Chapter 1. Prologue
Despite all the judgments running rampant in his head, Severo poured water into the teapot like a faithful and obedient servant. The tea leaves that came to the emperor’s main palace were different every hour, as Karzen did not usually have much of a favorite tea.
The only thing he could find in common was that all of them were a precious variety that could only be bought by giving one gold piece per spoonful. The fragrance of the tea filled the audience chamber with a wonderful aroma.
“The wise men are arriving in four days.”
Karzen mumbled. He lightly gripped his fingers in Raha’s blue hair, which swayed in front of him, as he said.
“When the wise men left for the desert years ago. Do you remember the fact that they left without making any choices?”
Of course she knew that. It was when the previous Emperor decided to hand over the throne to Crown Prince Karzen, not to Raha, the heir with the blue eyes. In fact, half of the nobles thought that the wise men would strongly oppose it.
But the wise men did not rebel in any way. They did not display any opinion. There was no reason for Karzen’s bad mood to be offended by their lukewarm silence.
The wise men left for the desert shortly after. In the meantime, it would mean that it didn’t matter how Karzen broke Raha.The interpretation was arbitrary, but at least Karzen thought so.
Not a few nobles must have thought so, too, after seeing many slaves were presented to Raha’s sleeping chamber.
The national wedding was around the corner.
Now that the wise men were returning, this time they would not be able to avoid the answer.
It was Raha who inherited the eye of the heir.
But it was Karzen who had inherited the throne.
“When they come back this time, I will order them to make a definitive choice.”
“…… Is that so?”
“Because it’s already too late.”
Why bother after all this time? Since the wise men were suitably silent, couldn’t Karzen also pretend to be suitably unaware and go on with his life?
Raha did not utter the natural question that was in her mind.
Karzen pulled on Raha’s waist. Raha was buried deeply in his arms and Karzen placed his lips on her neck.
“Raha del Harsa.”
“I think the wise men will choose you.”
Severo, who had been preparing the tea for what seemed like forever, his eyes sharpened for a moment. As the first aide to the emperor and Karzen’s right hand man, he looked sharply at Raha, who was being held against Karzen’s chest.
Severo’s gaze did not soften as he watched the smile that had been smiling at him since the moment she entered this chamber, a smile that had never been disturbed by a single factor.
Just barely filling that brief moment when Karzen’s patience felt at its limit, Raha opened her mouth.
She whispered in a voice that did not defy even a speck of dust.
“The wise men will not choose me.”
“How can you be sure?”
“The emperor is Karzen, are you not? It is not me. I only have the eyes of the heir.”
“Don’t you know what that means?”
“I know what it means. But Karzen. What good would it do if you let me take Blake Duke’s treasure sword and hold it in my hand?”
Karzen extended his arm and laid Raha’s hand on top of his. Then he moved it slightly as if teaching her the sword.
“There will be people who will try to move your arm.”
“It can be anyone. Don’t you remember the frontier Count who died a few years ago? He was charged with beheading and his head was on the chandelier in the grand banquet hall.”
Raha‘s voice sounded different. At that moment, Karzen felt a strong sense of déjà vu. Just the other day, hadn’t his twin made that kind of voice? She was always like a doll in his arms, but she sounded like that when her fiancé came and took her away from him…
“I love my fiancé.”
At that moment, Karzen’s breathing stopped. It was a moment. Severo, who was pouring the tea, acted the same.
Hot tea was poured, but Severo reflexively closed his eyes before opening them.
It was pitch blackness followed by a swarm of light. Despite the fact that his vision was turned upside down for a moment, nothing was changed. Raha’s face, daring to speak of love in front of Karzen, was still only overwhelmingly lovely.
“So now I am really scared. I don’t even want to see a political battle in which my beloved fiancé might get involved and die. The dukes said. ‘Once you are married, you should never even come to the Imperial Palace, you should live in Hildes.”
“……Who said that?”
The voice was low and rough, heavy like iron. Karzen cleared his throat.
“Who dares to say such a thing to you?”
“Who? Everybody does.”
Raha did not bother to say that the Duke of Winston had said that. Moreover, the duke did not say it that badly.
“So I really want to live in peace now, Karzen. Would some fool try to move the arms of the royal family, who have completely dropped their swords? Are the nobles of Delo so stupid?”
Karzen’s hand gripping Raha’s wrist was growing more and more powerful. It was an action that Karzen himself was not consciously aware of. The marks began to redden on Raha’s white skin, but she was still just smiling meekly, as if she felt nothing.
Such a soft voice cut through the crawling air.
“If Karzen falls in love, would you be as soft as I am?”
Raha and Karzen’s gazes, which had been facing each other, turned back at the same time at the instantaneous burst of sound they heard.
Severo bent down on his knees with a bewildered look on his face. Now he really felt the strength leave his hands. It was because he had heard what he didn’t want to hear.
“I’m sorry. My hand slipped and I missed the cup.”
“Why don’t you call the servant and have him clean it up?”
“No, please continue talking.”
Raha immediately looked at Karzen as if she had lost interest. As she did so, she eventually groaned.
“It hurts. Karzen.”
Karzen finally let go of his hand that was holding Raha’s wrist. The act of wrapping his palm around the red raised mark felt very gentle. To some fools it would seem so.
However, no one here was a fool.
While Raha was looking down at her reddened wrist, Karzen raised her chin. Then he lowered his head. He kissed her cheek deeply and slowly lifted head.
‘The wise men will surely choose you.’ It was a gut feeling that convinced him as he was the emperor of the Delo Empire and heir to Delharsa.
In fact, it was also what Karzen wanted very much. Yes, it had to be done. (*Karzen hoped the wise men would choose Raha so Raha would not go to Hildes.)
“Your palace will not even dare to mention Lady Winston.”
The marriage with Hildes would be annulled, and no one would dare to request a subsequent marriage to Raha del Harsa. Karzen’s desire would be unofficially justified…
Because it was love.
“I love my fiancé.”
Because you dare to love.
“Don’t say anything to Lady Winston.”
“Do you care already?”
“We’ll be a family soon.”
“Yes, family. There is no need to wander far away when this Imperial Palace is home to our family. Raha.”
“Will Karzen be as soft as I am when he falls in love?”
Severo did not make the mistake of breaking the glass once and serving it again.
“Your Majesty, Princess. Let’s have some tea. It will be cold.”
Karzen lifted Raha’s hair and kissed it before setting her down.
* * *
Jamela Winston quickly turned around. The Duke of Winston was approaching quickly. He was about to cross the corridor of the Imperial Palace. As soon as he saw her, he walked quickly over and asked:
“Have you finished the preparations to receive the wise men? You haven’t been home for four days, so I didn’t have a chance to ask.”
“Yes, father. There may be some things missing, but….”
Jamela shifted her gaze to the large conference room containing the disciples of the wise men.
“Who would have the mind to find a small flaw?”
“Father, please come in.”
Duke Winston sighed and stepped closer. His steps were heavy. Duke Esther was bringing the wise men with him. Duke Winston concentrated on the fact that the national wedding was being done perfectly, and he was pleased with that fact.
However, he did not expect the emperor to force the wise men to make a “choice”. For in all likelihood, it seemed that the wise men would choose the Princess with the blue eyes.
Wasn’t that lukewarm silence rather nice? Why did the emperor dare to point out what everyone pretended not to know?
No one knew the emperor’s intentions. The Duke of Winston was convinced that perhaps even Duke Esther did not know.
The only one who might have guessed was the Duke of Winston, because he was the only one who had the blue blood of the Delo Empire at his disposal.
‘He (Karzen) would not let the Princess go to Hildes.’
So far, everyone thought that Raha del Harsa was a threat to the imperial power, so they tried to keep her in a cage and tighten the situation. The same was true for the Duke of Winston. However, as he watched the emperor, who would soon become a great son-in-law, something disturbing was seen.
Was it really just the appearance of a tyrant who wanted to keep the Princess in a birdcage because she posed a direct threat to the imperial power?
Was that the only reason?
It was interesting.
“Duke Winston. This way …….”
The Duke entered the meeting room that Jamela had prepared for days, unable to return to the mansion. It was a place to welcome the return of the wise men and at the same time to announce the clear position of the wise men, which Karzen had ordered by surprise.
Already in position were all the dukes and marquises of the empire, and a Count whose legitimacy was within three fingers. (*not sure what this mean)
There was a place that looked like they were made by drawing eight stars. This was the seating arrangement used for the official invitation of the wise men in Delo. They returned from the desert. Therefore, the wise men, whose faces were redder and more burnt than they had been for several years, were going to sit there for the first time in a very long time.
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