Chapter 9

***

 

When I woke up, I realized that I had fallen asleep on that tree. Suddenly, the sky was dark and the man holding my hand was nowhere to be seen.

 

‘When did I fall asleep like this?’

 

I frowned at the thought of disappointment and got down from the tree.

 

As I was passing in front of the annex, there was a commotion. The main character of the commotion was Katarina Ferdinand.

 

Katarina was a very wicked woman. Perhaps everyone will agree with me. She seemed to hate everyone in the mansion, but she hated me the most. From a very young age.

 

‘witch.’

 

I pouted my lips and muttered inwardly towards Katarina, who was taking anger out on the helpless servants. As our eyes met, I quickly turned my head in surprise.

 

But it was after Katarina had already found me.

 

“Yves Llewellyn.”

 

The moment she called my name, I realized the mistake I had made a while ago.

 

Katarina was a woman whom Rudolph Ferdinand, who had no daughter, took in and made her his daughter. 

 

At one time, after the name of Chernicia was erased from the world, rumors circulated in the mansion that Katarina was engaged to Prince Ernst.

 

Until then, the most likely next emperor was not Theodore, but Ernst, who had a strong family.

 

However, after the death of Rudolph Ferdinand, the marriage between the two was broken.

 

And Katarina… 

 

“Come here.”

 

Katarina waved her hand at me.

 

“What did you just mumble while looking at me?”

 

“….”

 

“I asked, what did you say?”

 

Well-maintained, sharp fingernails pierced my face.

 

I bowed my head and closed my lips. Then she traced the tip of her nail on my face painfully.

 

“Aren’t you going to answer me?”

 

She stared at me as if to kill me for not answering right away, but I know. If I give her an answer, she will nitpick and accuse me of something.

 

“Katarina Ferdinand.”

 

At this time, the voice of salvation was heard.

 

“Benjamin.”

 

Katarina, who immediately had a venomous look in her eyes, showed a disgustingly shy expression on her face and bowed politely.

 

As I turned to follow Katarina, a young man with short white hair was approaching me.

 

Benjamin.

 

That third-floor friend who kept me alive in this hellish Ferdinand.

 

And Ferdinand’s young master.

 

After the sudden death of Rudolph Ferdinand many years ago, Benjamin, who was invisible for a long time, reappeared as Ferdinand’s headmaster. 

 

“What were you doing?”

 

Suddenly he stood next to me and looked down at Katarina.

 

The frost-cold eyes might make people shiver, but Katarina raised her head proudly and said.

 

“I was teaching.”

 

“Teach who?”

 

“Yves Llewellyn was originally the servant I had. She was given to me by the deceased former headmaster Rudolph. In honor of the fact that I took the name of Ferdinand.”

 

“But not now.”

 

“Yes, because Benjamin forcibly took Yves from me. And you haven’t paid for it yet.”

 

The corners of Katarina’s eyes, explaining my situation in a soft voice, were sullenly folded.

 

“So Yves Llewellyn was stolen from me. I am waiting for the day when Benjamin will pay me a fair price.”

 

The day Katarina got Ferdinand’s name, Rudolph asked her to choose the gift she wanted.

 

And what she chose was none other than the young me as an apprentice knight. Albrecht’s nobles often cast subordination magic on master-slave contract documents.

 

There weren’t many people who could cast it, so no one could do it.

 

Rudolph gave Katarina an enchanted master-slave document that even the new headmaster, Benjamin, could not destroy.

 

Ownership could only be transferred at a ‘reasonable price’ considered by the owner.

 

And the ‘fair price’ she offered to Benjamin was none other than the position of the Empress.

 

Benjamin tried with all his heart to get me away from her.

 

And his efforts finally began to pay off.

 

In fact, he already knew that Theodore was going to visit Ferdinand today.

 

Because rumors had already spread.

 

There was talk of marriage between Emperor Theodore and Katarina.

 

‘Nonsense. An angel like Theodore is marrying a witch like Katarina?’

 

However, the meeting was canceled due to the sudden disappearance of Emperor Theodore, who was supposed to visit today.

 

So, Katarina, who was venting her anger towards her subordinates, found me.

 

And tormented me.

 

What bothered me was that it was also a warning to Benjamin to quickly ‘pay the fair price’, that was, to quickly get the empress’s position for her.

 

Of course, it was my fault that the meeting between her and Theodore failed, so it was a very wise choice for Katarina to persecute me.

 

Although she didn’t know the truth. 

 

(*Theo was on his way to meet Katarina when he met Yvonne on the tree so he didn’t come to the meeting)

 

“If you repeat the same thing one more time, I will take away Ferdinand’s name.”

 

Benjamin, who was staring at her with cold eyes, whispered in a low voice as if warning her.

 

But Katarina responded with a pervasive smile on her lips.

 

“But you can’t. Ferdinand needs a girl, and I’m the girl your father picked himself.”

 

“Father, just for that reason.”

 

Benjamin asked back in a low voice.

 

“Do you really think I can’t?”

 

“Yes, you can’t. Because you…… .”

 

Katarina glanced at me and took a step towards Benjamin. Then she whispered to him in a low voice.

 

‘What is she talking about?’

 

For a moment, the expression on Benjamin’s face disappeared.

 

Judging by his bloodless, white face, it was clear that that wicked Katarina had said something bad to Benjamin.

 

Katarina left and walked past Benjamin.

 

When I saw her confident step, I felt very upset.

 

I wanted to escape from Katarina, but I didn’t want her to become Theodore’s Empress.

 

“Yves.”

 

At this moment, Benjamin carefully held my face and lifted it up.

 

“You have nail marks.”

 

His eyes, which had been staring intently at my left cheek, frowned slowly.

 

“It’s okay. It doesn’t hurt anyway.”

 

He moved his lips as if he had something to say but didn’t.

 

“It’s really okay.”

 

I smiled and said it again.

 

I knew how much effort Benjamin was doing for me even now.

 

The only way to break the master-slave contract was to pay a fair price or kill the owner, but that didn’t mean he could kill Katarina.

 

“I am grateful to you. Therefore…… .”

 

When gently waved my hand and pushed away Benjamin’s hand that was still covering my face, suddenly he grabbed my wrist and pulled me closer, and buried the tip of his nose over it.

 

“Yves.”

 

“Benjamin?”

 

“unpleasant… … … It smells unpleasant…”

 

He muttered softly, and suddenly bit my wrist.

 

“Ouch!”

 

I felt a sharp pain that was incomparable to when Katarina stabbed me in the cheek. Seeing the sharp teeth marks on my white wrist, I glared at him.

 

“It hurts, Benjamin! Are you crazy?”

 

But Benjamin didn’t respond. He just smirked.

 

When I shook my head and turned around.

 

“By the way, Yves.”

 

He came close to me and asked.

 

“Where were you during the day?”

 

“Huh……?”

 

“I looked for you but I couldn’t find you.”

 

“Um… .”

 

I slowly rolled my eyes and avoided his gaze.

 

When I didn’t answer, he clung to me with his large body.

 

“Heavy. Go away.”

 

“No.”

 

But he started to bother me, rubbing his head on my shoulder as if he didn’t want to get away from me.

 

I smiled and stroked his short hair.

 

Then, as if in a good mood, he purred just like a large baby beast.

 

‘He’s so pure. How can he be the master of Ferdinand?’

 

I was worried about him and sighed deeply.

 

Compared to his predecessor, Rudolph, Benjamin was too kind and naive.

 

“Hold on a little longer. I’ll get you out soon.”

 

At that moment, my steps suddenly stopped at Benjamin’s words.

 

A fair price.

 

Thinking about it, I thought of Theodore of the day, who, although did not recognize me, smiled with the sweetest face in the world.

 

He was always kind and gentle, as I remembered a long time ago.

 

‘Can I see him again?’

 

And my doubts were solved within a day or so.

 

“Hi.”

 

Same time, same place as the day before. He appeared silently and greeted me with a bright smile.

 

“I’m here to pick you up.”

 

Theodore.

 

He came to pick me up.

 

Dong. Dong. 

 

The chime of two o’clock in the afternoon rang out.

 

As usual, while I was resting freely on the tree, I was startled by his sudden appearance and almost fell down.

 

He gently grabbed my body.

 

Theodore grabbed me by the waist with one arm, hugged me, and landed gently down.

 

After being held in Theodore’s arms for a moment, I was startled and pushed him away and looked at him with a watchful eye.

 

“Me, why…?”

 

Theodore, me?

 

Why?

 

Did he recognize me?

 

thump, thump, thump

 

When I asked, barely calming my beating heart, he gently curved his eyes.

 

“Yves Llewellyn.”

 

But what flowed through his lips was my false name.

 

“Ferdinand’s apprentice knight who has not yet been appointed. I’m recruiting you to be under the Emperor’s direct Order.”

 

I realized later that he didn’t recognize me.

 

A feeling of relief or not knowing what it was, welled up in my heart.

 

“Why me….?”

 

“I saw your skill as a knight. It was great.”

 

“What? Me?”

 

For a moment, I asked, confused.

 

Is he mistaken for someone else… ?

 

After losing Chernicia’s last name, I had never held my sword properly in front of others.

 

“Your Majesty, did you see me wielding a sword?”

 

“Yes. I have a very good eye. I believe you will become the sword that protects me.”

 

“But I am Ferdinand’s… … ”

 

“I heard that you haven’t received your knighthood yet, so there’s no problem, isn’t it?”

 

Of course there was a problem.

 

Because I belonged to Ferdinand, and at the same time, I had a master-slave relationship with Katarina.

 

“So won’t you come with me?”

 

I looked at him with eyes full of hesitation as he extended his hand to me. The golden eyes bent in the shape of a half moon were so beautiful that it was hard to resist.

 

What should I do?

 

When I tried to get closer to him without realizing it, even though I knew it was impossible.

 

“Yves.”

 

Benjamin suddenly appeared and interrupted me and intervened.

 

Theodore’s brightly smiling eyes glanced at Benjamin’s hand, which was naturally placed on my shoulder.

 

The always warm golden eyes slowly turned cold.

 

“Isn’t that Ferdinand’s new master?”

 

Theodore spoke to Benjamin in a low, cold voice that I had never heard before.

 

Only then did Benjamin react belatedly and look at Theodore.

 

“Theodore…… His Majesty the Emperor.”

 

Benjamin hid me behind his back and bowed his head towards Theodore.

 

“Benjamin Ferdinand sees the great master of Albrecht. Glory to Albrecht.”

 

Benjamin greeted Theodore in a low voice.

 

Suddenly hiding behind Benjamin, I was startled by the strange air current that surrounded me, and my eyes narrowed.

 

Just when I thought things were a little weird.

 

“Unfortunately, I didn’t come to see you.”

 

Theodore’s gaze passed through Benjamin and reached me.

 

The hard gold eyes were curved gently again as if they were never cold in the beginning.

 

“Sir Yves Llewellyn.”

 

Theodore called my name in a flowing voice and stretched out his hand toward me.

 

Ack.

 

His thick hand grabbed my wrist without warning.

 

“Come here.” (Theodore)

 

And at the same time my body was being led by Theodore.

 

“No, Yves.” (Benjamin)

 

snap.

 

My other hand was grabbed by Benjamin.

 

“…”

 

“…”

 

“….”

 

A strange silence engulfed the three of us.