Chapter 23:

The Truth

Hated by the Evil Lady

Giselle still wouldn’t answer.

If there was anything Lucien hated the most in this world, it was repeating his words over and over to the same person.

He stood up, fully aware of how discourteous it could’ve seemed.

“Since it doesn’t seem like Your Highness is willing to have a conversation, I shall take my leave now,” Lucien said with a cold glare before turning to the door.

“Do you—”

Giselle’s voice stopped him in his tracks. He turned to look at her.

“Do you remember what I said after the ball?” she asked. She wasn’t meeting his eyes and was just staring at the teacup in front of her. Her expression was as flat as usual and her arms were still crossed, but she was tapping her finger on her arm, as if she was fidgeting.

What she said after the ball… Lucien tried to remember. Is it the part where she said she despised me? Or is it…

“...That we’re inside the world of a novel?” Giselle continued, almost in a whisper.

Right. Lucien had planned to ask about that when they met again, but it seemed to have gone missing from his mind.

Seems like nothing ever went according to plans whenever they were together.

Lucien sighed and took a seat across Giselle again. He didn’t know what she meant by that, but he figured an explanation about that would be better than nothing. Sitting with his back straight and his body leaning a bit forward, he wanted to assure her that he was listening.

“Please continue,” he said.

His gaze looked sharp and ready as he focused on her entire being. Anything she would say wouldn’t surprise him at this point. All he wanted was an explanation, a reason, an excuse, anything.

He was determined to get that today.

Yet the more he saw her opening and closing her mouth every few seconds, tightening her grip on her arm until it left a mark on her skin, and knitting her eyebrows deeply, the more his resolve faltered.

The frown on Lucien’s face gradually went away as an expression of concern replaced it instead. He blinked, not knowing what to do.

Was I too harsh? he thought. More time passed without Giselle saying a word, and it was starting to eat Lucien inside.

“Your Highness,” he decided to speak up first. Giselle turned and looked at him. It made Lucien feel even guiltier to see her face looking so lost. “You don’t have to say it if it’s hard for you. I apologize for my discourtesy.”

He crossed his hands over his stomach and bowed. He was still very curious, but he didn’t feel right getting the answers to his question by cornering a lady like this.


When he heard her mutter, Lucien lifted his head. The tension around Giselle’s eyes had disappeared and her entire body gesture looked more relaxed.

“I’m sure this might sound unbelievable to you, but please listen to the end,” Giselle said.

Noticing the graveness in her voice, Lucien gulped before nodding firmly.

Giselle still looked hesitant for a second, but she soon spoke up.

“I… had a previous life,” she began. She didn’t even give Lucien any moment to process and react before she continued. “And it was in another world.”

Lucien’s jaw dropped without him realizing, one of his eyebrows raised in confusion. He stayed silent because he couldn’t understand anything Giselle was saying.

He expected her to say something crazy, but not THIS crazy.

“This world… is eerily identical to the novel I read in that world,” Giselle continued. She seemed to not have noticed Lucien’s reaction. “No, I should say that it’s completely the same.”

That’s what she meant…? Lucien thought as he remembered her remark at the ball.

However, Lucien couldn’t be convinced. He had never heard of previous lives and other worlds before, so for all he knew, Giselle could have just mistaken her memories with her clairvoyance.

“May I know what the novel was about?” Lucien asked in a careful tone.

He flinched a little when Giselle immediately looked up at him with a piercing glare, but all she did—fortunately—was sigh.

“I suppose you may,” she said.


There once lived a girl with beautiful golden hair named Clara.

She was a lovely and kind girl adored by everyone who knew her.

Her family had been incomplete ever since her mother passed away when she was younger, yet Clara never failed to keep a positive outlook in life.

She was affectionate, courageous, and righteous to a fault.

When her father, who had single-handedly raised her with love, fell into the hands of treacherous scammers, she took it upon herself to try to solve it.

She went around trying to find jobs, but where she lived, there was just no one who would employ the daughter of the count.

That was when a truly, truly enticing offer came in the form of a man.

A man her age. A man she had only seen once in a passing, yet managed to sneak into her mind. Siegfried Hann Karron.

He offered Clara something that could help her escape this predicament in exchange for something she had.

His hand in marriage.



Lucien was silent the whole time he was listening to Giselle.

He mainly was just at a loss on how to respond. On one hand, what she said could have been just one elaborate story she cooked up. On another hand, it seemed way too detailed for a fictional story about people she actually knew in person.

“Lord Renand,” he heard Giselle call him.

Lucien looked up. He was expecting to see her usual aloof face when he heard her detached voice, but he took a double look when her face showed an expression of anxiety instead.

“Does that sound ridiculous to you?” she asked with her calm voice. Hearing her voice alone would make anyone think she was unconcerned, but not when they saw what she looked like as she said that.

Unlike her steady and firm voice, there was uneasiness reflected in her eyes as they shifted nervously.


That was all Lucien could think to say in his state of confusion. He was trying so hard to keep his words to a minimum in case he said something wrong.

Giselle nodded.

“Lady Benois is the main character of this story… While Siegfried, my cousin, is her male lead,” she said.

Lucien could hardly believe what he was hearing. That this world was a world inside a book, and the people in it were mere characters of a story? That the Count of Benois had amassed a debt so great Clara had to resort to looking for employment?

But when he took a glance at Giselle, she really didn’t seem like she was pulling his leg.

He gulped.

“Let’s say that what Your Highness was saying is true… That still does not explain your behavior toward me,” Lucien said.

Even if what she was saying was true, it didn’t excuse her hostility toward him. In fact, it made things even more puzzling and unfair to him. What did he have to do with Clara’s love story?

Even just thinking about it made him scowl.

Just as usual, Giselle’s eyes were directed somewhere else, like she wasn’t willing to look at him. Lucien didn’t know where she was looking, but somewhere for sure.

He had his eyes fixed on her as she began to open her mouth.

“It’s because…” Giselle mumbled. Lucien strained his eyes even more at her, believing that it would enable him to pay attention to her better. “...You’re the second male lead.”


Lucien tilted his head, to which Giselle also did the same. When he tilted his head to the other side, Giselle also mirrored his movement.

“And the second male lead is…?” Lucien voiced out his question, confused and unaware that Giselle was mirroring him.

“The other man who is in love with the female lead… Do you know about love triangles?” Giselle said while fiddling with her fingers.

He knew. He knew about love triangles. But… Him? With Clara?