“Please! I know I can’t offer a lot of money, but I’ll pay way more than the original price!”
What is this about…
“I don’t think that’s possible.”
Even in my confusion, I instinctively shook my head.
The nature of scripts is that the timing of new arrivals in stores is unpredictable, and the supply is limited.
“I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to find the same script again, even if I wanted to.”
All the scripts I bought today were ones I had never seen before, despite consistently buying scripts from the same store for a year.
Moreover, these scripts were the most interesting among the ones I had purchased today, and I intentionally set them aside to read as soon as I got home.
There was no way I could concede them, no matter how much more money he offered.
“Even if you offer more money, it’s the same.”
As I was about to take the scripts back, the boy grabbed the opposite corner and urgently cried out, “Please, sell them to me! Please!”
“It’s not possible…”
Even though I showed my reluctance, the boy didn’t give up. Why was he so desperate?
“Do you have a specific reason for needing these scripts so badly?”
“If I tell you the reason, will you sell them?”
Is it because he’s young? He’s quite persistent.
As I nodded slightly, the boy let go of the scripts and opened his mouth resolutely.
“…I wrote these scripts.”
“These scripts, I wrote them.”
At that moment, dozens of question marks popped up in my head.
This boy wrote these scripts?
“So, please, sell them to me!”
“Wait a moment. Are you really claiming you wrote these? Can you prove it?”
Amidst the confusion, I managed to open my mouth and ask.
The exclusivity period for scripts was quite long, lasting several years at least.
So if this boy had written them, it would have been when he was very young.
But how many people would hire a young boy as a scriptwriter, especially during a time when the theater culture itself was suppressed by the royal authorities?
“Yes, I can prove it!”
Contrary to my initial assumption that he was lying, the boy confidently asked for the scripts again.
I handed them over as requested, and the boy said as he handed me one of the scripts.
“I always leave my name and a star symbol as my signature in the bottom right corner of the sheet music when I compose. See it here?”
At the tip of the boy’s hand holding the sheet music, there was indeed some writing and a small star.
“Yes! It means ‘star’.”
So he left a star symbol next to it?
I recalled the moment when I was scrutinizing the sheet music, a time when Caleb, who had been quiet all along, suddenly spoke up.
“I’m not sure if that’s enough to prove it. If someone knows the composer’s style or has seen the script in advance, they could say something like that.”
Listening to Caleb’s words, it did seem plausible.
“I have sheet music with the original composition on it, with the right staff paper in my bag. Naturally, it also has my signature at the end.”
“You don’t have a bag with you.”
I raised an eyebrow, thinking that maybe I missed his bag or what, but Caleb added.
Isn’t that even more suspicious?
“But it’s true! I wrote these! Look at the publication date here, it’s August 17th, 19 years ago, which is my birthday.”
“Even if you say that…”
We need a way to confirm that it’s true.
Honestly, at this point, everything the boy was saying sounded like excuses.
I sensed that the boy noticed my disbelief and murmured.
“But it’s true……”
As the brief silence continued, feeling like a meaningless struggle, I was thinking it was time to take back the script.
The boy suddenly exclaimed as if he remembered something.
“I can prove for sure that I wrote them! The publisher!”
But that alone wouldn’t be enough……
I was taken aback as I absentmindedly followed where the boy was pointing.
What was written as the publisher was none other than “Claudia Theater.”
Why was our theater’s name written there?
Could it be that these scripts were published by our theater?
But I’ve never seen such scripts before.
Although it hadn’t been long since I returned as an actor, I had plenty of time to revisit the theater before the Crown Prince approached me with that request.
During that time, I read the scripts that were stored in the theater, at least the cover pages.
I couldn’t have missed the existence of such scripts entirely.
“If you go to the Claudia Theater and ask if these scripts exist, they will say no. Because these are the only scripts in the world, one each, that I personally wrote as my creations.”
Then the boy confidently added,
“I’m okay with you going to the Claudia Theater right now to confirm.”
“What should we do, Elena? Should I go to the theater and ask?”
“…No, I don’t think there’s a need for that.”
I shook my head.
In truth, I had considered the possibility that I either missed the scripts or that they were created a long time ago and subsequently lost in the theater.
But that was until I saw the publisher’s name “Aster” beneath it.
Normally, the publisher’s name would be the name of the theater owner.
The script’s publication date was 19 years ago.
Back then, the theater owner was the same as the current theater owner.
And as far as I knew, the theater owner’s name wasn’t Aster.
What this indicated was that these scripts weren’t officially published scripts, making it highly likely that they were the boy’s own creations.
“You claimed that you wrote these scripts, but… how did they end up in a script store? They aren’t official scripts.”
“I never sold them. Someone else stole them and sold them.”
Here’s the story he shared.
The boy named Aster hailed from a nearby province, not the capital.
When he was young, he was deeply moved after watching a play and dreamt of becoming a playwright.
However, when the royal court neglected the theater scene, he had to give up on his dreams.
He ended up farming with his parents and did odd jobs, using his ability to read and write to perform errands for the local lord.
But when he heard a rumor about the royal court’s newfound support for the theater and the success of the first play in the Imperial Palace, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
The Claudia Theater had also posted notices looking for actors and playwrights.
Seeing this as his chance, he brought his own scripts to the capital.
Until that point, the boy believed that luck was on his side and that the world was blessing him.
Little did he know that there was an individual among the acquaintances he had made during the carriage ride to the capital with questionable morals.
This person had no idea the bag contained scripts, and they had no clue they were about to steal his creations.
After a relentless pursuit, he eventually caught the thief who had stolen his scripts, but it was too late.
The thief had either sold them all or discarded them by the roadside.
In a desperate attempt to salvage what he could, the boy was on his way to the script store to see if he could recover any of them when he was pushed from behind on a hillside road.
Unable to regain his balance, he crashed into a wall and lost consciousness.
After that, he was brought to the clinic by us, and that’s how the situation stood.
“It’s a bit strange. Normally, people would throw away scripts instead of selling them.”
“Oh, that’s because of Lord Egon’s fiancée.”
Why is my story being mentioned here?
“Why is it because of Lord Egon’s fiancée?”
“I’ve heard that Lord Egong’s fiancée has a hobby of collecting scripts. So, the rarer the script that she doesn’t have, the higher the price it can fetch. My works, although they look like official scripts on the surface, were something that couldn’t be found anywhere else, so I thought they could fetch a high price.”
The boy let out a frustrated breath and added.
“Of course, if it had been a sane store owner, they would have investigated the source and purchased them properly. But these days, with the belief that scripts can make money, there are many people opening stores who have no passion for or knowledge of scripts.”
I felt a pang of guilt.
The store owner was at fault, but I also realized I didn’t properly investigate and blindly purchased the scripts.
At least now I understood what had happened.
While it was possible that the story was fabricated, it seemed too fitting to be made up.
“Considering the fact that they fit so well in such a short amount of time…”
I looked at the scripts once and then at the boy’s face.
“Alright, I’ll give them back.”
“Really? Thank you! How can I repay you?”
“You don’t need to pay me.”
The money spent on buying these scripts wasn’t significant for me, and considering my indirect involvement in the situation, I felt a sense of responsibility.
“Thank you so much! These scripts mean a lot to me…”
“It’s okay. More importantly, is it your goal to work at the Claudia Theater?”
“Yes! It’s been my dream for a long time!”
The boy’s violet eyes sparkled with determination.
“I hope it works out for you. Now, let’s go, Caleb.”
With that said, I could finally leave the infirmary with Caleb.
“I’ll look into the source of the rumors.”
As soon as we left the medical facility, Caleb suddenly said something that caught me off guard.
“About you collecting scripts. It’s highly likely they originated from the aristocrats.”
“It’s all right. It’s not a weird rumor, and it’s true, isn’t it? There’s nothing to hide.”
I looked at Caleb, who seemed to be beating around the bush.
“I’ve been collecting scripts openly, even visiting script stores regularly. There’s no guarantee it started from the aristocrats.”
“But, Elena. I don’t want to overlook any small details about you… Honestly, I’m being overly protective.”
Well, there’s no helping it!
I’ll have to use that method. I gently grabbed Caleb’s face and pulled it toward me, making sure our eyes met.
Luckily, I was wearing well-protected shoes today.
Thinking that, I leaned in and planted a kiss on his cheek.
“Let it go.”
Our gazes still locked, I spoke, but Caleb still seemed to have something he wanted to say.
Oh well, I guess there’s no helping it.
I leaned in again and kissed him on the lips this time.
It was a light kiss, and when I pulled away, Caleb’s lips were sealed.
“Let it go. Understand?”
“…… I understand.”
I smiled when I heard the answer I wanted. Good.
“Caleb, could you lower your head a bit?”
As Caleb obediently lowered his head, his waist slightly bending to bring our faces closer, we locked eyes.
Thanks to his cooperation, I could comfortably encircle his neck and plant a kiss on the other cheek, the opposite side from the one I’d kissed earlier.
His voice revealed his surprise, and he stared at me with a perplexed expression.
Seeing the bewilderment on his face, I couldn’t help but smile.
“Because you’re cute.”
As I tried to withdraw my hand from around his neck, Caleb held onto it, and just as I was about to call his name, he surprised me by kissing my fingertips.
I hesitated for a moment, feeling his warm breath tickling my skin, and then slightly shrugged my shoulders.
Caleb added with a mischievous tone.
“Wouldn’t it be better if you found me cute for real?”
My cheeks flushed, and I chuckled.
“Of course, I do.”
Caleb grinned in response, his eyes softening as he held my hand against his lips for a moment longer.
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