Chapter 15

***

 

“You’re …Yvonne, right?”

 

He asked with a pale face. Then, suddenly, he started crying.

 

Seeing Ernst crying sadly because he couldn’t even come close to me, I couldn’t even get out of my old resentment and had to put it back in.

 

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, Yvonne. I made a promise to you…”

 

“Don’t cry, liar.”

 

At that, he raised his voice and sobbed.

 

Instead of comforting him, I just watched. He always cried a lot, then and now.

 

Strangely enough, I felt like crying as I continued to watch him cry.

 

I didn’t want to cry, so I said coldly.

 

“I’m not Yvonne.”

 

“But you’re Yvonne Cher……..”

 

I covered Ernst’s lips with my hand as he was about to call out my true name.

 

“Careful. If you call the name wrong, you will die.”

 

Thinking that my warning was a threat, Ernst hiccuped with his eyes wide open.

 

“Yves Llewellyn. That’s my name.”

 

“Oh, oh….… ..”

 

Ernst nodded vigorously.

 

There was no need to elaborate on Rudolph’s curse.

 

The name Chernicia itself has been taboo for a long time.

 

Having calmed down a little, Ernst and I sat down side by side on the grass and brought up the old story.

 

“Hic, hic, I was going to see you… .”

 

He said that he tried several times to come to see me, but was blocked by Empress Margaret and Rudolph Ferdinand.

 

“I kept thinking of you.”

 

“You were going to get engaged to Katarina.”

 

“How do you know that? Not what I wanted to do! They said that if I get engaged, they’ll let me meet you.”

 

Suddenly, his face darkened.

 

“But then, suddenly, my mother and Uncle Rudolph both went away at the same time, and there was no engagement, and after that…After that, I don’t have to tell you.”

 

After the sudden death of Empress Margaret and Rudolph Ferdinand, Ernst lost his support, and Theodore, who suddenly became the Crown Prince, then soon became emperor.

 

Apart from Ernst’s lack of greed for the throne and how good and kind Theodore was, Ernst would have had to be monitored every move because his existence alone could have threatened the throne at any time. 

 

In such a situation, he would not have been able to see the friend who was entangled in treason in the past.

 

“It’s okay. It’s all in the past.”

 

I smiled and changed the subject.

 

“By the way, you recognized me. I grew up like this, and my appearance has changed a lot.” 

 

As I muttered while stroking my silver hair that had been shortened to a bob length, I suddenly felt a bit bitter.

 

Theodore didn’t recognize me at all…… .

 

“There’s no way I can’t recognize you.”

 

At the time when I laughed and shared old stories with Ernst.

 

“I was worried because I didn’t see anyone who was away for a while.”

 

A voice as sharp as a sharp sword intervened our conversation.

 

“Your Majesty…?”

 

“Older brother….!”

 

Me and Ernst jumped up at the same time.

 

Theodore was looking at me with a stern face I had never seen before.

 

“You’re very lazy. Leaving your duty during working hours and hanging out with strangers.”

 

“Your Majesty, that’s…”

 

“Follow me.”

 

I was trying to make an excuse, but Theodore turned around in anger without giving me a chance.

 

“….”

 

“….”

 

All the way to his office, there was no conversation between us. Theodore seemed very angry.

 

“What were you doing there?”

 

Am I in trouble for neglecting my work?

 

He looked down at me restless, with cold, hard eyes.

 

I was so upset by his cold eyes and cold voice that I burst into tears of sorrow for the first time since my family died.

 

“Yves…?”

 

Surprised by my silent crying, the kind man forgot to rebuke me and comforted me, not knowing what to do.

 

“Oh, don’t cry, Yves. I didn’t mean to make you cry….” 

 

Even when I tried to put strength in my eyes so as not to cry, tears continued to flow down. I have just discovered a new fact.

 

I like Theodore.

 

…..I, I like Theodore.

 

***

 

From that day on, Theodore returned to his gentle nature.

 

But when I realized that I liked him, I became very depressed.

 

One, he was the emperor, and I was his escort knight. Before that, I was a member of a family that had fallen for treason, and above all, he might not even know that I was a woman.

 

Confused with various thoughts, I walked through the garden alone to organize my thoughts with a gloomy face.

 

At that moment.

 

“Yves…..!”

 

A cautious but welcoming voice called out to me. It was none other than Ernst.

 

It was the first time we met since the last encounter, and he faithfully called me by the new name I gave him.

 

He didn’t know about the specific curse Rudolph had placed on me, and I had no intention of telling him.

 

If I tell him that, this weak-hearted traitor will cry and blame himself.

 

“Did you have a good day?”

 

Ernst approached me worriedly.

 

Our meeting that day came to an end because of Theodore, who suddenly became angry.

 

“Yes, yes.”

 

I nodded indifferently. Because I didn’t want to think much of Theodore right now.

 

“You know, Yves.”

 

Ernst glanced around, lowering his voice and whispering.

 

“There is talk of reinstating Chernicia.”

 

In an instant, my eyes widened.

 

Chernicia was now a forgotten name in the Albrecht Empire.

 

“Now, isn’t this the cursed name that can’t be called by even close friends who know me?”

 

“It’s a story that my brother brought up himself.”

 

Theodore mentioned about Chernicia’s reinstating himself?

 

“Is that really true?”

 

“Yes, really.”

 

My heart fluttered at the surprising news that Ernst gave me.

 

Although Theodore did not recognize me, he remembered Chernicia. And maybe even a secret childhood friend…

 

Even if Chernicia is reinstated, my situation will not change much. Because there is Rudolph’s curse, I can’t be called by my real name. But… 

 

‘Maybe I will meet the survivors of Chernicia who are alive.’

 

The moment I thought of that, my heart raced and raced.

 

If only I could see my family again, I didn’t have to be called by my true name for the rest of my life and I could live in the shadow of Chernicia.

 

***

 

That evening, when I watched Theodore in the Emperor’s office, he seemed particularly lovely.

 

“Why are you looking at me like that? It’s the eyes of a girl who is in love.”

 

Did he notice my hot gaze?

 

Theodore, who was sitting at the desk looking through the papers, turned to me and asked me with a playful smile.

 

“What do you mean ‘girl’?”

 

I pouted my lips to hide my guilty heart, and shouted something else.

 

“I am not a girl, Your Majesty.”

 

“Yes. Then I’ll just say it’s the eyes that fell in love.”

 

Theodore smiled mischievously and got up and walked over to the sofa I was sitting on. Thanks to his long legs, he stood right in front of me even though he had not taken a few steps.

 

He leaned towards me, placing both hands on the armrest and backrest of the sofa.

 

At that, I had to swallow my breath at the beautiful face that filled my sight.

 

“Are you in love with me, Yves?”

 

He asked with a seductive smile.

 

“How is it possible? Your Majesty is not my ideal type.”

 

I tried to pull it off firmly hoping that my voice would not tremble, but my face was already burning red.

 

“Ummm.”

 

He let out a languid snort and tilted his head.

 

“Really?”

 

Facing that beautiful face, I thought back to that night when we were showered with flowers together in the garden.

 

“What do we do?”

 

He muttered in a voice that seemed embarrassed, but not at all. And the words that flowed between his lips were not what I expected at all. 

 

“I think I love you.”

 

While I was stunned by the sudden confession, Theodore gently closed his eyes and kissed me.

 

His lips touched mine and fell off with a smooching sound.

 

“I love you, Yves.”

 

“I, I…”

 

When I couldn’t come to my senses in bewilderment, he kissed me once again.

 

Then I came to my senses abruptly and hurriedly backed away and muttered gibberish.

 

“Hey, it’s wrong. I’m a man.”

 

“I already know that you are a woman, so don’t worry.”

 

“….!”

 

It was the second shock.

 

He knew I’m a woman? Since when?

 

But I had no time to be surprised. Because he threw the third shock after that.

 

“And you.”

 

His hand reached out and brushed my cheek. A deep, deep gaze turned to my face.

 

“In my old memory, Yvonne is also… ”

 

“No!”

 

I was startled for a moment and quickly covered his mouth. Fear struck me before I was surprised that he recognized me.

 

“No. I’m…”

 

“It’s okay, Yvonne.”

 

He smiled and grabbed my wrist.

 

“You’re fine.”

 

“What is that…”

 

There was a scar left by my biological father a long time ago. It was also the scar left by the same magic trick as Rudolph’s curse.

 

“Here you are, Chernicia.”

 

“….!”

 

Theodore whispered my true name and kissed the scar, without a moment to stop.

 

And at that moment, a cool energy enveloped me, and at the same time, the scar on my wrist disappeared.

 

“How….”

 

I glanced at his face and my cleaned wrist with a puzzled look on my face.

 

I knew from a young age that he had extraordinary powers.

 

However, he was able to grasp and solve Rudolph’s magic that even Benjamin did not recognize.

 

“All the ghosts of Ferdinand have been erased.”

 

He raised the corners of his lips and kissed my lips once more. 

 

“Can I love you now?”

 

“…”

 

“Will you love me too?”

 

“….”

 

I nodded absent-mindedly. Then, a rather deep and rich kiss followed.

 

****

When I came to my senses, we were lying side by side on his bed.