As Fay ascended the underground stairs, her initially hesitant steps gained a feather-light quality, allowing her to ascend two or three steps at a time. Upon emerging from the old tower, she left behind not just the structure but also any remnants of doubt, even forgetting Altair’s name.
The awkward moment when Altair attempted to call out to her just as she closed the iron gate was no longer her concern.
“Haaa… what should I do now?” Fay pondered, taking a moment to catch her breath outside the tower and placing her hands on her knees. The spiral staircase she had just climbed from the basement had left her gasping for air.
The old tower, Altair’s residence, was situated within the Imperial Palace and stood in isolation from the other buildings. Curiously, she encountered only a couple of guards who were barely managing to stave off their weariness. The surrounding area was just flat ground.
It was evident that no carriages were available; Fay had surreptitiously slipped out of the mansion to rendezvous with Altair.
Fortunately, there was a nearby side gate by the old tower specifically designated for the servants.
As time passed, Fay realized she couldn’t stay still. She moved through the gate, using her dress sleeve to wipe away the beads of sweat.
“What? A dress?”
Walking through the inner fortress, Fay stopped at a lengthy bridge. She observed that she was adorned in a navy blue cloak draped over a dark blue velvet dress embellished with delicate white frills. Dangling from her earlobes were sizable earrings adorned with sapphires, and her peculiar pale green hair seemed to float and resemble a weightless balloon.
Upon confirming her reflection, Fay’s true identity and location came into sharp focus.
She found herself in the heart of the Brimfe Empire, within the city of Tighalst—the very imperial capital fortified by formidable walls. She, Fay, now shouldered the mantle of being the new head of the Marquis of O’Bellie, a lineage tracing back to the fallen aristocracy of Brimfe, known as the ‘Descendants of the Fairy King Oberon.’
“What should I make of this?” Fay wondered, grappling with an unfamiliar sense of self and an unexplainable void.
Thankfully, fragments of the ‘Fay’ persona still lingered in her mind, easing her path to O’Bellie’s mansion in Tighalst.
Yet, the true extent of help from this memory remained shrouded in uncertainty.
After a long walk, Fay reached the O’Bellie mansion; the sky had turned a deep shade of indigo. She hurried through the gates, attempting to tidy her disheveled hair.
The mansion, once as grand as a palace, now emanated a somber aura, like an empty husk. There were no maids to greet her, and the once-famed O’Bellie garden had lost its charm, now steeped in an eerie atmosphere.
In this mansion belonging to a fallen family, only two individuals resided.
“You went in there again, huh?” a man greeted her with a voice tinged with displeasure as soon as she stepped in the entrance hall, crossing through the garden.
The voice reverberated in her mind, causing Fay to furrow her brows.
The man appeared like an angel, as if fashioned from a pure white snowball. His features were pristine white soft bangs, large cat-like eyes, smooth skin, a sharp nose, and red lips. At a glance, one might mistake him for a messenger sent by God.
“Fay Le O’Bellie. Why are you being so pitiful?” The man, ‘Deneb La O’Bellie,’ inquired while leaning against the wall in the dimly lit entrance hall, his arms folded.
He represented the third key character in the story.
Fay Le O’Bellie had been an only child from the start. Her parents had passed away, and her sole source of support had been her twin sister, Luné Le O’Bellie. The same applied to Luné.
Over time, their relationship grew as fragile as water-soaked paper, easily torn.
It was challenging to pinpoint exactly when this change occurred, but Fay often believed it began when Luné unilaterally introduced a ‘new brother,’ as if adopting a stray cat, without consulting her.
If only Luné hadn’t brought that completely white boy to the capital five years ago.
“…Deneb” Fay called out carefully. Nearly a decade had passed since they began living together, yet saying his name still felt somewhat awkward.
He was a ‘new brother,’ brought in by her twin sister, but he was never truly Fay’s brother.
“I warned you not to go to the Imperial Palace. The Crown Prince will never let you off the hook.”
Deneb’s grin was so beautiful that decoding the emotions it held felt like a luxury.
Deneb La O’Bellie was a complication Fay hadn’t anticipated. She had escaped Altair, only to be confronted by this man who proved to be even more troublesome.
Sixteen years ago, when Luné was eight years old.
She had just awakened with the power of a fairy. She was traveling from the capital to Fairytale in O’Bellie province to earnestly learn how to wield her newfound abilities. During that time, Fay was still in the capital, and Luné was left to navigate the journey alone.
Feeling fatigued from her travels, Luné stopped in a small, shabby town, hoping to catch some fresh air. The village had a certain gritty energy that only Luné could sense.
At the entrance of the narrowest alley in that village, a child dressed in ragged clothes grabbed Luné’s attention.
“Why are you here?” Luné inquired of the boy. At first sight, she believed an angel had descended into this world. The child radiated a pure white light, illuminating the otherwise dark alley.
The boy was adorned in pure white and clutched his knees closely, shielding himself. Yet, he blinked his misty eyes rapidly, as if wishing for someone to interact with him.
“You escaped? Why? What’s your name?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you live around here?”
“I don’t know.”
The boy’s consistent response of “I don’t know” regardless of the question left Luné perplexed.
“If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s okay.”
“I miss my mom, my dad, my younger sibling…”
The boy then continued to share his story. Despite speaking in a hushed tone, his words were audible to René. He hunched down, hiding his face in his knees, seemingly struggling to hold back tears.
“But I can’t see them anymore. No matter how far I run, I can’t find them.”
“Yeah… I don’t know what to do now.”
“Then come with me.”
The white boy raised his head and saw a girl with hair as pure white as his own, standing there smiling. The boy thought she looked like an angel who had descended from heaven.
The girl crouched down and tugged on her own hair.
“See, our hair is the same color.”
“So you can be my brother! I’ll choose your name and decide where you’ll live.”
“I’ll be your family.”
The boy was given the name ‘Deneb La O’Bellie’ by Luné and had been living under the same roof as the O’Bellie sisters since then. When eight-year-old Luné introduced a stranger as a new family member, they had no way of knowing the journey this decision would set them on.
Luné’s wish to officially register Deneb as part of the O’Bellie family faced strong opposition from vassal families, resulting in Deneb never being officially recognized as a member of the Marquis O’Bellie’s family.
While Luné regretted her inability to make Deneb her legal family, Deneb viewed this as a positive outcome. Remaining a stranger allowed him to retain the possibility of marrying her—a childish desire that brought him joy.
Thus, Luné always introduced him using the surname ‘O’Bellie,’ but in reality, he was simply ‘Deneb,’ without any official title.
Others around them always treated Deneb as an O’Bellie due to Luné’s insistence. Fay was no different. However, she never truly regarded Deneb as family.
“This is absurd. Did you really believe the crown prince would show interest in you just because you resemble her…?”
Deneb expressed irritation with a snort. In the game, he took on the role of Luné’s younger brother and was often portrayed as possessively infatuated, showing a gentle façade in front of Luné but revealing a cruel and cold-hearted personality behind her back.
Having only seen Luné since childhood, he had grown into a character with evident traits.
“Stupid, arrogant, and crazy.”
He openly exposed his true nature, at least in front of Fay. There was a specific rationale for his candor.
“Did you murder Luné for this?”