The Abandoned Empress
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    The Abandoned Empress Chapter 330 - TAE 330

    The Abandoned Empress Chapter 330

    Update 4 months ago

    Chapter 330

    “Sein, can I talk with you for a moment?”

    One day when I was in the thick of practice, clenching my teeth, my elder brother called me. Although I was pushed for time, I had no choice but to put the sword down and follow him. I could not refuse my brother’s unusual request.

    “I know you’re practicing all the time on the training field, but it seems that you are more enthusiastic these days. What’s the matter?”

    “Nothing particular. It’s just…”

    “Just what?”

    “Well, I want to protect somebody.”

    “You want to protect somebody?”

    When I saw him asking curiously, that lovely woman’s face suddenly flashed through my mind.

    The girl with silver hair shining like a sword and a warm smile like sunlight, who always spoke quietly in a calm voice … My lovely girl, Aristia.

    I missed her. I really missed her who picked up the sword again without complaining even when I rebuked her numerous times. I missed that subtle scent of tea that always came from that girl. I was often sentimental about her, thinking about her whenever I had free time.


     
    But I could not afford to stay sentimental. As I was not the successor of my family and there was nothing else but fencing I was good at, I had no other choice but to hone my skills to protect her.

    “Is it Lady Monique that you want to protect?”

    “…No.” I shook my head slowly because I could not mention her name recklessly unless she broke off her engagement. She was still the crown prince’s fiancee.

    Watching me tight-lipped, he said with a sigh, “Okay, I understand what you mean. But don’t be too hard on yourself. Mom is very concerned about you.”

    “Got it.”

    Although I replied in the positive, I didn’t stop practicing day and night after talking with him.

    My hands were callused from tireless practicing, and whenever I felt I practiced enough, I practiced once more. Even though I practiced so hard as to feel dizzy, I was afraid I could not protect her well.

    My hard efforts paid off soon. Before the two months I promised to her expired, I could prove to her that I was fully prepared as an official knight by passing the knight’s test. There was a big fuss over the birth of the youngest knight who didn’t yet have a coming-of-age ceremony, but I didn’t care. I only got the minimum qualification to stand by her, but I didn’t yet protect her.

    “Oh, Dad, well…Ugh?”

    One day when I went to work as an apprentice knight until the official commission ceremony was held, I ran into her when I went to see my father.

    I saw her for the first time in two months, who was still small and slender. When I saw her golden eyes and wavy silver hair, I felt like all the fatigue from my tireless training was gone. When she replied coyly, I broke into laughter for the first time since I parted with her.

    I missed you, Aristia. I really missed you.

    She was so cute when she stared at me, pouting and rubbing her forehead.

    As I didn’t tidy it up neatly after training, my hair was dishevelled when I saw her, but I decided to grow my hair long when she said with a smile that my long hair fit me well. When I saw her golden eyes glowing warmly, I found myself excited, so I decided once again while walking with her that I would surely protect her..

    I prayed to God for the first time that I could keep watching from beside her. I prayed to God for her happiness, vowing that I would do anything for her.


     
    ***

    Unfortunately, she was not very good at fencing. She had more than ordinary talent, but she didn’t make good progress despite her hard efforts because of her slender build and inborn weakness.

    Nevertheless, she practiced like crazy because this was the only way she could escape from the imperial family. If the crown prince ordered the breakoff of his engagement with her, she could be easily freed from her bond with the imperial family. But there was no possibility that he could desert the Monique family, his largest supporter, by breaking it off.

    If so, there was only one way I help her, which was to help her to obtain the status of a full-fledged knight as soon as possible, so she could have a relaxed life. So, I helped her even by revising and tailoring the fencing style of my family to her needs.

    But my good intention to help her improve her fencing skills was used as a means to disgrace her. Fortunately, the imperial family and the noble faction didn’t care much about my help, treating it as something like a gossip. But I was a bit worried they might have noticed my affection for her. And I became more concerned when I went to see the emperor for New Year’s greetings.

    “Come to think of it, I heard a very interesting rumor about you these days. Is it true that you are dating Lady Monique?”

    The emperor was my mother’s brother before she got married, so I sometimes saw him. But I’ve never seen him so scary this time. Apparently, he was smiling at me, but his eyes were cold when he asked me about the rumor.

    I got goosebumps. Given her usual attitude, there was little possibility that she loved the crown prince, and if her exit plan was successful, the most likely candidate to be her lover would be me. But even that could be mentioned only after her official breakoff. It was very dangerous for somebody to notice my affection for her at the moment when she was still the crown prince’s fiancee.

    Clenching my teeth, I vowed that I would never reveal my affection for her until I won her heart.

    I vowed that I would not torment her with my problem when she was already troubled by her relations with the crown prince.

    ***

    “It’s a meaningful day to you, but I’m so sorry I didn’t celebrate you in person.”

    “That’s fine.”

    When she said she was sorry, I smiled at her casually. Of course, I would lie if I didn’t feel sorry she didn’t celebrate me at my coming-of-age banquet. But her safety was my priority.

    That’s why I was so disappointed like Allendis when she appeared at the banquet with the crown prince. I felt a sense of crisis when I saw her with him, but even if I felt helpless, I had to make sure I did not cross the redline of “friend” that he defined as my relation with her in order not to repeat the nightmarish day and avoid inviting his suspicion.


     
    But I found it more difficult to keep the borderline of ‘friend’ than I thought. I had to calm down my rage even when I watched her struggling to survive in social circles. I could go out with her only after I presented myself as her escort. I had to constantly rationalize myself by thinking that this much help was okay.

    One day something I had feared happened. Allendis, who was desperately trying to win her heart like me, confessed his love to her, but in vain.

    As I was worried about him, I went to see him, though I didn’t like him. I still could not forget his bitter smile. Watching him leaving the empire in a hurry, I kept vowing to myself that I still had a chance, but I had to be patient. I thought that although it was important to win her heart, I should protect her first.

    I hated to admit it, but despite my hard efforts, Allendis was closer to her. If it was true that he was rejected by her, my decision not to reveal my feelings to her was never wrong.

    So, I vowed again and again that I should not be impatient.

    ***

    “Be careful, Tia!”

    I hurriedly shouted, but it was already late. Fortunately, she avoided the first blow, but she soon fell off the horse, surprised by the unexpected attack. When I saw her rolling to avoid the flying dagger, my heart sank.

    When I saw something flashing thrown at her, I jumped off of the horse and embraced her even before I was able to pull the sword. I felt the cold blade of the dagger cutting through my shoulder, but I felt more relief than pain that I saved her.

    Disscuss