Chapter 1. The beginning of everything
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After finishing her morning routine, Ellea left the palace and was heading elsewhere. Her face was also full of anticipation of what was to come.
‘I didn’t have time, so I procrastinated and now I’m going.’
Maybe it was because of the anticipation, her steps were getting faster and faster, and she was just looking ahead that she didn’t notice the eyes that had found her.
And that they were following her to the end.
Soon Ellea’s feet stopped in front of a large door. She walked inside without hesitation.
The door closed behind her and instantly everything around her became quiet.
Ellea’s destination was none other than the library. Large bookshelves filled the space and were packed with books. To one side, there were desks and chairs.
‘It’s been a really long time since I’ve been in a library.’
It was a little awkward, not a place she used to frequent even when she was El, but she quite liked the quietness.
When her mind was complicated by training and work, El came here sometimes to get away from the people, to clear her thoughts in a quiet place.
Ellea greeted the librarian and entered carefully.
‘What’s the first thing children can learn easily?’
Remembering her purpose for coming to the library today, she began to scurry around the various bookshelves, looking for books. Something that would be easy for the children to understand and be interested in….
Now that they were getting used to writing and reading, it was time for them to start learning the basics.
Considering the children, she picked up a few books in her hands, but as if that wasn’t enough, she went to the other bookshelves to have a look and found a book she liked right away.
‘I’m sure they’ll find the history of the Empire interesting as well.’
Ellea reaches for it quickly with joy.
She reached out with all her might once more, but she couldn’t reach the book. She even stood on her toes, but it was still the same.
‘What is it? It was so easy to reach before.’
Before, as El she was tall enough to reach it easily, but now as Ellea, she couldn’t do it.
She hurried to find a foothold she could climb up, but she couldn’t see one anywhere.
She reached out with a stubborn hand, not wanting to call the librarian. She felt like she could reach it in a few moments, and as she tried her best, another hand suddenly appeared in her field of vision.
That hand took the book she was reaching for with ease. The thought that it was somehow similar to what she had experienced before passed through her mind for a moment.
Ellea turned around in surprise, and before she knew it, someone was standing behind her. She checked his face curiously, but at that moment, she couldn’t help but be surprised.
As if he knew she was going to scream, the man covered Ellea’s mouth with his hand and then said in a low voice.
“This is the library.”
The other person finally put his hand down when Ellea nodded as if she understood. She quickly inquired in a low voice,
“Why are you here?”
“I want to ask you this time. Why are you here?”
Chaylen asked the same question, looking at the surprised expression on Ellea’s face. Because he was wondering himself why she was in the Imperial Palace and in this library.
Having finished his conversation with Duke Raymir earlier, Chaylen achieved his purpose and left the building of the conference hall in a lighter mood.
As soon as he was about to return to his mansion, he spotted someone walking somewhere in a hurry.
At first he thought he had made a mistake. Perhaps he wanted it to be true so desperately that he was seeing things. But no matter how many times he rubbed his eyes and looked, he was still struck by the one he wished so much to see.
Chaylen hurried after Ellea, and fortunately he didn’t miss her and reached the library. He entered and found her among the bookshelves.
‘It wasn’t an illusion.’
Standing there in the sunshine, it seemed as if Ellea was shining in Chaylen’s eyes. So when he saw that she was struggling to get her book out, he approached to help her.
He smiled with great joy that he happened to see her again by chance.
Ellea couldn’t speak loudly because she was in the library, but she was beyond surprised. She was half joking yesterday, but she couldn’t believe they ran into each other so soon the next day.
‘Is it really a coincidence?’
Her bewilderment was short-lived, and she quickly regained her composure and reached for the book in Chaylen’s hand.
But for some reason, Chaylen just avoided her hand, and at the sight of it, Ellea reached out again, but still couldn’t reach the book.
Unable to bear the sight, she began to whisper to Chaylen.
“What are you doing now? That’s the book I was trying to pick out.”
“You pretended as if you didn’t like it but you liked what I did.”
Putting her question behind her, Chaylen’s gaze turned to the black handkerchief covering Ellea’s wrist.
Ellea was embarrassed by the gaze, so she hid her hand behind her and made excuses in a hurry.
“There’s nothing special about it. It is used to cover the bruise…………”
“So you’re saying you don’t hate it.”
In fact, it was none other than Chaylen himself who liked it when he was it. Because Ellea was using his things.
Ellea hurriedly decided to leave the place because she thought she would fall into his trap if she continued the conversation this way.
“Give me the book quickly. Why do you keep taking what I chose first?”
“Wait a minute. I’m curious what book is it that you’re so anxious to take back. It is not a racy book, is it?”
When Ellea kept asking for a book, Chaylen tried to check the contents. Ellea couldn’t stand it anymore, so she took a step closer while he was off guard.
Startled by her sudden approach, Chaylen tried to back away, but was unable to do so as he was blocked by the bookshelves.
The moment Ellea reached out and lifted her feet to take the book, the distance between them became completely close.
Chaylen was completely transfixed by the sight of her face so close to his, and with his heart beating faster, he couldn’t move his body.
‘What’s wrong with me all of a sudden?’ (Chaylen)
Thanks to this, Ellea was able to easily take the book from Chaylen. Even then, Chaylen just stood still and showed no reaction. When Ellea stared at him with a puzzled expression, Chaylen’s voice came out a little shaky as he finally came to his senses.
“Why did you suddenly approach me like that….” (Chaylen)
“You should have given it back when I asked for it. Why were you so stubborn?” (Ellea)
Instead of reading the book leisurely in the library like she planned, she decided to check out the book because of Chaylen’s sudden appearance.
Passing by him, who was still absent-minded, Ellea checked out the book at the front desk and left the library. Woken by Ellea’s action, Chaylen hurried out of the library after Ellea.
Ellea was about to go back to the palace, but she was bothered by Chaylen, who kept following her, so she eventually stopped and looked back.
“But why do you keep following me? Let’s go our separate ways.”
“Aren’t you forgetting something?”
“What is it?”
Despite saying this, when Ellea asked as if she really didn’t know, Chaylen couldn’t stand it and brought up why she had forgotten.
“You promised me. Next time we meet, you would tell me your name.”
At Chaylen’s words, Ellea finally remembered the promise she had made. And she blamed herself for saying it so recklessly without knowing what would happen later.
Inwardly, she hoped he would forget, but it seemed unlikely.
‘I’m an idiot. I shouldn’t have promised so easily.’
She tried not to get involved with this man, but somehow she ended up getting tangled again. Her vow was overshadowed.
Still, Ellea brought up something else just in case he might forget.
“By the way, what brings you to the Imperial Palace? From the way you are dressed, I think there’s something special going on.” (Ellea)
“Don’t change the subject, I know exactly what you’re thinking. It’s not too late to talk about that after you tell me what you promised. Now, tell me your name.” (Chaylen)
‘Ugh, it doesn’t work.’ (Ellea)
When Chaylen came out stubbornly, it was Ellea who gave up. Anyway, it was true that they had met three times by chance.
It made her feel a little strange. They didn’t know each other at all, but they kept meeting like this. And also they lived far away.
As soon as Ellea thought about it, she couldn’t help but burst into laughter.
“Why are you laughing?”
“Come to think of it, it’s really fascinating. I was just saying it, but we really met three times. That’s just a coincidence, and at this point, I thought I should just give up.”
“You’re interested in me, aren’t you?”
“Not that much, no.”
Chaylen didn’t mind that kind of reaction from Ellea either. No, it was rather good. Because the last time they’d met, she desperately pushed him away, but not now.
At this point, Ellea was also a little curious. Who on earth was this man that suddenly appeared in front of her?
“It’s the first time it took this long to introduce myself.” (Ellea)
“The same goes for me, too. Come on, say it quickly. I’ve been waiting for a long time.” (Chaylen)
“Well, yes, a promise is a promise.” (Ellea)
The moment when Ellea was going to say her name.
“Why are you two together?”
But before Ellea could say her full name, there was a voice called out to them both.
Ellea turned, startled by the familiar voice, and found herself eye to eye with Terban, who was with his aide some distance away.
‘What’s wrong with my luck today?’ (Ellea)
Her expression of headache at having met Terban in this situation of all places was quickly replaced by a bowed greeting.
“I’m seeing the Emperor.”
Meanwhile, Terban approached them, and Chaylen also bowed to the Emperor. Terban thought it strange that the two were here together, so he turned to Chaylen and asked.
“Why is Duke Chaylen with the Princess?”
There was silence for a while at Terban’s question. Then, the two looked at each other and spoke at the same time.
They could only stare blankly, surprised at each other’s identity, which was far beyond their expectations.