Chapter 17.5 – Prince Keefa
As he walked along the long corridor of the Royal Palace, Keefa took out from his pocket an old rusty ring that he had buried in the ground as a child.
In the end, it came back to me.
At the age of six, Keefa, who was born with memories of his previous life, visited the city for the first time. He found the ring in a street stall. Although it looked cheap, he bought it without any thought since he remembered Cecil.
When he looked at the ring he couldn’t part with it, even though it hurt his heart that it felt like his chest was being torn that Cecil had betrayed him in his previous life.
He has taken good care of it until one time, “This won’t do.” he said to himself. He had reflected that he should not be held captive with such a thing that had happened 500 years ago. So, he dug up a spot and buried it in the temple behind the palace.
He chose to bury it in the temple, keeping in mind that the saint would protect him. He would not have thought that in ten years, a pot of eggplants would be buried on the ring.
He wanted to know how the descendants of Theo, who had been a part of the Howard family, were doing. So he asked one of his aides to check up on them secretly. He was a close and trusted aide, dressed in a black cloak, a scar on his cheek.
At that time, Claire’s father was deceived by an acquaintance he knew and was burdened with a large amount of debt.
As soon as he found out, he had his aide capture the culprit, who had been enjoying his extravagance.That man is still under strict surveillance, punished to do labor work.
The ring that Eugene had bought for Cecil in his previous life, but couldn’t be given, was passed down to his predecessors. Over the period of five hundred years did it reach to Liz, the reincarnation of Cecil.
—But at that time, I was surprised.
When Keefa was 19 years old, he had happened to meet Liz in the temple, who had come as a candidate to be a saint. Both her face and looks were different from Cecil in the previous life, but at a glance he could tell that it was her.
Cecil. It’s Cecil…
It was all he could think of, his mind became blank. The reincarnation of the person who had abandoned him, the one who has always been in his mind is in front of him.
“Cecil,” he said, calling out her name in the corridor near the hall, for the first time in five hundred years, his body trembling all over with joy.
“Long time no see…I never thought I’d see you again.” He was agitated but he suppressed it with great effort as he squeezed his voice out, slowly nodding his head at Liz. It was the person he wanted to see, his heart lifted.
But Liz’s expression couldn’t be read, it wasn’t clear. She didn’t even try to make any eye contact with Keefa.
He felt as if he had been splashed with cold water. Cecil had married another man. No matter how much Keefa (Eugene) thought of Cecil, he was not her lover.
“You may not have wanted to see me,” He was overjoyed when he saw her that he had forgotten about their parting and his voice then became a tone of self-mockery. “That’s right, you probably didn’t,” he added.
“…I suppose,” she answered.
He felt depressed by her response. Still, Keefa recalled that he had worked hard, he is the crown prince, a man, and probably older than Liz.
“Let’s forget about the past. I think it would be good for each other.” he said. This is the time where he has to be an adult.
She looked up and stared at him blankly. He was shocked, because he was the one who was betrayed on and yet he was the one who has forgiven. He gave out a mature attitude.
A strange sense of accomplishment ran through his body, “It’s already an old story, it’s in the past. Right now, I’m Keefa and you’re Liz.”
This is fine. They are no longer Eugene and Cecil of their past lives.
He forced out a laugh, suppressing his tremendous loneliness and regret. He did his best, he wanted to praise himself.
However, Liz’s tone and her expression were far from what Keefa expected, “Don’t joke with me!” she exclaimed.
His mind went blank again. Something just ‘popped’ and anger came rushing in.
“Why are you angry?” he asked. What the hell is that? Why would Liz shout at him? There’s no reason to be angry even when you’re grateful.
“Shut up! After being noble, and now you have become a royal. It seems that you have become rotten!” Liz’s anger seemed to reach the top for some reason, and her white, transparent cheeks dyed red with anger.
Keefa was confused. What is it? Why is she getting angry at me instead? He wasn’t doing anything unreasonable. Before he tried to retort back, his aides and priests stopped him.
He suddenly remembered his position as Crown Prince and stopped but his emotions that came up earlier did not subside. He was angry and frustrated more than anything, he felt that he had been denied of all his feelings in his previous life.
Keefa’s brown eyes gazed at Liz.
What was that Liz? Was she really the reincarnation of Cecil, whose calm and quiet yet mature?
When he went back to his room, he was irritated at first but looking back on her reaction, he found that it was strange, there must be something wrong. Liz’s reaction was too different from what he’s experienced in his previous life.
Thinking it over, he again called out Liz at the end of the same corridor as before. While waiting, he only felt tension on his nerves, his heart was pounding, slightly excited. When he heard the sound of footsteps, he nervously turned around, he saw a priest named Lloyd with her. Why?
Still, whenever he looks at Liz, he’d naturally recall Cecil, her warmth and her gentle voice, even the sweet memories they had spent together.
And—when Liz arrived, there was this priest named Lloyd, who he felt truly grateful for. After all, the priest was a messenger of God.
He must have been too confused and embarrassed to have thought of such stupid things that one would not normally think of.
“What was your story?” he asked.
A cough sounded at the side, Priest Lloyd had brought out an old rusty ring, which had been buried in the ground by a young Keefa. He was surprised when he saw the ring. If Cecil, who had married another man, had not thought of Eugene any more, he might have been looked upon as a womanizer, since he had never forgotten about her.
He became impatient and hastily pocketed his old ring hoping Liz didn’t see it. Unfortunately, he was too late.
“I have nothing to tell you,” Liz said, walking away to escape. Her voice sounded low and chillingly cold that it felt like he was bitten.
He lingered for a while, not sure on what to do. Due to his shock, he was unable to move one step as if he was frozen stuck.
After that, they spoke to each other again. They both found out that they misunderstood each other and were deceived in their previous life.
I should make up for it, to atone, he thought so frankly.
Of course, it was the doing of the Howard family’s butler. It is not something that he could let go nor forgive even now that he has been reborn. But Cecil died alone. He let her die alone.
He will make amends for the rest of his life. And this time he would be Liz’s strength. For Eugene from the previous life.
* * * *
‘—His Highness. Your Highness Keefa.” He was startled by the voices of his aides, they were walking through the palace hallway.
“You’re tired aren’t you?,” Maybe you should rest for a while?” one of his aides suggested.
“No, it’s all right,” Keefa replied. The crown prince is busy with various public affairs and other duties.
Around the corner, he saw the figure of Duke Igner, who was talking to the Prime Minister. The duke, who was in his mid-forties, had numerous of black rumors. Keefa, who kept his eye on him, stopped and took a step forward as his entourage introduced him. “This is your highness, Keefa.”
The duke smiled at him and Keefa slightly nodded his head. The old ring that was in his pocket fell making a dry sound.The duke picked it up and quickly looked at him. “… Is this your Highness’?” he curiously asked.
“Yes, I’ve had it with me since childhood, Is there something wrong?”
Suddenly the duke’s mood had changed, he seemed agitated and handed the ring back with a trembling hand, “No, it’s nothing, I’m sorry for being rude.” and quickly went away.
Once the duke was out of the palace he drew out a restless breath, “No way… Is his Highness Keefa Eugene?”