Peony – I Saw the Future With the Killer Grand Duke - Chapter 1
CHAPTER I. If we have a next life
It happened at early spring when heavy rain was pouring out.
What is the end of “The villainess, Gabriella?”
The wreckage of the broken carriage weighed on me. My legs under the wheels are already numb.
‘Ah, I’m going to die in the end.’
The cold rainwater flowing along the dirt road soaked my whole body.
I hated the rain, so I looked up at the dark clouds with resentful eyes.
Why is it today?
I wish I had died on a sunny day.
“What’s wrong, wife?”
If that were the case, the man standing here wouldn’t have looked so sad.
“Live. Live, even if you’re far from me. I pretended not to know and let you go… Why are you here? Like this?”
He was a man of strong build despite the rain.
Ernst Cassel Equez, with his dark hair that is darker than shadows and his cold blue eyes.
A leader whom all those who belonged to the forces of the night and whose mighty navy of Eames followed with all their hearts.
He was called by many names.
The hero of the naval warfare, the murderer of the sea, and the demon of death. A graceful beast that roams through the night…
‘And my husband.’
A person who loved deeply, but couldn’t easily confess that he loved her even when he was drunk because he thought he might lose her.
I was so foolish.
Ernst looked at me in a vague way, and soon clenched his teeth.
His appearance of anger and despair was truly like the devil of the North Sea.
Maybe that face is his true face that I don’t know.
‘But he never spoke harshly to me. Even though I couldn’t share my love, I was happy in my own way. We were married.’
Gabrielle, the illegitimate daughter of Count Nashert, the duke of the country, and a false saint.
Ernst, admiral of the mighty Northern Navy.
Our marriage, which seemed to have no connection at all, was a contract from beginning to end.
‘It seems that the ending of the wicked woman cannot be changed.’
After I learned that I possessed the villain with the mask of a saint in the original novel, I struggled to prevent my imminent death.
According to the original, she had to act innocent, act nice, and act pitiful, and be jealous, frame, and torment the female lead, who was the real saint.
I should have put the female lead to the test, saying, “I’m the real saint, not you.”
But I didn’t want to do that.
I wanted to be happy, too.
So I offered this man a contract marriage.
The male protagonist of the next work of the author of the original novel.
I dared to steal him.
To find happiness that is not worthy of the role of the villainess.
“Sir! I have caught the runaway coachman!”
“He admitted tampering the wheel of the carriage. He is the culprit!”
“There is evidence found from this man. The first prince must have done this!”
Officers appeared with the pounding of horseshoes stepping hard on the ground.
They pulled the coachman, the main culprit who caused the carriage to fall down the cliff.
“Break off his arm. Then find out who’s behind it. Next, cut off both legs so that he can’t walk.”
The low voice was mixed with a murmur of iron.
I looked helplessly at the man who carefully supported my broken doll-like body.
His jaw stiffened with miserable anger and his straight closed mouth represent his feelings.
‘I didn’t want to show you myself looking like this for last time….’
I’m sorry to have leave you with such a bad memory. But I’m glad you came to find me.
For keeping me from dying alone… Thank you.
Our contract marriage ended in the worst possible scenario in just three years.
First, the contract period is three years. Pretend to love each other on the outside.
Second, never fall in love.
Third, don’t hold onto each other when you get divorced.
Our contractual marriage terms were nothing special.
I couldn’t help it.
A review from the author of the original work that I read before becoming ‘Gabriela, the villainess’.
It was clearly written there that the author’s next work was ‘a contract marriage centered on the cold man of the North Sea’.
I thought I could get the role of the female lead since it wasn’t made yet.
That’s all a mistake.
It was just a vain expectation.
“Don’t say anything.”
I wish I had trusted you more. What if I had been more honest with you before the end?
Every word she takes, blood spurts out.
I felt my life slipping away slowly.
‘I wanted to get ‘it’ before the end of the contract…’
If the efficacy of “It” is real, Ernst has no reason to bow to the royal family anymore.
But I never thought I’d die on my way to rescue him.
My heart ached because I thought I had only hurt him, but I was not given more time to apologize.
“But… at least this. The family heirloom you gave me as a wedding present. I kept it.”
After the wagon fell down the cliff, it broke into pieces.
The coachman slipped down the safe path and tried to find the heirloom in my arms with a rough hand.
A token that symbolizes all the rights of being the Grand Duchess of Eques.
It was a very small ring.
An antique ring with clock hands embedded in the shiny black jewel, that is as dark as the night sky.
At the same time, I felt my body breaking and that death was coming, so I acted quickly.
I twisted the ring out of my finger and swallowed it.
“With this, I did my duty as your wife for once, haven’t I?”
The first prince, who showed greed everywhere, will never have the heirloom of Eques.
I thought this might happen to Ernst, so I wrote him a letter in advance.
I also asked him to cremate me and take out the heirloom if I die.
This heirloom will neither burn nor melt.
‘If there is a next life.’
May we be reunited.
A thin wrist fell with the pouring rain.
Before my fleeting breath stopped, I whispered in my last gasp.
Ernst’s eyes twitched with pain.
After that, I died.
The moment I died with my eyes open like that. A strange miracle occurred.
Everything around me lost its color and was crushed. It was like a mixture of paint, and then the next moment.
The whole place was filled and brightened with warm sunlight.
When I lifted my eyelids, my eyes glistened like those of dawn.
The second hand of the clock moved.
At the same time, I came to my senses.
“Are you listening, Your Highness?”
I’m sure I’m dead, but what’s going on here?
I blinked for a while because my sight was out of focus, and soon I noticed.
Where is this place?
‘No way. Is this the Great Hall of Fame?’
Balaeres, the god of the sun who is sacred to those belonging to the families of day.
Dinuate, the goddess of the moon that the families of the night consider sacred.
It was a magnificent space full of sacred paintings of the two.
I look up at one of the long, huge tables and looked at the sides where I sat.
The appearance of those sitting on the right, centering on me at the top, was splendid.
Wearing colorful white, gold, and silver robes, men and women wear accessories.
On the other hand, on the left, they were all dressed in the same deep red navy uniform.
They were smiling at each other, but it turned out that they were actually checking each other.
‘What is this? Why are the forces of day and the forces of night in one place?’
I don’t know what’s going on here.
I couldn’t hide my embarrassment.
Why would I be here when I’m dead?
It was then.
“Then, after writing of the official marriage vows today, I understand that the princess will go with me after three days.”
A low, husky voice that was pleasing to the ear.
A magnificent aristocratic accent.
A man more aristocratic than all the other nobles who took this position.
The moment I heard the voice, tears filled my eyes, and I had to bite the soft flesh inside my cheeks.
Oh, I don’t even have to look back to know who it is.
It must be him.
My heart ached as if I had been cut by a sharp blade. Like a splash, my heart was about to burst as I turn to Ernst in longing.
I had to stop because of a terrible headache, grabbing my head.
‘This! What is this!’
A great amount of information swarmed to me like bees and rushed into my head.
When the throbbing pain stopped, my awkward body felt as natural as mine.
At the same time, I realized what state I am in.
‘A disgrace to the imperial family. A stain on the blood of the noble sun. The princess that was kicked out of the battle for succession.’
‘Peony Hualen Isodeim!’
I possessed this body.
I was Gabriella Nashert and became Peony at the same time.
‘The one who killed me is from the imperial family. But… But why did I become the princess?’