Chapter 8

***

 

“I don’t know.”

 

“I think you’re from Idelberg.”

 

The man’s face brightened.

 

“Meeting you is a blessing from heaven.”

 

“… Don’t like it too much.”

 

Helen’s face flushed with embarrassment at his words.

 

How could a man make a joke so sweetly? He was not aware of it.

 

Does he know that people don’t usually say this kind of thing?

 

Helen pretended to be unconcerned and brought the book over to the bookshelf.

 

Meanwhile, she waited for her face to cool down.

 

The man couldn’t stand the short time and followed Helen around.

 

“Wait. I’ll be right there.”

 

The man stood still.

 

He was obedient like a big puppy.

 

“Should I write down some words for you then?”

 

Helen said as she came back after putting the book back into place.

 

“!”

 

The man chuckled in surprise.

 

“That’s a great idea.”

 

“Do you have anything to write?”

 

“You have your thoughts. I thought you had a pen.”

 

“No, I don’t have one at the moment.”

 

Immediately the man wilted. It wasn’t that he didn’t have any.

 

Helen hastily cut him off.

 

“I have it at my place, I’ll bring it tomorrow.”

 

“Okay. Tomorrow.”

 

The man slurred, as if he was making a promise.

 

Helen chuckled at the sight.

 

She thought he was scary, but in a day she saw so many unusual sides of him.

 

At that moment, a bright light shone through the window.

 

“I’m going home now.”

 

“Already?”

 

“The sun will be up soon. It’s a secret that I came here too.”

 

“Of course.”

 

The man looked down sadly as if he was disappointed.

 

Helen couldn’t move her feet.

 

She felt uncomfortable leaving the man here alone.

 

“I will come back tomorrow.”

 

The man followed Helen to the door.

 

When Helen opened the door, the man was heartbroken.

 

If she walked out that door, there was no way for him to go get her back.

 

Suddenly his hand tightened.

 

“I’ll get going now.”

 

Helen didn’t expect the man to even walk her to the door.

 

It was barely ten steps. But here he was seeing her off.

 

“I’ll be waiting for you.”

 

“Yes…”

 

The desperate man’s eyes bothered her. Helen felt her heart tightened.

 

The man continued to stare at Helen, and without further delay, Helen closed the door.

 

“I’ll see you tomorrow.”

 

“Yes.”

 

She heard the man’s small voice behind the door.

 

She lingered at the door for a moment before turning back. She had to get back to her place, but she felt as if leaving the man behind would be like leaving a child alone.

 

Eventually she made a firm decision and walked away.

 

There was a creaking sound coming down the stairs.

 

The atmosphere was somber at first, but Helen was not afraid any more.

 

She felt sorry for him who remained alone in this terrible place.

 

“I feel funny.”

 

“Why does it keep bothering me?”

 

Because she saw a poor man. He asked her to help him.

 

She must be feeling sorry for him.

 

And she felt bad for that man.

 

He seemed to know that Helen felt sorry for him, and he acted so pathetically.

 

“I wish I could help you…”

 

Helen paused several times to look back.

 

She wondered if she could see him in the window.

 

But she couldn’t see him.

 

Oh…She wondered if he was looking at her from somewhere.

 

Helen hurried to her feet, feeling a little refreshed.

 

The sun, which had begun to rise before she knew it, was lighting up the world.

 

***

 

“Are you still sleeping?”

 

Ellie brought breakfast and found Helen still sleeping in bed.

 

She was the one who usually woke up early in the morning to read books.

 

However she had been oversleeping for the past few days.

 

‘Is she hurt anywhere?’

 

Ellie worriedly put the food on the table and shook Helen’s shoulder.

 

“My Lady.”

 

Hearing a small, gentle voice, Helen realized that Ellie had arrived.

 

“I’m going to sleep a little longer, Ellie. I’m very sleepy.”

 

“You went to bed very early last night. But you’re still sleepy?”

 

‘That’s because I sneaked out to the library when you left……’

 

Helen eventually rose up due to Ellie’s anxious pursuit. Looking into Helen’s still half-empty eyes, Ellie’s worry grew like a snowball.

 

“You’ve been asleep for more than half a day. Are you sure you’re not sick?”

 

 “Yes, I’m fine.”

 

Helen waved her hand and yawned loudly, telling Ellie not to worry.

 

She was still sleepy because it had only been an hour or two since she went to bed.

 

 

As she looked outside where the sun had fully risen, Helen suddenly remembered the man.

 

The man who didn’t have a single blanket in the cold library.

 

“Ellie, can you bring me another blanket?”

 

“A blanket? Is your room cold?”

 

‘I should say cold.’

 

Ellie scrambled for a few more quilts, put them over her shoulders, and Helen replied with a feminine pretense.

 

“Yes…”

 

“You must be cold! I’ll get you  more blankets soon. I’ll light more fire.”

 

Ellie was busy early in the morning.

 

She brought wood for the fireplace, lit it, and brought several thick blankets.

 

“Next time you’re cold, just ring the bell and call me!”

 

“Yes…thank you very much.”

 

There was a bell that led directly to the maid’s room, but Ellie seemed worried that Helen hadn’t called for her.

 

Ellie informed her that she should ring the bell again and again, and after receiving Helen’s promise, she brought Helen’s meal with relief.

 

“I sometimes wonder why the Lady is the way she is. Because she is much more beautiful than the rest of the other concubines.”

 

Helen, who had scooped a sip of soup into her mouth, opened her eyes and asked back.

 

“… Huh? I’m beautiful?”

 

“You are very beautiful. I’m sure the Emperor will fall in love with you at first sight when he sees you.”

 

Ellie said with a smile. 

 

“I’m sure you’d make a great couple.”

 

“Me and the emperor…?”

 

It couldn’t be.

 

Helen’s face darkened slightly.

 

She knew that if the emperor and her met, it would be a thriller, not a romance.

 

Because she had to kill the emperor.

 

There was no way he would fall for her.

 

Not if she was her sister Edith.

 

The most beautiful person Helen could think of was Edith.

 

She remembered clearly Edith’s shining blond hair with a slight tinge of red, and her appearance that made all the gorgeous ornaments lose their light.

 

A bitter smile appeared on Helen’s lips.

 

“Yes. That’s why the other ladies don’t flock to you.”

 

‘It’s because they don’t like me.’

 

‘Because I’m not like them. I’m a princess and I look ugly.’

 

The other concubines had already noticed this.

 

Helen barely covered the edges of her mouth as she squeezed the spoon to hide the broccoli floating in the soup.

 

“I don’t think so. I don’t have a pretty face.

 

“What? Don’t you look in the mirror?”

 

“Yes. But I don’t see it.”

 

Not only was there no mirror, but the walls were blocked on four sides, and there was one small window where she had to climb up on a box to look out. Even that was lined with spear grates.

 

Helen, who was hit by an unexpected remark, fell silent.

 

 

“If you haven’t seen it, you should see it now. How beautiful you are. You’ve eaten well lately, your cheeks are glowing, you’re very pretty.”

 

“…… Ellie is prettier.”

 

“Thank you for the compliment.”

 

Hehe. 

 

Helen chuckled.

 

“Lady Edith is very pretty.”

 

Ellie was the eldest daughter of her family and had five younger siblings. She gave her younger brothers so much love that she was proud to have raised them, but lately she had been taking care of Helen more.

 

Her Master was much prettier and cuter than her stubborn siblings.

 

And it was strange to see the various expressions on her master’s face with every word she spoke.

 

Her master seemed to have never talked before.

 

When Ellie first met her, she expressed so little emotion that she wondered if there was such a person, but now that a year has passed and she thought about it, back then, her master was just someone who didn’t know how to react.

 

She was born as a princess with a precious status.

 

How in the world did she live to be like that?

 

Ellie said sternly, eyeing Helen’s spoon with a pitying gaze, as Helen was busily hiding the broccoli.

 

“You have to eat it. You have to eat all your vegetables, too. Especially you, My Lady! Do you understand?”

 

She had to eat a lot of everything, not just vegetables. Helen was too small compared to the other concubines. They were similar in age, but none of them were smaller in body, hands, feet or face.

 

“Please eat it.”

 

Helen sulked at Ellie’s words.

 

‘It’s not good….’

 

‘But I have to eat it or else Ellie will worry.’

 

Helen spooned the broccoli and took a big gulp, holding her breath.

 

‘Ugh. It doesn’t taste good.’

 

She put it in her mouth, but it was hard to swallow.

 

Eventually, she chewed and swallowed.

 

Helen’s face suddenly turned pale.

 

“Ellie. There’s one more thing I’d like to ask you.”

 

“Yes, please say it.”

 

“Can I have some of that wound remedy?”

 

“Yes. Did you hurt yourself?”

 

Ellie became concerned because of Helen’s worsening complexion.

 

Helen had a hard time saying it was because of the broccoli, so she just changed the subject.

 

“No, I wasn’t injured. Don’t worry. Please calm down.”

 

“Well, that’s good. Then who was injured?”

 

“Well… That’s…”

 

‘Huh…? What should I say?’

 

‘I secretly went to the emperor’s library and met a man, but he injured his hand yesterday?’

 

Absolutely not.

 

Helen tried to think of something but her brain didn’t work well in the morning.

 

“I couldn’t sleep last night, so I went for a walk, and I saw a puppy.”

 

“You saw a puppy in the annex?”

 

Helen forgot that this was the annex for the concubines.

 

Puppies couldn’t just roam around here.

 

“Uh, it doesn’t seem to have a master, but it’s injured, and I want to treat it.”

 

Ellie asked, 

 

“What color is the puppy?”

 

‘Hmm? What color?’

 

The man’s hair was black. His eyes were red.

 

“It’s black…”

 

“I see. As expected, My Lady has a kind heart.”

 

“…”

 

‘As expected.’

 

What is this?

 

Helen wondered, but could not ask in a situation that was going well.

 

“‘I’ll go see the doctor then. I’m sure there’s a separate medicine for dogs…”

 

Helen was puzzled by Ellie’s words, which were more aggressive than she expected, but she quickly made up an excuse.

 

She couldn’t give a man puppy pills, no matter how much she thought about it.

 

“They say that what you use on people, you can use on dogs. I read it in a book.”

 

“Really? That’s good.”

 

Ellie gave Helen a glass of water and left the room.

 

“I’ll be back!”

 

“Yes….”

 

‘I lied…! I lied… I lied…!

 

Will I be okay like this…?

 

A person who lies is a very bad person. It said I would go to hell later…’

 

Alone at the table, Helen whimpered.

 

“Ellie, I’m sorry. I’ll explain everything later.”

 

‘Only after I’ve solved all my problems.’

 

Helen knew that she had to get the man out of the library as soon as possible.

 

Or she might go to hell for the lies she had told.