Chapter 14

 

***

 

Embarrassed by Theodore’s words, I was dazed, unable to respond.

 

Pretty… 

 

Come to think of it, he said something similar in the past.

 

[You’re the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen, Yvonne.]

 

Does he say that to everyone?

 

But now I’m dressed as a man. So….

 

“You have pretty eyes, pretty nose, pretty lips, pretty hands… .” 

 

Whether or not he knows my spinning head, he smiled brightly and clasped my hands.

 

I glanced at the thick knuckles felt between my fingers, then lifted my head again.

 

Seeing him still staring at me, I gasped.

 

“Don’t make fun of me… Your Majesty.”

 

“Hmm…..….”

 

“Pretty doesn’t suit me. I, I’m a man…”

 

When I protested like that, I stuttered a little.

 

Then he tilted his head to one side and asked me.

 

“Then what should I say about being pretty?”

 

Each time he blinked, his long eyelashes slowly fluttered.

 

I was once again at a loss for words at that beautiful figure that no one could deny.

 

I realized again.

 

That men can be pretty too…

 

“Your inauguration ceremony will be postponed for a while.”

 

Theodore immediately changed the subject.

 

“I have a lot of work in the Imperial Palace, so I can’t afford it right now. You’re not disappointed, are you?”

 

And I, who had fallen in a dream, quickly put off the awkward conversation a while ago and responded to a new topic.

 

“No, Your Majesty. It’s more than enough that you brought me here….Ah, I mean, if I was still there, I would have been an apprentice knight for the rest of my life….”

 

He smiled at me.

 

“I’m glad you said that, Yves.”

 

Throughout the conversation he was fiddling with my hands. The touch made me feel strangely drowsy, so I fell asleep again without realizing it.

 

*****

 

When I woke up again, I was curled up on the sofa in his office. When I got up, the robe Theodore had been wearing a while ago slipped off my body.

 

“Huh….”

 

Theodore was nowhere to be seen. I realized that I had made a mistake by forgetting the duty of escorting the emperor.

 

In the meantime, I was grateful for the consideration he had shown me, so I grabbed his coat tightly and hurried outside. The knights in the hallway found me and rushed in.

 

“Are you okay, Sir Yves?”

 

“What happened?”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

As I questioned the sudden burst of interest, they breathed a sigh of relief as they scoured my body.

 

“His Majesty came out alone, so I thought something was wrong.”

 

“We’re worried that something big happened because Sir Yves disturbed His Majesty’s mind.”

 

“I’m glad you’re alive, not dead.”

 

“Even so, your Majesty keeps holding on to you and won’t let you go?”

 

“You can always tell us the truth, Sir Yves. Maybe that character destroyer, no, His Majesty…”

 

Amidst the gossip pouring towards Theodore, I remembered his sad face, who had a gloomy expression that he was lonely at the emperor’s seat a while ago.

 

They didn’t even know how kind and nice Theodore was, and they insulted their superior like that.

 

In the end, I couldn’t stand it and spoke up.

 

“His Majesty is not like that. So everyone stop talking about His Majesty!” 

 

I shouted vigorously, and I heard footsteps coming from the end of the hallway.

 

The knights who recognized the owner of the footsteps became silent at the same time.

 

It was none other than Theodore, who walked with a leisure smile.

 

“What’s going on, Yves?”

 

Noticing a subtle sign of flow in the hallway, he glanced around and asked me.

 

“No, Your Majesty. It’s nothing.”

 

“Ugh……”

 

My face, which had been ferocious towards my colleagues before Theodore showed up, was probably a little red.

 

“Yves, I’m going for a walk now.”

 

So the heat I felt right now was probably not because his handsome face was looking at me right in front of him.

 

“Come with me.”

 

I nodded my head at the suggestion with a smile and followed him. On the way, I did not forget to look back and shoot bitter eyes at those who were gossiping about him.

 

As I followed Theodore out of the building, the sky became dark. After a few steps behind Theodore, I realized where I was.

 

It was the same garden where our appointment was long ago.

 

[From now on, we will meet here every day at two p.m. Without Ernst, just you and I.]

 

In an instant, the memories of my childhood flooded me, and I stood idly then ran after him.

 

But he suddenly stopped walking and looked back at me. Then he put a flower in my hair.

 

“It’s pretty.”

 

At those words, my face went hot.

 

“I told Your Majesty earlier, the word ‘pretty’ is not for me….”

 

“Yes, yes, it’s pretty.”

 

I tried to tell him the topic a little more clearly, but Theodore didn’t listen to me and just said what he wanted to say.

 

In a voice that was so firm and mellow that I could no longer dare to respond.

 

“….”

 

“….”

 

We looked at each other silently. Theodore’s gaze at me was particularly deep and affectionate.

 

As the wind blew, the pretty petals on the flower tree fell.

 

With the scene of raining flowers in the background, Theodore was staring at me as if he was stuck there.

 

The smile gradually disappeared from his two round, curved eyes.

 

“Yves.”

 

He lengthened my name and uttered it in a languid tone.

 

I should have answered, but strangely no voice came out.

 

Then Theodore’s face slowly leaned towards me.

 

Ah!

 

Without realizing it, I closed my eyes.

 

Thump thump, thump thump. In that brief moment, my heart raced like crazy.

 

As I lifted my eyelids to a sudden sensation above my head, he was stroking my hair.

 

“Your Majesty….?

 

He approached me as if to kiss me, but he ruffled my hair like that, and stepped back again.

 

Then he smiled at me.

 

“Because petals are falling on your head.”

 

But there were no petals in his hand.

 

He smiled at me with his eyes closed, bending his eyes beautifully.

 

His face reflected in the moonlight was alluring and enchanting, like those of fairies in old legends.

 

Only his brightly smiling face among the falling flower petals in front of me was strongly engraved in my head.

 

***

 

I couldn’t get out of the lingering feeling of that day for a while. If I let my thoughts loose for a moment, I remembered his smiling face.

 

Mistakes became more frequent after being dazed.

 

“That’s not what you eat.”

 

As usual, I was sitting on the sofa and eating cookies. Then I bowed my head at Theodore’s words.

 

“Ugh!”

 

Then, I was startled when I realized that I was chewing the flowers in the vase instead of the cookies.

 

“Did the cookies taste bad, Yves? Enough to chew on flowers instead?”

 

Theodore approached me with a giggle.

 

“This is not good. I need to call the chef and scold him. Serving such lousy cookies. Shall I cut off his head and give it to you as a gift?”

 

“What kind of tyrant are you talking about?”

 

I came to my senses, I turned pale at the joke. The first few times I was bewildered by these jokes, and he would say he said that to tease me.

 

“Of course it’s a joke, Yves. There’s no way I’d commit such a tyrant.”

 

He smiled softly and reached out toward me.

 

“Here, something on your lips.”

 

“…!”

 

Thick fingertips gently caressed my lips.

 

For a moment, I couldn’t move and froze. Then he took the flower petals he had removed from my lips and waved them in front of me.

 

Thanks to this, I was embarrassed and the heat spread all over my face. Seeing that, he smiled brightly as he seemed to enjoy my reaction.

 

In the end, I couldn’t hold on to the position, so I left for a while saying I had some work to do.

 

If he had been a little less pretty, I wouldn’t have looked so stupid.

 

‘How can a person smile so beautifully?’

 

I walked aimlessly, remembering his smiling face among the flower petals that day again.

 

I came out as if to run away to avoid him, but I didn’t know much about the Imperial Palace in the first place.

 

Then I set foot in the same garden that I often visited as a child and walked with him just a few days ago.

 

‘D*mn it’

 

Realizing that it was a bad choice, I cursed. When I came here, the pretty face that was glimmering in front of me grew even more vivid.

 

It was the moment when I let out a deep sigh, thinking that I had to go back like this.

 

Rustle-

 

When I turned around to the sound of the rustling of grass, I saw a young man, who was unfamiliar and familiar, stopped in front of me and looked at me.

 

“Ahh!”

 

Bright platinum blonde hair glistening in the sunlight, and the eyebrows raised slightly resembling a cat. And the boy who always cried.

 

I quickly figured out who he was.

 

Alas, Ernst.

 

My cruel savior who saved me and left me in hell.

 

A liar who said he would come to pick me up, but couldn’t keep his promise.