‘Yeah, I think I lost.’
I neatly scrapped my plan to run away.
If I ran off to save myself, and the protagonist’s future went wrong, I’d probably regret today for the rest of my life.
‘It’s only six months.’
I’ll temporarily protect the protagonist for half a year, then hand him safely over to Ophelia and leave.
Okay, so I guess I have a new plan – now let’s get back to my current priority.
Let’s see, sweet boy, what’s your name?
“The name is, it’s…….”
What is it?
“Ah, I don’t have one yet.”
What? Why doesn’t he have a name?
I was about to ask for clarification when I got a shocking answer.
A bell chimed and a quest window popped up.
Ah. Yes, I see.
I remember when I started playing the game, I started by naming the main character.
‘What do I do with this?’
I’m not Ophelia, so I’m guessing I’m being rewarded with “temporary guardianship” status of some sort.
I don’t know what it is, but I’m not going to be a permanent guardian, so I’ll take whatever I can get, right?
I muttered an acceptance with a spoonful of selflessness, and a cursor-like thing appeared above the kid’s head and blinked, just like in the game.
‘Do you mind if I name you?’
“I guess a dog needs a name.”
I don’t know what it was about my mean words that made him so happy, but his eyes sparkled like shooting stars on a deep blue lake.
I didn’t want to disappoint the child, but I didn’t have to think long.
I had a name I’d been calling him for a very long time. I rolled the name slowly on my tongue, gauging his reaction.
“Your name is Ratchet from today.”
(T/N: The Korean Romanization was Jwibamtol, and it means ‘Rat chestnut.’
We’re doing our best to use a name that isn’t so disruptive to the immersion of reading, and that keeps the dialogue faithful to the original intent of the ‘Belinda Translator’ insulting him.)
His eyes widened at my words.
“My name is…… Ratchet.”
I grinned, covering my lower face with my fan.
Yes, Rachet! How about that, don’t you love it…….?
Who the hell just told my Leo he’s called Ratchet?
Tap, tap, tap.
Soon there was a typing sound and the name I’d given him popped up above Leo’s head.
A fanfare followed, and then……
Argh, look at this damned system!
You’re calling Leo ‘Rat chestnut’ when he’s perfectly fine. What a joke!
My boy’s name is Leo!
‘May you grow up to be as brave and healthy as a lion!’
“It’s a fitting name for you, because you’re as dirty as a rat and as small as a chestnut.”
Leo, who had been standing with a sullen face at my words, rubbed the corners of his eyes with his sleeve.
“Yes, um, yeah.”
“Yes, I am Ratchet!”
Hmph. Why the hell can’t we just address him as Leo?!
* * *
“Your task is to attend to Lady Belinda,” the maid said in a stern manner as she stood in front of the old oak door.
‘What does ‘attend’ mean?’
Leo didn’t know what the word meant, but he wasn’t in the right place to ask.
And when he finally came face to face with the figure in the door–
“You look like an animal.”
Leo hung his head, feeling like the lowest, most insignificant thing in the world.
The gaze was cold.
And the look on Belinda’s face as she twisted the corners of her mouth at the sight of him….
He wanted to turn around and walk away, but Leo pinched his thigh and held on.
‘I don’t want to go back to the orphanage.’
It was through his sheer desperation that Belinda finally gave him permission to work at the mansion.
Leo steeled himself. No matter how hard it was, he would do it.
‘What Belinda wants me to do is…….’
“You’re wearing these firewood sticks as limbs. I don’t like the way you look, so you need to fatten up. Chef!”
‘Anything, My Lady.’
“I don’t like cold beds. Ratchet, warm the bed with your body heat.”
“I will do that.”
“The desserts are terrible. Ratchet, eat all of this crap right now!”
‘But what is this charred, blackened food?’
Hesitantly, he took a bite of the mysterious food handed to him by Belinda and popped it into his mouth.
The muscles in Leo’s face, stiff with tension, relaxed.
‘It looked like a lump of coal…… and yet it was so incredibly sweet.’
Back in the servants’ quarters, Leo tapped his foot and pondered the sweetness of the fondant chocolate.
Then he tilted his head, as if suddenly realizing something odd.
Is this what it’s supposed to be like?
Leo thought back to what he had done today.
A sweet nap in Belinda’s bed, fluffy as a cloud, three meals to fill his belly.
His hands, which hadn’t seen a drop of water or scrubbing all day, trembled with the taste of the sugar from his dessert.
‘And I have a name.’
It was the first thing Leo, who had nothing, had ever owned, and it was completely his, something he didn’t want anyone to take away from him.
“Yes, I’m Ratchet!”
Every time Belinda called his name, it was like someone tickled his heart with a feather.
It made him so happy that he was on the verge of tears.
‘Belinda is a little…… umm, a little bit scary, but I don’t think she’s a bad person. She’s letting me work in the mansion, and she’s even given me a name.’
Maybe this is where he can be the person he was meant to be.
Leo rested his head on his pillow with uncontainable anticipation.
“Why are you so hard on the boy? He’s just a child, unable to rebel against you.”
The voice was razor sharp.
The woman stared at her opponent, who held his sword to her throat. With her back to the moon, she couldn’t see his face.
Despite the fact that her life was at stake, she remained calm.
“If you ask me, why shouldn’t I harass it?”
With a defenseless tilt of her head, a few strands of blood-red hair were cut off by the blade.
The man’s hand on the sword twitched, but the woman was unperturbed.
“Just a poor orphan. He was once my servant, so if you ask me why I treat him with such disrespect…….”
For the first time, the woman’s expressionless face flashed with disgust.
“Well, it’s because I was born to be that way. I’m a natural-born noble, and I’m physiologically repulsed by lowly blood of unknown origin.”
The woman looked up at him and smiled, as if seeking agreement from a friend.
“Your Highness can understand my feelings, can’t you?”
“……I do not understand you.”
Finally, the man raised his sword high. The blade glowed eerily pale in the moonlight.
“I hope you will consider it my last mercy to let you go without pain.”
That was it.
The sound of a blade slicing through flesh.
Then the sound of something heavy rolling across the floor, and the screen faded to black…….
I woke up from my nightmare, my whole body drenched in a cold sweat. I raised my hand to my neck and felt my head still attached.
What a bullshit dream.
<Ending route number one of Hirome, the crown prince’s loyal sworn knight.>
This ending can be achieved when the protagonist participates in the annual swordsmanship tournament and performs well.
The crown prince, who hides his identity, gets involved with the protagonist at the tournament and, recognizing the child’s talent, becomes the protagonist’s secret sponsor in order to make him the head of the royal knights.
He goes to great lengths to support the child, and before you know it, he’s decapitating Belinda.
‘I didn’t realize it when I was playing, but the game is just selling me out.’
The crown prince of a country slits the throat of a noblewoman for the sake of a child he’s predicted to become a knight?
What the hell is that shit?
I dragged my heavy body up and sat back against the head of the bed.
I could barely lift a finger in the morning, and my head was so foggy I couldn’t think straight.
I can still see him. A hallucination of some wingless angel squatting at the window of …..my room?
“Good morning, Belinda.”
No, dear, what the hell are you doing here so early in the morning?
‘Wait. Is that a mop that Leo’s holding in his hand?’
As I stood there in a daze, unable to come to terms with the reality of the situation, Leo glanced at me and then spoke up.
“The garden is blooming so beautifully, and I thought if the window was dirty, Belinda wouldn’t be able to see it well when she looks out…….”
I clamped my hands over my mouth and barely swallowed a scream.
It wasn’t a hallucination. The winged angel was real – it was my Leo!