Chapter 1. The beginning of everything
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When Ellea told them she was also El, the children looked at her in surprise, their eyes filled with tears.
Fortunately, they stopped crying as she intended.
“Of course. I can’t wait to get to know you guys too.”
Ellea was a little relieved about the children’s reaction, but at that moment, she heard a loud voice.
“You are not El! No!”
Ellea turned her head to where the sound came from and saw a boy standing there looking at her. The child didn’t seem to like her sudden appearance.
“I don’t need you unless it’s really El. Don’t come back!”
With that, the boy opened the door and walked out. Remil’s call was useless, and she immediately looked at Ellea with a puzzled and sorry look on her face.
“I’m sorry. I think he adores El very much.”
“No, please stay with the children. I’ll go talk to him.”
“It’s okay. I’m trying to get to know everyone.”
Ellea hurried to find Ben on Remil’s behalf.
Although she had expected a bit of this situation, she was just as confused by what she was actually facing. Part of her felt bad that the child was sad because of her.
‘I should have taken better care of them.’
Knowing that Ben and all the other children who came to the nursery had the same hurt, she had to be more meticulous and careful in her approach, but she felt like it was all her fault.
Anxious that he might have gotten out of the nursery, Ellea looked around and saw a small mark huddled under a tree.
She was relieved as soon as she realized it was Ben.
Instead of calling out to the crying figure with his head in his lap, Ellea went and sat down beside him.
Ben raised his head when he saw someone approaching and looked surprised as soon as he saw that it was Ellea.
“What is it? Suddenly.”
“I’m here to apologize. Did it feel like I was telling you to forget about someone precious?”
In an instant she understood the loss and sadness the boy felt when the person he trusted and followed stopped coming.
She had experienced something like Ben before when she was a child.
“Can we take time getting to know who I am?”
“Yes. I want to know a lot about Ben.”
Ben hesitated and honestly confessed why he reacted like that.
“What if everyone forgets El? So I’ll keep remembering and waiting even if it’s just me. So that El can come back later.”
The child’s reply was enough to make her heart cry.
The way he was trying to protect someone with his small body, even if El wanted to come back, she couldn’t do so.
“I’m sure El will be grateful to know how Ben feels.”
“Of course. Because she still wants to come and see Ben and everyone.”
Ellea said, and gently patted the child’s head. Hoping that this touch would be of some comfort.
“Will El come back to see us?”
After pausing for a moment at Ben’s question, Ellea gave her own answer rather than trying to escape the situation.
“Even if she can’t see you, you won’t forget right?”
“Because, as Ben said, the time you spent with that person will remain dear to your heart and memory. You understand, right?”
Ben’s anxiety seemed to have calmed down at her words.
Even if he never sees El again, he knows how much El meant to him, and that will last forever.
“I’m going to make a lot of effort. Ben, you don’t have to push yourself. I’ll get closer to you slowly.”
With that, Ellea dusted her clothes and got up, extending her hand towards the child.
“Let’s go eat, then. I’ve brought lots of delicious food, too. I’m sure everyone is waiting for us.”
Ben looked alternately at Ellea’s hand and face, then carefully placed his hand on hers. Her hands were much softer and warmer than he expected. It certainly felt very different from El’s
“El’s hands had calluses.”
“Yes?Then it must be a hand that she worked very hard on.”
“How did you know?”
When asked about the calluses, Ellea answered the same thing. ‘I’m not ashamed of it at all, I’m proud of it because it was made by working hard at something I love.’
“Maybe it’s because I know someone who has.”
At that moment, Ben could see the bitter look on Ellea’s face.
He couldn’t exactly put it into words, but he could tell just by looking.
With that look, Ben pulled on Ellea’s hand that was holding his hand and said.
“I see. Sister El.”
As soon as Ellea heard what Ben called her, all her action stopped.
She looked at Ben in disbelief and seemed very embarrassed when his eyes met hers.
‘’Why are you so surprised…? I just called you, sister El.”
“I’m starving, let’s get going.”
Ellea swallowed the word “thank you” in her heart as Ben showed her his warmth. Because this moment was enough for her.
When they came in together, Remil was worried and approached Ben immediately. Ellea raised their clasped hands to show her that they were reconciled.
“Ben, you scared me when you ran out like that.”
Ellea clapped her hands to change the mood at once, drawing
the children’s attention.
“Let’s eat now. I’ve prepared something special for you all today.”
The children’s eyes lit up with expectations. It was very easy for her to know what to do in such a situation, as she had learned through long experience.
“Now then, if only I could find someone to help me prepare………”
“I’ll do it too.”
When the children raised their hands, Ellea didn’t miss the opportunity. This was a pretty good way to get to know the kids quickly.
“So, if you want to help me, can you wash your hands clean and come to the kitchen to prepare ingredients and set the table?”
When she saw the children heading to the kitchen excitedly, she also felt better. She was relieved to see how cheerful and energetic they were while she was not seeing them.
‘Still, it’s fortunate. They don’t know that I’m dead.’
Ellea didn’t want the children to be sad to hear that El had died.
She stood still, and this time the children came up to her first, and held her hands.
“All right. Let’s see who can help me the most.”
Before long, Ellea was laughing along with the children and headed for the kitchen.
“So, fortunately, she seems to be adapting well. No special reports have come in.”
“All right. It’s better that way.”
While receiving report from his aide about Ellea, Terban recalled what he had seen so far.
In any case, she was an imperial Princess, and he was on the lookout for any special movements.
Actually, it was more the conversation he had with Ella in the banquet hall that kept coming back to him. He wondered if it was because of what she said to him at the end, or if it was because of some other reason.
“There doesn’t seem to be anything special going on in Zevenica, either.”
Just to be sure, he also thoroughly examined the situation in Zevenica, but he couldn’t find anything particularly unusual.
He wanted to find a gap.
After the Princess came out of her coma, she showed a different appearance.
She didn’t hesitate to talk to people, she was active in outside activities, and she acted in a manner befitting her position, but the Princess was just being happy that she regained her health.
‘She was originally that kind of person, but I didn’t know that because I was obscured by the fact that her body was weak.’
Leaving many thoughts behind, Terban, who was moving for the next schedule with an aide, noticed a name at once in a conversation of someone across the hallway and stopped walking.
“They sent this again? They don’t even seem to know that Sir El is dead.”
“Sir El died for a long time now. How many times do they have to send this? It’s annoying.”
“Throw it away. There’s no receiver anyway.”
“What do you mean?”
The officials, who had been conversing comfortably, turned their heads at the sudden interruption and hurriedly bowed down when they spotted Terban right in front of them.
“Ah….I’m seeing the Emperor.”
“What do you mean? What is it about El?”
The officials thought he was mad at them for taking out the name El, and spilled their excuses. They were worried they would get in trouble.
“Someone has been sending letters to Sir El for a long time. We were just talking about it, there was never any other intention.”
Terban, who had been listening to the urgency of the officials, held out his hand to them without needing to hear any more. He just wanted to check the letter that came for El.
“Give me the letter.”
“Yes, Your Majesty. Everything else has been thrown away and that’s all that’s left.”
“This is enough.”
After receiving the letter, he walked past them as if he had no other business. Then he quickly stopped and ordered his aide.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
The aide glanced at the letter, then greeted him and moved away.
As soon as the aide was gone, Terban checked the letter’s surface. The white envelope had El’s name and destination written on it.
‘’Nursery school? Why does El have to do with the nursery?”
Feeling curious, Terban quickly opened the letter and checked the contents. The content wasn’t long.
[I’m sending you a letter again because I’m worried that you suddenly stopped coming. I’ve told the children that you can’t come because you have something to do, but I’m also worried that something might have happened to El. I know I’m shameless to ask for sponsorship again. But if you can’t support me anymore, please contact me if you see this letter. I’m very worried. The kids are doing fine, so don’t worry about them.]
After reading the letter, Terban lost strength for a moment and put down the arm that had been holding the letter. He wondered what the connection between El and the nursery, but he didn’t expect this was the reason.
‘No. Is it your typical choice?’
But he could understand why El had sponsored the nursery. It was also her past there. And the fact that she was still receiving letters like this.
‘They still don’t know what happened to El.’
It was clear that the nursery didn’t know about El’s death. And to the extent that she didn’t say anything about the nursery, no one else would know about it either.
He knew El. She was not the kind of person who wanted to rely on others.
Lost in thoughts for a while while walking and looking at the letter, Terban stopped walking. Then, whatever decision he had made, he turned back the way he had come.
After returning to his office, putting on his robe and putting the letter in his pocket, Terban quickly left the imperial palace on his horse.
A feeling that he somehow had to go there took over his mind.