Stigma Effect
Chapter 1: Departure

Chapter 1 – Departure

Translator: Skye Editor: thursdays

Yuriel was a girl who was beaten in Raphlet’s stead until he turned fourteen, when he left to join the Holy Knights as if he were fleeing.

‘If I said I was aroused by your tears, would you still call me noble?’

Years later, Raphlet, who had become a man, asked this. During the day, he was as cool and noble as a saint, but he held a vulgar lust hidden in the innermost recesses of his mind.

Staring at the thick snowflakes falling from above, Yuriel thought to herself.

At that time, how did she reply to Raphlet?

Yuriel boarded the train that was headed for the imperial capital, where the Order of the Holy Knights of Albraca was located, and nervously looked around for her designated seat written on the ticket.

Unlike those who took the train like it was second nature for them, it was Yuriel’s first time riding the train and the first time she had ever left the Mogris mansion.

Everything was amazing, but she wasn’t in the mindset to look around and observe everything one by one.

Yuriel sat down and let out a sigh. A small luggage bag was her only companion.

She opened the newspaper she was holding in her hand. She had bought it earlier from a child who was busily running around the train station.

Yuriel’s green eyes anxiously scanned the words.

On the very front page, the large letters announcing the special news made her mind feel cluttered.

Her eyes widened at the news. Although the article excluded the subject matter, it was more shocking and sad than any other news to Yuriel.

[Commander of the Albraca Knights 1st Division, Raphlet Mogris, is expected to face difficulties due to injury from suppressing monsters…]

This was the reason Yuriel left Grand Duke Mogris’s estate, where she had lived her entire life.

The injury of the Albraca Knight’s 1st Division commander, Raphlet Mogris.

At the news she had heard last night, Yuriel decided without delay to leave the mansion and head for the capital. It was because she realized how useless it was to wait for Raphlet to return.

“I’ve been waiting for seven years,” she mumbled, chewing on her lips.

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Her hands, which were so beautiful it was hard to believe they belonged to a servant, crumpled the newspaper.

Yuriel had been saved by Raphlet’s hand. In rescuing her, a commoner with no background to speak of, Raphlet’s body was carved with a large scar that was not suitable for the heir of the Grand Duke.

Raphlet not only saved Yuriel, a child who was less than ten years old at the time, but also created a job for her.

Raphlet’s personal maid. That was Yuriel’s first job.

Although her title was a maid, Yuriel’s only responsibility was to be Raphlet’s companion–someone he could talk to. He took care of her.

Later, she started attending and observing his classes and was hit in his place, but it was fine. [1]

Yuriel was under Raphlet’s protection. She was fully aware of how much she was benefiting from it.

She had dared to presume that later, when Raphlet became Grand Duke, married, and had kids, she would still be able to stand by his side and assist him.

But that conviction was shattered when Raphlet joined the Albraca Holy Knights.

The Albraca Knights Division was an extremely closed and noble collection of men that did not accept new applications from anyone over the age of fourteen.

They led the vanguard of the monster subjugation force in the name of God. With a sense of faith and spirit that was heavier than the black armor that protected their bodies, the holy knights cut through evil monsters and protected the weak.

Those who joined the order had to pledge to give up everything in secular society, and Raphlet Mogris gave up his position as the heir to the Grand Duke title without hesitation.

“You said you would come to get me…”

Yuriel buried her face in the newspaper and mumbled.

While throwing everything away, Raphlet had told Yuriel that he would definitely return for her.

‘When I become a little more mature… When I’m able to control myself, I’ll come to get you. So, wait until then, Yuriel. It’s dangerous out there, so don’t go anywhere and wait at the Mogris mansion where it’s safe.’

She could still remember his touch clearly, how he comforted her while holding her hands awkwardly. Yuriel still couldn’t understand what Raphlet, who had always been calm and rational, had said.

Yuriel was the reckless one, the one who was always running around wildly, and Raphlet was the calm one who always watched over her and listened to her stories.

How overwhelming was it whenever the gold-colored eyes, which were calm and soothing, watched over her affectionately?

Maturity and self-control were virtues that she needed more than him.

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Yuriel held back her tears and sucked in a breath.

As soon as she took a long breath, the steam whistle rang loudly. Not long after, the train carrying all the passengers began to move.

The Grand Duchy of Mogris, where she had spent a lot of time, began to slowly, then quickly, move away. Yuriel touched the window and took a long view of the passing scenery.

It was the place where Raphlet was born and where she shared her childhood with him.

For Yuriel, it was the second most precious place after being by Raphlet’s side.

She hugged her luggage and shook her head. To Yuriel, who had stayed up all night, the regular noise of the train had a power similar to a lullaby.

“I shouldn’t go to sleep…”

It was her first trip.

She recalled the warnings from people who worried about her departure, preaching about the dangers of traveling and falling asleep. When you wake up, your luggage could be gone, the wallet with money could have disappeared, or you could end up opening your eyes at a scary place you’ve never seen before.

She shook her head and pinched her thigh several times, but it was impossible as a human to fight against the growing drowsiness.

In the end, Yuriel lowered her head and fell into a light sleep.

Yuriel opened her eyes, feeling stuffy. She could hear a clanking noise above her head.

Eup.”

She opened her eyes, but she couldn’t see anything to judge where she could be. The thin stream of light that came in between the fabric that brushed against her eyelashes was the only view Yuriel could see.

Fearful of this unknown situation, Yuriel’s body jerked up. Bouncing back, she felt soft bedding around her body and shook her head.

“Uh, um…!”

An ominousness that Yuriel had never felt before swallowed her. She began trying to twist her body around when suddenly, someone’s hand gently pressed on her wrist.

The fingers of the one who held both of her wrists in one hand were rough. Yuriel clenched her teeth at the chilling touch and tried to grasp the situation she was in.

Her mouth was gagged, and her wrist was tied by a person whose identity she didn’t even know. No matter what direction you think, there was only one conclusion.

Somebody, someone…

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She couldn’t finish her thought. The cloth covering her eyes became wet with her tears. She couldn’t breathe properly with a gag in her mouth, and the unidentified person silently took off the hand that had been pressed against her wrist.

Slowly, they unwrapped the cloth covering Yuriel’s eyes.

“…How many times have I warned you? I told you to go back before you get into trouble, and that I can’t control myself yet. The one who ignored my warning is you, Yuriel.”

“…..?”

Yuriel, who squinted at the sudden light, blinked confusedly at the man’s words. It sounded like he was implying that she had been hovering around him for a while now.

The man went on to mutter, touching the gag that had been blocking her mouth. “I’d love to pull your gag out, but… I don’t know what I’ll do if I hear your scream now. It’ll be better for you to keep this.”

The figure of the man who said so began to be clearly reflected in Yuriel’s eyes.

She could see messy black hair and a cold face devoid of a smile. He was a handsome man with a straight nose and a firm chin. He was so handsome to the point he felt unreal.

Yuriel stared blankly at the man’s lips before shifting her gaze slightly upwards.

“Hic.”

When their eyes met, Yuriel suddenly found herself unable to breathe. She stiffened after a quick breath and her eyes reflected the man’s bright golden eyes clearly.

‘Raphlet?’

The hard chest and thick shoulders seen through his loosened collar were unfamiliar, but those golden eyes were unmistakably Raphlet’s.

“Yuriel, breathe.”

“Huu, euk…”

Surprised by the man’s unexpected identity, Yuriel had stopped breathing.

Raphlet hurriedly grasped Yuriel’s chin and coaxed her to breathe. He raised and supported the back of her head to make it easier for her and met her eyes.

“Yuriel, come on.”

His voice made Yuriel unknowingly reclaim her breath.

Once he saw her breathing slowly, he steadily lowered her head.

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[1] The relationship between Yuriel and Raphlet, here, seems to be that of a whipping boy and the young master. Historically, whipping boys would get punished in their master’s place to discourage the master from misbehaving. Can read more about whipping boys HERE

T/N: I know you all saw that cover/tags and came for the smut plot. Good choice. This is a novel that I’ve been casually translating and sharing with some of the other staff (we all got lured by the cover too heh). So no set release schedule yet, chapters will be uploaded after going through edits, but join our discord for the latest updates!

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