Erna and Kalion murmured, their voices dazed. They had been called many titles in their lives, from the disgrace of the royal family to trash, worms, and pumpkins. They had been called the duke and even darling. But this was the first time they had heard such a shocking and destructive word.
Erna and Kalion exchanged a look. “Kalion, if I’m not mistaken, did this child just call us Mom and Dad?” Erna asked, her voice tinged with disbelief.
“Are you asking if she called us Mom and Dad?” Kalion nodded, his own expression mirroring Erna’s incredulity. If Kalion had heard it too, then maybe they weren’t both imagining things.
Erna turned her head and looked at the child who had jumped onto the bed. The little girl had curly hair that fell just above her shoulders, sparkling eyes, chubby pink cheeks, red lips, and even an upturned mouth that suggested she was smiling. She was so cute that Erna, who had never seen her before, felt a strong urge to hug her.
What was more, the child looked like a perfect blend of Erna and Kalion. Her sharp eyes resembled Erna’s, but her overall appearance was more similar to Kalion’s features.
But Erna and Kalion had never had a child.
“Am I under some kind of hallucination spell?” Erna wondered aloud.
If so, the hallucination was vivid enough to make her want to meet the magician who had created it. The child stared at Erna and Kallion quietly, then cocked her head as if something was strange. Suddenly, the child hugged Erna.
“Mom, you said you were going to teach me new magic today.”
Erna was taken aback and pushed the child’s shoulder. “Mom? Oh no, I’m not your mom… I’ve never given birth to a child!”
The child’s eyes widened at Erna’s words. She turned to Kallion and reached out her arms. “Dad?”
Kallion hesitated like Erna and stepped back. The child looked embarrassed as she held her arms open, but there was no one there to hug her. Then, she quietly got off the bed.
Erna tried to organize her thoughts, still confused. “Who is this child and why is our bedroom like this?”
Just then, she heard some noise from the hallway beyond the open door. The child quickly ran out, shouting, “Orpé! Vanessa! Something’s wrong with Mom and Dad!”
Erna got up from the bed, relieved to hear the names of two people she knew. “Thank goodness,” she murmured. Maybe if she saw Orpé and Vanessa, she could figure out what was going on. After a moment, Orpé’s voice was heard in front of the door.
“Your Excellencies, may we come in?” Orpé asked as she and Vanessa stood at the door of the room.
“Come in quickly, hurry!” Erna urgently replied, and the two entered.
“You arrived just in time, Orpé!” Erna exclaimed, but as she approached her, she abruptly stopped. Nestled in Orpé’s arms was a young baby with short black hair, staring blankly at Erna and Kalion with deep, transparent green eyes that resembled Erna’s own. The child bore an eerie resemblance to the girl from earlier.
Erna stuttered, “Um, who is that child?” Orpé gestured to Vanessa, who stood beside her, as if to ask her to interpret. Erna also turned to Vanessa, but something strange caught her attention.
Has she aged? Erna thought, noticing deeper wrinkles on Vanessa’s face and even whiter hair than she had seen that morning. Despite her aged appearance, Vanessa still held her confident expression and attitude. Kalion noticed the change in Vanessa’s appearance as well and went to Erna’s side, wrapping his arms around her shoulders.
Erna felt an unsettling unfamiliarity with the people she was most familiar with. “Vanessa, who exactly are these children?” she asked.
“They’re your daughter and son, Mille and Lionel,” Vanessa replied.
“What the heck is going on…” Erna exclaimed, her voice laced with surprise, disbelief, and fear. They had just lost consciousness for a moment, but now they had a daughter and a young son. Erna wiped her face with her hands and turned to Orpé, seeking answers.
“Do you know what year, month, and day it is today?” she asked urgently.
“Of course. Today is…” Orpé immediately stated the date.
Erna and Kalion exchanged a bewildered look, muttering to themselves, “So that means…eight years have passed?”
“What on earth is going on?” Erna wondered aloud, her mind racing with questions and confusion.