Duke Elysium was quite far from the palace.
After waking up from a deep sleep in the arms of his nanny, Leonhardt looked out of the window with a bored look on his face and thought.
The Witch of the Clock Tower was the greatest wizard in the history of the empire.
Thanks to him, he has returned to the past.
The evidence was the room where he/she lived as a child, the sign under the table, and the nanny who officially left the palace on the day he/she became an adult, who welcomed him/her when he/she opened his/her eyes last.
Even today is the first day to meet Elysium Young-ae, the future empress, not another day.
Did the witch give her the last chance?
Or maybe the witch who felt sorry for her, who had never been loved, cursed herself to love her for the rest of her life, but not to be loved by her.
It didn't matter either way. Looking back, there were so many things I felt sorry for her.
Neither the right to love or make her happy nor the shame to apologize could his last conscience allow him.
Leonhardt continued to think with a deep sigh.
Either way, I'm back in the past.
The future is set. Gambling outside the box has no guarantee of success and the risks were too great when it failed.
Then all you have to do is repeat the same future, but not do stupid things.
"What if Young-ae refuses to engage me?"
There was no law that a man like me could not be called the empress when he came back to the past.
No, rather, the empress was the one who deserved to die and come back to life and enjoy a new life.
Leonhardt vowed to go easy on her if she refused to engage herself.
"Nothing unsavory like that will happen."
The nanny is right to say that.
The Duke of Elysium, in his memory, was blinded by the power to push his second daughter into his son-in-law's bedroom instead of his dead eldest daughter.
But he still poked his lips in a somewhat unsatisfactory tone.
Whether the Duke's character is a saint or a scoundrel, the most important thing in his first meeting today was her intention for engagement.
The nanny shook her head with a straight face.
"How dare any spirit reject such a beautiful man?"
…he was also right.
Leonhardt nodded inwardly, recalling his image in the portrait he had painted at the age of thirteen or four.
Although the amethyst-colored ruler, platinum hair, neat jawline and prominent noseline inherited from his mother have not been revealed yet, he will surely grow into a handsome man rumored to be an empire within a few years.
"If you're so worried, why don't you take a little present?”
Leonhardt tilted his head. Gift, gift....
"What do you like?"
Leonhardt bit his tongue inside.
No matter how many times I look back on my memory, I have never given a single common flower, let alone a precious gem.
However, the crown, which was placed directly on her head on the day of the empress' coronation, could not be considered a gift.
Shouldn't we go buy a big diamond ring or a ruby rose now?
"Young-ae is eight years old this year. Wouldn't they normally like dolls or play house toys at that age?”
Eight years old.
Leonhardt stopped moving as he tried to order the jeweler to turn the wagon around.From now on, Elysium Young-ae, who is going to meet her, is not a creepyly perfect lady on the day she married into the imperial family, but a young age at which she has to laugh and play innocently in the garden's flower garden... It was literally a child.
"You don't even know what your future wife likes. Your husband is disqualified….”
Leonhardt clasped his head and groaned.
Shall we go to the toy store? There'll be something there.
Isn't the most expensive the best? But what if Young-ae's taste is rather simple?
So what if you feel uncomfortable with your gift and you're branded as a spendthrift from the start?
Anxious thoughts ensued one after another.
Suddenly frightened, Leonhardt began to think about what an eight-year-old girl would like by squeezing her brain as much as possible.
Nanny and other maid-in-law were turning their heads, staring at the ceiling, or hiding their faces between their knees, hiding their happy smiles.
"…What's wrong with everyone?"
"No... no... Your Highness, I'm sure you like dolls. A doll made of pottery with white skin. Making eyes with glass beads, wearing silk dresses and exquisite shoes made by shoe craftsmen....”
"You don't think there's anything like that in Young-Ae's room? Dolls are boring, so how about flowers instead? There's no woman who hates flowers."
"The flowers wither quickly, so what about the book?”
"Children's perfume or high-heeled shoes wouldn't be bad for a young child who wants to grow up soon!"
"Rather than a dress….”
"No, it's a doll!"
"Everyone be quiet!"
The nanny, who chirped like sparrows and said she liked dolls and books, brought Leonhardt, who was sitting quietly in the corner of the carriage with a look of boredom, to her side.
"If you truly think of Young-ae and choose carefully, Young-ae will gladly accept it, even if it is a wild flower on the side of the road."
"How do you guarantee that?"
"Gifts are as important as their value."
"…is that so?"
Leonhardt is in deep trouble again. I wanted to give all the dolls, books, and flowers.
But I wanted to give you something special, not something ordinary.
It was a reunion for her, but it was her first time. I wanted to make a good first impression if possible.
Not for penance, but purely for her happy smile.
'When I put a band-aid on my forehead, my first impression seems to have already gone....’
Leonhardt smiled bitterly and sighed as the ground sank again.
"That's the Elysium mansion. Don't worry too much about not preparing a present because I'm just going to say hello today. That's right! Why don't you take this opportunity to ask Young-ae what she likes?”
"Honestly? I mean?"
Leonhardt got off the wagon with the help of a nanny and hid a mixed look.
Leonhardt brought up information about the Elysium family in his memory, with his mother's explanation that the place he thought was a forest road a while ago was actually just the entrance to the mansion.
"By the way, the first empress of the empire was also the spirit of Elysium, right? Whoo-hoo, in a way, it's like coming to a distant relative's house. Your Highness the Crown Prince. Please be gentle with the lady. First impressions are more important than anything else."
The Duke of Elysium was a mansion made of white stone that would rather be called a temple.Thoughtful, friendly, sweet... without any greed of the empress. Leonhardt thought it might be true that Elysium was a descendant of angels, considering his foolishly nice personality.
When I remembered her, I wrote in my mouth.
Leonhardt refused the nanny's hand and climbed the marble stairs alone.
At the entrance to the main building, which was made entirely of white stone, there were already people waiting for him, including the Duke and Duchess of Elysium.
"I see the little sun in Esperdor."
Leonhardt only nodded at Duke Elysium. The Duchess, dressed in a colorful dress, bowed gracefully to greet.
But Leonhardt's gaze was fixed on the future empress, who stood beside him, shivering with a breathtaking look.
"Is Young-ae not feeling well?"
Leonhardt said, looking directly into the eyes of the Duke of Elysium. The Duke, who had silver hair and walls that descended from generations to generations of Elysium, was visibly embarrassed by the Prince's unexpected question.
"Was the Duke like this?"’
Leonhardt retreads his memory again. In my memory, the Duke of Elysium is more... Well, at least he was good at hiding his aristocratic facial expressions.
"It's the first time I've seen you, and you must be so nervous. I'll take you inside. Ma'am, could you please rearrange Isolde's outfit?"
Leonhardt forced the corners of his mouth with a suspicious look.
It was easy to guess why Izolde was named after his name, given the sound name Elizabeth.
The name Isolde was tantamount to a declaration to make my daughter Empress no matter what.
Elizabeth Isolde von Elysium.
Born Elysium's only young child and the crown prince's unborn fiancee, the mother of Young-ae, who was later scheduled to become the empress through the crown princess, pushed her to the floor as soon as she returned to the room.
"I warned you so!"
"Mother, I'm sorry! The corset... the corset was so stuffy, so....”
"I've told you over and over again that you have to be in the eye of the Crown Prince. I said first impressions are important!"
Elizabeth walked on her knees and hung on to the Duchess.
"Put your calves on!"
"Mother, forgive me once, forgive me once!"
But the Duchess pulled a dress and a ash tree cane out of the dress room, tearing apart her pleading little girl roughly as if she was handling a thing.
Elizabeth was giggling, almost out of breath.
When she pulled out her new dress, it meant at least hitting her skirt until it was bloody.
What's more, the cane she pulled out today was none other than a cane made of ash tree.
Elizabeth sat on her knees begging for mercy, begging her hands to be her feet.
I was getting out of breath. Otherwise, if the corset, which had been strangled until just before the waist bone broke, was interrupting breathing, he might really faint if he cried or was hit by a cane anymore.
"Mother, please forgive me. Oh, or at least allow me to loosen the corset. If I faint while crying....”
"Then why don't you cry? How dare you make an excuse for me! Come on, put your calves on! Why don't you know that so many lessons are all for you, Isole. Huh?"
Elizabeth, with a desperate face, crawled up the chest of drawers and pulled up her skirt to catch her breath. As my mother said, I could breathe if I didn't cry.I'm only eight years old. Corsets, high-heeled shoes and heavy dresses that are harsh on young girls who have to laugh innocently in the flower garden.
Below it, the cane marks, which had been added one or two times in the name of correcting the elegant walking, remained a deep scar like a valley that would never be filled.
A cane flew over the wound that had yet to heal.
The sound of whistling and tearing the air began to tear not only the air but also the young skin apart.
"Where are you making a fuss? Get up! Get up! I'm small!"
Eventually, in three generations, Elizabeth collapsed.
There was no way that the soft body could withstand the heavy and colorful clothes on the body and the whip that the Duchess hit with all her might.
The footsteps of the Duchess stopped right in front of Elizabeth's face.
"Everything is for you. Why don't you really know that this mother who hits you hurts more....”
"Huh…Huh…Mother… I'm sorry... please forgive me....”
The Duchess, who had been hitting her calf without hesitation with a ferocious face, lifted her daughter's chin with a benevolent face.
The Duchess, who gently wiped her ruined face with a silk handkerchief with tears and a runny nose, got up.
She had a fierce face again, to the point where I wondered if her friendly touch I had felt a while ago was a fantasy.
"Come on, get up. What are you wearing? I told you to keep your clothes neat all the time! You still need an education. You'll thank us when you become empress. Huh? It's like this. Get up, come on!"
"Mother... Sigh... It hurts so much, please... Please forgive me just once. If you die, you may double the number. Please...!”
"Don't be a crybaby!"
Knock, knock, knock.
Elizabeth and the Duchess looked at the door at the same time. The Duchess's face turned blue.
The only time the Duchess's face turned pale was when Duke Elysium disciplined her himself.
The peacock's cane was seemingly an ordinary blackwood cane, but it was very heavy inside, filled with lead.
On the day when she was "educated" by it, her mother raised her voice to the Duke for the first time, saying, "What if she breaks Elizabeth's bone and finds fault with becoming the empress?"
Elizabeth was so eager to pray that it wasn't my father who was out there.
"Madam, may I come in?"
The Duchess ordered Elizabeth to go to bed with a wink and a chin.
Elizabeth, who was simply not able to walk, quickly crawled into bed and closed her eyes tightly.
After the day when her father's cane broke her leg, her mother was reluctant to watch her father's "education" or if possible to end it within her line.
Please, I hope my father understands and steps down. Elizabeth begged and begged inside.
"Then I'll have to see you for a while.”
I heard a strange voice. The Duchess's face was even more blue.