✍️✍️✍️✍️ The Forgotten Princess Chapter 401 ➡️ 405 ✍️✍️✍️✍️



Chapter 401 [Bonus chapter]Side Story (Dimitri)(7)(unedited)

The smell of burning flesh was in the air. When the wound had closed, Angel ran to get some water from the river and pour it on the burned flesh.

Dimitri was still conscious after all the pain that he just been through. He was breathing heavily and when his consciousness cleared, he tasted some blood on his lips. He was startled and looked at Angel who was tending to him.

"W-What did you do?!" Dimitri saw the bite mark on Angel's arm.

"I was not able to find anything you can bite on and just gave you my arm." Angel said with an embarrassed look. She was expecting to be scolded and lectured by Dimitri, since she should know the steps to take in first aid.

"Hah…" Dimitri sighed. "Please care for your body more. You are a woman and I would not want you to have so many scars in your body. What would your future husband say when he sees you have a bitemark for a scar? I am afraid I would have to marry you to make up for this."

"M-Marry me?" Angel was surprised with Dimitri's words. "You are kidding me, right my lord?"

"How many times have I told you not to call me that when we are alone?" Dimitri said while looked at the flustered face of Angel and he thought that it was cute. "And I am not joking around, except you will not want me as your husband?"

"B-But…" Angel was flustered with Dimitri's sudden proposal.

"I am not that dense to not see how your eyes have been looking at me." Dimitri replied and Angel blushed a deep red.

"T-Then you knew…?" Angel asked. "… you knew my feelings for you?"

"Yes." Dimitri nodded. "At first, I did not put too much mind into it, thinking that you might be just looking at me as some hero that rescued you and it would be just a simple crush of a teenager that will fade away once you get older. But you stayed by my side and even chose to come with me, even though there was a good promotion that was given to you."

Angel listened to Dimitri's every word, not yet believing that this was really happening.

"You were not the first Atlantian that I saved from the streets, but I had the urge to look after you. I thought maybe I just thought of you as a little sister, as a family." Dimitri said. "But when you started to grow up and became a woman, my mind and heart become conflicted with each other. I became busy with the war and I had no time to think my feelings thru. But when the war ended and peace had come, his majesty asked me to settle down and start a family. I told him I do not have any woman I fancy but, in my mind, you were the one I imagined. I was still conflicted, even now I still am."

"T-Then, what made you change your mind?" Angel asked.

"When Philip told me that you planned to stop the landslide until the people had ran to safety, my mind was in turmoil." Dimitri confessed. "As the grand duke, I must put my people's safety first, and you as a captain is only doing your job. But my heart is telling me to go to you and see that you are safe. After I have led the people to safety, I ran to where you were in haste. And when I saw that tree was going to hit you, my mind and heart had aligned for the first time. I want you, to be by myside always, as my wife. If you accept me."

Angel was in a daze, still not believing that all of what is happening right now is true. Dimitri interpreted this as a rejection.

"Maybe you are thinking that I am just telling this on a whim." Dimitri scratched his head feeling shy. "I have never tried to express my feelings before, and this is all new to me. But if you give me a chance, I will surely do my best to show you that my feelings are true. I will do my beast to win your…hmm." Before Dimitri was about to finish his sentence, Angel had closed his lips with a kiss.

"I accept." Angel replied instantly.

"B-But I thought I still need to show my sincere feeling to you?" Dimitri looked at Angel with a curious expression.

"You can do that for the rest of our lives. And just for the record, I want to say this…" Angel replied with a grin. "Dimitri, I love you. I love you since the first day I met you. And until the day I die, I am sure that my heart will only love you." Dimitri chuckled.

"Is this the confession you have been meaning to tell me?" Dimitri asked.

"H-How did you know I am going to confess?" Angel asked.

"Sorry, I did not mean to eavesdrop on you and Philip earlier." Dimitri said and Angel blushed in embarrassment.

"Y-You hear all of it?" Angel asked feeling shy.

"Do not worry, I did not hear all of it." Dimitri said with a sorry look but had an amusing smile on his face. "I left just in the middle of your conversation, thinking that it was quite rude of me to eavesdrop."

"B-But how far did you hear?" Angel asked.

"Just until you were reminiscing out first encounter with dreamy eyes." Dimitri teased.

"Ahh, how embarrassing." Angel turned around and covered her face with her hands.

"Why are you feeling embarrassed now? You just confessed to me." Dimitri teased.

"I know, but still…" Angel replied. "You so my silly look."

"I do not think you are silly." Dimitri pulled Angel around so that she will be facing him again and pulled out the hands that was covering her face. He saw Angel's face that was as red as a tomato. He brushed her cheeks with his thumb. "I think it was rather cute. Can I reply to your confession now?"

Angel nodded shyly.

"I love you too." Dimitri said with a radiant smile. "And I would like to take you as my wife. Will you give me this honour?"

"Yes… yes, yes, yes!" Angel smiled happily and hugged Dimitri.

"Ugh, careful." Dimitri groaned in pain.

"Oh, sorry… sorry." Angel was surprised that she forgot Dimitri's injury.

"It's alright." Dimitri replied. He held Angel's face again. "May I kiss you?" Angel shyly nodded.

Dimitri pulled her closely and they share a sweet kiss which deepened into more of an intimate kiss.

It was not long until the others found their whereabouts. Dimitri and Angel were given treatment to their wounds.

When they arrived at South Atlantia, a wedding was hastily in the works. When the wedding day came, Dimitri found out that Angel was pregnant, and he would become a father.

The couple had twins, one boy named Deimos and one girl named Aliyah. The couple had their own family that gave them happiness and ruled South Atlantia together in harmony.
Update >>>> September 14th 2021
Chapter 402Side Story (William)(1)(unedited)

(William's POV)

A few months have passed since Alicia gave birth to the twins. The war with Jennovia has finally ended when the former queen, Queen Patricia died in the final battle.

Many things happened in that final battle. That day was the day Alicia gave birth to the twins, Dimitri was known to be an illegitimate son of the last king of Atlantia, making him her highness Leticia's younger half brother and Alicia's uncle. Atlantia also rose from the depths of the sea, making the continent bigger once more. Atlantia was given to the two male heirs with Atlantian royal blood, Gladiolus and Dimitri.

I am still a knight under King Regaleon's rule. Tomorrow is the day the empire will be formally established, the empire of Astley. Tomorrow the king and queen of Grandcrest will be crowned as the first emperor and empress of the Astley Empire.

The palace is quite busy with all the preparations for the big day tomorrow. I was standing guard as always at Alicia's side when I was called by Regaleon to his office.

I walked the busy hallways towards his majesty's office and knocked on the door.


"Come in." Regaleon's voice was heard from inside the office.

I opened the door carefully and came inside the king's office.

"You called for me, your majesty." I bowed as a sign of my respect.

"Yes. Thank you for coming William." Regaleon replied. "Dimitri, please leave us. I have some private matters to talk with Sir William."

"Of course, your majesty." Dimitri bowed and closed the door behind me after exiting the office.

Regaleon stood up and ushered me towards the lounging area of his office.

"Come Sir William, please seat. I called for you here not as a knight under me but as a friend, so no need to be nervous." Regaleon gestured while he himself took a seat on the comfortable couch. He can read my expression right now, someone who is nervous of what might be the reason I was called.

I have always thought of what would happened after peace has been achieved. I fear for the position I am holding on to as the personal knight of the queen. I am after all of noble blood from a duke's linage and working as a knight is something below my social status. I have had a good reason in the past for being by Alicia's side, but now that the empire is being established and peace has been achieved, I fear that my position as a knight by Alicia's side will be taken away from me.

I took the seat across Regaelon. I was feeling tense and I can feel my palms sweating. The atmosphere between me and his majesty was feeling tense. Regaleon was looking at me with serious eyes.


The knock on the door freed me form the tension I was feeling.

"Come in." Regaleon said.

His majesty's butler, Theon came inside pushing a tray with a very beautiful tea set. Theon has been the one managing the palace since Regaleon had took the seat of the king of Grandcrest, and I know he is one of the people that his majesty trusts and respects.

"The tea is here, your majesty." Theon said.

"Thank you, Theon." Regaleon replied. "Please put it on top of the table."

Theon elegantly put the tea set on top of the table.

"You can go now." Regaleon said after Theon was done with his job.

"I will now excuse myself your majesty." Theon bowed. "Please call for me if you need anything else."

Before Theon walked away, he gave me a cold and chilling look. As someone who has been in battle, I know that his gaze was filled with hostility towards me, but I did not know why.

"Please have some tea." Regaleon said. "My wife personally brewed this herself."

"T-Thank you, your majesty." I replied. I took the beautiful kettle and poured it into the cup in front of me.

The tea was fragrant, and it tasted mildly strong, something that is to my taste. I smiled knowing that her majesty was the one that brewed this herself. It helped calm my nerves.

"Sir William, do you know why I have called for you?" Regaleon asked.

"I am sorry your majesty, but I am at a loss." I feigned ignorance.

"I am sure you have some kind of idea, Sir William." Regaleon smiled.

I instinctively flinched from his words.

"I am really not sure why you called me, your majesty." I maintained my composure.

"Then let me ask you, Sir William." Regaleon said. "What are your plans, now that we have achieved the peace we fought for? The war is over, and we are looking at a bright future ahead."

I have expected that Regaleon would ask me this question soon, and now the time is finally here.

"Sir William, you are my wife's personal knight because of the order from my father in law, the former King Edward." Regaleon said. "I have seen how capable you are and have permitted you to stay by my wife's side as her personal knight and protector in my stead when we were apart. But now that I am always at my wife's side, I believe a personal knight is not needed any more."

I clenched my fist hearing the words that Regaleon had just spoken. I am not mad at his majesty himself but the words 'not needed anymore' is what that hit me hard.

My feelings for Alicia had been there since the first time I laid my eyes upon her in her debut party. I may not be the one she had chosen, but I have wanted to be by her side and be of use to her in any way possible. I admit that it is my own selfishness that made me hang to her, but I am afraid I am in to deep to have the courage to let go.

"You are the rightful heir to the Cunningham dukedom in Alvannia. You could be a great vassal under Richard. You were born as a nobleman and being a knight should not be where you should be." Regaleon said.

"Your majesty… is this… what her majesty wants as well?" My heart was pounding inside my chest with fear. I have not been afraid even when death was in front of me in the middle of the battlefield, but if Alicia also wanted me gone from her side, then it frightened me to death.

"My wife… she wanted what is best for you." Regaleon replied. "She said she will respect your decision, whatever it may be."

"Your majesty, then if you are ordering me to go back and take my rightful title as Duke Cunningham, then I would like to refuse." I was about to speak against the king and future emperor, but I do not fear anything. Even if he put me to death by not listening to his order, then I will take it gladly rather than be away from Alicia. "I am willing to give that title to my younger brother and I want to stay here as a knight under you and her majesty."

I stood up and knelt down on my knees and bowed my head low in front of the king. I would do everything just to stay here by Alicia's side, even as a mere knight.

"William, you do not need to kneel in front of me. Stand up." Regaleon walked towards me and I felt his hand on my shoulder. "What I just said was a suggestion and not an order. You do not need to beg me."

"Y-your majesty…" I looked at him and saw that he was being sincere.

"Now sit down and let us continue." Regaleon said.

I took a seat once more and looked at his majesty who was looking at me with seriousness.

"You have been a big help to me William, and I consider you as a good friend and a great rival. I may have won my wife's heart, but you have secured a small piece of it, something I cannot take away from you." Regaleon said. "I owe you much, for guarding Alicia in my place when we were apart, and I will forever be grateful for that. Tell me William, is your heart still the same?"

I know what Regaleon's question means, if I still love Alicia.

"It is the same as before, your majesty." I said with a sad smile. "Even though I know I will never get her love, my selfishness prevents me from leaving her side. If what you said is true your majesty, then the more I do not want to part from her majesty and hold on to the small piece I have in her heart." Regaleon sighed.

"I am a bit furious to tell you the truth. You have a great potential as a vassal under Richard, but you still selfishly want to stay as a knight." Regaleon replied. "I am also quite jealous because I cannot take that small piece away from you. Alicia does not want to hurt you because she has given you enough pain for not being able to return your feelings, therefore she cannot push you away as well. Hah, whatever would I do with you Sir William."

I can see that Regaleon is also struggling with knowing a man that loves his wife is by her side. And also, that his wife will not push that person away.

"Like I said William, I am in debt to you and I will not order you out of here because my wife would not like that as well." Regaleon sighed in defeat. "But I will give you another position rather than being my wife's personal knight. I will appoint you as the captain of the royal knights of the palace. You will not leave the palace but at least you will not be around my wife all the time." His words gave me great joy.

"Thank you, your majesty. Thank you very much." I bowed my head with gratitude in front of his majesty.

"You really are something, being happy with this position rather than inheriting a duke's title." Regaleon sighed in defeat. "I wish you all the best then, Sir William. And I hope that you find someone that can return your feelings, someone that can give you a family."

"Thank you for your concern your majesty, but I gave that up a long time ago." I replied. "My heart, I am afraid will never change." I can feel a sad smile on my face.

Regaleon had a pitying look towards me. It was something I do not want to see, knowing that he was the one that I lost the love of my life to.

"I will be going now, your majesty. If there is nothing else?" I asked with a solemn voice.

"That is all." Regaleon sighed. "Be ready because tomorrow I will also announce your promotion."

"I understand, your majesty." I bowed and walked to the door and outside the office.
Chapter 403 [Bonus chapter]Side Story (William)(2)(unedited)

(William's POV)

I walked out of his majesty's office and heaved a sigh of relief. I was able to remain here in the palace of Grandcrest as the captain of the royal knights. I may not be by her majesty's side, but at least I will still be close by, unlike if I take my father's title as duke of Cunningham.

I was walking along the hallway back to her majesty's room when I felt a heavy gaze on me. It was the same feeling of hostility I felt from earlier. When I looked to my side, I saw Theon standing at one of the balconies here in the palace. He seemed to be arranging planted pots on the balcony's ledge. His eyes were looking towards me with pure hostility.

'What did I do wrong against him to warrant such hostility?' I wondered.

Because I cannot think of anything for him to look at me this way, I decided to confront him. I walked towards the opened balcony door to confront him.

"Good day Theon." I greeted.

Theon did not reply to my greeting and proceeded to ignore me and continued his work. 

"Mr. Theon, may I ask if there is something that I have done that you did not like?" I asked and the other party was still silent. "I can feel the hostility that your gaze gives to me. I would like to know if I have wronged you in anyway so that I could apologize." I continued.

Theon put down the planted pot he was holding and looked at me with an angry gaze.

"Sir knight, I am sorry if my gaze to you seems to be hostile." Theon said with a sarcastic tone. "I cannot but help look at you like that, seeing as a noble like you who was given such a good life and lived with a golden spoon be staying in this palace as a lowly knight. And not to mention having so many of the young ladies' fancy."

"What are you talking about? I cannot seem to comprehend your words." I was irritated by the sarcastic tone of Theon.

"Oh, let me rephrase that to 'young master'." Theon said sarcastically that I was holding back my own anger. "You, who should have been a duke should go back to where you came from rather than staying here and begging for love form her majesty."

"What did you say?!" I was not able to hold it on and let my anger loose.

I pulled Theon on his collar holding back my hand to punch the butler.

"What a brute, resorting to such violence." Theon replied. "I do not know what she sees in you, for being blindingly in love with you, a man who cannot move forward form his first love."

"What nonsense are you saying?!" I scolded. "My personal life has nothing to do with you, so back off." I pushed him and he hit the railings of the balcony edge.

"Ugh…" Theon groaned.

I was about to walk away when Theon started to laugh out sarcastically.

"But it is true, is it not? That you are just someone begging favour from her majesty who is married to our king." Theon continued rubbing on my soar spot. "Just because you are wallowing in your own one sided love to her majesty, you will also put another woman in the same fate as you. Just wake up! There is no place for you here!"

Theon's words hit me so hard that I lost my rationality. I threw a punch right on his face at the heat of the moment. Blood trickled from the side of his lip.

"So, this is how you want it, huh?" Theon said and spat blood out. He threw a punch at me and I was able to dodge it, but he had his other fist ready and followed up. I was not able to dodge the second blow and was hit on the stomach.

We were throwing punched at each other after that. I was surprised that Theon can hold his own in a fist fight. For a butler, he was good in fighting. 

"Who are you to tell me where my place is?!" I said while punching.

"Because you should not be here!" Theon replied while throwing punches as well. "You know how hard a one sided love is and yet you also put a woman in the same situation!"

"What the hell are you talking about?" I asked. "My one sided love is of my own doing and decision and is no one's fault. Why would I put something like this to someone else?"

"Are you turning a blind eye, huh?" Theon said with anger. "You… you are just leading Tricia on! You are saying that your heart will always love her majesty, but you are giving Tricia mixed signals, treating her with false gentleness and kindness!"

"What do you mean about Tricia?" I asked while we are still brawling with each other. "I treat her as how a gentleman should treat a lady. What is wrong with that?"

"She has fallen for you because of that!" Theon threw a punch that I fortunately dodged.

"I never had such intentions on her." I replied. "I was just being a gentleman because she was her majesty's personal maid and lady in waiting."

"Then just tell her that and do not give her any mixed signals any longer!" Theon shouted. "Do not let her be like you and be drowned in a one sided love!"

Punches were a hit and miss between the both of us until we can hear a commotion around us.

Dimitri and Chris came and tried to hold on to me and Theon that were still trying to throw punches.

"Stop it, stop it right now!" Alicia's voice echoed.

That was when Theon and I stopped. We did not know that a crowd was gathered around us. They were employees that were working inside the palace. Alicia was standing out from all of them, here silver hair was swaying from the wind in the balcony.

"Have the two of you come to your senses yet?" Alicia asked with an angry face.

"I-I am sorry for the ruckus, your majesty." I apologized and knelt on one knee.

"I am sorry, your majesty." Theon knelt as well.

"Hah…" Alicia sighed while holding her head as if she was getting a headache. "I would like to know what happened for you two to have a fist fight inside the palace. But before that, both your wounds should be tended to."

"Thank you for your benevolnce, your majesty." Theon said.

"Thank you so much, your majesty." I gave my thanks.

Before Theon and I were both taken to separate rooms, I tried to clear up any misunderstanding.

"Theon, I do not have any intention on letting on Tricia. for me she is just like family." I started. Theon was acting like he was not hearing me. "I will clear up this misunderstanding towards her and clearly reject her feelings for me. I do not want anyone to fall in a one sided love as I have. But it is up to you to win her affection. Unlike me, I am sure that Tricia can have another chance in love."

"Hmph, of course she has me to comfort her." Theon replied. "I will take care of her morethan how you took care of her. I will love and cherish her like how his majesty cherishes her majesty."

"Haha, then my heart is at ease then." I said with a light heart. "I wish you luck then."

Theon only pick a fight with me because he harbors feelings for Tricia. I wish them well in love, unlike me who will forever love just one person.

Chapter 404 Side Story (William)(3)

(William's POV)

Alicia ordered the maids to send Theon and I into separate rooms to tend to our wounds. I was waiting inside a room when someone knocked on the door.


"S-Sir William." I woman's voice was heard by the door. "It is me, Tricia."

"Come in." I replied.

The door opened and Tricia came in while carrying a first aid box in her arms. She closed the door and took the seat next to me.

"You can leave it there." I said. "I can put the medicine myself. Her majesty must be waiting for you."

"O-Oh no, please let me do it." Tricia said. "I asked her majesty to let me do it." She blushed.

I can see how Tricia smiled and blushed. That was when I confirmed what Theon had said, Tricia really had feelings for me.

'What a fool have I become?' I scolded myself.

I have seen how Tricia became shy and blush if I am near, but I have never thought any deeper about it. I have treated her kindlier and special than other women because we had something in common, and that is out love for Alicia. I never thought my special treatment will let her fall for me. I never had such intentions.

Tricia started to treat the cuts and bruises I got from my fight with Theon. I can feel the sting on my face while Tricia was applying the ointment.

"Can you please take off your shirt?" Tricia asked. "You must have some bruises in your body." She blushed.

"No need. I can do that by myself later." I replied. "You can just give me the ointment so that I can do it by myself later."

"I-I can do it right now." Tricia insisted. "You cannot reach at your back anyway."

"No, I can do it. Just give it to me." I replied.

I tried to get the ointment from Tricia's hand, but she was resisting. She was persistent not to give it to me that she was pushed back on the couch and I was out of balance and landed on top of her.

"I-I am sorry." I apologized immediately and took the ointment from her hand. I got up from her and put the ointment inside my pocket.

Tricia was bright red after the incident. She sat up and composed herself after feeling shy.

"Ahem, um Sir William…" Tricia trailed off. "There is something I want to tell you."

"I also have something to tell you." I replied. "Please go on first."

I looked at her fidgeting in her seat. I have a rough idea what she is going to tell me.

"Well, um… Sir William…" Tricia said. "What I want to say is… well… it is that I… I am in love with you. I fell in love with you Sir William." She said with a blush on her face.

I inwardly sighed. This just confirms what Theon was saying earlier.

"At first, I see you as someone who is above me and should be serving. But when we arrived here in Grandcrest, you have treated me as an equal." Tricia said. "I was happy because you are the only acquaintance I had here in Grandcrest and we share the same feeling of love towards her majesty that I found a partner in you. My feelings blossomed until I cannot reject it anymore. I fell in love with your warm and kind heart. I am not hoping for you to answer my feelings right away, but I-I hope you think about it in the future. I know you still harbour feelings for her majesty, and I can wait even how long it takes."

There was silence for a while between us that it made it awkward.

"H-How about you… what were you going to tell me?" Tricia asked. I took a deep breath and ready myself. Nothing I say will lessen the blow of a rejection and so what I can do is talk slowly.

"Tricia, I am sorry. I am afraid I cannot let you wait for me." I replied as mellow as possible. "I cannot let you wait for me because I am afraid that even after your hair turns gray, my feelings will never change. I have already given my heart to Alicia, and I am afraid that I can never get it back from her, ever."

Tricia looked at me with a surprised face. Tears started to fall from her eyes.

"I am so sorry Tricia. I have never tried to lead you on by being kind to you. My kindness was given because you were also a special person to Alicia." I said while wiping her tears away. But tears still streamed down. "I suggest you find someone that will love you and you alone. You deserve to be loved and be happy. Create a happy family with that person. As for me, I will stay here by her majesty's side, alone."

I took my handkerchief out and wiped the streaming tears from Tricia's eyes. I like to scold myself because I was still being a gentleman to a woman I just rejected, but I cannot help it. Tricia is someone I treated as family and my kindness hurt her.

Tricia cried and cried, and I tried my best to console her.


Alicia had called for Theon and I and asked about what happened. 

We told her majesty the truth and she had a disappointed look towards Theon and me.

"I will both give you your punishment after the coronation and festivities are over." Alicia sighed. "You can go now Theon. William, please stay for a while."

"Thank you, your majesty." Theon bowed and left.

Alicia and I was left in her office. There was silence for a while until Alicia sighed loudly.

"I heard from my husband your decision." Alicia said. "Are you really sure about staying here and becoming the captain of the royal knights?" She asked.

"You know very well that my decision is final, your majesty." I replied.

Alicia sighed and sat down near me. She held my hands and I felt her warmth.

"Will, let us put the formalities aside and talk as friends." Alicia said with a warm voice. Something I loved to hear. "Will, you know that you are my best friend and I want the best for you. You have a good life if you inherit your father's title back in Alvannia. You can have a good life, find love and make a family of your own. Will, I want you to be happy as well."

"I am happy, Alicia." I assured her. "If you push me to go back, then you are just going to take away my happiness."

"Will…" Alicia looked at me with sad eyes.

"Alicia, nothing you will say will change my mind or heart. I have told you before and I am going to tell you again now, my heart is with you and I cannot take it back. It would kill me if I do." I replied. "I will forever love you. And even if you cannot return that feelings, I would like to be of help to you and stay by your side. Please grant me my selfish request, at least let me love you from afar." I kissed the back of her hand, a simple way to show my love and respect.

"Oh, Will." Alicia sighed. "Whatever will I do to you." She gave me a swift hug.

I can feel her warmth and her won love for me. It may not be the same love I feel for her, but it will do. I will never regret this decision of mine because I know that being here is where I should be. Alicia will be the only woman I will love for the rest of my life.

Edited by: nalyn
Chapter 405Side Story (William)(4)(unedited)

(William's POV)

Time passed by quickly and many things changed. People have come and go here in the Grandcrest palace, but everything seems to be heading towards a better future.

Everyone had found their respective partners in life and I am happy for them. Tricia had also married Theon, the now imperial butler of the Grandcrest palace. The two had grown close after my rejection of Tricia's feelings, and I am happy that she had moved on from her one sided love for me.

I on the other hand stayed here in the Grandcrest palace as the captain of the imperial knights. I am still being tasked as the empress's personal knight for special occasions where Emperor Regaleon could not escort Empress Alicia himself. One occasion was when the empress was at the summer villa very heavily pregnant with their third child.

The imperial couple were blessed with three children, and the twins have grown fond of me, especially Alphonse who is always sticking next to me if I was around.

"Uncle William!" the voice of a little boy called out to me.

'Well speaking of the devil.' I smiled as I was just thinking about the imperial twins.

The little Alphonse was running towards me while the little Aerith was walking hand in hand with Philip.

"Good morning, little highnesses." I greeted. "What brings you here in the training grounds so early in the morning?"

The sun was just about to rise here at the imperial knight's training grounds. Today is a special day for the imperial family and I was about to meet the imperial knights here to make a last minute briefing before the day starts.

"We woke up earlier than usual, so we accompanied brother Philip here." Alphonse replied with a huge grin.

"I see that you and Aerith are both excited for today." I patted Alphonse's head lovingly.

"Yes, yes." Aerith replied with her melodious voice. "Our cousins will be coming here later to celebrate our little brother Leonhart's birthday." She giggled.

"I am sure that you are excited to play with them." I replied to the little princess and pinched her rosy cheeks gently. "But you would need to let go of Philip first because he needs to get into formation. He is still an apprentice knight under me."

"Ohh…" Aerith pouted her lips in dismay.

"You and Alphonse can sit by the side and watch, like you always do." I told them.

"Hmmm… okay." Aerith replied. "Then carry me there, brother Phil." She stretched her cute arms towards Philip.

"Of course, princess." Philip replied and carried the little girl.

I smiled seeing how Aerith loves being with Philip so much, and Philip in the other hand spoils the little princess dearly.

"Here your highness, let me carry you as well." I told Alphonse.

Alphonse also reached up to me and I carried the little prince towards the bench on the side. The twins often come here in the training grounds whenever they wake up early in the morning to watch the imperial knights practice their swords. I can see that Alphonse is very much interested and will surely learn the sword when he grows a little more in the future.

"Seat here and wait patiently like you both always do, okay?" I asked the twins.

"Yes, Uncle William!" The twins replied in unison.

Philp and I walked back to the training grounds. Looking at this apprentice knight, he has grown up considerably fast in a blink of an eye. As an adopted son of Dimitri, he went with them to South Atlantia when Dimitri became the grand duke. But when he turned ten years old, he came back here to be a knight's apprentice. He has grown up quickly in the span of a few years, and now that he was learning the sword from both me and his majesty Emperor Regaleon, I can see he has great potential and will be a great sword master in the future.

"Princess Aerith is so fond of you, and that is good." I said to Philip. "Once you became a full-fledged knight and become their personal knight, your good relationship with them can became a great foundation for the future."

"I am very thankful that the imperial couple took me in. Without them, I do not know what would have happened to me when I lost my big brother." Philip replied. "It may be small compared to what his and her majesty had given to me, but I promise that I will stay by the imperial twins side and protect them with my life."

"That is a good conviction Philip." I said. "Like me, I have devoted my life to the imperial couple as well. I cannot see myself anywhere but here, protecting them."

"Me too." Philip replied with a smile.

I may have tweaked what I have said to Philip a little, having my heart selfishly wanting to be close to Alicia. But it is true that I have now devoted my life to the couple. Regaleon had been such a good person to me and I consider him as a good friend after all the we had gone thru. I am also thankful that he had let me stay here in Grandcrest Palace rather than go back to my homeland in the duchy of Alvannia after the war ended.

Philip lined up with the other apprentice knights in training. I took my post in front of the imperial knights waiting for my briefing for today.

"Good morning imperial knights." I greeted. "As you know, today is the first birthday of the second prince, Prince Leonhart. Today, the imperial couple will have a family only celebration, but later in the evening a grand ball will be held for all the noble persons in the empire to attend. Like always, it is our duty to make sure of the order and security inside the palace. I have already given you your assignments beforehand, just be sure to get to your post and do your job perfectly. Is that clear?"

"YES, CAPTAIN WILLIAM!" The imperial knights replied.

"For the apprentice knights, you will be partnered with senior imperial knights as a part of your training." I said. Some junior knights gave a piece of paper to the apprentice knights. The piece of paper contains the names of the senior knights they are partnered to. "Watch them carefully and learn from them. For the senior imperial knights, do your job as assigned and be a good instructor to the apprentice knights that are partnered to you. Keep in mind that you are their role models and they are the future of our empire."

"YES SIR!" The imperial knights replied once again.

"That is all." I said. "You can now go to your respective designations."

"THANK YOU, SIR!" The imperial knights replied in unison and dispersed.

Philip came to me with the paper he was holding.

"Captain, it is said here that I am partnered to you sir." Philip said.

"Yes, that is correct." I replied. "The twins would want you close to them, and because I am tasked to guard the imperial couple then you can guard the two while they run around and play."

"I understand sir. I will do my duty carefully." Philp said with a salute.

"That is the spirit, young knight." I replied with a salute of my own.

The twins looked like they were getting bored in their seats and so Philip and I walked to them.

"It is a little boring that you do not have sword training now." Alphonse said getting up from his seat.

"Unfortunately, there is no training this morning because it is a special day." I replied. "The imperial knights are tasked with the safety of the palace."

"Then will brother Phil guard us as well?" Aerith had twinkling eyes in joy.

"Yes, that is correct little princess." I patted her head and smiled.

"Yey, that means brother Phil can play with us all day today." Aerith said with joy. "Come brother Phil, let's play in the garden." She pulled Philip's hand.

"Y-Yes princess…" Philip replied awkwardly and looked at me.

"Go on. You can guard her in disguise of playing." I whispered to him and he nodded. He let Aerith pull him.

"Uncle William." Alphonse had his hands up wanting to be carried and so I picked him up in my arms.

"I cannot play with you my little prince. I am tasked to guard your imperial mother and father." I said. "Let me carry you to the garden so that you can play with Philip and your sister. It will be not long before your cousins arrive."

"I know." Alphonse replied calmly.

Sometimes the little prince acts so maturely from his real age. Maybe it is because he was destined for something great when he grows up.

I walked towards the palace gardens while carrying Alphonse in my arms. I might have no children of my own, but I consider the imperial children as if they were mine as well. I love them and promise to protect them as I protect their parents.

"When I grow up will you also teach me the sword, Uncle William?" Alphonse asked while we were on the way to the palace gardens.

"I think your father the emperor would be the one teaching you swordsmanship your highness." I replied. "He is a much skilled swordsman than I am."

"Really? But I also want to learn your techniques as well." Alphonse replied. "I can see how you are training brother Philip and he also gets swordsmanship lessons from father as well. I think he would be a great swordsman with both your teachings, so I want to learn from you and father as well."

"Then if his majesty the emperor approves of it, I will teach you my own sword techniques." I replied.

"Yey!" Alphonse clapped with joy. "I will also want to learn from Uncle Dimitri, and Sir Chris and maybe Uncle Gladiolus…" He trailed off with the names of persons that had great sword techniques.

I was looking at the young boy before me being happy about learning the sword, but I also see a glint in his eyes that seems to contain his eagerness to learn. I felt proud as a father would, to see that the little prince has set his goals for the future. I promised to myself that I would do everything I can to help the prince to prepare for his quest in the future.

I may have no family of my own, but I consider everyone in the palace as a family. I am happy being here, and this is what gives me happiness. I may not know what the future holds, but for now being here is where I should be.