Diaval and Laurentia’s divorce went on in a flash.
Everything was handled quickly because this was what the nobles who held power in the Empire wanted.
She was divorced two weeks after delivering, her body not healed yet. Laurentia was kicked out with a feverish face since her body was in the midst of recovering. The white part of her eyes were bloodshot and her lips chapped.
Meyer put the blame for the divorce on Laurentia. Her baby was stillborn, declared when the baby was a fetus. Their excuse was that Laurentia got pregnant with a Devil that was why he cut the tie off before it harmed Meyer.
Half of the high society clicked their tongue while the other believed the rumor. After all, it was the time when such a nonsensical story wasn’t unheard of. Worse, Laurentia’s family was strongly believing the inane hearsay.
Or they got too busy butter up Meyer.
The only one who embraced Laurentia was Grace.
Grace wiped Laurentia’s flushed face with a cold towel. Hot tears rolled down Laurentia’s cheeks who were breathless. Grace held Laurentia’s hand.
“Grace, I… I don’t think… I can make it.”
“Stop talking like that! I… I… I’m going to save you.”
Grace broke into tears.
The one who should marry Meyer was in fact Grace, not Laurentia. However, Laurentia hid Grace secretly and took her place.
At that time, scandals were trailing Diaval like a tail, thus most noble families didn’t want him to be their son-in-law.
But not with the greedy couple of Count Zeronise and his wife, who wanted to join the elite and tried to send Grace as a bride. Laurentia, who discovered their plan, hid Grace then played the bride role.
Having Meyer’s power on their back, their brothers got a chance. Their little brother, Gaston, got a good marriage partner while their older brother, Crail, started a mining business.
Meanwhile, Laurentia was sucked dry to death.
Laurentia sent Grace on a cruise ship. The whole situation was over once Grace returned from a two-month dreamy tour, unaware of everything. Nothing Grace could do as Laurentia had carried Diaval’s baby.
“Don’t worry, Grace. Live your life. That’s what you can do for me.”
Laurentia sacrificed everything for Grace. That caring Laurentia was dying now. Every doctor she found and brought shook their heads.
“It’s because I can’t take care of my health… that death comes near. I hope you prepare your heart.”
Those kinds of words were uttered one after another.
“Grace, If it hadn’t been for you, my son and I would have died on the side of the street…” said Laurentia, trembling.
After being kicked out, she never considered coming back to Count Zeronise. She broke off the ties with the count and searched for Grace who lived alone.
And Grace embraced her. Like Laurentia expected.
Laurentia clutched Grace’s hand. As death was in front of her eyes, all of her anguish was concentrated into her hand. Laurentia looked Grace right into her eyes, whispering, “I vowed I’ll protect my childs even if I’ve to sell my soul to the Devil.”
“Laurentia…” Grace placed Laurentia’s hand to her face, nuzzling into it.
“Grace.” Her bloodshot eyes turned to Grace. “Please protect Cielle and my baby. Protect them. Can you promise me?”
Slowly, Grace nodded. If it weren’t for Laurentia, it would have been Grace who suffered this. Laurentia always protected Grace, acting as an older sister, because she was born two minutes earlier.
Now, it was her turn. It was her turn to return the favor.
“I promise you, Laurentia. Even if I’ve to sell my soul to the Devil… I’ll protect those kids.”
Laurentia nodded briefly.
“Grace, I’m sorry I left you with this burden.”
“Don’t say that.”
“…Thank you, Grace.”
The light vanished from Laurentia’s eyes. She tried for the last time, calling Laurentia’s name. “Lauren! Lauren!” Grace shook Laurentia’s cold body.
Alas, there was no response. She curled up as she bursted into tears.
Laurentia saved her. But she couldn’t save Laurentia.
Shame. Powerless. The emotions hit her like a wave.
Laurentia took the path to death in Grace’s stead. Grace decided to walk the path that Laurentia chose.
Days passed with Grace spending it crying. While drowning in throes, as if her heart shattered into pieces, the cry from the baby brought her to the surface. A maid who was also in tears was holding the baby.
“…Are you going to stay?”
Haley, the maid, was brought by Laurentia. She could leave them if she wanted to.
“…Madam is the one who saved me from that hell. She saved and protected me from being dragged into his bed. I’m ready to die for her. Please let me stay.”
Grace nodded. There was no time to cry. The more Grace delayed, the more Cielle would be sad.
‘I’ll do what you can’t do, Laurentia.’
However, one thing nagged her.
There was something suspicious about Laurentia’s death. The first puzzle was Jenna’s prescription. Jenna was Grace’s friend, well versed in medicine. She said there were signs on Laurentia’s body that something poisoning her.
It made Grace ponder.
‘Jenna can’t be wrong. Someone killed Laurentia inside the Meyer. I don’t know who it is, but no matter who… I’ll make you pay for it.’