I stepped out of my room, in hopes that I would find a servant in the hallway, but I couldn’t find anyone. It looked like the long hall was deserted. The Elena of the past stayed in her room as per her father’s order, and wasn’t able to eat breakfast or lunch until a butler rapped on her door until late afternoon. But I wasn’t going to wait that long! Were they going to starve me to death?
I didn’t have a nanny when my mother was around, as she was both a nanny and a tutor to me, so when she passed away, I was left alone. My father grieved, and was still grieving, and didn’t know what a growing lady like myself actually needed. With no parental supervision and love, it was no wonder that I eventually became the villainess that got beheaded in nine years.
Being just ten years old, my personality wasn’t that warped as when I turned twelve, when my father would announce my engagement to Prince Arion. Although I was currently disliked by the servants, I wasn’t extremely hated—yet. I came at the perfect time.
I made my way down the hallways, feeling as if I was on an unexpected vacation. Everything about this mansion screamed luxury, and I was tempted to put my modern name as the estate proprietor to claim this mansion for myself in the 22nd century. Mmmm…that’s actually a very good plan.
“My lady, I don’t think you should leave your room as of yet.” A young voice flitted to my ears, seeming more like a whisper.
I turned around, and saw a boy of about fourteen, bowing to me sincerely. When he raised his head, and our eyes met, I suddenly had a vision of the future—this boy, who was currently a pageboy, would eventually become a squire and promoted to one of the Montcroix knights. And no, he wasn’t one of the many people who wanted to kill me. In fact, he was one of the very few who tried to save me. In his eyes, as a knight of the Montcroix Household, he had sworn to protect its lady—and that lady, was unfortunately the villainess that I would become.
What a good and straight man.
I patted the boy on his shoulder (which was a bit higher than I thought, since I was quite short). I looked like a mother proud of her son. The boy looked at me, confusion written in his eyes.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“I am named Philip, my lady. Pardon me for not introducing myself, I have been rude,” Philip said as he bowed his head towards me again.
“No problem.” I waved a hand. “I’m guessing the rumors about my temper this morning have already circulated the whole estate.”
Philip blushed, daring not to make eye contact with me. “I apologize for my boldness, my lady. It is that I was concerned for you. I don’t like how the rumors have twisted, and I think it is not fair for you, when you had just lost a loved one. I know how it feels to lose a mother, and the Duke does not even…” he gulped, fearing he might have stepped out of line. Philip was still a boy, so he probably hadn’t learned proper etiquette in dealing with young nobles such as myself.
“No problem,” I said while waving a hand again. This boy was too uptight, but I was more surprised that he could always see me in such good light. Perhaps if I broke plates in front of him, he would just attribute it to my clumsiness, instead of my wrath. He really needed to get his eyes checked.
“Where are you going, my lady?” he asked when I was about to walk towards the main hall.
“I’m going to talk to father and apologize for my behavior,” I said seriously.
Philip looked surprised. Me, apologizing? The great Elena Montcroix? It was probably the last thing that would ever come out of my mouth back then (unless of course, I accidentally stepped on Prince Arion’s gaudy shoes or something).
“You can pick up the jaw you dropped on the floor, Philip,” I teased. “Even if it’s hard to say sorry, acknowledging when you’re wrong actually shows how strong of a person you are, for not shirking responsibilities.” Without waiting for his reply, I turned around and headed towards my father’s office, humming a kdrama theme song.
An apology was the right thing to do as of the moment, if only so that I can finally eat breakfast. My voracious appetite hadn’t changed at all, despite going back in time. I was craving for some samgyupsal, but maybe that’s pushing it.
I tend to forget that people from the past usually had kids at an age where I was still wondering what to do with my life, which included what color I should dye my hair, or if the calories in an extra rice was worth it (it is).
So, I shouldn’t have been so surprised when I saw my father’s face.
Perhaps I was just used to my modern father’s wrinkles, white hair, and beer belly, so I didn’t expect the black-haired man behind the huge gilded table, to look almost as young as I was back in my old world. He was exceptionally handsome, lean, and if he were to open his shirt, I wouldn’t be surprised to see abs!I wanted to slap myself. Elena, hold your horses!
But my father, however, didn’t look that friendly at all. When he looked up from his papers to look at me, his eyes were icy. Prior to my mother’s death, I had always thought he was a kind and loving father. But after her death, he was never the same. Perhaps it was my change in attitude as well, and he couldn’t handle my selfishness, or perhaps it was because of all the stress that’s piled up on top of him as he handled ducal affairs.
My father and I locked eyes, and my stomach grumbled in hunger; the sound embarrassingly audible in his silent office.