Chapter 1. The beginning of everything
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Terban couldn’t stand the sight of Ellea concentrating on his feet instead of himself, her dancing partner, and he called out to her first.
“Are you that worried?”
“People might think you’re trying to step on my foot.”
Ellea raised her gaze at the sound of Terban’s voice mixed with laughter, and their eyes met, as if he had been looking at her all this time.
She actually felt guilty, but pretended to be casual and said.
“It can’t be. I was just being careful.” (Ellea)
But it was already after Terban had found out about the whole thing. Even if she pretended not to know, it was impossible for him, the emperor, not to see that she was not moving well.
“I think it’s too late to say that now.” (Terban)
“I knew you’d find out.”
‘Of course. There’s no way His Majesty didn’t notice.’
Ellea regretted trying to deceive him so close. She wondered how she was going to excuse herself, but surprisingly, she didn’t see any suspicion from him.
“I guess It’s been a long time since you’ve come to a place like this, so it makes you nervous.” (Terban)
“Yes. It’s been so long since I’ve danced with anyone else, I guess I just got unintentionally nervous.” (Ellea)
Ellea took the opportunity to emphasize that his prediction was correct. However, Telvan didn’t know why he was laughing like this at a figure who had more difficulty dancing than handling a sword.
The small laugh reached Ellea before it was buried in the music.
“Did you just laugh?” (Terban)
“Oh no, I didn’t realize it.” (Ellea)
“You don’t deny it, do you?” (Terban)
‘Am I that terrible?’
She couldn’t help but feel like that laugh was mocking her for some reason.
She felt down in an instant as she didn’t seem to have a proper appearance as a Princess yet.
So she couldn’t help but speak her mind.
“I am bad at being a Princess, aren’t I?”
It was then that Terban was able to discover Ellea’s sullen face. He only said it lightly, he didn’t know she would react like this.
‘No matter how hard I try, I can’t do it.’
Ella felt like she could never be a real princess no matter how hard she tried, and it made her feel very depressed. So, without saying anything else, she just moved her feet mechanically, and she heard a voice above her calming her swaying.
“Not at all.” (Terban)
“Everyone has at least one weakness. So just because you’re an Imperial Princess doesn’t mean you’re an exception.” (Terban)
It was something Ellea thought she would never hear from him. It might have been her illusion, but it also sounded like comfort. ‘It’s okay if you are not good at it.’
Come to think of it, Terban had always been like that. As an emperor, as a superior leader, he was cold, but he could throw out words like that unexpectedly.
It was as if he knew what answer she wanted to hear.
‘You’re still the same in that respect.’
“Your Majesty has a point. Then I can work hard at what I do better than others.” (Ellea)
As Ellea continued to ponder his words, and finally nodded, Terban was watching her smiling face without missing a single thing.
Then he started to get a little confused.
Somehow the Princess seemed like just a child and not an Imperial Princess, he felt as if he had seen something he should not have.
‘I’m sure I did earlier.’
Earlier she acted like she just met him for the first time, but now he was confused seeing her rejoicing as she revealed her heart again like this.
‘What kind of person is this woman in front of me?’ (Terban)
‘Why is the music so long? When in the world will it end?’ (Ellea)
While thinking like that, Ellea was caught off guard at the moment, as if she had lost her way in the music. And her feet got tangled, the situation after that was troublesome.
‘Wait a minute. What should I do in a situation like this?’
Fortunately, the hem of her dress hid her feet from view, so she pretended to be as calm as she could on the surface, but inwardly I was confused by the situation for the first time.
At that moment, Terban’s arm over her waist tightened.
“Calm down. You might fall down.”
“I think I completely missed the flow..………”
“Lean on me, and follow my feet.”
Terban said calmly, noticing her situation.
Ellea hesitated, then put her hand on his shoulder and approached him, closer than before.
At that moment, only she could hear Terban’s voice counting the numbers.
“One, two, three.”
Following the sound, and following his footsteps, Ellea moved her feet calmly, and was soon able to regain her original pace. She let out a breath of relief that she had made it through the crisis.
She didn’t expect Terban would help her so much, it was kind of surprising. He was different from the Terban she knew.
‘I didn’t think I’d be dancing with His Majesty for the first time.’
Even when she was El, she never danced with anyone, so this was the first time.
Surprisingly, Terban’s movements were very soft, and the place where his hand touched seemed to be hot for some reason.
“It looks like you’re all right now.” (Terban)
“Thank you. You’ve saved me a lot of trouble.” (Ellea)
“Then you owe me.” (Terban)
‘What? You didn’t save me for nothing, did you?’
Terban seemed to see what thoughts were going through Ellea’s head. He couldn’t help but burst into laughter.
He made Ellea seriously worried, and she didn’t feel good when he smiled leisurely. For some reason, she felt like she was being teased by him.
‘Is he teasing me again?’ Many thoughts went through her head.
“Well. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if you’re teasing me.” (Ellea)
“That’s a threat.” (Terban)
The more Terban seemed so relaxed, the more Ellea seemed like she was the only one who was worried.
In that series of spontaneous actions and conversations, it seemed as if Ellea had long since forgotten who she was dancing with and who she was holding hands with right now.
On the other hand, those who were watching them dance from a distance thought a little differently, although up close it didn’t seem that way at all.
At first they looked a little awkward, but then they started dancing and seemed to be having some kind of conversation, and soon they were laughing. To a great extent, Terban’s expression wasn’t that bad either.
So the one question they raised at the same time was.
What’s going on?
And for Shanil, she heard that there was no special relationship between the two, but what was that intimate appearance?
It was the first time she had ever seen Terban give a stranger such a kind look. What the whispered conversation was about? Seeing the two of them talking as if it was their own private world made Shanil want to know what they talked about.
And Shanil watched them without taking her eyes off of them.
‘What’s so good about the Princess that he laughs so much?’
While others were lost in the sight of the perfect couple dancing, no one noticed what expression Shanil had on her face when she looked at the two.
Normally, managing facial expressions was as easy as breathing to Shanil, but she didn’t have the time to think about that right now.
She was confident that Terban would ask her to dance as always, even though there was a Princess.
But to her disappointment, Terban passed her by and stopped in front of Ellea, and eventually the first dance between the two of them graced the banquet.
‘Well, yes. Things were out of my control up to that point.’
She took it for granted, given her position as Terban’s beloved, but the situation changed when the Princess showed up.
It definitely didn’t look like a formal dance.
She felt like her blood was flowing backwards when Terban’s smile that should be directed only at her was fixed on someone else, that Princess of all people.
As if noticing her feelings, a rather amused voice was heard from the side.
“You seem to be quite upset. It seems like Lady Shanil has lost her place.”
Shanil turned her head to the side, and Heris was still just watching the two of them dance and talking to her.
Heris then turned her head to look at Shanil who was staring at her and revealed Shanil’s current emotions.
“It’s rare that Lady Shanil has such an expression in public. It’s a pity I was the only one who could see it.”
“Well, I don’t know what Lady Heris is talking about.”
“Then why don’t you look in the mirror? ? It’s quite worth seeing what kind of eyes you’re looking at them with.”
She knew what kind of expression she had without looking into the mirror, so Shanil stopped talking. Especially in front of Heris.
“Why do people think I’m envious and jealous of Lady Shanil? They don’t know what you’re really like.”
“That’s why Lady Heris won’t be in my circle. I definitely don’t bend over to come to someone who should bend over to me. You don’t even know your place.”
Shanil revealed her true face, not hiding it from Heris. She knew that it was useless to approach her anyway, so Shanil didn’t bother wasting her time.
She was completely confident that she would win, and even more so in a situation where the odds were already tilted in her favor.
At that moment, Heris let out a smile. That smile caused Shanil’s eyes to frown slightly.
“I’ll take care of my own place. By the way, I don’t know why I feel like what Lady Shanil has built up so firmly is about to be shaken. Oh, or is it already shaken?”
As soon as Heris finished talking, the music stopped. And so did the dancing of the two. When Heris looked to the center of the banquet hall, they had stopped dancing and were facing each other, exchanging greetings.
Heris welcomed her with great joy as Ellea was approaching.
“Your dance with the Emperor was very nice.”
“Yes. By the way, did you and His Majesty know each other before?”
As Ellea was about to answer Heris’s question, Shenil intercepted the moment and said what no one cared.
“I’m going to leave now. I hope you have a good time today.”
With those words, Shenil moved away from them. As she left, the remaining young ladies also sneaked a look at the two of them.
Ellea was worried about what Heris would think about her cold behavior towards Shanil earlier, but Heris suddenly burst out laughing.
Heris finally stopped laughing when she saw the bewildered expression on Ellea’s face.
“I’m sorry. Did you get upset when I laughed?”
“A little, I was worried that you might be creeped out by my behavior earlier.”
“No, not at all. In fact, i feel better. You’re the first person who’s ever said that to Lady Shanil.”
Heris’ words came as a bit of a surprise to Ellea. Beyond just being on bad terms with Shanil, Ellea thought the same way Heris did.
And that was Heris was probably the only one who would feel relieved to see Shanil suffer.
“Is that so?”
“Yes. As you know, no one dares to say anything like that to her because of her status and she’s close to His Majesty.”
Ellea nodded because she knew what Heris meant. Perhaps she had met an ally in an unexpected place.