When he didn’t answer, Adele pointed to his blood-stained shirt.
“Did you get hurt?”
“You’re still kind.”
He stared at her, then he let out a sigh, “It’s not my blood so don’t worry.”
Adele was a little frustrated because she couldn’t see the boy’s face. She looked around to see why it was so foggy and her eyes zeroed onto the forget-me-not flowers blooming beautifully by the pond. The dawn of sunlight hit the surface and it glinted back like a shimmering gem.
The scenery was breathtaking that she was momentarily speechless.
“Knights,” he suddenly uttered, “after graduating from the academy at the age 17, would usually get a job at the age of 24.”
“So, when I turn 24…” The boy mumbled, picked a forget-me-not flower and handed it to her. At that moment, the wind blew and the fog lifted slightly.
A radiant ray of sunlight struck them, illuminating the boy’s face. Adele immediately admired the boy’s adorable features and brilliant golden eyes. Meanwhile, he took her wrist and placed the flower onto her hand. Adele only blankly stared at him.
“Once I’m officially a knight, I will come back for you.”
“By then,” he looked at her straight in the eye, “marry me, Adellia.”
“Never forget. This day, and this moment.”
Adele was utterly bewildered by the situation. As she was about to ask him if he had mistaken her for someone else, she heard a familiar voice from afar.
“Adele! Where are you!”
It was the voices of her father and his servants. Adele struggled to get up and waved her hand.
“Father! I’m here!”
A servant directed his gaze towards the call and immediately saw her figure. He called on the other and they began to approach her. Adele sighed in relief.
But the boy turned his head and started walking away from her.
“Hey! Thank you!”
He didn’t answer earlier, but Adele was sure he must’ve been the one who had saved her. Unfortunately, there was still no reply from the boy. But really, she didn’t know why he suddenly proposed out of the blue.
Adele thought she should repay him for saving her. It might not be now, but if she knew his name, she could always send gifts and thank him later on.
“Hey!” she yelled at him, “What’s your name?”
He halted his steps and glanced back at her.
“My name is…”
Before she could even hear his name, her vision suddenly blurred and there was intense ringing in her ears that it felt like a hammer was pounding against her brain. Adele immediately shut her eyes.
How strange. I feel like I’ve seen that child before. And his name, I think I know it too. Ah, what was it again? N… No… Noah?
Noah Maktus? Who’s that? Ah… I just remembered.
My husband’s brother.
Huh? When did I have a husband?
No, no, wait. ‘He’ is my husband.
I married him not long ago, and I’m not a seventeen-year-old—I’m a duchess!
Because of the civil war, I was imprisoned in the Imperial Castle. I asked for Lina and Ellie to be spared, but…
When Adele slowly opened her eyes, the first thing she saw was a ceiling made of gray stone. Lina and Ellie looked at her with tears in their eyes.
“Milady! You’ve finally regained consciousness!”
“W-where am I this time?”
Adele scanned the damp, narrow hallway where she sat. There was no one else present save for the three of them, with the occasional sound of dripping water as their only background noise. Ellie looked at her and said hurriedly.
“Milady, this is a way out of the Imperial Palace. It’s a passage where they transport goods before, but due to the extent of the previous year’s flooding, it was closed. I came here pretending to carry my luggage.”
Lina pointed at the old cart behind her and wiped off the sweat on her forehead.
“Count Arsene’s second son helped us so we could escape. We’re safe at the moment.”
The second son of Count Arsene was in the Imperial Knights Templar. Adele was sure that the countess heard the rumor and asked for her son’s assistance. Adele raised her body into a sitting position, mentally promising that one day she would repay this favor.
But then, a black mist escaped from her head, and an inaudible voice was heard.
[Your lost time… has been found. This is a first…that I’ve experienced this. I have no need to be left in your body any longer. But… the contract with him has already been made.]
The black mist dispersed into the air and disappeared. At the same time, the emerald embedded in Adele’s necklace was shattered and cracked.
Seeing this peculiar phenomenon, Lina became perplexed. She wanted to point it out to her mistress, but then she realized it wasn’t that important in this situation.
“Milady, if you go through here, you can escape the Imperial Palace. Everyone is still focused on the wedding, so it’ll be easy to find transportation and be able to leave unnoticed.”
Adele’s chest tightened, “W-wedding?”
After not talking for a long time, her throat was parched. Lina nodded her head vigorously.
“Yes, milady. It’s the princess’s wedding.”
Adele suddenly recalled what the princess had said to her before she fell unconscious. She said she was going to make Noah her husband. Unknowingly, Adele gripped the hem of her skirt.
“Milady, can you stand up? We need to go.” Lina was worried about her mistress, they really needed to go before anyone noticed she wasn’t in her room.
“Y-yes. I need to go.”
Lina felt relieved and glanced at the side where Ellie stood. She hurriedly came forward and supported Adele when she stood. “Yes, so we need to hurry and—”
“I need to go and meet Noah.”
Stunned, both Lina’s and Ellie’s eyes widened at the same time in disbelief. They’ve already come this far, and it was too difficult to find a chance to escape. What does the mistress mean she’s going to meet Noah?
Ignoring the surprised maids, Adele struggled to steady herself. Ellie tried to help, but she was refused. Leaning against the wall, she took a strenuous step forward.
“I need to find my husband.”
Although they were disinclined with her decision, Lina and Ellie hesitated at Adele’s unwavering determination as she moved forward with much effort.
In the end, they chose to follow her, and assisted her in any way they could.