Chapter 1. The beginning of everything
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Ellea sat feeling the breeze and glanced at Terban by her side. Her gaze naturally landed on his face as she passed his black hair dancing in the wind and the closed eyes.
Perhaps sensing that gaze of Ellea, Terban opened his mouth with his eyes still closed and asked an unexpected question.
“Who were you waiting for? I hope you find what you’re looking for here.”
At Ellea’s reaction, Terban opened his eyes, and turned his head slightly and looked at her. His blue eyes, which had been invisible earlier, were looking directly at her precisely for that moment.
However, Ellea couldn’t remember what she had said in her dream, so she didn’t even know what the question meant.
“What do you mean, ‘who were I waiting for’?”
“Don’t you remember what you said earlier?”
“What did I say?”
‘Did I say something strange in my sleep?’ (Ellea) (*She said ‘Did you come to find me?’)
Since Ellea didn’t seem to remember anything at all, Terban decided to let it go.
‘I don’t think the words meant anything.’ (Terban)
“Nothing. It’s not important.”
Terban deliberately erased from his mind the words that Ellea had said in her sleep. It was just a coincidence, he thought.
But this coincidence kept happening over and over again, and Terban was a little confused. When he thought about it, he felt such a sense of déjà vu from the first conversation he had with Ellea. He thought it didn’t make sense.
“You’re making a serious face all of a sudden.”
Ellea asked curiously as she saw Terban was quiet and seemed to be deep in thought. However, he suddenly asked her instead of answering her question.
“Have you been going to nursery school lately?”
“Yes, I try to go as regularly as possible. The last time I went, I brought them new clothes, and they were very happy.”
Ellea talked about what had happened with the children, and before long, she sounded happy. Terban could easily picture the look on her face now.
And while he was bringing up the nursery, he decided to help in other ways, since he couldn’t go himself.
“About sponsoring the nursery……..”
However, unaware of his intentions, Ellea spoke first.
“I was thinking about that part. Fortunately, I think someone wants to sponsor it.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, I’m really glad.”
‘Of course, I haven’t told the person involved yet.’ (Ellea)
In the end, Terban had to swallow the words he was about to say.
“It’s a beautiful day. I think they’re having fun playing outside.”
When he looked at the expansive meadow at Ellea’s words, he naturally pictured the children running around and playing in the garden.
Also, the cheerful voices of the children who called Ellea.
Perhaps it was because he was feeling more comfortable at this moment, or perhaps it was because he wanted to say it for the first time in a long time, but one name came out naturally from Terban’s mouth.
“But they’re doing well, so you don’t have to worry…”
Ellea was talking about how the children were doing well, and as soon as he called her name she stopped speaking.
When Ellea turned her head slightly to the side, she saw Terban looking at her as he said ‘El’.
At that moment her heart skipped a beat.
Coming to the Imperial Palace, Raymir spotted someone talking to another nobleman and hurried over to him.
“Ah, Duke Raymir. Did you return safely that day?”
“Yes. Thanks to you, I had a great time that day. I’d like to have a word with Duke Chaylen.”
At Raymir’s words, the person who had been conversing with Chaylen moved away, leaving the two of them. Chaylen asked Raymir curiously.
“What do you want to say to me?”
“Don’t make such an expression. We all know what happened. I received the goods you sent in the cart.”
Raymir raised his voice excitedly, his earlier smile gone. Chaylen reacted as if he had finally realized what he was talking about.
“Oh, I forgot about it. So you received the gift. I even wrapped it carefully and sent it to you, hoping you would like it.”
Chaylen didn’t have the formal smile on his face that he had shown earlier as he spoke.
“How dare you..” (Raymir)
“If you wanted to know about me, you should have sent the right person. I was looking forward to it, but it was too bad.” (Chaylen)
Raymir’s face became redder and redder, as if Chaylen’s words had angered him, but he quickly pulled himself together and looked elated.
“But he was too emotional and made a mistake. However, it’s good for me that you killed him and helped me get rid of the evidence. Thank you for saving me the trouble.” (Raymir)
Raymir said this to mock Chaylen’s stupidity, but what Chaylen saw was Raymir’s unpleasantness.
He didn’t hide the cold look in his eyes when he killed the intruder, even in front of Raymir.
“That had nothing to do with me from the beginning. Did you think I was a fool who didn’t know that?”
“I don’t need any proof, because I’m going to end this all by myself. Otherwise, why would I make Uncle Peisen just like that boy Duke Raymir sent?”
Chaylen remembered that moment, and with joy, a murderous look came into his eyes. Raymir took an involuntary step back, momentarily terrified.
“What do you mean?” (Raymir)
“Are you asking me this because you really don’t know? Or how do you think I got the Duke’s title back from that greedy uncle?” (Chaylen)
“You killed him………..”
Chaylen pointed his sword at Peisen’s neck to get his things back and to make him pay for his past.
Peisen knelt on his knees and prayed for help, as the intruder did, but Chaylen didn’t even blink.
“Do you think I didn’t find anything about that time at all? You just have to die, uncle.”
When Raymir looked at him like he was shameless, Chaylen just gasped. Because Raymir was the most shameless person here.
“Why are you so surprised? I think that this is nothing compared to what Duke Raymir had committed.” (Chaylen)
Raymir hissed, a very uncomfortable expression on his face at Chaylen’s words.
“Now, what do you mean by that?” (Raymir)
Chaylen had expected Raymir to act this shameless beforehand.
“I have only one goal: to pay back that horrible time I experienced. That’s why I ran away so desperately that day, Duke Raymir. So, you should look forward to the future. What gifts I will give you from now on.” (Chaylen)
Having said that much, Chaylen walked past Raymir. There was not even a small smile on his face.
‘I won’t kill you easy like I killed Peisen.’ (Chaylen)
When Terban suddenly called her “El”, Ellea could not hide her confusion.
“Why did you call me that…?”
She didn’t get an immediate response from Terban, and her mind grew increasingly anxious with the uncertainty of what could possibly be going on.
‘Did he find out something?’
But despite Ellea’s thoughts, Terban’s answer was surprisingly simple. And she even felt dejected for being so nervous.
“Don’t the children call you ‘El’? Why are you so surprised?”
“Oh, that’s….. Your Majesty calls me that without warning, so naturally I am surprised.”
‘It’s a relief.’
While Ellea was relieved, Terban wondered at her sharp reaction. It was as if he shouldn’t call her by that name.
“Such a reaction is rather odd. Your family calls you that too, why are you so surprised?”
“No, that’s …….”
It was hard for Ellea to say anything else when Terban was stating the facts.
“From the story of the knight last time I heard, Your Majesty didn’t want to mention that name. It’s just a coincidence that we have the same name.”
“It’s the same, but the one I called just now was the Princess.”
“But I didn’t give you permission. I did tell the children to call me that.”
“So I guess I’ll just have to get permission from the Princess, then.”
When Terban didn’t lose a word, Ellea decided to say the same back.
“Then I’ll do the same. I’ll call Your Majesty by name, so……”
At the sight of Ellea repeating the same words and not being able to continue to the end, Terban realized what she wanted to say and took over instead.
“You’re going to call me by my name? It’s Terban.”
But it was Ellea who gave up first. It was unimaginable that she would call Terban by his name.
“Anyway, please call me as you normally do. Don’t call me by my nickname.”
“Why not? That’s what everyone calls the Princess.”
When Terban responded that he didn’t understand, Ellea murmured in a quiet voice,
“Because my name is Ellea, not El.”
When Ellea said no to the end, Terban decided to stop there.
In fact, he had said that on purpose to see Ellea’s reaction, and didn’t intend to call her by that name in the first place.
‘There’s no way I can call the name El casually.’
“Of course I was joking, Princess Ellea.”
Terban’s assured answer finally put Elea at ease. It had to be the end for him to call her El.
Terban watched her obvious relief without missing a single moment. It was as if he had been stubborn at that moment.
It was the fact that she dared not allow him to.
When the conversation was over and silence fell, Telvan searched for words to say, and fortunately remembered the contents of the document he had looked at earlier.
“Do you like to ride horses, Princess? I’ve seen you ride before and you seem to be good at it.”
“Well, yes, I don’t mind it.”
“Then the nobles will be gathering soon…………..”
Ellea asked curiously.
“Oh, the riding tournament?”
“Did you know about it?”
“Ah, yes, I heard from the maidservant that there was such an event. I’m a bit curious about it.”
Terban wasn’t too suspicious of Ellea’s quick excuse. It was true that she seemed to be interested in this.
El attended the event every year with Terban, so she was well aware of the event. It was a small game that many noblemen gathered to enjoy, and they competed in skills such as hitting the target with arrows based on riding.
When Ellea showed great interest, Terban said, as if he had done well.
“Then the Princess should attend too. There is no need to feel burdened, as this is a place where nobles and ladies as well as those who do not ride horses can enjoy themselves. The horses can be prepared by the court.”
“Okay, that sounds fun.”
Back then she had to guard Terban and didn’t have time to enjoy that day, now Ellea gladly accepted the invitation.
When Ellea showed joy unlike before, Terban was relieved in his heart.
He certainly didn’t realize that he was concerned about her feelings. Then there was a pair of eyes that watched them together from a distance. They (the eyes) showed the emotion of shock.
“I need to let her know about this as soon as possible.”
The eyes only looked that far and hurried out of the place.