“This is where you must survive. So how about it? You like it?”
Ah, this crazy fucker.
There’s no answer (cure) for him. I internally sighed. Even if there was no answer (cure) for him, how could it be to the point where there really was no answer at all? I was at a loss for words. I felt as if someone simply handed me a pen and asked me to solve the seven greatest unsolved mathematical problems.
As we looked into each other’s eyes, Caitel smiled wordlessly.
Looking at his smile made me want to say something to him, and I automatically opened my mouth, but before I could say anything, I was interrupted by a knock on the door.
The knocking sound echoed in the room.
“Your majesty, Earl Cesklov is requesting an audience with you.”
The servant said. That seemed to serve as some kind of excuse.
Caitel looked at me for a moment, and he put on his ‘mask’. His face changed instantly. It was as if he didn’t put on his ‘mask’ properly for a moment as one could see an icy expression spread across his real face. Perhaps, it’s the kind of ‘mask’ that could envelop one’s whole face.
I had no idea who Earl Cesklov was, but I did recognize the face of the servant who came to open the door of the study as he politely lowered his head.
Caitel let out a low breath. It was more like a quick breath than a sigh to me though. He walked to my bassinet and lowered me down. He also didn’t forget to pat my head for no reason before leaving.
Was I a dog?
I wanted to stick it to him for some reason. The way he patted me made me wonder whether he was petting an animal or if he was he caressing his child. I honestly didn’t know.
“Just play here by yourself for a moment. I will be back soon.”
I nodded my head. Then I plopped my whole body down to tell him a message: “Fuck off.” I wanted to play with my toys, but Caitel had taken all of it away, and they were no longer in the bassinet. Instead, they were all sprawled around the floor out of my reach.
Caitel laughed at me one more time and left the room. No, to be more accurate, he went back into his study. The creak the door made as it shut echoed throughout the room.
Wriggle, wriggle. I played around with my fingers.
When I was big, I used to look at babies’ hands and wonder, “How could that be a hand? They are just insisting it is a hand when it’s so tiny.” However, now that I was a baby, it was different. I felt like this hand was just right and didn’t feel small at all. Perhaps, this was what one would call a matter of perspective.
In fact, I felt Nanny or Caitel had unnecessarily large hands for some reason.
I wouldn’t bother wondering why those words came out that way.
Ah, when could I speak human words that could actually be understood?
Why was it that I could understand words, but I couldn’t actually say any? Was I a mute? I heard kids learn fast, so I should be able to speak soon right? Right?
As I waited for the day I could speak, I laughed cheekily. Heh, heh. That’s right, just as nanny said, I need to talk a lot to widen my vocabulary. My nanny’s skills in childcare knowledge were always right! Yup, that’s right!
I felt like I was exaggerating my reasoning a bit, but I didn’t care. I would talk a lot, listen a lot, and talk some more. Then one day, I would like it if I could tell my crazy dad, “You are a seriously crazy bastard.” Ah, why was it so hard to pronounce “Crazy bastard”?
Then should I put this word for later use and simply use the word idiot instead? Idiot.
I was playing by myself by lifting both my feet with my hands when I heard a crunching sound as the door opened. It was because of my baby supplies that were near the door.
What is it? Was a maid coming in?
I quickly lost interest and naturally turned my head back to my original spot. After all, a maid’s job was usually the same as the others, there was not a big difference. She would probably clean the room or throw out the trash. In this particular case, she would have to clean the messy room the damn Emperor made, but that was about it. It was all that kind of work after all.
Instead of something like that, I was more invested in my feet. Could I raise them?!
That was something one couldn’t do when one grew up since their body grew bigger. Their arms and legs were too long for it. If one were inflexible one couldn’t do it too.
It was… biting one’s own feet!
When one was a baby, everyone had the famous picture of biting their own foot. I, too, had a picture of myself as a baby biting my own feet, but when I grew bigger, my flexibility went to shit, so I other babies fascinated me when they could move their bodies do flexibly wondering how could they do it. That position required one’s arms and legs to be short and one had to be flexible or they couldn’t even attempt. After a short time thinking about it, I decided to try.
This position actually worked, I was stretching my arms, but it didn’t pull at my hips.
A young child’s flexibility was really something else!
I was moved and getting excited by myself when, at that moment, I saw a dark shadow on top of me. I instinctively looked up at the sudden darkness, and I froze in that exact position.
I thought it was a maid, but he was not a maid.
The guy who walked closer to me was wearing a servant’s bland uniform that didn’t stand out in the royal palace, and in that man’s hand was a knife.
I couldn’t even breath, my face instantly paled, and I froze. As soon as the cutlery, with its shiny white light, entered my sight, my heart fell into my stomach, and my whole body shook with fear.
I had forgotten. No, I thought I had forgotten it. Even when I was in another body, my body reacted automatically to fear. My hands were shaking like a quaking aspen tree, and my mouth ended up letting go of the feet I was biting on.
The man was not a servant, and he definitely wasn’t a maid either.
He was a guest who came to kill me.
My past memories resurfaced. A white knife. A red hood. The hand that stabbed her continuously without any care or mercy.
Was it repeating, was this how I die again?
I couldn’t even bring myself to cry. I was completely white with fear, and I couldn’t bring myself to make any noise. I heard that one was paralyzed with fear one really can’t move or take any actions because they were, well, “paralyzed”… Perhaps, that turned out to be true. If I cried, Caitel would come. If only I could cry for my daddy next door to save me, yet I could not bring myself to cry. I could only tremble and wait for my death to approach me soon.
“I am sorry to say this, but you need to die.”
The man raised his hand, and that was all I couldn’t bear to see what happens next, and I flinched, closing my eyes.
Somebody, please! I couldn’t die like this again! Was this how I die? I had now finally mastered the art of sitting up, and after all that, I had to die here meaninglessly? In this way?
I grabbed the tips of my fingers that had gone cold and called earnestly for someone inside my mind. I then prepared myself for the inevitable pain by biting down on my lips. Though my lips started hurting, it couldn’t be helped.
Yet, no matter how long I waited, the knife didn’t fall on my body.
I opened my eyes unconsciously.
The assassin tried to quickly lower the knife into me. However, something flew by even faster than him. The guy let out a scream of pain as he grabbed onto his arm. What flew by was a short knife.
As I heard something being opened, I struggled around to get up on my feet. Then I sat down, leaning against the safety guard and raised my head to see what was going on with my own two eyes.
Caitel, who had taken out his sword somehow, was coming towards me.
How in the world did he enter the room?
I couldn’t figure it out. In a flash, he quickly slashed the guy’s back and his head off. Blood splattered everywhere in the room.
Red and warm liquid splashed onto my cheek.
“A guy like this.”
Caitel raised his head.
In his eyes was the bloodthirstiness I always saw hidden in the corner of his eyes.
It was now blatantly there on his face for all to see, and it was even more terrifying than I thought possible.
“How did he enter the royal palace?”
Somehow, a servant I had never seen before opened the door that connected to the study. Caitel shook his sword clean and ordered in a cold voice as the blood drops splattered everywhere
“Call the Royal guards (Household troops).”
Then Caitel let go of his sword. At that moment, I suspected that there was something wrong with my eyes.
As soon as Caitel let go of his sword, the sword melted like snow in the air and disappeared. There wasn’t even any sound of it falling or disappearing. There was nothing left behind.
“Clean the corpse.”
After Caitel coldly gave his orders, he walked straight towards me. On his way, he stepped on an arm, but he didn’t seem to care.
The metallic smell of blood was in the air. I scrunched my face as the smell covered my entire nostrils. It was strong enough to make me gag.
Caitel lightly lifted me and laughed as I made all kind of faces.
“I told you.”
It was a bright smile with a hint of contempt.
“This place is disgusting to the point that it is tiresome.”
I froze once again. This time it wasn’t due to fear but from the coldness this man seemed to emanate.
How deep was this disgust? How thick was his contempt?’
I didn’t know where to start, or how to navigate through all this darkness.
I swallowed back my dry mouth.
“I just hope you won’t be too surprised by this.”
He stroked my cheek. The blood splattered on my cheek was now on his hand
“It would be troublesome if you got surprised just by this.”