Chapter 1. The beginning of everything
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Ellea didn’t know why she was crying at this moment.
She didn’t cry when she died in front of Terban or when she woke up as Ellea, so why was she crying as soon as she saw Wontil?
She quickly wiped away her tears, fearing that Wontil would worry.
“No, I’m fine. Just ……”
She said it was okay, but it didn’t seem like that to Wontil at all. He felt like she was holding something back, so he waited slowly for Ellea to speak.
“It’s just that doctor Wontil looks a lot like someone I missed.”
This was all she could say. She had to endure saying that he missed him. For the sake of herself and Wontil’s.
“I’m sorry. I just came and cried.”
“It’s okay. Everyone feels that way sometimes. There are times when you miss someone so much that you cry. I have had such a person in my life, so I know how the Princess feels.”
Wontil could fully understand how Ellea was feeling right now. It was that frustrating feeling of not being able to see someone who you wanted to see anymore.
“So please don’t cry. I’m sure that person is hoping that the Princess will smile.”
When Ellea stopped crying and smiled at his words, Wontil was relieved and handed her a box of medicine.
“This will do.”
“It’s a bit heavy, I can send it to the palace later.”
He said, worried about Ellea carrying it, but Ellea lifted the box lightly, meaning it was okay.
“This much is fine. It was very nice to meet you today, doctor Wontil. Can I come back here again?”
At Ellea’s question, Wontil said with the same kind smile he had shown El. As if she was welcome at any time.
Ellea chuckled at that as well, and with a final greeting, she left his office. She firmly refused Wontil’s offer to help. Because people like Kenley who needed him could come.
While looking at the closed door for a while, Ellea took her steps and she heard a voice calling her from behind.
At the sound, she turned around and saw Bandel approaching towards her.
Ellea could only nod her head at the unexpected appearance of Bandel. She had heard from Kenley that he was in training.
“What brings you here?”
“I just heard from Kenley. The Princess treated him herself.”
“Yes, I did. Don’t tell me you’ve come all this way for that?”
“As the Commander, I thought I should thank you.”
Bandel replied to Ellea’s question as if it was natural, and she didn’t expect him to visit her like this as soon as he found out about it.
Furthermore, he had come as soon as practice was over, and there was sweat on his face and dirt on his training clothes.
His appearance reminded her of the handkerchief Jane had given her, and she put down the medicine box and approached Bandel.
Suddenly, Ellea came to him and he panicked and backed away. At the sight of him, she grabbed Bandel’s arm and held him motionless.
“Stay put for a moment. You came right after your training was over, didn’t you?”
Ellea reached out and carefully wiped the sweat from his face, and Bandel fixed his focused gaze on her face.
He had felt this before, she didn’t seem to be afraid of dealing with him. He never thought she would approach him with ease because of his intimidating large physique.
So it was rather strange that she approached him so naturally.
“It’s done. You must have trained really hard.”
Putting her handkerchief back in her pocket, Ellea lifted her medicine box she had set down again.
“It wasn’t too hard for me to treat Sir Kenley, but thank you for saying so. “
Bandel spotted the box Ellea was holding and took it without saying a word. She tried to stop him, but he was much stronger.
“I can carry it myself.”
“No, I’ll carry it and come with the Princess to the palace.”
Ellea had no choice but to leave it to him, knowing full well that Bandel would not retreat.
“I have no choice. I can’t stop Lord Bandel’s stubbornness.”
“Then please go to the palace.”
And so Bandel walked with Ellea, carrying the medicine box. She asked as she saw him in his training uniform.
“Is Sir Kenley okay? I’ve treated him, but it’d be better if he goes see the doctor.”
“By the looks of it, it’s as good as it’s going to get. He ran around the training grounds earlier instead of practicing, and he’s been complaining about it…”
Ellea almost laughed for a moment as she naturally pictured what Kenley would look like.
Then she asked about the Knights without thinking about it. She couldn’t help but worry about what the situation would be like now that she was gone. She knew that her colleagues would be very confused by her sudden absence. Perhaps they felt betrayed.
“How is the atmosphere in the Order? What’s different about the knight Order that reports directly to the Emperor?”
“I don’t think there’s anything different about it. Except that my colleagues are more vivacious than I expected and don’t listen to me.”
“I’m more curious to hear about it. I’d like to see what it’s really like.”
When Ellea really wanted to know, Bandel didn’t hesitate to answer right away. Since the Princess has been helping a lot, he wanted to repay her.
“The Princess is always welcome.”
Ellea didn’t expect that much, but she couldn’t hide her happiness when Bandel said that she could come anytime.
“Are you sure? Can I really go see the knights?”
When she suddenly approached him with that question, a bewildered Vandel backed away and nodded.
She spent most of her time with her colleagues, and it was very difficult for her to deal with women and nobles. It was rather easy to train.
Unaware of Bandel’s reaction, Ellea wanted to get a clear promise from him again before he changed his words.
“You made a promise right? Don’t say anything else later.”
“Yes, of course. It’s not that difficult.”
Ellea couldn’t stop herself from smiling at the overflowing joy.
Bandel couldn’t believe she was so happy going to a mere performance hall instead of the banquet.
As they walked side by side, they talked about how she had been doing.
“How is your life in Rubain?”
“It’s better than I thought. I like the palace and the people.”
“Why is that? Did you think I might be crying because I was scared?”
She said it as a joke, but Bandel took it seriously. It bothered him to think that the Princess, who until now had only been in the arms of her family, had come out to the world alone.
It was even more so now that they were closer than the beginning.
When she did not hear back from Bandel after some time had passed, Ellea asked with doubts.
“Did you really think so? What kind of person did you think I was?”
“It’s not that, it’s just that this place is different from the Princess’s country…”
“Yes, it is. But it’s the same wherever people live. I’m not too worried about it.”
While they were having such a conversation, they arrived in front of the Ellea’s palace.
“Thanks for making my trip easy.”
She tried to get the box back from Bandel, but she heard a subdued voice than before.
“I think the existence of the family is that great. So much so that someone would envy it more than anything else in the world.”
When Bandel looked a little sad, Ellea couldn’t speak for a moment because she knew what he was thinking. She was what he was thinking right now was El.
Or more accurately, the time he spent with El.
‘You were and are still a child.’
Ellea knew Bandel’s heart better than anyone else.
She should have told him before that she cared for him more than anyone else because she didn’t have a family, and that she felt grateful.
‘Because then Bandell would have felt more comfortable than he does now.’
But all she could say to him now was this. With the hope that it will comfort him and hope that he will not feel guilty anymore.
“I envy the person who was close to Lord Bandel.”
“Just as it was comforting to me just now, it must have been a great comfort to someone else who heard Lord Bandel’s words. And family is not something that has to be connected by blood, right? I believe that anyone who can rely on each other is already equal to family.”
‘So please don’t be sad for too long. I was happy because of you.’
Bandel has never felt better since that day because of the guilt of not being able to protect El as a colleague and as a family member. He pretended to be okay on the outside.
However, he didn’t know if time was a medicine or what other changes had occurred, but the words of Ellea, who had no connection to him whatsoever, strangely touched his heart.
A heart that no one recognized and turned a blind eye to.
“Thank you for saying that.”
The small smile she could see from Bandel made Ellea feel a little lighter.
Maybe it was for this moment that she had made up her mind to return to Rubain. There was nothing more important than this, even though she had to take a lot of risks.
As the two conversed and laughed, a cheerful voice interrupted them.
“Jane, why are you running so fast?”
“I have something to tell you. Oh, who is this person?”
Jane rushed over, happy to find Ellea , and finally calmed down when she spotted a knight standing in front of her. Bandel greeted Jane politely as well.
“I’m Bandel, the knight Commander. I’ve brought the Princess’s medicine.”
“Thank you. My name is Jane, the Princess’s maid. May I have the box, please?”
Jane greeted him and hastily received the box from him, and Bandel turned to leave.
“I should get going”.
“Thank you for your help today, Lord Bandel, and don’t forget your promise.”
“Yes, of course.”
Seeing Bandel move away, Ellea entered the palace with Jane. As Jane put down the box, Ellea asked.
“But why did you come so quickly just now?”
“Because this came for you, Princess.”
“What is it?”
She took it curiously as Jane handed it to her. Then she took a closer look, and Ellea’s eyes grew wide with surprise.
What Jane had given her was a letter, and the seal enclosing the letter was familiar.
The symbol of the Zevenica Empire.
Perhaps because of her haste, Ellea’s hand quickened as she opened the letter. The contents in the letter were crammed with familiar handwriting.
And the more she read, the more she smiled.