Episode 15: A Bet and An Oath (VIII)

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“These days, I’m painting in my spare time.”

“Is that so?”

“I started with simple things, but it is not as easy as I thought.
Still, it’s a lot better than the first time… Huh?”

When Lucian saw the man standing at the bottom of the hill, he was so shocked that he froze.
Another Yulif was with Canaren.

‘What? Why do I have two uncles? Has he developed a new magic?’

Lucian, who was speechless, looked at the two Yulifs alternately with eyes that were about to pop out.

“Uncle… Sir?”

Canaren was also surprised to see another Yulif appearing out of nowhere.

While they didn’t say anything to each other, the man standing next to Lucian bowed his head bluntly.

“I didn’t know His Majesty would come first.
Duke Rubias greets you.”

That person is not Yulif.
(P/N: Oh crap, Lucian… you poor boy…)

As soon as she heard the man’s voice, Canaren quickly regained her composure.

They looked the same as if they were identical paintings, and their voices might be so similar that it was hard to tell them apart, but if you listened closely, they were never the same.
Though no one else knew, she knew.

Yulif’s voice was very low and reverberant, and there was a very sweet yet serious side.
He couldn’t help being cold for some reason now… 

‘Why is the emperor impersonating Yulif?’

Canaren secretly hid behind Yulif’s back.
Yulif took one step forward and covered her.

“You are too playful, Your Majesty.”

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“Your Majesty, what are you talking about? Isn’t he pretending to be me and deceiving you, Canaren?”

The eyes of Yulif and Deltinus became cold.

Lucian could hardly tell who was Yulif and who was Deltinus.
He could even believe that if one was wearing the same clothes, one of them would have popped out of the mirror.

However, considering Canaren, who has no intention of moving to the other Yulif, it was probably more highly likely that the man standing in front of Canaren was the real Yulif.

‘Then I… Did I call His Majesty ‘Uncle’ until now?’

“Canaren, come here.
The real one is me.”

Deltinus held out his hand.

When her name was called, Canaren surprisingly moved her head slightly out but then went back to her place behind Yulif.
She had heard a whisper calling her own name, very similar to Yulif.

Meanwhile, Deltinus’ mask, captured by anger, began to break little by little.

How did she get it so easily?

The joyous feeling of deceiving an innocent Lucian who knew nothing about it fell to the floor in an instant.

He had successfully deceived Lucian, who was quite smart for a child, so there would have been no problem with his acting.
It was probably a coincidence that Canaren recognized Yulif.

However, on the other hand, he was interested in Canaren, who recognized him at a glance, whom even his own son had not recognized.
Sometimes even their parents had a hard time distinguishing between the two.

‘Yes, come to think of it, this person is the first person.
For recognizing me.’

In an instant, a strange flash of light flashed in Deltinus’ eyes.

The more he thought about it, the more curious he became.
She drove away his long insomnia, which could not be relieved by any other means, with one song; and on top of that, she recognized him, whom even his parents did not recognize at once.

“Oh dear.
The person who must be fooled is not fooled, so my fun is diminished.
Shall we stop the entertainment at this point?”

“Ah, Your Majesty! sorry! I’m sorry! I have committed a great disrespect because of my failing!”

Lucian fell on the floor after processing the information.

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His eyes were dizzy.
All the words he had believed and said with a strong belief that His Majesty was Yulif in his journey here were all tangled up in his head.
Even if he was imprisoned for daring to despise the emperor, there was no excuse.

It was clear that Deltinus, who hated Yulif, would also find fault with his mother.
It didn’t matter if he got scolded for making a mistake, but he shouldn’t have caused a problem for his mother.
Even if he didn’t mean to, it was his mother who would suffer from Deltinus’s cruelty.

Tears streamed down Lucian’s eyes when he thought of his poor mother.

“Your Majesty, please punish me.
Anything… I will accept any punishment willingly!”

It’s a shame that you didn’t recognize the Emperor, but I am also the one who started it, so I won’t blame you.
If you hadn’t been deceived, would I have lost my excitement?”

“… What?”

“I spend a lot of time having fun.
Oh, yes.
We should give a prize to the admirable bird.”

Deltinus threw something at Canaren’s feet.
It was the ring he was wearing on his finger.
Although not a ring used in place of a seal, it was expensive enough.

“If you recognize me next time, I will give you a bigger reward.
A beautiful golden bird.”

After leaving a brief laugh, Deltinus strode away from them.

Lucian curled his back and cried silently until Yulif raised him up.

As soon as Canaren patted him gently, the child burst into tears.

“Ugh… heuk…!”

“It’s fine now.
Your Highness has done nothing wrong.”

Yulif calmly soothed him until Lucian stopped crying and calmed down.
He shook his head at Canaren, who seemed to have a lot to ask.

His head was cluttered and he needed time to organize his thoughts.
Fortunately, Canaren focused on appeasing Lucian.

Yulif’s forehead was deeply crumpled.

‘Even if he wins the bet, it is clear that Deltinus will not let Canaren go.’

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Estella, the empress of the Elremian Empire, opened the door and looked at her son with a delighted expression.

It was a great pleasure for her to watch her son grow bit by bit.
He was an irreplaceable and precious son who did his best not to be stained by Deltinus.


“You have a bad expression.
What happened? Did you have a hard time studying?”

Her heart sank when she saw the traces of tears on Lucian’s face as he approached.

She told her maids to leave and sat Lucian on her lap.
As if waiting for her, Lucian hugged her by the neck.

“Mother, have you seen His Majesty today?”

I haven’t seen His Majesty in several days.
Why? Did His Majesty hit your hand again?”

“No, not that…”

Lucian hesitated, biting his lip.

How should he tell her?

Estella kissed Lucian’s forehead and cheek as he squeezed his thoughts hard.
She didn’t forget to check his arms and palms from time to time.

There was no sign of corporal punishment.

Deltinus didn’t touch Lucian, but she couldn’t be too sure.
It was impossible to guess the man’s mind or to predict his actions.

“…I just saw His Majesty…”

It was clear that something had happened with Deltinus.
Estella did not relax and waited for Lucian’s next words.

“His Majesty… He imitated my uncle.”

“Imitating the Duke?”

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“Yes… He cut his hair exactly the same… I really didn’t know! So, so…”

There were tears in Lucian’s voice.
Estella hugged Lucian and patted him on the back.

“It’s okay, darling.
It’s okay.”

A whisper like a lullaby touched Lucian’s startled heart.
Lucian stuttered and continued his words.

“I didn’t know he was not my uncle… so I got excited and said something.
His Majesty got angry and said it was scary.”

“How did you know it wasn’t the Duke?”

“At the lake, I met my real uncle and Miss Canaren.
At first, they both said they were Uncle, but then His Majesty said it was no longer fun… He said he wouldn’t scold me, but he’s not going to come to Mother and get angry, right? Even now, if I go and be punished…!”

“Calm down.
If he was going to punish you, he would have done it on the spot.”

Estella calmed down the crying Lucian and fell into thought.

She had heard that Deltinus did not appear in public the last few days due to headaches.
So everyone probably didn’t know he cut his hair.

‘If he hates Duke Rubius the most in the world, why does he want to imitate him?’

The name Canaren.
A name she heard again.

Her face darkened.
She knew it was the name that made the Imperial Palace buzz.

A Hwira tribe woman caught by Deltinus.
A woman who others say was so beautiful that one couldn’t take their eyes off her once they saw her.
She was the woman who gave Deltinus, who suffered from long insomnia, deep sleep every night.
A woman who explicitly expressed interest in Duke Rubius, who showed no interest in women.

It was already an open secret that she had caused a major rift in the relationship between the emperor and the duke.

She was told that Duke Rubius, who was trying to take her, and Deltinus, who was trying to stop him, had clashed several times during official events.

“What… What on earth are you thinking?’

Estella’s hand, tapping Lucian’s back, slowed slightly.
Estella looked at the main palace where Deltinus was located.

She had a feeling that the peace of the imperial palace, which had been precariously maintained, would soon be broken.

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