Unlike the previous dreams, it was about an average family.
In it, Marie had become an ordinary middle-aged woman.
She was a mother of two sons and an extremely average woman who could be found anywhere in town.
If she had to identify a special skill, it would be her cooking ability.
Her savory potato soup was well-known in the village.
“Son, how was work? Was it hard?”
“Oh, it’s fine.
I’m not a child anymore, so stop worrying.”
“It’s still dangerous, so you have to be careful, okay?”
The dream was lengthy but uneventful.
The life of the middle-aged woman and her two sons passed tranquilly through the gaze of the mother.
The two sons who used to be troublemakers, grew up and got jobs; became independent, and got married.
The family had both joyful and difficult moments, but overall it was an ordinary and unremarkable day-to-day life.
Throughout the dream, the middle-aged woman watched her sons grow up.
When something blissful happened, they rejoiced together, and when they’re sick, she suffered more than them.
When the children secretly sighed, she tossed and turned in her sleep, fretting over what had happened.
And she always prayed. Lord, may your protection always be with us.
The time in the dream seemed to pass like a flowing river, and Marie eventually woke up from the dream not knowing how long she’d been asleep.
Marie blinked her eyes.
“What kind of dream is this?”
It was such an uneventful daily life that she was somewhat perplexed about it.
Why did she have this dream?
“It’s just… a dream, is it?” She tilted her head.
Not every dream would have a special meaning.
There would be days when she had normal dreams.
I don’t think it’s just a meaningless dream.’ She shook her head.
Despite the fact that not all dreams have a significant purpose, this dream felt too real and vivid.
It’s as if she really was that middle-aged woman.
“Ah, I don’t know.
Let’s sleep a little longer for now.”
It was so early in the morning that even the first rooster hadn’t crowed yet.
She had to get a little more sleep in order to do her best today.
But why couldn’t she?
She closed her eyes, but she couldn’t sleep.
It kept coming back to her.
‘What’s the reason for this dream?’ She pondered, closing her eyes.
From her experiences so far, dreams had always been related to the future in some way.
But the dream of being a mother! She couldn’t guess the connection at all.
She’d never even held a man’s hand…
Eventually, after staying awake all night, Marie headed to her new workplace, the Swan Garden.
In the middle of doing so, her superior, Miss Susan, was so concerned that she tried to warn Marie, further confounding her.
‘Marie, there’s a rumor of ghost sightings a few days ago.
They say it’s a golden-haired ghost…’
‘…Last time, you said it was silver haired…’
‘Oh, that! The silver-haired ghost comes out during the day, and the golden-haired ghost appears at night.’
Marie made a baffled expression.
A silver-haired ghost by day and a golden-haired ghost by night?
‘No, of course it’s all nonsense.
Still, if you see at least one… if you see a ghost…’
After listening to a lecture about how to deal with it—such as making a sign of the cross and praying out loud—she finally reached the garden.
“…It’s really creepy.” Marie muttered as she surveyed the garden with a slightly weary face.
Tall vines, wilted flowers and trees, and a dry swan pond.
The desolate appearance of the garden due to neglect made it conceivable why rumors of ghosts were circulating around.
‘It’s not like a ghost would come out for real, right?’ Marie thought unconsciously, but quickly shook her head.
“W-Why would there be ghosts in the Imperial Palace? Let’s not think about useless things and work hard instead.”
She shook her head, dispelling the apprehension creeping up on her mind.
“Let’s do our best today!”
All she had to do was clean up the messy and abandoned garden.
It wasn’t particularly difficult, but since it had been neglected for a long time, she had a lot of cleaning to do.
‘Let’s take out the trash first.
And then trim the vines too.
If I work as hard as I can, I might be able to finish quickly.’ Thinking so, Marie began to work, humming deliberately, in attempt to shake off the eerie atmosphere.
“Work hard, be brave~”
But how long had she been working like so? Under the rising sun, sweat began to form little by little.
Suddenly, she heard the sound of a rough wind!
“…?!” Marie was so startled that she stopped collecting trash.
‘Am I imagining things?’
She thought it was just the sound of wind, but something felt off.
It was too harsh for a wind, and most of all, there was no breeze at all in the garden.
‘W-What is it?’
Then the unidentified sound rang again.
At this point, no matter how much she try to deny, an idea popped into her mind.
‘No way, could it really be a ghost?’
‘There are ghosts in the swan garden.
A silver-haired ghost by day, a golden-haired ghost by night.’
‘S-Should I run off?’ But Marie shook her head.
A ghost in this daylight? It must’ve came from somewhere else.
Let’s check it out.’
She stepped towards the sound.
She clutched her tiny fist, internally reciting the Lord’s Prayer, in case there really was a ghost.
‘Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…’
Arriving on the other side of the vine-covered garden, she looked at the ‘ghost’ and sighed in relief.
Someone was there indeed.
A very handsome man.
True to what Lady Susan said, a silver-haired—no, rather—a luminous silver-haired young man with a chiseled face was wielding a sword.
“I’m sorry for disrupting your work.”
Listening to the man’s gentle voice, Marie thought, ‘I knew it, there’s no ghost.
In all fairness, he’s very handsome.’
When Marie saw the man’s face, she was in awe.
The most attractive man she’d ever seen in her life was the golden-haired man she ran into while heading out of the Crystal Palace, and now, the man in front of her was just as much.
He had facial features as sharp as a sculpture, deep blue eyes reminiscent of the ocean, and long silky silver hair.
‘He’s not a ghost, but they had mistaken him as such.’ It seemed that the rumors spread around after seeing his silver hair from afar.
How could anyone mistake such a handsome man for a ghost?
I’m the one who should be sorry for interrupting your sword training.
My name’s Marie by the way.”
“I see, Miss Marie.
Then, for some reason, the man hesitated for a moment before introducing himself.
“I am Kiel and I’m part of the Imperial Guards.”
Marie was taken aback.
‘He’s an Imperial Guard?’
In the Empire, there were two kinds of knighthood: the Royal Guards and the Imperial Guards.
Among them, the Imperial Guards were the greatest military group in the Empire and was only loyal to Thorne II, the current emperor.
‘Is he a kind of knight who has yet to be officiated? He must be a Squire.’
It’s an attendant who’s still a knight in training.
The reason she thought so was simple: he wasn’t wearing the uniform of the Imperial Guard.
Within the Imperial Palace, members of the Imperial Guard were mandated to wear uniforms.
The only exceptions were the squires who had yet to be knighted, and the commander, head of the Imperial Guard Knights.
It was highly unlikely that the man was the Commander of the Imperial Guard Knights, who was known as the strongest swordsman in the Empire and led the knights protecting the Northwest region.
Therefore, he must be a squire.
“Then why is Mister Kiel here in the garden?”
“Ah, I’m here to practice my swordsmanship.
I also just want to clear my head.”
Marie look at him in admiration.
He came to the deserted garden just to train.
‘As expected of someone who’s aspiring to be an Imperial Guard.’
The man pulled out his sword.
“Then I will train over there.”
“Ah, yes! I wish you the best of luck with your practice!”
So, the two started working on their own.
Marie watched the man training as she cleaned the garden.
‘Wow, how cool.’
A sword that cut through the air! Every time the sword was swung, there was a sound of air bursting.
Of course, she knew nothing about swordsmanship.
But she could tell that it was extraordinary.
‘A squire with that kind of skill? Are the skills of the Imperial Guard really that great? Or is he something else?’ She tilted her head.
But then, the man stopped wielding his sword.
He turned his head, wondering if it was because she was spying on him, but it didn’t seem like it.
The man sighed deeply.
“Haa, it’s so complicated.
What should I do?”
Then he gazed at the distant sky for a while.
His ocean blue eyes were filled with anguish.
After a while, the man began swinging his sword again.
“…” Marie looked at him quietly.
It was still a powerful and cool swordsmanship, but for some reason she felt strangely frustrated.
Was it because of the man’s sigh?
‘What is he worried about?’ Marie shook her head.
Was there anyone in the world who didn’t have a problem?
She’d only met him for the first time today, so it would’ve been rude to pry.
‘Anyway,’ Marie thought of a question and tilted her head.
‘If he’s the silver-haired ghost… then who’s the golden-haired ghost that appears at night?’
Soon the sun went down and it was nighttime.
Kiel, a squire of the Imperial Guard, withdrew at sunset.
“I have to go back, Miss Marie.
I’m sorry I couldn’t help you anymore.”
“N-No worries! I can take it from here.
Thank you so much for your help despite your busy schedule.”
Surprisingly, Kiel helped her clean up after his sword training.
‘If he’s a squire to the Imperial Guard, he must’ve come from a noble family.’
She was embarrassed and refused his offer, saying she was fine but he only responded with a kind voice.
I still have time to spare anyway.
And seeing you work hard next to me all day long, I feel guilty for some reason.”
‘This man is incredibly nice! He’s insanely handsome too, yet down to earth! In the future, once he’s officially knighted, I’m sure he will have a lot of noble ladies lining up to admire him,’ thought Marie.
“Then don’t push yourself too hard.
It’s already getting dark, so be careful.”
“Yes, thank you!”
After Kiel headed out and Marie was left alone, she looked around the garden.
‘Since it’s night, it’s a lot creepier.
Let’s finish this quickly and head back.’
Although the moonlight was bright, it felt creepy being alone in the desolate garden.
She wanted to go back quickly, but she had to work through the night to finish the allotted time of her work.
“Let’s work hard so we can finish it quickly! Let’s be brave and strong~”
Trying to dispell the eerie atmosphere through her humming, Marie started working diligently again.
Then Marie, upon arriving at the corner of the garden, found something and murmured, “Oh, so this where it happened.”
It was a deteriorating gazebo beside a dried up pond.
It seemed to be the place where the ill-fated 7th princess was poisoned.
She thought, ‘I heard she was a very kind person.’ She only heard of the Princess through stories because the latter died before she’d entered the palace.
Unlike the imperial family, the 7th Princess was known for her benevolence, but unfortunately, she met her tragic end when she became embroiled in a dispute over the throne.
‘Didn’t they say that the Swan Garden became strictly prohibited after her death?’ Somehow she felt grave, and after a brief silent prayer, she began gingerly cleaning the gazebo.
As she was cleaning it, a low voice loomed before her.
“What… are you doing here?”
Scared out of her wits, Marie shrieked, “W-Who is it?”
The moment she turned her head, her eyes widened.
The man she’d met the other day was standing behind her back.
‘He’s the man I’d met in the Crystal Palace!’
Light golden hair, skin as fair as a white jade, and beautiful facial features.
It’s the man she bumped into after playing the piano the other day!
t/n: when i first started reading webnovels, i got so confused with phrases like ‘skin as beautiful as a jade’ etc.
and i always thought that jades are exclusively green so all i can visualize is elphaba from the wicked… you’re telling me white jades exist???
the ruggedly handsome kiel vs pretty flower boy rael… silver vs gold… warm vs cold.
they’re each other’s foils omg.
real subtle, author-nim.
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