Chapter 1. The beginning of everything
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That thing that the ladies mention was the incident where Shanil was almost poisoned. It drove Ellea to the edge of a cliff.
Now, looking at this situation alone, Ellea could clearly see what Shanil had done after her death.
‘You pretended to be a perfect victim while I was gone. Pretending to be weak, pretending to be afraid.’
She wanted to overturn this moment, but Ellea held back with superhuman patience.
Ellea came back to her senses at the call for her.
‘’Is there anything uncomfortable ? Your complexion doesn’t look very good.”
Ellea’s expression changed hastily as she realized that people’s eyes were on her at Shanil’s concerned voice.
“No, I was just thinking about something else for a while.”
“I’m glad. I’m worried if you’re offended by what I just said.”
Ellea didn’t say anything, but Shanil brought it up as if Ellea was offended.
When Shanil looked sorry, the ladies soothed her.
“I don’t think so, Lady Shanil.”
“Yes. The Princess was known for her weak health.”
“I’ve heard a lot about that too.”
With that, Ellea took a sip from a teacup that had not yet been touched by the maids.
The other ladies looked flustered, but she looked unconcerned. Putting down the teacup, she erased all her unpleasant feelings, looked at Shanil and said.
“I heard that you drank poisoned tea.”
“Yes. I was in great shock…….”
“Of course I understand. Everyone will be afraid if they go through such a big deal.”
“Thank you for your understanding.”
Shanil expressed her gratitude, but Ellea didn’t stop there, she asked one question.
“But why didn’t the knight put as much poison as the lethal dose? If I had put poison in with the intention of harming someone, I would have put in more poison than lethal dose. The person will stop breathing the moment she drinks it.”
As she finished, the table fell silent and the ladies secretly looked at Shanil’s face.
Shanil also looked flustered, as if she didn’t expect Ellea to say something like this.
‘So don’t think what you did was perfect. As long as I’m alive like this, I won’t wait and see.’
Then Ellea said in a cheerful voice as if what she had just said was a joke. Then she smiled at Shanil.
“Of course I’m glad that wasn’t the case. It was stupid, that knight. I’d like to see him once, oh, I can’t because he’s dead. Isn’t it a blessing for Lady Shanil that the knight is dead?”
However, as soon as she mentioned her own death, she couldn’t help but feel bitter. She just didn’t show it.
“Yes, that’s right.”
In response to Ellea’s question, Shanil immediately regained her original mood and said in a slightly calmer voice.
“But I was sad because he was someone I trusted very much.”
“I wasn’t there, but it was a real shame. Oh, you need to taste it. The tea is very good.”
With that, Ellea laughed and drank the tea again.
Her relaxed appearance made Heris drink her tea right away.
“It’s true. It’s very good.”
At their words, the other ladies agreed that the tea was delicious as they drank their tea that was already checked by the maids.
“I’m glad you like it.”
Shanil followed them and drank her tea.
No one could see her eyes sink coldly behind her downward gaze.
As time passed by while talking, the initial slightly awkward atmosphere soon disappeared. The subject of the conversation was dresses, accessories, trendy stores, etc. In a word, it was an area that Ellea had no interest in at all.
So Ellea ministered enough to match the mood and instead talked comfortably with Heris.
“Aren’t you bored at the Imperial Palace?”
“It’s fine. It’s nice and quiet.”
“Really? I thought some people would bother the Princess as they were in the banquet hall.”
There had been such people, just as Heris had said. For that part, Ellea made a firm call to her maids that do not let anyone into her palace, and if someone behaved rudely, inform her right away.
“If I receive invitations, I will now decline.”
If she really decided that she must go, she would go, but now was the time to be cautious. It was then that something came to mind that Ellea wanted to ask, and she asked it so that only Heris could hear while Shanil and the others were talking.
“If I may ask, have you ever seen a nobleman with purple hair and blue-green eyes?”
“No, not among the people I know.”
Someone worthy of the appearance Ellea was describing was not someone that even crossed Heris’ mind.
“I don’t think I’ve seen anyone like that among the nobles. But why are you looking for that person?”
“No, as long as he’s not among the nobles.”
Ellea was a little relieved that Heris didn’t seem to know the man. For one thing, if he wasn’t a nobleman, the chances of meeting him were almost as good as none.
‘Yes. It’s someone I’ll never see again.’
At that moment, Shanil, who was watching the two of them talking alone, spoke.
”I think the Princess has grown closer to Lady Heris.”
“Yes. We’ve been on good terms since we met at the banquet hall. Right, Heris?”
“Yes, we did. The more we talk together, the more we have things in common.”
Shanil did not hide her envy when Ellea and Heris did not hide their closeness in front of her.
“I envy you, Lady Heris. I’ve always wanted to be close to the Princess too.”
Shanil actively showed her desire to be close to Ellea this time as well.
“Yes, I was very disappointed that I could not act well in the banquet hall.”
Shanil’s words were met with the same reaction from the others who were conversing with her.
“I was hoping to hear a lot more about Zevenica from the Princess.”
Even though several people said that, Ellea didn’t panic and replied leisurely.
“It’s not any different than Rubain. It’s just a place people live like anywhere else.”
And she didn’t want to talk to them about Zevenica.
There was nothing to say, nothing to talk about, and most of all, she hated it when her most precious place was mentioned.
Just as they were about to move on to another topic, as Ellea had intended, Shanil remembered something she had forgotten, and shouted out.
“Ah, that’s right.”
Naturally, everyone’s eyes were focused on her.
“I forgot about it.”
“What is it?”
For some reason, Shanil’s gaze was fixed on Ellea across from her, even though the others showed their interest.
“I wanted to express my gratitude to the Princess.”
Ellea couldn’t understand why Shanil suddenly wanted to express her gratitude.
She gave a small shake of her head, meaning she didn’t know either, at Heris’ look, “What’s going on?”
Shanil finally spoke up when the people’s curiosity peaked.
“I heard from Terban.”
‘’Why did you mention His Majesty here…”
When Shanil mentioned the emperor’s name, everyone showed great interest.
At the same time, Ellea felt something uneasy. And her premonition wasn’t wrong.
“The Princess went directly to the performance hall where the knights were training and brought them cold drinks. I want to say that I appreciated it too, as they were people that Terban cared about.”
With that, Shanil grinned, but there was a delicate atmosphere at the table.
Ellea and Heris naturally sensed it as well. Ellea realized in an instant why Shanil had said “thank you” and then said that in front of the people.
‘This is what you were after all along.’
What Shanil said seemed ostensibly to be a thank you for taking care of the Knights, but there was plenty of room for misunderstanding.
Ellea visited the knight Order directly under the emperor. That, too, was in training. And most importantly, she had met Terban.
All of this was put together. It sounded like she visited the Order on the pretext of meeting His Majesty.
As proof of this, Shenil never mentioned the friendship between Bandel and Ellea , which Terban must have mentioned clearly.
‘As expected, it was a trap.’
What was disconcerting was the way Shanil was smiling as what she said was no big deal.
It was also intentional to show her nonchalant appearance to the ladies here.
It was only a matter of time before the rumor started. The Princess of Zevenica was after the Emperor.
Perhaps having read the eyes of the ladies, Heris couldn’t stand it and spoke first.
“Lady Shanil, if you say it like that, others will misunderstand Princess Ellea.”
“Why are you blaming Lady Shanil? Honestly, you can’t be sure that there was no intention at all.”
“That’s right. It’s the same with the fact that she took care of His Majesty’s direct knights, and that she met His Majesty by chance.”
In the blink of an eye, the once calm atmosphere of the tea party became chaotic.
Heris kept arguing with the ladies, and Shanil, who had started all this, was leisurely sipping her tea and watching what was going on.
‘Yes. It’s exactly what I wanted.’
Laughing inwardly as she saw the ladies acting exactly as she intended, Shanil was going to stop them, but at that moment laughter filled the space.
Heris and the ladies who had been arguing, stopped and saw Ellea laughing.
As soon as they all looked at her, Ellea stifled her laughter and broke off the conversation.
“Oh, I’m sorry. It was so funny, I couldn’t resist.”
With those words, Ellea stopped laughing and her eyes instantly became different. It was enough to make Shanil, whose eyes met hers, flinched.
Ellea set down the teacup she was holding quietly, and looked around at the faces of those present, one by one.
Finally, her gaze landed on Shanil, who was sitting in front of her.
“What is so funny?”
Ellea didn’t hide her emotions when a young lady asked.
“I find it amusing that you think that way about my visit to the Order. Is that how you accept favors here in Rubain? Then you know you are very rude right now.”
Her voice was low, but heavy, and the ladies, who had been excitedly making noise earlier, instantly stopped talking.