Chapter 2. This Life Is Truly A Joke (1)
The maids moved busily from one side of the bedroom to the other.
The thick curtains were opened and the dawn light brightened the bedroom. Shortly after, the prince’s personal attendant entered and approached the bed where he was sleeping. His young age was reflected in his face.
One must never touch or make loud noises when waking up royalty. So his personal attendant spoke in a careful voice,
“Your Highness, it is time to get up.”
He was a child who normally woke up alert as soon as he heard the door open, as if he were a hunted animal, but today he seemed to want to stay asleep.
‘He must be exhausted.’
As the attendant thought this, the maid next to him handed him a small golden bell. He rang the bell twice and the boy’s eyes half opened.
Then he rubbed his eyes to shake off the drowsiness and sat up in bed. The attendant, surprised by his appropriate movements, leaned slightly towards him and said,
“Did you sleep well, Your Highness?”
At the same time, he offered the prince his usual morning tea. The prince liked to start his day with a cup of strong black tea.
‘Since when do I drink tea in the morning?’
The boy… no, as Berne thought about this, he unconsciously reached out to take the cup of tea. However, he stopped when he noticed that his hand were different.
His hand, which should be full of scars and calluses, was now a delicate white hand. With long, thin fingers.
At that discrepancy, Berne immediately turned his head towards his left arm. There was not a single scar.
However, that wasn’t what shocked him. What shocked him was that his left arm was there.
“This arm was cut off…”
Berne, who murmured this involuntarily, bit his lips hurriedly. The voice that came out of his mouth sounded too young to be his own.
“Why would you say such a horrible thing? Did you have a nightmare?”
‘A nightmare… What worse nightmare than the fall of Secritia?!’
But he didn’t bother to answer the attendant’s question. Even how his left arm had been reattached could be addressed later.
What he needed to know immediately was what had happened to his brother, King Chase.
“Where is my elder brother?”
At the urgent look on Berne’s face, the attendant responded bewildered,
“Which one? Both are still in their rooms.”
Berne’s expression turned into one of bewilderment like the attendant’s. He only had one elder brother, and it was none other than Chase.
“His Highness Randell must now be getting dressed. The same for His Highness Planche.”
‘Randell and Planche…’
He recognized both names. In particular, the second name was from someone he hated to the core.
‘Planche, the King of Kairis.’
As soon as he heard that name, Berne’s eyes narrowed. A fire was lit in them that would not be extinguished even if he killed that man right now.
Just then, the attendant opened his mouth once again,
“Your Highness, you must get ready quickly.”
The attendant believed that he had not fully woken up, so he asked the maid who was behind him for a basin of water so that the prince could wash his face.
As Berne watched this scene, he murmured,
At the sound of his name, the attendant turned his head and answered,
“Yes, Your Highness?”
An arm that had reappeared and an attendant he had never seen before. Not to mention ‘Kairis’.
Berne said nothing more. He just closed his mouth and began to connect the dots.
He swore in the name of his homeland Secritia that he had never seen the faces of this attendant or the maids before. Despite this, he knew their names…
Oblivious to Berne’s confusion at the absurdity of the situation, the attendant carefully placed the basin of water on his lap.
He remembered the words of the attendant named Yan as he placed his hands on the basin. He could only think of one explanation for this entire situation, it was a bad dream.
Berne lowered his head toward the shiny silver basin.
It wasn’t like him to take refuge in a fantasy like this, no matter how horrible the reality was.
But when he saw his reflection in the basin’s water, Berne froze once again.
The red eyes that stared back at him in the water were not his.
Berne spoke in a low murmur,
“Did you say a mirror, Your Highness?”
Berne didn’t answer, his face stayed glued to the basin. Yan, who asked by mistake due to the prince’s unusual behavior, quickly apologized,
“I’m sorry, we’ll bring you one immediately.”
That said, he waved to the maids behind him to bring a mirror.
A moment later, the maids returned with a mirror. They had to look for it in another room because, curiously, there wasn’t any in the Prince’s.
Yan held up the mirror for him, and Berne stared at himself without a word.
In the mirror was a young boy with black hair. A pair of ruby eyes stared at him through long bangs.
Berne raised his head. There was a crest engraved on the attendant’s clothes that was definitely Kairis’s.
He then remembered that the attendant had called him ‘Prince’ at all times, not ‘Crown Prince’.
He felt his lips dry.
“Your Highness? Prince Callian?”
Yan, who had been holding the mirror while Berne sat still in front of it, deep in thought, called out to him.
‘No, I’m Crown Prince Berne.’
Berne repeated his own name in his mind as if he feared he would lose his identity. But as if to oppose it, a memory came to his mind, as if someone had whispered it to him.
‘No. My name is…’
A long name that he hadn’t memorized came out of his mouth,
“Callian Rayn Kairis.”
Callian, Third Prince of Kairis. That was my name, not Berne’s.