Chapter 1 - Part 1
Since that day, a corner of her heart throbbed every morning when she opened her eyes.
Lelia woke up frowning at the pain she felt today.
A few days have passed since the day she talked to Oscar.
During that time, he’d vanished into thin air, disappearing without a trace.
At first, she thought he was avoiding her like Kalix did.
But after hearing that no one had seen Oscar… Every time she thought of him, her heart ached and throbbed.
She was even confused whether the medicine remained effective or not.
When she thought of those snake-like eyes, she got goosebumps, but when she imagined his voice that seemed to be begging for affection, her heart ached.
“Why did this happen?”
Lelia sighed deeply.
Over the past few days, Lelia had locked herself up in her room.
The maid would come and tell her several times that someone wanted to meet, but she refused every request on the pretext of not feeling well.
But she knew she couldn’t stay like this forever.
[Since I’m not going to stay here forever…]
She thought it would be better to go back to the Superion territory as soon as possible.
Oscar may also clear up his feelings and visit her again if he finds peace.
However, it felt strange to think that she couldn’t guarantee when she would see Oscar again.
Lelia jumped up and headed to the bathroom to change her miserable mood.
The Imperial Castle, Auraria
A strange rumor began to circulate among the courtiers.
Rumors circulating in the dark eventually reached the ears of Princess Julianna.
“What are you talking about?”
Princess Julianna’s forehead wrinkled.
“Go ahead and say it.”
The maid was restless, but when Julianna got angry, she was forced to speak.
“There are rumors going around that Sir Ruth and Princess Lelia might get married.”
Most of the courtiers knew that Julianna was getting along with Ruth, and things were going well.
But what rumour is this?
Was the sky falling down?
“Who and who might get married?”
Julianna closed her eyes and touched the back of her neck.
“Are you okay?”
With the help of the maids, the trembling Julianna was able to sit. She urged the maids to talk in more detail, saying it was okay.
And from what she had heard…
A few days ago, someone reportedly witnessed two people talking on a narrow road to Imperial Garden.
The rumor ended there, but just last night.
Emperor Perseus requested for Ruth’s father, Count Castril, to ask a question.
He even asked if Ruth had a fiancée yet, and whether he was willing to get engaged to Princess Lelia.
Julianna jumped up from her seat.
‘How can my dad…?!’
Emperor Perseus knew that Julianna and Ruth had mutual feelings for each other.
But he didn’t want it to happen.
But still, she had not expected that her father would do this.
It was a situation where she was anxious that she might lose everything to her, to Lelia.
No matter how much she thought about it, it felt weird.
It was strange that she dressed as a man and entered the Imperial castle, and that she was so mean to her and betrayed her.
‘Because she thinks I took away her place.’
[Editor: Well you kind of did…]
This was a threat.
‘But now even Ruth? Are you finally showing our true colors?’
Now she knew why she dressed up as a man and came into the Imperial castle and became close to Ruth.
“You’re trying to steal my life…!!!”
Julianna was trembling with betrayal.
Just yesterday, Princess Julianna visited the empress and said this.
“I keep feeling sorry for her, mom…”
It was true.
Whenever she thought of Princess Lelia, she kept feeling a strange guilt.
She had lived as a noble princess, but Lelia had not.
However, as her father cared for his child, she wanted to get along well, like they were real sisters.
Unlike herself, who grew up as a princess since she was young, it was clear that Lelia would be lacking in many ways.
So she thought she should be a good sister, who would lead and teach her well.
But the empress spoke firmly to her.
“There’s no reason for you to think like that. Stop thinking about that before you lose everything you have.”
She was wondering about her mother’s very determined attitude…
‘Now that I’ve seen it, my mom was aware of everything.’
Emperor Perseus swept down his face as if he was confused.
Last night, he called Count Castril to ask if he was willing to marry his son and Lelia.
However, the answer came back that there was someone he was already engaged to.
For the troubled emperor, Count Castril began listing a number of nobles of his rank that could marry Lelia.
Perseus looked through the list with a serious eye.
He was receiving reports from Lelia’s maids about her every move.
There was nothing much to say about the maid’s reports, other than her ‘friends’ who often visited her were annoying.
They were all from Imperial families from countries other than Auraria. In addition, their roots were from an Imperial lineage.
Her most important people seemed to be much closer to Lelia than he’d expected.
As soon as he knew that, he grew anxious.
If his daughter, who he had barely managed to catch hold of, marries into the Imperial family of another empire…?
Of course, it was clear that they wouldn’t see each other for the rest of their lives.
‘I have to get her to stay in Auraria somehow.’
So, the emperor was looking for a good candidate among his noble retainers who had settled in the capital.
He was looking for an appropriate family that was easy to control, those from moderate wealth and power.
He was intending to tie Lelia, who was feeling betrayed by him, to the capital by marriage.
If she continued to see him face-to-face, he thought one day Lelia would eventually recognize him as her father.
At that time, the servant came in and spoke.
“Your Majesty, the twin princes… I think they have found her.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
In fact, he had ordered the two princes not to visit Lelia for a while.
But it seems that they have also reached their limit.
“Yeah, how can I stop them?”
They have the same mother and father, the same blood flowing through their veins.
In addition, for the two princes, their mother was only a faint memory from their childhood.
He remembered his sons with their ears on his wife’s stomach, listening to their younger sibling.
They, too, miss Lelia so much.
[Editor: Was that before they kicked her out of her only home, or after they beat the poop out of her?]
‘I think it’s all my fault.’ Perseus felt guilty.
He turned his head and looked at Elizabeth’s portrait on the wall.
Previously, he was not allowed to have it because of Empress Marianne, but now he’d changed his mind.
As soon as he came to know that Lelia was alive, he didn’t want to see anyone else’s eyes in the future. It wasn’t even something he’d been aware of in the first place.
So, Elizabeth’s portraits was brought into his office.
‘I no longer want to hide my longing for my dead wife or my guilt about Lelia.’
Lelia was talking to her friends, who were visiting her room.
The atmosphere was cold and awkward.
It was because of Griffith and Lelia.
“But… Did you guys fight?”
During the conversation, Romeo pointed his finger at the two and asked.
Griffith closed his mouth and gave him a thin smile, while Lelia wore a grim look and did not answer.
Kalix, unlike his usual self, only glanced quietly at Lelia.
At one time, he even thought of getting married to her… Then he realized the idea of getting married was his delusion and he calmed down.
However, it was still a question inside his head.
‘You carried me on your back with your thin arms? You look so fragile, but you rushed to save me from the wolf.’
A sense of awe, respect, and affection poured in.
To be honest, the incident as a child completely changed Kalix’s life.
So he thought he would avenge his dead captain and do good things for him for the rest of his life…
But his captain was still alive.
No matter how much he thought about it, he couldn’t think of any other way to repay this favor.
‘I’ll just have to stick to Lelia’s side.’
Well, honestly, it would be better if they got married.
He couldn’t even say that now because Lelia clenched her fist and rushed away from just hearing the word ‘marriage’.
As he stared at Lelia blankly, he made eye contact with her.
The grim expression somehow felt cute.
So he laughed without realizing it…
“What’s so funny?”
Lelia asked suddenly, as if he was being ridiculous.
‘Oh, it’s funny. Can’t it be funny? But it’s cute…’
Kalix nodded and looked around, but the atmosphere was really bad.
‘Were you talking about something serious?’
“…It’ll be easier to think of him as a puppy, Lelia.”
At Romeo’s words, Kalix was furious.
“Hey, who are you treating as a dog?”
Watching Kalix bickering with Romeo, Lelia touched her forehead.
Just a moment ago, she was talking very seriously with Griffith and Romeo.
The topic of the conversation was about the Alzheimer’s treatment that fixed her grandmother.
After a few hours, the anger she felt against Griffith subsided a little.
So she was able to ask him about it with a rational mind, and said.“Let’s distinguish between public and private matters.”
She wanted to borrow his name and distribute the medicine.
It was set to be made automatically, and whenever a certain amount was produced, the medicine was set to be transferred to wherever Griffith was.
He smiled and readily agreed to it.
When she saw Griffith, who seemed to be in a good mood, she felt frustrated.
It felt like it was his fault that Oscar suddenly disappeared.
In reality, it was all her fault. She’d acted very rude and cowardly.
But Griffith’s unconcerned and happy expression was really… so annoying.
As Lelia expected, Griffith was actually feeling happy.
He looked at Lelia as she stared at him and he smiled with his eyes closed.
It was a completely different feeling than a few days ago, when his hard work had gone to waste.
In fact, back then… he wanted to kill Oscar. He’s an immortal now anyways, so he can’t really kill him, but still.
He put up with him acting like a thorn in his side every time it happened, and in the end, a happy accident occurred anyways.
After the sudden disappearance of Oscar, the whole world looked beautiful.
The morning he disappeared.
That day, Oscar came and pretended to kill him.
To be honest, it was pretty intimidating.
No matter how much he cut his arm, Griffith was able to heal with divine power, but that didn’t mean he didn’t feel pain.
Oscar hacked him to pieces until his anger subsided.
He was healed quickly with divine power, but remembering the pain he felt that day made him grind his teeth.
Oscar, who expressed his anger with his whole body, was difficult to deal with.
He was a monster that could not be helped even by divine power.
He would have preferred to leave the wounds and suffer without healing, so that he could show it to Lelia, who came in after Oscar… He also regretted not doing that.
‘But after that day, he disappeared on his own…’
It felt like the physical and mental pain he felt at that time was healed just by the fact that Oscar was now gone.
It was a very sweet reward for enduring pain.
‘It was worth it.’
And today, Lelia came to him with a very good idea and asked for help with a difficult request.
This time, he was confident that he would not drop the ball.
Griffith, who had been thinking happy thoughts, suddenly met Lelia’s eyes.
At that time, Lelia’s brow was furrowed.
Griffith closed one of his eyes and gave her a wink.