Chapter 17: The one who helped me

“The Queen has caught a cold. It’s not a serious illness, so please don’t worry.”

said Jaromir, the royal pharmacist, causing the three people left in the queen’s room to relax. Ivan, while still frowning, let out a long sigh.

When she collapsed after the sword dance, and even when he held her, he felt his heart freeze.

Ermengard is now sleeping soundly, but her face is still red, and she looks like she’s in pain.

Rougena has a gloomy expression as she changes the cloth on the queen’s forehead, while tears well up in Dasha’s eyes as she wipes away the sweat on the queen’s fevered cheeks.

“It obviously looks like her fever is running high. Isn’t there any other way to treat her?”

This elderly pharmacist has had many years of experience working in the palace, even before Ivan was born, so there is no doubt about his abilities. However, he couldn’t help but persist.

“Since she hasn’t woken up yet, all we can do is burn medicinal incense with detoxifying effects and warm the room. We’ll also need to frequently cool her forehead with a damp cloth.”

Jaromir lowered his eyes in a troubled manner.

Of course, it goes without saying that this kind and skilled physician will do everything in their power to treat her.

“…I see, understood. Thank you.”

“No need for such flattery. I am at your service anytime, so please do not hesitate to call upon me when you need me.”

As Jaromir left with a bow, Ivan headed towards Ermengard’s bedside.

A censer was placed on the nearby chest, emitting a scent reminiscent of the grassy plains along with a faint smoke. However, she slept beside it, breathing with difficulty, showing no signs of her usual cheerfulness.

“I’ll watch over her.”

The two maids raised their heads in surprise, but the king, who gazed at his wife with a shocking glance, did not notice their gazes.

“Are you saying that Your Majesty will nurse the queen yourself?”

The head maid, who had once served as the king’s educator, asked her master in a hoarse voice, as if she had never heard of such a thing.

Ivan knew well where that surprise came from. That’s why he looked directly at her and firmly declared it.

“Yes. Please give me the work, Rougena.”

Rougena’s purple eyes opened wide, and it seemed to have been a long time since he had seen that before.

Come to think of it, he may have been worrying Rougena all this while. Thinking about it, he suddenly felt a sensation of his footing shaking, so he had to clench his fists and endure it.

“As you wish, Your Majesty.”

Rougena quickly regained her composure and nodded. Dasha, on the other hand, seemed to have not yet grasped the situation, and her gaze alternated between the queen and the king, but eventually she was urged by the head maid to take her leave.

“Your Majesty, the queen, was an excellent student.”

In front of her lord, who rarely showed a soft smile, Dasha looked like she had seen a ghost. Rougena breaking her poker face one after another was unusual.

“Her Majesty seems to be someone who puts herself second. Please take good care of her. I humbly ask you, Your Majesty.”

He realized that those words were not just about taking care of her, but also about the future. Rougena curtsies with satisfaction to her lord, who nods awkwardly and leaves the room with her subordinates.

Waiting for the door to close, Ivan sat on the armchair beside the bed.

He touched the forehead cloth and noticed that it had already become warm, so he dipped it in water, wrung it out, and placed it back on the forehead. As he floated in the silent room, his memory returned to the incident from earlier.

[Of course, Lord Kautsky. I am married to this country. Naturally, I want to understand everyone and get along with them.]

Her dignified gaze remained in his mind.

The princess, who was supposed to have come from a different country, had somehow gained the trust and respect of those around her. Even without seeing her face, everyone could hear that the queen was doing her best and always had a smile on her face.

But now she sleeps, her face covered in sweat and her breathing labored.

As a result of her efforts to try and improve the situation between her husband, who wouldn’t compromise, and those around her, she had collapsed.

At first, he couldn’t understand why she would go that far, but now he does. She had a fair mind and was genuinely concerned about the relationship between the two countries. She had the nobility to work hard for that cause.

——When she said she wanted to communicate with everyone, what did I do for her?

He knew that the smile she gave him when he taught her a spell to release her tension was pure and genuine. Yet, he just kept her at bay, not even trying to get to know her as a person.

“I’m a complete coward. Will you still laugh at me?”


“Ellie, there’s something important I need to tell you.”

From the moment Isolte solemnly declared this on a summer day when Ernesta was seven years old, her world changed completely.

It was after dinner in the living room, and they were about to take a bath. Bruno and Konrad were also present, but while Konrad didn’t seem to understand the meaning of the conversation, he just played with his toy horses.

“Then… I’m not really Dad and Mom’s real child?”

She wished it was a joke. But both parents had serious expressions, and it was clear that they were not lying.

Next, she felt sadness. Whether she was really the emperor’s child or not didn’t matter. The bond of unconditional trust between parent and child didn’t really exist. The cruel truth tore her little chest apart.

“So… well, that’s that. I see.”

For some reason, a smile came naturally. She was so sad that her heart became numb, and she couldn’t react like a child.

“Okay. I won’t be selfish anymore.”

“Ellie! That’s not it.”

Isolte reached out her arms and hugged her young daughter tightly. Young Ellie heard a hoarse, sorrowful voice saying.

“Don’t say that. You’re Mom and Dad’s child. Nothing has changed. Be as spoiled as you want and play as much as you want. When you do something wrong, I will scold you properly.”

Her embrace became even stronger. Although Isolte’s trembling shoulders conveyed her emotions directly, she couldn’t hug her back.

“You needed to know. Someday you’ll know anyway, and if I don’t tell you before that, it will hurt you even more. But… I’m sorry. You’re still so young. I’m sorry for making you sad…”

Although she couldn’t see Isolte’s expression, she could understand from her voice that it was tearful.

I’m sorry, Mom. If I weren’t here, you wouldn’t have to cry, right?

Despite loving Mom, Dad, and Konrad, why was she the only one not related by blood?

Don’t cry. I won’t cry. It’s okay, I understand. All three of you love me and cherish me.

Despite this, Mom and Dad are still sad because of me. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry…

While she kept apologizing in her heart, Bruno suddenly hugged her along with Isolte. Konrad also happily ran over and stuck to Ernesta’s waist.

The blacksmith’s arms were thick and large, and Ernesta loved to hang off them.

However, this was the last time she would get to do that.

With a blink of an eye, the scene changed, and Ernesta was now completely in her current form. She couldn’t remember the sad past she had just witnessed, and was running straight towards her nostalgic home.

Ernesta suppressed her excitement and passed through the gate of North Star. Her father and younger brother were waiting on the other side, and tears welled up at the reunion after a long time.

“Dad! Konrad! I’m home!”

She hugged the two of them together, and their arms embraced her just as tightly. It was truly nostalgic and warm.

“You did well, Ellie. Good job.”

“Nee-san, you can’t push yourself like this anymore. I was worried about you.”

Each of them was comforted, and Ernesta separated from them. However, as soon as she looked into their faces, she felt a sense of discomfort and her breath stopped.

“What’s wrong with both of you…? Did something happen?”

Bruno was the one who trembled and shook his body. Ernesta felt something unpleasant, so she rushed to the back of the shop to deny it.


“Ellie, wait!”

Ignoring their unusually distressed voices, she arrived in front of Isolte’s room.

Ernesta’s heart was making an unpleasant sound. But there was no time to stand still, so she gathered her courage and opened the door.

Sure enough, the worst outcome was waiting there.

Her mother lay on her side while retaining her beautiful appearance, with a emaciated body. Her chest was not rising and falling, and her colorless face did not move even a bit.

“Ah, aah… ah…”

An inhuman groan escaped from Ernesta’s lips, and tears flowed endlessly. She couldn’t even bring herself to wipe them away. Her heart was pounding like crazy and her head was throbbing so badly it was almost unbearable.

“I’m sorry, sorry… Mom, I’m sorry…!”

Despair, regret, and disappointment filled Ernesta’s heart, crushing any other emotion. Her body lost all strength and she fell to her knees, crouching down in a ball.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry…! I couldn’t save you… I don’t want to… Mom!”

Meaningless murmurs surfaced and disappeared repeatedly. Suddenly, she felt her shoulder grabbed.

<n… gard!… erm…rd.>

What was being said? She didn’t have the energy to lift her face or understand the words clearly.

<It’s okay, it was just a dream. Wake up!>

This time, the voice was clear. Ernesta slowly raised her head, but before she could confirm who it was, her vision was engulfed in white.

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