Chapter 1. Prologue
The garden of trees, one after the other, neatly trimmed without an inch of error, seemed to resemble him. It was like him that was perfectly refined from every angle, like him that there was a sharp edge to it, like him that it would sting you if you tried to get close to it.
“The Lelandi tree cleanses the spirit and relieves psychological pressure. How do you like it?”
Indeed, it was just what I needed right now. I breathed in, and the clear air awakened my clouded spirit.
Even though my grandmother’s death was already seven years ago, I would have nightmares. When that happened, I always ran out immediately.
Nanuk walked into the room and brought me a hot chocolate. There were a lot of marshmallows missing on top of the hot chocolate that was placed in front of me. The white marshmallows had melted and mixed with the chocolate because they could not stand the heat. This seemed to be me. I couldn’t overcome the first time I felt my family’s affection, and I was melting, not knowing what would happen to me.
“Be careful, it’s hot.”
Sweet things would make me feel better. Nanuk leaned back on his elbow as he slowly sipped his hot chocolate. His long, thick eyelashes cast shadows as if he had pulled down an awning. At first he called me a fairy, but it was he who looked more like a fairy. He was so lightly pigmented that it didn’t feel real. When I was about halfway through a cup of hot chocolate, he spoke.
“Next time if you have another nightmare, let the knight know to come get me. I’ll stay with you until you fall asleep.”
I looked at him with my eyes round. For him, the world was a chessboard. A journey to move the bishop, to thoroughly calculate and checkmate the numbers in all cases. Everything, except his family, was just a chess knight in his eyes. The unofficial position of Crown Prince, and the numerous assassination attempts he had experienced since he was a child, made him more cold-hearted and deliberate than anyone else.
He would be more like an “emperor” than anyone else. He put on solid armor that no one could break, layer by layer, and built a solid defensive wall. That merging line was the bedroom. He was a perfectionist and did not want to expose his disgrace. The definition of ‘sleep’ in his mind meant he had to let down his guard, and that was the breaking point he didn’t want anyone to see, nor could he.
It stuck in my memory because I’d read more methodically about the First Prince in the series. Therefore, his proposal was nothing short of surprising. How could Nanuk, who had never slept with any of his family even as a child, say such a thing? Was that how special Rosiane was? So much so that Nanuk would get out of bed to be by her side?
I thought he would send me back to my palace, but to my surprise, Nanuk let me sleep at his place.
“You’ve eaten something sweet, you should brush your teeth so you don’t get cavities.”
I put down my empty glass and Nanuk called the maid to help me brush my teeth. After brushing my teeth with help, I walked up to him, who was leaning against the head of the bed reading a book. The black leather cover of the book he was holding had [The Prince] written on it. It looked like a tough book for a sixteen years old to read. I looked at him with a puzzled expression, then he covered the book and placed it on a small table. He then lifted the covers and told me to get in.
I walked in groggily. The blanket smelled of the drying sun. He pulled up the covers to my neck. There was warmth under it. The servants turned off the lights and left, and darkness fell in the room. But it was not as gloomy as before. Nanuk patted the top of the covers to help me sleep better. A beautiful painted face in front of me. This time, I fell into a deep sleep without any dreams.
“Brother! Rosie is gone! Wake up!”
It was really noisy early in the morning. Eryte knocked on the door of the room and woke me up. I was staring blindly at the clear sunshine through the window, when suddenly a shadow fell into my view. When my eyes could open easily, Nanuk stood in front of the window, covering the sunlight and making the shade. He looked at me with a subtle expression which I couldn’t tell if he was smiling or not.
He was really handsome, even through my hazy morning eyes. Why is this boy here?
His name slipped out of my mouth. After a few moments of silence, I realized my mistake and sat up in bed hurriedly. However, I pretended like nothing happened, I lay down again, hitting my head directly into Nanuk’s hand, which had created a hidden curtain over my head. I heard a crackling sound as I realized how hard I had hit him.
He laughed aloud at first. He could see that I was looking at him with a puzzled expression, so he quickly adjusted his expression and patted my twitching forehead.
“You called my name for the first time.”
I stared at him, fearing he would think I was crazy, but he just raised his mouth and smiled beautifully. His eyes curved in an arc. It was the first time I had ever seen a smile that was uniquely his. It was more than I expected.
“Brother! How long are you going to sleep? Rosiane’s not in her room!” Eryte shouted again.
At a loss for words, Nanuk sighed and applied pressure to his temples.