knighthood, he’s actually one of Jacob’s closest aides.”

Additionally, Zain was Carola’s distant relative. Even before they got married, he had been supporting Jacob. His swordsmanship was mediocre, but he got lucky that night. He made a contribution in the last battle in the war over the fiefdom.

It had been that very day that Count Lor ran amok with his sword and nearly stabbed Jacob. Instead, it was Zain who saved him and cut the Count.

‘Ah, I heard that Jacob was injured at the hands of Count Lor. Looks like we’ll have to take our anger out on this woman today.’

Her knights looked at Elisha and snickered. Zain licked his lips. He was pretty good-looking, but his face was full of shrewdness, greed, and miserliness. He seemed like a man that was only humble to the strong and infinitely cruel to the weak.

‘Is this woman Lor’s daughter?’

‘I’m sure the rest of them were slain. Lor had a bunch of illegitimate children.’

Zain had a conversation with the knight sitting next to him.

‘An illegitimate child cannot inherit a title. Is she the daughter of his wife?’

‘Yes, she is the lawful daughter of an ex-wife to whom he was married to at the time of her birth.’

‘I’ve taken a liking to her. As expected, bitches from the Kingdom Union are pretty.’

Elisha was separated from her father when she was very young and never knew his face. However, her father, with whom she had suddenly been reunited after a very long time, had his neck severed before her wide-open eyes. It was an earth-shattering shock.

“So then?”

Lucerne listened to her story in silence.

“Reality is not a fairy tale, but the domain of dirty beasts. Zain fancied me.”

Zain watched Elisha and licked his lips.

‘It’s wonderful to see such a precious-looking bitch cry. She’s a bit too young, but it isn’t bad.’

Zain didn’t let anyone touch her. Then he went to Jacob and asked her to be his bride.

“Actually, it was like this: Zain signed a contract to take me as his wife as a bonus and leave most of Count Lor’s property to Jacob. It’s a common loophold and duplicite procedure. How to get anyone to marry and write a memorandum of property transfer. The husband steals the property and gives it to Jacob.”

But that was a method Jacob was not fond of.

His technique was to seize and fetter young noble girls. Because they were the most powerless and later became a source of money.

For the property transfer agreement to take effect, the prey had to be at least 19 years old. Married life was personal and private, so the marriage was maintained until the age of 19, but it could not be monitored. Moreover, even if the opponent is an adult, it took at least a few years to siphon off the property.

Besides, if one was unlucky, the coerced bride would die from abuse. In many ways, the cleanest way was to simply lock up the collateral and clear the debt.

If Zain hadn’t saved his life that night, Jacob would never have allowed Elisha and him to marry.

“I was very young then and was at my wits end and couldn’t think clearly. I had no choice but to sign it and do as I was told. I didn’t even know what I was writing. They even made me write a blood note and sign it.”


Lucerne’s body began to exude a subtle rage. At the time, she was fourteen years old. He knew that.

“Then, I was forcibly taken to the bridal chamber. In fact, it wasn’t even a clean room. It was just Zain’s room. There was a damp, old blanket on the bed.”

“… … .”

“I came to my senses right before I was raped. Fortunately, nothing happened that night. I took out the dagger from Zain’s bosom and wounded him in the shoulder. And ran out of the room almost naked.”

Elisha continued,

“Then I bumped into Jacob in the hallway. He intently ogled my body then.”

At that time, Jacob was with Carola, who was clinging to his arm. Carola glared at her with her eyes wide and sharp.

“… … you must have caught Jacob’s eye.”

Elisha nodded, expressionless.

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