The Unwanted Princess Becomes Loved in the Werewolf Kingdom and Becomes Queen! – Chapter 77
Chapter 77: Because it’s not the last
While finishing breakfast and packing up for the last time, Ivan offered to help.
Ernesta gratefully accepted his kindness and packed not only daily necessities but also seasonings for enjoying nostalgic flavors into a burlap bag. After they had finished carrying everything outside, the two of them decided to take a break.
They sat face-to-face at the dining table, sipping tea. Ivan drank his tea in silence for some reason and finally spoke after it was emptied.
“Ernesta, there’s something I need to tell you.”
Ernesta became nervous for a moment and sat up straight, waiting for him to continue.
“Your coming to Shenka as Ermengard has been used to force Emperor Bral to accept the terms. You will have to live under a false name from now on.”
Ernesta had not considered this at all and blinked awkwardly.
It was true. From the moment she returned to Shenka, she would have to live as Ermengard.
“Certainly, it’s disrespectful to receive Ermengard-sama’s name like this.”
But that’s all there is to it. She couldn’t shake the guilt she felt towards the princess, but other than that, she had no other thoughts.
It was obvious to even an amateur eye that that letter was a finely crafted document, even though it was short.
Ivan must have thoroughly discussed it with Johan, Engeberg, and Ermengard. The main goal was to convince the Emperor, and that all led to protecting Ernesta.
The name Ernesta was a treasure bestowed upon her by Isolte. But even if her name changes, the person Ernesta will not disappear.
“That’s enough. Call me by name sometimes, like you did before. So I don’t forget.”
Ernesta said in jest and smiled brightly.
As Ivan was stopped in his tracks by her dazzling smile, a visitor arrived at the dining room. It was Theodor, who had finished preparing for his trip.
“Well, you two, I’m heading back first. You guys are gonna take the carriage, right? I’ll be faster on foot.”
Theodor said, laughing easily without any grudges from the past.
Ernesta breathed a sigh of relief, but Ivan, who regained consciousness, surprisingly had a sharp gaze.
“What are you talking about? You’re a prisoner, you can’t just walk freely. You’ll have to ride in the same carriage as us.”
Theodor’s eyes widened at the heartless statement. But Ernesta was just as surprised.
“Wait, hold on. A prisoner…?! I thought his trial was over and he was released!”
“No. This guy is currently in a position you could call a top-secret prison break.”
The shocking fact was casually revealed, leaving them speechless.
——Wait, seriously. I don’t understand at all.
And Theodor scratched the back of his head, looking embarrassed.
“Oh, did I not mention it? Well, basically, I agreed to take on this job as a special exception, with all the guards under a gag order. Anyway, they just wanted someone fast, and I’m wicked fast, you know.”
“Johan was a real hard man to get a hold of, though.”
“…I can’t believe it.”
The two men who had done something outrageous were laughing bitterly, with no tension at all.
However, upon closer examination, if Ivan had waited for the completion of the letter, it would have been enough. In other words, His Majesty the King had broken various common sense rules just to meet Ernesta as soon as possible.
Ernesta’s cheeks flushed lightly. This person doesn’t say things like that, making it hard to know what he’s thinking.
“I’m sorry I put Theodor-san’s position in jeopardy.”
“Haha, it’s okay. My position is as good as nonexistent, and it was quite fun… Oh yeah, we got sidetracked. Hey, Ivan, why do I have to ride in the carriage?!”
Theodor didn’t seem to care at all and quickly shifted his interest to something else. Ivan, who was challenged, remained calm.
“That’s why I’m saying we can’t let the prisoner wander alone.”
“How untrustworthy do you think I am?! My comrades are captured, and I’m not the kind of person who would run away alone! Besides, if I were going to run away, I would have done it already!”
“It’s no use. I appreciate you completing the job, but that’s all. There are no more exceptions.”
“What a stubborn, stingy, and hard-headed man! I’m saying that I don’t want to be kicked to death by a horse!”
The words spoken were unfamiliar to Ernesta, like a child’s quarrel. Perhaps it was a Shenka idiom.
“Kicked to death by a horse…?”
Ignoring the confused Ernesta, Ivan looked up with anger, his cheeks flushing slightly as if he was so angry.
Anyway, what can’t be done, can’t be done! Give up!”
In a rough tone, Ivan picked up his belongings and left. Left in the living room, Ernesta smiled wryly and spoke to “Theodor-san, the prisoner.”
“I’m sorry, Theodor-san. It’s unfair to ask you to accompany me when I’m slow, but we have to give up. Shall we go home together?”
“…I meant to suggest it for your sake, but oh well.”
Theodor thought with eyes that looked at Ivan’s closed door like he was dealing with an unruly child.
Despite that event, it was finally time to depart.
Ernesta didn’t tell her friends that she was going to Shenka, and instead told them that she was going on a training trip, including Ivan. She couldn’t explain who Ivan was or who she was going to marry.
The family, who had mourned the departure from the morning, came to see them off at the carriage outside the town.
Beyond the town, there was a grassy plain across a straight road, with a pleasant wind rustling through the green carpet. The autumn sky was clear and high, and the sun shone warmly on the world.
Ernesta looked back at the horse. Theodor was already inside the carriage, and Ivan was the only one standing beside her.
Ernesta was wearing her usual dress and had tied her hair into pigtails. She planned to buy and wear Arkrig to blend in once they arrived in the next town.
Ivan was also wearing Bruno’s secondhand clothes, and even his worn-out shirts looked great.
“Well then, be careful on the way.”
“Yeah, really. Don’t get into any more trouble.”
Isolte and Konrad smiled, but Bruno’s face turned blue as he hunched over. He seemed to have a bad hangover and was being supported by his son.
“It’s so heavy! Pull yourself together, it’s pathetic, oldman!”
“Yeah, really. If you’re weak, you shouldn’t drink.”
Isolte made a face of disbelief, but her voice was still cheerful.
“Well then, that’s enough of Dad. Goodbyes are still goodbyes. Ellie, do your best. Your work requires more than just half-hearted determination.”
“Yes. I’ll do my best, Mom.”
Konrad made a face as he felt the weight of his father, and sighed with a grown-up gesture.
“Well, I’m not really worried about it. If you just keep smiling mindlessly like usual, everything will probably work out fine, won’t it?”
“Ahaha… I hope so.”
As she chuckled at her usual little brother, Bruno slowly lifted his head. He showed a loving smile while holding his head, complaining of severe pain.
“Don’t get lonely. Live well.”
Ernesta deliberately kept her response short because she felt like she was about to burst into tears.
Throughout her life, she had never been given loneliness. Despite feeling lonely on her own and sometimes being stubborn, she did not think of herself as a very affectionate girl.
However, they always stayed by her side. They smiled without any reservations, as if they had forgotten about her origin.
“I’ll do my best, so don’t worry. Stay healthy, everyone.”
She had expressed her gratitude yesterday, and their parting was too much for her to bear.
Therefore, she was sure that she was now smiling in her most natural way.
Isolte let out a wry smile and bowed to the king.
“Your Majesty, my daughter may be like this, but please take care of her.”
Ivan shook hands with every member of the family. Ernesta bowed deeply and made that her final farewell.
As they got on the carriage, Theodor was there and Ernesta thanked him for his thoughtfulness, receiving a dry smile in return. Ivan called out to the coachman and sat down as the carriage began to move slowly.
Outside the window, the people she had spent the longest time with waved their hands.
Even though it was lonely, she could move forward.
Because Ernesta had been raised by those two.
Because she had tried to be strong to protect her dear little brother.
They had given her unwavering love and a compassionate heart.
“…She’s gone. It all happened so fast.
Her husband seemed to understand that those words didn’t refer to just the past ten days.
Bruno tried to stand up on his own, but his face looked pale with melancholy. Isolte patted his thick shoulders.
“…Yeah, I guess so. Time sure flies.”
“What’s that? These old people.”
Despite saying such unpleasant things as usual, the son was smiling with satisfaction.
Since Ernesta left on a journey like being kidnapped, it felt like the fire in the house had gone out for three months. But this time was different. They could send off the gentle girl with a smile because they believed in her happiness.
“Well, let’s go home. It’s almost lunchtime.”
“Yeah, that’s right. We shouldn’t stand here and invite unwarranted attention.”
“I’m going to school now. Ugh, the classes are too easy and boring.”
Following the men who started walking, Isolte took a slow step forward again. When she looked back once more, of course, the carriage was no longer there, and only the gentle breeze was swaying the grass and trees.