Chapter 1 - Part 1
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Lelia belatedly followed Emperor Perseus and opened the door to the drawing room. Her friends standing at the door looked at her with a strange look.
“Lelia, did you scare him? The emperor ran away like he was crazy.”
Without answering Kalix’s words, Lelia ran down to the first floor. Only then did her friends notice something strange and followed her. Lelia ran for her life.
Tears blocked her view. It was dark in front of her. Never let the emperor encounter her mother again. That was all she worried about. She opened the huge first-floor gate and ran down the stairs. In the distance, she could see the back of Emperor Perseus. But it was already late.
Over the emperor’s stiffened back and shoulders, she could see her mother’s face.
Emperor Perseus and her mother, who met in front of the castle, were looking at each other as if time had stopped. Aunt Atias, who was next to her mother, turned pale.
It was time for Lelia to run and block her mother.
“Oh my god!”
Suddenly, her mother screamed as if she was tearing apart and collapsed. She sat on the floor then stepped back. It was as if she saw a monkfish crawling out of a hell fire.
Emperor Perseus paused as he tried to take a step closer. It was clear it was Elizabeth. Definitely…He couldn’t believe she was alive, who he thought was dead. Since when? Doesn’t she look like Elizabeth? It was definity her… There was no way he couldn’t recognize her…
She was alive. The nerves all over his body were on the edge. God listened to his prayers… Since when did she live here…? The fact that he was deceived not only about Lelia but also his wife’s death, he grew extremely angry at Duke Superion. But more than that, Elizabeth’s reaction was strange.
At that moment, someone quickly ran past him. It was Lelia. Lelia, who approached Elizabeth, hugged her and calmed her down. Atias was also surprised and hugged Elizabeth.
“Lelia, why the emperor…” Atias muttered. Lelia heard that her grandfather contacted Atias through a servant, but the message did not seem to have been delivered. Leaving that aside, Lelia looked at her mother’s condition first. But why is she so…
“Sena, what’s wrong?”
She seemed like a person who had witnessed something incredibly scary. Even though she was being hugged tightly, her limbs trembled.
At that moment. No way. Like a thunderbolt, an idea passed through Lelia’s mind. Lelia grabbed her mother’s shoulder with her big eyes.
“… Sena, no way. No way…”
“That person… he….”
That was the last thing she could say. Her mother, who was trembling abnormally, fainted and collapsed. Lelia’s hands stopped.
As she turned her head slowly, she could see her grandfather, uncle, and friends approaching from afar. Grandfather found her mother collapsed with a pale face and shouted to move her inside in a hurry. Her uncle carried her mother on his back and headed to the castle.
Lelia was still stiff and looking at Emperor Perseus. Like Elizabeth and Perseus a moment ago, Lelia was now frozen. The emperor and Lelia were looking at each other as if time had stopped.
“It was you?”
A small voice came out of Lelia’s mouth. Tears flowed down across her cheeks. It was hot as if her whole body had become a fireball. Emperor Perseus, still frozen with confused eyes, looked at her. As if he couldn’t understand this situation, as if he couldn’t believe it.
“Elizabeth…”He muttered little by little by little.
Lelia moved her cold body and took a step closer to him.
“It was you… You almost killed my mom…”
Perseus muttered as he looked at Lelia’s eyes, which had turned into a madman.
“In the forest of the land near the neutral zone, you slashed mom with your sword…”
Recollection of something suddenly passed in his eyes through Lelia’s words. Ah. Perseus’ body collapsed because his legs were weak. Instinctively, he knew what Lelia was saying.
‘Oh, I don’t think so.’
He covered his mouth. The day’s incident dug into his head like a blade. He got sore and dug until he bled.
“I don’t need a father.”
“I’ve lived like that so far, and the same will continue to be the case.”
“So even when I met your Majesty… That’s how I kneeled down and prayed. Because I don’t want to be hungry. I don’t want to starve. I don’t want to eat the soil again. The same is true of the reason why he ran away from the Imperial palace.”
“So this place can’t help but be like hell to me. Do you want me to stay here even though it’s like this?”
He ran away from Lelia’s eyes, who blamed him. He ran through the forest. And the cabin he found. As soon as he found the door, he thought he might be able to go back to the past if he opened it. He thought his wife would greet him with a smile… However, when the door was opened, it was Lydios’ illusion to welcome him.
“Now you’re being punished by heaven for killing your brother with your own hands.”
He swung his sword at the illusion of Lydios smiling in front of him. At one point, Lydios looked like his dead wife. He thought it was a trap… He thought it was definitely a trap… But it was so clear that memories of that time often bothered him. It’s so clear.
Perseus looked down at his hand. At that time, he remembered the blood stains on his hands. He thought his escort was injured, but he wasn’t. As soon as he returned to the accommodation, he collapsed as if he was passing out, and after waking up, he heard reports from his subordinates. He searched the forest, but he couldn’t find anyone who was injured. He found blood stains in the cabin, but there was no body. He forgot, passing orders to his subordinates to investigate the clinic in a nearby village. But what happened then… What he slashed with his sword… it was not Lydios…
“It was you. You killed her!”
Lelia grabbed Perseus and shook him. The resentful gaze and voice were drowning him. Perseus couldn’t be trusted.
When he lowered his head, his hands were covered with blood. Blood stains on his hands overlapped like the vision that day. No, this blood… He couldn’t believe the sticky blood was his wife’s blood. He felt nauseous in an instant. No, he couldn’t…
He felt suffocated. Emperor Perseus gulped as his eyes opened wide. The emperor’s subordinates came late. They looked afraid that the emperor’s madness would pop out at any moment. Tears flowed down his blood shot eyes… Contrary to the concerns of his subordinates, fortunately, he lost consciousness on the spot with a painful groan.
Perseus only opened his eyes after a full day.
His gaze, staring blankly at the ceiling, turned.
At the bedside, Lelia, a pale stranger, was looking down at him. He didn’t know since when she was next to him. Is it a dream? It might have been a dream. It was so terrible it must be a dream. His wife died a long time ago, 20 years ago…
“I’ve been waiting for you to wake up.”
There was no energy in her hoarse voice. Lelia stared at him with empty eyes.
“I have something to say.” Lelia said without changing her expression.
Perseus naturally realized. It’s not a dream. It wasn’t a dream. He started to get goosebumps on his skin. It was like despair.
“Go back to the Imperial Castle.”
“Go, forever… Don’t ever come back.”
“Don’t ever come to us. If we meet again, I might kill you.”
His expression collapsed. The distorted face became quickly wet with tears.
“I don’t want to kill you with my own hands. So please… Please….” The quiet room was filled with Lelia’s small plea. Lelia prayed and begged in an earnest voice. As if it was a last request. “To you, my mom and I are dead anyway.”
“So go to the Imperial City and do your own thing whether you atone for life or forget us. Don’t come back.”
“I’m not going to bother you that much. Julianna, you know that kid.”
Perseus’ expression was distorted even more. As if it was unbearable because it was painful.
“That girl is the real daughter to you anyway. Kind, cute, lovely…”
“She’ll be by your side, just like how she’s been…”
“Stop… Okay… Please stop. Please…!”
Emperor Perseus began to sob painfully. Lelia looked at him for a long time. And the next morning, the emperor’s army suddenly left as if they had never visited the Superion castle. They went back like that without any notice.
“Your Majesty, are you okay?”
On the way back to the Imperial Fortress, the emperor seemed empty, with no soul and just a body. Although he barely made it back to the capital, his servants were anxious. The emperor looked precarious even though his back was upright on the horse.
At the knight’s question, the emperor suddenly stopped. He looked down at his arm. The feeling of his right hand that swung the sword that day was clear. The blood stain that remained thick on his right hand was also.
Perseus turned his empty eyes and looked up at the sky. Before he left, he wanted to see his wife’s face one last time. But he neither visited his wife nor asked Lelia for it. He just couldn’t do that.
The shock, emotion, and anger at Superions, who deceived him, was now gone. He was just resentful of himself. Suddenly, Emperor Perseus pulled a sword out of his waist belt.
Knights and servants watched the emperor nervously. They looked suspicious of his madness. Perseus looked down at his right arm, as he held a sword with his left hand. It was Lelia’s first and last request to him. He has to listen. Ring ring! The clear sound of bells seemed to be clearly heard in his ears.
“Elizabeth. When a child is born, put this on his ankle.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be with you. I will come back safely and protect you and your child for the rest of my life.”
“Wherever the child is, wherever he or she is headed.”
The sound contained an oath to follow and protect her forever even if he went blind. After the hallucination, Emperor Perseus swung the sword without hesitation.
Shocked screams rang in his ears. Finally, the sinful arm was cut off. At the end of this, he intended to atone for good.
The emperor’s body slumped down from the horse. It hasn’t been long since they met again, but Emperor Perseus knew Lelia well. He could know her better than anyone else. Because the child looks very much like Elizabeth. If he abandons his life saying he would atone, the child will suffer from guilt for the rest of her life. He didn’t want to pass on that burden. At least this much…
Perseus’ consciousness slowly disappeared as he watched the blood gushing down from his shoulder.
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