Chapter 1. The beginning of everything
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Unlike the idea of going right to the palace for the night, Shanil led Terban elsewhere.
“We met for the first time today, let’s be together a little longer. You’ve been so busy lately that you haven’t been able to spend any time with me.” (Shanil)
“It’s very late.” (Terban)
“It’s fine. The weather is nice, so let’s go for a walk. You’ve only been in the office all this time.” (Shanil )
Shanil grabbed Terban’s hand and led him outside.
He actually went outside to the nursery, but he pretended that he couldn’t beat her to the word and stepped into the place she wanted.
“Hmm, nice. It’s been a while since I’ve felt the night air and it feels refreshing.”
They both walked affectionately through the deserted Imperial Palace at night. Once Terban felt the night air, the suffocating feeling of looking at papers seemed to disappear a bit.
It was better if he couldn’t think about anything else when Shanil’s voice chattered next to him.
‘Yes. This is where I belong.’
Now, perhaps because this peace was similar to the one he had felt when went out at noon, Terban asked Shanil a question that he would normally never have asked.
“If I were not the emperor, what do you think I would be like?”
Shanil immediately stopped in her tracks at the sudden question. Then she asked him, hiding her surprised heart.
“What do you mean? You’re not the emperor?”
“I suddenly thought of that. What if I were just one of the ordinary people, not the emperor?”
Terban smiled because he remembered the children who followed him well without knowing that he was the emperor.
Meanwhile, Shanil was puzzled, not understanding his intention to say such a thing.
“What is it?”
Shanil answered quickly, seemingly oblivious to her hesitation.
“Terban, if you weren’t the emperor………”
‘Of course there’s no need. Like those rocks that get hit by feet.’
Shanil replied, contrary to her true feelings.
“I think I would welcome you the same. Because if you are not the emperor, you will be able to spend more time with me. I’ll be with you every day, and we’ll have deep and meaningful talks . Of course, it’s not that I don’t like Terban now. But I want you to be able to turn to me without hesitation when you have a hard time.”
With these words, Terban felt a sense of peace in his heart. It was as if he got the answer he wanted.
“Thank you for saying that.”
“Of course. Because I care for you so much.”
Shanil continued walking, pretending to be concerned for him.
‘So you keep staying there. It’s meaningless if I’m not next to the emperor.’
The only thing hidden in Shanil’s smile was the brutal truth.
“Are you finished with your preparations?”
“Yes, come in. Borence.”
Borence walked in and saw Ellea sitting there, all dressed up.
“Is it the time yet?”
“Yes, I think it is time to leave.”
Today was the day in question, the day of the promised meeting with the ladies at Shanil’s palace.
‘It’s only at times like this that time goes by really fast.’
As Ellea rose from her seat, Borence and Jane followed her, but Borence was the only one to leave the palace with her.
“Jane, keep your palace safe.”
“Yes, don’t worry, go ahead.”
Borence followed Ellea, as there was a seat available today.
Jane looked towards where they had disappeared with some disappointment, and before she knew it, Marie was approaching her.
“Jane, you are not going with the Princess this time?”
“It’s a seat where there can’t be any mistakes, so Borence went with her.”
“I see. If the Princess made a mistake, even the head maidservant would have to go out and fix it as soon as possible.”
“Marie, what do you mean by that?”
Jane criticized Marie, who was confident that Ellea would make a mistake.
“What are you so upset about? I said I was worried about the Princess too.” (Marie)
“That’s not what you said earlier.”
“What is it with you? Do you think that you have become something just because you have the Princess nearby? Or are you looking for something to fall for?”
Jane couldn’t take it any longer and got angry, but Marie didn’t care and just continued with what she wanted to say.
“Jane, you are mistaken now. This is Rubain, and your caretaker is nothing more than an outlander Princess living in a corner of the palace. In short, if she leaves, that’s the end of you coming out in such an open manner.” (Marie)
Having said only the words that angered her, Marie moved away leisurely.
It was fine if Marie talked about her, but Jane couldn’t stand it when Marie talked bad about Ellea.
She knew very well that Ellea was a really nice person.
That was the truth.
Just as she was about to go after Marie, Jane had to stop as she thought of Borence’s order to take care of the palace.
‘It wouldn’t be good for the Princess if there’s a commotion here for no reason.’
‘Cause Marie just doesn’t know how good the Princess is.’
‘No, let’s be glad that Marie is not near the Princess.’
Jane barely contained her seething anger as she walked into the palace.
Meanwhile, as Ellea walked towards her destination, she looked up at the sky, which was clear today.
‘I can’t believe I have to go there when the weather is so nice.’
For once, the heavens seemed to listen to her vow, and she hadn’t seen Terban once since the nursery.
Thanks to that, she had a comfortable time until now. Of course, that ended today.
‘If it wasn’t for Heris, I could just ignore this meeting.’
Ellea, who soon arrived in front of the familiar palace, felt new.
If before she had entered without knowing that it was a trap, now she was entering knowing that it was a trap.
‘If I hadn’t come here at that time, I wonder if something might have been different.’
“Life is unpredictable.”
“It’s nothing. Let’s go in. I don’t know if I’m the latest to arrive.”
When Ellea walked in with Borence, a maid greeted Ellea.
“I am here to see the Princess. I will show you the location.”
“I’ll wait here. If you need anything, please call me.”
“Okay. Then will you show me in?”
Ellea was escorted inside by the maid. The maid did not go inside the palace, but towards the garden.
“It seems like the meeting is outdoors.”
“Yes. Since the weather is good today, Lady Shanil chose this place herself.”
“I see. Then, where are the other ladies?”
“Everyone has arrived, except for Lady Shanil.”
‘Then it looks like I came last.’
With that in mind, Ellea walked through the beautiful garden and soon found the people.
All the ladies were sitting around a round table.
Ellea spotted the ladies and their happy faces by Shanil’s side in the banquet hall last time.
‘Everyone came first.’
She put aside her troublesome thoughts for a moment and approached them with a natural smile, exchanging a short greeting with the ladies. Then she took a seat next to Heris and exchanged greetings with her happily.
“Hello, Heris. It’s been a while.”
“Yes. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you. It’s a shame that we have to meet here today.”
Heris’ last words were so quiet that only Ellea could hear them. Ellea gave a small nod.
They barely contained their laughter when their eyes met and they realized that they had the same idea. The other four ladies only had formal conversations and did not show much interest in the two. It was a relief from Ellea’s point of view.
“You got it, too, right? Lady Shanil invited you on purpose.”
“Of course. She told me she invited you too. Then why did you come here if you knew?”
“Because I was worried that you might go into enemy territory alone. Don’t tell me you were too?”
Ellea was surprised and grateful that Helis had come here with the same thought as her. They only met each other once, unr they seemed to care about each other’s wellbeing.
“As expected, I knew exactly then.”
“I really liked you the moment I first saw you.”
While they were talking, one of the other ladies spotted someone and got up from their seats. Heris said quietly.
“It seems that the person who invited us has arrived. Well, I don’t intend to be beaten willingly. Right?”
“Of course not.”
The two exchanged glances with the same thought in mind, then turned their heads away. Shenil was the last to arrive, as if to make a point that she was the protagonist of today’s meeting.
“You’ve all come. I’m sorry. I’m late.”
When Shanil said sorry that she came late, the other ladies waved their hands and said.
“No, we just got here too.”
“That’s a relief.”
Shanil, the host of this table, sat down, and the people followed her. Somehow, she ended up across from Ellea.
Shanil made eye contact with Ellea and naturally introduced her.
“You all know Princess of Zenvenica from the banquet last time. I wanted to talk to her more so I arranged this meeting. I also want to apologize for my rudeness at the banquet hall.”
Ellea gasped at the absurdity, but retorted well.
“What do you mean apologize? You talk to other ladies too. Thank you for having me like this. It’s a beautiful place.”
“This is my favorite place, and I wanted to show it to the Princess.”
Fortunately, the conversation opened up in a friendly atmosphere. Ellea also had a short conversation with the ladies introduced by Shanil.
Meanwhile, the maids brought tea and placed a cup in front of each of them.
After that, I naturally expected them to go, but for some reason, they just stood there.
“What is it?”
And Ellea soon learned the reason.
“The maids will taste it first. Please understand that. Of course they will taste yours, too.”
When Shanil said she was sorry, the ladies immediately responded.
“Of course we understand. Something big happened. I would have done the same.”
“You’re right. I was shocked and disturbed too.”
Their conversation made Ellea’s hands tremble greatly.
She hurriedly put them down under the table so that people wouldn’t see them, but she couldn’t even see the redness of how much pressure she put in her hands.
Knowing the truth of that day, she felt an unbearable rage.