The black night sky was studded with twinkling stars.
Taking out her pocket watch that was around her neck, she held it in the moonlight.
Hyazelki still doesn’t know what this thing is or what power it has.
How can this protect her?
She wanted to live long this time. She’d be happy if that was possible.
Therefore, she needed the strength to protect herself when danger came.
‘I should go back to my room.’
With a sigh, Hyazelki soon turned back to her room.
“Where are you going?”
When she went closer to the room, Hyazelki found a silhouette sitting on the window in front of the room.
“Papa? Why aren’t you sleeping?”
When she saw him holding a wine glass in his hand, she thought he was drinking.
“Then why didn’t you sleep?””
Slowly approaching him, Hyazelki said with a smile.
“I just woke up, so I couldn’t sleep.”
Kael’s red eyes glowed faintly at her answer.
“Hia, don’t lie to me.”
Hyazelki, who curled her lips downward at the firm words, wiggled her fingers and approached Kael’s side.
Then she spoke quietly, leaning her back to the window.
“Why didn’t you sleep?”
Hyazelki, who hesitated for a while while blurring the end of her words, soon said with a big smile.
“Because I had a nightmare……. Hehe…..”
“……Do you still have nightmares…”….”
As Kael murmured softly, Hyazelki added, waving her hand.
“Sometimes! It happens very occasionally. Besides, I don’t remember well, so it’s okay.”
“Do you mean you don’t remember what happens in your dream or you don’t remember what happens after?”
Hyazelki avoided looking at him with a troubled face.
‘Shouldn’t he be considerate and let me go?….’
Seeing her not answering, Kael raised a glass of wine as if he had no intention of getting an answer from her.
“Would you like a drink, too?”
Hyazelki, who wiggled and avoided eye contact, burst into laughter at the question.
“Papa, kids shouldn’t drink.”
“I see. I thought it’s been a while, but I guess you’re still young.”
A long time ago, when she woke up from a nightmare, she remembered that Kael first offered her wine.
When she first saw him, she was very afraid of him.
Because of the rumours about the Dragon of Judgement and the information that she read in the book during her previous life.
The whole trial of a part of the western land.
‘Why is that…… He’s so kind.’
In addition, Kael was reluctant to punish sinners.
He said that “disrespecting the divine rules” was a crime, but there was no documentation on what exactly he did and what punishment was imposed.
Of course, Hyazelki doesn’t want to know it.
After a short sigh, Hyazelki straightened her body and backed away from the window.
“Well, I’ll go to bed now. Don’t drink too much Papa and sleep.”
Hyazelki, who waved her hand lightly, snuck into the room.
Kael moistened his throat with the wine in the glass and looked out the window.
Human time flows fast.
‘……I’m glad you’re not old enough.’
Relieved, he turned his head and stared at the door of Lihan, who was close next door to Hyazelki.
It was unimaginable to have two human children in a castle.
Looking back at the sky, Kael sighed and rose from the window.
The trudging sound of footsteps echoed quietly in the corridor where silence had fallen.
He stopped in front of Lihan’s door.
Then, he lightly tapped the door with his hand without raising the glass.
“Hurry up and sleep.”
Kael, who left the word, soon returned to his room.
* * *
‘Cause I had a nightmare……. Hehe….’
While reviewing the writing he learned from Albert, Lihan glanced at Hyazelki sitting next to him.
She sat still and focused on the book.
Ever since he came to the castle, Hyazelki was always beside him.
Maybe it’s because of Jiel’s words to take care of him, but it’s a little…… He was relieved.
That someone keeps standing by.
The voices that told him to die were still clear, but she was so unfamiliar with the color that didn’t fade at all.
She was of clear color, unobstructed by darkness.
“What’s wrong, Lihan?”
When Hyazelki asked, Lihan turned his head away in embarrassment.
He was staring at her so clearly in a different way.
Lihan’s gaze, which returned to the paper where the pen was moving slowly, did not last long to the paper and headed back toward Hyazelki.
‘Do you still have nightmares?….’
That’s what Kael said.
That meant she was suffering from nightmares, too.
Lihan still slept badly at night.
Voices of painfully dying. And the bodies that were lying around him.
The pool of blood gradually sank him down on the ground.
He would wake up from his sleep, feeling so suffocated.
He was worried about the pain he felt, and whether Hyazelki was also suffering like him.
Lihan, glancing at Hyazelki, brought it up with difficulty.
It was amazing that Lihan spoke first, so Hyazelki opened her eyes wide.
Lihan was awed by her, who looked fine even though she couldn’t sleep due to nightmares.
“Didn’t you sleep yesterday?”
Hyazelki, smiling, looked really fine.
“Yesterday…… you woke up at night because of a nightmare…….”
“Oh… Did you hear that?”
Hyazelki scratched her head with an awkward face.
“……why, do you have nightmares?”
Hyazelki, excited that Lihan spoke first, was speechless at the second question.
Lihan turned fully to her and waited for an answer.
However, Hyazelki was unable to find a word to answer.
Hyazelki, who had hesitated a little, looked through the study to see if there was anyone.
“This is a secret, Lihan.”
Kael may already know, but others probably don’t.
And Hyazelki didn’t want to tell them about it.
Because they care about her so much, she is sure they’ll be sad if they heard.
In response to Lihan’s reply, Hyazelki smiled quietly and continued.
“The plague came to the village where I lived…… I was about to be sacrificed. So sometimes I have nightmares about it.”
Of course, the memories of previous lives also sometimes come out in dreams, but it seemed unnecessary to say that.
Lihan opened his eyes wide and looked at her.
“But it’s okay. It doesn’t happen often anyway.”
Hyazelki’s smiling face didn’t fade at all.
And her colours were not a bit dark.
When she said that she was about to be sacrificed, it meant that she was about to be killed.
Nevertheless, it was amazing for Lihan to see her laugh and recall what happened at that time.
“……the village where you lived……? Didn’t you live in this castle all the time?”
Hyazelki nodded when she saw Lihan, who had become talkative and rarely asked her.
Lihan hesitated for a moment to ask a question.
But Hyazelki seemed so fine that he couldn’t help but wonder.
“Then how…… Did you become a family?”
Speaking of talking a bit, Lihan picked a really difficult question.
Hyazelki couldn’t easily answer the question.
All the families she knew, they tried to reject, hate, and kill her.
The people of the castle were all good. Tim, Albert, Lisa, Yuri.
But it felt different from the family she knew.
“………we……. Do we look like a family?”
Lihan nodded cautiously at the very curious question.
“Ah… No…… The family I know is not like this.”
“Um……the family I know…… Just they don’t hate me. But my family hated me.”
The name she called Kael with was Papa, though.
Maybe she kept calling him that because she wanted to be a ‘family’.
However, she may not have been able to call him ‘Dad’ because she thought he might hate her if he really became like her family.
Lihan frowned faintly at her grinning and casual remark.
“You really thought your family was because of that?”
Hyazelki, who smiled half-heartedly, shook her head.
She knew it wasn’t. That’s what she read in the book, and the other families she saw on the street didn’t seem to hate each other.
However, after being hated by her parents three times in her past lives, the view of family became like that for Hyazelki.
“It’s just… because my parents agreed to sacrifice me.”
When the village chief first brought it up, her parents’ faces were distorted.
They looked down at the child, saying, “How could we do that?”
But Hyazelki couldn’t forget.
The distortion came from the guilt of giving up the child and wanting to live, the sense of shame that they were such a person.
There was no emotion in the expression that said they could not let their beloved child die.
It was Lihan who looked like he was going to cry instead of Hyazelki who smiled awkwardly.
“Oh, I’m fine. I don’t really care.”
She waved her hand and said, patting Lihan’s face that seemed to burst into tears at any moment.
She even smiled broadly to show that he was okay.
“………why…… are you okay?”
Speechless, Hyazelki only looked at the person who said that.
But she couldn’t say anything and dropped her head.
‘Why am I okay?….’
Hyazelki, who closed her mouth, agonized over Lihan’s question.
‘Why is it okay?’
Of course, a little while ago, Lihan asked why it was okay and made a face that looked like he was going to cry.
But on reflection, it was really fine.
Sometimes she has nightmares, but it was really occasionally.
Hyazelki, who had been agonizing for a while, immediately raised her head again.
Facing Lihan, she exclaimed softly.
“Because I’m loved now.”
The eyes folded and the lips curved finely.
She looked really happy.
Come to think of it, as Lihan said, the word ‘family’ seemed right.
They looked quite similar to the images she read in the book or saw in the street.
Lihan reflected on Hyazelki’s answer, rolling it on his tongue.
“You, too, Lihan.”
He engraved Hyazelki’s distinct smile in his eyes.
“You are a family, too.”
* * *
In the deep night, Lihan, who carefully escaped from the room, left the castle.
Even though it was dark at night, Lihan was not afraid. He had nights where it was even more frightening.
In addition, the northern land was not completely dark at night due to the bright moon.
In a corner of the garden, Lihan went to Yuri, who was waiting for him, holding a wooden sword he used in class.
‘How can you kill such a small child just because you have grudges?’
“Just do like that.”
Lihan swung his wooden sword.
Another voice broke through the memory through Yuri’s voice, which was correcting his posture.