Author: alyalia

In the evening when the sun had set, Ibelin came out with a book in her hand. She seemed to be so focused that she didn’t even notice the ink stains on her cheeks. The title of the book was ‘The Footsteps of the Gypsy.’

 

“You know Edelise, right? It looks like those people wrote these letters. The method of interpretation is written here.”

 

“…I’ve never seen this book before.”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“There’s not a single book in this library that I haven’t read.”

 

Ibelin, who heard Charelize’s words, opened the page she had marked in advance as if she was perplexed.

 

“Isn’t this… your handwriting?” She pointed to what was written in the blank space on the second line.

 

Charelize couldn’t deny it. It was because it was certain that she had written it herself.

 

“Lize? What are you doing?”

 

“Scribbling.”

 

“…You’re too confident for someone who got caught doing something else. I want you to teach me first.”

 

“Scrib..bling?”

 

“You’re not giving the attitude of a person who reflects. By the way… what you were scribbling?”

 

“Rosenta in winter, together with Aren.”

 

“You’re doing it again. If you’re scribbling, write down the date too.”

 

“I hate to do it because you told me to do so.”

 

“…Lize.”

 

“I’m joking.”

 

In a strange memory that came to her mind after a long time, she was smiling mischievously at Arensis.

 

“Charel.”

 

“…Ah. Say it. I’m listening.”

 

Her head didn’t hurt like before. However, her mind wandered and she felt strange for nothing.

 

“I don’t know the whole thing, but I just interpreted a few words and continued.”

 

Ibelin handed over to Charelize what she interpreted to the best of her knowledge.

 

[Lize, I still can’t believe it. That you’re dead. I don’t even know with what kind of resolution for me to breathe. I tried to send you off with a smile, but I thought I would overcome it as quickly as I did back then. But it wasn’t like that. I miss you so much, Lize. I’m sorry I went too late.

-Where I was last with you.]

 

“I think… you know who wrote this.”

 

“…I know.”

 

“What on earth happened, Charel?”

 

Charelize immediately shut up. She just didn’t want to talk about what she had been through. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust Ibelin.

 

“I’ll change the question.”

 

“…”

 

“The man who came with you just before graduation… Was it His Royal Highness?”

 

The second prince of the Peschte Empire, Arensis Kabel Yuan ron Peschte. Ibelin knew him because he had the color of a mysterious clan instead of the symbol of the imperial family. Although she had never said it directly because of different facutly, he was one of those who had a private practice room that was only given to the minority. She was curious about the color of Arensis’s hair and eyes, so she once investigated Edelise.

 

Anyway, Ibelin wondered why he had left the paper on which these were written.

 

“Charel?”

 

Charelize, who still had no answer, turned her toe to Isla, where Arensis was staying.

 

“Charel!”

 

Leaving Ibelin tilting her head, she quickly moved her steps.

 

“Your Highness?”

 

She didn’t stop despite the call of Viscount Kashu who was passing by.

 

Finally, Charelize opened the door of Isla and went inside. In the first drawer was a box wrapped in light blue velvet, as she had heard from Viscountess Kashu.

 

Charelize lifted the box and held the handle and opened it with a careful touch. Then a pair of earrings of a different color caught her eye. Light purple and blue. It was the color of Arensis and Charelize’s eyes.

 

Having spent her childhood in the Peschte Empire, Charelize knew what those earrings meant. Lovers who made earrings to match their eye colors believed that the relationship would last forever by sharing colors with each other. She placed the earrings on her palm.

 

“He was… someone I loved.”

 

For the first time, she admitted it out loud. The slightly cracked blue earring stirred Charelize’s emotion.

 

* * *

It was the next morning she received the letter from Martin. The content was her nanny in a dangerous state. Charelize, who eventually left the villa earlier than planned, showed an agitated appearance.

 

How long has it been since she lost Lona? She couldn’t forgive God if the nanny left her too.  Her head was in complicated thoughts because of many things, including Arensis.”

 

“…Wait, Charel.”

 

“…”

 

“Take a deep breath and calm down. Don’t ever think bad things.”

 

Sitting across from her, Ibelin took Charelize’s trembling hand. Charelize closed her eyes as if she didn’t even want to think about it.

 

“Your Highness!”

 

Upon arriving at the Viscount Rael’s mansion, Martin, holding back her tears, rushed toward Charelize. Her face was quite emaciated while she hadn’t seen her.

 

Charelize tried to calm herself down. She slowly entered where her nanny was.

 

“Nanny.” She called her, praying earnestly for her answer.

 

“Your… Highness.”

 

“Don’t get up.”

 

Charelize let out a sigh of relief. Her nanny tried to greet her, but Charelize stopped her and carefully laid her down again.

 

“…You must be suffering a lot.”

 

“Your Highness already knows Martin’s personality. Being scared of even the smallest things, worrying in advance.”

 

“So… are you okay?”

 

“…Yes. Don’t worry.”

 

Thinking she should ask her doctor to get confirmation, Charelize pulled the blanket over her nanny’s shoulder.

 

“Your Highness.”

 

The nanny, who smiled at Charelize, seemed to have something to say.

 

“Did… madam leave her necklaces to you?”

 

“…How does Nanny know that? Did Martin tell you?”

 

Her nanny brought up about a memento of her mother that she never thought of.

 

“There is one thing she wanted me to tell you.”

 

“My mother?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Why do you want to say that now?”

 

Rather than listening to what my mother asked her to say, the nanny seemed to be preparing for her last moment. Charelize asked first as she was nervous that she would never see her nanny again.

 

“You said you were okay.”

 

“…Your Highness.”

 

“Why are you looking like… you’re going to leave right now… Why…”

 

“I’m trying to prepare for the unforeseen situation. I’m still really fine. Don’t worry.”

 

The nanny shook her head, perhaps feeling sorry for Charelize, whose eyes soon turned red.

 

“…Lona is dead.”

 

“…I see.”

 

“If Nanny is gone too, I… what should I do?”

 

“…”

 

“If all the people who gave birth to me and raised me die… I… How should I live?”

 

“Your Highness. I thought you were grown up, but you’re still a baby. Don’t cry.”

 

It was like what her mother said just before she died. So she cried even more. The nanny knelt down and patted Charelize on the back.

 

“Really… I don’t think it’s okay if Your Highness doesn’t listen to what madam had left.”

 

“…Did it have anything to do with the necklace?”

 

“Yes, that necklace… keep it well…”

 

“Why… What’s going on?”

 

At Charelize’s question, the nanny held her breath with difficulty.

 

“Your Majesty the previous Emperor…”

 

“?”

 

“He left the seal of the emperor on madam.”

 

The next words her nanny brought were more shocking.

 

The seal of the emperor. Harbert IV tried his best to find it, but he couldn’t get it. That’s why there were many people in the Senate who didn’t approve Harbert IV. In addition to having a problem with legitimacy, it was also included as a reason for not being able to appoint Royal Princess Veloche as his successor.

 

“No way…”

 

“Madam put the seal inside that necklace.”

 

To receive the emperor’s seal directly from Argo III. It meant recognizing her mother as the successor who would succeed the throne. At the same time, it became a justification for bringing down Harbert IV from the throne right now.

 

With the help of Duke Marsetta, it was possible for her mother to become the emperor. Even so, she hid it until now and gave it to Charelize as a memento. Also, her mother only told her nanny, not to her own exclusive maid.

 

“What did… the words she left behind?”

 

“That… to stay alive.”

 

“Alive? What do you mean…”

 

“She said she wanted to stay alive somehow… to watch the time of Your Highness pass completely this time. She told me to tell Your Highness those words.”

 

“…”

 

Her mother kept the seal of the emperor out of the world until now because she wanted to keep her alive. She chose her daughter’s survival over revenge for what happened to her sister. When she knew why her mother chose death, her heart felt like it was being torn apart.

 

* * *

After checking that her nanny was breathing constantly, Charelize came outside. Her mother didn’t have determination to cut off  someone’s throat the same way as Harbert IV did.

 

“This is the portrait of my older sister, painted about the same age as Princess right now.”

 

“…Mother.”

 

“She looks a lot like Princess. She was smart, kind, and sweet.”

 

“…I see.”

 

“Now, you’re the only one I have.”

 

Even so, Charelize grew up seeing her mother’s longing for Crown Princess Elizabeth.

 

“Head Maid.”

 

“Yes, Princess.”

 

“…How is mother?”

 

“It’s because that day is coming… madam doesn’t show it, but she’s having a hard time.”

 

The dethroned Crown Princess Elizabeth wasn’t buried in the imperial family tomb. That’s why her mother couldn’t even go to see her when her death anniversary was approaching.

 

When Charelize expressed her intention that she wanted to break up with Delphir, her mother was puzzled, as if she had heard it for the first time. She didn’t know how her mother already knew about it.

 

Complicating her mind with various questions, Charelize paused to think. She waited for the doctor because she had something to ask about her nanny’s condition rather than thinking about it.

 

“Martin.”

 

“Y-Your Highness, I’m sorry. I was so surprised…”

 

Then Martin, who stumbled over her and approached, wept. It seemed that she had been badly scolded by her nanny for sending Charelize a letter.

 

“No, thank you for letting me know right away.”

 

“…Your Highness.”

 

“It’s fine, come here.” Charelize spread her arms, and Martin, who had been agonizing for a while, soon threw up her sorrowful feelings in her arms.

 

Charelize knew better than anyone else the fear of losing your mother and the loss you would feel. It was obviously her mistake not to send Baron Alec to take a closer look at her nanny on the excuse that she was busy.

 

Given the nature of her nanny, it was unlikely that her nanny would talk about it first. Martin also erased and rewrote several times as the traces remained intact in the letter.

 

Charelize didn’t stop patting Martin’s hand until Martin calmed down. 

 

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