Chapter 26. A comrade and a friend

 

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In the meantime, Heris continued to criticize Shanil in front of Ellea, as if her mind was completely opened.

 

“People say that Lady Shanil is the Young Lady to emulate, but I didn’t feel that way. I saw her trying to hide the way she looked in that gap and making people do what she intended to satisfy her greed.”

 

Heris told Ellea what had seen and felt about Shanil. Then it turned into a wonder about Ellea.

 

“But I’m curious. Why do you keep away from Lady Shanil and believe me when we met for the first time today?”

 

“I don’t know. I guess I’ve seen the same thing as Lady Heris.”

 

If Ellea didn’t know anything, she might have thought that Heris was just a young lady who was jealous of Shanil, but she was the only one who knew. What Heris noticed was the perfect truth.

 

On the other hand, Heris was relieved that there was someone else who thought the same way she did, and honestly confessed her current situation.

 

“After Lady Shanil realized that I didn’t like her, the people who had been close to me began to distance themselves from me. I think that was her intention all along. So I’m very glad to have someone on my side like this.”

 

Ellea felt many emotions in her expression.

 

‘I’m sure you’ve been through a lot.’

 

Indeed, it must have been hard without making it obvious. Because the people who believed in her turned their backs on her in an instant and she ended up alone.

 

“It’s my first time here too, so I’m used to it, but I’m very grateful that Lady Heris approached me first.”

 

“We’ve only talked for a short time but I think the Princess and I are a good match. In that sense, why don’t we get to know each other? Please feel free to call me Heris.”

 

As she said this, Heris held out her hand to Ellea.

 

Ellea smiled and took her hand as Heris spoke frankly without hiding her feelings.

 

She felt as if she had made a friend for the first time since she came here.

 

“Please feel free to call me Ellea. I like you too.”

 

“As expected, open minded is my style. I was curious. Have you known His Majesty before?”

 

“We’re not particularly close. Why all of a sudden?”

 

Heris tilted her head at Ellea’s answer.

 

“You two looked close. It’s the first time I’ve seen His Majesty look like that at anyone other than Lady Shanil.”

 

“Is that right? I’m not really sure.”

 

Ellea just thought she and Terban were having a normal conversation, but she couldn’t imagine that other people would see it that way.

 

It was a sudden situation and she was so focused on just dancing that she didn’t have time to pay any attention to what others were thinking.

 

Heris was relieved to see that there was no connection between them once she realized what kind of person Ellea was. Because the look on Shanil’s face as she looked at the two of them earlier was unusual.

 

“Ellea, you’ve probably heard about the relationship between His Majesty and Lady Shanil………….”

 

“I know. Thank you for worrying about me. And I’m not going to sit still either.” 

 

“I understand. I was worried.”

 

Ellea could tell what Heris was worried about. If she goes near Terban, she will become a target for Shanil.

 

Of course, that wouldn’t happen, but even if she came out like that, she wasn’t going to let Shanil beat her again.

 

“Then let’s see each other again later.”

 

In the middle of such a conversation, Heris disappeared among the people, leaving behind an amused greeting. The fact that Heris was a daughter of a Marquis had worried Ellea a little, but contrary to her thoughts, Heris was open minded and didn’t mind Ellea was a Princess.

 

‘She seems like a nice person.’

 

Left alone again, Ellea looked around the banquet hall with a more relaxed mind than before. Then she found Shenil talking to Terban at some point.

 

Ellea was casually watching them, and at that moment her eyes met Terban’s.

 

Ellea looked blankly into the blue eyes that looked directly at her with precision even from a distance as if Terban had noticed her gaze, and soon she came to her senses and turned her head away.

 

‘How did you know?’

 

She looked there again, trying to contain her surprise, but Terban was talking to Shanil, just like before.

 

‘It must be a coincidence.’

 

“Princess.”

 

Ellea was startled by the voice calling her, and before she knew it, Bandel was standing in front of her.

 

Upon discovering Bandel, Ellea greeted him. Maybe it was because it was a banquet hall, but something about it made her feel even happier.

 

“Lord Bandel. By the way, don’t you have to stay close to His Majesty? You should be more careful in such a crowded place…”

 

Ellea unconsciously spoke as if giving him instructions, and she stopped talking because she heard Bandel’s small laugh.

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

“The Princess’ words are exactly what my captain would say.”

 

 “Me?”

 

At his words, Ellea finally realized that she had acted too naturally as El. 

 

‘Unknowingly, I see Bandel in uniform.’

 

“I’m sorry. So… I remember my father, so I talked without realizing it.”

 

She hastily made up an excuse about her father and got this situation under control. Fortunately, Bandel didn’t seem too bothered by it. He could sense that the Princess cared very much for her family. That was all.

 

 “My colleagues are by His Majesty’s side now, so you have nothing to worry about. I came because the Princess was alone.”

 

Bandel had been checking the surrounding area and found Ellea standing alone in the banquet hall. So he decided to come see her just in case she was uncomfortable.

 

She could see that Bandel was worried about her, and Ellea let him know that there was nothing wrong. 

 

“It’s nothing wrong. I’m okay. In fact, I’ve made a friend, a Young Lady.” 

 

“Very well then.”

 

She looked at Bandel and caught sight of the small badge on his chest. 

 

“That’s…..”

 

Ellea stared somewhere in silence, and Bandel, who lowered his head, also found his badge at the end of her gaze.

 

“Oh, I don’t think Princess saw it when I came to pick you up that day. It’s a badge.”

 

The blue badge was the one that Ellea knew best. Because.

 

“This badge is for the head of the knight Order led by His Majesty the Emperor. After picking up the Princess, His Majesty has gratefully granted this position.”

 

That’s right.

 

That was something that Ellea had originally had. It was her pride itself, and the moment she wore it on her chest was as vivid as if it were only yesterday.

 

‘Now you have it.’

 

She knew the position would transfer to someone else after she died, and she thought it was fortunate that that badge had gone to Bandel.

 

Because of the position as the Emperor’s closest escort, she had faith that Bandel could do better than anyone else.

 

At that moment, Bandel brought up El naturally. He didn’t know why but he felt comfortable talking to her.

 

“As a matter of fact, the last person named El was originally the leader of the group, but now I am going to take over.”

 

When she saw no joy on Bandel’s face, even though it was certainly something to be happy about, Ellea’s concern preceded her. The idea that she should kept distance remained forgotten.

 

“Aren’t you glad? It’s an honorable position.”

 

“At first I was not happy, because he was more important to me. Then, when I stood here, I felt the weight of this badge too heavy. That’s when I started to get scared, and also worried about what El would think.”

 

Ellea knew better than anyone how Bandell felt, because she had been through that process herself.

 

And it made her feel heavy to think that he would feel the same pressure that she had felt. And it must have been a big burden for him to take over after she left.

 

But now, all Ellea could say to Bandel was words of comfort.

 

It was something she really wanted to say as El, but she just had to say it.

 

“Don’t worry.”

 

Bandel looked at her at the sound of Ellea’s calm voice.

 

“I’m sure that El will think that Lord Bandel will do well. And you, Lord Bandel, have worked hard to get to where you are. That time won’t just disappear.”

 

Bandel was strangely relieved by these words. Because he felt like El was comforting him. Sometimes he thought that if she were still alive, she would say this to him.

 

“Not that I know much about Lord Bandel, it might not something for me to say. I apologize.”

 

“No, thank you for saying that. I’m sure you were confused by the suddenness of the conversation.” 

 

“Raise your head proudly, Lord Bandel. I’m sure His Majesty has chosen you because of your ability. You’re the only knight who will stand by his side.”

 

As Ellea spoke with all her heart, Bandel seemed to be on the verge of crying. But he had to hold it in because he knew better what this place was.

 

“Lord Bandel?”

 

Ellea called out to Bandel, who stood there in silence. The voice startled him, and without thinking he said in a frightened voice, 

 

“Oh, no. I’ll be going now. Have a good time.”

 

He moved away like someone with urgent business, and Ellea, not knowing why, just looked at him.

 

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Ellea was left alone like that, and soon after, several people came up and greeted her as if they were waiting for Bandel to go.

 

And they all started talking about all kinds of mundane things. Who they were, what business they were in and so on.

 

But in the end, what their intention was they wanted to make connections with Zevenica.

 

 

At first, Ellea smiled and conversed, but as the conversation increased, she gradually grew tired of it. She felt suffocated by the fact that everyone only saw the position of Princess and approached her for their own benefit.

 

“If you have time, please come to my residence.”

 

“I’ve got some very nice items for you this time too………..”

 

“I…….”

 

Realizing that this was not going to cease, Ellea resolutely interrupted them. 

 

‘’I want to get some fresh air in the garden. I feel a little stuffy. Excuse me.”

 

Ellea hurriedly walked toward the entrance, leaving behind the people who tried to catch her. And other than those who were disappointed, there was a pair of eyes chasing her from afar.