The Unwanted Princess Becomes Loved in the Werewolf Kingdom and Becomes Queen! – Chapter 46
Chapter 46: Injury and love
Upon returning to the castle, there was a commotion like a disturbed beehive.
This was to be expected since the queen had been kidnapped. As soon as they reached the entrance, Rougena rushed out and hugged the dusty Ernesta. The news had spread, and the subjects gathered one after another, turning the entrance hall of the castle into a chaotic mixing pot.
“Rougena, attend to the queen’s injuries. Her wrist is hurt.”
“My goodness, what happened…! I will attend to her immediately!”
Rougena, who received the king’s instruction, turned pale, and Ernesta looked up at Ivan beside her without being able to nod. She couldn’t calm down until she saw to his injury first, which was more important to her than the minor scratches on herself.
“She’s fine, go and take care of him. It’s pretty bad.”
Her Arkrig was undeniably filthy, and she looked like a queen who was unfit for the position. Even just participating in treating the injuries was not allowed in such an unsanitary condition.
“Rougena, could you please help me?”
“Of course, please come over here.”
With her face turned red and downcast, she walked with the head maid.
When she glanced back a few steps later, Ivan had already turned his back. Ernesta saw the attendants and guards rushing after him in a panic and then walked behind Rougena once more.
After bathing, Ernesta quickly put on her usual clothes and headed to the king’s private room without preparing for bed.
At the door, she passed by a pharmacist, Jaromir. According to his words, Ivan’s condition was not a concern, but he needed to rest for two weeks.
After expressing sincere gratitude, Jaromir smiled and left the room. Inside were Ivan, who was propped up on his bed, and Johan, who stood beside him in a fury.
“Ellie, good to see you’re okay.”
This was Ernesta’s first visit to Ivan’s private chamber, but she let out a sigh of relief without realizing the significance of the fact. The smile on Ivan’s face showed that he was genuinely happy.
Johan seemed to think the same thing, and raised his black eyebrows sarcastically.
“Yeah, yeah. Glad to see you’re okay.”
“It’s good to hear that both of you are safe. But to go alone into enemy territory is unexpected, even for you.”
Ernesta felt awkward and shrank back, but since she had been allowed to enter the room, she decided to stay and listen.
“I wasn’t alone. Silvestor was with me.”
Ivan said nonchalantly, not meeting the Prime Minister’s gaze.
Johan continued to lecture, his eyes narrowed behind his glasses in response to his lord’s attitude.
“Don’t joke around, reckless king. We’ve already received testimony from the master that you went ahead alone. You charged into that siege, it’s unbelievable recklessness, not bravery, recklessness.”
“Sometimes bravery is necessary. This is as good as it gets when you’re dealing with Theo.”
“Is it your hobby to test my patience? You should have known that you wouldn’t come out of it unscathed if you fought that idiot. We could have captured him unharmed if we followed the plan. Both you and him!”
“Okay, I get it, so please, Johan, be a little quieter. It’s hurting my wounds.”
As Ivan responded with a sigh, Johan’s whole face turned red. Ernesta felt like she could see steam rising from the top of his head.
“That’s what I’m saying! You’ll die someday! Oh, come on… Can’t My Queen say something to him too?”
Ernesta was suddenly addressed, and she panicked because she had tried to disappear completely.
Johan was breathing heavily as if to intimidate, but the king remained expressionless to the point that Ernesta thought that he’s pitiful.
“…Um, I don’t want anyone to get hurt. I’m worried, you know.”
“See, even My Queen says that. How do you feel? Why not take this opportunity to rethink causing so much worry to those around you?”
Ivan finally broke his expressionless demeanor in response to the Prime Minister’s triumphant look. It was like the face of a child caught doing something mischievous.
“What, are you two in cahoots now? I’m saying I’m sorry.”
“Finally got through, huh? Such a hassle. In the end, there is no point in me saying anything. Well then, My Queen, I leave the rest to you. We will hear from you tomorrow, but for today, take a break. Goodbye.”
Johan spat sarcasm as he raised his slipping glasses and quickly left the room like a bullet. He had been working since early in the morning yesterday, and his busy schedule seemed to be no joke.
As soon as they were alone, Ernesta felt awkward and fell into silence. Being in the quiet room brought up the feelings she had realized earlier.
“Um… I heard you have to rest for two weeks. I didn’t realize your injury was that serious.”
Ivan had carried a person on his back, and it was too dark to see his black outfit in the evening, so she assumed the injury wasn’t that bad. But the actual diagnosis was much worse than she imagined.
“I’ll do anything, so just tell me. Do you want anything? I’ll go get it for you!”
“Wait. Sit down for now.”
Indicating the box chair next to the bed with his gaze, Ernesta obediently sat down. Ivan’s voice had a soothing tone.
“I believe I told you not to say you’ll do anything lightly. Did you forget what happened to me as a result?”
“Also, I’m glad you’re okay. I’m sorry for getting you involved.”
The words dropped quietly were filled with a sense of relief that could not be concealed.
Watching his expression, which was like the gentle flow of a stream, Ernesta’s chest filled up, and she couldn’t say anything.
Although there was more she wanted to say, such as how he shouldn’t have come to help someone like her or how strange it was for a king to come himself, she didn’t think she was just dragged into this.
As a stand-in queen, she wasn’t someone the king should risk his life to save. Yet he came to that tenement, and as a result, he sustained serious injuries.
“I won’t do something like that again…”
Finally saying that, Ernesta lowered her head.
She didn’t want Ivan to see her face filled with ugly regret and guilt. It was unbearable to be reflected in his pure eyes.
As he called her name, a warm palm enveloped her cheek. Ernesta reflexively raised her head and placed her left hand on his outstretched right hand.
“Don’t move too much.”
“You’ve been saying that for a while now.”
Although Ivan showed a wry smile, he didn’t withdraw his hand. Therefore, Ernesta ended up staring into his blue eyes while holding his firm hand.
“This injury is not your fault. It was necessary. If you think it’s stupid and laugh at me, that’s fine… You’re so adorable. Too much.”
His hands suddenly moved, and the situation quickly reversed as Ivan’s large, thick hand caught her delicate one.
Without realizing what was happening, Ernesta was pulled in and found herself trapped in Ivan’s white shirt. The smell of disinfectant and the sensation of the bandages were both palpable, which made her feel even more nervous about putting too much pressure on the wound. However, the more she twisted her body, the stronger Ivan’s grip became.
“S-sto…stop…let me go.”
“You said you’d do anything. If you’re worried about the injury, you should just stay still.”
Although his words were unusually forceful, his stroking hand was gentle to the point of heartbreak. Ivan’s strength was meant solely to comfort Ernesta, and her head was numb with sweet numbness as she understood this.
In short, Ernesta was just a young girl in love.
No matter how much she tried to control herself, being in his arms made her feel like she was being happily crushed. No matter how much she tried to forget, that command would lose its power over trivial things.
But that was only for today.
From tomorrow onwards, she would return to being a mere substitute as always.
She would study with her usual smile and do her best at her duties.
Then, on the day of the deadline, she would quietly slip out of the castle and disappear like a cloud.