Chapter 12

****

 

I grabbed Theodore’s hand and followed him.

 

The moment I left the place that had trapped me for the past 10 years, a very strange feeling buzzed inside me.

 

“Yves, are you okay?”

 

“Yes, yes, Your Majesty! I’m sorry.”

 

After being immersed in appreciation for a while, I belatedly realized that Theodore had been calling my name several times, and answered in surprise.

 

Then I met the golden eyes staring at me, and I closed my mouth again.

 

‘Your eyes…’

 

The color of tenderness and longing remained in the round eyes.

 

‘Like those days….’

 

The moment I realized it, the air around me suddenly heated up. Just like those old summer days.

 

Theodore’s gaze at Yves Llewellyn resembled that of Yvonne Chernicia. Maybe it was because he was a warm and kind person by nature.

 

Come to think of it, Theodore looked at me with kind eyes, even when I first met him as a child. Even though it was a time when I didn’t know his name or anything.

 

‘Why is such a good person so engulfed in such horrific rumors? Tyrant? Nonsense.’

 

I looked down and saw our two interlaced hands.

 

It was sad to remember that he was trembling because he was afraid of blood a while ago.

 

“Come on, Yves.”

 

In front of Ferdinand’s mansion stood a gleaming golden carriage engraved with the emblem of the Albrecht family.

 

“Yes? But, I………”

 

“The trembling still doesn’t go away, so I want you to stay with me.”

 

Hesitating in nervousness, he pressed our clasped hands and urged me.

 

“You’re supposed to be my knight. You have to protect me.”

 

“I haven’t even been appointed a knight yet……”

 

“Then let’s ride the carriage as my guest today, huh?”

 

Theodore smiled brightly and waved his hand.

 

Fascinated by that beautiful smile, I unknowingly nodded and followed him into the carriage.

 

I could feel the other knights staring at me in amazement.

 

It must be that someone with an unknown identity and ability like me suddenly appeared and rode the emperor’s carriage.

 

He definitely came on horseback yesterday, but why is he giving me such an ordeal today by riding a carriage?

 

The carriage rolled smoothly.

 

And throughout the brief time the carriage was rolling, Theodore was holding my hands and only staring at my face.

 

To the point where it was a little burdensome.

 

I cautiously opened my mouth.

 

“Are you always like this to everyone?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“Being so kind to everyone, and…… .”

 

It was time to choose the right word because I wanted to ask if he holds everyone’s hands, says he was scared, and stares at them like this.

 

“Are you uncomfortable with me doing this?”

 

Theodore asked, furrowing his eyebrows.

 

I waved my hands because I felt apologetic for seeing him drooping like a puppy who had been deprived of a precious treat.

 

“No! It’s not like that..… ”

 

Then his eyes bent again.

 

“That’s a relief.”

 

His smiling eyes were so pretty that I just stared at him and didn’t even get an answer from him until the carriage arrived at the destination.

 

****

 

Upon arriving at the Imperial Palace, Theodore headed straight to the office.

 

“I will entrust Yves Llewellyn as my personal knight.”

 

Sir Lyndon, the Emperor’s chief escort knight, held up a piece of paper that Theodore had scribbled.

 

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

 

As I followed Lyndon outside, the knights standing in the hallway rushed to me.

 

“Yves Llewellyn?”

 

“Did you really become His Majesty’s personal knight?”

 

“Did you say that you haven’t even been appointed as a knight yet?”

 

I was worried that I, who had not been properly appointed, would make them feel bad about taking the position.

 

“Ah, I…”

 

“Thank you, Sir Yves! You saved us!”

 

“What? What?”

 

But contrary to my worries, they were very happy.

 

“Let’s have a celebration party today.”

 

“Sir Yves, you must attend.”

 

As I was perplexed by the friendly atmosphere, Lyndon explained to me.

 

“We all sincerely welcome your arrival. His Majesty’s personality…… Well, he’s a bit mean, so no one wanted to be his personal knight.”

 

Theodore is mean? The sweet and kind boy?

 

“Rough is actually his gentle expression.”

 

“Honestly, it’s more than rough…”

 

“Watch your words.”

 

Lyndon coughed as he cut the other knight’s frivolous profanity.

 

“Anyway, Sir Yves, don’t be fooled by His Majesty.”

 

“…… ?”

 

As I tilted my head, the giant quiet knight, who had not said anything the whole time, added a word.

 

“I don’t know why, but I think he’ll torment you more.”

 

 “…?”

 

At the same time, all over the place, pitiful eyes were focused on me.

 

“When you got on the carriage earlier…I’m sorry I couldn’t protect you.”

 

“Were you really scared? His Majesty’s face.… … ”

 

‘Was I scared?’ 

 

Theodore was smiling the whole time.

 

“You have to be the most careful when he smiles like that, Sir Yves.”

 

“That’s right. His Majesty is a person who puts a knife in his opponent’s back with a smile.”

 

‘What?’

 

“Poor Sir Yves. Tell us whenever you have a hard time.”

 

“But I want you to keep that position for a long time.”

 

“One month…… No, full moon, no, even just for a week…” 

 

The more they helped me, the more confused I became.

 

***

 

After that day, I came out of Ferdinand holding Theodore’s hand, and a new life called ‘the knight close to the emperor’ was born.

 

I, who had not had my own life in a very long time, was very bewildered for a while.

 

Before the fall of Chernicia, there were so many things I wanted to do and become as I was about ten years old.

 

However, the death of the family members witnessed before my eyes and the guilt of surviving alone killed me inside.

 

3 months. The time to forget Chernicia’s name was very short.

 

During that time, Rudolph Ferdinand left me locked up in an old third-floor room in my devastated memory.

 

I didn’t see anyone there except the old maid who brought me hard bread and soup twice a day. Sadness, suffering, guilt… And what came after that was a feeling of loneliness and resentment.

 

I resented Ernst a little for letting me live alone and imprisoned in Ferdinand.

 

 But Ernst did nothing wrong, but my weakened heart made me resent him and the whole world.

 

[Why did you save me? In the end, you left me alone like this. If only I died in that fire with my family. If so..… .]

 

At the moment when such messy emotions gnawed at every corner of my heart, a blunt-ended tableware appeared in my view.

 

Without realizing it, I picked it up as if possessed.

 

Even if it was an ordinary fork to others, it could be transformed into another use at any time in Chernicia’s hands.

 

Yvonne Chernicia, Albrecht’s youngest sword.

 

The title ‘Albrecht’s Sword’, which followed me long ago, was not just given to those who handle swords.

 

As a title given only to those who manifested the ability to use the sword, it was a title that only three people in the Empire received before the fall of Chernicia.

 

As I glanced at what I was holding in my hand, a blue color immediately enveloped me. It was the moment when I lifted it high as it was. The outstretched hand snatched it away. It was Benjamin.

 

[Two times… Don’t do this again.]

 

If it wasn’t for Benjamin, who stopped me that day with a pale face, I might have died then.

 

[Don’t stop me. I am the one who must die.]

 

[Why do you want to die? Even the survivors of Chernicia escaped alive without dying, so why are you doing this?]

 

[What.… … ?]

 

For the first time since I left Chernicia, I grabbed Benjamin and asked him the news of my family.

 

[Is that really true? Survivor of Chernicia? Who?]

 

[I don’t know the details either.]

 

But he said no more.

 

And I did not die when I was told that someone in my family might be alive. After three months, I escaped from the old room on the third floor and started living with my peers as an apprentice knight.

 

Unfortunately, I did not easily join the group.

 

Well, it was only natural that everyone hated me.

 

At that time, I had a gloomy face and was quiet, with my hair cut randomly and dressed in poor clothes.

 

But I also had a friend who spoke to me first. It was a child whose face was flushed red from the extreme heat. He gave me a snack and asked to be friends.

 

[Anything good,Yves? Your expression is different from usual.]

 

At that moment, I was very excited, and bragged about it to Benjamin, who came to visit me that night.

 

[Hey, Benjamin, I made a new friend today. Look at this. Isn’t it delicious? Jackie gave it to me. Oh, and his name is Jackie….]

 

[Oh, you made friends. Congratulations.]

 

But sadly, the kid named Jackie, who was very friendly with me, ignored me from the next day.