The Alpha's Beloved Villain
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From childhood, Adelaide Durchville's happiness was dependent on ensuring the success of her lover, the crown prince of Cretaecan Empire. As a master manipulator and schemer, she became his most valuable ally in seizing the empire's throne. That's exactly why her lover's betrayal cut so deeply when Adelaide was imprisoned as punishment for all of her crimes. Before she died, she vowed in the heavens that she would avenge herself and her family, who had been destroyed because of him. Now, waking up several years earlier back in time, she will ensure her family's safety and overthrow the cruel new emperor. "Marry me, and I'll make you the Emperor of this Empire, Your Grace," she said to the vicious Duke of Croilton Palace, Duke Zachary Ambrose, and the sole enemy of the crown prince. She would do this to save her family and to avenge herself. But can Adelaide destroy the crown prince while her own romance blossoms amidst the chaos?
On her way to the prison, Adelaide was hit in the face several times with metal gloves. Her mouth was torn, broken, and swollen, making it difficult for her to speak. She had not expected this treatment from them.
Even though she tried to walk at her own pace, the imperial guards did not allow her to and forcibly carried her. With their harsh treatment, she had injured her ankle at one point. She did not know if it was broken or sprained, but one thing she knew was that it was too painful.
She could no longer walk because of the pain, so she had no choice but to be dragged by them. Her broken arms were hurt, too, in the process. The wrists that the imperial guards held had become so twisted that they got swollenly red.
When they reached the prison, the imperial guards threw her onto the cold floor in one of the cells. Due to the sudden force, Adelaide lost her balance and rolled herself on the floor.
The pain in her body caused her to wince as a lone tear fell down in her eyes.
‘So, it was like this. After all the years of scheming, I had ended up in the same situation as those people I had destroyed.’ Adelaide now knew what was going on. She looked at Emperor Marcus.
Adelaide noticed a small sense of triumph in his eyes. It was clear that a conspiracy had been prepared against her. This will be her downfall.
'This time, I will be blamed for murdering my uncle, Your Majesty's precious mentor, making me a criminal. And then a series of accusations would follow one after another. Those accusations will then be enough for my demise. Well played, Your Majesty.'
In fact, she had actually committed many crimes in the past, but it was all for the Crown Prince. And the Crown Prince knew all of it, so evidence would easily pop out against her. Clearly, the person who hatched this conspiracy was Emperor Marcus, the man she most loved and trusted.
"I can't believe you committed such a crime, Adel. Did you really kill Count Bronson?" Emperor Marcus asked.
For the people around them, nothing had changed in his tone, but for Adelaide, who had spent her entire years at his side, she could hear a certain joy in it.
Emperor Marcus raised his hand, and the imperial guards brought another woman. Adelaide's eyes widened when she saw who it was.
'Lily Rowan... How could you betray me?'
Lily was one of Adelaide's maids who had been serving her for years. Adelaide saved her from being abused when visiting a town outside the palace. She trusted her so much that she could not believe that she was also the one who would betray her!
Lily knelt down in silence, and Emperor Marcus asked her.
"Has Lady Adelaide indeed ordered you to poison Count Bronson?"
"Yes, Your Majesty," the maid answered politely. "Lady Adelaide killed Count Bronson because the Count discovered that she was involved in money laundering. She secretly trades with the kingdom's enemies to increase her wealth. When the Count learned of this secret, she immediately sent me to kill the Count for her secret to be safe."
Everyone in prison buzzed with shock. They did not expect that Lady Adelaide would be able to commit such a monstrosity.
"Do you have anything to say about Lady Adelaide Durchville?"
Adelaide showed him a dry smile. What the hell was he thinking? She had no intention of denying that she was evil. She had committed many vicious acts and killed people, but to be framed for something she did not do? He was really treating her like a dumb person.
What good would it be to make a trade with an enemy's kingdom whose wealth was depleting because of war? And it would be too careless of her to use her cause to kill the Count, to keep it a secret, as if she wanted everyone to know that it was her own doing.
"Adel, those words of yours are now useless. You will have to clear up what happened."
Does he think there was still a need for her explanations now? Emperor Marcus had already decided to abandon and kill her.
'It was already too late for any explanation. No matter what I did, I had no way of surviving. Since the Emperor himself had decided to kill me for treason, my death is already nailed.'
Why hasn't she realized it before? Crown Prince Marcus had only treated her as a pawn, yet her love for him so blinded her. She even turned a blind eye when he destroyed her family for his own gain. If this person had truly loved her, he would not have done that to the family of the person he loved.
How naive of her!
"Your Majesty, everything is just a pawn in your eyes," Adelaide said. Her mouth was full of blood, and her teeth ripped apart her tongue. She bore the pain as it was the only way for her consciousness not to slip away.
"Now that you hold the highest power in this empire, you should stop the habit of blaming others for everything you have done. That's my last piece of advice."
"Insolence!" one of the imperial guards near her slapped her in the face again.
"Take this criminal to the darkest prison! She will be given capital punishment for her crimes!"
Adelaide looked at Emperor Marcus with her puffy eyes. However, Emperor Marcus just looked at her and did not interfere.
Adelaide did not clearly remember what happened after being sent to the prison where the most heinous criminals were usually locked up. She was tortured and forced to sign some documents. After that, she was taken to court, which was attended by the Emperor and a handful of nobles and officials.
At that trial, the accusers and witnesses showed up and presented one set of evidence after another. It was like everything had been planned out before. Some crimes were truly evil that Adelaide had committed, while some were fabricated scandals with horrible and perverse stories.
Although Adelaide had a smart mind and strong will, her body could not overcome her continuous torture in prison.
With those crimes pinned on her, she was sentenced to public execution.
"Lift her head." At Emperor Marcus's command, Adelaide, whose hair was strewn on the floor, was grabbed and held up.
Adelaide's hair, which was soaked in blood, was raised to midair by a rough hand. Adelaide's beautiful, dark brown hair was in a condition worse than the shaggy fur of a pig that had just rolled around in the mud.
Adelaide closed her eyes, which was difficult due to the bloating from the countless bruises that had been inflicted upon her. Though she felt betrayed and bitter, there was nowhere to go, and Adelaide waited for the King of Death to claim her life.
Soon, Emperor Marcus lowered his hand, which was the signal to execute the worst villainess in the empire.
"Your Majesty, can I talk to my cousin for the last time?"
When the Emperor gave her a nod, she smiled benevolently. It was implying that she had already forgiven Adelaide for killing her father. How could she be so benevolent to the wicked girl who had tried to hurt and kill her?
Lady Eloise Bronson, the beautiful and gentle flower of the Empire, moved her body closer to Adelaide.
"Adel, I... I have something to tell you." Eloise slowly wiped away the tears stuck to her eyelids and knelt down on the floor. She then brought her lips to Adelaiden's ear as if to deliver a final, sacred message.
"How was it, cousin? You really are so stupid."
Adelaide's eyes widened as if they would burst out. She slowly turned her stiff, bloated head toward Eloise, who was smiling at her. Her smile was pure and beautiful, just like a flower.
"I thought you were so smart, yet you still fell into my schemes?... I have always wanted to kill you, yet I know killing you so easily would not give me any satisfaction at all. And so, I deliberately made this scheme. I even sacrificed my father to see your downfall, my beloved cousin!"
Eloise could barely contain the unendurable laughter that nearly erupted from her mouth. At this moment, she smiled brightly as if Adelaide's tears made her want to sing and dance.
"Oh, before I forget, your family's demise was all your fault. It was because of you that they were killed. Did you really think that His Majesty loved you? Your wrong... He was using you, yet you are so naive to notice!"
Eloise finished her speech and stood up. She looked back at the execution table before slowly returning to her spot earlier with a sad, regretful expression. "I forgive Adelaide. I'm sure my father has also forgiven you."
Emperor Marcus raised his hand, and the imperial guard raised his sword in the air. The blade shone so brightly that it seemed it could cut through bone with one swing.
As such, the imperial guard's sword swung down, cutting through the wind and separating her head from her body in a split moment, her life ending pitifully just like that.
Even though Adelaide's head was severed, she could not feel pain, grief, or sadness. 'I want to go back again... I want to reverse time and avenge those who made me suffer! If there's a next life, I swear to make you pay tenfold for what you did to me!'
'Even if I had to make a deal with the devil, I would be willing to as long as I could have my revenge!'
Chapter 1: The Villain Is Back
Adelaide slowly opened her eyes, and the bright lights from the window reflected in her eyes, making her close them again.
'Wait, something is strange.'
The soft sheets surrounded her body, and the warm sunshine through the window sharply contrasted with the moment she had just experienced.
This soft bed that she was so familiar with was as if she had returned to the era of her youth before her family fell into ruin and she was beheaded.
'It feels like I have gone back to the past... Wait! What?!'
Adelaide hurriedly sat up on her bed and looked around. She noticed the large mattress under her and the familiar ceiling that she adored so much in the past. The bluish marble tiles she had customized and the moonless night painting hung in front of the bed. This was her room when she was still young!
"This is impossible!" Adelaide's mouth gasped like a fool as she looked around the room around her.
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