Chapter 9

 

 

However, it was only for show, I could call his name as he wished.

 

“Bernique….”

 

The name on the tip of my tongue was sad and suddenly my eyes ached.

 

Bernique smiled brightly when he heard his name. Then he cried. The tears that passed his cheeks and disappeared down the tip of his chin were tears of joy, but my smile as I smiled at him was a smile of sadness. He hugged me tightly. 

 

“I’m glad. Rosie.” 

 

Bernique whispered in my ear again and again. I could hear the strong beats of his heart.

 

‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry.’Those were the only words I could say, and tears streamed down my cheeks. As we embraced each other and were mired in different emotional marshes, Leav came.

 

He stared at Bernique with confused eyes. When their eyes met, Bernique hastily wiped his tears and led Leav to the sofa. A cup of cocoa filled with marshmallows and two cups of chamomile were placed before us.

 

The sweet smell of chocolate and a hint of flowers made the room more soothing. I slowly checked the word cards that Bernique made for me until the marshmallow melted. There were words like flowers, butterflies, sky, clouds, and trees, all with cute pictures. As expected, Bernique, who enjoyed drawing, was very good at it. Leav, who was sitting next to him, had a disapproval look on his face. 

 

“Did brother make those?”

 

“Yes. I made them for Rosiane.”

 

“By the way, why isn’t my name there?”

 

There must be a reason, but Bernique didn’t make the cards for the royal family, except for himself. Only his name was written on one of the numerous cards, the most visible gold leaf card. 

 

“Because I didn’t make one.”

 

Bernique, who smiled softly and said so, savored the chamomile tea. Leav, who was watching him closely, sighed.

 

“That’s cheap!”

 

The words came out in a very low voice, mixed with sighs, but everyone could hear it.

 

“Leav..”

 

“Yes? Yes?”

 

I called out Leav’s name to change the atmosphere. Leav, who was drinking tea with a subtly sullen expression, answered from the unexpected call and spilled his tea in surprise.

 

The maids rushed over and handed him a towel. As he wiped his hands, Leav spoke with a puzzled expression.

 

“Sister….just now…”

 

He said, pointing at himself. His expressionless face instantly brightened. There was a discreet smile on his lips.

 

“That’s right. Sister’s only ‘one’ lovely brother, Leav.”

 

“Lovely….”

 

Bernique protested, but Leav didn’t care. He stood up and came to my side. Then he grabbed my hand firmly.

 

“Say it one more time. Just one more time, just one more time, please!”

 

“Leav…”

 

“Call me again!”

 

“Leav.”

 

I think I called his name 50 times that night. 

 

***

 

I tossed and turned my tired body. When I woke up, something yellowish glistening came into my blurred vision. 

 

‘Am I dreaming?’

 

I blinked slowly and gasped in surprise. Eryte was squatting in front of the bed and looking at me. 

 

“Who am I?”

 

I silently lay there and pulled the covers, which were down to my waist, over my head. Then I heard him running to the other side this time. He pulled down the blanket and looked at me, smiling. I felt the urge to poke him once in his deep, indented dimples. As I stared in bewilderment, a white mass suddenly surged in front of me.

 

“It’s a silver fox scarf that was directly caught by this lovely Eryte!”

 

Oh, he talked about it last year. I couldn’t believe he gave it to me just now after the winter was over. I couldn’t wear a scarf now because of the warm weather, but I would be able to wear it in the winter. That was, if I would still be here at all. 

 

“Thank you, Eryte,” I said, grabbing the fox scarf.

 

Oh, I spoke informally. It didn’t matter. I glanced at Eryte and he just looked happy without showing anything. I guessed it was fine.

 

His soft hair fluttered. He left his position with a very satisfied look on his face.

 

“I heard you, so I’m going now!”

 

He exclaimed cheerfully, running out of the room. I was going to say, “Let’s have breakfast together,” but I watched his back as he disappeared without giving me time to speak. Eryte was probably the world’s best energetic one. I shifted my gaze to the trace of Eryte left on my hand. The fluffy scarf somehow tickled a corner of my heart.

 

***

 

In the end, I didn’t say the word “Father” to Erdos. He seemed inwardly disappointed, but he didn’t show it in front of me. It wasn’t long before I said something else. 

 

“Flower.”

 

“That’s wonderful, Rosie.”

 

A month after that day, Erdos’ only pleasure was to see me guessing the names of the things his finger pointed to. 

 

“Do you know what color this is?”

 

When I pretended to be distressed, Erdos was anxious and soon gave me a hint.

 

“Bernique and Leav’s hair color is that color.”

 

“Red…?”

 

“Rosie, It’s really amazing! Father is really happy.”

 

He didn’t forget to emphasize the word “father” again today. My body tingled with the embarrassment of being praised for something so ordinary. As I moved my gaze, I met his eyes with a warmth in them. He was truly delighted every time I showed him how I was growing in knowledge of something. No, not me, but the growth of a child who thought of herself as Rosiane.

 

I was Rosiane, but I was also not Rosiane. Sadly, there was a gap between Rosiane and me that would never diminish. We were so far apart, but I took her body for unknown reasons. Even if she was dying, it didn’t mean that she didn’t exist. I felt guilty towards her when I thought about it.

 

I felt like I had taken away everything she deserved. I felt like I didn’t fully deserve their love. It was all something that Rosiane should be able to enjoy, but I couldn’t call him my father, probably because I felt bad for her. 

 

“What are you thinking, Rosie?”

 

I came back to my senses and shook my head as if saying it was nothing.

 

“Isn’t the weather nice?”

 

 I looked up at the sky at Erdos’s sudden question.

 

Clouds were floating in the clear sky.The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for the tranquil horses below. 

 

“So I’m going to go undercover today, Rosiane is okay with it, right?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Actually that’s not what I wanted to say. I just wanted to lie down on a soft bed and sleep. But I couldn’t help but agree.

 

When I arrived at my room to prepare, everything was done in a snap. When I went out with Eryte, I had to put on the lenses he had prepared, but Erdos solved everything with a single hand gesture. When his thumb and middle finger made a frictional sound, the color of my hair and eyes changed. I had fluffy pink hair and similar pink eyes.

 

“Magic?”

 

“Yes, Rosiane. You will be able to do it when you’re older.”

 

 It was the first time I had actually seen it, so it was pretty amazing.

 

The Erdos before me had given me an angelic, or even elven vibe.  Just one change in coloration could make one look so different. Sensing that I was staring, he quickly pushed me to look in the mirror. I stood in front of the mirror with a fluttering heart. He smiled low as he saw my eyes widen. My pink hair and eyes, which looked as sweet as cotton candy, had a tremendous synergistic effect when combined with Rosiane’s face.

 

The wavy pink hair and big eyes made me look like a doll. Once again, I marveled at the appearance. 

 

“Do you like it?”

 

I nodded, my gaze fixed on the mirror. I liked magic. I decided to learn it diligently.

 

“Let’s get ready.”

 

At Erdos’s command, the maids moved in unison.

 

Magic was a good thing. I would have to learn hard.

 

My simple pale sky-blue chemise dress was replaced with a cream dress embroidered with red flowers. It was a striking dress with gorgeously decorated ruffled sleeves and a swaying lace cape collar. On top of the cotton candy pink hair was a bonnet decorated with white ruffles and embroidered with flowers. Two strings connected to the bonnet were tied under my chin, but it was a little uncomfortable since I had never tied it in such a position before. 

 

“Rosie, are you ready?”

 

 Erdos’ voice came from behind the partition.

 

I looked out of the partition in a flash. Erdos was wearing a white shirt and black pants, he was simply dressed, but it made him look more attractive. Honestly, we should change our faces to go undercover instead of changing hair or eyes’ colors.

 

“What do you think?” 

 

When I grabbed the hem of the dress and approached him, a smile rose over his face, which was hardened for a while. 

 

“You’re so pretty.”

 

He said and hugged me, then kissed me briefly on the cheek. 

 

“Whose daughter is that? Haha.”

 

I felt a little embarrassed at his joke so I smiled lightly.

 

We took a short walk and arrived in front of the carriage. It was a neat indigo-colored carriage covered with a wooden roof, without patterns of any kind.

 

Normally, we would use a carriage engraved with the Empire’s crest, but this one seemed to have been specially prepared for us to go undercover – or rather, to dress up in gorgeous clothes. Escorted by Erdos, I boarded the carriage. The interior was so luxurious that I didn’t dare to call it a carriage. The wagon left the castle unwavering as Erdos knocked twice on the window. The spacious carriage was comfortable to ride in, and the windows were wide enough that we could easily see the entire city if only the curtains were drawn.

 

My eyes were glued to the scenery that I could not see because we used the underground passage when I went out with Eryte last time. I looked at the trees passing by, the people busily walking somewhere, the painted blue sky, and before I knew it, the carriage was close to the city. I looked back at Erdos, who was sitting next to me, and our eyes met. He seemed to be looking at me for some time. Smiling, he reached out a finger and pecked me on the cheek. My plump cheeks slipped into place. 

 

“You have gained quite a bit of weight.”

 

Indeed, I had more meat on me than when I first woke up. In the beginning, I was too thin, and even though I gained weight, I was still skinny, but I suddenly remembered that the ideal waist size for a woman in medieval times was 13 inches. 

 

“Yes….” I said, suddenly remembering how my grandmother used to frown at me, shouted that I should eat more.

 

However, I wondered if Erdos didn’t like the fact that I gained more weight. I wiggled my fingers and handed him an apple that I was holding for a while.

 

“Oh, I’ll eat it.”

 

 His eyebrows furrowed, as if he didn’t like it one bit. 

 

“I didn’t mean it like that. I meant it was good to see. There will be more…”

 

The carriage came to a sudden stop.

 

***