Carmun just couldn’t bring himself to speak and scratched his cheek awkwardly.
“Is something the matter?”
“Is Concubine Edith alright?”
Was that what he was curious about?
He thought he could just ask, he seemed very nervous.
Carmun’s anger gradually decreased as soon as Edith came out of his mouth.
Van replied, pretending to be clueless about what just saw.
“She’s recovering. She sleeps properly and eats well.”
“Alright. Her medicine?”
“She’s taking her medicine properly, too. But I guess she’s a little uncomfortable.”
It was understandable since she had to stay with Van inside the narrow abode.
Now that he finally thinks about it, didn’t Van use to go to pick her up every night?
Thinking about Van who carried Edith in his arms made him feel something that was so close to jealousy.
Carmun, who looked closely at Van’s face, eventually turned his menacing gaze away.
This is because Van’s appearance seemed to hit it off with the young noble women.
“Is it uncomfortable to stay at the concubine’s residence?”
“Are you asking for my opinion?”
Carmun asked with an uncomfortable look that was just too obvious.
Van thought about what Carmun was trying to say.
“If you’re uncomfortable with that, I will move you somewhere else.”
“I’m fine. It’s nothing to worry about.”
Carmun was as stiff as bone upon hearing Van’s gauche answer.
“…… Alright. As long as you’re comfortable.”
“Thank you for your concern. Your Majesty.”
Van smiled, lifting the corners of his mouth awkwardly.
He wanted to separate him from Helen by moving him somewhere else, but it was difficult to get a knight as skilled as him right away.
“I’ll call you back to the main palace soon. You may go now.”
Van left the Emperor’s room after bowing politely in a knighted manner.
Van might be gauche when managing people, but he was doing great on his job.
That was the only thing Carmun liked from him.
After Van left, Carmun looked around the messy room.
He wondered what the actual s*it that guy had done during the night to turn the room into this mess.
He pressed his thumb hard on the middle of his forehead in a tired manner.
He picked up the scattered books, arranged them back in the drawer, and walked to the desk, wondering if he should go through the documents.
The man’s letter were left there.
[I think I found something.]
Find out what?
The cocky man’s attitude brought a smirk to his face.
When he picked up the letter, something fluttered under it and fell to the floor.
It’s been a long time since he looked at the portrait of Queen Ovya.
It was made small in size so that it could be placed in the bosom.
‘What’s with this?’
That man didn’t even know Ovya.
Carmun’s eyebrows shrank in suspicion.
After seeing Queen Ovya’s face for the first time in a while, Carmun halted at the thought that suddenly came to his mind.
When he picked up the portrait carefully, he couldn’t connect the thought that came to his mind.
When he flipped over the portrait, there was a note there.
[Doesn’t she look a lot like her?]
His night self shared the same thought with him.
…What the h*ll… How could this be?
Queen Ovya’s appearance looked a lot like Helen.
They were really identical.
Carmun recalled a piece of memory from his past.
It was when he ran into Queen Ovya as a child.
He didn’t get along well with his brothers since he was young. He was very different in terms of appearance from his brothers who were all the direct heirs, but he was the one whose blood mixed with the blood from the foreign country.
Black hair, red eyes, he really looked like his mother.
However, he was even more envious because his appearance stood out by far than his brothers.
“The only useful thing about you is your attractive appearance. Just like your mother.”
It was the limit of his brother’s giggling and sneer that went into one ear.
He only just lifted his hand to beat him hollow across his face, he raised the corner of his mouth and smirked.
“What a nice look to see you’re beaten up by a little boy.”
If she went back like this, his mother would scold him again.
The brother whose face was beaten by him was the heir born from the Empress.
He knew it was something beyond his control, but he couldn’t overcome his anger.
At that moment, someone appeared from behind the garden.
No, she was there in the first place. Queen Ovya, who was leaning her back on the tree, woke up and opened her eyes.
For a moment, he felt dizzy as if a fairy had appeared in front of him.
Perhaps Carmun’s brother also reacted like him, because the two boys who were fighting suddenly stopped and looked at Ovya.
“…Please don’t fight.”
There was no particular emotion in Ovya’s eyes. It’s probably because they disturbed her sleep and made her uncomfortable, hence she tried to stop them.
Queen Ovya was the woman who came here as a war prisoner from the Cordelia Empire.
But she caught the emperor’s eyes, resulting in a huge commotion within the palace because her status was elevated just a few days after her arrival.
Despite being the woman who received that, her eyes seemed to have no life in them.
“I will pretend I didn’t see you two fought.”
He thought she ran away in annoyance.
She didn’t show any sign of surprise even when she saw the princes fighting each other.
He got up from his seat and had one thought as he looked at Queen Ovya’s back.
‘Such a strange woman.’
He hasn’t met Queen Ovya since then.
The palace where he lived and the Lion Palace where Queen Ovya lived.
Unexpectedly however, he heard Queen Ovya’s name so many times that he had grown tired of it.
Through his mother’s mouth.
“He moved Queen Ovya to the Lion Palace. She’s amazing.”
His mother chewed her nails with a look of jealousy.
“Mother….. Your hand will be wrecked.”
He held her mother’s hand to stop her, and her mother shook off his hand harshly.
He stiffened for a moment upon the cloud of resentment in her eyes.
‘ if it wasn’t only for you.’
He didn’t know the reason behind her resentment when he was young.
His mother was the most cherished by the emperor among the concubines before Queen Ovya’s arrival.
It all began during her pregnancy period, her mother’s abuse was poured into him when his father returned from the war in Cordelia and brought Queen Ovya with him.
Her mother didn’t say, ‘It’s your fault’ but Carmun already got the hint.
He felt sorry for his mother, all he could do at that time was to try to not be seen by his mother.
She would calm down as the time went by. His mother would eventually come back to him. They could be happy together. He had such a foolish thought to soothe himself.
And the problem occurred.
Queen Ovya ended up having a baby.
The child’s name was Onderon, which meant the lantern of the empire.
All of the nobles had changed their mind about Queen Ovya in the situation where anyone could tell who would become the next emperor.
His mother couldn’t accept the fact that the seat beside his father was hers no more, and her heart began to break.
It was around this time when he found out.
Love could be dangerous.
“Go get me some wine. Hurry!”
“The doctor told you to stop drinking a few days ago. Try to cut down on alcohol. Yes?”
His mother hated that she had to talk twice, so his forehead was hit by the glass thrown at him without an ounce of hesitation.
“You should have done as you were told.”
Even after seeing the drops of blood dripping down his face, his mother still kicked him out by telling him to bring alcohol.
Kicked out of the room, Carmun supported his hand with the other and endured it with all his might.
In fact, he purposely allowed himself to be hit.
He thought her mother would come back to him if he bled and got injured.
But has it been broken for a long time?
Carmun wiped away the blood and headed for the wine storage.
As his father’s interest faded away, the budget for her residence was reduced. There were fewer maids, so it was quiet at night.
As he trudged along the way, he was unable to resist the dizziness that struck him and collapsed in front of the wine storage.
When he opened his eyes again, the first thing he saw was a fancy room.
Why is Queen Ovya in front of me?
Carmun had a problem of identifying Ovya, so he stared at her for a long time.
Then he dropped his gaze, belatedly realizing it was rude.
Ovya smiled and showed the cute-looking Onderon, who was still a baby in her arms.
“Isn’t he cute?”
It was so sudden, but Carmun saw Onderon for the first time in her arms.
The child was smiling cheerily with a cute face that seemed to have bloomed from birth, his body was so small.
Carmun frowned at the sight of the child making a strange noise.
This was because the child didn’t look like a human.
Is he a fairy?
“What do you think, is he cute?”
Ovya chuckled while tickling his son’s cheek as if she was overwhelmed by his cuteness.
Her face was quite different from how he saw her for the first time. She seemed to be having a hard time that day and didn’t have interest in living.
“Yes. He’s cute.”
“Please look after him in the future.”
Queen Ovya smiled softly.
Look after him? Was she asking him because he will be the next emperor?
Carmun tilted his head in confusion.
Isn’t he supposed to ask for such a favor? To not kill him if her child becomes the emperor.
Ovya continued, perhaps sensing the question Carmun had in his mind.
“Back in my hometown, I had a younger brother. I was so happy to have him. I hope you also feel that way toward Onderon.”
Although it sounded like nonsense, Ovya had a good eye for people.
Ovya thought Carmun would be Onderon’s strength as she had a good feeling about him.
She couldn’t help but feel sorry at the sight of Carmun lying down in front of the wine storage.
When she saw the child lying down with an injured forehead, she almost dropped Onderon.
“Why did you injure your forehead?”
Ovya ruffled Carmun’s bangs with a gentle movement.
Although it was already treated, the wound was big enough that it would leave a scar.
“It’s nothing to worry about.”
“…You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. But, you can come to me if you need help.”
Ovya spoke affectionately, but Carmun didn’t believe Ovya.
For Carmun, Ovya was a very detestable woman who stole the love her mother should have received.
If Ovya hadn’t taken it all away, he thought her mother would still have affection toward him.
However, that also began to change as Onderon started to be able to wander around.
Once Onderon discovered him in the distance, he ran and hugged him.
Everyone kept their distance from him, but it was different for Onderon.
Onderon seemed to purify even his gloomy self with his characteristically bright atmosphere.
“Today is a good day!”
“It’s a good….”
Even if it was just for a second, but Carmun’s lips was drawn with a faint smile.
Just before his coming of age, Carmun had already grown up physically, but Onderon was the youngest of all princes.
The youngest was always dotted by the emperor, but no one thought it was unfair. He could see that the emperor, who was still in healthy condition, was rooting for him.
If his father was still alive, Onderon would naturally become the next emperor.
“Onderon, it’s better to pretend you don’t know me outside.”
Onderon innocently asked.
[I honestly feel really bad for Carmun. No one deserves to be treated like that. Although this is just a fiction, I somehow feel like this is all too realistic. The character development of Carmun, who became cold and indifferent once he became an adult, is the result of his mother’s behavior toward him while growing up. I know she was stressed out after losing the emperor’s favor, but it’s still her own child. She should have braced herself and raised him with the affection and love he deserves. Sorry for the rant lol anyway i’m gonna fetch a box of tissues brb]