Chapter 3.1

Impatiently, I attempted to rise, but the elderly man who’d noticed my movement gently but firmly restrained me. His touch was both kind and resolute.

“Please don’t rush to sit up. I’m not entirely sure of the circumstances, but your body is in a dire state, riddled with injuries. Your head took quite a blow when it collided with that rock. It’s possible your memory is affected because of it…”

I let out an involuntary groan as a sudden, stabbing pain shot through my back, feeling like a knife’s cruel thrust.

“I’ve applied some herbal medicine to your wounds, which should provide some relief, but given the extent and depth of your injuries, the pain won’t vanish entirely,” he explained, his hand offering a gentle pat on my back.

In that moment, the fear of my lost identity, emanating from the depths of my being, was more agonizing than the physical torment. The soothing touch of the unfamiliar old man seemed to offer solace, and I found myself unable to contain the tears that welled up.

The door emitted a soft clack as it swung open, its muted creak followed by the hushed tread of footsteps upon the plush carpet. The elderly man, upon glimpsing the newcomer, swiftly lowered his head and retreated a step.

The person on the opposite side remained shrouded by a delicate curtain draping over the bed, rendering them a mere silhouette. Their movements mirrored those of a wary predator, a poised lean before a potential pounce, causing me to instinctively recoil.

Advancing with a cautious stride, they passed the foot of the bed, and I felt my breath constrict, as if someone was tightening their grip around my throat. In the dimness, the features of this individual remained elusive, yet even in the obscurity, their lustrous black hair and vibrant pumpkin-hued irises seemed to radiate.

An abrupt shiver coursed through my body. I found myself consumed by fear, like a vulnerable prey awaiting the predator’s strike. Since the moment the door had cracked open, a potent scent had pervaded the air, further muddling my already befuddled mind.

I wanted to evade that icy, penetrating gaze. However, my wishes fell by the wayside as I couldn’t even swivel my head, and my eyelids staunchly refused to flutter. It felt as though I was being inexorably drawn into the depths of their pupils.

“Your Highness.” 

The man’s gaze, piercing as it felt, finally shifted toward the elderly figure standing nearby. Instead of experiencing relief, a growing sense of unease continued to tighten its grip around my chest. Instinctively, I understood that I shouldn’t be where I was.

“What should we do?” His voice, deep and resonant, carried a gentleness that veiled an underlying intensity in his sparse words. I felt a chilling presence, even more overwhelming than their penetrating gaze. It was a sensation so strong that I had a premonition, no, an unwavering conviction, that uttering even a single wrong word could jeopardize my very life.

“It appears that her wounds will require more time to heal. However…” The old man’s words came to a halt, and one of the man’s eyebrows arched upward. In that fleeting instant, a scar that traversed diagonally from his forehead to his eyelid, crossing his right eyebrow, seemed to stir as if it possessed a life of its own.

“Is there an issue?” he inquired, his brow furrowing suddenly.

“It seems she has lost her memory, possibly due to the head injury. She cannot even recall her own name.” The man regarded the old man with a sudden, piercing scrutiny, enveloping the room in a stifling silence that seemed to stretch on endlessly.

His gaze, once more locked onto me, remained devoid of any discernible emotion.

“Is that so?” His response was met with silence, my voice caught in my throat, leaving me unable to utter a word. Once again, one of the man’s eyebrows arched upward, his scrutiny intensifying.

“Can she not speak at all?” he inquired further.

“No, it’s not that. Perhaps she was simply startled by Your Highness’s presence,” the old man cautiously murmured, casting a quick glance toward me.

“Try to answer for yourself. Do you truly possess no memory whatsoever?” he asked.

I wanted to respond, to explain my situation. Yet, I found myself overwhelmed by the man’s imposing aura and the heady scent of his pheromones, leaving my throat feeling constricted. Could it be that the excruciating pain I had experienced just moments ago had vanished entirely, as if it had never existed?

My lips refused to budge, and a small sigh escaped the man’s lips.


Both the elderly man and I were taken aback to hear that name from the man’s mouth.

“Elena?” As I painstakingly formed each syllable with my lips, the man squinted his eyes.

“So, you can speak. Very well, Elena. I shall address you as such henceforth.” As he pronounced “Elena,” his pheromones seemed to intensify instantly. I found myself involuntarily holding my breath as the man’s gaze locked onto me.

“Your Highness, Elena?” The old man questioned the man, a curious expression etching his face.

“To reside within the palace, you should at least have a name to be called by,” said the man.

“Do you plan to retain her here indefinitely?” the old man responded, his mouth agape as if he had witnessed a miracle.

“Leto, do you believe I would abandon someone, not only injured but also bereft of memory, to wander the streets like a stray?”

“…No, Your Highness. How could I ever entertain such a thought?” After a brief pause, I could discern a different reaction from the old man, one that deviated from his usual demeanor.



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