While holding a bottle of wine in his left hand, the duke slowly stepped through the bushes.
His wrinkled face was red and hideous eyes were bloodshot, and he looked unusually unstable.
Glancing at the empty wine bottle, Sera clenched her hands into fists.
‘Why did I have to run into Duke Bethmann while I’m alone’
She had a bad feeling that he’d been waiting for her to be alone for quite a while.
She was so tempted to curse at him, considering what Elijah had said and what the duke did to Sera, but she had no choice but to greet him because he had a higher status than her.
Suppressing a growing mountain of scorn, Sera nodded.
“Is that you, Sera Popo With that dress on, I wouldn’t have expected it’s the same Sera Popo I met before.”
Duke Bethmann walked slowly towards her and spoke.
Bloodshot gray eyes looked at her from head to toe, his gaze sticky.
As he approached her closer, Sera felt goosebumps rising up her skin.
With an expression full of vigilance, Sera hesitated and took a step back.
As though he was expecting this, Duke Bethmann’s lips rose on one corner.
“You’re being very impudent, Sera Popo.”
‘Who’s being impudent here.’
“I apologize, Duke, but I need to return first.
Their Highnesses are waiting for me.
Then, I’ll be on my way now.”
Sera curtsied once more and turned around.
The duke wasn’t someone normal in the first place, and since he started drinking in broad daylight—inside the imperial palace, no less—she didn’t know what could happen here.
In addition, Duke Bethmann already had a history of doing something to Sera, so nothing good would happen if she stayed here any longer.
I have something to tell you.”
When Duke Bethmann called her name in such a friendly, disgusting tone, she flinched. Do I need to look back This small question popped up in her mind.
In any case, because of this country’s social status system, a duke had the most power right after the imperial family, so he wasn’t someone she could easily disregard.
“I… have nothing to talk about with you, Duke.”
After much consideration, Sera replied with a cold, indifferent tone without looking back.
She had already suffered from his actions before, and she didn’t know what he was going to do again here.
She couldn’t afford to stay behind and let him come close.
Rubbing her clammy palms against the hem of her dress’ skirt, she continued to walk away.
Whenever she took one step after another, tension rose further and further.
So, her stride grew faster as well.
‘I think he’s just waiting, but this silence is too strange.’
It felt ominous.
“You can’t use magic, right”
Sera felt a strong sense of fear.
It was natural for Duke Bethmann to know that she was unable to teach swordsmanship and magic, but why would he mention this now
It was at that moment at the height of tension, as Sera felt so suffocated, she tried to run forward.
From where she was standing, Sera was dragged back.
She didn’t realize what was happening until she saw the shoe marks on the ground as she was pulled back.
Before she knew it, she was already standing before Duke Bethmann.
He wielded magic.
With her face as white as a sheet from fear, Sera looked at her wrist which he was gripping.
Her skin had become so pale that her wrist’s complexion looked like salt and pepper as he gripped it.
“I haven’t forgotten that promise last time.”
“Wh… What are you doing! Let go, Duke!”
She shouted as she struggled to shake off his hand.
However, even for an old duke like him, the strength of an adult man was ruthless.
The stronger she tried to twist away, the stronger the grip on her wrist became.
Seeing her struggle, Duke Bethmann’s lips twisted into a smirk.
“I’m a generous man.
If you accept what I promised last time, I can pretend that you didn’t do anything wrong.
I can erase it from my memories cleanly.”
‘Promise What promise’
Sera stared blankly at the duke’s faded gray irises.
But soon after, she realized what he was talking about, and she reacted strongly.
“That 120 gold, is that what you’re talking about, Duke”
He should just stop here, he was only mocking her.
Both displeasure and fear soared within her.
Sera stared at him with scorn filling her blue eyes along with waves of other emotions.
“What else is there besides that promise It’s fine even if you don’t hold any classes for Elijah.
Do it once a week later and…”
She had no choice but to listen to his offensive insinuations.
‘I have to get out of here.’
She twisted her arm around.
She struggled for so long to get out of his grip somehow, but stayed firm and then finally—he took her in his arms.
“Please… Please don’t do this!”
Sera felt her strength draining as she continued to struggle.
She knew that she at least should shout louder.
The party was being held at the front garden of the Star Palace, so maybe her screams could be heard there.
However, as her body trembled due to fear, she gradually lost her voice.
‘If this continues, I won’t have a chance of escaping!’
It was impossible for her to overcome the Duke Bethmann’s strength.
It had also become difficult to move at all now that she was trapped in his arms.
The closer he leaned down on her, the stronger the scent of alcohol and cigarettes overpowered her senses.
It was indicative of just how much he drank.
Duke Bethmann exhaled a hot breath of air.
The stale stench of cigarettes wafted over her face.
Tears welled up in her blue eyes.
She was terrified.
He might really do something horrendous.