Chapter 1. The beginning of everything
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“I …..was just jealous of Lady Shanil.”
El’s reply rang the prison. Terban did not fully understand the answer, but he asked again with certainty, knowing that El did not deny it.
“So you are admitting that you did it?”
As she had already decided, El wanted to end it. Picture this situation, this feeling….So, this time, she raised her slightly slumped head, faced Terban straight on and said.
“Yes, I did it.”
The expression on El’s face was resolute, not befitting her current situation. She looked like a knight on the battlefield.
El didn’t waver, she didn’t take her gaze off Terban, and neither did Terban. At this moment when El faced Terban, there was only one thought that filled her mind.
‘With so little time left, I’d like to have one last glimpse of Terban.’
However, perhaps because it was dark, she couldn’t know more today what Terban’s eyes meant when he looked at her from a close distance.
Disappointment, contempt, or betrayal… No matter how much El tried to guess, she couldn’t come up with any good ideas.
“Is that the only reason you did it?”
‘I expected this kind of reaction, but it hurts more.’
It hurt like her heart was being torn apart by his cruel look and voice, but El finally pulled herself together.
But maybe it was the feeling that it was the last time, or maybe it was the fact that she didn’t think she had a chance anymore, but she couldn’t help but feel the emotion in his words.
“Don’t say it’s nothing. Your Majesty says it’s nothing, but to me… it was not nothing.”
El looked so desperate that the Terban could not refute. He didn’t know why but she looked so sad.
At that moment, El didn’t have time to say anything, because the familiar pain came again. She was still in front of Terban, but it was something different from the pain she had felt before.
In the pain that was now tearing through her body, El tried, leaning against the wall as if she was fine, and repeated urgently in her mind.
‘Please hang in there for a little bit longer, Until His Majesty leaves.’
Terban was completely unaware of this situation with El, and finally showed his true feelings. He had always hoped that it would not be El despite all the evidence.
“Tomorrow you will tell me in front of many people that you did not do it. It’s all a misunderstanding. Then I’ll save your life somehow. If you want to live, then do it.”
Even though El was in pain all over her body, she did not let Terban’s voice escape her. And she was curious about what Terban’s intention was for saying that.
“Why are you giving me such an opportunity? I was going to kill Lady Shanil. And yet you have come here to tell me this?”
Terban’s words choked for the first time at El’s question. In fact, Terban himself did not know the reason.
If others had endangered Shenil, he would have sentenced them to death without mercy, but why couldn’t do so with El… So he had no choice but to say this complicated mind.
“Because you were my knight. We were together for a long time.”
‘I am and will always be a knight to you, aren’t I?’
El thought in self-mockery, barely able to hold herself back from falling over and looking straight at Terban as she replied.
“No, I’d give the same answer right here. And it’s……aackkkkk”
At that moment, El’s rough cough interrupted her next words, and Terban was so startled by the scene before him that even words were hard to come by.
Blood that she vomited began to wet El’s hands and mouth.
She wished to hang on a little longer, as it was not yet time for that, but her wish was overshadowed and the end was approaching.
El, who vomited blood again, slowly closed her eyes and fell to the floor.
Terban, startled by her appearance, hurriedly called for the knights. The knights rushed in and opened the door.
Terban hurried into the prison and held the fallen El in his arms.
El opened her eyes again at Terban’s earnest call, but her breathing was still labored, as if it was about to disappear.
“What is this?”
“Come on, the royal court!”
El grabbed Terban, who was about to pick her up, with all her might, and Terban was unable to move. Meanwhile, El desperately tried to make eye contact with him,
As El felt her heartbeat slowing down, she knew that this was really the last time.
Then, gathering her courage, she weakly lifted her bloody hand and gently touched Terban’s cheek. Then she carefully observed Terban’s face.
At the same time, the time she had spent with him passed by.
El could barely hold on to her consciousness to keep it from disappearing and locked gazes with Terban, but his eyes were already shaking.
With the last of her strength, she told Terban. Only for Terban.
“Your Majesty… Sometimes everything you see may not be true.”
“Please forget about me in your Majesty’s memory. Everything from the beginning to now.”
El repeated in her mind what she had longed for from the moment she knew her fate, from the moment she had the name Terban in her heart.
‘I pray that if I am granted the next life, I will never again wish to meet His Majesty, and if we meet, I hope that we will pass each other without knowing it. Your Majesty….I hope you don’t recognize me.’
This was El’s desperate wish, hidden in a corner of her heart. She didn’t want to see Terban again so that if the afterlife she was given, she wouldn’t be so heartbroken.
She never wanted to love him again. And this was also the vow she made to herself.
That from this moment on, she would abandon this heart, and never put his name in her heart again. With those last words, El’s whole body relaxed, and the hand that touched Terban fell away. Then her eyes closed completely.
Terban shook El’s body and tried to wake her up, but unlike before, she didn’t even open her eyes. No, he couldn’t even feel the faint breaths.
Terban’s heart was pounding faster than ever as he hurriedly called out El’s name.
Soon, he emerged from the prison with El in his arms and ran frantically leaving behind the panicked knights.
El’s body was gradually cooling down, and an ominous feeling of foreboding hung in the air.
Terban took El in his arms and went to where the palace was, and as luck would have it, Wontil was there. Wontil looked at Terban and tried to be polite, but those thoughts vanished when he saw El, covered in blood, cradled in Terban’s chest.
“Your Majesty, what is this all about?”
“Look at her condition. She suddenly vomited blood and collapsed.”
He laid El down on the bed and ordered her to be examined, and Wontil hurried to check on El’s condition. But just as Terban had felt, El had already stopped breathing.
Wontil, who already knew everything, was not sure whether to tell the truth, but he made up his mind firmly on El’s face, who was closing her eyes peacefully, as if she was dreaming a happy dream, and bowed his head to Terban.
‘I’ll grant you your last wish. So don’t be sick in your next life.’
“Your Majesty, he already stopped breathing. And I think he took poison and committed suicide.”
Terban barely managed to keep his strength from slipping away and collapsing at those words. Then his gaze went to El, who had her eyes closed.
She was never going to wake up again. He couldn’t believe that this moment was real. Surely it was El who had been guarding his side before this, and now she was dead.
The moment he saw El close her eyes, he was reminded of all the times they had spent together since they were children.
The way she laughed, the way she struggled, the way she sweated and trained hard, the way she stood by him…. And also the moment they first met.
Terban was thinking for a long time, and it was hard to breathe, as if he was blocked by something. He loosened his tight collar, but as time went by, he felt suffocated.
“Why is my heart so……..”
Wontil called Terban out of concern, but he turned his back on El and said.
“El’s body is handled by the court.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
And Terban hurried out of there, leaving the dead El behind. But his steps seemed perilous, as if he had lost his way.
The next day, Shanil received the news that El had committed suicide.
Shanil was so flustered that she asked the maidservant who brought the news again.
“He died? Suicide?”
“Yes. So the trial that was scheduled for today will not be held.”
“Of course not. The sinner is dead.”
Shanil left her room and headed for Terban’s palace, but despite the fact that it was morning, he wasn’t there and she was told that he hadn’t come all night. So she went to his office, thinking he would be there.
And when she opened the door and entered, she found Terban sitting in a daze.
At the sight of Terban sitting there without answering, Shanil approached him and finally Terban raised his head and looked at her.
When Shanil found blood on Terban’s face and tried to raise her hand to wipe it, Terban grabbed her hand to stop her.
The blood was the last trace of El.
*I’m not crying, you are 😭