“I don’t want to eat.”


Annette protested, but Heiner just removed the empty papers on the side table without reply.


“I don’t want to eat.”


“Are you trying to starve yourself to death?”


“It doesn’t matter if I’m going to starve to death or not.”


 “If you are going to die,  do it in a more graceful way.”


Heiner turned away from the clean side table and looked at her coldly.


“You’re the princess of Rosenberg.”


At that moment, Annette’s expression hardened.
She stared at him, her mouth closed and her eyes downcast.
In that hurt look, Heiner felt dirty all the while he was being sarcastic.


Princess of Rosenberg.
That was what people used to call Annette.


Annette was the envy of every man in the capital.

The only daughter of the noble Rosenberg, she had a beautiful appearance, a kind heart, and was even an aspiring pianist.


No one could treat her disrespectfully.
Annette was a person who made you acutely aware of her nobility just by looking at her.


To call her then-name now was nothing but a mockery.


Around the time they were surrounded by uncomfortable silence, a servant came in with some food.
Heiner had it placed on the table and then said.




“Please leave.
I’ll eat it on my own.”


“So you’re going to leave it untouched?”


“If I do, what are you going to do about it?”


Annette said in a sharp tone.
Heiner’s eyes widened slightly.


“This isn’t like you…”


“What about me? How much do you know about me?”


Annette scoffed when she said that.
This was not like her either.


Since Heiner had known her, Annette had never spoken in such a sarcastic way.
Even when she was angry, she was honest.


Annette was a woman who acted nonchalant and pliable even when she knew of his deliberate approach and demanded a divorce.


But now she seemed quite sensitive.


“Perhaps I took your pills?”


What in the world was about the drug?


Heiner said quietly , tightening the nerves that had risen up.


“At least I know more about you than you know about me.”


 “Of course you do.
Because only by knowing about me would you have been able to perform to win my heart.”


The words made Heiner want to question her.


“But, Heiner.”


‘Am I still in your heart?’


“Nothing is the same anymore as it was then.”


‘You still love me.’


“Everything has changed.”


Why did he want to ask her that?


“I am no longer the ‘Princess of Rosenberg,’ I am no longer your lover, and I am no longer that young age who was oblivious to the world.
The me you knew and the me you know now are totally different people.”


“—— Well, I don’t know.”


“Then you should know now.”


Heiner looked down at her with an expressionless face.
He really didn’t know.


Surely Annette was right.
She was nothing anymore.
Her great birth was now a piece of paper, all the love she had received in abundance was gone, and she could no longer play the piano she loved so much.


She was nothing.
But why…..


Heiner quietly moved his lips.


But why?


Why was she still so beautiful and noble,


Why must he still feel such inferiority and misery when he stood in her presence?


He  really didn’t understand.


“Please …… eat.
Before I force feed you.”


Heiner sat down in the chair across from her and spoke in a slightly faint voice.
Her features looked even more delicate from a close distance.




At Heiner’s urging, Annette reluctantly began to drink her soup.
She ate so quietly and slowly that there was not even a clattering sound from the dishes.


Heiner observed her with a slightly flustered look on his face.
It was possible because Annette did not pay any attention to him.


A white, small face.

Blond hair and blue eyes, long eyelashes that cast shadows under her eyes, and a flawless nose, the symbol of Padania’s beauty.


She was exactly as she was younger.
Only much more mature.


Heiner remembered the moment he first saw Annette.


A doll-like girl.


The little white hands that moved back and forth over the keyboard.


An appearance so virtuous that he wondered if it was really true that they were born under the same sky and breathed the same air.


How low and lowly he felt then.


Heiner struggled to dispel the thought.
He looked at the embroidery on the table with heavy, sunken eyes.
Threads were tangled here and there.


Annette, who was slowly stirring the soup, suddenly opened her mouth.


“I’d like to go somewhere alone for a while.
A little far away.”


“Alone? Where?”


“I haven’t decided yet, but anywhere……”


“Do you think I would listen to that? Where do you think you’re going?”


“Think about it.”


The spoon that had been circling in the soup stopped.


“When did I start asking your permission for every single thing?”


Her downcast eyes did not look at him.
She murmured quietly.


“I know what you’re thinking.”


With those last words, Annette said no more.
Heiner also stopped talking.
Silence once again descended.


Scooping her food, she finally emptied a third of it and put down her spoon.


“I can’t eat it.”


 “I’m sure people who starve for a few days eat better than that.”


 “How could I miss it when you’re monitoring me so closely? It’s going to make me sick to my stomach.”


With a low sigh, Heiner stood up.
As he walked toward the door, his steps stopped for a moment.
He turned his head slightly and spoke as if warning.


“…If I hear you refuse to eat one more time, I will consider it a psychotic eating disorder and put you in the hospital.”


No reply came back.
Annette looked down at her soup with a completely emaciated face.


Heiner clenched his fists and opened the door roughly.




Long legs crossed the room.
Entering his room, Heiner placed the medicine chest on the desk and then turned the dial on the telephone.


It wasn’t long before the other end picked up.


[Yes, this is Arnold Berkell.]


“It’s Heiner Valdemar.
I’m sorry to call you in the evening, Dr.
Arnold, can I talk to you for a moment?”


[Oh, Sir, it’s all right.
How can I help you?]


“I have one drug I would like to know the name of.

It was the medicine you prescribed for my wife.
It’s small, circular, white, and in the middle has the letters S, Z, and 5 on it.”


[S, Z—oh, that’s Sinazel.]


“Is it a stabilizer?”


I usually prescribe sleeping medication.
And that’s for the madam.]


“…okay, thank you.
Then see you next time.”


[Yes, Your Excellency, have a peaceful evening].


Putting down the phone, Heiner rested his hands on the desk and caught his breath for a moment.
A deathly silence flowed in the dark room.


In his dark vision, the medicine chest was so white that it hurt his eyes.
Its surface seemed to overlap with Annette’s pale face.


Heiner snatched the medicine chest from the desk and tossed it into the trash can.


‘Not even funny.’


Gloomily, he turned and walked toward the closet.
He took off his gray coat, hung it on a hanger, and unbuttoned his shirt.


Collecting pills was a behavioral sign of people contemplating death.
However, Heiner had never thought that Annette was seriously considering suicide.
It would just be a habit for psychological comfort.


Annette was a timid and weak woman.
She didn’t have the courage to die.

That was why she trembled so much in the public opinion in the newspapers or in front of the piano.


She knew nothing about drilling, beatings, torture, hunger, or the sensation of murder ——.
She felt terrible misery at such a mere thing.


Heiner wasted the whole time unbuttoning.
But he didn’t care.
He looked at the full-length mirror in front of him with an insensitive look on his face.


A gloomy man with dark gray eyes was trapped in the glass.


“The more I look, the more I think about it, but I think you have really beautiful eyes.”


 “My eyes? It’s the first time I’ve heard that.”


“Really? No way, you are so beautiful.
I like your eyes the most out of all your features.”


“Are the other places not as good?”


“It can’t be! I have high eyes.
I never take a man who isn’t handsome as my lover.”


 “Oh my, I would have liked you even if you weren’t pretty.”


“Does that mean I’m pretty anyway?”


“You are the most beautiful person in the world.”


Eyes filled with love softened.
He locked eyes with Annette’s blue eyes.
A spring breeze blew from the distance.
Dazzling golden hair fluttered.
A clear laugh followed, spreading like petals.


Where the illusion had passed, only a desolate gray zone remained.
Heiner closed his eyes for a long time and opened them.
It was reality again.


‘I’m glad you’re unhappy.’ 


Heiner murmured to himself.


‘You should despair as much as I despaired. You must lose as much as I have lost.
Because you were there in my unhappy moments, I must be there in yours.
As much as my life has been so long and dark, so should yours.’


Heiner took off his shirt.
Only the sound of clothes rustling in the silence filled the room.
The mirror, half buried in darkness, reflected his wide shoulders and chest, tightly knit with muscles.


The upper part of his chest was inscribed with official letters in a messy handwriting.
Tangled with red marks were the remains of a fallen shape.


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