Even my interactions with Sir Janiche was sparse. The ‘Nameless Castle’ was a barren expanse. Nonetheless, given my profound addiction to romance novels, both in my past life and current one, there was scarcely a moment for boredom.
“Pardon the intrusion.”
“Ah, Sir Janice.”
Still, since I had regressed, shouldn’t I change something? With such thoughts in mind, I conversed with Sir Janice, asking about his well-being.
Prior to my regression, such interactions were non-existent. Sir Janiche would be stationed outside the castle and have his meals punctually. And upon his return, I would have no duties, thus retreating to my room to read or take a nap. Thus, we were the sole inhabitants of the ‘Nameless Castle’, we coexisted in ignorance of one another.
“Here, I have set aside a portion of you. Should I prepare a cup of tea? Or perhaps a glass of juice?”
“Tea would be most appreciated. I am grateful.”
I, an orphan, willingly worked here. On the other hand, Sir Janiche was forced into exile, having left behind the knighthood under the gaze of a higher echelon.
Initially, he attempted to decline my hospitality, asserting that the dry bread and jerky sufficed. Perhaps he harbored an aversion to mingling with commoners such as myself.
However, since my regression, he had become more accustomed to my presence, often casting sidelong glances when I prepared his favorite milk tea, fragrant with milk and sugar.
Even a knight from the battlefield understands what’s appetizing and what’s not. Sir Janiche in the present savored the tea I brewed with enthusiasm.
“For today’s lunch, we have meat pies. As for the evening, roasted duck with a squash soup. Are you excited already?”
“I am indeed looking forward to it. Since your arrival, having warm meals has been enjoyable.”
“You usually eat cold meals?”
“Yes, given the scarcity of maids willing to work at Nameless Castle and the tendency to leave after only three days, I was left with no choice.”
Sir Janiche, seated across from me, nimbly slice the bacon on his plate. He, too, had served the prince for half a year already. The notion of intruders to the Nameless Castle could be deemed nonexistent. Hence, the role of a gatekeeper was practically useless.
Nonetheless, formalities needed to be maintained. Hence, the royal family required the presence of gatekeepers to deter the likes of errant knights or nobles who might have crossed certain lines.
Most of the maids were orphans like myself, with nowhere else to go. Nevertheless, the prospect of encountering rumors about the prince led to many fleeing in terror. They reported having seen sinister ghosts or eerie wailing.
Had I not know the contents of the novels, and had I not undergone regression, I might have left my job for reasons akin to theirs. In this kingdom, the prince of Asheradren remained a mystery.
Among the people of the Verberat Kingdom, there was almost no one who had laid eyes upon him other than the King and Queen. Nevertheless, the commoners, including the children in the streets, were familiar with the rumors surrounding him.
‘Prince of Asheradren transforms into a sinister beast after dusk, ensnaring innocent children in his clutches.’
This was a song the kingdom’s parents would sing when scolding their children. However, having met the prince in person, I knew that the song was far from the truth.
In the novel ‘The Princess Doesn’t Yield’ the chapters involving the Asheradren were briefly summarized. It touched upon the Queen who bore the prince before Lethis, the female lead, and the King who waited outside to glimpse the first heir.
“It is a prince! The queen has given birth to the prince!”
Approximately nineteen years ago from the present, the midwife could not contain her excitement as she exclaimed. Upon hearing her exclamation, the King, whose eyes were as bright as amethyst, burst into laughter at the sight of the newborn with those very eyes.
However, the happiness was short-lived. It happened when the sweat-soaked queen, with a faint smile, attempted to embrace her child. It was at that moment the king and the midwife witnessed it with their own eyes.
The transformation of Asheradren, nestled in his mother’s arms, from human infant to a beastly creature happened in the blink of an eye.
“Ahh! No! This can’t be! I didn’t give birth to this!”
Before their eyes, the infant turned into a creature. Asheradren, who had been nothing more than a newborn, became a bizarre being with white, shaggy fur.
He had a pitch-black snout, and most conspicuously, a tail that no human possessed. The Queen promptly fainted on the spot.
With his sword drawn from his waist, the King swiftly silenced the midwife with a fatal slash.
And so, apart from the prince’s parents, there was no other soul in this world who had glimpsed his form. From that day forth, the Asheradren was confined within the Nameless Castle, where disgraced royals were permitted to live. The King then selected a nursemaid to raise the prince.
Given that a nursemaid would inevitably be chosen, why did he resort to slaying the midwife? Was it due to an inability to accept his offspring? That part remained one of the incomprehensible aspects to me even now. Regardless, after that day, the king never visited the prince again.