Chapter 8

***

 

Hearing that friendly question, I sighed briefly.

 

He doesn’t remember..…

 

I was glad he didn’t recognize me.

 

But why do I feel bitter?

 

“Huh? Aren’t you going to tell me?”

 

“…it’s Yves Llewellyn.”

 

I barely parted my lips and the bitter water ran down my throat.

 

“Yves Llewellyn. Yves Llewellyn…”

 

Theodore mumbled the false name I had said as if trying to remember it.

 

“Yes, hello.”

 

The long, beautiful tails of the eyes were curved in a half-moon shape. I looked at him as if possessed, and then suddenly came to my senses.

 

We were no longer childhood secret friends.

 

I was the one who threw the apple at the emperor’s head, and he was the emperor.

 

I had to apologize quickly.

 

“I….I didn’t just throw that apple on purpose…”

 

“I’m very tired right now, so I want to rest.”

 

But Theodore cut me off as naturally as flowing water.

 

“Will you stay by my side until then?”

 

He smiled brightly and grabbed my rough hand as he asked. Then he naturally intertwined our fingers.

 

My body trembled at the cool sensation that penetrated between my fingers. I knew this feeling well.

 

A long time ago, that year, the last summer in Chernicia.

 

In our own secret place in the Imperial Palace backyard.

 

[Are you hot?]

 

The boy tilted his head and asked me, who was particularly hot.

 

[Are you going to fan me again?]

 

[Well······.]

 

When I asked the question, remembering our first meeting, the boy smiled softly.

 

[Give me your hand, Yvonne.]

 

Before I could answer, he grabbed my hand.

 

Even though we were the same age, our finger lengths were very different.

 

[Gloves, can I take them off?]

 

[Now, why the gloves?]

 

My little hand wiggled in surprise in his hand. Seeing this, he narrowed his eyes and smiled.

 

[I’ll show you something strange.]

 

It was very embarrassing, but I was fascinated by the kindest and most beautiful smile in the world, and I simply nodded my head.

 

He took off my gloves to reveal small, rough hands. The reason I always wear gloves wasn’t just because of the calluses from holding the sword.

 

[What’s this?]

 

Young Theodore blinked at the wound on my wrist.

 

[No, nothing… ]

 

My face turned red and I answered in a voice the size of a mosquito. Thankfully, he didn’t ask any more.

 

Young Theodore clasped my hands.

 

It was at that time when the boy’s thick knuckles felt between my fingers once again heated my face.

 

I looked at the boy. Theodore smiled brightly, folding the corners of his eyes.

 

[How is it? Isn’t it cool?]

 

Holding the boy’s hand, a cool sensation flooded over me.

 

My body, which had been exhausted from the heat, gradually regained vitality. When I opened my eyes narrowly, a faint light flashed over our clasped hands, making me think I had seen it wrong.

 

[How did you do it?]

 

[Uh, it’s a secret.]

 

Young Theodore smiled and winked.

 

Just as he didn’t ask for the secret of the wound on my wrist, I didn’t dig further into his secret.

 

Instead, he held my hand tightly and chattered, then fell asleep slowly at some point.

 

It was a thing of the past that I thought it would never come back again…

 

Stay with me while I rest. Then we’ll talk about throwing the apple. What do you think?”

 

The voice asking again woke me up to reality.

 

As I stared at my clasped hands without answering, he tightened his grip on me and pulled me towards him.

 

As a result, my body leaned towards him.

 

“No?”

 

The languid questioning face was relaxed and confident, as if he did not expect rejection from the beginning.

 

He tickled my palm with his thumb mischievously, as he did when he was a child.

 

When we were young, he loved to touch my hands. They were not even pretty hands.

 

Emotions sprang up, but there was no tear in my eyes. I just nodded calmly.

 

Then he smiled and leaned against the wooden pole.

 

Watching his slowly closing eyelids, I bit my lower lip. The pretty features were still there, but he was exuding a much more masculine feeling than 10 years ago.

 

Softly closed eyelids and long eyelashes swaying at the end. A straight, high nose bridge and red lips that make a small breathing sound…

 

I stared at him and stayed by his side for a long time.

 

***

*Theodore’s POV*

***

 

A regular sound of breathing leaked out between the gaping lips.

 

“You fell asleep…… .”

 

After Yvonne fell asleep, Theodore slowly opened his eyes and looked at the sleeping face.

 

There was no sign of the person who had just woken up from his sleep in the muffled voice.

 

He had never fallen asleep in the first place.

 

No, how could he sleep?

 

When the one who he had been searching for for a long time was in front of him.

 

“Yes, you are still alive……”

 

The corners of his lips curled up.

 

Thump. Thump.

 

The heartbeat that started from the clasped hands shook violently as if it shook his whole body.

 

Theodore carefully checked the inside of Yvonne’s wrist.

 

The small burn mark that made his heart hurt just looking at it was still there.

 

“It’s okay now, Yvonne. Because I found you.”

 

He muttered while stroking Yvone’s wrist with his thumb.

 

“But…”

 

Then, the faint smile that remained on his lips suddenly hardened.

 

“Why does the curse of the dead remain?”

 

At the unpleasant aura emanating from the wound on Yvonne’s wrist, Theodore put an impression on his handsome face.

 

“No way….”

 

Theodore remembered Ferdinand’s young headmaster. He felt very bad.

 

“Your Majesty.”

 

At this time, one of his servants appeared silently.

 

“Everyone was shocked because you suddenly disappeared……”

 

“Lower your voice.”

 

The emperor’s chief escort knight, Lyndon, was startled when he saw the eyes of Theodore who was staring at him.

 

A little while ago, the escort team was on alert when the emperor was struck by an apple that fell out of nowhere and then the emperor disappeared.

 

It was an emergency and everyone was looking for him.

 

It wasn’t because he (Lyndon) was worried about the disappearing emperor.

 

It was to save the poor man who accidentally threw the apple at the emperor. However, the emperor he found was cherishing the unfamiliar young man. (*Yvonne has been disguised as a man since 10 years ago.)

 

He wondered what it was, but the clever Lyndon, who knew the preciousness of life, did not ask about it.

 

Instead, he rolled his eyes and avoided the emperor’s cruel gaze.

 

“Huh…uh… … … Miss Katarina is waiting for Your Majesty. Won’t you go meet her?” 

 

When Lyndon asked with a low voice, the emperor gave a gentle gaze.

 

“I don’t need it now. Because I found Yvonne.”

 

“What? Then this person is….”

 

Lyndon, startled by those words, looked at the face of a strange young man who was sleeping, leaning next to the emperor.

 

At first glance, he appeared to be an ordinary man, but his distinctive white and clear facial features were exceptionally beautiful even with his eyes closed.

 

As soon as he recognized it, the curtain over his eyes was lifted, and the young man leaning on the emperor was not a man.

 

He could tell it was a woman disguised as a man.

 

He felt as if waking up from a spell.

 

“Yvonne Ch…..”

 

“Be careful.”

 

As Lyndon was about to utter Yvonne’s name, Theodore stopped him.

 

“She has the curse of death.”

 

 Even without a detailed explanation, Lyndon had a sense of what kind of curse Theodore was talking about.

 

And it was only Ferdinand who could use that much power.

 

“That…as expected, it seems that Ferdinand was involved in the fall of Chernicia.”

 

“But it’s strange.”

 

Theodore narrowed his eyes and muttered.

 

“Then who killed Rudolph Ferdinand and Empress Margaret? And why does the curse of the dead not disappear…” 

 

(*it seems that 10 years later someone killed the Empress and the empress’s brother Rudolph)

 

The unpleasant energy left on Yvonne’s wrist was obviously Rudolph Ferdinand’s. However, the curse-like magic that should have disappeared at the same time as the caster’s death still remained in Yvonne.

 

Suddenly, his golden eyes gleamed coldly.

 

“Investigate Ferdinand’s apprentice knight, Yves Llewellyn.”

 

“Yes, Your Majesty.”

 

After giving a brief order, Theodore turned his head to Yvonne again.

 

When he put the uncomfortable-looking head on his lap, the sleeping person’s expression became more comfortable.

 

“Yvonne… ”

 

Theodore looked down at Yvonne with wide open eyes and stroked her short silver hair.

 

In the past, she always had long hair that came down to her waist, but now she has short hair that was a little over her jawline.

 

Even the single strand of hair that was scattered between his fingers was insanely lovely. 

 

“I missed you, my Yvonne.”

 

Lyndon, who watched silently at the incongruous and friendly tone that flowed from between his lips, was terrified.

 

He got goosebumps.

 

‘What did I just hear..… ?’

 

Theodore Leone Albrecht.

 

An arrogant, ruthless and cruel tyrant, unprecedented in the history of Albrecht, had such a friendly voice.

 

It couldn’t have…

 

“My treasure…… .”

 

As Lyndon struggled to shake his head and deny what he had heard, Theodore muttered once more in a gentle tone.

 

Then he suddenly raised his head and stared fiercely at Lyndon, who was still standing there.

 

 “What are you doing? Are you peeking at Yvonne right now?”