Chapter 1. The beginning of everything
Sponsored by Curufin 💖 (⅔)
Chaylen asked, recalling Ellea, who was bothered by the men who talked to her earlier.
“Earlier I saw you were on the verge of taking something out. Do you have the sword I gave you in your pocket?”
“Of course. I’m going to use what I got for free. Well, It’s mine anyway. No, more than that….….”
Ellea was talking to Chaylen, but all the time one thing was bothering her and she complained.
“I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, why do you keep talking informally? Respect is the basic thing when you don’t know each other well.”
“Then you should talk informally too.”
As Chaylen became more and more reluctant to retreat, so did Ellea. The more stubborn the situation, the more stubborn she was.
“Okay, let’s do that. That’s what I wanted too.”
Chaylen laughed and poured himself a drink at the sight of Ellea, who stifled his words as soon as he finished.
Eventually, he wondered why she was here.
“Are you here to drink alone at this hour? Isn’t it dangerous?” (Chaylen)
“I don’t think it’s something for a person who came out the same way to say. And don’t sneakily take my drink.”(Ellea)
“I couldn’t sleep, so I came here to drink. Because I have something very important to do tomorrow.” (Chaylen)
“How important is it that you can’t sleep?” (Ellea)
Chaylen asked instead of replying, turning to Ellea who was drinking. He felt like he was about to say something in front of her, so he hastily switched topics.
“I’ve told you why I’m here, so isn’t it your turn now?” (Chaylen)
“I couldn’t sleep either. Perhaps I was worried about something.” (Ellea)
Ellea gasped and laughed at herself for saying this to someone she only met twice. It was easier to talk about her true feelings perhaps because he was a stranger, and maybe it was because of the alcohol in her system.
However, she really felt like she was going to say everything at this point, and since she had had some alcohol, she decided to leave the table.
“Then I’ll go first.” (Ellea)
The sight of Ellea paying the bill and leaving the tavern without any regrets made him feel like he had to go too, so Chaylen quickly followed her and grabbed her wrist.
Ellea hissed at the pain she could feel for a moment, and Chaylen was surprised and quickly let go of her wrist. But once he realized that he didn’t give much strength but why, he grabbed her hand again. It was a much softer touch than before.
“What is it? Suddenly.” (Ellea)
“Stay still.” (Chaylen)
He told her not to move, and when he looked closer, he saw a bright blue bruise on her wrist.
“This bruise….” (Chaylen)
Ellea noticed his gaze at the wound and immediately pulled out her hand. But Chaylen had already seen everything.
“What’s the bruise ? It looks like someone squeezed it too hard.” (Chaylen)
“It’s nothing to worry about.” (Ellea)
“I know you’re not the kind of person who is easily beaten by someone.” (Chaylen)
As Chaylen persisted in his questioning, Ellea hastily decided to leave. Meanwhile, since she wasn’t going to tell him, he decided to give up on questioning her further.
“What are you doing?” (Ellea)
Instead of answering, Chaylen moved closer to Ellea and covered his wrist with the handkerchief he was carrying to hide the bruise.
His hands were very careful and gentle, as if he was handling glass. He didn’t want to hurt Ellea more than she already was.
It was also a figure that Arun would be surprised if he saw it.
Chaylen tightened the handkerchief and let go of Ellea’s hand. She looked at the handkerchief on her wrist and then at Chaylen.
“Cover it. If you grab it without knowing it, it will hurt.” (Chaylen)
“Oh, thank you….” (Ellea)
Puzzled by the unexpected favor, Ellea also expressed her gratitude for the action.
‘It’s unexpected. I thought you wouldn’t mind this sort of thing.’
“Then I’ll get going.” (Ellea)
Ellea was about to hurry home, afraid the Palace would notice that she had disappeared. Just then, she heard his voice from behind her.
“You’re not really going to tell me your name, are you?” (Chaylen)
When he said that, Ellea stopped walking and looked at the handkerchief wrapped around her wrist. A black handkerchief that matched that person.
‘You used what suits you.’
Seeing this, Ellea pondered for a while, then quickly made up her mind and said to Chaylen, who was still standing behind her.
“If we really meet by chance again, I’ll tell you my name. Because if we meet by chance three times, it might not be by chance then.”
With that, she turned around again and walked away from him. Chaylen gave her a look of confidence at her words.
‘You really are a person who defies all expectations.’ (Chaylen)
‘So I’m looking forward to our next encounter even more.’ (Chaylen)
Chaylen stood there until Ellea had completely disappeared. He sincerely hoped that that third encounter would come soon and it would not be a coincidence, like she said.
Ellea returned to the Imperial Palace feeling much better, perhaps from the alcohol she had consumed or from the fresh air.
“I think I’ll sleep well now.”
As she walked to the palace thinking like that, she felt the presence of someone following her at one point.
She looked around but didn’t see anyone else, probably because it was late.
Moreover, this direction was on the way to her palace, so no one else would come at this time. Except for herself, of course.
‘I think someone is following me. Who the hell is it?’
Ellea reached into her pocket and held her dagger carefully so that whoever was following her would not notice. So she could take it out and fight back at any moment.
So, the moment she deliberately slowed down her steps, narrowed the distance from the person following her, she turned around and was about to take out the dagger.
At the familiar voice, Ellea hastily pulled her hand out of her pocket to check the person in front of her.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.”
Thinking that he had startled Ellea, Bandel apologized to her. At first, he saw someone walking this way at this hour, looking suspicious, but then he confirmed that it was Ellea and followed her.
She shook her head, pretending to be unconcerned at Bandel’s words. Relieved that she didn’t take the dagger out in front of him.
“I was a little surprised, but I’m fine.”
Relieved to hear that she was fine, but then he wondered why she was out at this hour. And her outfit was different than usual.
“By the way, why are you here?” (Bandel)
“I couldn’t sleep, so I went to get some air.” (Ellea)
Bandel was worried about her coming out alone late at night, and that, with the smell of alcohol.
He couldn’t hide his surprise and asked her,
“Did you drink alcohol?”
“What? Is it obvious? I didn’t drink much, so I thought you wouldn’t know.”
When Ellea realized that Bandel noticed she had been drinking, she felt embarrassed and quickly checked the smell.
Indeed, she smelled alcohol, though it was faint as she thought.
‘’It’s dangerous to go alone at this late hour, so it’d be better to go with someone.”
“I’ll do that next time. I just didn’t want to wake up anyone.”
Of course, this wasn’t a big problem for Ellea, but since it was in front of Bandel, she nodded honestly.
Bandel thought he would leave first, but perhaps concerned about her going alone in the dark night, he said,
“I will walk you to your palace.”
“No, it would be too much trouble.”
“I will accompany you, it is late.”
Ellea decided to accept his offer since Bandel did not seem to be retreating.
Ellea pointed to her side.
At the gesture, Bandel hesitated for a moment then walked side by side next to her. And this time Ellea looked at him and asked.
“By the way, Lord Bandel, why are you out? Isn’t it time to sleep?”
“I was practicing and didn’t even know it was getting late.”
“As expected, it’s Lord Bandel.”
Ellea was impressed because she knew Bandel was very enthusiastic on a regular basis, but she was worried that he might overwork himself.
”It’s good that you’re so dedicated, but I hope you don’t overwork yourself too much. It’s important to take a break.”
“I know that, too, but only in the moments of practice, when the bad thoughts disappear.”
When Bandel couldn’t sleep or his thoughts were complicated, he would move his body in this way.
Ellea knew the reason for this as well. Because it was the method she had used.
‘I see you’re still using that method.’
She was worried that maybe something had happened to Bandel, but there was nothing she could do about it now. Except for a few words.
“If you have a hard time, share it with someone. You’ll feel lighter after that.”
“Thank you for saying that.”
“What? Don’t tell me you don’t believe what I said?”
Ellea reacted to his response as if she was a little disappointed.
“It’s not like that. How can I dare to think that way about the Princess.”
“I was really serious, but now I’m a little sad.”
With a mischievous smile, she said and approached Bandel.
At the sight of her, Bandel stepped back in panic. And Ellea laughed as she took another step closer.
Seeing Bandel’s reaction made her want to tease him somehow, as if she was back in the old days.
‘In front of Bandel, I feel like my old self popping out.’
‘Still, I can’t stop myself…is it because I miss the moments of the past?’
“Princess, please step back a bit………”
”Only if you respond to what I said earlier. Then I’ll believe that you think I’m sincere.”
“Yes, of course.”
Bandel nodded hastily, hoping Ellea would back down. Having accomplished her goal, Ellea finally backed away.
“I’ll take Lord Bandel’s word for it this time. Oh, I’m almost there, so I’ll go alone. Thank you for coming with me.”
Ellea greeted Bandel as they arrived just in front of her palace and moved away, but Bandel finally came to his senses and said to her,
“If anything like today happens again, I’ll come with you. It’s dangerous to go alone.”
“If I refuse, you are not going to tell people that I came out secretly today, are you?”
“No, I would never do that.”
Ellea said it as a joke, but it was she who gave up, for Bandel took it seriously.
‘I’m no match for Bandel.’
“Okay, so you’re going to drink with me?”
Bandel seemed embarrassed by Ellea’s unexpected words. She eventually waved her hand and entered her palace, unable to hold back her laughter.
Bandel, who was soon left alone, felt a little confused. It was as if he was possessed by something on this dark night.