Heiner had never thought of the situation should she ever leave him.
He consciously avoided the very conception of it.


This was unusual for Heiner, who was always read and prepared for the future.
Only she was the exception.
He was always rash and foolish when it came to her.


A colleague once said to him, “Love makes you a better person.” Heiner thought that was wrong.


Because she always made him a worse person.


“I heard Annette wanted a divorce.” (Ans)


At those words, Heiner’s eyes glowed with a cloudy light.


“I’m going to help Annette get a court-ordered divorce.
You drove your wife to suicide, so she had enough grounds for it.
After that, even if she defects to France, you will not be able to enforce your rights.” (Ans)


“…… it won’t work the way you want.” (H)


“Why, do you intend to wield the power of the Commander-in-Chief? That you detest so much?” (Ans)


Ansgar snorted as if it was bullsh*t.
He seemed to think that Heiner Valdemar, with his reputation for justice and integrity, would never do such a thing because of a woman.


But Ansgar was wrong to the core.
Initially, Heiner’s participation in the revolution was itself because of Annette.


She was his cause.


She was also the result.




Heiner laughed loudly as he muttered a vague reply.


“Just say you would.
I will bring international shame on you for your abuse of power.
You seem to forget that I am here as France’s ambassador.” (Ans)


It was a threat of the highest order, but Heiner did not react.
Glaring at Heiner with ferocity, 

Ansgar half turned his body and said.


“I guess the negotiations are useless anyway.
See you in court.” (Ans)


“If you go to France.” (H)


Ansgar stopped dead in his tracks at the dry voice.


“Are you going to marry Annette?” (H)


“It’s none of his concern.” (Ans)


“Do you still love her?” (H)


Ansgar furrowed his brow as if trying to determine if Heiner was serious.


The clouds that had covered the sun dissipated, and the sky suddenly brightened. 

Sunlight poured into the parlor.


With his back to the window, Heiner’s face was sunken in shadows, making it hard to see.


After thinking for a long moment, Ansgar asked if there weren’t any answers he could come up with.


“What do you mean?” (Ans)


“I mean it literally.” (H)


“Why are you curious about that?” (Ans)


“If she goes to France with you………….” (H)


Even if Annette is infertile which makes succession production impossible.


“Would you make her happier?” (H)


The edge of his voice was rough, as if scratched with sandpaper.
Ansgar couldn’t understand why he was asking such a question.


A moment of silence passed.
Thin, wide clouds slowly drifted by.
The light that had filled the room subsided slightly.


It was only then that Ansgar was finally able to see Heiner’s face clearly.
His eyes widened slightly. Ah.
A small moan flowed from his lips.


Ansgar couldn’t help but give an honest reply.


“…… at least she won’t be unhappy enough to die.” (Ans)






Major Eugen, holding a thick pile of papers, knocked on the open door.
Heiner, who had been packing up his necessary belongings, turned to the door.
The Major bowed his head.


“I apologize, sir.
I know you are on vacation, but I had to see you because I have some urgent documents to be approved.”


Heiner nodded his head and motioned for him to come in.
Major Eugen entered with excessive politeness and presented the documents.


Heiner stood by the desk, read the papers, asked the Major a few questions, and signed them.
Major Eugen thanked him and bowed his head again.


After watching him for a moment, Heiner said curtly.


“No need to go that far, Major.
It’s my job.”


“Still, I feel bad for disturbing you while you’re on vacation.

You look tired….”


Heiner listened to the Major with a slight frown, and then, realizing what he meant, he pressed his eyes with one hand.


His eyes, which had become very hollow, were sunken.


He was now looking like a ghost.
Heiner knew it as well.
These days, he had been surviving on the bare minimum of sleep and food.


Looking at his superior, who was not a talker, Major Eugen sighed in frustration.


“All this because of the madam?”


‘Because’, that word bothered him a great deal.
Perhaps accepting Heiner’s silence in the affirmative, Major Eugen began to speak a little more enthusiastically.


“Moreover, some of the reporters were publishing speculative articles, as if Your Excellency had driven the madam to commit suicide.
Of course, no one agreed with them.”




“They all think the incident is just a show for her to try to get attention anyway.”


The usual Heiner would not have bothered to stop the words of Major Eugen, who hated nobles to the bone.


His personality would have tuned him out with silence without words.


But now he could not sit back and watch as usual.


“Major Eugen.”


Heiner cut off the Major’s words quietly.
Major Eugen jumped at the inexplicable weight contained in that deep voice.


“That woman …… really tried to die.”


Having said that, Heiner now realized.
It wasn’t a show.
It was not mere suicide.
He let the fact slip out again.


“Annette really wanted to die.”


The words came back to him like a withdrawal.
For some reason, his throat choked tightly.


Heiner suddenly realized that he had kept the nib of the pen on the paper the whole time.
He belatedly removed the pen, but the ink had already spread black like mold.




After her suicide attempt, Heiner did not look back at the trail Annette had left behind.


Partly because he did not want to enter her room where Annette had attempted to kill herself, and partly because he did not want to admit that she had indeed “prepared” herself to die.


Heiner absentmindedly walked to her room.
Annette had been moved to an annex where outsiders were restricted from entering.


When he opened the door to her room, he could smell the warm, familiar scent that was uniquely hers.
It always smelled like this where Annette stayed for long periods of time.


Not the smell of blood, sweat, iron, or decay, but just a soft, fresh scent.
Heiner, who hesitated for a long time without being able to step inside, moved his hesitant steps.


The room remained the same as usual, as if something terrible hadn’t happened.


The bed on which she lay, covered in blood, had been replaced with a clean sheet and comforter.
Heiner swept the bed once.
The surface of the bedding was cold without warmth.


He wandered around her room like a restless dog.
He looked at the books on the bookshelf, checked to see if the chair creaked, and examined the cosmetics on the dressing table one by one.


He opened the drawers of the desk, but found nothing special in it.
As he opened the last drawer, he heard a rattling sound coming from inside.


It came from a small cloth bag tied with string.
Heiner pulled it out.


He opened the pocket and something blue shone from within.


‘A jewel…?’


As soon as he thought so, he saw the shells.
Heiner’s brow narrowed as he stroked them.


They looked like broken clam and conch shells, and pieces of dull glass.
They were things that weren’t even worth a penny, left alone jewels.


Heiner knew these things.


They were things she had picked up on the beach at Glenford.


‘I’m sure—I threw them in the hotel trash can.’


For the past three years, that was the only time Annette went to the beach.
After the Revolution, they moved to the official residence and he inspected Annette’s luggage personally, but there was no such thing at the time.


So this was definitely what he threw in the trash.




He felt as uneasy as he did when he first found these in her cardigan pocket.
Why on earth did she pick up useless things? Why even pick them up from the trash?


Heiner held them in his palm for a long while, then put them back in the pocket.
Then he put it back where he had found them and closed the drawer.


The back of the woman walking toward the horizon rose like a haze in his mind.
In front of the vast ocean.
A small, precarious figure.


Maybe that person…I don’t think he would mind if I died.” (A)


A lonely, scattered voice in the rattling train.


Heiner squeezed his eyes shut then opened them and rose to his feet.
Then he began to search her room.


As soon as he opened the closet, he saw a safe sticking out unnaturally from underneath.
It looked like something from inside had been taken out.


Heiner got down on one knee to check it out.
The safe’s door was not locked.
He pulled the door open.


Inside the safe was a file and one jewelry box.
Heiner took out the file and opened it.
It was the civic donations and sponsorships accounting job Annette had been in charge of since their marriage.


After the Revolution, Annette’s name was officially excluded from this job.
Even Heiner did not know that she had continued to be in charge of this.


The books were transparent and meticulous, and even the handover forms for the staff were neatly organized.


He read and reread them for a while, forgetting how to breathe.
He couldn’t understand it.
Why did she continue to do something that no one knew about?


Why did she keep all this garbage from the beach, which was of no use to anyone?

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