Chapter 1. The beginning of everything
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Arun was waiting outside, and when Chaylen opened the door and came out, he offered him the handkerchief without saying a word.
But Chaylen only passed by the white handkerchief.
“Please wipe it. The others will be surprised when they see it.”
“It’ll leave stains on the white handkerchief.”
“Then wipe it with yours. You have a black handkerchief, don’t you?”
“No, I don’t have it anymore. I gave it to someone.”
As Chaylen roughly wiped the blood off with his hands, he asked about Ellea.
“Did Ellea look okay?”
“Who, the Princess? Yes. I didn’t see any injuries. By the way, is that person really the Imperial Princess?”
“Why? She doesn’t look like one to you?”
Arun shook his head firmly, recalling Ellea’s disarray appearance he saw earlier.
“It raises suspicion because it was done by someone who didn’t even have to catch an intruder with a sword.”
“That’s why I want to get to know her. She’s different.”
“I understand this because you are an unusual person as well. Still, we have to thank her properly. I didn’t have much time to spare earlier.”
Arun was filled with gratitude for Ellea because something big could have happened if it wasn’t for her. Chaylen also thought the same.
“I should. She helped me twice today.”
“What about the intruder?”
Perhaps he had already made up his mind about that, Chaylen’s eyes had an interesting look in them.
After a long and eventful night, dawn came as if nothing had happened.
“Princess, what in the world happened?”
“So what happened was… …….”
Ellea averted her gaze as if she was a sinner in front of Jane.
“You didn’t have any wounds when you went out yesterday. When on earth did you get hurt?”
“I took them off because my shoes were too uncomfortable.”
Jane’s expression somehow relaxed, and she looked at Ellea’s bare feet, which made her look even sadder.
When Ellea returned to the palace last night, Borence was the first to find the handkerchief wrapped around her feet.
She must have mentioned it to Jane, because Jane checked Ellea’s feet as soon as she came to the room.
“It must have hurt quite a lot. Are you okay now?”
“I’m fine, I wasn’t seriously injured.”
Ellea thought it was no big deal that the wound didn’t even hurt anymore, but there was no way Jane was just going to let it go.
“It’s not fine. I’ll call the doctor.”
“No, you must be busy, but I’ll go. I have no problem walking.”
Ellea casually stood up so that Jane would feel at ease. Jane, feeling that she could not break her will, eventually gave up.
“Okay. I’ll get you some comfortable shoes for today.”
“Thank you very much.”
Ellea caught Jane as she was leaving to get ready.
“Hmm? Is there anything else you need?”
“Not really, but have you seen anyone acting suspiciously lately? Like someone asking around about me, or showing interest in my room?”
“Princess’s room? Ah! That’s right!”
At Ellea’s question, one person’s face came to Jane’s mind.
“There was such a person?”
“Yes, there was. I was going to tell the Princess about it.”
“Who is it?”
“Marie, a maid who works at the palace.”
Ellea had memorized the faces and names of all the people who worked at the palace, so as soon as she heard it, Marie’s face immediately came to her mind.
But she didn’t have much contact with her, so she didn’t know anything else about her.
Jane, on the other hand, saw this as her chance and frankly confided in her what had been troubling her.
“In fact, Marie once came up to the floor where the Princess’s room is, even though it’s not her area. I could sense that she was not friendly towards the Princess.”
“So in a word, she doesn’t like me.”
Jane nodded carefully at Ellea’s words. Ellea was pleased that she had found the rat that Shanil had planted earlier than she expected.
She had expected that if Shanil planted a person here, she would choose a maid who had a lot of contact with her.
‘You’ve chosen a very poor person. The deeper the emotions are, the more they will manifest themselves in their actions.’
Ellea engraved the information she had just received into her mind.
Jane wondered why she had not taken any action against Marie.
“Are you going to leave Marie in the palace as she is?”
“Is that alright? I’m afraid that something bad might happen to the Princess.”
“I have no solid proof, just doubts, so I’ll just wait and see. I’ll tell Borence about it myself.”
Ellea had a point, and Jane nodded, letting go of her will.
“Then I’ll take a closer look at Marie. Trust me.”
“You’re very dependable. Still, don’t do anything dangerous.”
“Yes, don’t worry.”
Jane said confidently and walked out. She was so cute in that way.
Ellea was leaving Marie alone, partly for the reasons she had mentioned earlier, but also because it was an opportunity.
Something she could use to catch Shanil.
‘Best of all, you won’t find anything suspicious at all even if you try.’
Ellea was confident. That Marie was incapable of finding anything on her own.
It was justified, but she didn’t bring any important information with her when she came to Rubain in case something like this happened.
‘But still, I have to hide it…’
Ellea opened the drawer at the bottom of her desk and looked at the pile of letters there. All the letters she had been exchanging with Bellea. She took out one of the letters that had arrived just recently and read it with great ease. Marie didn’t understand it at all.
‘Marie wouldn’t know what it said. I’m glad I did this in advance.’
The words on the letters of communication with Bellea were now unused and gone. It was because they had been used a long time ago in Zevenica, when the letters had not been standardized before Rubain and Zevenica had signed the peace agreement.
She had learned it out of curiosity when studying as an imperial Princess, but she had never thought the day would come when she would use it like this.
When Ellea had first received the letter from Bellea, she sent her response using the letters for fun.
That was how they had been communicating until now.
“Your Highness, I got you the shoes with the lowest heels.”
Having sorted out the situation in her mind, Ellea began to prepare to visit the doctor when Jane came.
As she finished her preparations, she stood up and saw two handkerchiefs on the desk that Jane had washed clean.
One was white and the other was black.
‘How did these items come to me?’
The handkerchief that Terban had given her yesterday was torn, but that didn’t mean she should throw them away, so it was washed clean.
She put the two handkerchiefs in a drawer and walked out of the room.
The palace Ellea went to visit was Wontil’s office, and he was happy to welcome her.
“It’s been a long time, Mr. Wontil. How have you been?”
“I’ve been well, Princess. What brought you here?”
While exchanging greetings with Ellea, Wontil asked her why she had come to visit.
“I need your help. I got hurt a little.”
“I see. I’ll check the wound right away.”
Wontil moved immediately when Ellea said she was injured. She showed him her feet.
“I said the wound wasn’t too deep and that I would be fine, but my maid insisted that I must go and check it out.”
“I’m sure it still hurts quite a bit, but next time you should come visit me right away.”
Wontil took care of Ellea’s feet, disinfecting it and wrapping a bandage around it so it wouldn’t stick to her shoe.
The pain was almost non-existent, probably because it had been a day, but Wontil didn’t forget to advise with his concern.
“Still, please keep it under control until it’s completely healed. If you don’t, it could get worse.”
“I will do that. My maid has done a lot of worrying for me.”
“You have really good people by your side.”
“Yes. They are too good for me.”
And so, for the first time in a long time, Ellea conversed with Wontil as if they were old friends again. After a little while, other people came in, so Ellea decided to leave.
“Since you’re busy, I’ll leave now. Thank you for the treatment.”
“Take care, Your Highness.”
Once Ellea left Wontil’s office, she could feel the warmth of the midday sun.
“It’s a pity if I go back to the palace like this. Should I take a little walk?”
Ellea felt better because of the weather and walked out of the area where the Imperial Palace buildings were located to find a quiet place. There were no other buildings around and not many people.
She was already familiar with the geography of the Imperial Palace, so she was able to quickly get to the place she liked. The sight of the wide expanse of grass and trees was soothing to the soul.
‘Yes, it’s like this. It’s been a really long time since I’ve been here too. ”
It was a familiar place to Ellea.
Ever since she had followed Terban to the Imperial Palace when she was a child, it was the place she had always fled to when she was tired of the unfamiliar life and strict training.
‘It wasn’t long before I was discovered.’
Ellea arrived under a large, shady tree, remembering those old days. She looked around the tree, feeling nostalgic.
‘This tree is still the same.’
Soon she sat down and leaned comfortably against the tree.
As she raised her head, she could see the glistening sunlight through the thick foliage of the tree.
Perhaps it was because she liked the breeze, the sunshine, and the shade of the trees, Ellea’s eyes slowly began to close and she quickly fell into a dream.
“It’s awful. You might not be able to do it because it’s your first time. I’m in pain too, but you keep complaining.”
El was sitting in the same seat where Ellea was now, with her knees gathered.
Her brown hair was tied up neatly in the same way, but her figure was smaller and her childish face was still there.
She had been practicing, and there was dirt all over her training clothes.
”I’ve been training today as usual, but it was too hard and I had to escape here.”
“I’m sure he’ll be angry.’
Still, El buried her face in her lap, worried that she had left without permission during practice time. She had all kinds of anxious thoughts.
“Can I really do it? I don’t have any talent.”
El was greatly surprised that the person who had asked her to go with him was the Crown Prince, and since then she had been living in the Imperial Palace.
Of course, there were a lot of good things about it, because it was a much nicer place to live and there was much better food than before.
But the training was just too demanding to offset that.
She couldn’t understand why Terban brought her here to do this kind of training, because there were many knights with better skills than her.
“Oh, I don’t know.”
El leaned against the tree and closed her eyes in silence, thinking nothing of it.
“Let’s postpone the next one until later.”
She fell asleep quickly, probably tired from the early training. Time passed in such a fleeting manner that before she knew it, there was a shadow looking down at her as she fell asleep.