Chapter 1. The beginning of everything
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Ellea could still feel Terban’s touch on her reddened wrist.
‘It hurts a lot. Did I become this weak?’
When she raised her head at the voice calling her, she saw Bolens approaching, waiting impatiently.
Ellea hurriedly hid her hands behind her back.
“I was worried that something might have happened to you since the Princess didn’t come.”
“We talked a little longer than expected.”
The slightly tired look on Ellea’s face worried Borence, and Ellea noticed it and tried her best to smile.
“I’m relieved that it ended well. Let’s hurry up and go.”
“Yes, go and have a good rest.”
And with that, Ellea went back to the palace with Borence. Now she thought even the small connection was gone.
Meanwhile, when Terban returned a short time later, Shanil walked right up to him.
She began to worry about what Ellea had said to him.
“Terban, what happened with the Princess earlier was really..……”
“Did something happen to the Princess…..?”
Terban remembered the way Ellea had said it so desperately earlier, and he asked Shanil without even knowing it, but he quickly slurred his words.
“No, you’re not sick, are you?” (Terban)
“Yes. I’m fine, really.” (Shanil)
“That’s good. I’ll get going now. I need to do something for work tomorrow.”
Shanil knew what Terban meant, so she had no choice but to let him go. Judging by the mood, it seemed Ellea didn’t say anything to him.
“Okay, see you later.”
With that, Terban moved away, leaving Shanil to her own devices. But in her mind, she remembered the back of Terban as he left her and went after Ellea.
And the way Elur was pressuring her, changing the atmosphere.
‘I’m glad Terban came.’
Today made the speculation in the banquet hall clearer. It meant that Ellea sees herself as hostile.
‘Then I will not sit still.’
If Ellea was going to come out that way, Shanil was going to make sure she showed it her way. So the Princess never climbed on top of her again.
‘Should I make my move now?’
Since today was also a harvest, she was going to dig up what she heard last time. To find the weakness that Ellea was hiding.
Shanil smiled at the face of a person who immediately came to her mind as she thought of a way, and quickly entered the palace.
It was night when everyone was asleep.
Ellea wasn’t one of them, she was lying in bed tossing and turning all over the place.
She closed her eyes and tried to sleep, but eventually she couldn’t get her body to do what she wanted.
“I can’t sleep.”
When she closed my eyes, she couldn’t sleep because it reminded her of what had happened earlier in the day.
‘Sure, it’s strange if I can sleep after something like that.’
Ellea looked up at the night sky through the terrace window and decided that she would not be able to sleep easily today, so she eventually got out of bed.
Then she hurriedly changed into some comfortable clothes and put on her robe.
She pocketed the sword I had carefully kept for the last time just in case, and went out to the terrace instead of the door.
Looking down, feeling the cool night breeze, Ellea jumped down without hesitation.
With a quick gesture, she landed very steadily and without a sound.
It would be too noisy to meet anyone out the door.
‘I still got it.’
Ellea smiled in delight and successfully slipped out of the Imperial Palace with ease. Secretly coming out at night like this was a small deviation that she did to avoid people when she was El.
It was a change of pace when she was frustrated or couldn’t sleep.
Maybe it was the only way she could do it. There had been far too many times people upset her here at the Imperial Palace.
‘I guess that comes in handy in situations like this.’
As she stepped out into the nighttime streets of the capital, a familiar landscape welcomed Ellea. The atmosphere was quiet, unlike the daytime, but the people on the streets were enjoying their own time leisurely.
‘I think this kind of freedom is necessary once in a while.’
Come to think of it, she had a lot to do after waking up as a Princess, and she was busy just adjusting, so she felt like she was suffocating herself. Now she could take some time to relax.
Ellea naturally walked around, looking around, and soon found a store and went inside. There were quite a few people in the store drinking alcohol, and it was lively, probably because of the drunken people.
She was also used to this kind of atmosphere, so naturally she sat down at an empty seat and immediately ordered some alcohol. As soon as the drinks were served, she poured it into an empty glass and drank it at once.
“Oh, that’s nice. It’s better since I haven’t had it in a while. As expected, this is the best place for alcohol.”
She didn’t have much time to drink in Zevenica or here, but she couldn’t sleep today, so she suddenly wanted this taste. The alcohol felt sweeter today, perhaps because she was quite tired.
While Ellea was slowly enjoying this moment, a sketchy voice came from behind her.
“It seems you came here alone.”
“If you came alone, let’s have a drink together.”
“Let’s just go. I’m not in a good mood today.”
She tried to give off the vibe that she was not to be approached, but a few unkind men tried to sit on the other side of her.
Ellea was not in the best of moods and their hassle momentarily reminded her of the sword in her pocket.
“It’s really annoying.”
Not wanting to cause any unnecessary mayhem, she was about to leave when a man appeared to address the crowd.
“This is my party, what can I do for you?”
“What? She had a companion.”
The man’s appearance wasn’t one to underestimate, but without saying anything, he moved away and sat down.
The person who was most confused at this moment was Ellea. This was because of the unidentified man who claimed to be her companion as it was natural.
But the man didn’t stop there, he sat down proudly opposite her.
Ellea couldn’t help but be startled once more by the familiar face.
“You are ……….”
“It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Well, we just met.”
The other person was unfazed by Ellea’s surprised expression. His blue-green eyes were full of joy.
Then he asked for a glass, poured the drink Ellea had ordered and took a shot.
“It tastes better than I thought.”
“Why are you here?”
“I told you clearly then. We’ll meet again.”
Remembering what he had said before, Chaylen took another drink.
Ellea was just speechless to see him calmly stealing her drink. So, she took the bottle from Chaylen’s hand.
“So why are you here? And this is the drink I ordered.”
“You’re very frivolous with a few drinks. I was going to ask you if you were well, but from the look on your face, I’m afraid that’s not the case.”
“Aren’t you going to leave? This is my seat.”
“What’s wrong with that? Since we know each other, we can share a seat.”
They only met twice, but when he said “acquaintances,” Ellea was momentarily at a loss for words. They didn’t even know each other’s names.
“Why do we know each other? All I know is that I saw you once before.”
When Ellea strongly denied that they knew each other, Chaylen tried to tell her his name, since they had met again like this.
In addition, he wanted to know who the woman in front of him was.
“So why don’t I tell you my name? I’m ……………”
When Chaylen tried to introduce himself, Ellea waved her hand to stop him desperately.
“Don’t say it. Everything about you. I don’t need to know.”
“Why not? I’m only going to tell you my name.”
“If I hear your name, I have to tell you my name, too. It’s okay. I’m not curious at all.”
She could be sure that it would be troublesome to get involved with this man who had been unusual from their first meeting.
Her instincts were telling her that she had to keep an unconditional distance from this man in order to stay quiet in Rubain and fulfill her wish to return home safely.
However she didn’t know that her nonchalant attitude had aroused Chaylen’s interest even more.
‘I’m more curious when you’re like this. Who are you?’
Ellea, on the other hand, was surprised to see Chaylen again.
‘I can’t believe we’re actually meeting again. I thought it would be impossible for us to run into each other even by chance. No way…………………’
Chaylen said, realizing what she was thinking.
“You must be suspicious that we met again like this. Don’t worry, I’m not following you.”
“It makes me even more suspicious when you put it that way.”
But it was really a coincidence that he met her. Even Chaylen was a bit mystified. He was hoping they would run into each other by chance, but to really meet like this.
Then he thought of his accidental discovery of Ellea.
Chaylen had a conversation with Arun at the mansion just a moment ago.
“Do you still receive letters from the Duke’s side?”
“Well, I’ve instructed them not to read the letters as they come in, but to burn them.”
“I knew it. Arun. You know exactly how I feel. How about that?”
Chaylen soon erased his playful expression and asked seriously about the progress.
“I’ve already informed him that I will be attending, and I’m sure the Duke knows.”
“Then they’ll be waiting with their knives sharpened.”
Arun wondered what he was imagining, but he could tell the anticipation in Chaylen’s voice. There was something very long awaited.
“Isn’t it the same for Master Chaylen?”
“Of course. The thought of seeing that face at last is enough to make me lose sleep.”
Arun flinched for a moment at the coldness and murderous intent he could feel despite Chaylen’s smile. Even though they had been together for a long time, he couldn’t get used to seeing Chaylen like this.
“Don’t worry. I won’t kill him easily. I’m going to slowly tighten his breath.”
“It’s only fair if you give him back that horrible time you went through.”
“Yes. So go to bed early today.”
Arun left the office at his order, and Chaylen also went to his room. However, he wasn’t sleepy while thinking about tomorrow’s work.
“Should I go and have a drink?”
As soon as he thought of it, Chaylen sprang into action, putting on his robe and quietly stepping outside.
‘If I get caught by Arun, I’m sure he’ll nag me again.’
So he got out safely and wandered around the city, until he came to a tavern with just the right atmosphere.
And just as he was about to look for an empty seat, he heard a familiar voice, and that was how he found Ellea.
As soon as he spotted her, Chaylen couldn’t help but smile brightly.
The feeling of joy in his eyes was clear even now that he was facing Ellea.