Only Theodore and Annette remained in the deserted living room.

Annette looked at Theodore with quiet, downcast eyes.

“If you have something to say, get it over with. As you can see, I’m not feeling well and I need to rest.”


Theodore said, “You were being selfish in the carriage, and now you’ve decided to speak?”


“I don’t speak comfortably to people who make me uncomfortable.”


“You say it’s uncomfortable, but you don’t avert your eyes?”


“Because I have done nothing wrong and have no reason to avoid eye contact. If my eyes make you uncomfortable, it is probably because Your Highness has done something wrong to me.”


Annette calmly responded to everything Theodore had to say.

One by one, the words she had spat out were bricked up and a wall was built. An obvious wall of not wanting to form any kind of fellowship, friendship, affection, or any of its similar internal intimacies in the time she would spend with him from now on.


“I’m a busy man myself, so I’ll keep this short. Are you sure those pills you showed earlier were poison?”


 “I am the only one who took those pills. The nurses handed out medicine for the other patients, but only mine were brought by the hospital director’s son himself, who even made sure it went down my throat.”


“Did you keep taking it knowing it was poison?”


“If I didn’t take it, he would have mixed it with my food. Taking it whole and regurgitating it was the best way to ingest less. So don’t be unmindful.”


Annette was well aware that if she shared the white pills she was given, a black plot by someone who wanted to kill her would appear. But if she refused the medicine, they would force them down her throat like what happened before Theodore showed up, so she had no choice but to take it willingly.


Annette was really resolute about such things. The word was that she was waiting for the day she died by taking the poison.


Her demeanor was so nonchalant that Theodore almost wondered if this woman was talking about someone else.


Then, he suddenly felt a surge of satisfaction.

Annette did not hesitate to swallow the poison and did not fear death.


People who were not afraid of death usually did not place limits on what they did. Having such people on his side would be useful in many ways. He should be happy that a good product that was very difficult to obtain compared to its usefulness had fallen into his hands.


“When did you hide the medicine?”


“When the hospital director came in. The doctor that Your Highness had defeated had just poured the medicine on me, so the poison was everywhere.”


“You took the poison at that moment when you didn’t even know what I might propose?”


“Of course I have to be careful. If I can’t decipher it when I leave, I’ll die.”


While Theodore was threatening the hospital director, Annette found a pill and hid it in her hand. In the meantime, she devised a way to live.


At this point, Theodore had to admit. Whether Annette was a god or a fraud, he didn’t know, but she was a woman who knew how to defend her own life.


“If you want to use me, help me first.”


“Of course I must. If we find a new doctor, he will analyze the poison.”


“I have another doctor now. Liza will take care of it.”


“Do you believe that nurse will save your life?”


“I have to believe.”


“Does that woman appear as a competent character in the novel you read?”


Theodore asked a little more hopefully. If she was willing to trust Liza with her life, there must be a reason.

If the nurse who happened to appear was one of the main characters in the novel, she might be useful to Theodore.

But the reply that followed completely sank Theodore’s hopes.


 “There was no nurse named Liza among the characters I read in the book.”


“Why would you trust someone you don’t even know?”


“Because I cannot delay the detoxification for even a second, and that nurse didn’t seem like someone who would play with a patient’s life. I am in a position where I have to choose even if the options before me are not the best.”


“So it’s just a feeling?”


Theodore quickly became bored.

The kind he hated the most was the hopeful optimist who “believes in human effort and good will.” However, he did not expect his new chess piece to have such ideas.


He hoped Annette would be more interesting than human, so his disappointment was not small.


“What shall we do with this one? The nurse had a medical accident and lost her job. People don’t believe what they feel.”


“That’s not something I would say to someone who decided I took sides based on a feeling alone.”


“It sounds to me like you have  doubts too.”


“Surely you don’t expect me to trust Your Highness?”


“Maybe you should trust me a little. I’m the one holding your lifeline, aren’t I?”


Theodore reached out and pretended to strangle Annette, and she opened her mouth to fight back without hesitation.


“I will believe as much as Your Highness trusts me.”


She meant that she did not believe him at all. Theodore was finally reassured by the falsehood of her words.

A business could only succeed with a skeptic. Annette was an appropriate person to be his business partner.


“If you find the antidote, I will save your life.”


“You intend to keep me alive and get more than that.”


“It’s called a deal. That’s what you want.”


“That’s right. It is a deal, and the only condition I want is that you return me to my world alive. That is the only deal I want, and nothing else can tempt me.”


Annette was fed up with this world.

As soon as she woke up from this body, not knowing who she was, she became a murderer and lived in captivity.


It left her terribly traumatized. No matter what good things happened, she could no longer love this world. No amount of rich and noble could make her want to live in the world of books.


“Now it’s my turn to set the terms.” (Theo)


“Let’s hear it.”


Theodore liked this conversation quite a bit.


Exchanging goals without any fuss meant that both parties were assured of the desired outcome, and such deals usually had a high success rate.

Theodore could tell from just a few conversations.

He didn’t believe that Annette was a god from another world, but she would be helpful. This woman would have a profound impact on his life in whatever form.


He did not know if the wind she would bring would be a spring breeze or a typhoon, but it would certainly be a wind that would change Theodore’s path.


“I only want one thing: Hugo. Get rid of that fool and attain the emperor’s crown.”


Hugo was the only opponent Theodore could not move at the checkout.

Comparing Theodore and Hugo’s hunting abilities, Theodore was much better, but Hugo was the winner of the annual imperial hunting festival.


Even if Theodore caught more than 10 deer all day long, he would never win because a foolish bear would appear in front of Hugo, who had no intention of hunting, and would fall to its death on its own.


Theodore’s victory was more obvious than fire extinguished before Hugo. At times, even Hugo’s allies were doubtful about Theodore’s defeat.


As defeats that could not be understood by common sense continued, they had no choice but to mobilize emergency sense.

And the most insane object that appeared to Theodore was Annette.

Theodore intended to leave a part of his destiny to this woman.

Of course, there would have to be a verification procedure.


Annette looked up at Theodore, who was thinking this way.


“Will my safety be guaranteed until you become emperor?”


For Annette, safety was the most important issue. A way to save her life was urgent, for if she returned to the Scheringen family immediately, she would fall into the hands of relatives who would try to kill her.


“No amount of Scheringen would be able to lay a hand on the Grand Duchess.”


“Did you really mean what you said about making me Grand Duchess?”


“I’ve already prepared the legal documents. There’s a minor issue, but as long as you pretend to love me and not the Crown Prince, it will be solved.”


“But ……”


Annette was perplexed, her expression disturbed for the first time.


Marriage was a way to secure Theodore’s assured protection, but it was too noisy a means.


It was also hard to believe that a marriage of a grand ducal couple, who were not country farmers, could finally be settled with just a few documents.

Theodore responded as if he had read Annette’s worries.


“That much can be resolved if you prove yourself useful to my plans.”


“Prove it? You said you would admit me.”


He had already dragged Annette away from the asylum after causing a commotion. Surely rumors of the two were already scattered throughout the empire.


It was reckless of him to do what he did without believing Annette was there. Now, however, she wondered what she was supposed to prove again.


“It means proving what you are worth, not where you came from.  How do I know if you are a real goddess or a fake sale?”


He was a terrible man. He was the one who brought Annette here and kept her hidden but it did not stop him from doubting.

He would not hesitate to kill Annette right away unless she was of use to him now.

Annette bit her lip and realized how disadvantaged she was.

The most important thing in the deal was not to be found wistful. But Annette had already lost. Her desire to return to her original world was revealed, and although she had none, there was much to be gained from Theodore.


So, no matter how unreasonable conditions Theodore set, she had to follow them.


“Are you sure there’s a way to bring me back?”


Theodore asked, “What are you going to do if I tell you differently?”


Annette chewed on the inside of her mouth. She could taste the fishy blood from her torn flesh. She glared at Theodore as if to kill him, but all that came back was a taunt.


“Thanks to your personality, you won’t die easily.” (Theo)


Her earnestness and pride were mere taunts to Theodore.


Annette clenched her fists so as not to forget the insult she had just received. The hatred she couldn’t swallow leaked through her fingers.

Tap the screen to use advanced tools Tip: You can use left and right keyboard keys to browse between chapters.

You'll Also Like