The boy Miss Raiolla brought had plain brown hair and slightly uncommon red eyes, aside from that, his looks were unrivaled even as a child. For me, who just lived here after transmigrating and spent ten years in an orphanage, I learned the standards of beauty in this world by reading Miss Raiolla’s magazines which only had pictures of flower-boys,1 I convinced myself that the snow fell from the top of a mountain but foolishly forget the existence of heavenly skies.2
It was the first time, in my past and present life, I had seen such a face. I couldn’t know why his hair was brown, but it was unmistakable that he was the male lead.
‘Who else could be the male lead if not him?’ Such a loss of balance was impossible.
[tl/n: Meaning he’s so handsome he couldn’t not be the ML]
“Wooah, a prince…” Terry hid behind me and peek at the new kid.
“This kid is Luka,” Raiolla said. “He was abandoned by his parents and became a wanderer. He injured his head while being chased by thieves in the forest and lost his memory, so Leah, take care of him well.”
‘A thief in the woods…?’ For Raiolla, Kavlos’ minion, seems to be a good excuse to wrap things up. Luka’s memory loss was caused solely by the novel’s psychopath villain, Duke Kavlos, who used ancient magic to seal his memory.
As Raiolla turned around and entered her room, I approached the kid, and said with a gentle smile.
“Hi, Luka, I’m Leah, I will help you in the future.”
‘If I have to take someone on my side in the novel, it has to be the male lead. If Ravelia hadn’t sought to poison and harass the heroine, she may have been recognized across the Empire as the Crown Prince’s best friend and benefactor.’ On the surface, it appeared to be a casual greeting, but on the inside, I was crying, “You are the very last hope to save me–!”
Luka just stared at my outstretched hand with hazy red eyes, yet he swiftly gripped it sheepishly as I was ready to take it out slowly.
“I think my name is Luka.”
As expected of the rumored sweet-hearted male lead he was in the original story, he accepted my greetings even though the situation would be confusing now. ‘Because he was like that, I think that’s why Luka couldn’t forget the generosity he received and treated her respectfully despite Leah’s insane obsession in the original story, right?’ Fortunately, the start was quite good.
‘By the way… Are you glad to meet me? You’re still holding my hand like a magnet.’ It was no longer a handshake, Luka unilaterally caught my hand.
“Luka, will you let go of my hand? I’ll show you around the orphanage.”
Sweating nervously, he pretended not to hear what I said and didn’t let go of my hand until the end. I was taller than my age, and Luka was about the average of his peers, so we were about a span apart. Because of this, I felt like Luka was like my little brother, and recalling the first day I came to the orphanage, I couldn’t shake off the tiny hands that held me tight every now and then.
As I introduced the children to Luka and showed him around the laundry room, dining room, and library, I could see the sun setting through the window on the ceiling. Following my gaze and looking at the window on the ceiling, he spoke for the first time after a while.
“Are we trapped in here?”
I couldn’t answer that. I couldn’t say “It’s not like that, wait a little bit and the good heroine will come to rescue you.” Before that, I might take you out of this ‘imprisonment.’ When I leave here, I will not limp like in the original, and I will not be adopted by Duke Rays as if sold, tied to a wheelchair. I will run out of this forest, stepping on the grass with my own two feet and feeling the soil. Like a hapless tadpole born in a well who eventually develops legs and hops up and down to scale the wall. To me, that window on the ceiling looked like the world outside the well. I couldn’t climb, but just its existence itself seemed to be telling me not to give up. ‘I will get out of here. Being locked up for ten years was more than enough.’
I just smiled at Luka and asked if he was hungry, leading him to the dining room that gave off a delicious stewed potato smell. The children in charge of today’s kitchen were cooking with the potatoes that Miss Raiolla brought once a week after going downtown.
“Luka, do you like stewed potatoes? Ben’s stewed potatoes are really delicious, so you can look forward to it.” At my words, Ben, who was slicing potatoes, smiled shyly.
The candles on the table were lit, and we all had a delicious dinner together after praying. The children chatted with each other, and most of the content was about what they wanted to do when they turned fifteen and leaving this place. As I ate, I glanced at Luka next to me, who was particularly quiet among the noisy children.
‘These children, and even the children who have already been sold; Luka and I have to save them all.’ Each of us will eventually become part of the royal family and nobility, thus, we should never forget these children. I hid my feelings, which might be selfish from Luka’s point of view, and helped him become attached to the kids here.
Time passed neither too fast nor too slow, and Luka gradually opened his heart to me. To him, the first person she saw as he get here was me, and I was as special as Serin was to me back in the day, so he followed me diligently.
When a small child follows you wherever you go, curls his eyes into half-moons, and smiles with the corner of his mouth up to his ears, you, too, get fond of him. I’m not sure if Luka and Leah were this close in the original. If so, I may understand a bit of Leah’s outrageous evil deeds.
Because the author only cared to make the heroine, Senia, stand out, portrayed Leah’s misdeeds badly enough to make me swear; to the point I didn’t care about her background. ‘However, for sure, in the villain’s side story, it was only Leah’s one-sided love, and Luka didn’t follow her as well as he was following me now.’ For him who had lost his memory and was confused, Leah was annoying and eventually gained only Luka’s antipathy. In a way, it was out of sheer selfishness, to receive his pity and attention, that she decided to sacrifice herself instead of Luka and receive Raiolla’s punishment after she caught him trying to escape.
‘If you think about it like that, she was an incredible girl.’ I turned to Luka, who was at the library.
* * *
Luka couldn’t recall anything. He had forgotten even the common knowledge of the outside world, so in the afternoon I taught him roughly about nobility, the imperial family, what the situation on the continent was like, and so on. I also hoped that the contents of the novel and what I had seen and heard so far were all helpful, although they may not be accurate.
Originally, it wouldn’t be necessary if the heroine were to save him and even find his memories, but Luka needed some basic knowledge.
“This is the emblem of the Greffin Imperial Family that I just told you.” I took it out and showed him the old button that Serin gave me one day. Luka fiddled with the button for a while and suddenly said,
“The lion’s red eyes are kind of ominous.”
‘Your eyes are also red…’ I said nothing.
“Black hair and red eyes are a symbol of royalty. It isn’t ominous at all. Now that I look at it, Luka, you also have red eyes.”
Luka stared at me. Although a bit hazy, he definitely had red eyes. If his hair had been black rather than brown, Miss Raiola would have handed him over to the imperial family with open arms. However, even among commoners, there were people born with red eyes, so what was distinctive and special was the black hair rather than the eyes. I ruffled Luka’s soft brown hair and spoke.
“It’s like a blazing sunset, I like them.”
I recalled the sunset we watched together the first day he came here. At my words, Luca smiled softly.
“If Leah noona likes it, I’ll do my best to like it too.”
Ugugu~ you say the cutest things! I couldn’t stop myself from patting Luka’s head in adoration whenever he said something cute, and when that happened, he closed his eyes joyfully as if he were a puppy.
Luka was unable to sleep at night. And, after I understood he could only sleep well when holding my hand, I began sleeping with him instead of Terry. So, at first, his room was separate from mine, but he eventually moved in.
Since then, we became the closest friends in the Troy orphanage, to the point where we even slept together in the same bed.
1. [Flower-boys it’s a way to portray pretty boys with a lovely appearance.]↩
2. [Is an expression usually used to refer to naive people, based on the question children ask: “Does snow come from the top of the mountains?” Leah, by saying that she forgot about the heavenly skies, she means that she forgot that Luka was someone someone superior in appearance]↩
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