A month ago.
Cordelia’s footsteps toward the annex were hurried. It was because she heard the news of her father, Baron Lawrence, coming.
Baron Lawrence rarely visited the annex. He kept his daughters in the old annex, which seemed to be covered in mold and about to collapse, and tried to avoid going there, calling it unclean.
‘What could it be?’
Cordelia’s footsteps quickened with anxiety.
It wouldn’t be good news. There couldn’t be any good news happening to Cordelia from the Baron at this moment.
“Could it be?”
Cordelia’s face turned pale as she pondered the reason.
She remembered a few months ago when Baron Lawrence suddenly visited the annex, saying he would send Melia to the monastery for no apparent reason.
The imperial monastery was known for its strict rules and once you entered, it was difficult to leave. It was primarily a place where noblewomen who committed sins or were cast out from their households stayed.
He said he would send young Melia to such a place. He claimed it was for Melia’s care, but in reality, he wanted to get rid of her sister, to distance her from his sight.
Cordelia stood up against her father, firmly refusing to send Melia to the monastery. In the process, she received multiple slaps, and her hair was forcefully grabbed. However, Cordelia did not release her arms that held Melia tightly.
Unable to tolerate Cordelia’s unwavering grip on Melia, Baron Lawrence spat out curses and left the annex with a disgusted expression.
Since that day, the amount of food coming from the Baron’s estate drastically decreased, and even firewood became scarce, causing them to shiver in the cold. But it was alright because Cordelia protected her sister.
“Could he be planning to send her back to the monastery again?”
Cordelia put down the basket of herbs she was holding and started running. She had to stop Baron Lawrence before he took Melia away.
“Bring her along.”
It happened when Cordelia rushed into the annex.
At the command of Baron Lawrence, the maidservants grabbed Melia’s trembling arm, attempting to pull her away. Melia, with her pale face and sunken cheeks from being ill all night, couldn’t utter a word of protest and wavered under the touch of the maidservants. Red marks could be seen on Melia’s arms where the maidservants had held her. Cordelia rushed towards the maidservants and forcefully pulled their hands off Melia’s arm.
“What are you doing right now?”
Cordelia questioned Baron Lawrence with a sharp tone, furrowing her eyebrows as if he were causing her a headache.
“I’m taking her back to the estate.”
“Do I have to explain every little thing to you?”
Despite Baron Lawrence’s irritation, Cordelia stared at him without batting an eye and demanded a quick answer.
“Well, you’ll find out eventually anyway. I’m planning to send Melia to the infamous Marquis Gatong. He sent a letter today, saying he’ll take that girl. So, I have to bathe her, feed her, and present her in good condition. We’re selling her for a considerable amount, so we should get our money’s worth.”
Cordelia was momentarily stunned by Baron Lawrence’s words.
“Send her? To Marquis Gatong?”
As Cordelia grasped the meaning of his words, her face froze in disbelief.
“This can’t be true.”
Marquis Gatong, who owned territories in the southern part of the empire, was notorious for his perverse nature. It was well-known even to Cordelia, who was confined to the annex. His former wives, who numbered in the dozens, either died or went insane due to his sexual abuse. And now he wanted to send her sister to such a marquis?
“No, absolutely not. Melia is only fourteen years old. How can you do this to a child?”
“So, all the more reason to send her before she gets older. Who would take her once she’s older? Who would accept that wretched, unlucky, and impure girl?”
As Baron Lawrence stared at Cordelia with a gaze that seemed to see something filthy, Melia trembled in fear.
“I absolutely won’t let you send her.”
Cordelia shouted, looking straight into Baron Lawrence’s eyes.
A heavy hand flew and struck Cordelia’s cheek.
“How dare you look at me like that!”
Despite being slapped, Cordelia didn’t avert her gaze, prompting the Baron to unleash his anger and repeatedly slap her cheeks.
“What are you doing? Take her away immediately!”
When Baron Lawrence yelled, the maidservants approached and grabbed Melia’s arm.
Cordelia forcefully struck the hands of the maidservants who were holding her sister’s arm. Then she pulled Melia into her embrace.
“I absolutely won’t let you send her. If she goes there, Melia will die.”
She was a young and fragile child, weak and bedridden every night. If such a sister were to go to the perverted marquis, she wouldn’t last a day and would end up dead.
“This woman is stubborn as ever. Go and call the knights immediately, Baron Lawrence commanded, and a maid went outside. It seemed they were planning to bring knights to forcibly take Melia away.
Cordelia could feel Melia trembling in her embrace. Tears of fear streamed down her blue eyes.
Cordelia pitied Melia. Her sister had never received love from the moment she was born.
Baron Lawrence believed that Melia was the child born from the infidelity of their late mother. Of course, it wasn’t true. It was an invention by their stepmother, Lady Chella. However, Baron Lawrence, who couldn’t remember visiting their mother’s room while intoxicated, easily believed Lady Chella’s words.
“Sister, I’ll just go myself.”
Melia, nestled in Cordelia’s arms, whispered.
She had said these words when she almost got dragged away to the monastery. She was always like that, feeling sorry for Cordelia for being driven out by their father because of her, living in the annex without proper food and clothing.
Despite being the daughter of a Baron, she lived a life worse than the maidservants. The dilapidated annex was filled with mold, and the wind blew in through the warped doors, making it cold. The food that came from the Baron’s estate gradually diminished, so Cordelia had to wander through mountains and fields, foraging for fruits and crops to eat. Nevertheless, she never blamed her sister. It wasn’t her sister’s fault.
Yet, her sister behaved as if she had committed a grave sin. She refused to eat the food Cordelia painstakingly prepared, yielding it to her, and showed no will to get better when she fell ill.
She seemed to have no reason to live, having never received love. Cordelia had to be the one to love her, even if it was only her. And she had to protect her.
“Get that girl out of here quickly,” Baron Lawrence pointed his finger at Melia, nestled in Cordelia’s arms, as the knight entered the room.
The knight approached and pulled Melia, who was in Cordelia’s arms. Cordelia tried to hold onto Melia’s hand, but she couldn’t resist the force.
“Take her away and make her look like a human,” Baron Lawrence commanded, and the knight handed Melia over to the maid.
Cordelia slumped on the floor and stood up.
She grabbed the hem of Baron Lawrence’s clothes as he was about to leave the annex.
“Please, don’t send her away. You can’t send her away.”
A flicker of irritation appeared in Baron Lawrence’s eyes as he looked at Cordelia. He stared at her with a demanding expression.
“I’ll do everything you ask. I’ll do whatever you tell me. Just please, don’t send Melia away.”
She pleaded while kneeling on the floor.
“What about the money we agreed upon with the marquis? Will you give it to him? Or do you want to go in her place?”
Baron Lawrence stared at Cordelia as if asking what she would do.
Go in her place? To that middle-aged, perverted marquis?
According to the maid who occasionally brought them food, Baron Lawrence had serious financial problems. Lady Chella, her stepmother, spent money on clothes and jewelry almost every day, while Father Lawrence, the Baron, had no business acumen and only faced repeated failures. In such circumstances, the money promised by the degenerate marquis would be a great temptation. So Baron Lawrence would never give up.
She didn’t want to go to the depraved Marquis, but she had no choice. If she didn’t go, Melia would have to. Cordelia could find a way to survive somehow, but Melia would die.
“I will go.”
As she made up her mind and spoke, the Baron stared intently at Cordelia.
“It would be a waste to send you. You should sell yourself at a higher price.”
Lawrence sneered and taunted her.
“I’ll do whatever it takes. Please, don’t send her away.”
Cordelia pleaded with a bowed and submissive posture.
“Is that so? You’re saying you can do anything I ask?”
Baron Lawrence looked at Cordelia with a glint in his eyes.
Though suspicious of the Baron’s smug smile and his true intentions, Cordelia had no choice. She repeatedly begged him not to send her sister away, promising that she would do anything. She had no idea what she would be forced to do in the future.
Cordelia opened her eyes as a cold gust of wind penetrated her clothes.
As her eyes adjusted, she saw a hazy view of a golden-ceilinged room adorned with a massive tapestry on one wall.
She momentarily gazed in awe at the splendid scenery within the extravagant room before realizing where she was. She was in the bedroom of Duke Calix, and not just any duke, but the Duke of Calix himself.
As she tried to sit up, her head spun.
Cordelia had been unable to sleep the previous night. Thoughts of her impulsive actions kept plaguing her mind, and she was concerned about the Duke lying next to her. Furthermore, the wind had been blowing throughout the night.
The northern winds were as fierce as she had heard. Despite tightly closing the shutters and securing the windows, the glass still rattled in the wind.
The window seemed on the verge of shattering as it shook and made a whooshing sound, repeatedly echoing through the night.
The sound of the wind resembled the howling of the Marzuk, mythical creatures that took the form of people living in the northern mountains. It was said that they howled with their red eyes glowing in the midnight.
The incessant sound of the wind was frightening, and Cordelia felt tormented by her situation.
She spent the night sitting at the edge of the bed, her knees drawn up, unable to sleep. It wasn’t until morning approached that she finally succumbed to exhaustion and fell into a deep slumber.
As she stood up to change her clothes, her eyes fell upon the face of Duke Calix. His fine black hair shimmered in the sunlight, and his porcelain-like fair skin was smooth, with a nose that rose high enough to cast a shadow on his face.
Cordelia’s gaze followed his long, dense eyelashes. Duke Calix was said to have golden eyes, radiant with the brilliance of the world.
He was a strong contender for the future emperor, a remarkable man who had regained control of the Calix domain after relinquishing his position as a prince. Yet here he lay, and she was taking advantage of such a duke.
‘Snap out of it, Cordelia.’
As Cordelia stared at the duke’s face in silence, she turned her gaze away and bit her lip softly.
There was no room for indulging in emotions. She had to gather her wits and carry out her assigned tasks properly. Otherwise, Melia would be in danger.
As she gathered herself, she heard a knock at the door.
Soon, the door opened, and a maid entered the bedroom with her hair neatly tied up without a strand out of place.
The maid scanned the bedroom with sharp eyes as if searching for something. Then, with a condescending gaze that only someone of lower status could give, she scrutinized Cordelia.
At the maid’s command, the door opened again, and another maid entered, pushing a cart. The maid greeted Cordelia with a slight bow and quickly left the room.
“Come and have a seat here.”
The maid spoke in a monotone and firm voice, giving orders.
As Cordelia sat at the table placed in one corner of the bedroom, the maid began to take out food from the cart and set it up.
There were steaming soup, neatly arranged salads, appetizing meat that looked juicy, and even sweet desserts. Mouth-watering dishes were placed on the table.
Cordelia’s eyes showed a hint of doubt as she looked at the food. There were too many varieties and quantities of food. It was more than Cordelia could eat alone.
After placing the plates of food in front of Cordelia, the maid set another set of dishes and utensils on the opposite side of the table.
“This is a meal to be shared with the Duke. Please help yourself.”
The maid emphasized the title of the Duke as she spoke.
Now she understood. As Cordelia was married to the Duke, it was only natural for the meal to include his portion as well. Judging by the amount of food, it seemed like the Duke had quite an appetite.
“From now on, I will take care of the arrangements. Except for special occasions, no one other than me will enter this bedroom.”
While Cordelia was contemplating how to handle the food, the maid spoke. She said she would take care of it exclusively. That way, they would be able to deceive people.
“Empty each plate evenly. You must handle everything meticulously and perfectly, without any mistakes.
The maid gestured for Cordelia to start eating.
Cordelia picked up her spoon. At that moment, the maid took out a yellow cloth from her pocket and placed it on the table.
“We will have a session at noon today. It was emphasized that any mistakes will not be tolerated.”
The maid looked at Cordelia with a stern expression, as if warning her.
Last night, when she had to perform the act under the watchful eyes of others, her mind went blank. She couldn’t move her body to climb onto the Duke and simulate the moans while shaking her waist, as she had learned.
It was only when she heard the murmurs of the witnesses, growing restless due to the prolonged delay, that she managed to move her body. It was a warning for her to remember. If she acted like she did yesterday, she would be in big trouble.
“I will keep that in mind.”
She replied that she would not make any mistakes.
“The food is getting cold.”
In response to the maid’s urging, Cordelia scooped up some soup with the spoon she was holding and put it in her mouth. The soup, which seemed to be made with good butter and vegetables, was warm and melted in her mouth, but it had a bitter aftertaste.
Cordelia’s gaze hardened at the sound of the noon bell.
Earlier, the maid had handed her a yellow cloth. It was a signal that the Emperor’s people were coming.
Since they said they would arrive at noon, the Grand Duke would probably be in his chamber right now. So she had to start the performance immediately, just like she had feigned pain in the night.
Fortunately, unlike the night, people wouldn’t enter the room this time.
“I have to do it properly.”
The maid had warned that mistakes would not be tolerated. So she had to do it well.
Cordelia sat on the bed where the Grand Duke, Calix, was lying. She closed her eyes and recalled the rigorous training she had received, particularly the lessons from Madame Polina.
Baron Lawrence accepted Cordelia’s plea not to send Melia to Marquis Gathong.
The next day, Cordelia was sent to a mansion located near the capital. Cordelia entered the mansion without knowing what she would be doing.
<What are you waiting for? Take off your clothes already.>
As Cordelia timidly entered the elaborately decorated room, a woman with fiery red hair, dressed in revealing attire, spoke to her.
Seeing Cordelia hesitate due to her lack of understanding, the woman approached and scrutinized her face.
<You seem to know nothing. How did they turn an innocent maiden like you into a courtesan?>
Introducing herself as Madame Polina, the woman explained to Cordelia what she would be learning and warned that she was a strict teacher who would provide harsh education.
To learn the acts of being with men at night.
Cordelia was too shocked to respond to Madame Polina’s words. Although she had pleaded to Lord Lawrence that she would do anything he asked, she had never expected something like this.
Feeling flustered and embarrassed, her body trembled. However, Cordelia had no choice but to obey Polina’s words.
Before coming to this place, Baron Lawrence threatened Cordelia that if she didn’t do as he commanded, he would immediately send Melia to Marquis Gathong.
With trembling hands, Cordelia untied the knots of her dress. From that day on, Cordelia began to learn things she had never imagined, things that made her face burn with embarrassment.
Madame Polina taught Cordelia in a frightening manner. She brought her own lover as an example, exposing Cordelia to awkward and intense scenes. If Cordelia couldn’t perform, she would be forced to repeat it dozens of times until she got it right. Cordelia had to remember every detail.
— Sit quietly and make seductive moaning sounds? Your body is stiff as a statue, can you even do that?
Cordelia asked Madame Polina if they couldn’t have the lessons without undressing.
— Watch closely and follow along. Grip your breasts with your hands. Then, open your palms and gently caress them, as if forming a soft circle…
Cordelia took off her dress. Clad only in thin lingerie, she reached inside her clothes and gripped her breasts with her hands. She opened her palms and gently shaped her breasts in a circular motion. She drew circles several times before placing her nipple between her index and middle fingers and pinching it softly.
Her stimulated nipples stiffened, and a soft moan escaped her lips.
Cordelia’s touch became faster. She vigorously caressed her plump breasts with her hands and rapidly teased her nipples with her fingers.
She made an effort to sensitively feel every sensation. Focusing solely on stimulating her breasts, even the lightest touch sent shivers through her body. Just touching her breasts caused her head to tilt back involuntarily.
As Cordelia’s hand passed over her chest, it moved along her rib cage, then to her flat stomach, and finally towards her smooth and pale thighs.
Her hand, as if stroking away, moved towards her legs. With her fingers, she slowly teased the surface of her thin underwear. Repeatedly, she gently rubbed it in circular motions, feeling the wetness growing between her legs.
As her slow movements became faster, moans escaped from her without control.
The hand that was gliding over her underwear slid inward. Cordelia, with her slender and pale fingers, caressed the hidden clitoris deep within her thighs. As she gently touched the round and small area, a thrilling sensation bloomed.
Overwhelmed by the sensations coursing through her body, Cordelia involuntarily spread her legs wide and focused on touching her clitoris.
With her white fingers, she vigorously rubbed and scratched the sensitive area, effortlessly eliciting moans.
Her head kept tilting back, and her face flushed with the spreading heat. As Cordelia continuously stimulated her deep inner self with her fingers, she let out a constant stream of moans.
After concentrating on stimulating her clitoris for a while, Cordelia gripped the bed. Now, it was time to engage in the actual act.
Sitting at the edge of the bed, she held onto the headboard and moved her waist back and forth.
— Imagine you’re riding a horse, she said. Imagine you’re on a magnificent black steed, riding at top speed. You can feel the muscles of the horse squirm beneath your buttocks, and to keep from falling off due to the horse’s fast pace, you have to quickly shake your waist in sync with the horse’s movements.
She closed her eyes and imagined herself riding a strong black steed. To avoid falling off, she knew she had to sway her body in sync with the horse’s movements.
Cordelia began swaying her waist. Her white breasts protruded beyond the thin fabric, swaying and bouncing along with her long, tousled blonde hair.
She gradually increased her pace. She let her waist move freely, lifting and lowering her hips rapidly in a repetitive motion.
Her moans grew louder with the intensified movements of her waist. Despite only moving on the bed, her body became inflamed from the earlier stimulation.
Unconsciously aroused, Cordelia used her hands to caress her own breasts while rapidly rotating her waist. The bed creaked with passionate motion.
Cordelia started picking up even more speed. Imagining she was keeping up with a racing horse, she vigorously shook her waist.
“Ah, Ah, ah.”
She wetted her head freely, unleashing a series of moans as if expressing her fervor. The grand chamber resonated with the sounds of the creaking bed and Cordelia’s unrestrained moans.
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