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Chapter 1

PROLOGUE

[ You can’t gamble the family’s property as you please. This is the third time already...! ]

Slap!

With an unpleasant sound, Florentia’s head sharply turned to the left.

[ You good for nothing, how dare you admonish me! ]

The smell of alcohol was strong on the body of the man who had just pushed her shoulders away.

[ Let’s go to sleep. Calm down, Astall. Go over there. And you... ]

Belsach tried to softly appease his drunken cousin and then turned towards Florentia.

And.

Slap-!

With a louder sound than the one before, five fingers were imprinted on the other side of her face.

[ After four years of squandering on our family’s money, do you think it suddenly belongs to you? ]

Belsach berated Florentia as she held her face which had just been slapped twice.

[ Don’t be mistaken. Although you and us share the same last name, but with the blood flowing in your veins, you will never be a part of our family. All you have to do is to live as our servant. ]

No matter how many times she heard it, those cruel words felt like a dagger that had just pierced her heart.

[ If you tell grandfather anything that happened today, I won’t leave you alone. ]

With a warning, Belsach spit on the ground and turned around.

Soon, the sound of the carriage grew more and more distant.

Left alone in the dark alley, Florentia clenched her fists.

A drop of red blood dripped down her injured lips.

Ttripp, ttripp. “Hiyah-. Hiyah”

The small sway of the carriage and sound of the coachman awoke Florentia from the thoughts of the distant past.

As she slightly lifted the curtains draped over the window and looked outside, she could see the soldiers of the Imperial palace.

“So, we’re here.”

Florentia lowered the curtains again and looked straight ahead, sitting more upright.

After straightening her hair and dress which had become untidy for a while, she looked like a neat portrait.

In the meantime, her carriage passed through the main gate and reached Lamburgh Palace.

Riding in the carriage that was beautifully decorated, the gold it was made out of showed off it’s dazzling brilliance under the glorious sunlight of the afternoon.

“We’ve arrived.”

The carriage stopped and the coachman politely spoke.

“Florentia.”

At that time, the carriage door opened and a handsome man greeted her.

“Pherez.”

He kissed the back of her hand, after escorting her out of the carriage.

It was a kiss with a deep meaning that didn’t hide the desire in his heart.

“Pherez!”

Florentia called him out, but Pherez just smiled with his long eyelashes blinking.

“Let’s go, everyone’s waiting for you.”

She pulled her hand out of his and moved away from the carriage.

Pherez, who laughed after seeing the tip of her ears blushing slightly, soon followed her back.

“There’s no one in this Lamburgh Empire who can complain against you for making them wait, my Tia. You can go a little slower.”

The two have come a long way today.

“As hard as it has been for you to come here, enjoy the moment.”

After much perseverance and efforts, it was time to eat the sweet fruit of her hard work today.

“Yes. I’ve had a lot of trouble.”

Florentia admitted plainly.

She had come a long way back. It’s probably even hard to imagine.

She added in a small voice which no one could hear.

“But that doesn’t mean I should be disrespectful.”

It was a firm answer.

The woman who had made him fall in love with her from the moment he had laid his eyes on her was such a wonderful woman.

Pherez laughed with joy again.

Soon after, the two stood at the door of the closed banquet hall.

“Are you ready?”

At Pherez’s question, Florentia nodded briefly.

“Then, shall we go in, Lord Lombardi.”

He held his hand out to her.

“Let’s go, Your Highness, the Crown Prince.”

A fine, pale hand held his hand together.

“Open the door.”

Pherez briefly commanded the servant in front of him.

“His Highness, the Crown Prince and the Overlord, Florentia Lombardi have entered!” (1)

A voice came from behind the door, announcing the arrival and the status of the two people.

Florentia laughed since the voice sounded like music to her ears.

The door slowly opened, and the bright light of the banquet hall poured out through the gap.

CHAPTER 1

Skreeekkk.

With an unpleasant sound, the iron gates of the great mansion were closed by the imperial knights.

It was the end of the Lombardis, which had reigned as the greatest family on the continent for 250 years, on par with the imperial family of Lamburgh.

Like an ever-expanding world, the family’s symbol, the clan, which had always been strong, ended in vain with the capture of Vieze Lombardi, the patriarch of the household, as well as other figures under the name of tax evasion and treason.

Hundreds of citizens of Lombardi, a city named after the family, had gathered in front of the mansion.

There were those who constantly shed tears into their handkerchiefs, and those who turned away without even looking once.

And in the front row stood me, Florentia.

“Morons.”

I said sharply while gritting my teeth, but it didn’t matter now.

I glared at the heavily guarded front door of the family and uttered a few more words.

“Freaks, dimwits, lazy people who will remain stubborn even when stuck in a fire.”

I could feel the people standing around me looking back at me in surpise, but what do you think?

The Lombardi family is already ruined.

However, no matter how much I cursed, the rage inside my heart did not subside.

“I had already told you that it’s not going to be the First Prince. I told you several times that he is just a spoiled brat and he’s never going to be the Crown Prince!”

But despite my advice, the Lombardi idiots supported the First Prince.

The First Prince, Astana Nerempe Durelli.

They said it was because he was related to the empress, but as far as I could tell, they only picked the same kind of person as themselves.

He belonged to a ‘royal bloodline’ but had a fat body, while drowning in luxuries and pleasure and laziness that filled up his stomach.

It was no exaggeration to say that Lombardi’s brilliant history was the history of the Lamburgh empire.

It was the Lombardi family that made Durelli the first Emperor of the kingdom and brought the empire where it is today.

Is that all?

Reaching the top, the family accumulated enormous wealth, participated in every war, achieved bloodless victories with excellent diplomacy, and supported great artists from all over the empire. There was no place in the world where Lombardi’s name could not be reached.

And it was Lulak Lombardi, the Overlord of the previous generation, who is said to have raised the Lombardi family to a high level.

When the young Lulak had just taken over as an overlord, the imperial family issued a royal edict to keep him in check.

And that’s when Lulak came up with the scholarship system.

The government had raised the number of talented people in various fields by providing generous support to both nobles and commoners.

It was no wonder where the loyalty of those who had studied under the support of the Lombardi family would lie.

They were not Lombardi, but they were the Lombardi’s people.

So Lulak, the Overlord, had succeeded in planting his people all over the place without even taking a single step out of Lombardi’s territory.

Eventually, the emperor, who had no choice but to recognize the Lombardi family’s influence, had to take back the royal edict after twenty years.

However.

“No matter how ignorant you are. How can you ruin such a family in just two years!”

Two years ago, after the death of Lulak Lombardi, the first son, Vieze Lombardi, was appointed to the post of the next overlord.

And that was the beginning.

Vieze was a sleazy, passive man who only liked to say a few words, so he couldn’t lead the kingdom or his family, and so, the Lombardi’s bloodline, a bunch of squanderers, became selfish causing the family to lose their strict ancestry.

It’s so obvious, I don’t even have to look at it.

The reason I knew so much about them was very simple.

I used to be a Lombardi.

To be more specific, I lived in a country called South Korea, died in a traffic accident and reincarnated into this world.

That too, in the Lombardi family.

When I had first opened my eyes in the body of a newborn baby, I screamed instead of crying while looking at my luxurious surroundings that seemed like a hallucination.

I was finally born with a golden spoon!

There was definitely a period of time where I had woken up in that mansion, greeted everyone in the mornings and gone to sleep at night while looking at the patterns carved on the ceiling.

But sadly, I was just a half. (2)

My father was the third son of my grandfather, the Overlord of Lombardi but my mother, who had passed away while giving birth to me, was a commoner and could not officially get married due to the strict laws of the family.

Born between them, I was technically illegitimate, but with my grandfather’s permission, I was lucky to be able to use the Lombardi family’s surname.

But that didn’t mean that I was recognized as a part of the Lombardis.

All the time, I was just a vaguely positioned child using the Lombardi family’s last name and not actually a complete member of the family.

It was all superficial but even then, I was happy only for a short while.

A few days before my eleventh birthday.

After my father passed away due to an incurable disease, I was forgotten in the family.

I was no longer a Lombardi without the father who had linked me to the family.

Soon after, I was no more invited to any family events and I lost my place.

However, I couldn’t just leave myself like that, so I started working at the age of 15.

In the beginning, I began to take care of the library in the mansion.

When my father was alive, it was the place we had spent most of our time together, and it was almost like my second home.

But when the librarian suddenly resigned due to an illness, there was a vacancy and I took over the position with much difficulty.

It was ridiculous to entrust the whole library to a fifteen year old child but the surname Lombardi attached to my name had proven to be very useful at that time.

Ordering and organizing books as people requested was something I loved and it wasn’t that difficult for me.

As a result of working hard while enjoying my duties, the library became more and more pleasant and I started to be recognized for the first time.

So, one by one, one at a time. Slowly, I started to touch on the affairs of the mansion.

By the end of my eighteenth birthday, I began to be in charge of the affairs inside and outside the Lombardi mansion.

It was quite an extreme job.

My father’s brothers were all snobbish nobles living in their own little bubble, and my Lombardi cousins were rogues who got involved in some or the other accident every day.

And the year I was 19, my grandfather fell ill and I was assigned the duty to assist him by his side.

It was only natural that no-one knew the family affairs as well as I did.

Unlike my other cousins, who were born with blank heads, my grandfather was quite shocked at my ability to learn anything quickly and fulfill my responsibilities accurately.

“If only I had known a few years earlier that you were such a child!”

As my grandfather, Lulak Lombardi’s illness worsened, sighing became a habit for him as he constantly thought about the future of the family.

“I would have passed down this family to you....”

Every time, he would sigh and laugh.

“Nothing would have changed, grandpa.”

“Why do you think so?”

“I’m illegitimate. How can I become the overlord with a commoner’s blood in me?”

“No, Florentia.”

The voice of my grandfather who was shaking his head was very firm.

“You are a Lombardi. As long as you have the blood of the family, you’re well qualified.”

However, it was only a late regret, and Vieze, my grandfather’s first son, was counting the days when he would become the overlord.

But the last three years that I had spent with my grandfather were not meaningless.

During that time, I was able to feel some affection for the first time after my father had passed away.

“I’m sorry, Florentia. I should have taken better care of you. And all of that even though you’re my granddaughter...I’m really sorry.”

It might have been regretful for him, but it was enough for me.

The resentment I had felt towards my grandfather since he hadn’t paid much attention towards me since I was a child had dissappeared after that heartfelt apology.

He had done his best for the Lombardi family.

With affection, he did everything he could to make the family reach greater heights.

I stayed up all night working, and I didn’t mind taking care of the dirty work and mistakes of my cousins.

I really loved being a part of the Lombardi family.

However.

“Get out. You know what you have to do without me telling you any further, Florentia.”

After my grandfather’s funeral, Vieze said those words while throwing a bag in front of me.

“I had been patient because of your father for a while, but I can’t just wait and watch any more. I can’t believe I let you stay in my place for so long.”

I’ve been too patient.

Were you completely blind to all the work that I had done for the family?

For all the effort I’ve been putting, it seems I wasn’t a Lombardi after all.

“You can strip me off of my last name of Lomabardi. Let me work for the family. I need to be here.”

I spoke some funny words.

However, Vieze only laughed.

“You still don’t know anything till the end. Don’t ever come near this place again!”

I was kicked out just like that.

Without receiving any rightful inheritance of property despite being a Lombardi.

And exactly two years later, that idiot completely ruined the Lombardis!

That great family!

The beautiful Lombardi family that I had dedicated my youth to!

Bang!

The glass I put down roughly made a loud noise.

The owner of the bar glared at me, but my anger had exploded and I couldn’t care less about it.

“So the Second Prince became the one to reach the top!”

It was the Second Prince that no-one cared about because he was the child of a maid.

The Second Prince, Pherez Brivachau Durelli.

No-one had ever thought that that prince, who had been rumoured to have died in the small palace, had actually grown up so brilliantly.

And with a tremendous amount of talent, he was the first to graduate from the Imperial Academy as both a civil servant and a military officer at the same time due to which he ended up grabbing the attention of his father, the Emperor!

Not only that.

The second prince even ate up the entire parliament at once by grabbing the nobles carefully recruited by the First Prince and his mother, the Empress, due to his tremendous charms.

Sigh. The Lombardis wouldn’t have gone bankrupt if only they had hung on to the right rope.

“One more drink here!”

No matter how much I drink, the rage burning inside me doesn’t seem to fade at all.

“If you have two eyes, you should have seen it coming already! No matter who looks at it, it’s obvious that the Second Prince is more likely to be the emperor than the one who has nothing better to do than get involved in debauchery and gambling!”

But those Lombardi fools didn’t know that.

Probably because they were laughing along with the First Prince on the gambling table.

Eventually, the second prince became the crown prince and soon after, the emperor passed away.

The Lombardis, who had done all sort of vicious things to make the first prince the crown prince were hit by extreme backlash.

“Hah...I need to go home.”

I felt dizzy because I had drunk too much alcohol.

Fortunately, the house where I lived on a monthly rent was only two blocks away from here.

As I placed the money on the counter, I staggered and walked out of the bar.

“Bastards. Brainless fools. Worthless scoundrels.”

It was when I vividly recalled the faces of my uncles and cousins that I began to curse.

Slip.

One foot of mine slipped in vain, my body tilted to one side and I staggered, struggling not to fall.

And the place where I finally stood straight was right in front of a moving carriage.

Kwang!

Something hit me hard at the back and I could feel my body floating in the air.

I could also hear the hooves of a horse in the distance.

It’s kind of stupid that I had died in a car accident in my previous life, and this time it’s a carriage accident.

When I glanced down, my body that had been floating in the air steadily fell to the floor, unable to defy gravity.

Very soon, darkness fell.

Only

Translator’s Corner

Just picked up a little side project. Hope you like it

Glossary

(1) ‘Overlord’ – So, the word that is constantly used throughout the novel (and it’s also supposed to be in the title) is ‘가주’. This is a word that was frequently used in the ancient times but not in modern Korea. It refers to the head of a rich, honorable family that has GREAT influence over the economy of a country. They are very powerful families and have a very high status and authority, almost like a family that describes a generation. I don’t really know the right equivalent English word for it, so I’ll be using Overlord as just ‘lord’ doesn’t do it. Of course, for referring titles, I’ll just use ‘lord’.

(2) ‘Half’ – Okay, I don’t really know how to translate this. But in Korean, this word means ‘half (something)’ . For instance, over here, she’s just half-blooded.

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