Chapter 8. The end and the beginning

 

****

 

“I heard the news. I heard Sir El committed suicide.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“The blood?”

 

“It’s El’s blood. He vomited blood in front of me. It’s really………”

 

Shenil hugged Terban, comforting him.

 

“I know, Terban, your heart must be in a lot of pain.”

 

Despite her words, a smile spread across Shanil’s mouth. Terban would never be able to see it.

 

‘You came out so brazenly at that moment, trying to commit suicide.’ 

 

Shanil couldn’t hide her joy, for El’s death had completed her perfect crime.

 

No one would ever be able to reveal that she had framed El. But on the other hand, there was a sense of regret.

 

‘I wanted to see him beheaded in person.’

 

Shenil was too drunk with happiness that she had defeated El to notice what kind of emotions in Terban’s eyes as he thought of El.

 

***

 

“That’s….”

 

El was so familiar with the scene in front of her that she realized at once what the situation was.

 

It was a large man and two children who backed away in fear of him. Those children in their worn out clothes must have been abandoned by their parents, just like her.

 

El looked down at her small hands, knowing full well that the big man was someone she couldn’t deal with, but she didn’t hesitate to approach him.

 

She grabbed one of the sharp stones that was lying on the floor randomly. Then there was a pair of eyes, watching the scene from a short distance away.

 

“Hey, how dare you talk back to me!”

 

El stood in front of the children as the man threatened them, and at her appearance the man looked down at El, who was much smaller than he was with something in her hand.

 

“What are you doing?” (The man)

 

“Hurry up and run away.” (Young El)

 

El spoke, ignoring the man, and the children hesitated, then quickly rushing away.

 

At the sight of them, the man became angry with El and raised his voice. But El did not retreat easily.

 

“You little thing. Now get out of my way!”

 

“I’m not retreating. What did I do wrong?”

 

When the man tried to push El to the ground, El hit the man’s foot with the stone she was holding.

 

The man’s shoes weren’t very thick, so the pointy stone dug deep, scratching the man’s foot.

 

“Ah! This kid!”

 

El never flinched at the man’s threat. It was like she was not afraid of him at all.

 

Just before the angry man’s hand could reach El, someone grabbed his hand.

 

“What is it? Who are you?”

 

“It’s ugly. An adult taking on a child.”

 

“What the hell, man? Aren’t you going to let me go?”

 

As the defiance continued, the person who wore a robe raised the man’s hand tightly, and the man struggled in pain.

 

The robed person was smaller in size than the man, but the man knew he was no match for him, so the man hurriedly said.

 

“All right, all right, let go of me.”

 

With his hurt hand, the man quickly left the scene. El looked at the fleeing man and looked up at the person in front of her who had saved her.

 

However, she quickly lost interest and just walked on by, but for some reason the unidentified person approached El.

 

“They was retty reckless. You can’t expect to win against them.” 

 

“You never know. Will the goddess of victory choose me just this once?” (Young El)

 

El’s words came as a surprise to him, and the other person briefly burst into laughter. He didn’t show his face, but from his rather low voice, he sounded like a man.

 

“It seems that that goddess of victory has chosen me instead of you.” (Unidentified person)

 

“Is there anything you wish to say to me?” (Young El)

 

“I like your eyes.” 

 

“My eyes?” (Young El)

 

The man lowered himself in front of El and took off his robe. It was the first time in her life El had seen dark hair and blue eyes that unexpectedly clashed close together.

 

He was by far the most beautiful person El had ever seen in her life.

 

“Who are you?” (Young El)

 

“‘I’m Terban. Would you like to come with me?” 

 

“You want me to go with you?” (Young El)

 

“Yes. I see that you are alone.” (Terban)

 

Terban was right. El was alone in this empire, and the only person she could trust was herself.

 

But that didn’t mean she was naive enough to follow someone she just met for the first time.

 

 

“Am I useful to you?” (Young El)

 

“I told you I liked your eyes. I’m sure you’ll be useful to me.”

 

When El still hesitated, Terban replied exactly what El had said earlier.

 

“I believe in whoever the Goddess of Victory chooses.”

 

With that, Terban held out his hand to El. Seeing the hand and the man’s face, El hesitated, and then, with courage, she put her hand on the man’s hand.

 

Terban took El’s small hand and smiled lightly.

 

“Huh?”

 

Strangely for some reasons, El couldn’t take her off Terban’s smile. Unknowingly, she left her guard down and smiled too.

 

That was when it started. That was when El began to live her every moment for this man.

 

[If I’m given a next life, I hope I won’t see Your Majesty again. Even if we meet, I hope we pass by each other without knowing at all. Your Majesty…. I hope you don’t recognize me.]

 

“What is this voice?”

 

With the familiar voice, everything around El disappeared in an instant, and darkness came. Unable to see anything, El finally remembered her situation.

 

“Yes, I’m dead. Then what the hell is this?”

 

The moment she realized that, El closed her eyes at the bright light that hit her.

 

****

 

“Uh.”

 

Someone’s eyes, which had been closed while exhaling, opened, and the woman’s silver eyes appeared.

 

The woman got up immediately and looked around after coughing several times, but her eyes were panicked.

 

“What is it? This is not a prison. No, was I saved?”

 

“I thought I died.”

 

With a small sigh, she bowed her head, and the moment she did, her long hair flowed down, and what she saw under the sunlight coming through the curtains was incredibly pink. (*El had brown hair before)

 

“What the hell is this?”

 

At that moment, before the woman had time to grasp the current situation, the door opened and she locked eyes with the person who had entered.

 

There was an indiscernible silence between them. Looking at the clothes of the person who came in, it looked like a maid, but the maid’s uniform was different from what she had seen before.

 

They were looking at each other in opposition, and it was the woman sitting on the bed who opened her mouth first.

 

“Excuse me…”

 

“Princess!”

 

When the maid shouted ‘Princess’, the woman could only be perplexed because the maid looked at her and called her ‘Princess’.

 

‘You didn’t just look at me and say that, did you?’

 

The woman looked around to make sure, but no matter how much she looked, she was the only one in the room. Then….

 

‘But what does she mean by Princess?’

 

“Did you call me that?”

 

“No, this is not the time to be talking about this. I will quickly inform you that the Princess is awake!”

 

The maid hurried out of the room before the woman had time to stop her, and even as she watched her, she couldn’t understand what was happening, and the woman eventually got out of bed.

 

However, the moment she tried to get up from the floor, her legs were not strong enough to support her and she fell straight down.

 

“I don’t know what happened. Was I lying on the bed too long?”

 

She was puzzled because her body was not in the same condition she had felt while sword training before, but she held onto the furniture next to her and was finally able to raise herself up and stand up straight.

 

Then she struggled to take a step forward, trying not to fall.

 

 

Finally, she saw the clothes she was wearing now, but the dress, which looked like a night gown, was not the one she had originally worn. Especially the one made of a flowing material that bothered her when she moved.

 

“What the hell is this? I don’t own any of these clothes.”

 

Finally, standing in front of a mirror in the corner of the room, the woman could see her reflection. And the moment she saw her reflection in the mirror, the woman’s eyes went wide with shock.

 

“What is this? Is this me?”

 

No matter how many times she rubbed her eyes, what she saw in the mirror was not her. Not her original appearance.

 

Long pink hair that flowed softly and lustrously instead of the normal brown that was stiff, and silver eyes that stared straight at her.

 

Her skin was white, as if it had never seen the light of the sun, and her lips looked pale, completely different from her own skin, which had been burned by training in the sun.

 

Most importantly, her hands were clean and without any scars, which conflicted with the rugged hands she had developed after holding the sword.

 

“Who the hell is this person?”

 

She thought it might be a dream, so she hit her face as hard as she could, but all she felt was pain along with a crackling sound. Thanks to this, she realized that the current situation was not a dream.

 

“Obviously it hurt, and if it wasn’t a dream, then what the hell is this?”

 

“El.”

 

‘El?’

 

Someone called her name, and El turned around and found people standing in front of the door.

 

There was a middle aged woman with the same pink hair and a middle aged man with silver eyes that looked just like this body of hers. And even a young man who looked just like her (El), if he was her twins.

 

Before El had time to assess the situation, the middle aged man who looked like her father hugged her tightly.

 

From the hug, El could see that the eyes of the other two people were filled with tears before she knew it.

 

It seemed like some kind of touching situation, but it wasn’t El. She was being held in the man’s arms, but they were people she didn’t know at all.