Chapter 1. The beginning of everything

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“I’m afraid I don’t quite understand what you’re saying, Your Majesty.”

 

“Ha.”

 

A man and a woman stood facing each other under the moonlight on a dark night. The situation was such that if someone saw their beautiful appearance and gorgeous clothes, they might misunderstand that they were well-matched lovers.

 

However, the woman standing in front of the man had a different idea. She just wanted to get out of this situation and away from this man as soon as possible.

 

Before long, there was an unknown tension between them. At that moment, the man’s lips parted once more.

 

“I’ll ask you again. Who the hell are you?”

 

Obviously knowing who she was, but not knowing why he asked that, the woman was unable to answer anything.

 

No, she was in no condition to speak easily due to the tension that was building up all over her body, and her out-of-control heart was beating wildly.

 

So she stared at the man in front of her, clenched and unclenched her hands, trying to relax her stiff body.

 

‘He doesn’t change at all.’

 

The woman looked at the man now. The man’s appearance had not changed much from the last time she had seen him.

 

His blue eyes were cold and penetrating, and his hair was as black as the night sky that surrounded him now.

 

It was exactly the way she liked it.

 

The only thing that had changed was the way she looked at him. It had always been that way, but now, perhaps because of her smaller height and build, the man looked even more enormous. So much so that he could easily subdue her.

 

The woman did not know….Whether her heart beat faster because of the fear that her identity might be discovered or because she trembled at the sight of the man…. One thing was for sure, the man in front of her had no idea of those two reasons.

 

As soon as she realized this, the confident woman gathered up her courage and asked him the opposite. 

 

“I don’t know either. Who does Your Majesty think I am? Am I 

the Imperial princess who came here alone to keep the promise of her ancestors, or…?”

 

‘Is it someone who followed you because she loved you?’

 

As such, the woman felt that this situation facing the man again was really unrealistic. Because

 

‘I’m in your presence. ……….’

 

So, please don’t recognize me.

 

***

 

A woman in the black uniform of the Order, with a sword on her waist and her brown hair pulled back, was hurrying to her feet somewhere. Then she stopped in front of a huge golden door and announced in a polite voice.

 

“Your Majesty, it’s El.”

 

“Come in.”

 

Even though it was late at night, when everyone else had left work, the words of permission could be heard immediately inside.

 

At the sound of the voice, El opened the door and stepped inside.

 

The room that El entered was spacious but very neat, as if to show its master’s personality, and one entire wall was filled with bookshelves.

 

The room was still bright, perhaps because he had been working until late, and the man was sitting at a desk in the center of the room.

 

The dark-haired man, who seemed to be the master of this office, didn’t even look at the person coming in, just at his papers.

 

He was just concentrating, and as if to prove how busy he was, there was a pile of papers on his desk. And his head…

 

Without lifting it, he said to El.

 

“Did you find out?”

 

“Yes. As expected, the Count was behind it.”

 

“It’s rather bland. It’s just as I expected.”

 

“He’s always run away with his tail between his legs. We must be careful this time.”

 

Terban couldn’t help but laugh at El’s words. His laughter made El forget that she was in a tough situation, and she couldn’t take her eyes off his blue eyes.

 

The person sitting in the chair looking at the papers was the emperor of the Rubain Empire, Terban Rubain, a man with black hair and blue eyes like the deep sea, the symbol of the imperial family. 

 

Unaware of how El was looking at him, Terban kept his gaze on the document the whole time and continued speaking.

 

“For now, it’s just not possible. The hound will run away as intended, and eventually it will be hunted down and die. Directly into the hands of that hound.”

 

“If so, that’s a relief, but we’d better watch out for that little rat in hiding just in case. Seeing as how it escapes every time despite our top-secret moves, it looks like there’s a good chance of that happening.”

 

Despite his advice, Terban looked rather “uncommunicative”. Because this was a matter that only El knew about. So Terban told El in a mischievous voice.

 

“You are the only one who knows about this. You didn’t do that, did you, El?”

 

“Of course not.”

 

As he expected, El replied seriously, and Terban responded, “I thought so.” On the other hand, it also meant that he trusted El enough to say something like this. Because El had been with Terban for a long time.

 

“Your Majesty, I’m serious now.”

 

“I understand. What happened to the Zevenica Empire?”

 

After finishing his report, Terban then asked about the urgent matter.

 

“The Princess is weak, and now she’s in a coma.”

 

Despite the fact that it was certainly not a good situation, Terban smiled for no apparent reason, as if to say it was more of an opportunity.

 

“Anyway, it’s good……”

 

Terban’s words didn’t last long. It was because a person had opened the door and walked in without warning. Glossy golden hair, bright green eyes, white skin, red lips that contrasted with it, and even an elegant dress that seemed to prove her noble status.

 

She was so radiant that any man or woman would find her beautiful the moment they saw her. After confirming the woman who had entered, Terban asked with a slightly surprised look on his face.

 

“Shenil, what’s going on at this late hour?”

 

With the sudden appearance of Shenil, Terban’s expression completely changed from earlier. The way his eyes softened in an instant clearly proved that Shenil was someone special to him.

 

The woman’s name, as he kindly called her, was Shenil Raymir, the only legitimate daughter of the Duke of Raymir.

 

The reason for Shenil’s spontaneous entry into the Office so late in the night was that she had known Terban for a long time.

 

Since El began to live in the imperial palace, they had spent a lot of time together, and she knew vaguely why Terban was particularly weak only to Shenil.

 

And when Shenil suffered because of the recently passed away of the Duchess Raymir, Shenil left the Duchy for a while to spend time at the Imperial Palace, out of Terban’s consideration.

 

There was a rumor going around that Shenil would become the future Empress. At Terban’s question, Shenil approached without hesitation and stood beside El.

 

“I couldn’t sleep, so I went to the Terban’s Palace, but it looked like you were working late into the night, so I came here.”

 

Despite the fact that he was the emperor, Shenil called Terban by name all too naturally. El knew better than anyone else that it was a name she could not speak recklessly.

 

Immediately, Shenil’s gaze, which had been on Terban, turned to El, who was standing nearby. No one noticed that her gaze sank for a moment at the fact that they were together.

 

“Sir El was here too.”

 

“Lady Shenil.”

 

“For no reason at all, only Sir El is struggling. Terban made you work late, so you can’t even rest.”

 

“No, as His Majesty’s knight, it’s what I should naturally do.”

 

Yes, it was true, but El’s heart was much heavier than when Shenil came in.

 

Emperor’s knight, that was the word that could define the relationship between El and Terban now.

 

Emperor and knight, lord and subordinate. In fact, El, who was not a noble and had no connections, thought it was too much for her just to be around Terban.

 

However, the human mind was not always rational.

 

“It’s late today, so let’s get some sleep.”

 

Shenil walked past El and approached Terban. Then she moved the pen Terban was holding out of the way and took his hand.

 

“Let’s go now. Huh?”

 

“All right. Let’s do that.”

 

Terban was defeated again today by Shenil’s charming voice.

 

No, El knew very well that this was always the situation when Shenil came. Because the only person who could beat him was Shenil.

 

El, who couldn’t watch anymore, agreed with Shenil’s words.

 

“Lady Shenil is right. How many days have you been working with little sleep? You should come in and get some rest. The work is almost finished.”

 

“Then please do.”

 

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

 

Terban casually reached out his arm for her to lean on, and Shenil placed her hand on his arm as well. The two of them then leisurely walked past El.

 

When El’s gaze lingered for a moment on Shenil’s hand as it came into contact with Terban’s, it was at that moment that Shenil noticed it at once.