“Are you okay?”
Ian, who was sitting opposite me, quickly stood up to me.
I pressed my left chest hard and ordered him to sit with my other hand.
Fortunately, the pain subsided quickly.
Ah, don’t tell me.
It’s not like my power is going to manifest.
“Nothing to worry about.
It’s just that all of a sudden, I’m feeling frustrated.
I must have drunk too much wine earlier.”
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
“What do you listen to me for? More than that, Ian, what should I do tomorrow?”
Ian sat back on the chair again when I asked with a straight back as if I had never done so.
“There’s a meeting with the two princes.”
Did Sir Shubart offer lunch the next day?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“Have you heard of my mother coming?”
“He didn’t say anything.”
Then there’s still time here.
“Tell me as soon as you hear the news of my mother coming.”
Actually, Ian was the most troublesome.
He’s honest, but I can’t do anything in the capital because it seems he will report every move to Sir Shubart.
But that doesn’t mean…
“Do you have anything to do?”
Ian asked as if my staring gaze were burdensome.
I shrugged my shoulders.
I turned my head to the window.
It was because the pain had risen again, and I wanted to hide my expression, so I couldn’t find any more words to say.
“You can order anything.”
I turned my head away and looked at him again.
Aren’t we done talking?
“I’ll do anything.”
“… you’re going to do anything?”
“Yes, I’ll do whatever you ask me to do.”
What does it mean?
It was hard to tell if it was only to comfort me or if it was sincere.
There is a high probability that it will be the former, but if it is the latter, his life will be in jeopardy.
It was hard to tell whether it was a mouthful or a sincere sound.
It would be the former with a high probability, and his life would be in danger if he said the latter.
“…well, all right.”
The pain in my heart started again, and the fever began to rise.
I couldn’t control my expression anymore, so I bit my mouth until it bled and turned my head.
* * *
Valery wanted to get rid of the awkwardness that we hadn’t met in a long time.
It was just that we were busy and didn’t have time for each other.
He’s sorry, didn’t know what to do, and thought it could be resolved by taking me to the places I had never been to in my life.
Valery was the first considerate person I had met in my life.
He was very nice and, above all, careful with me.
At the same time, he often blushed and was ashamed in front of me because he couldn’t control the emotions rising from one side of his chest.
“Is your injured leg okay?”
“Yes, it’s getting much better.
The scar is almost gone.
It must have been thanks to Your Highness.”
As soon as I finished speaking, his face turned red again.
As if he had swallowed a red potion, he quickly heated up and cooled down.
He seemed to be curious about me.
Sometimes, even when I’m happy or sad, my emotions don’t express well on my face.
But I’m good at fake laughter, though.
“Yes, I hope you like it.”
After riding the imperial carriage a few times, I now feel subtly uncomfortable with the carriage sent by Sir Shubart.
Of course, Sir Shubart’s carriage was also better than any other nobles.
In particular, the imperial carriage was so low that you could get off by yourself.
At first, I thought the place he took me this time was in the forest.
After passing through the deep entrance and through the trees for a long time, the real destination came out.
The gates and walls were huge and made of white iron.
It was thick and dense and looked like it was stuck in the ground at an angle, making it almost invisible.
On the contrary, it was made to be visible from the inside.
Maybe that’s why, even though the height of the wall was so dizzyingly high that it could easily exceed 20 feet, it was not supposed to feel stuffy inside.
“We have to walk a little bit more.”
All the paths going through the wall were flower fields.
It looks like a place that people can’t go in and out of, but there were no weeds as if it had been cleaned for less than a day.
There wasn’t even any grass that came up above my ankles.
Close to the wall, there were a lot of trees with a height similar to the wall.
Thanks to this, the sun came in softly, and I was able to clear my feelings.
It seemed like a lie that I had just passed through the center of the complicated capital.
Right now, I feel as if I’m in a different world.
“I think this place makes me feel as comfortable as the sea we went back then.”
“That’s a relief.
I actually wanted to take you to a better place.”
“Strangely, I feel like you’re exhausted whenever I look at you.
So I wanted to take you to a place where you could rest.
We can go to a beautiful place again next time.”
“Looking exhausted? Me?”
I’ve always been hiding my emotions inside, but there’s no way I could have been caught.
It’s probably because of the mood.
In fact, even at the banquet, you didn’t look like you were having fun.
You seemed to be frustrated.”
“It was just my feeling.”
He saw it exactly.
I quickly turned my head towards the building before the conversation deepened.
“Then, is this villa also owned by the imperial family? I didn’t know there would be one in such a small place.
I thought this place was just a forest.”
Of course, it means that compared to the Imperial Palace.
Compared to the magnificent imperial palace, this place was a garden and space that could be easy for dozens of people to live in.
“This is where I used to live.”
As far as I know, Valery has never been outside of the imperial palace.
So did I know it was wrong? It wasn’t mentioned in the original.
It was said that I almost lost my life shortly after I was born.”
It’s the first time I’ve heard of it.
I’ve researched almost all the rumors about the imperial family, so it’s probably a fact that others don’t know either.
If it was when he was young, I was young too, so maybe that is why I missed it.
I nodded as if to superimpose the new fact.
“They couldn’t figure out the cause, so I stayed here with the Empress for a while.”
“It feels like a lie because Your Highness is healthy now.”
Then he smiled innocently.
“If I hadn’t woken up then, this place might have been my grave.”
Hearing his words, we walked a little further and came to a small castle-like building.
Perhaps, as he said, it was the place where he lived when he was just born.
What looked just like a small palace didn’t suit him, who had grown up now.
“Your Highness held up well.
Of course, Your Highness is healthy and must have woken up by any means.”
“Yes, I’m glad I held out well.
Because I met you.”
Valery burst into laughter.
I followed him to the inside of the fairly small castle.
Valery, who took me to a secret place I thought I couldn’t go because it was the place where the imperial family lived, showed me more places than that.
Obviously, all the spaces felt cozy and warm, but the safety devices installed everywhere were almost like fortresses.
“There are a lot of… safety devices.”
“It has protected my mother from someone.”
That was obvious.
The one who attacks the Empress.
I gave a startled look.
My conscience is already worn out.
“Yes, this is probably where assassination attempts are frequent.”
He spoke in a roundabout way.
I also nodded as if I were listening to an unfamiliar story.
“It’s a slip of the tongue.
I didn’t mean to tell you a scary story.”
“Um, it’s alright.
It’s like saying this place is safe.
Is this a baby room?”
Perhaps the caretaker forgot to close it.
A splendidly decorated baby room was seen through the half-open door.
The Empress wanted to remember this place, which was really well managed.
High and small cribs and all sorts of dolls don’t seem to have passed the time.
“Is this the room where Your Highness was?”
As I turned my head, he smiled as if saying yes.
He opened the door wide as if I could see more.
I gladly went inside and headed towards the bed.
“I can’t believe it.
The bed is this small.”
Now it was small enough only to fit one of Valery’s arms.
“I am a little surprised to see it now too.
I didn’t know it was this small.
Then, Blake, your bed could have been cuter than this.”
“It made me curious when I saw this.
You must have been adorable.”
This time I smiled instead of answering.
After the second date, I continued with a similar encounter with him about three more times.
What I felt every time, ironically, was comfort.
Every time I see his face, I think of my days spent in the prison without bars in the North with my mother.
The reason why I’ve lived like this since I was a child, whether it’s voluntary or unintentional, is probably because of his family.
It was really funny.
But as soon as that thought occurred to me, I made up my mind again.
Because it’s unimaginable for me to be dyed with his kindness.
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