Chapter 1. The beginning of everything
“Of course I know. So I was investigating more carefully. By the way….”
Ellea was also well aware of what Bellea was worried about. However, she didn’t want to say it prematurely because it could become a sensitive topic that could come into conflict with the empires.
“I heard it. The primary suspect committed suicide.”
“That’s right. That’s why I want to find out more, but I can’t.”
“I heard it was a maid in your palace.”
Bellea was also closely monitoring the progress of things in Zevenica. First of all, he was furious that the culprit was Ellea’s maid.
“What happened was…. ”
Ellea began to explain the incident from the very beginning so that Bellea could understand. From what Marie and the horseman did to how she caught her.
“Wait, the horseman was with you, and the maid was working in the palace. Then who on earth set the stable on fire?”
Bellea recognized the suspicious part of the story at once. And seeing Ellea not surprised, Bellea was sure there was something hidden.
“That’s not all. Who’s behind the maid?”
“Yes. It was known as the maid’s arbitrary act, but in fact, she was secretly prying on me shortly after I got here. She took orders from someone.”
Ellea explained the other side of the case that was different from what was known. She wanted to be honest with her family.
“What? No, why tell me such an important story now? Oh, so that’s why you asked me to exchange letters in old language like that.”
Bellea couldn’t forget the situation and its seriousness.
“How could that happen? How’s your wound? It could’ve been really bad. Was it because the wild horse came towards you and you tried to avoid it?”
Bellea, who only heard that Ellea was hurt while trying to save a young lady because the horse ran wild, said as if it were natural. It was something he wouldn’t have imagined.
Ella nodded, glad that he didn’t know.
“I’m alright. I’m healthy now.”
Up until now, Bellea had only been guessing, but Ellea was in a much more serious situation than he had imagined.
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t tell you in advance.”
“No. You must have had your own reasons for doing that.”
“I didn’t even know it would turn out like this.”
After calming down, Bellea began to ask Ellea one by one in earnest.
“So who the hell is behind that maid? Do you know?”
At that point, even Ellea was hesitant to answer. She was worried about how he would react. However, Bellea insisted firmly on his will to hear the answer.
“Be honest. Or else I will find out.”
“Okay. It’s Shanil Raymir, the daughter of the Duke of Raymir, who now resides in this imperial palace.”
“Shanil Raymir? Why on earth did she do that to you?”
It was a name Bellea had heard of at least once.
When Ellea went to Rubain, Bellea did his own research. But what he did not understand was that Shanil had no contact with Ellea to do such a thing.
“She must have misunderstood something. She must think I’m aiming for the seat next to His Majesty.”
Ellea only said that for the time being. It wasn’t wrong anyway. On the other hand, Bellea was more bewildered than before at Ellea’s unexpected reply.
“How the hell did that happen?”
“I do not know either. But I am also angry. If they hadn’t touched me in the first place, I would have stayed still. But the other young girls are also joining in and talking recklessly, so I couldn’t just sit and watch.”
The more Ellea talked, the more she remembered her past and raised her voice.
To be honest, Ellea herself was the one who wanted to plan something. She died unjustly, but why did this situation happen when she came back?
“They misunderstood me and His Majesty. Ah, the more I think about it… .”
“Who is it! Who the hell is talking nonsense like that! Treating you like this is an attack on Zevenica.”
Before Ellea could even finish speaking, Bellea got more angry and jumped up from his seat. He couldn’t stand to sit still when he found out about the hardships Ellea had been through.
“Calm down, Bellea. I have received an apology from His Majesty for it and he also punished the ladies.”
Ellea tried to calm the excited Bellea. She was desperately hiding it for fear of this.
“Yes, he said he was sorry, so I just let it go.”
“You should have told me sooner if something like this happened.”
Bellea sat down again, but he still seemed quite upset.
“I didn’t tell you because I knew you would act like this. And in this case, there is no evidence left to point out Lady Shanil as the real culprit.”
“Then it must be Shanil who killed the maid.”
“Perhaps. However, in the current situation, if we come forward without any preparation, it could turn into an inter-imperial affair. It’s not that simple, as long as I’m involved.”
“Are you only worrying about that in this situation? You should only think of yourself.”
“How can I? I love Zevenica as much as you do.”
Even though Ellea was in a situation where her life was in danger, she put others first, that fact made Bellea frustrated.
He wished she’d just think about herself and act selfishly at times like this.
‘Well, she’s always like this. So I decided to come here.’
Bellea knew the truth. That Ellea was protecting Zevenica in her own way as an imperial Princess.
“Do you know you’re saying the same thing as father?” (Bellea)
Just like their father said, no one would be able to predict what would happen to the relationship between the two empires, which had been well maintained until now, would turn the moment Ellea has officially raised her issues.
However, once he found out about this, he couldn’t just move on. Because everything that happened to Ellea was as if they aimed at Zevenica.
“I understand what you mean. But when I came here, I made a promise.”
With such a serious look in Bellea’s eyes, Ellea knew that no one could stop him.
And that was it for Ellea doing it by herself.
“Don’t worry. Leave everything to your brother.”
Seeing Bellea talking in a light voice made Ellea feel better. So, regardless of her inner feelings, she said.
“Recently, I’ve been thinking that I want to see you, but it’s nice to see you in person like this.” (Ellea)
“What? It’s embarrassing to say that all of a sudden.” (Bellea)
“I guess I just miss you a lot.”
It was a short time for Ella, but she loved her time in Zevenica, and her family was so kind that she never forgot about it.
So, when she saw Bellea, her feet automatically moved first and hugged him tightly.
At that moment, she couldn’t help but to admit it. She had missed that warmth greatly.
Bellea was moved by the longing and tenderness on Ellea’s face.
Not wanting to see Ellea sad, Bellea said playfully.
“Then I’ll stay here, and you go back.”
“You know it’s nonsense, right? This is something I have to finish. Don’t worry. It’s because it doesn’t suit my temperament.”
Ellea said confidently to reassure Bellea. Even if she smiled, she knew that he was still worried, but she wanted to show him she wasn’t weak as she used to be.
“Also, how is life here? I’m asking you now.”
“Good. It’s nice here, the people are friendly, and I’ve already made friends.”
“If you had said no to that, I would have taken you back without looking back.”
The tense atmosphere from before disappeared, and the two returned to their daily conversations and had a pleasant time.
“So that’s why I like Heris. The first time we met and we got along well, and I like that she’s honest.”
“I see. Come to think of it…… ”
Bellea suddenly recalled the scene he saw earlier, and with a casual expression on his face, he spoke out loud.
“Then Duke Chaylen likes you?”
“Ack, ask, ack.” (Coughing sound)
Ellea was so startled that she almost spit out the tea she was drinking.
“Be careful. Are you okay?”
Ellea, who held out her hand as a sign that she was okay to answer Velia’s question, asked back, unable to hide her embarrassment when she stopped coughing.
“What? What did you just say?”
“Why are you so surprised? If there was such a person, you should have told this brother earlier. A man can make a good assessment of another man.”
“Okay, you have a huge misunderstanding.”
“So he doesn’t?”
“Of course not. How do you come to that conclusion?”
Hearing that Chaylen liked her out of the blue, Ellea firmly nailed it before the misunderstanding deepened.
“When I say close friends here, I mean they’re friendly. So that’s not the case. It’s very disrespectful to Duke Chaylen, so don’t say it anywhere.”
“Yes. We just became friends by giving and receiving help. Are you making a joke on purpose because he didn’t know who you were?”
“Well, if not, that’s fine.”
Ellea was strongly in denial, so Bellea didn’t say anything more.
But there was a sense of vigilance in Chaylen’s eyes when Chaylen greeted him. Plus, Chaylen naturally tried to get Ellea away from him. As a man like him, Bellea knew what that meant.
‘It seems that Ellea doesn’t know yet.’
Of course, Bellea had no intention of telling her. It was never acceptable to have another man by the side of the one and only precious little sister.
“I tell you, you should be wary of all men, except me and father. Do you know what I mean?”
“I know. It’s unnecessary to say that. “
“I’m really serious, Ellea.”
Knock. Knock. Knock.
At that moment, Borence came in and announced that the room was ready for Bellea.
“It must have been hard for Your Highness to come all the way here, so please rest until dinner.”
“Okay, I’ll see you later.”
Bellea greeted Ellea and followed Borence.
When the door of his room was opened, a neatly organized spacious room was revealed.
“I don’t know if there is something lacking because I prepared it in a hurry.”
“This is enough. You must have been surprised by my sudden arrival, but thank you for such a welcome.”
“No. Thank you for saying that, Your Highness.”
Bellea looked around the room and went out to the terrace. The appearance of Rubain’s imperial palace was a little different from Zevenica.
He asked Borence, who was standing behind him.
“Is Ellea doing well?”
At the calm voice, Borence noticed the concern contained within.
‘By the way, I got asked the same question for the second time.’
Terban’s voice, who asked the same thing last time, immediately came to her mind.
After thinking for a moment, Borence carefully chose an answer to Bellea’s question.
“If I dare to answer, the Princess seems to be doing well. The servants of this palace really like the Princess.”
“Thank you for saying that. It’s only for a few days, but please take care of me.”
“I will do my best to serve you. If you need anything, please feel free to tell me.”
After Borence left, Bellea’s eyes had a different expression
from when there were other people around.
‘Never forget the purpose of coming here.’