Chapter 1. The beginning of everything
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Terban walked out of the banquet hall, noticing that Shanil was invisible while talking to others.
Just as he was about to enter the break room, he stopped at a familiar name that was being mentioned.
Then he turned his head.
“Did you see that? Princess Ellea was wagging her tail again.”
‘Princess Ellea was wagging her tail?’
Terban, who had headed in the opposite direction of the break room, stopped a short distance away at the more distinct voice.
Sneaking a look, he saw that the three ladies had gathered and were talking.
The area was quiet outside the banquet hall, so the dialogue could be heard clearly and well. They were so focused on their conversation that they didn’t even notice that Terban was there.
“Of course. She danced with a look on her face that said she knows nothing, but it’s really not that interesting.”
“I’m sure she was flirting with Duke Chaylen. If not then why did the Duke ask her to dance when they don’t know each other. Surely she must have used her status as an Imperial Princess to pressure her.”
Terban’s brows furrowed involuntarily at the bad talk about Ellea.
The Princess of Zevenica was not someone to be treated carelessly, and yet they were accusing her of actions with groundless stories.
As soon as Terban was about to leave, he was immediately stopped by what he heard afterwards.
“You heard the other day. The Princess approached His Majesty with another intention as well. I should have started looking into it then.”
“Really? How can she’s the Imperial Princess?”
‘What the hell is this?’
Terban’s mind raced with what the ladies were saying.
At that moment he remembered that day when Ellea and Shanil had teatime.
All the pieces of the puzzle fit together along with Ellea’s sharp reaction to his words that day.
No wonder she had reacted so sharply.
‘Because of this story.’
When Young Lady Han was surprised when she heard the story, the other Lady added.
“I was also there, but from what I heard, the approach must have been intentional. She went out of her way to visit His Majesty’s direct Order of knights and met His Majesty by feigning coincidence. Isn’t it too obvious?”
“The word ‘excuse’ makes me laugh, and Lady Shanil just took it as a favor, so we ended up stepping down. Lady Heris, who was beside her, was also conceited because the Princess was being nice to her. She was nothing when she was alone.”
Whether it was true that the Lady was there at the tea party or not, she talked about that time without any hesitation. Then she put more emotions into her voice as she asked.
“Then did she intentionally do that to Duke Chaylen today?”
As the subject of their conversation shifted to Chaylen, Terban interrupted them.
He didn’t want any more of Ellea coming out of their mouths with things that weren’t true.
“Now, stop talking.”
When Terban appeared with a cold voice, the ladies who had been happily conversing bowed their heads as if their souls had been drained.
The hidden eyes moved quickly, trying to get an idea of how far he had heard.
“Ah, we are seeing the Emperor.”
Terban, however, had no intention of accepting their greeting.
Gently raising their heads, the ladies were busy exchanging glances with each other, wondering.
“You were so good at talking earlier, why are you so quiet now?”
“Your Majesty, that’s……….”
Terban wasn’t going to listen to their excuses.
He didn’t know why he was so angry, but for some reason his emotions got the better of him.
“If you’re smart, I think it would be wise to shut up now. That is, if you know how big a mistake you just made.”
Overwhelmed by Terban’s sharp tone and atmosphere, the ladies could not speak easily due to fear. Then, after taking stock of the situation, they apologized.
“I’m sorry, Your Majesty.”
“It was out of concern for Lady Shanil…..”
“You don’t know how big it would be if the ridiculous story you just talked about went into the ears of the Princess, and Zevenica empire. Your parents should also know what their children are talking about outside.”
Terban’s words made them realize that the situation was more serious than they thought, and they knelt down to ask for forgiveness. Before long, their faces were filled with tears.
“We’ve made a big mistake.”
“Yes, we will not let it happen again. Please forgive us once.”
The ladies begged desperately, even showing tears, but it was no use.
Because Terban had no intention of forgiving them from the moment he heard their story.
“You’d better be prepared, because I will inform your parents about this as it is and punish you for it.”
Despite the tearful pleas of the ladies, Terban calmly turned away.
Feeling frustrated, he did not enter the banquet hall, but stepped towards the garden of the Duke’s residence. He felt the cool air, but the frustration was not immediately lifted.
Terban now knew for sure that he had done wrong to Ellea that day…
He could understand now why Ellea had reacted so sharply. How insulting those words must have felt to her.
Terban could see the compassion and sincerity she showed the Order, and most importantly, contrary to the words of the ladies, Ellea had no such intentions. He didn’t know that and blamed only Ellea.
“What should I do now…?”
Telvan couldn’t pinpoint what words to use to apologize for the fact that he had hurt Ellea.
Before he knew it, instead of the fact that she was “Princess of Zevenica, his mind was filled only with the feeling of sorry for Ellea.
Meanwhile, Raymir and Shanil were still talking, unable to imagine that anyone would eavesdrop on their conversation.
“Have there been any special developments on the Emperor’s side? Especially about Duke Chaylen?
“There are no relevant reports. However, he did seem to approve of the idea of Chaylen himself a Duke.”
“He hadn’t talked to the emperor about it yet. He’s probably watching him right now. To see if the Emperor is on his side or not…”
Raymir had a rough idea of how the situation would play out, based on that one fact alone that Shanil had given him.
Then, knowing that he still had a chance, he smiled.
“If the one I sent today brings something to the table, it will be our side that has seized the opportunity to win. We have far more allies than Chaylen. He had already made a few enemies.”
“Good. We’ll get what we want anyway, just like we did then, father.”
Raymir was already convinced. That he would be the victor in the battle with Chaylen, and that it would be the Kaicher who would disappear like that time in the past.
“The maidservant I’ve planted in the Princess’s palace should also be working hard for me. She’s a lot more useful than I thought. I liked the fact that she hates the Princess the most.”
Shanil remembered Marie’s display of loyalty in front of her, and decided to wait comfortably for the news she would bring.
Ellea’s weakness would be brought before her without moving her fingers.
Having landed safely on the ground from the terrace, Ellea began to move in earnest.
“First, let’s get rid of these annoying shoes.”
Ellea looked around the area, and when she didn’t see anyone, she hid them among the bushes. Then she quickly left the banquet hall and headed for the main building of the Duke’s mansion.
The main building was not far away, and Raymir was right, it was deserted because of the banquet.
Certainly because the man who oversaw the mansion’s business, Arun, was also in the banquet hall.
Ellea felt guilty about breaking into the house without permission, but considering the urgency of the situation, she decided to just solve the problem.
‘I think they will look for the room or office where Chaylen stays.’
Thinking of where they could find information on Chaylen, Ellea began to climb the stairs.
She figured his space would be on the top floor as Chaylen was the Duke, so she headed right up there.
From the moment she arrived, she killed her breath to the maximum extent, from the sound of her footsteps to the sound of her breath. Because there must be an intruder nearby.
‘Is it a ‘battle of probabilities’?’
Ellea decided to check from the closest of the several rooms in line, and stood in front of it, checking for signs of life inside before slowly opening the door.
The room, however, was empty.
Ellea didn’t relax, and went inside and checked the rooms one by one, fortunately or not, every time she opened it, the room was empty.
‘Are there only two more left?’
With only two doors left, she opened one of them and carefully stepped inside. There was no sign of anyone here either. But it was different from the others.
‘This seems to be the room where Chaylen stays.’
Unlike previous rooms, it was filled with old-fashioned furniture and showed signs of having been used by someone. So Ellea assumed it was Chaylen’s room.
‘Since it’s not here, the only thing left is the next room.’
But Ellea wasn’t sure if the spy had already left this place, or was still here.
Still, to hurry once more, she left Chaylen’s room and put her hand on the doorknob. But for some reason, unlike before, she stood still without opening the door.
At that moment, a smile appeared on her lips, which didn’t suit this situation, and Ellea closed her eyes for a while before opening them again.
Then she quickly dodged out of the way while opening the door.
As soon as the door opened, what she saw was a man, who came in with a sharp swing of his sword. If Ellea had stayed in the same position, some part of her body would have been pierced by the sword. But since she avoided it, the person who swung the sword with all his might came into the room unbalanced.
He looked upset that there was no one there, unlike what he had expected.
“What is it?”
Ellea, who had been watching the situation from the beginning, deliberately closed the door hard without taking any action. At the sound, the intruder’s eyes turned to her.
“You are so bad at this. You couldn’t hide your presence when you were standing in front of the door earlier. I could hear your tense breathing all the way from the other side of the door.”
Ellea kindly explained what she had noticed earlier.
Soon after he came to his senses, the intruder fixed the sword again and quickly swung the sword at her, who was unarmed.