Chapter 7

****

 

We were greeted by a huge, luxurious mansion that overwhelmed Chernicia.

 

I suddenly remembered Chernicia mansion, which had sunk into black ashes. And the family I had left behind in the midst of chaos…. 

 

“It’s really okay now. Yvonne. It’ll be safe here. So if you wait here for a while………….”

 

When Ernst spoke with strength in his hands…

 

“Your Imperial Highness.”

 

An unfamiliar voice cut off his words.

 

I turned around and saw a man who I met for the first time staring at me.

 

“This is the child you mentioned? Yvonne Chernicia, Albrecht’s youngest sword.”

 

I looked up at him in disbelief. 

 

The title of “sword” was only given to those who had developed sword skills, and not many people knew that I had developed sword skills when they had not yet reached adulthood. Even Granny Gransy, a member of the family, did not know that….

 

“Uncle Rudolph……….!”

 

The moment Ernst shouted at the man, he confirmed what I had already guessed. 

 

Rudolph Ferdinand.

 

This man was Empress Margaret’s brother and the head of Ferdinand’s family.

 

He was also Ernst’s uncle, and unlike the tearful Ernst, he had a cold impression. 

 

The man glanced me up and down as if he was appraising me.

 

“Your Highness will be leaving now.”

 

‘’I want to spend some more time with Yvonne. I can’t leave Yvonne alone.” 

 

The man tried to pull Ernst away from me, but Ernst held back, shaking his head.

 

“No, no. You have to remember your promise to the Empress.”

 

“Yvonne is having a hard time right now. I have to be next to her.”

 

 “If Your Highness doesn’t keep your promise, I won’t be able to assure you of the part you’ve asked for.”

 

The man’s eyes flashed as he said this.

 

“But………….”

 

Ernst hesitated, then quickly grabbed my hand and shouted.

 

“Yvonne! I’ll definitely come back to pick you up! 

 

” I will surely come for you once more! I’ll relieve Chernicia’s injustice and find all of your family to come and get you!”

 

“…”

 

I had no answer as he shouted strongly at me.

 

Ernst was pulled back by the Empress’s people, making promises he could not keep like that. There was a look of contempt and hatred in their eyes as they looked at me as if I was an insect.

 

“Follow me.”

 

Rudolph Ferdinand led me to an old building behind the mansion.

 

“From now on, you’re not Chernicia. You will be a common orphan boy who happened to catch my eye and became Ferdinand’s apprentice knight.”

 

The man who was threatening me while shoving me into the cold room suddenly grabbed my wrist.

 

“Traces of Leobrante………? No, it can’t be, Leobrante’s powers have long since ceased…” 

 

(*Theodore put his power in Yvonne’s wrist to be able to track her in the last chapter.)

 

He wrinkled his forehead and muttered in a low voice. Then he immediately pressed the inside of my wrist with his fingers.

 

His cold fingertips drew an intricate technique on my wrist.

 

“If anyone figures out who you are and calls you by your true name, you will not be spared the death of blood.”

 

The man told me it was a spell to protect me. But I felt like it was a curse against me.

 

The most depressing curse in the world, that I would never be able to return to Chernicia again…

 

And so the name Chernicia was stripped from me.

 

”For the next three months, until Chernicia disappears from people’s memories, you will remain here unseen by anyone.”

 

Squeak.

 

The old door slammed shut with a sharp grinding sound.

 

As I stared blankly at the closed door, my tear glands, which had been drying up, finally burst again.

 

I realized I was truly alone.

 

I saw with my own eyes the death of brother Richard.

 

I wondered what happened to the rest of the family…….

 

I buried my face in my knees and sobbed.

 

“The smell of blood …….”

 

Outside the open window, a boy looked at me and recited in a dreamy voice. While slowly raising my head and looking at the boy, I belatedly realized that I was on the third floor.

 

As I blinked in surprise, the boy jumped over the window and came inside.

 

“Why are you crying?”

 

“…”

 

His white hair, as clean as the first snow on a winter day, felt especially unrealistic.

 

“Go back to your home. This is no place for a little girl like you.”

 

Even though my hair was cut short and I wrapped myself in Ernst’s cloak, the boy could tell at a glance that I was a girl.

 

The boy chuckled lazily at the bewilderment that was slowly spreading across my face.

 

“I guess it must be a secret. A little girl hiding her true identity.”

 

As I fidgeted, the boy’s eyes took on a different blue hue.

 

“Who are you?”

 

“…”

 

“What is your name?”

 

“Yv….”

 

I was about to answer, but then I remembered the spell Rudolph had placed on me.

 

I couldn’t be called by the name Chernicia anymore.

 

I suppressed my rising emotions and took out the woman’s name, which was now a faint memory.

 

“Yves Llewellyn….”

 

The voice that uttered the unfamiliar name, as if it were not mine.

 

“It’s not that. Your real name.”

 

“That’s my real name.”

 

Yves was my childhood name, and Llewellyn was the last name of the woman who gave birth to me.

 

That was my name before I came to live in Chernicia. So this was my commitment.

 

I can’t be called Chernicia anymore, but I will never lose myself.

 

The boy’s eyes lit up sharply as I kept my mouth shut.

 

“Yes, then, that’s your name.”

 

The boy greeted me with a languid smile on his face.

 

“I’m Benjamin.”

 

It was a faint smile that seemed to disappear in a small breeze.

 

And so, as I blinked slowly, the smile on his face quickly disappeared.

 

With a flash of light that caught his eyes.

 

The boy with the hazy face quietly approached me and bent down.

 

The back of the boy’s hand grazed my cheek.

 

I felt a sting.

 

Blood seeped from the wound, which I didn’t know how long it had been there. He stared at the rim of my eye, which was frowning from the pain.

 

“Did it hurt?”

 

His fingertips touched the tears on the rim of my eyes.

 

Did it hurt?

 

It was painful. Really a lot….

 

As soon as I remembered the pain I had deliberately ignored, I started to cry again.

 

“Uh, I wasn’t trying to make you cry………”

 

 The boy’s embarrassed murmur was soon buried in my crying.

 

***

02. Reunion

***

 

Time flew by quickly, even in the sadness that the world seemed to be collapsing. Chernicia’s name was forgotten by the world, and Ernst failed to keep his promise.

 

10 years passed like that while living in Ferdinand.

 

Meanwhile, I became a mature young woman, but Ferdinand’s young headmaster did not want me to be knighted.

 

So I was still an apprentice knight.

 

The life of an older apprentice knight was very easy.

 

Some may consider it dishonorable, but when Chernicia’s name was lost long ago, things like honor were thrown away.

 

I had some work to do in the morning, but I ran away and climbed a large tree and was resting in peace.

 

The leaves swayed gently in the wind blowing.

 

There was no better place to escape the heat than here.

 

When I sat on a tree and looked at the swaying leaves, I thought of summer 10 years ago.

 

The sweet little prince who passed by my life for a brief moment. A secret friend at two o’clock in the afternoon. Recently, his name has often been heard even in Ferdinand.

 

 The dark-haired emperor, the cruel tyrant Theodore. 

 

(*It’s been 10 years so Theodore already became emperor)

 

Whenever I heard his story, I closed my ears and left. He was a man I would never meet again in my life anyway.

 

‘It’s a little bitter.’

 

Pressing down on the sad feeling, I ate the apple I was holding in my hand. Just like any other guys at the training ground, with no dignity.

 

Actually, everyone in Ferdinand except for Benjamin knew me as a man.

 

Even if it was to hide that the youngest daughter of Chernicia was still alive, it was far better.

 

If Granny had been alive to see this, she would have been stunned and passed out.

 

Thinking about it that way, I burst into laughter.

 

Then the laughter suddenly stopped.

 

Why didn’t I know at the time?

 

There will come a moment when I will miss even Granny’s nagging…

 

Losing my appetite, I threw away the apple I was eating.

 

It was then.

 

Tuk!

 

There was a muffled noise from below and the commotion of people could be heard.

 

When I looked down in surprise, I saw a man riding on a large black horse.

 

Apparently, he got hit in the head by the apple I threw.

 

The knights around the man grinded their teeth to find the one who threw the apple, and the man was staring straight ahead with an expressionless face.

 

My eyes widened wide as I looked at the man’s face.

 

rustle~

 

Without realizing it, I shook a branch.

 

A fresh green leaf fell down forcefully.

 

The man who was looking straight ahead involuntarily raised his head and grabbed the falling leaf with one hand.

 

In an instant, our eyes met.

 

“…”

 

“…”

 

I stiffened in place, forgetting to even breathe.

 

Even 10 years later, it was immediately recognizable.

 

Theodore, my sweet and friendly childhood secret friend.

 

The young prince in my memory reappeared as Albrecht’s young emperor.

 

Ding ding~

 

In the distance, the bell rang two o’clock.

 

The green leaf in his hand fell down to the ground.

 

Clap, breath caught in my throat.

 

He and I stared at each other silently for a while.

 

Did he recognize me?

 

[If anyone discovers your true identity and calls out your true name, you will not escape bloody death.]

 

Ten years ago, the magic of Rudolph Ferdinand’s curse still remained in my body.

 

I was living with a changed appearance, gender, name, and birth.

 

Perhaps…… Just in case he recognizes me…

 

There were two conditions for Rudolph’s magic to activate.

 

One, the other party will recognize me as ‘Yvone Chernicia’.

 

Two, if the other person calls my true name, ‘Yvonne Chernicia’ out loud.

 

So, before he could recognize me, I had to run away.

 

Feeling a bit terrified, I got up with the intention of running away. That was the moment.

 

The man who was looking up at me slowly bent his eyes and immediately jumped up on the tree.

 

Ahhh.

 

“Your Majesty….!”

 

“Your Majesty, where are you!”

 

“His Majesty is gone!”

 

“Find His Majesty!”

 

As I heard people’s shouts from below, my heart raced violently. With a thick palm covering my mouth, I couldn’t spit out even a tiny scream.

 

“Hi.”

 

A nice low-pitched sound flowed gently into my ear.

 

At the same time, the palm that was covering my mouth slowly fell away.

 

I slowly turned my head to look at him.

 

Thump. Thump.

 

Theodore was looking at me with the outstanding features of a doll, just as in his childhood. He asked me.

 

“What is your name?”

 

With a warm and gentle voice that was not different from old memories.