A Stepmother’s Marchen - Chapter 51
“I’m here to thank you for your Christmas gift.”
I’ve had a lump in my chest. I’ve always appreciated other’s kindness, even though it may not be a real help, especially in this kind of situation.
I approached him with a sigh and sat carefully on the rock.
“I was worried when I couldn’t see you at the Christmas feast.”
“Well, I don’t think it’s a good idea to go to such a noble place like that.”
Only then did I look him in the face. The boy’s left cheek, which looked slightly wrinkled with his eyes down, was dimly red. It looked like a blood bruise which was slowly healing over several days.
Who dared to leave such a scar on Prince Nurembert’s face?
“Oh, my God, what’s that.. …”
“Huh, never mind, it’s nothing. Anyway, I heard that the slow lion beat the foxy prince to his heart’s content. I’m sorry, if I were there, I’d have stepped in for you.”
It was amazing how he seemed to be relaxed as if nothing happened.
I stared blankly at his face for a moment, and soon managed to follow suit, “That would have been a sight to behold. What happened to your face? Did you have a fight with the Crown Prince?”
“I’d rather say it’s a scar of glory, but fighting with my father is nothing to brag about.”
While I didn’t know what to say, Nora looked at me with a sad look, then said while playing with his fingers, “Sister, do you want to run away with me?”
I don’t know exactly what my expression was like at the moment, but it was very visible.
The one who was making a serious face throwing such words started to laugh.
“Pahaha, look at your face. I’m just kidding.”
……Look at this guy. Was there a place for a joke in this situation?
It would have been more funny if he wasn’t teasing an adult.
“That’s a classic romantic chivalry. Where do you want to run?”
“Everyone thinks that at least once, don’t they? I know you’re not the type to run away from anything.”
Nora may have seen something that made him sure, but he was right.
If I could turn my back from the predicament and run away, I would have done so long ago.
After a short laugh, the boy, who jumped up as if he was about to go back, hesitated and looked back at me.
I felt unknowingly depressed by the fact that his blue eyes, which had been shining with pure joy, darkened.
“Are you going already?”
“I think you’re busy, too, so I’ll have to go. If I were a little older, I could have come up with the right encouragement to give at a time like this… ..you know, I’m still clumsy.”
“Not really. I’m grateful enough for your concern.”
As it was, I should be comforting this guy, but I feel like he did comfort me instead. When all this is over…
“Thank you for your time. Good luck sister.”
At the moment, nothing came out as if something had blocked my throat. All I could do was nod my head with a squeezed smile.
Why did I become speechless at that moment? Perhaps it was because he realized that only he was perfectly sincere among the comforts poured from countless people since the incident took place.
The Tower of Wittenberg was a temporary prison where nobles and imperial families were mostly imprisoned before the trial.
Unlike underground prisons where ordinary prisoners are imprisoned, the facilities were much more comfortable and the security was lax.
But anyway, prison is a prison. I nodded my head to the sentry, who saluted me briefly, and then stepped inside.
“Why are you here?”
Inside the prison was a rugged wall of stone. The blond boy, who was sitting on his long legs by the window with bars, greeted me in a rather curt manner.
Dark green eyes blinked and looked at me in the dark and pleasant air of the prison.
“Why are you sitting there like that? Isn’t it cold?”
“A little cold wind won’t kill you. Anyway, what are you doing here? It’s not a good place for you to come to.”
I put the lamp down on the floor and took off the shawl and put it on the boy’s shoulder. There was an awkward silence for a moment.
Jeremy, who had been staring at his right arm, clenching his fist tightly, finally opened his mouth, sighing, “There’s nothing for you to worry about. Even without my right hand, I’ll use my left one. It’s just a pity that I couldn’t kill him , but God damn it, the way he looked at you was extraordinary.”
“Am I wrong? Even if I misunderstood you at the moment, it’s true that he had a wicked heart for you. Damn it, that dog!”
“Jeremy, it’s not like that. It’s just…”
Dark green eyes stared at my mouth. I hesitated for a moment and then slowly continued, “It’s just… it’s been so long, it’s been so long that I’ve been swept away without realizing it. I guess I didn’t behave properly as a result.”
“Why? Is that son of a bitch blaming you now? If that’s the case, tell me right away. I’m gonna go get rid of him right now.”
The next day, his brilliant future might get destroyed, but he was still as ferocious as ever.
Nevertheless, what Jeremy is saying now is, if I were pleased with what he did, would I be a selfish woman? If I was happy enough to cry, would I be a selfish stepmother?
“Jeremy… as a matter of fact, the day before your father’s funeral… I had a strange dream.”
“Yes, it was a strange dream, a very long and sad dream.”
In the midst of what I said, I was breathless.
Why was I telling him this story at this moment? I don’t know myself. Maybe… maybe that’s how I’m trying to get an understanding of what I’m going to do.
“At first, I thought it may be a prophetic dream because it was so vivid.”
“What kind of dream was it?”
“In my dream, I became a head of state as I am now, and you became a knight as you wished. You’ve grown up to be a young man who has nothing to be ashamed of… ..I was so proud of you, and at the same time, I thought you’d understand my feelings even if I didn’t show any signs. I had no idea how you’d feel or how you’d be hurt when people talked about me.”
“So it was so different from what it is now. The day you grew up and married, you didn’t want me to come to your wedding, and I decided to leave because I was hurt. It was that kind of dream.”
Jeremy was now sitting with a very sad look on his face. His emerald eyes, which resemble his father’s, stared at mine with a vague expression.
After a while, he finally said with a trembling voice, “Shuri, a dream is just a dream. Whether you say something to me or not, it can’t happen.”
“Yes, a dream is just a dream. I just wanted to say that I was so happy when I woke up from that dream. And when you guys opened your heart to me, which was different from my dream, I was so happy that I felt like I’m having a second chance in life.”
I raised my hand and removed the straw from the boy’s curly golden hair. Then I whispered, “So Jeremy… don’t worry about your hand. Cause I’m sure I’ll see you become a knight like in my dream.”
Jeremy didn’t move. He barely breathed. When I finally got up and left, he was still sitting there, staring at the floor as if frozen.
The morning of the day of the decisive battle was bright. I finished my bath early and put on the black dress I prepared for the trial. While I was away, I instructed Gwen to have the children eat as usual and attend the tutor’s lessons.
“Shuri… are you really going alone? Are you sure you’ll be alright?”
Elias insisted that he would go with me, but eventually gave up.
It was so unfamiliar to see a man who was always like an angry colt looking at me with an uneasy look on his face. Did he feel something? It suddenly occurred to me that children were more sensitive than adults’
“Of course it’s okay. Don’t worry about anything and take care of the house with your younger siblings.”
I smiled hard and said that, but the tip of my nose wrinkled for some reason. Seeing Elias, who still looked at me with eyes full of anxiety, and the twins, who clung to their second brother like never before, whose faces were full of anxiety and confusion, made me feel weak again.
“Stay calm until Jeremy comes.”
“You’re coming with my big brother, aren’t you?”
Oh, my God, Rachel. It shouldn’t be like this.
“…Of course. So don’t worry about anything and be nice.”
I felt sorry for all three of them who were nodding their heads uncharacteristically.
The place where the trial was held was Bittu Palace. Located just east of the Palace of Wavenberg, where the chairman of the House is located. In a court large enough to accommodate hundreds of people, there were literally too many aristocrats sitting in the audience seats divided into left and right.