“Joy, if you want something, I’ll buy it for you.
pick one.
You can also pick for Po.”


“Really?”

“You think I can’t buy you something like this?”

At Dorothea’s words, Joy smiled brightly and looked at the items.

“Then I’ll buy them too.
Theon, Julia.
You guys come and look!”

Ray joined in the excitement, and Theon and Julia looked at the items together.

The shells sparkled in a unique color that was different from what Dorothea had seen in the sea of the detached palace.

“I made it from the shell of a rainbow seashell from a creek near here.
You can only find one out of a hundred of the rainbow conch.”

The child eagerly introduced his product, explaining how rare the rainbow conch was, how he caught it, and how he tied the knot tightly.

Although they were cheap ornaments, he was very proud and attached to his creations.

Ray, who has always been interested in crafts made of shells and wood, enjoyed looking at his items and picking out a few.

“Princess, I want two of these!”

Joy chose a bracelet to share with Po.

Of course, the knights could not wear ornaments carelessly, so they had to tie it to their waistband or something.

Dorothea also stared at the items and picked up a pin made of a white seashell.

“Stefan, come here.”

At Dorothea’s call, Stefan, who was behind him, strode forward.
Dorothea motioned for him to bow down.

Stefan bowed slightly, and Dorothea tucked a white clam pin to his chest.

“It suits you better than I think.”

When Dorothea saw that figure, she suddenly thought of the lion warrior Leo.

On her first birthday going down to Cerritian’s detached palace, he even congratulated her by wearing a lion’s mask.

‘At that time, I was just picking up shells on the beach.’

“It’s a gift, Stefan.”

‘It’s not much, but since we’ve been on a trip together, I want to give him a gift.’

Stefan stared at the seashell pin, which he wore like a medal on his chest.

Dorothea, who had picked up a gift for Stefan, also picked up a bag of hard grass and a few trinkets she had never paid much attention to.
It was a souvenir to give back to Clara and the people of the Converta Palace.

The child was delighted to see customers choosing so many items that he couldn’t fill even if he sold all day long.

Dorothea paid generously.
Everything, even what Ray had picked out.

“This is a lot of money, and I don’t have any change..!”


“You can keep the change.”

“Princess! That’s spoiling him!”

The servants stopped Dorothea.

“It’s not just giving.
I’m giving him that he has worked hard.”

“But when he suddenly receives such a large amount of money, these poor people will only want this kind of luck next time?”

“He’s not stealing, he’s making money the way he can.”

Dorothea’s words made Joy’s eyes widen and she nodded vigorously.
Joy knew that making and selling things like this didn’t make a lot of money.

‘If you make something like this, you’re going to get scolded or they’re yelling at you to get out and get a job.’

But the fact that he work hard to make and sell them meant that this was what he wanted to do.

“Because I gave him the change, It’s nonsense that it can mess up his life.”

“If that messes it up, you can mess up a little at that age.”

He is only eight years old.
It’s a good time to make something he wants to make and sell it.

Moreover, the change Dorothea gave was not large enough to change the child’s life.
It’s just enough to get him a decent meal with his family.

Then Theon laughed.

“You sound like my mother.”

Theon said that his mother often said that when he made a mistake when he was young.

‘When you’re young, you can do more.’

Dorothea was so embarrassed by him that she coughed unnecessarily.

Dorothea paid the price and sent the child back.

They did not know that the child would later grow up to become an imperial craftsman.
Even Dorothea, who has lived life once.

* * *

Even after eating, there was no fish on Dorothea’s rod.

Dorothea wondered if there was something sinister in her hands to chase fish.

“Dorothea, we’re going over there to see mushrooms.
Would you like to come with us? Let’s take a look in the forest.”

After fishing enough to fill the bucket, Ray said he would take Julia and Joy to the forest.

Ray wanted to suggest another activity for Dorothea, who couldn’t catch a single fish.
But Dorothea shook her head.

“No, I will stay here.”

He didn’t know if she had a bad mood or something, or if she was just lazy and didn’t want to do anything else.
Dorothea couldn’t let go of her fishing rod, even though the time she had spent so far was wasted.

“Then I’ll be with the princess.”


At Theon’s words, Dorothea looked at him.

“Really? Then we will go now.”

Unlike Dorothea, who was surprised, Ray nodded, relieved that Theon would stay.

Leaving the two of them behind, Ray set off into the forest with Julia and Joy.
Most of the servants followed them, leaving only Dorothea, Theon, and Stefan, who may or may not be, frozen on the shores of the lake.

“you should have gone there, Theon.”

Dorothea said to Theon, who remained by her side.

Then Theon laughed.

“I love this lake.
I already know everything about the forest around here.”

“Really? I see…”

‘If you like this lake, I should bring you here before returning… No, you wouldn’t like it if I tried to force you out, right?’

Dorothea knew now.

Before the return, Theon had been cold to her, not because he didn’t do what he wanted, but because he hated her.

‘Did you hate me enough that you wouldn’t even give me a chance to atone, to give me time to change for you?’

‘If you had told me what you hated, I would have even changed the color of my eyes for you.’

‘No, was it my unchangeable past, my life, my blood that you hated?’

Dorothea watched the mirrored surface in silence, leaving only her fishing pole floating in the lake without a bite.
Then, without Theon’s knowledge, she slipped one hand into her pocket.

She felt a smooth, hard object wrapped in a handkerchief.

It was a bottle of ointment he had given her to heal his cheeks in the past.
The bottle of ointment was wrapped in a handkerchief embroidered with Fried’s Crest.

Dorothea, who used up the ointment, washed the bottle and kept it with the handkerchief until now.

‘Items received from Theon.’

It was intentionally taken with her when she left the Imperial Palace.

‘To clear my mind and let these things go on this trip.’

‘I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but coming here made it clear.’

‘Theon got along very well with Julia.’

Unlike the ugly Dorothea reflected on the surface of the water, Julia was shining brightly.

Julia’s pink hair looked brighter and softer than Dorothea’s blonde.
Her bright voice was pure and her laughter was lovely.

Unlike Dorothea, who was gloomy and jealous, Julia was clean and fresh.

When she spoke to Dorothea, she had no malice.

Her behavior, as flawless as Ray, made Dorothea even more distressed.


It would have been better if Julia didn’t care about Dorothea and kept her in check.

It would have been better if Julia ignored or ridiculed the princess who was not treated properly.

Julia had numerous strengths that Dorothea did not have.
Dorothea envied her and wished she could be like her.

So Dorothea decided not to have any regrets about Theon anymore.

‘It would be better to have someone like Julia by his side.’

It took a long time.
Almost 20 years, Theon turns his back on her, chooses to die, and she suffers to be executed after that until she comes back and grows up this much.

A long unrequited love that ended in failure and the last regret of that unrequited love.

‘How am I supposed to end this?’

Dorothea thought as she touched the glass bottle wrapped in a handkerchief.

‘Should I give it back to Theon? But Theon wouldn’t even remember anyway.’

Dorothea glanced at her side, Theon looking out over the lake.

‘Still, his eyes move the heart.
Like a calm lake where no fish bites, his eyes are looking elsewhere than mine…’

Dorothea wanted to drown in those eyes.

At the time. 

The intense sensation felt at her fingertips woke Dorothea from her thoughts.

The fishing rod that Dorothea was holding was pulled as if it were being sucked into the lake.

She was startled by the bite and grabbed the fishing rod tightly.

“Looks like the fish got caught!”

Theon looked at Dorothea’s fishing rod and straightened his back.

Dorothea stood up with the force of her fierce tug of the fishing rod.
However, the strength of the fish was too strong.

‘Did my strength weaken like this after taking a break from swordsmanship practice?’

It’s been a few years since she stopped practicing with Stefan.
She thought that she could not stand the strength of the fish even if she did basic exercise every day.

Dorothea could see the movement of the fish bouncing and splashing the water under the surface of the water.

Dorothea grabs the rod and uses her force as if she is being dragged into the lake, and Theon reaches out his hand and holds the rod together.

I think the fishing line will break!”

“One, two, three, and we’ll pull hard together.”

Theon said as he leaned close to her.

His strong arms were around her, and his voice was heard in her ear.


“One two… three!”

With Theon’s command, the two pulled the fishing rod with all their might.

With that, a large fish bounced off the end of the line and flew to the surface.
Theon and Dorothea, still pulling as hard as they could, fell to the gravel.

And…

Dorothea felt the soft touch of her lips.
And Theon, who felt the same sensation, was looking at her with widened eyes.

They forgot about the big fish flopping on the gravel field to go back into the lake.

“Ah, Princess…!”

Theon got up hastily and he pulled away from Dorothea.

Dorothea sat down on the gravel and looked at Theon, stunned.

‘it was too sudden, to know what had happened, but…’

A hot sensation that spreads from the tip of her lips.

“Princess!”

Stefan, who had been watching Dorothea from a distance, ran up to her and helped her to stand up.

Stefan checked Dorothea for any injuries.

It was then that Dorothea came to her senses.

“It’s okay, Stephan.
Rather–!”

“Oh!”

Dorothea and Theon rushed toward the fish, which was flapping and looking like it wanted to get back in the lake. 

The two of them squeezed the strong fish firmly to subdue it, and together they managed to move it into the bucket.

The fish was big enough to fill a bucket by itself.
It was so strong that the bucket on the gravel threatened to topple over from the force of its flapping.

“This is the biggest fish I caught today.
It is worth the long wait.”

Theon smiled at Dorothea.

“Yes.”

Dorothea also smiled remembering all the trouble that she’s been through over a single fish.

‘But why is my face so hot?’

‘My first kiss…’

It was too short a kiss to be called a kiss, but Dorothea decided to call it a kiss.

‘First kiss.
First kiss with Theon.
Theon’s lips…’

Dorothea unconsciously bit her lip, pondering the sensation of that moment.

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