Chapter 9.2

Chapter 9.2

Leon released the curtain from his grip and turned around. The memory had been so vivid that it felt like she might be standing behind him if he turned around, smiling that panther’s smile.

But that was a different time. A different man. He was no longer a policeman who caught the bad guys, and that lady didn’t exist. Not anymore.

He walked over to the sofa and slumped into the cushions casting a wistful glance at the fanciness of the furnishings surrounding him. No matter how long he stayed in it, the mansion he now called home would always feel too big for just him. He had no need whatsoever for the space, but Inverus III had gifted it to him and told him to stay here whenever he visited the capital. In other words, ‘don’t come near my palace.’ Inverus was not someone to be disagreed with.

Leon sighed to himself, loud enough to send it echoing from the marbled walls and in all directions. He didn’t want to stay in the palace anyway. He yearned for the Glouster estate; or any other place, come to think of it. He was a specimen in a cage here, to be kept an eye on. Someone might even be watching him right now. No matter how much he’d told himself that was the way it had to be, or tried to get used to it, he couldn’t help but feel annoyed by it sometimes. At least since he didn’t have to worry about it in Glouster. Leon could be here as himself.

The thought of attending the party filled him with dread. However, skipping out on the coming-of-age party of the next heir to the throne might not give a good impression. For now, it was safest to sit in this mansion, ask Inverus III about attending the party, and move according to the king’s decision.

Alice Warwick. The Warwick family is the next in line to the throne. On top of that, Leon couldn’t forget what had happened with her and the princess at the last party. Eleanor was obviously pretty, but Alice Warwick…

Leon shook his head again. He couldn’t tell her – a child – what he had seen and what exactly he knew. Who would tolerate, or even believe, the story of a fifteen-year-old girl who, in her previous life, had lived in a random country called South Korea and was an honest-to-goodness serial killer? He’d be hounded out as a crazy person within a day.

But still…

It wouldn’t be a good look if he didn’t attend the princess’s coming-of-age party. Plus, once he was at the party, he could keep an eye on her from a distance. Alice Warwick won’t announce her past life unprompted. Let’s just quietly keep an eye on her.

And when the chance arises…

Leon’s right hand brushed over his chest. The feeling of his heart having returned to its original place, which had been empty for years, was satisfying and a little painful. His heart had returned, but the person who had revived it still wasn’t his. But he wouldn’t miss the opportunity this time. This time, he wouldn’t just stare at her foolishly with his fingers entwined with hers…

He would catch her.


Eleanor looked at herself in the mirror. She felt a surge of pleasure every time she did.

This beautiful girl is me, she thought.

White, soft skin with no trace of scars, and even her pores were rarely exposed. Glossy black hair like a crow’s feathers. Dark eyebrows, so perfectly shaped she could have drawn them herself, resting over mysterious purple eyes. A cute nose with a slightly raised tip and thick lips.

Unable to control her impulse, she gracefully spun around. A fancy skirt full of lace fluttered around her and sank. Before she knew it she was giggling at herself, and her hands flew to her mouth to cover it. She knew this wasn’t elegant behavior. She wouldn’t – couldn’t – do this in front of others. But there was no one here to watch.

The four maids of the house didn’t bother Eleanor. They had their duties with the royal family and knew well enough to leave her alone. 

She heard a shuffling from beyond the oak door and, while she was still wondering if her giggling had been heard outside, Eleanor saw one maid pass through the frame in a display of urgency.

“The queen has arrived.”

Eleanor lowered her skirt hem. Maid Jane Ann scurried over to the girl to brush out the wrinkles in her skirt and comb her hair. She had always been a caring one, Jane Ann. It was a pity she wouldn’t be here much longer really. Once the preening had finished, they stood aside; standing up straight, waiting to serve Grace; Eleanor’s mother and the Queen herself.

Her mother was a nuisance, but wouldn’t be for much longer. Let’s try to be generous with her behavior, Eleanor told herself. It’s a pity to die young when you’re a queen, right? It was bearable until then.

Grace entered the room, trailing a sweet aroma and a powder smell behind her. Her perfectly uniform hair, pearls twisted up in a complex way weaved within it, was complemented by a gold comb. Eleanor knew without the tell-tale smell of lemon water that she had been rinsing it thoroughly every day. Her moderately powdered skin could have been a mirror of Eleanor’s. Her unrealistically perfect bell-shaped dress with a crinoline inner skirt was an expensive item, made of several layers of delicate lace. To Grace, wearing inexpensive things was akin to abuse.

But now, this beautiful face was slightly wrinkled in the forehead, and the purple eyes, another mirror-match for Eleanor, looked tired, wrinkles forming in the creases. Eleanor was surprised she hadn’t already asked the royal medic to get rid of them. 

Even so, they wouldn’t do much. Not even a pretty face like that can survive a rebellion. That’s what Eleanor wanted to say, but she held her tongue. She loved her mother, even now. But she loved the idea of the near future even more.

Soon after Eleanor and the maids bent at the waist and greeted, Grace, after lazily waving a hand in the air, sat down in the chair that had been pulled in by Jane Ann and stared at her daughter.

“What is this? Are you trimming your hair the way I told you? Didn’t I say that if you use the ointment your hair color will become brighter? It looks like you didn’t do a thing.”

In her mind, Eleanor rolled her eyes. Hello to you too, mother.

“I like my hair like this.”

“Crap!” Grace exclaimed, surprising even Eleanor. “Not a lot of men like black-haired girls. Especially this crow-like tangle… listen to me. Ms. Deloney, try using the ointment from today. Apply a lot, and use hot water.”

Jane Ann bowed her head and slightly bent her knees to show she’d follow her orders. Eleanor let out a sigh she couldn’t control.

“Black hair is a symbol of a strong mind. I have no plans of changing the color, mother.”

Grace changed the topic, like Eleanor’s words hadn’t even been spoken.

“I hope you change the color of the dress. Green is better; it emphasizes your pureness.”

“Nope. I like this one.”

Grace looked her over disapprovingly. “To a young girl becoming an adult, I think red will be too over-the-top. Plus… I heard that the Wishburn girl is wearing blue. Too much contrast.”

Eleanor frowned, placing both hands on her hips.

“You said I don’t need to worry about the Wishburn girl.”

“How can you not!? You have to stand out, no matter what. Those Wishburn’s aren’t going to show up my daughter! And ignore the royal family…”

Frankly, Eleanor favored Jeremiah Warwick. The Warwick’s will be on her side for a while. On top of that, she was precious in their household. She might not meet them at this party, but soon…

“I heard that the Warwick children arrived in Schway, deliberately late. This is outrageous.”

Grace grumbled, her face falling further. Eleanor froze. A cold chill was felt all over her body. 

“Anyway, I don’t like them.”

Grace continued to grumble, completely oblivious to her daughter’s reaction.



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