Chapter 26

 

***

 

“Leave?”

 

I tilted my head and asked, and Ernst grabbed my hand and explained.

 

“Yes. Theodore’s engagement ceremony is coming soon. I think it would be okay to leave the Imperial Palace.”

 

Even after Theodore became emperor, Ernst could remain in the Imperial Palace. It was just in case the young emperor, without heirs, refused even to marry.

 

However, the emperor would soon be engaged, and it was the custom of the Albrecht family to hold a wedding within a year after the engagement.

 

I was deep in thought.

 

Theodore wanted me to leave on my feet.

 

However, I felt too sorry for Theodore in his lost memory to do as he wished.

 

I was holding on to leaving, but it was getting more and more difficult.

 

There were times when I also cried and my emotions soared.

 

It still was.

 

My heart ached at the thought of him who had asked me to grow out my hair and had cut my hair to rob me of what he had already given me.

 

I wanted to cry.

 

But the moment I cried, I felt like I was losing to Katarina. So I wasn’t crying, but I was cursing him behind his back.

 

“And Yves, actually………”

 

At this point, Ernst lowered his voice and whispered.

 

“I just received a strange letter not too long ago.”

 

“A letter?”

 

I asked back with indifference. It wasn’t my concern that Ernst was exchanging letters with others. 

 

But at the next words, I had no choice but to open my eyes wide.

 

“So, Yves. Only you should know about this. I received a letter, and its contents were……”

 

“What?”

 

In an instant, I frowned.

 

“The person who wrote it said that he was a survivor of Chernicia.”

 

***

 

I pondered for a long time what Ernst had said.

 

[Yeah, it’s a little suspicious. You are in front of me like this, and you are the survivor. So I just tore up the scammer’s letter.]

 

When I saw Ernst talking proudly with his chest sticking out, I felt tingling as if I had been hit in the back of the head.

 

[You idiot! You just can’t tear it apart!]

 

[Huh, Yves… ?]

 

I clasped his shoulders violently and shook him, startled.

 

[Oh sorry.]

 

Having lived with the knights for a long time, I forgot for a moment that he was a precious prince who grew up in the Imperial Palace.

 

[Can’t you get back to the person who sent you the letter?]

 

[Yes…. Instead, there was a message at the end of the letter that said they would contact me again.]

 

Who the hell sent it? When will be the next one?

 

It was while I was thinking about something related to Ernst’s letter.

 

“There’s a hunting contest next month, right? I want to go too. At that time, after the engagement ceremony, as Theo’s official fiancée.” (Katarina)

 

“To the hunting contest? I think it would be dangerous.” (Theo)

 

“Then, wouldn’t it be better if Sir Yves escorted me?”

 

“Well………….”

 

“Only for one day, okay?”

 

“….”

 

“Are you okay with that, Sir Yves?”

 

“…..”

 

“Sir Yves?”

 

I came to my senses at the sharp voice calling me and slowly turned my head.

 

 “My God, Yves! Can’t you hear me now?”

 

“What did you just say… .”

 

Standing stupidly, Katarina pointedly raised her eyes and said to me again.

 

“I want you to escort me to the hunting contest next month.”

 

So, Katarina was asking me to escort her.

 

“No. I am His Majesty’s escort.”

 

I really didn’t want to escort Katarina.

 

When I was young, Rudolph Ferdinand put my leash on her hand. Then, one by one, I remembered the things she tormented me with.

 

Like the last time she told me to leave Theo’s side, she’s not going to ask me to escort her with good intentions.

 

“But your boss is Theo, right? Theo will definitely allow it. Right, Theo?” 

 

“If it’s just one day, it’s not a difficult request. Escort Miss Katarina, Yves Llewellyn.”

 

At her whining, Theodore looked at me and hardened his eyes.

 

“I am contracted to escort Your Majesty. I definitely signed a contract with Sir Armin Meyer.”

 

“Miss Katarina is my fiancée, so think of her as me.”

 

“But..……!”

 

“Is there anything to do?”

 

Of course, it’s true that I’ve been an indolent escort all this time.

 

But … .

 

He told me not to pick up the sword until the reinstatement of Chernicia….… . I was the escort of the Emperor, but I did not raise a sword.

 

[I didn’t bring you here to protect me. If you pick up your sword again, I hope it will be the moment you take your name back and stand proudly in the world.]

 

[But what about your escort then? If you don’t like it, shouldn’t you let someone else do it?]

 

[Good Eve, are you worried about me? It’s mandatory to have an escort guard because of the imperial etiquette, but it’s okay if I don’t have an escort anyway.]

 

Having said that, now he told me to hold a sword again to escort Katarina.

 

This was too cruel to me.

 

I shut my mouth tightly with a wounded face, and he asked again. 

 

“Are you against the order?”

 

“… No, Your Majesty.”

 

At the end of my reply, Katarina applauded and rejoiced.

 

“Thank you, Theo.”

 

Katarina put her arms around Theodore’s and grinned.

 

“Would you like to go for a walk? I’m bored just watching Theo work.” 

 

“Okay, let’s go.”

 

Theodore stopped working and got up.

 

Inevitably standing by the doorway, I had to watch him and Katarina tenderly pass me by.

 

The man who had commanded me forcibly just a moment ago didn’t give me the slightest glance, as if he didn’t even see me standing there.

 

I followed him from a distance, along with his attendants and knights.

 

As I followed him from a distance so far away that I could not hear the sound of words, I realized my situation anew.

 

While taking a walk, the two found a leaf blooming on a bare branch and were amazed.

 

Theodore plucked a green leaf and inserted it into Katarina’s hair.

 

Suddenly, just as I thought that scene was familiar, snowflakes began to fall from the sky one by one.

 

Among the snowflakes fluttering as if it were raining flowers, Theodore kissed Katarina’s forehead.

 

“Ahh…..”

 

“Are you okay, Sir Yves? Are you sick?”

 

Unbeknownst to me, a small sound of sickness rang out. At the question of a fellow knight, I just shook my head.

 

“I’m okay.”

 

“By the way, His Majesty, whose personality was broken, is also dating, how long do I have to grow old alone like this… .”

 

“Haha, Sir Evan, compare your face to His Majesty’s. You think it makes sense if you say something like that.”

 

“What? Then think about it in reverse, Benian, if you were a woman, would you date His Majesty, or me?”

 

“Actually……Both are terrible… .”

 

“Still, isn’t it better to be me with a good heart?”

 

“Yes, you have a pretty heart.”

 

“Hey, you b*stards! Are you done talking?”

 

“Oh my gosh, now that I see, Sir Evan has a very good heart…”

 

Hearing the small chatter of my colleagues through one ear, I stretched out my palm towards the falling snowflakes.

 

You know what, Theo?

 

When you whispered your love to me, you never showed it in front of people.

 

We always hid and hid.

 

But at that time, I was happy to tears even in your shadow. Because you always gave me all the love you could give me. Because you were a man who could be loved by the whole world.

 

At the time, I thought I was going to cry because I was so happy, but now I feel like I am going to cry because I am so upset.

 

To be more honest, I’m a little jealous of that woman. No, I envy her a lot. I envy that woman who proudly became your lover in front of everyone.

 

The snowflakes that fell on the palm of my hand melted and disappeared. One day in late summer when the sound of grasshoppers was stinging, he said to me,

 

[I hope winter comes soon, Yves. Because you hate summer.] 

 

[I hate summer?]

 

I thought about whether I hated summer, tilting my head for a while, but I did not hate summer.

 

[No, Theo, I like summer.]

 

[You don’t like hot things.]

 

[But it’s the season when I met you.]

 

 [Uh…were you thinking about that? I’m impressed.]

 

At my words, he gently opened his eyes and whispered.

 

[Then Yves, I also like summer the most. But I want to like fall, winter, and spring as well. Will you always be with me so that I can enjoy all my seasons?]

 

[What nonsense is that?]

 

[I love you, Yves]

 

Sometimes Theodore seemed to be born to find a reason to love me.

 

Everything in the world used to be the reason why he loved me. 

 

Theodore, who said that and left me with a deep kiss, was no longer there.

 

 However, from afar, he was kissing the other woman’s cheek while holding her with his thick hands. I was starting to hate winter now. Already, I hated winter.