Chapter 15

 

Translated by Rae

***

 

[The winter has passed and the weather has gotten warmer lately. How have you been? I miss you so much, my daughter. I hope you will always be happy there. However, as your father, I am so disappointed that nothing has happened between you and His Majesty the Emperor. I hope your relationship with His Majesty the Emperor will improve soon.]

 

It wasn’t a long letter. As soon as she finished reading, Helen wanted to crumple up the letter, but she didn’t have the courage to do that.

 

She felt like she would definitely get into trouble by being an insolent child toward her father.

 

All gifts and letters that were sent into the Imperial Palace usually would go through the inspections.

 

Surely, this letter was also included for the inspections right after it came into the Imperial Palace, so she couldn’t just write down about her father’s scheme openly in the letter.

 

While preparing to become a concubine back in Cordelia, the first thing that she learned was cryptography.

 

There was another way to decipher the letter of her father.

 

Even though it only contained friendly words at the first glance, if she looked closely for the secret code, it was actually a reminder about her relationship with the Emperor and to push the assassionation plan soon.

 

[Don’t forget your duty.]

 

What was her duty…?

 

She wondered about her actual role that she had in here.

 

Helen stared at the letter with a frown while holding back her quivering eyelashes.

 

The woman’s face looked like she was about to burst into tears.

 

After coming to Idelberg, she occasionally received letters from her father.

 

When she received the first letter, she expected that her father would have been worried about her.

 

When she received the second letter, she thought she should have tolerated him just for once because he sent me the same letter.

 

It has been a year since she came to Idelberg, but she only received three letters so far, and she had never received a single letter stating his concern for Helen.

 

‘Just for once….’

 

If only she got the chance to feel her father’s affection toward her.

 

Tears eventually fell down from Helen’s eyes and soaked the letter.

 

Tears blocked her eyes which caused his vision to be blurry.

 

She felt guilty toward her father because she had been holding herself for a year. She felt guilty of being sent under her father’s order but ended up living an easy life here.

 

At least, he found out that she was useful.

 

She couldn’t carry out the order from her father because she didn’t have any courage to murder people.

 

Guilty feelings always lingered in Helen’s mind knowing she might have become a bad daughter because she couldn’t follow her father’s order.

 

However, when she received the letter, a sting of hatred suddenly arose in her heart.

 

She hated her father so much.

 

‘Does my father really need me?’

 

Why was he being so harsh if he needed her?

 

If only he gave her a warm hug and told her that she was his daughter.

 

She prayed all her life for it to happen.

 

But her father only did that right before he sent her toward her own death.

 

God was heartless. They’ve always given Helen this awful feeling.

 

Helen was dying once again today after she felt herself craving affection from her family again.

 

***

 

[Don’t forget your duty.]

 

Helen couldn’t get those words out of her mind.

 

After she received the letter in the morning, even until afternoon came around.

 

Ellie immediately noticed Helen’s strange behaviour.

 

‘What was written in the letter….’

 

Ellie bit her lower lip slightly.

 

Helen’s face looked miserable as she rested her chin on the round table in front of the window.

 

Her eyes were red and wet, perhaps because she had been crying for quite a while.

 

She looked fragile, as if she would collapse quickly if the wind blew over her.

 

“Your Highness….”

 

Ellie felt like her puffy eyelids were going to be wet because of tears for no reason.

 

And when she realized it, she immediately hit her cheeks with both hands.

 

Her Highness was currently feeling down, so she shouldn’t let her stay on her own.

 

Having thought so, Ellie smiled exaggeratedly and spoke to Helen.

 

“Your Highness, how about going out for a walk in the front yard since you are not in a good mood today? I can also bring you some snacks!”

 

“….”

 

Helen didn’t really want to move around. She just wanted to do nothing for the rest of her life, just like now.

 

‘I want to be that stone.’

 

What Helen saw in the distance was a stone placed on the ground that resembled a tombstone.

 

Helen wanted to be that stone, doing nothing but only staying firmly in its place.

 

“Okay. Let’s do that.”

 

However, Helen’s answer was the opposite of her mind.

 

I knew that Ellie was thinking hard about something she could do for her.

 

She didn’t have much courage to break the maid’s heart.

 

‘Then what if Ellie doesn’t like me? How will she make friends again?’

 

Helen hated it more than the thought of dying.

 

She forced herself to get up from her seat with a smile. Ellie trailed behind him.

 

Then, the awkward stroll began.

 

The sunlight was strong. It was now at the beginning of spring.

 

The weather in Idelberg was much warmer than in Cordelia, which was located in the northwest.

 

To the point that she could feel her cheeks burning under the sunlight.

 

The courtyard came into view after they passed by a well-groomed garden at the concubine quarters.

 

Ellie ran ahead of her to pull out the seat so she could sit on it.

 

Ellie looked like a rabbit as she ran through the grass.

 

“Your Highness! Come here, please!”

 

Ellie waved her hands.

 

“Okay. …Huh?”

 

She couldn’t breathe again. She knew this feeling.

 

It was the same like how she felt on the day when her father visited her and almost died because she was unable to breathe properly.

 

“Haah….”

 

Helen suddenly collapsed to the ground with shallow breathing.

 

Ellie shouted loudly as she watched Helen holding her heart and gasping for breath.

 

“Your Highness!”

 

She could feel Ellie running toward her as well.

 

Ugh… Ugh…

 

She was gasping for air, but she still couldn’t breathe properly. It felt like someone was clenching her neck tightly and banging on it.

 

Her sight became hazy when her airway was blocked and the air failed to enter through it.

 

Was she going to die just like this…?

 

Even so, she wasn’t scared to die.

 

She just felt guilty for Ellie, who was extremely worried about her, and she was also worried about the man who was busy waiting for her.

 

“Don’t… wait…….for me……….”

 

‘Don’t wait for me.’

 

She has to tell the man that.

 

He must’ve been waiting for her in the dark library.

 

Helen closed her eyes and recalled the man’s face.

 

She cherished his hand as if it was a treasure, and she came into his arms and burrowed herself in it, treating his body as if it was her dear mother.

 

“Your Highness! Please open your eyes!”

 

Ellie’s screams were over. It was when Helen finally lost consciousness.

 

***

 

She had a dream. It was a dream where her father smiled brightly and hugged her in his arms.

 

“Helen, come over here.”

 

She felt like on the verge of tears when seeing her father’s kind smile for the first time.

 

“Why are you crying like this…. My heart hurts even more. Don’t cry.”

 

“Yes…. Yes. Father.”

 

“Helen, My daughter.”

 

Her father patted her on the back. He also patted her on the head and continued to say warm words for her.

 

Funny enough, after that she realized that seeing her father being kind toward was just a mere dream.

 

She didn’t want to wake up from this dream even though she clearly knew it was just a dream.

 

It was so exciting and warming her heart that she felt like she would’ve gotten addicted to it.

 

“Dad, do you think I’m useful for you?”

 

When Helen asked carefully, the father in her dream smiled brightly before giving an answer.

 

“Of course.”

 

“….If I kill the Emperor, will my father acknowledge me?”

 

She knew she wouldn’t get an answer because she asked the father in her dream but….

 

She felt like she was being pushed forward toward a dead-end path. A place where she couldn’t turn around or went over this wall.

 

Somehow, Helen would die in Idelberg. Whether the Emperor of Idelberg would be killed by her or her father.

 

She was destined to be killed.

 

Helen bit her lips and frowned.

 

“Ah, Helen.”

 

Then, his father pulled Helen from his arms and tapped her nose bridge softly.

 

“Even if you don’t, you’re still my daughter.”

 

My father was endlessly kind as he smiled at her.

 

She once saw this side of him.

 

He always acted like that whenever he faced Edith, not Helen.

 

Neither of his habit of tapping on her nose bridge or saying she was his daughter with a smile applied to her.

 

So she got the answer to it instead.

 

Because the father in her dream said all of the opposite things to her.

 

Therefore, even if she managed to kill the Emperor, she still wouldn’t be his daughter.

 

The father in her dream had given her love just like what she wished all her life, but strangely, she craved it even more now.

 

‘This is a nightmare.’

 

A kind father?

 

Helen threw herself in her father’s arms again, but her heart grew cold, puckering her mouth and clenched her teeth tightly.

 

***

 

Ellie was sitting next to the bed while crying because of Helen, who suddenly collapsed a while ago.

 

She put a wet towel on her master’s forehead, but the towel quickly heated up due to how hot she was.

 

A physician dropped by earlier, but they said she didn’t suffer from any illness. They said she was just suffering from extreme stress….

 

What was the reason for her being so stressed out like this?

 

“F…… Father… I failed….”

 

That remark escaped Helen’s mouth as she let out a groan.

 

‘Poor Your Highness….’

 

Ellie bit her lower lip tightly because she felt like she was on the verge of crying.

 

Ellie never left Helen’s side because her master was tossing and turning desperately even though she was asleep.

 

“Your Highness….”

 

She continued to change the towels on her forehead, spreading the sweaty clothes slightly before wiping her body.

 

Hoping at the very least that Helen would feel comfortable after that.

 

“Your Highness Edith… Please wake up as soon as possible….”

 

Helen was sweating profusely while muttering whatever she was dreaming about. She was frowning in pain and couldn’t even think of opening her eyes.

 

Realizing she was having difficulty in breathing, Ellie grabbed Helen’s hand and shook it in the air.

 

“Please….?”

 

Ellie was so busy looking after Helen that she didn’t have time to return to the place where the maids lived on that day.

 

***

 

Around that time, there was a commotion in the concubine’s garden. The aide of the Emperor appeared after not paying a visit for over a year.

 

Even though the Emperor did not appear, the appearance of the one and only aid of the Emperor clearly caused disturbance among the concubines.

 

“I-I wonder if His Majesty is looking for the concubines today?”

 

“He hasn’t looked for one in over a year.”

 

“Otherwise, why would he send Sir Viester?”

 

“I see.”

 

All the maids working in the concubine quarters were the noble children in the Idelberg.

 

There were children of those who came from not-really-prestigious families, but  they knew how hard it was for them to see Viester and how high his position was at the same time.

 

“Have all the maids working in the concubine quarters gathered here?”

 

Viester looked at the Head Maid, his purple eyes gleaming.

 

“Yes. everyone has gathered here.”

 

The maid answered while looking through them with her eyes.

 

Since hundreds of people had gathered there, she could hardly tell if someone was missing.

 

However, the place where the maids lived was already empty, and all of the concubines knew Sir Viester was coming, so they would have come out unless they were sent out on purpose.

 

It was very uncommon for the Emperor’s aide to pay a visit to this place. They thought they shouldn’t have done any foolish things to miss out this opportunity.

 

In response to the maid’s answer, Viester gathered in front of the small crowds which were divided into twos and threes and glanced at the maid with sparkling eyes.

 

There were no maids who were frightened or intentionally avoiding his gaze.

 

‘If she had entered the Emperor’s Library, there’s no way she wouldn’t be scared of me….’

 

Viester tilted his head slightly.

 

The blankets found in the Emperor’s Library were typically used by the maids, but the blanket itself was not really good in terms of quality. And candlesticks, ink, and pens were the items which were provided for free to the maids.

 

Thus, he decided to narrow down the target, thinking that person must be a maid.

 

And among them, the best hint was ‘medicine tube’.

 

A few days ago, there was a maid saying that the person who took that medicine was someone who came from the concubine quarters.

 

He heard from the maid of the dispensary who secretly confessed to him that she didn’t give the maid expensive medicine because she seemed like someone of high status.

 

‘So, she’s probably here.’

 

Viester took out the medicine tube that he brought in his arms and showed it towards the maids.

 

“Have you ever seen this medicine tube?”

 

At that moment, the hundreds of maids began to murmur with each other.