Chapter 1. The beginning of everything
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Bandel raised his hand right away when he noticed that the approaching person was Ellea.
“Stop for a moment.”
“What is the matter all of a sudden?”
The knights tilted their heads as Bandel stopped their training, and soon they too spotted Ellea and Jane entering the training grounds.
“Huh? There’s someone coming.”
“It’s true. Who is it at this hour?”
Bandel left the knights in training and hurriedly approached Ellea. He looked quite embarrassed.
“How did the Princess come all the way here?”
“Huh? Lord Bandel told me I could come anytime. So here I am.”
“Oh, that’s…. That’s right.”
Bandel didn’t hate it either, but Ellea suddenly came and he was surprised.
He didn’t expect her to come visit today. It was something he said lightly for her sake, but she really came.
When he did not hide his bewilderment, Ellea decided to end the teasing.
“You don’t have to be so surprised. I was just going to give you this if you were busy training.”
Ellea said and held out the basket she was carrying.
As the two of them conversed, the knights gradually approached with curiosity. Ellea also looked around the familiar and welcome faces.
‘They’re still the same as before.’
Ellea was relieved to see the familiar faces.
Kenley, who had met her before, stepped forward. He too looked surprised at her sudden appearance.
“How did the Princess get here?”
“The Princess, you mean…the one who healed you?”
“Yes. This is the Princess of Zenvenica.”
When the knights learned of Ellea’s true identity, they all expressed their gratitude with polite greetings.
“It is a pleasure to meet you, Your Highness.”
“Thank you for treating Kenley.”
“I’ve been trying to figure out how to convey my gratitude….”
Ellea swallowed a laugh, looking at the figures expressing their gratitude one by one.
As the knights approached and spoke to her, Bandel thought she was embarrassed and hurriedly stopped them.
“Come on, you guys, that’s enough.”
“I’m fine. I’m rather grateful that Sir Kenley has only good things to say about me. But I’m sorry to have come so suddenly. I told Lord Bandel that I would like to meet the Knights myself.”
Ellea’s words startled Kenley, and he immediately questioned Bandel. He wondered how Bandel could hide such tremendous news.
“Bandel, why didn’t you say anything? If I’d known this was going to happen, I’d have cleaned up better today.”
“Yes, he’s right. You should have let us know earlier that it was this important.”
“No. Lord Bandel didn’t know that I was coming today. By the way, are you very busy right now?”
At Ellea’s cautious question, Bandel quickly shook his head.
“No, we have no plans other than to practice today.”
“I see I came just in time. I’ve brought you some cold drinks, would you like to take a break while you drink? Of course, as long as it’s not a bother.”
The heavy package that Ellea had brought with Jane was drinks for the knights. They had sweated a lot while training. And before Bandel could say anything, the knights raised their voices.
“Of course it’s okay. Princess.”
“I was thirsty. Thank you.”
“This way, please. Let’s go to the shade, then.”
With really quick hands, the knights took the basket from Ellea and led her to the shade. Bandel was taken aback by the swift movement, unlike earlier with the training.
“I didn’t know you guys were so fast.”
Of course, the knights didn’t even pretend to listen, and Ellea followed them, relieved to see them pleased. Then she called Bandel who was standing in a daze.
“Come quickly, Lord Bandel. Isn’t it nice to have a day like this?”
Before he knew it, he saw Ellea going, surrounded by knights, and Bandel followed, smiling as if he had lost.
Moving to a seat in the shade, Ellea interacted with the knights in a more comfortable atmosphere than before. And the knights grabbed their drinks one by one.
“Wow, it’s really refreshing.”
“Good. I thought you’d be thirsty by now.”
“How did you know? The Princess seems to know a lot about the Order, including the fact that you treated Kenley last time.”
They thought that there was something surprising about the imperial Princess. Ellea flinched at the words, but she naturally changed the subject with a smile.
“I’m a little curious. Is sir Kenley’s injury better now?”
“Yes, it’s healed now. It’s because the Princess treated me well at that time.”
Kenley said, showing his now unbandaged hand, and Ellea was relieved to hear that it was completely healed.
But despite his cheerful attitude, she did not forget to remind him.
“But be careful. If you’re careless, you could injure yourself in the same place again.”
“Of course. I’m warming up as you said then.”
“He now warms up before practice, which is kind of unusual. We told him a hundred times but he never listens. Isn’t that too much?”
“Well, you aren’t the Princess.”
Everyone, including Ellea, burst out laughing at the conversation between the two knights.
Bandel was relieved to see them enjoying themselves without any awkwardness. He was afraid that the Princess was uncomfortable sitting with the knights.
‘It was a useless worry.’
And when he could see that Bandel was conspicuously distracted by Ellea, Kenley said, as if deliberately telling him to listen.
“Bandel, stop looking at the Princess.”
At these words, Ellea looked at Bandel too, and when his eyes met hers, Bandel said with embarrassment.
“No, I’m afraid you guys make the Princess uncomfortable.”
He gave a hint he wanted Kenley to stop, but Kenley wasn’t about to give in. There was nothing he enjoyed more than teasing Bandel.
“It’s not us, it’s you, you stare at her too deeply, she won’t come back again.”
“I’m really alright. Lord Bandel. Actually, it’s been a long time since I’ve had the pleasure of talking with so many people. I’m only at the palace all the time these days.”
“If you say so. We are fine, so please come back whenever you like.”
The knights approached Ellea without hesitation, as if they had forgotten that she was an imperial Princess. There was no sense of discomfort at all, as if this had always been her seat.
“Kenley, you seem to be very interested in the things that the Imperial Princess brings.”
0No, it’s not like that. It’s really not, Princess.”
“It looks that way to me, too.”
Ellea deliberately said mischievously at Kenley’s reaction. Bandel said worriedly because Ellea had been outside too long and he was concerned about her condition.
“I have heard that your health is not well, I hope you’re not overdoing it….”
“I’m completely fine now. I’ve been doing a lot of physical training lately. Isn’t that right, Jane?”
“Yes, the Princess would get up early every morning and run a few laps around the vacant lot behind the palace. It’s enough to make her sweat.”
Jane nodded quickly at her question. At least the Ellea she had seen so far did not look like someone who was sick and on the verge of death.
“Is that true?”
Everyone, including Bandel, was surprised to hear that Ellea would train that hard. She hurriedly added an explanation just in case they misunderstood.
“It’s really no big deal. I’m doing it little by little because I think it will help me get stronger and healthier. But I’ve been having trouble lately because the space behind the palace is too small for running. I had a practice hall in Zenvenica.”
Ellea said these words without thinking, but Kenley quickly raised his hand and made a suggestion.
“Then please use this performance hall.”
“What? Can I really do that?”
“Of course. It’s vacant except for when we practice. Right, Bandel?”
Ellea was excited by the fact that she could use the performance hall, even brought up what Terban said the other day.
“The other day, when I said I was bored, His Majesty said I was welcome to use any facilities in the imperial palace….”
She did not know Terban’s words were useful in this way. There was no reason for anyone to refuse.
Ellea had a wistful look in her eyes, but there was no way Bandel could refuse.
“If His Majesty said so…. This place is only used by us knights anyway, so it should be fine.”
“Thank you, everyone.”
“I’m glad that I can now use the performance hall. The palace is so small that I wasn’t sure what to do.”
Ellea was very happy with the unexpected harvest. She could train easily here, away from people’s eyes.
‘So I can finally use that sword.’
At that moment, someone’s voice interrupted her thoughts.
“Are you taking a break from your training?”
Recognizing the owner of the voice, everyone, including Ellea, hurriedly stood up.
The Knights quickly bowed their heads. Ellea also spotted Terban approaching.
Terban wondered why the Knights were gathered in one place, and then he spotted her.
Ellea greeted him. She didn’t expect him to be here at this hour, but why did they run into each other again?
‘I guess I should have left earlier.’
Terban also looked a little confused, not expecting to see the Princess here either. Even more so since what had happened yesterday.
“Why is the Princess here?”
At Terban’s question, Bandel answered instead of Ellea.
“I was the one who said it first. The Princess could come visit at any time.”
“No, I came because I wanted to meet the Knights. I was wondering if Sir Kenley was okay, and I was about to go back before I got in the way of their training.”
Ellea replied quickly, fearing that Terban would blame it on the knights. Then she hurriedly prepared to leave.
“Jane, did you take care of everything?”
“Yes, I’ve packed up everything.”
“I see. Well, then let’s get going.”
And so Ellea and Jane hurriedly walked out of the performance hall before the others could say anything.
“Did she remember something urgent?”
“It seems so.”
Unlike before, the Knights looked at the Princess suspiciously as she left in a hurry.