“Miss, wake up.”
I had been sleeping like a log for a long time when Carol’s careful touch woke me up. It’s been a while since I slept sweetly without dreaming.
“Are you sleepy?”
Carol looked at me with a sad expression. She looked sorry for disturbing my sleep. I stretched out because I thought I should get rid of all my sleepiness before Carol kneels.
“I want to make you sleep more if possible, but the two young masters also come to eat together.”
“I know, I know.”
“And I heard they prepared a lot of delicious food to celebrate your victory.”
When did something tasteless come out of Conler Castle? Still, I changed my clothes and headed to the dining room with my heart full of anticipation.
“Finally, all the Conlers have gathered.”
Lucas said in an emotional voice when he saw us sitting at the table. Hearing it made me feel strange. I couldn’t see my brothers properly as I was absent-minded. Gilbert snatched up Grand Duke Estin. Aiden, the second male lead in the original, felt a little sharper. It was said that he has a sensitive personality, and the only exception was Astina. Also, I don’t really remember Theodore. He has no significant role. If I had to say it, he looked a lot like me. Was it only me and Theodore who resembled our mom’s appearance except for our eyes and hair color? Actually, he’s a bit different from Estin. It’s an amazing gene…….
It was such a big dinner. I knew how great Chef Tom’s skills were, but I can’t believe he did this much. It was a meal that crossed land, sea, and air. The expression on Grand Duke Estin’s face looked satisfied. He seemed to have no appetite, but I was proud to see him eat so much. Was this how Bonita felt?
And a whole cake with plenty of strawberries on it came out for dessert. On top of it, there was a small flag with the pattern of Conler.
As I was happily eating the dessert with balanced sweetness, Theodore suddenly started talking. I looked at him with a fork in my mouth. What’s so fascinating?
“I didn’t expect to see my youngest sister again.”
“That’s why it’s fascinating, eating together like this.”
I can only smile awkwardly at Theodore’s friendly smile. I was just wary of my brother, but I felt a little lost when he said that. Theodore is friendlier than I thought. I’ll give you a plus point.
“It’s astonishing that you’re making a lot of bizarre accidents.”
I’ll give you minus 10 points.
I focused on the cake again. What if I have another accident? Huh? I thought I was going to feel some family warmth, but in the end…
I’ve been feeling it for a while. Theodore’s eyes looking at me were filled with an overwhelming curiosity. I thought he might be very interested in my existence itself. So, I wanted to avoid him as much as I could.
I was about to leave the dining room after eating dessert, but someone grabbed my shoulder. I could tell from the touch who it was without looking back.
I got caught.
It was Theodore who grabbed my shoulder, I tried my best to smile back at him. There is one person who seems too interested in me, and then there is the other person who is not interested in me at all. For me, this is quite sad. Can’t I mix the two half-and-halfs together?
I hid my feelings and asked Theodore as kindly as I could.
“If you’re not tired, I’d like to talk to you for a while.”
I am exhausted.
I’m tired even if I’m not tired.
But I had a good night’s sleep before dinner, so I felt a little guilty to say I was tired. Eventually, I decided to walk in the garden and talk with Theodore. I was full, so I needed some digestion.
The problem was Aiden. Whatever I did, he looked at me with the eyes of a watchman. It was so horrible. Even now, as I’m trying to go out with Theodore, his eyes are tenaciously following me.
Why are you looking at me like that? If you have something to say, like Theodore, I’d rather you tell me.
“Aiden. You’re worried about him, right?”
“Y, yes? Oh, ah.”
“You can be honest,” said Theodore, while laughing, when we exited the castle. Was it that obvious? I felt awkward, so I fiddled with my hair. I was told to be honest, but I didn’t want to be honest. I’ll just keep quiet.
Furthermore, I know he’s only two years older than me, but Theodore was strangely mature. Well, Gilbert is already an adult. Not to mention Aiden.
The moon was beautiful, but I felt suffocated looking at Theodore standing under the moonlight, so I couldn’t look at him properly.
“I’m glad I met you.”
“But it’s a little complicated to say I’m happy.”
Theodore’s words made me laugh shyly, but the words that followed made me stiff. I couldn’t understand what he meant by complicated. Implicitly or not, Theodore seemed to think I was likeable. But he looks a little upset.
“The Conlers were quiet. I’m sure Aiden is worried about that.”
“Making a bet with the first prince like today…… You know it’s pretty reckless, don’t you?”
“I don’t think you know the relationship between the imperial family and our family because you haven’t been to Conler castle for a long time.”
Theodore told the truth little by little. I didn’t expect Theodore, who I thought was the most open-minded person in Conler, to say this. I remembered what Gilbert said when I first met him. What does the last name Conler mean to them? And I, who is closer to a tree frog than an eagle, developed a strange sense of opposition.
“Marionette of the imperial family?”
“Grand Duke Estin said, If the hand holding the marionette doesn’t let go of the string later, he’ll cut their finger.”
“So, Brother Theodore, you too!”
I put my hands on my waist and spoke as confidently as possible.
“Live like a human being!”
Theodore’s eyes got wide at my words. As expected, his eyes appear to have stirred the night sky. I didn’t mean to imply it that way. I wanted to say it as nicely as possible that he didn’t have to live as a marionette of the imperial family, but my poor vocabulary was not enough.
Breaking the silence, Theodore suddenly grabbed his stomach and laughed. He began to slump down on the floor and laugh. Looking at that, I felt like he was teasing me, so I stamped my foot once.
“Why are you laughing?”
In response to my angry question, Theodore laughed with tears in his eyes. Theodore, who had been laughing so hard for a long time, finally calmed down and wiped the tears around his eyes.
“Oh, you’re so funny.”
“I didn’t mean to be funny.”
A distinctive voice rang out automatically. But Theodore looked at me with a pretty friendly gaze.
“Thank you for beating the first prince.”
“I didn’t want to live as a marionette, either.”
The sentiment that always dominated Theodore was a strange sense of defeat. His brothers, Gilbert and Aiden, are too intelligent. They were so great that they were always at the top whenever the children of the nobility gathered and his father, Estin Conler. He’s a hero who never retreated from the vanguard of the war against demons. The Grand Duke brought prosperity to Britina, an empire where the sun never sets, with his excellent skills and diplomacy.
However, there’s a modifier that always follows them: ‘the imperial marionette‘.
When Theodore was younger than he is now, he was concerned and asked Estin about this modifier. Grand Duke Estin just patted Theodore’s head with a blank expression.
He thought he was too young to tell him. He always tried to keep his composure, but every time he sees stupid Cameron, a wave of inevitable anger rises. He felt some kind of inferiority complex. He wanted to deny it, but Theodore could not find anything to refute it. The thought of Gilbert working for Cameron, who was selfish and knew nothing but himself, made him want to kill Cameron right away.
So, when Cameron and his sister, Mary Conler, made a bet, a strange sense of joy with worry arose.
The word “sister” came to Theodore in a very strange way.
For the past nine years, Theodore had a younger sister, but she was a ghost.
While growing up, looking at his brothers’ backs, he sometimes thought of someone, but when he looked back, there was no one. However, it seemed like she kept calling to him from behind to run fast after his brothers.
He felt strange when he heard they had found Mary Conler.
Will there be a child now, if I look back?
But the child was by his side, not behind him.
The child did not endure what he considered unfair, and pointed an arrow at the first prince. She was strong.
He was envious of that. He thought Conler was strong, but not that strong.
Until he heard what Mary said.
Grand Duke Estin said, ‘If the hand holding the marionette doesn’t let go of the string later, I’ll cut their fingers.’
I didn’t know my father was thinking like that.
He didn’t tell him about the “Marionette of the Imperial Family” because he was young, but because he didn’t need to know.
Theodore faced his sister, who was found after nine years.
A ghostly younger sister who never existed.
He raised his hand carefully and put it on Mary’s cheek. It was warm.
for telling me to live like a human being.