Chapter 1. Prologue
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Raha walked on, making an effort not to put a lot of pressure on her hands. The feeling that had been impeccable earlier was sinking lower and lower with each rising orange scent. In no time at all, everything started to bother her.
Why don’t those nobles drink alcohol again? What are you going to do against Karen’s feelings when you are all frozen like that? Why do the priests look so pale after what she had said yesterday?
Why is it so hot in the middle of winter and it’s so loud in the banquet hall? Everyone is talking like crazy and laughing desperately.
Why in the world?
How much more sleeping with Shed, would they succeed in the experiment to break this heir’s eye?
Should I go back now and spend all day cooped up with him?
Raha’s spinning head came together with one anger.
Why am I still alive?
Her beautiful shoes, adorned with rubies, stop in their tracks. It stopped. Her feet, momentarily oblivious to their destination, didn’t move as if they were rooted to the spot.
To Raha, it felt like an eternity.
To others, it was only a few seconds.
The well-educated legitimate Princess eventually came to her senses.
She was a Princess whom everyone desperately treated with smiles, though her brief travelogue was not even mentioned in the rumors. On the other hand, she could see that everyone was glancing at her.
It was because she was an imperial Princess who was loved and hated by the twin emperor.
She walked towards Karzen. He was with some military men, who looked moderately bored and moderately interested.
The champagne glass he held in his hand glowed beautifully under the chandelier lights.
The nobles, who had noticed Raha approaching, bowed their heads.
Then they naturally drew back. And Raha was next to Karzen.
Karzen’s gaze dropped down. Dressed in a white dress and diamonds, Raha and a dry bouquet of flowers did not go well together.
Karzen tilted his chin lightly.
“What is that bouquet of flowers?”
“Duke Esther gave it to me.”
A close by nobleman hurriedly spoke.
“Duke Esther always gives flowers to the Princess once a year, doesn’t he?”
‘I think it was something similar to this the other day…….’
The nobleman didn’t really ask out of curiosity, he just pretended to be amused in a desperate attempt to get his face recognized again in front of Karzen.
Raha looked up at Karzen. He had a sour face. He looked like he both knew and didn’t know why Duke Esther was giving her this bouquet of flowers.
No, it was a look of disinterest.
The nobles near Karzen were busy bringing up the subject. It was like a swarm of ants on sugar, but it didn’t matter.
Karzen was listening with the same absent-minded expression as ever this time, when he suddenly heard the report of the approaching chamberlain.
“The priests will be leaving soon, Your Majesty.”
Karzen looked at Raha without nodding.
He didn’t say it out loud. He whispered quietly into her ear. But the nobles, whose every nerve was focused on Karzen and Raha, all saw the scene.
It was a one-dimensional and foolish move to shut their mouths as soon as the emperor opened his mouth. Now they had to be thoroughly in the background, because they had to somehow create a noise that was pleasant and not disturbing.
Even as the noble twin spoke in secret, the nobles standing in front of them exchanged personal banter with amused looks on their faces.
This was the true advantage of being in power. No matter who the person was, they had to do their best not to offend him.
It was a contrast to their non-powerful counterparts, who were eagerly clamoring for mindless words.
And so, the pinnacle of the Delo empire, Raha’s twin, spoke in her ears.
“What did you and High Priest Amar talk about yesterday?”
Karzen’s voice was gentle, but Raha knew that he wasn’t just throwing it out there with interest. As proof of this, Karzen’s gray eyes were definitely glowing.
“I’m curious about that.”
Raha pressed her lips to Karzen’s ear. If Karzen had been a little further forward, her lips would have blurred.
His gaze lingered obsessively on Raha’s blue eyes. Pretending not to know, Raha smiled and whispered.
“I asked him why he was trying to kill us.”
“I asked him how someone who serves God could be so brutal.”
Karzen, who was frozen for a moment, asked back.
“What did he say?”
“He just went pale. He didn’t say anything back.”
Shortly afterwards. A smile slowly crossed Karzen’s lips. With one hand on Raha’s face, Karzen bent his shoulders and laughed out loud.
“Oh, d*mn it, Raha. You are really…”
The emperor’s high-pitched laughter cut off the nobles who had been frantically talking. Everyone stared at Karzen, who was laughing, with relieved or anxious faces. Raha just smiled like an innocent clown.
“Why were you born as my twin?” (Karzen)
“Why? Do you want me to be born as something else?”
“Of course. Since you match me so well, you should have been born as a daughter of an appropriate noble family. Even if you were a daughter of a Baron, you’d be Empress immediately…”
Raha laughed. As the Emperor looked happy, and the Princess laughed happily, the nobles smiled with warm expressions on their faces.
Raha danced two more times with Karzen, then sat down beside him, who was no longer ambiguous to break social customs.
“Yes, do you like the slaves?”
“You came out early yesterday and today due to circumstances, but you won’t need to leave for a week.”
Karzen spoke softly, tugging Raha’s hair behind her ears.
“You must take good care of your slaves. They have nowhere else to turn but you.”
She smiled like Karzen. Maybe it was because they were twins, but when they were mimicking each other’s smiles, it was almost as if they really did have the same face.
“There’s nowhere else to turn but me.”
Those were the crisp words.
Karzen liked this aspect of Raha. She wouldn’t force the conversation. She mimicked what he said appropriately and shut up appropriately.
The twin, who stole the blue eyes, was ferociously clever. She was so clever that she could put Karzen’s seething rage to sleep a thousand times over.
Feeling like a ravenous beast with a full stomach, Karzen slowly moved his gaze. His gaze lingers for a moment on the pupil embedded beneath Raha’s bright blue lashes.
Karzen tapped the armrest and asked, this time in a gentle way.
“Are you scared to be alone in the inner palace? Would you like me to stay with you?”
“Will you do that?”
“I can do as much as you want, if you want.”
She made up her mind that she had to rescind her earlier thought.
Even this powerful person could say things he didn’t mean.
Raha trampled her heart and swallowed it, then she smiled.
“It’s okay. Karzen.”
The dried bouquet, which had been left with the attendant for a while as she danced, was once again in Raha’s hand. The lifeless scent rose incessantly and Raha felt suffocated alive.
* * * *
“…… I’ll leave you to it, then.”
Shed frowned lightly and looked at the disappearing maidservants.
How many days had it been already?
In the morning, when Raha was not around, the maids came in and did a quick sweep. They kept the food filled, changed the sheets and vases, and wiped the floor and tub.
On the first day, they were startled and fainted when they saw Shed was alive. But that was all.
Because Shed was pretending to be in pain. In all likelihood, if it hadn’t been for the blood that the blue-haired Princess had given him, he would have either already gone to the other side because of the engraving seal or he would still be sick.
This seemed to be the appropriate course of action. It wasn’t difficult to lie in bed and pretend to be dying.
Shed thought he should ask when Raha came back today. Is it okay for the maids to see him alive?
Because the faces of the maidservants were paler than he expected.
Indeed, it seemed rare for anyone to be able to live through all that suffering.
Shed looked at the red pattern carved on his left chest.
He didn’t know such a strong seal could be engraved on the Princess’ slaves. The fact that the Delo empire’s prisoners of war became the Princess’ bedroom slaves were famous throughout the continent.
Almost all the slaves died early.
But the dirtier rumors about it were overwhelming.
The Princess had such destructively sadistic tastes that the slaves couldn’t stand it and died early.
It was not until Shed had slept with Raha that he understood. It was a ridiculous rumor.
The Princess was very clumsy.
She was really bad at it.
He could see that she had learned about physical act in theory. But unlike the Princess’s overbearing attitude and innate dignity, the behavior itself was clumsy.
The first time he inserted, she even fainted from the pain, so Shed couldn’t help but know that he was her first…… Shed frowned.
Despite this, rumors about the Princess’s sexual preferences were quite widespread, so it seemed that such rumors were deliberately spread.
Of course, the mastermind of this would have to be her twin, the Emperor.