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    Translated by Tam
    Edited by Briggy


     

    “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?”

     

    Silence ensued after.

     

    Why didn’t he divorce Ophelia? It was simple—”It’s worth it.”

     

    Sylvester liked Ophelia as a partner; the more she gets into trouble, the more attention is drawn to her. She is the evil woman of the century, the most vicious woman on Earth, and this notoriety overshadows Sylvester’s own share of crimes. People preferred gossip to chew and enjoy over big political events. Nobody realised that Sylvester raised the road tax, all they cared about was that Ophelia slapped a young lady she found unpleasant. There were so many instances where Sylvester was shielded by Ophelia’s scandalous behaviour, so he had no intention of letting her go.

     

    ‘And yet.’

     

    “This time, she’s determined.”

     

    “What?”

     

    “She’s determined to seduce the Crown Prince.”

     

    “Doesn’t she already do that?”

     

    Sylvester smiled instead of answering. As Neil said, Ophelia was already known for her efforts in trying to capture his highness’s heart, but of course, she always failed due to her selfishness and atrocity. This time, however, she seemed a bit different.

     

    “It’s different,” Sylvester murmured.

     

    Right, Ophelia had changed. If he were to describe the past Ophelia as a bison frantically rushing back and forth, the current Ophelia would be—

     

    ‘Like a fox.’

     

    She looked like a fox with her eyes wide open.

     

    “I will seduce the Crown Prince.”

     

    “How about you give me money every time his majesty expresses his liking to me?”

     

    “Wouldn’t I need money to live a leisurely life after a divorce?”

     

    Sylvester let out a small chuckle

     

    ‘How dare you say that to me!’

     

    Poor Ophelia. No matter how much she tried to pretend to be a fox, she would just be eaten by the wolves of the snowy mountains.

     

    “I wonder what you’ll be showing me next?” Amused, he stroked his chin. “I’m looking forward to it,” Sylvester laughed, recalling the many images Ophelia has shown so far.

     

    *****

     

    “…”

     

    I nervously paced back and forth in the estate. Countess Cardell said she couldn’t come out because she wasn’t feeling well, which sounded like an excuse, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t force her to come out, so I requested for the Count’s presence.

     

    ‘I need to talk about the necklace!’

     

    “No matter how talented I am at extortion, this isn’t it.” I heard that the necklace was of such high value that it couldn’t be exchanged with mere money—at least one whole mine was needed to afford the necklace, and yet I somehow obtained this through intimidation? I couldn’t just let this pass by and accept it, I didn’t have the guts.

     

    ‘It’s not for me.’

     

    I took a deep breath and closed the box containing the necklace. The door then opened.

     

    “I’m sorry, Madam. Have you been waiting?” Count Cardell appeared, donning a gaunt face as I greeted him.

     

    “No, I’m the one who came here so suddenly, I apologise.”

     

    Count Cardell thought he had heard wrong, so he leaned forward without realising. If it were the original Ophelia, she would have cursed and screamed, “Yeah, you stupid bastard!”

     

    ‘Are you sick—?’ Count Cardell was seriously worried.

     

    “Please take a seat.”

     

    “Ah, yes.” The Count quickly sat across me. I straightened my posture and stared at Count Cardell.

     

    “As you may have heard from your wife, I received the dragon necklace from her.”

     

    Count Cardell’s face twisted slightly and nodded his head. “I’ve heard. My wife gifted you the necklace”

     

    “Gifted…”

     

    ‘More like surrendered it’

     

    I shook her head. “I will be giving it back, it’s much too valuable for me to receive.”

     

    “Pardon?” Count Cardell leaned forward again unconsciously, wondering once more if he had heard wrong. However, he realised nothing was wrong with his hearing once he saw how determined I was.

     

    He started waving his hands in the air. “B-but didn’t my wife give it to you as a gift? To return it back like this—”

     

    “That’s right,” Ophelia answered as if she had waited.

     

    “It’s a disgrace to just give back what you received.”

     

    “W- what?”

     

    “It’s an act that hurts not only me, but also the Countess.”

     

    “I-is that so—?” I felt my dry lips try to come up with an answer. “Then I’d like to exchange this with something else.”

     

    “Exchange?”

     

    I nodded my head and pointed to the portrait hanging above the fireplace. It was a self-portrait of a painter, but I didn’t know who painted it, all I knew was that the letter from the Empress Dowager was hidden behind that painting.

     

    And so, 

     

    “I’d like to exchange it with that,” was what I said.

     

    I didn’t know that that painting was worth a lot more than the necklace in my hands.

     

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