Chapter 1 - Part 1
A glimmer of anticipation was conveyed in the question that flew in.
Lelia was puzzled.
[Did you really really think that I would hate you? Because I kept avoiding eye contact?]
[Why are you asking such a serious question?]
No matter how much she thought about it, the atmosphere right now felt strange and awkward.
Having both washed and sitting on the bed, in such a heavy and hot atmosphere, having a conversation like this…
“Of course, I don’t hate you.”
Lelia answered with a bright voice, trying to change the mood. But her voice was a little shaky to the ear.
In an instant, Oscar’s eyes changed.
No, it felt like a change.
It was a look of strange joy.
“I kidnapped you and locked you up, but you don’t hate me?”
“I will drag you into my empire and force you to be the Empress, and you may never see your family. You don’t hate me?”
Lelia just opened her mouth in embarrassment.
“And you kissed me?”
Her mind was confused by the rapid questions.
Oscar calmly waited for an answer, but Lelia managed to answer as if being chased.
“… I don’t hate you. But I want you to send me back to the Superion Territory.”
“… If you don’t hate me, why have you been avoiding my eyes?”
Lelia rolled her eyes. She was fine until a little while ago, but she suddenly found it hard to make eye contact with Oscar again.
[I think the medicinal effect is still there…]
Just answer honestly.
Lelia squeezed her eyes shut.
“I’m sorry, Oscar. In fact…”
Lelia opened her eyes with a sinful look and she grabbed his arm.
Her body temperature was hot from touching his tight arms, but she didn’t have time to care about it.
“I think the medicinal effect is still there.”
“… That’s the drug that Griffith made me take.”
“It’s not like that!”
“Then what exactly is it?”
Lelia frowned and told him everything she knew.
“I don’t know the details either. It’s just a drug that makes you fall in love with the first person you see…”
“I was the first person you saw after taking that drug?”
“I should kill Griffith and come back.”
At those words, she slapped Oscar on the arm that she was holding.
“Don’t say such scary things about your friends.”
“… So the medicinal effect is still there?”
“… That seems to be the case. So, making eye contact with you is a bit… I’m sorry to make you misunderstand.”
Lelia gently lowered Oscar’s arm and bowed her head.
Oscar tilted his head and pulled her closer.
Lelia turned her head back in surprise, but she stiffened as Oscar followed her.
In front of her face was Oscar’s face.
Her heart started beating like crazy.
Oscar looked at her as if he was searching, and then moved away again.
“You didn’t even beg for a kiss like you did back then. Are there really any medicinal effects left?”
“Just hang on like before. Then I’ll trust you.”
“I’m sick of you lying and me falling for it.”
At the tone of his voice that turned cold in an instant, Lelia felt like she was covered in frigid water.
He believed her just a while ago, and now his reaction is one of disbelief.
She was confused as to which rhythm she should dance to. Oscar has always been like this. As he went back and forth, he made Lelia feel like she was going back and forth between cold and hot baths.
[Come to think of it, I couldn’t even hear an answer from what he was talking about with the woman at the inn…]
To be precise, it’s not that she didn’t hear the answer, but she interrupted the reply by saying, ‘I never said that.’
She was suddenly angry. What kind of emotional change this was, she couldn’t even handle herself.
She felt good and then bad. She went up and down in an instant.
Lelia suddenly looked at Oscar with a different look than before, as she said “I will send a letter to the Imperial Capital tomorrow.”
“Everyone will be worried. My uncle and my grandfather…”
Her friends will also be concerned about her. But she couldn’t bring up the story of her friends. Somehow she didn’t think that would be smart.
“You don’t have to.”
“What? But I disappeared from the Imperial Palace all of a sudden…”
“Everyone knows I took you.”
“Because I left a note that I was taking you to the Hraesvelg Empire. I also officially sent a marriage letter to the Duke of Superion.”
Lelia was momentarily stunned.
“You said you wanted to run away too.”
“When I went to pick you up. I heard you talking to yourself.”
The accident seemed to have stopped.
Lelia remembered the self-talk she had muttered as she fell asleep while crying that day.
[Did you hear that?]
“You don’t know how happy I was… I saved you. Isn’t that the case?”
“It was just… I was upset and said it without real meaning.”
“No, you really wanted to run away. That place was terrible. You regretted going to the Imperial Palace.”
Lelia had nothing to say. Everything Oscar said was true.
She had the thought that at that moment, she wanted to throw it all away and run.
She had looked at the scenery unfolding outside of the carriage window thinking that it was momentary, but nice.
She was kidnapped by Oscar and trapped by him, but Lelia felt free only then.
“And, if you’re going to use the excuse about medicinal effects, try begging for a kiss again.”
“It would be a lie to say that you didn’t like it.”
“It doesn’t matter anyway, now.”
Lelia could no longer tell him that it was because of the drug.
Since she herself wondered if the medicinal effect really remained.
However… what if it wasn’t because of the drug.
She couldn’t look directly into Oscar’s eyes because she felt shy, unless it was due to medicinal effects.
She felt purely shy when she saw Oscar. She could think of only one reason for a woman to be shy when she looked at a man.
Lelia was confused as if she was facing a huge storm in the middle of the sea.
Her first encounter with her emotions engulfed her like her high-rise waves.
In the meantime, she couldn’t forget the things that bothered her from before. It felt repulsive and disgusting, like a thorn under her fingernails.
In the end, she asked, unable to resist the urge. This was due to the remaining medicinal effect, she excused herself.
“So what did you talk about with the girl at the inn that made you smile?”
Lelia rubbed her tired eyes.
She talked with Oscar until the night passed. It wasn’t much of a story.
It was her childhood story. Lelia somehow felt like Oscar was a little more comfortable after the conversation.
So as soon as the sun came up, Lelia went back to the washroom.
It was when she came out after she had just washed her face to go out.
“… Oscar, what are you doing now?”
As she came out of the bathroom, Lelia was astonished to see Oscar holding her vial.
He might be suspicious, as it was the ‘memory restorer 2’ pill that she had put in her pocket beforehand.
Lelia went straight to him and tried to take her vial. But she was blocked by Oscar as raised his arms high.
“What is this?” Oscar asked coldly.
“It’s nothing. Give it to me.”
The atmosphere between the two, which had been calmed by the conversation they had last night, became cold again.
The corners of Oscar’s lips twisted. He muttered in a cold voice.
“I was almost fooled again.”
“What do you mean?”
“Tell me what drug it is.”
Lelia furrowed her brow as Oscar forced her to answer in a cold tone.
She didn’t know how to answer. To be honest, there was so much to explain.
[Should I say medicine to save my mom?]
Oscar’s jaw tightened as he watched Lelia.
It was clear that she was trying to make him feel safe and run away alone. This might be some medicine that will help her on the way.
Without hesitation, Oscar opened the vial and poured it directly into his mouth.
“What are you doing?!”
Lelia yelled at him in surprise. Oscar tossed the empty vial on the floor.
Lelia hurried over and checked the vial, but the bottle was already empty.
[There was only enough ingredients to make one…]
Lelia sighed deeply.
She’s fortunate enough that materials can be gathered by auto-finding, but…
[I can’t give her the medicine today.]
Lelia bit her lip nervously. So should she go back tomorrow? What if she doesn’t meet her?
[… For now, I’ll just try to talk.]
Lelia looked down with anger at Oscar and she just turned around without a word.
Oscar’s cold eyes followed her.
So the two set off to the hut.
She might be wary if they suddenly appear again, so Lelia decided to go nearby and walk.
Before that, she was thinking of going to the downtown area and buying something. If she brings something to eat, Sena might let down her guard.
The downtown area was lively from early morning.
Lelia stopped by the bakery to buy some things. Although she didn’t have the money, Oscar covered it.
Oscar grabbed the paper bag and followed Lelia.
Lelia looked at Oscar like that and turned her head. She suddenly felt like they were an ordinary commoner couple, and she felt strange.
As she trudged along, Lelia recalled the conversation from last night.
“So what did you talk about with the girl at the inn that made you smile?”
To that question, Oscar answered in an angry voice.
“I laughed because she said my wife was beautiful.”
“I liked hearing the word wife. Did you get your answer? Why don’t you stop the unnecessary acting?”
Apparently, she was portrayed as a liar by Oscar.
But she herself was still confused about the medicinal properties, so she couldn’t make any more excuses.
As she thought, she sighed deeply and started walking out of the downtown area.
“The Emperor of Auraria?”
“Yeah, he said he was staying at the Count’s mansion. I heard you said he was on vacation?”
“There are rumors that he came to the temple to check something.”
“Okay? This is the first time that the imperial family from another country has come here.”
“Yeah, this is the first official visit since they called the young royal family a long time ago. Maybe?”
Lelia’s steps stopped at the talk of the people passing by.
“…Oscar, did you hear them?”
“Ahh, what if Emperor Perseus encounters my mother?”
At Oscar’s words, Lelia nodded her head.
After all, why was the emperor at this time… here?
[Did you come to check on me because you heard that I lived in the neutral zone when I was young?]
A belated regret ensued.
Lelia bit her lip. She may be her mother, but she thought that she shouldn’t let her meet the emperor.