**There are footnotes at some areas of chapter. Hover over the numbers at the end of the sentences if you are on desktop or tap if on mobile to view more info!
Jude shouted with joy and turned to Cesare.
“Hey, Cesare. Isn’t that enough? I already like this lady! I’ll join in on your scam if it’s a girl like this! Or I’ll just take her for… No, well. I really don’t mean to say it like that.”
Jude, who was talking excitedly next to Cesare, took one look at his expression and stopped speaking. He then gently coughed and turned his away.
Cesare gave Adele a sullen smile. He didn’t like the feeling of being fooled.
Besides, there was still one test remaining, but the straightforward woman in front of him seemed to pass it with ease.
Cesare sighed before speaking.
“Less than a drop of blood remains in me that does not tremble.”1 The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri, Volume 2: Purgatorio 30.43-48
Adele did not hesitate to continue.
“I recognize the signals of the ancient flame.”2Second verse of the poem
When Adele recited the next line of Dante’s sophisticated poem, Cesare put down his cigar.
“Do you come from an aristocratic family?”
“What about your parents?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then did you come up from the sea or something? Don’t act stupid and give me a straight answer.”
“There’s nothing more stupid than asking such a question to an orphan that never met their parents before.”
He looked down at Adele, but she didn’t shy away from his gaze and had a slightly bored expression on her face.
Cesare clicked his tongue and laughed.
‘She is a little cheeky, but this might be enough to fool the DellaValles.’
“One last question.”
He slowly rose from his seat.
Adele had been acting nonchalant all along but was slightly startled at his actions.
Cesare was slightly amused when she tried to avert her gaze from his exposed chest.
“You don’t seem stupid to the extent of not knowing that the outcome of getting caught is death, so why did you step up to do this?”
Adele’s eyes widened slightly, and a moment of silence passed. A pair of amber eyes, which were hard to decipher, gazed at Cesare gently then blinked quickly.
“… I’m starving.”
Cesare raised an eyebrow.
‘Is it a metaphor?’
However, Adele didn’t elaborate and just kept staring at him.
‘Well, it doesn’t matter.’
“Come to the Buonaparte mansion tomorrow.”
King of kings, monarch of monarchs.
Adele read the phrase repeatedly in astonishment. It was carved on a statue at the top of the main gate of Buonaparte’s mansion.
Which was the sculpture of a mermaid embracing a star, the mermaid symbolized the sea goddess while the star is the Buonaparte’s family insignia.
In other words, it meant that the Buonaparte family was chosen by the sea goddess.
Just in terms of form alone, it is too perfect of a sculpture to be rejected by the Republic of Santnar.
Of course, no one could say anything about it, because, with the current standing of the Buonaparte family in Santnar, they actually deserved to be regarded as monarchs.
‘And then there’s me, a mere shoe polisher.’
Adele pondered on the strangeness of life as she headed for the small door next to the main gate.
“What’s the purpose of your visit?” The gatekeeper who had been watching her for a while asked.
Although he looked like a knight, he was kind. She could tell because he used honorifics despite Adele’s shabby appearance.
“I have a prior appointment,” Adele said calmly. Her blank expression and calmness were natural; her voice did not tremble at all.
The knight appeared puzzled for a moment when a sweet voice came from the scruffy shoe polisher, but he continued speaking in a formal way.
“Who are you looking for?”
“I’m looking for Cesare Buonaparte.”
Adele’s heart raced as she spoke.
‘What if he forgot about the appointment? Or what if he forgot to tell the gatekeeper?’
But the knight nodded his head politely.
“All right. However, I need confirmation before entering.”
The knight cleared his throat.
“I am Cesare who sends you on.”3The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri, Inferno 2, 70-72, the original name in the poem was Beatrice.
Adele widened her eyes but immediately replied.
“I come from where I most long to return.”4Middle part of the following poem: ‘For I am Beatrice who send you on; I come from where I most long to return;Love prompted me, that Love which makes me speak.”
The knight nodded.
“It’s confirmed. The butler will be arriving soon, so please wait a moment.”
Adele breathed out a discreet sigh of relief and pretended to appreciate the marble sculpture at the front gate as she cursed Cesare in her heart.
‘Who uses such a method to confirm identity? It’s like he’s telling me not to come in.’
Although that was a phrase from Dante’s poems, it was not very well-known.
She realized that Cesare was crafty and not as simple as he seemed. To come up with that poem as an identification method meant that he had a rather good academic background.
His message was clear as well: ‘If you can’t answer this much, then just go back.’
Adele recalled Cesare’s last appearance. His charming smile complimented his grandiose personality, and his voice was captivating.
She also recalled the coldness that emanated from his golden eyes which led her to believe that her future would not be smooth.
At that moment, an old butler appeared.
“Are you Adele?”
“Hello, yes I’m Adele.”
Adele instinctively bowed her head.
“I am Ernest, the butler of the Buonaparte family.”
The old man greeted Adele politely regardless of her disheveled appearance.
“I will take you inside.”
His gaze was humble and held no contempt.
Adele followed the butler.
After crossing the main gate, a large garden decorated with low shrubs came into view.
In its center was the statue of a mermaid with her hair loose, and clear water gushed out from the water jug she was holding.
It was a beautiful fountain. Adele walked behind Ernest and was bewitched by its beauty.
“It is the work of the sculptor Vercelli.”
The butler spoke without a backward glance.
‘How did he know?’
“Yes, I read about him in a book,” Adele replied absent-mindedly. “…It’s beautiful. More than I ever imagined.”
She never imagined the sight of the artwork from the book would invoke such an emotion.
Ernest acknowledged Adele’s sincerity and seemed satisfied with her answer.
“You have a keen eye.”
Upon entering the mansion, Adele was even more surprised.
“This is the Buonaparte outer mansion, it’s a space for outside guests.”
A huge crystal chandelier hung from the high ceiling. It looked to be three times Adele’s size.
A damask carpet embroidered with dark blue stars covered the reddish-brown background.
Each room had two layers of brocatelle portieres with silver tassels hanging from the edges.
Many Small portraits with gold frames and frescoes decorated the walls.
It was beautiful yet somehow peculiar.
It was hard to believe that this museum-like space of splendor could coexist in someone’s residence.
She couldn’t help but think about the shack she left behind that morning.
Whenever it rained, water leaked from the ceiling, and in summer, it was as hot as a steamer. She was fortunate that winter in Santnar was not very cold, otherwise she would have frozen to death.
It wasn’t even Adele’s home, just a place rented from old Nino with the money she saved while enduring hunger.
She smiled bitterly and suddenly, the beauty around her felt pointless.
Adele no longer peered around and focused her eyes on Ernest’s back instead.
Soon they reached the end of the palace-like building where creme-colored marble columns appeared.
Beyond that was a three-story mansion with a more comfortable atmosphere.
“From here on is the inner mansion where the direct descendants of the Buonaparte family reside.”
Listening to the butler’s explanation, Adele gazed at the elegant mansion sitting at the top of the austram garden.
It was definitely less flashy than the museum-like outer mansion.
Shortly after entering the inner mansion, Ernest stopped in front of a huge door.
“Here it is.”
It was an oak door with four mermaids and a cross-shaped star, carved on each corner.
At a glance, it looked like a door that was crafted with great care by its craftsman.
“You know the work of the sculptor Javert,” Ernest said with a proud voice.
“What they say is true, the Buonaparte mansion is indeed a huge work of art.”
Adele’s words made the old butler’s eyes soften for a moment, but he soon went back to faithfully carrying out his duties as a butler.
Note: Heyyyy everyone! Sorry it has took so long, but I have been away focusing on my poor health. I am finally better enough so I can now focus on updating more! I will be posting all the advanced chapters and once I have months of chapters available is when I will open that group back up again. If you have the group now, I will be adding all chapters I translate in advance to make up for the lack of content ya’ll have not received.