TWSB – Chapter 158: Scheme (3)

“My goodness, Marquis Duhem-nim?”

A shocked Christelle raised her voice.

I calmed my wildly beating heart and almost creaked as I turned to look at him.

Ganael, who had been quietly following behind me, rubbed my back for me. It had been a while since we had seen François Duhem.

He looked quite anxious to see us, which was not a common reaction for him.

However, he was quick about the recovery as well.

“I heard that love and sneezes are unavoidable; you three esteemed individuals must be my dearly beloved!”

The handsome man’s light pink eyes curled up as he bowed. His opera-actor-like attitude was still the same.

“Your Royal Highness, Dame Sarnez. My deepest congratulations for successfully becoming Archbishops. You are the glory of our Empire and this is truly a happy occasion.”

He used elegant movements to kiss the back of Christelle’s hand.

I finally came back to my senses just as the Marquis grabbed my hand and was about to lift it up and pulled my arm away.

His actions had always been quite dramatic, but he seemed a bit… rushed today.

It felt like he was charging in really fast. I smiled awkwardly and observed the Marquis.

“Hello, Marquis Duhem. You seem busy. Is something the matter?”

“Not at all, your highness. There are absolutely no suspicious incidents whatsoever! Please keep it a secret from my younger sisters that I was here today.”

The reason he specified his sisters was probably because he already met his younger brother, Captain Duhem, at the appointment ceremony.

Young lady Antoinette and the other siblings did not seem to come up to the Imperial Capital with him.

Christelle and I nodded with baffled looks on our faces and he smiled elegantly before bowing again.

He seemed to be the one to step away for once. It was at that moment.

– Plop!

“Marquis Duhem, you dropped this.”

A sparkling card fell from the man’s pocket.

The Marquis seemed explicitly anxious as I picked it up and handed it to him. ‘What is up with him today?’

“Thank you very much, your highness.”

He seemed to swipe the card out of my hand. Christelle scowled.

“You’re not feeling ill, are you, Marquis Duhem?”

“Of course not, madam.”

“Will you be coming to the House of Blanquer’s masquerade?”


Emotions disappeared from his face for a moment.

He quickly started smiling again but a stoic Marquis looked quite cold unlike his usual self.

“Unfortunately…… I do not think I will be able to be by the three of your sides that day.”

He then slowly winked.

He then showed his respects properly without any flaws before quickly disappearing beyond the hallway.

We watched him leave in silence for a bit.

Benjamin observed that the Marquis did not come from the direction of her Majesty’s office. ‘This is really suspicious.’

“……He is plotting something.”

“It really did seem that way, didn’t it?”

The crown prince mumbled and Christelle immediately agreed.

However, they had no justification to dig into it when the person claimed nothing was going on.

It was disappointing that we will not see him at the masquerade but his daily life itself was similar to a masquerade.

We shrugged our shoulders and headed toward the office where the Chief of Staff was waiting for us.

I was imagining a secret little rendezvous, but that image was long gone because of the large number of people with me.

At least it was nice that people didn’t stare at us for a long time as we walked by because the crown prince was with us.

– Knock knock.

We arrived at the door and Ganael knocked. However, the reaction was oddly slow.

Forget the door opening, we couldn’t even hear any footsteps inside.

The young boy tilted his head and as he raised his hand again…

– Slam!

“Holy Almighty God.”

We saw a familiar man’s face and a repeat of the gasp from earlier.

Our eyes opened wide at the unexpected individual who appeared through the door.

He seemed anxious after seeing us as well as he could not speak for a moment.

Christelle was the one to break the silence.


“Christelle. I greet our esteemed Royal Highness and Prince Jesse as well.”

Duke Simon de Sarnez politely lowered his head.

I was well aware that there were many Pair de Riester who frequented the Empress Palace, but this was the first time I met two familiar faces back to back.

I was wondering what was the cause before it seemed obvious that the large event, the Holy Knight Appointment, was the reason.

“Father, I heard that you were returning to the Duchy first so I didn’t expect to see you he……”

Christelle suddenly stopped talking. It could not be helped.

Inside the Chief of Staff’s office, an attendant who looked like a secretary was urgently fixing her clothes as she bowed toward us.

Her flushed cheeks and the awkward look on her face made it pretty easy to imagine what was going on just now.

Benjamin and Ganael let out some fake coughs and turned their heads. My neck started feeling hot as well.

We, no, I, forgot what I was going to say and just opened and closed my mouth without saying anything.


‘This…… This is not right. The father of the main character of a Romfan cheating with an attendant of the Imperial Palace……

Actually, nobody should be doing this. This is extremely wrong. I didn’t see him as the type?’

I was so shocked that my mind didn’t quickly organize my thoughts.

I immediately turned to look at Christelle.

Her eyes were endlessly sinking into the darkness.

“What is this?”


“Please stop calling my name and explain. No. What is the point of listening to your explanation? Please leave.”

“It is not what you are thinking.”

“It’s fine. Please don’t do this here and leave.”

She took a step to the side. It was a silent threat for him to get the hell out.

The windows started shaking as if they could break at any moment.

The candles lighting up the area sizzled and turned off.

Christelle’s plate was fluctuating unstably and causing all of this.

I gently grabbed her elbow and sent some ether flowing into her body.

The crown prince did not want to watch this any longer and opened his mouth.

“Duke. Go ahead and leave if your business is completed.”

“……Yes, your Royal Highness.”

The Duke properly showed his respects and walked away.

Christelle glared at her father’s back with scorn as if she saw something extremely stupid.

I was worried about her and Lady Isabelle that I could not control the expression on my face.

Only the crown prince was calmly observing the problematic attendant.

She had her head down while politely pointing to the side.

The room inside the office, where Chief of Staff Laura should be, was waiting for us.


“It’s quite large.”

“Yes, your highness. It is such an eye-catching thing that we could not easily send it out of the Empress Palace. We are embarrassed that we asked you to walk so far.”

Chief of Staff Laura lowered her head and apologized. I waved my hand saying that it was okay.

I had wondered why they had not sent Queen Christanne’s letter to Juliette Palace, but it was because of its size and details.

The letter she wrote to her son was not stealthy at all.

The purple satin scroll embroidered in golden threads was as long as my body when I opened it completely.

There were also colorful jewels and tassels decorating the scroll.

‘Isn’t there no point to sending something like this in secret?’

“Please go ahead and read it, your highness.”

Christelle warmly commented from the couch opposite from me.

I was concerned because she seemed to be pretending to be okay and I wanted to tell her that it is okay to go to see Isabelle.

However, she probably made her own decision to stay here so I decided not to bring it up first.

I peeked toward the crown prince who was seated at the head of the table and looked at the scroll.


I then carefully read through it. Honestly speaking, I was a bit scared.

She apparently didn’t say much to the Empress, so would she have said much to me?

“What does it say, your highness?”

“It seems…… Normal.”

I frowned as I said that. It really was, and it was not what I had expected.

“She is apparently happy to hear that I am eating very well. She also says that Cornelisse is doing well. She supposedly grew quite a bit taller in the past half year.”

I had never met the little second princess but hearing something like this made me smile.

Of course, there were some disappointing things as well.

Things like how she’ll suddenly wake up and pace the bedroom because the thought of my being a diplomatic hostage in a hostile Empire pains her and about how she is praying to the Almighty God daily for my father’s rest and for my peace…

The majority of it was a typical letter written by a parent asking about how their child was doing and sharing some information.

I read it backwards and tried to take the first word out of every line but there did not seem to be any hidden messages.

There were no scary things written in there about how she was trying her hardest to get me out or that she knew I was not her son and for me to take off my mask and reveal my identity.

I thankfully did not seem to make any mistakes in front of Elise.

I sighed in relief and raised my head. I immediately made eye contact with those orange eyes.

“Are you done reading?”

“Yes, your Royal Highness.”

The crown prince tilted his head. He pulled off his glove with an extremely uncomfortable gaze.

“Then let’s burn it.”


“That’s why he can’t go home!”

Christelle said something that I was not sure whether she was talking to herself or angrily scolding him.

Benjamin sighed and started organizing the Queen’s letter.


“Why, why did it have to be our family……”

The man’s voice was shaking.

He did not even remember how he returned to his residence in the Imperial Capital.

He closed all the curtains in his study to make sure nobody could see him, confirmed twice that the door was firmly locked, and then struggled to light a candle in the darkness.

He then pulled out the card he had received with difficulty from the attendant in the Empress Palace.

It was a card that was smuggled in with the letters from Queen Venetiaan.

He did not dare to open it in the carriage or even in the garden of his residence knowing who had sent this message.

The lilac-colored seal did not even have a coat of arms on it.

That made him even more scared.

Rustle, rustle.

‘W. B.’

There were two initials on the surface of the letter.

People who did not know would think nothing of it, but the man knew exactly who this was talking about.

The Holy Kingdom’s royalty wrote the initials for their first and middle names when sending an order to their spies in the Empire.

There was currently only one person in the Holy Kingdom’s royal family whose name started with a W.

“Werner Venetiaan.”

The man said the name that was the source of his despair.

He had never received an order as a spy since he was born.

That was something that happened during his great-grandmother’s generation and none of her descendants had actively taken part.

Of course, he was well aware of what his great-grandmother had done.

She framed an innocent Baron and destroyed his family while she remained a noble and loyal Pair de Riester.

The man clearly remembered what he had heard on his great-grandmother’s deathbed.

‘It was a decision for our survival. That is why I am not ashamed of it.’

She had not repented for her actions even until her last breath.

That had remained quite vivid in her young great-grandson’s mind.

Rustle, rustle.

He bit down on his lips and opened the letter.

The writing was as straight as if it was a book and the size and spacing of each letter were chillingly uniform as well.

‘Lead the pilgrim out of the Almighty God’s sight.
I seek not an execution but a scheme.
Eat it up and strike his honor.
The one who rejects and ignores this…
They will close their eyes as the dogs of the hunter.’

It sounded like a riddle. However, this was not difficult for the man.

He was a noble of the Empire who was used to the ambiguous style of the upper class, and, more importantly, he was a member of a family of spies.

It would be weird if he did not understand this at once.

The man’s hand started shaking after he understood the meaning between the lines.

Riiiiiip. The paper helplessly ripped.

The devil’s whisper reorganized itself one word at a time in his mind.

‘Murder the pilgrim.
Do not use an assassin but make a scheme.
Eat the message to get rid of it and dirty the person’s honor.
If you reject this order…
I will reveal the fact that your family are our spies.’

“Huff, haaaa……”

It was a dreadful request and a threat.

The man caught his breath and guzzled down the wine he had left here last night.

He could not harm an innocent person. He should not do that.

However, he had to do so in order to survive.

He was the patriarch of a great and loyal family that supported the Empress and the number of family members he was responsible for were endless.

On the other hand, the target was just one person.

The pilgrim. A person who left their home to find the Holy Land.

Prince Jesse Venetiaan.


He groaned and his head dropped on the table.

The sins that she had committed, one which the former patriarchs had all just watched and feigned ignorance about, the negative karma built from all of that was coming back during his generation.

The man could not claim that he was innocent either.

He recalled the purple pair of eyes he saw in the Empress Palace.

The way the prince had seemed concerned about how shocked he was was still vivid in his mind.

The prince had exchanges with not just the man but the man’s family as well and was someone who had the Imperial family’s affectionate attention.

He was a good and gentle person.

There was nobody in the Empire who did not know that the Prince Consort was being treated viciously and cruelly by the Prince Consort.

“Cough, cough cough!”

He finally choked on the alcohol. His insides were churning violently.

He nonetheless had to make a decision and he was someone who could not find that decision to be difficult.

The man’s hands shook as he picked up the letter. And then…

– Riiiiiiiip! Rip!

He ripped the paper into small pieces and slowly placed them in his mouth.

He used wine to suppress the dry heaves that came up from deep inside his stomach.

Cold sweat dropped from his chin.

‘It was a decision for our survival.’

His great-grandmother’s voice echoed in his ears like a curse whenever the blood-colored wine lessened in the bottle.

However, he could not get drunk.

He had a scheme to plan.

Translator’s Comments

How scandalous of you, Christelle’s daddy.

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10 Replies to “TWSB – Chapter 158: Scheme (3)”

  1. Dean

    Oh, no 😯 Why? The spy is Marquis Duhem. Don’t do anything to Prince Jesse.
    If there’s someone need to die it would be Prince Consort Werner or maybe Christelle’s cheating daddy 🤦🏻‍♂️🙎🏻‍♂️

  2. Confused Reader

    I think the spy is Christelle’s dad no ? Because he got the letter from the Imperial attendant that’s why he cheated on his wife…

    1. Sumer

      It’s the Marquis. Read the line about remembering Jesse’s purple eyes that were concerned with how shocked he was.
      Rn Jesse was concerned only about Marquis.

  3. thefarshore

    👀👀👀 clever author, giving us 2 credible suspects.

    the obvious spy is Duhem, based on what we currently know. 2 noble patriarchs left the attendent’s office in a huff, but if Sarnez is the spy (using the affair as a cover for getting the letter) then what was Duhem’s reason for leaving that office as if the world was ending? if Duhem also walked in on the cheaters, sure that could knock him off kilter for a bit, but would witnessing an affair of 2 near strangers be enough to shock and disturb him *that* deeply?

    [[“Marquis Duhem, you dropped this.”
    A sparkling card fell from the man’s pocket.
    The Marquis seemed explicitly anxious as I picked it up and handed it to him. ‘What is up with him today?’]]

    plus there’s this explicit mention of a card and Duhem’s anxiety over Jesse handling it in particular.

    otoh, it could also be a setup for a red herring: there really is a good unrelated reason for Duhem’s distress (hopefully something more convincing than walking in on the cheaters) and the card that will be revealed later, leaving Sarnez as the culprit. but the shock of Christelle finding out her dad’s a cheater might be the red herring too, his potentially using the affair as a cover, pointing us toward Sarnez instead of Duhem🕵️‍♀️

    although i’m leaning 65% toward Duhem, i’m not ready to place my bets yet. ⚖️ whichever way it goes, it’s gonna hurt 🙈

    thanks for the chapter 🙏🫶


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