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The passage was quite wide for me, but it was surprisingly narrow for Luka. Once again, I noticed that the child who was once smaller than me had grown significantly.
The outside world I saw for the first time after coming out of the not-long passage was more, much more,
Luka looked up at the sky after hearing my muttering. Deep at night, the orphanage’s fresh trees, the grass I step on, the cool breeze, the stars, and the Milky Way fill the night sky…
“It’s so beautiful…”
Raiolla described the outside world as frightening. I couldn’t say her words were completely incorrect. The world is a dangerous place. Particularly for kids like us. But the world was still beautiful even so. For a while, I couldn’t speak.
“It truly is.”
Luka’s hands were warm.
‘Ah, this is not the time to be like this.’
“First and foremost, we must escape this forest. Where the hell are we?”
The Greffin Empire pictured in the book was a vast empire that occupied more than half of the continent, so there were numerous cities. However, the location of the orphanage where the male lead was imprisoned as a child was not specified in the original story. I had no idea where to go because the surroundings were so unfamiliar to me. Luka, who was still gazing up at the night sky, took my hand in his.
“I think it’s this way.”
The back leading me looked pretty reliable.
‘Right, I believe now that a male lead buff is more accurate than a compass!’ In the forest, small fireflies were shining.
‘I’m seeing fireflies that I have never seen in my previous life.’ I stretched out my hands and looked curiously at the lights passing through. I suddenly asked Luka, who was staring at me.
“Luka, you said you didn’t want to see a family you couldn’t even remember.”
“You still think so? They might be eagerly looking for you.”
His sister, the imperial princess Rachel, didn’t hesitate to go abroad to find him.
“For me, my only family will always be Leah.”
‘You spent two years with the children of the orphanage, should I say you’re a bit cold-hearted…? More than that, is it really okay to send him back to the imperial palace?’
“But if I need to, I’ll have to go back. It will certainly take some time though.”
At those words, I felt kind of proud and wanted to pat his shoulder. In fact, after returning as the Crown Prince, Luka undergoes rigorous royal lessons before roaming the battlefield with the emperor’s approval. The Greffin Empire’s deep civil war ended then, and all countries across the continent were united to form a peaceful union. I couldn’t believe I was standing next to the crown prince, whose name will be remembered for generations. I felt like I was witnessing a celebrity.
Although when the original story starts with 2% of lackiness, Luka was definitely going to make a great contribution on the battlefield with the help of the female lead, and he was going to have a coming-of-age ceremony and become a great emperor.
‘And you will fall in love with the heroine. She has healing powers, so she will put to rest the black magic that is tormenting Luka.’
The problem was me. It was always me. Every time I recalled my poor plan, I let out a long sigh. Going into the Rayes household by my own feet and saving the children from the orphanage after becoming the ducal’s lady. Later, I take money and go to find a cure for my incurable disease.
‘Still, I saved my legs…’ This alone would make the original crumble. I should be grateful. I was relieved to see my healthy legs walking side by side with Luka. But despite the relief I had just felt, I shivered.
‘The fever is rising again.’ For a while now, the symptoms of the incurable disease have been gradually appearing. One day, red spots on my stomach appeared suddenly and fever rose like on fire and then subsided again. I could still feel the intense heat in my stomach, but it was bearable. Feeling my hand tightening, Luka asked worried,
“If you are tired, shall we take a break?”
“No, I’m fine.”
Fortunately, the forest wasn’t rough, so my feet wearing only socks didn’t get injured. Thanks to Luka’s thorough treatment last night, my feet were also covered in bandages. And it was almost the first time since my previous life that I had walked this long, so I was rather happy. Seeing Luka finding the way without hesitation, I thought male lead buff was a little too much. He looked back at me and said,
“As Leah said, the stars are like a map of the night sky.”
Among the books I had read for him once, there was one with words like that.
‘The constellation map- you memorized it?!’ I was speechless at the monstrous memory.
“I feel sorry I couldn’t say anything to the kids. I promised Terry to play all day with her after helping…”
Seeing my sullen look, Luka said with a playful smile.
“We need to get back as soon as possible to make sure Terry doesn’t get too upset.”
Yeah, it wasn’t fair if I was already feeling discouraged. Even for Terry, who helped me to not get caught by Raiolla and even got scolded.
Following my quick pace, Luka also widened his stride.
It wouldn’t take long before the Rayes’ mansion welcomed unexpected guests.
* * *
Ravelia Jenn Rayes, that name was a big scar and an indelible trace for the Rayes household.
In the Rayes bloodline, where girls are priceless because only three princesses were born into the family, the duchess of Rayes gave birth to a precious little girl in exchange for her life. She was such a miraculous child that she was named ‘Ravelia,’ an ancient word meaning ‘Fairy’s blessing.’ She was so treasured that even the duchess pleaded with her husband and two sons to protect her until her last breath.
The duchess died not long after giving birth to the youngest lady, and an incident occurred three years later. Another tragedy befell the Rayes family, who, despite the loss of their beloved wife and mother, raised the precious girl with unconditional love, in juxtaposition to other noble families. A three-year-old princess was stolen inside the duke’s mansion, which he assumed would be safer than anywhere else. Nobody expected the nanny, whom the duchess had trusted and followed since childhood, to be the culprit in the princess’s disappearance.
The ducal family fell apart, and the duke mobilized his troops and intelligence all over the country to find his youngest daughter, but one day, in the fifth year, the emperor commanded him to come to his senses and retreat his people. Three years after the duchess’s death, the Rayes family, who had barely regained their stability, were thrown back into a horrific nightmare.
In the tenth year, still unable to forget the princess and looking for traces through the ducal’s shadow guild, the duke heard about a silver-haired girl at an orphanage deep in the forest and went to find her. Silver hair was a distinctive feature of a race known as ‘Elves’ on the continent of Tela, across the sea, and it was said that the first Duke of Rayes was descended from them. As a result, silver hair was uncommon, and it was solid evidence that a child belonged to the Rayes family. Exhausted from the previous twelve years, the duke went to the orphanage with a glimmer of hope, but there he met a limp girl with a face like a living corpse and a cane.
The supposedly pure white silver hair was gray as dusty and sprayed pink. She had the most unappealing silver hair of all the ‘silver-haired girls’ who came from all over the country. The silver hair of the ducal family was known for being spotless white, and it wasn’t lost even if blood was mixed, so he was certain that the girl in front of him was not the princess.
Nonetheless, he couldn’t leave the orphanage without the little child. Although the light had faded, the pale green eyes reminded him of his late wife.
“Ravelia… please, I beg you. She’s our only youngest daughter.”
He felt compelled to turn such a girl into the family’s lady, albeit a fictitious one because unbearable guilt struck him as the duchess’ face smiled wide in his mind.
The girl got Ravelia’s name, and although the people in the household had been kind to her, and possibly because of the wounds she had received at her orphanage, she managed to cause a scene every day. The family, who had tried at first and which was supposed to light up again, felt more depressed than before she became the princess.
[Father, I have something I want for the first time. If he, who was originally mine, returns to me, I will act like the daughter you crave so much.] Ravelia, who used to look at the Duke like he was dirt, made such a request not long after the missing Crown Prince returned.
She told him, much to his surprise, that the crown prince was with her in the orphanage the duke had visited but had lost his memory. Whether they had formed a strong bond in the orphanage or not, Ravelia wanted him to get rid of Senia, the girl who had saved the crown prince. The Duke explained that it was impossible to harm Senia, Kavlos ducal’s princess, who had the same status but instead worked hard to make Leah a candidate for the position of Crown Princess.
Even as a duke, it was difficult to recommend Ravelia, who was rumored to be an adopted child with unknown lowly origins, fated to rely on a cane for the rest of her life, and an average-looking girl, as a candidate. It was only possible because there were strong rumors that she was the prince’s benefactor, but her unfulfilled dream came to an end because, first, she was of low status originally, and, above all, the person the prince loved was Senia.
‘Ravelia Jenn Rayes’ went mad with it and used all sorts of methods to tear up the crown prince and Senia’s relationship.
Her evil deeds eventually threatened Senia’s life, and she was thrown away and confined in a region of the ducal’s estate.
There, she died at a young age of a mysterious rare disease.
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