I knew that I had to bring Rustina with me when I went to the King’s office.
That way he will be less angry.
Unsurprisingly, my father looked at Rustina in my arms and couldn’t control the corners of his lips that were raised and twitched, “Why did you bring Rustina?”
“Because my father likes her so much.”
He could not refute my words and narrowed his eyes on me instead.
‘There must be a reason why you keep looking for me.’
Father, who was sitting on the chair, slumped and tapped the armrest with his hand.
“Why were you looking for me in such an uncharacteristic manner, father?”
Based on Etricia’s memories, I could tell that the King didn’t like his daughter very much…
However, these days, they seem more distant with each other…
Still, why is someone who is constantly flooded with work, looking for me?
“Do you remember what I told you last time?”
“Ah! What is it?”
I twinkled my eyes in anticipation. Was there really a way to find out in a country like this? I was certain there won’t be DNA testing for paternity in this world.
Etricia’s father sighed before talking to once more, “They say you can do the test when Rustina turns one-year-old.”
“One-year-old?” I repeated in disbelief.
‘It’s been a hundred days since I have given birth, so don’t we still have a long way to go?’
“But how will we find out?” I asked.
“There is a magic reagent, they say we can find out because it reacts when it comes into contact with the skin of its kin…”
So this ‘magical reagent’ just needs to come in contact with Rustina’s potential dads and it will tell us who her real father is…
Oh my god! This is quite convenient. Truly, this a world where everything is done by magic.
“By the way… Father, I hope you do it to all the men.”
I shut my mouth tightly as I saw the expression on my father’s face, who raised his head at my words. No, why are you acting so ignorant about what it means to actually look for this child’s father?
I mean, I have seen a lot of men if Etricia’s record is any to go by…
I tried to go over the list of men she met and shook my head to clear it.
“I don’t think that’s necessary.” The King informed me in a somber tone.
“What do you mean? Did you also manage to find out who it was?”
“You’re getting ahead of yourself.”
I felt a bit anxious at the meaningful look my father was giving me. I think seeing me with Hassel earlier made him assume that he was Rustina’s dad. I knew I had to calm him down before he got any more ideas…
Besides, it is not like I am doing anything without his knowledge. I have nothing to hide when it comes to figuring out this whole ‘dad business’…
“By the way, we plan to hold a banquet soon.” The king casually informed me.
“What kind of banquet is it?”
“Well, thanks to you, the banquet was postponed, but now that you seem to have come to your senses, I think we can proceed as planned.”
No, I can’t believe they were holding balls? Etricia was a wicked woman with a penchant for inflicting cruelty on her subjects. Knowing her personality, I would have expected the imperial palace to have reduced her contact with the public by holding off her presence in official functions and reducing the number of royal banquets.
“I… Wasn’t it so unbearable to have me there?”
“Well, more than that… indeed, it was.”
Father was very tight lipped. I was curious about what he meant, but it didn’t seem like a good thing to ask as of the moment, so I decided to hold my tongue in this matter and decided to ask something else, “Are you planning to introduce Rustina then?”
“Well, I’ll think about that.” The King told me as he glanced down on Rustina who was cooing in his arms in delight. Like I said, he was a doting grandfather who couldn’t take his eyes off his grandchild. I smiled silently to myself as I looked at both of them.
‘Hmm, Rustina looks happy with him too.’
She was holding father’s finger tightly, and she seemed amused by him.
“Uwaa!” She flailed her arms excitedly and kicked her feet up in the air to express her excitement with him.
“I think Rustina really likes you, father.” I told him.
When she is with me, she often seems like she’s on the verge of crying. I personally preferred seeing her this way…happy.
Well I’m glad that she likes her grandfather.
As I was staring down at her, I noticed she had grown a lot. It was especially noticeable because her golden hair has lengthened considerably too. She truly looked cute especially when I held her in my arms and so I continued to stare at her blankly.
Our peaceful silence was broken when I heard the King talking once more, “The baby’s room has been decorated separately, so why not go and see it?”
I clapped my hands together and my eyes widened in excitement, “Really? Then I will go there quickly.”
Well, it’s not because I’m overly curious about Rustina’s room, but maybe, just a little…
“If I had known that you would like going there this much, then I would have asked you to do so sooner.”
My father smiled softly as he touched the tip of his chin. I suppose he does still have some fondness for his own daughter. Still, I think that he is wasting time dwelling on Etricia’s likes and dislikes, seeing as she was a bad child…
I then turned my gaze away, and settled the expression on my face, “Well, it’s not like I’m curious… I’m just excited at the prospect that I can finally sleep separately with her now.”
“Okay, okay, I’ll go.” I took Rustina from his hold and left the office with exhilarating steps.
* * *
“Wow, my God… the room is made of money!”
I couldn’t keep my mouth shut seeing Rustina’s room, which was bigger and nicer than mine.
All kinds of gold and jewels were hung on the walls, and the silk curtains were dazzling just by looking at them. It was clear to anyone who sees that no expenses were spared and the King made sure to spoil his granddaughter.
“Byeah!” Despite the fact that Rustina drooled and her saliva slid down to her chin, she still managed to stretch out her hands excitedly. I smiled and laid her on the bed that looked more like a piece of art than a piece for comfort.
“Do you like it? Is this better than my room?” I asked her.
“It looks really good.” I said as I covered Rustina with a soft quilt.
It was nice to see the child look so comfortable and happy in this room. I didn’t think she would easily adjust in it because I knew how much she loved my room and often could only sleep beside me.
Speaking of sleep, “I can finally have a goodnight’s sleep from now on.”
Normally, I couldn’t sleep because I needed to tend to Rustina in my room, but starting tonight, the nanny will do it. I can finally snuggle into my own bed comfortably.
I let out a sigh and noticed that my throat was dry. Since I haven’t had a good rest for a long time, I had a sore throat. But I think I will sleep well tonight. There would also be a banquet soon so I needed to be in the best condition then and get plenty of sleep before that.
Since I haven’t met a lot of people yet, I can’t say for sure what my reputation is among other people, but like I said before, it is probably not good. I doubt my image would improve if I suddenly show up in society after months with a child. Just thinking about all the things I have to go through was taxing me out, “Oh, my head hurts already.”
My head is throbbing like this, but what about Etricia? What is she really feeling?
Just then the Nanny arrived in the room, “Princess, I’m sorry for coming so late.”
“Since you’re here, I’ll go now. Call me if anything happens.”
The nanny nodded after hearing my words. Feeling more at ease, I left Rustina’s room in peaceful silence.
* * *
“What, what?” Startled by the sudden roar, I got up from bed and wiped the dried saliva at the corner of my mouth. I slept so well that I even had a sweet dream after a long time. I couldn’t remember what that dream was now that I have awoken, but does that really matter when there was an intrusive sound just now?
I jumped off of the bed with a sleepy face. Hopefully, Damon didn’t come again in the middle of the night.
I approached the window with a nervous face and carefully opened the window.
Fortunately, I don’t see Damon. I felt relieved and started to close the window and lock its latch firmly.
I did not sleep peacefully for a long time, so my senses were still high on alert, but it seemed that nothing strange happened. Still, because the sound woke me up, I was having a hard time falling back to sleep.
I ended up not sleeping at all and when breakfast came knocking at my door, I greeted the morning with a blank face. I was so tired that I didn’t even know if I was tasting the spoonful of rice I was shoving mechanically into my mouth. It even felt like I was chewing on grains of sand, so I put my spoon down and gave up on eating, “Ah… I’m tired and I’m going crazy.”
I asked myself if it was worth living in a separate room from Rustina, when I couldn’t even sleep well because I didn’t know if crazy people would suddenly come and disturb my peace.
My condition was so miserable.
When I heard the sound that was similar to the scuffles of last night again, I was once again, filled with anxiousness, “Does anyone else hear that sound now?” I tilted her head and looked at the maid. But everyone was trembling in fear with their mouths wide open. I sighed, “Looks like I’m not the only one who heard it.”
I picked my ears and wiped the corners of my mouth with a napkin. As soon as I was done doing all these, a maid suddenly shrieked out from outside, “That… Pr-Princesses…!”
When I turned my head, I saw the maid, panting for breath, with a contemplative face.
‘Why did you call out to me in a voice like that?’ I wondered as I gave her a confused look. Suddenly I felt an unexplainable chilling air in my room.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“I think you should come out and see!”
Again a roar was heard. What? Is there a war going on that I don’t know about?!
I followed the maid and hurried out of the palace. The guards and the knights guarding the imperial palace were taking a vigilant stance all at once.
I spotted my father who was looking at the distance from a balcony with a contorted expression on his face.
I approached him and asked, “Why is the palace so noisy?”
At my words, my father’s head turned and he addressed me in a serious tone, “Etricia. You need to explain what the hell is going on.”
I was surprised too, but what do I have to explain? Then I slowly turned my head to see what was happening.
I saw something piled up like a mountain in front of the Imperial palace.
Seeing that, it took only a second for me to figure out what it was I was hearing since last night, “What is that?”
I rubbed my eyes and looked ahead again. There was a flash of light and it was running as if alive.
“It seems to be the heart of a spirit creature.”
If it’s a spirit not a living being, why was it piled up like a mountain? Is that even possible?
Cold sweat started to run down my spine while a great wind blew with a gust of iciness.
With a single flap of its wings, the sand swirled all around us, “Ouch! my eyes!”
I covered my face with my hand and waited for the sandy wind to calm down.
‘Will I be fine…?’
I opened my eyes slowly, and put my hands down when I felt a presence near me. My body began to tremble when I saw a man sitting cross legged on the terrace railing and grinning at me.
‘This man is Louis.’ He looked different from what I expected but I recognized him at once.
When I was reading the novel, I thought that he would look scary but in reality, he seemed pretty cute…
He had this cotton candy pink hair that somehow didn’t match the tone of his voice.
Wait a minute, does it mean that he was a pink dragon?
My lips threatened to break out in a laugh when I imagined a pink dragon flying around the kingdom with its wings spread out.
Sensing that I was silently laughing, the dragon’s bright yellow eyes narrowed into a line. He jumped and stood in front of me in an instant, “Princess, you loved everything about me…”
For some reason, I was afraid of the words that were coming out of his mouth, so I covered his lips with my palms.
“I don’t know what to say, but shut up.” I warned him.
Father’s eyes sharpened as he looked at me and Louis. For some reason, his face was hot and he didn’t even glance at the other people around me, he was only staring at us.
-To be continued.
Editor: Nine Knight