“If what you said is true, and you are still living in abundance thanks to being my wife, then there is no reason for you to want to separate.
The fact that you would go so far seems to me that there’s something.”


“No, that can’t be true.
I just don’t want to live with you any longer.”


“Why, do you hate me now that you know I betrayed you?”


“I don’t hate you, Heiner.”


Heiner’s eyes twitched briefly at 

Annette’s words.
He made a small movement of his lips as if he wanted to say something.
Annette did not wait for him and spoke first.


“I don’t hate anyone.
Even if everyone in the world hates me, I don’t.
Because I don’t deserve it.”


Heiner looked incredulous that such words had come out of her mouth.
Annette felt a little odd.


Did he think she was stuck in this official residence, seething at people talking about her disposition? Without a bit of guilt.


“All the newspapers were saying that all the dregs of the dictatorship must be destroyed.
I am not sure what part of me needs to be destroyed, but I am willing to do so if you wish.”


Annette was still unfamiliar with politics.
But she did know what the cause was.
She knew what human rights were and what democracy was.
She even knew why people wanted to establish a new system.


In the past she didn’t know and didn’t want to know, but now she did.


There was a sense of guilt, debt, and shame.
Of course, that was not really a heart based on understanding.


She just came to be convinced because everyone in the world was telling her she was wrong.
Three years after the fall of the monarchy.
Three years was enough time to drive a person’s mind to a corner.


“You don’t mind if I do what I wish? Do you know what you’re saying right now?”


 “I don’t care about anything, as long as you give me a divorce.”


Even if she fell, she did not want to fall as Heiner Valdemar’s wife.
She did not want the man she loved to see her downfall.
This was Annette’s last remaining pride.


The only thing she wanted to be compensated for was the time she had spent loving Heiner.


“Divorce, divorce, divorce.”

Heiner hissed.
“Maybe it’s because you’ve lived a really easy life, but divorce seems to come easy to you.”


 “…what could be more difficult? As long as you agree.”


“I don’t agree.”


His large hands gripped both of her shoulders.
The heat she felt through her nightgown was excessively hot. 


He said ferociously.
“I disagree.”


“I am of no further benefit to you.
Like I said, I’m only a stain.  Please let me go.”


But Heiner grabbed her shoulders even tighter.
They were so close that their faces were in the touching distance.
Her breath was choked by the ferocious force.


His low, deep voice pierced her ears.


“You will gladly be my stain.”




“You will always be my wife, you will never leave this place, you will never dream of freedom or happiness.
As I see it, you will atone for your sins by indulging all your misfortunes.”


Heiner spat out as he chewed each word.
Their gazes collided.
They were close enough to feel each other’s breath.


When Annette frowned slightly at the numbness in her shoulders, Heiner finally let go of her.
A dangerous silence fell.


The heated atmosphere slowly subsided.
After watching Annette for a while as if observing her, he opened his mouth in a calmer manner.


“There will be an opening banquet at the Belen Hotel in a few days.
You’ll attend it with me.
Be ready, madam.”




“As my wife.”


He added for emphasis.
Heiner’s eyes, once shaken, quieted again.
Like a well-sculpted marble, there was an unrecognizable meanness to the flawless, elaborate face.


“I don’t want to.”


Annette rebelled for the first time.


“You will have to go.”


“I don’t want to go.”


“Why, didn’t you like to party?”


Heiner sarcastically asked.
She had been to many different parties and social gatherings before her marriage.


“If I don’t, are you going to forcefully drag me?”


“Think carefully, madam.
If you continue to go against my will in this manner, I could lock you up in an asylum for the rest of your life.”




“No matter how much you deny that you are not crazy, no one will believe a word you say.
Try me and you’ll see, or just do what I ask.
There is no use in running away.
I will definitely find you.
You don’t want to spend the rest  of your life locked up in a mental hospital.”


His voice was like shards of broken glass lodged in her ears, syllable by syllable.


Annette turned pale and stared at Heiner.
Her head creaked like an uneven chair.


Her hand that held the blanket trembled thinly.


Was this really Heiner Valdemar?


The lover she had once loved and never again?


Heiner’s cold eyes were no different than usual, but he was like a stranger to her.
He was so unfamiliar it was frightening.


Why hadn’t she known about this long ago? She should have known from the moment her father died, when he turned cold as if he had been waiting for the exact moment, that he had approached her for a purpose from the beginning.
That he was like this from the start.


No …… she knew the truth.
In fact, she knew.
She just couldn’t admit it.
She was mentally exhausted at the time and needed to hold on to something.

That was Heiner.


At the time, Annette brainwashed herself again and again.
She could never have endured it otherwise.
Because she was in the dire position. 


She got married thinking she was lucky to remain noble, but oh, how she had fallen.


Once she thought love would come back.
The moments they had loved, the seasons they had loved….


“Answer me, madam.”




Why didn’t she notice it sooner?


Even though the love that resulted from the usage was not love.


Annette opened her mouth to say something, then closed it again.
Her voice did not come out well.
She barely swallowed a shaky breath and nodded, seemingly invisible.


Despite her agreement, Heiner 

did not look at all pleased.
Instead, he looked unhappy.
As if he didn’t like the fear he had planted in her and the weakness that came with it.


An ashen gray gaze slowly scanned her face.
His eyes looked infinitely cold, but it held a strange heat.


For some reason Annette found it difficult to look him in the eye and lowered her head.
Eventually, Heiner got up from the bed.
He left the room in a great hurry without looking back.


The door closed behind him with a strong force.


Annette sat in a daze, calming her confused mind.
It was as if a storm had blown through.


What had just happened felt like a long time ago.
With a short sigh, Annette opened her bedside drawer.


Inside were several pill packets of sleeping pills.
They had been prescribed by Dr.


She opened the packet and took one of the three pills, and put the other two in the medicine chest.
The medicine chest, which was about the size of one hand, was already more than half full.


Annette had long ago been collecting sleeping pills like a squirrel hiding food.


Each time the medicine chest got heavier, she felt inexplicably reassured.


She closed her eyes and lay back, waiting for the medicine to take effects.


She hoped she would not have nightmares tonight.




“That’s why I didn’t go to study abroad.
I’m kind of timid.
I can’t speak a foreign language.
I heard that Heiner has been abroad a lot?”


“Yes, I’ve been around quite a bit for operations.”


“Can you speak their language?”


“Yes, but there were many places speak common language.”


“How many languages do you speak?”


 “Up to four languages.
I was educated in an institution from an early age.”


 “Wow, that’s really impressive.
I don’t have any aptitude for studying at all.”


“I know you are very good at playing the piano.”


“I, well, I’ve been playing since I was a child.
For a very long time I dreamed of being a pianist…….
but I don’t know much these days.”


“Why is that?”


“I’m a bit skeptical about my talent.
I’m wondering if this path is really right for me.
Oh, you don’t have to take it too seriously.
It would be considered more elegant to play piano as a hobby rather than a profession in my position anyway.”


“…… Annette’s performance is excellent.
I am sure you will be an excellent pianist.”


“Haha, what? You’ve never even heard me play.”


“You are very good.”


Heiner said pompously.
Annette patted his arm mischievously and laughed.
He smiled.
Rose petals fluttered in the wind.


The scene blurred like a fog, then became clear again.
The seasons changed again and again.
They had always been together.


Scenery passed, and passed, and passed.
The night sky was full of stars on a summer day.

They were on a boat floating by the lake.


“Annette, will you marry me?”


Heiner got down on one knee and put a ring on Annette’s ring finger.


“I will make you happy for the rest of your life.”


Her eyes widened.
Annette covered her mouth with one hand and embraced him in an overwhelming hug.
Heiner laughed and wrapped his arm around her back.
Stars fell over the waves.


The sight of the boat and the man and the woman floating in a sparkling world was as beautiful as a painting.


Air currents created from afar flowed in and destroyed the scene.
Her vision gradually collapsed.
In the midst of the ruins, only Heiner’s voice resounded like an echo.


“I will make you happy for the rest of your life.”


“Happily ever after…”




“You will be unhappy by my side for the rest of your life.”


Annette was startled awake.

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