Chapter 1. Prologue
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Oliver spun around and examined Shed.
“You have many scars on your body, but these are old sword scars so I can’t do anything about it. And for the branding, I’m sure you know well that you can’t use your strength on the Princess.”
Oliver said with a cautious expression.
It was only after he had checked everything about this man’s body that Oliver’s question was answered. He was a slave, but strangely his branding was not out of control, so his health was almost normal. It was then that he finally understood why Raha was exhausted.
With all his questions answered, Oliver sat down across from Shed.
“What kind of tea do you like?” (Oliver)
“Why do you ask?” (Shed)
“I was aware of the intentions of the Princess who sent me to you even though you’re not sick. Perhaps she wanted me to be your conversation partner.” (Oliver)
“A conversation partner?” (Shed)
Shed was momentarily taken aback. No, aside from that ‘lover’ expression from earlier, what makes the Princess think that anything serious will happen to him when she leaves him to spend time alone for a day?
Living with a Princess whose face looked like a crying child every day, he didn’t know he would be treated as a child.
“No thanks. Please go.” (Shed)
“Hmm? Ah……what kind of liquor do you like?” (Shed)
“I don’t enjoy it that much. You should go.” (Shed)
“Then feel free to tell me what you enjoy doing. As an Imperial Physician, the mental health of those I care for is very important to me.”
Oliver seemed to be very serious about Raha’s orders than he thought.
‘And you’re enjoying it?’
Instantly Shed remembered the sword he had always held and lived by. But it was more for survival than for complete enjoyment.
What did he do to make it fun?
“I’m going.” (Shed)
At that moment, he remembered Raha had kissed him on the cheek. The expression “joy” came to mind, and the scene followed reflexively. It was enough to make Shed feel a little confused.
“I have nothing to do than to wait for her.”
It wasn’t much different than a dog waiting for its master……… It wasn’t as unpleasant, though. He was brought into this imperial palace and now the Princess wanted him to talk to a doctor, but she was the one who wanted to die.
Shed stared at Oliver, who was looking at him with sparkling eyes.
As he did so, a deep question suddenly crept into his mind.
“Did you just say mental health?” (Shed)
“Yes? Yes, I did.” (Oliver)
“Why do you only take care of my mental health?” (Shed)
“What about the others?” (Shed)
At that moment, Oliver’s smile hardened.
Because there was no way he couldn’t understand what this beautiful slave meant now. As the attending physician, Oliver had a duty to take care of one’s health more faithfully as the empire’s loyal imperial physician.
The Imperial Princess who had never asked about the name of any medication that had been given to her except for stabilizers.
The light slowly faded from Oliver’s olive eyes.
The boy crouched his shoulders and moved his hands like a child. A short silence drifted between the imperial slave and the imperial doctor.
The words flowed out slowly.
“I’m not allowed to treat her.”
Oliver’s eyes sank miserably.
“So all I can heal are physical wounds at best.”
* * *
It had been three hours since the young doctor had left.
“By the way, the Princess will not come back here for a week. She had to prepare for a banquet. Because she’s the only hostess of the imperial family.” (Oliver)
Oliver, who spoke in his usual unfamiliar tone, asked with some confusion.
“Are you sad?” (Oliver)
Shed laughed out loud.
“That’s good. If you are lonely, you can write down your feelings in this notebook with the pen that I brought. This is much better for your mental health than just holding them in your mind…….” (Oliver)
Oliver was right, Raha didn’t come even after ten o’clock.
It was almost midnight and she was nowhere to be seen.
Shed lifted his gaze while reading the book Raha had brought from the Outer Palace. When he unfolded the green book on the small table where he could reach, the dagger was still well positioned inside.
He threw the book with a plop and grabbed the dagger. He had been holding swords since he was a child. The dagger wasn’t bad, but the heavier sword fit Shed’s hands better.
He lifted my head and looked up at the roof and the slanted pane of glass by the window. The moon was bright today. The sight of the moonlight rounding in was somehow excessive for a knight who had lived without a single habitat.
It seemed to be snowing.
No, it was snowing.
Shed remembered the thin dress that Raha always wore (*Karzen made Raha wear only thin dresses). The Princess had a very high status, but she didn’t pay the least attention to her own body temperature. If she was to freeze to death and not be able to lift a finger or two, would the people worry about her then?
He pushed the dagger back into the book.
It was then that he felt the presence of a person. Who would be here at this hour? Shed walked to the doorway to the east wing and opened the door.
The ceiling of the corridor in the east wing was more than 70% glass, and the night sky, with its endless snowfall, caught his eyes.
He had the illusion that Raha was walking in the snow.
“You haven’t slept?”
Raha smiled. Shed was told that the Princess wouldn’t be able to come for a week. So he threw away his hopeless disappointment.
It was late, when everyone was asleep. The shimmering moonlight, the falling white snow and the brilliant cold. All of these were jumbled together.
Shed looked at her with a strange feeling.
“I was told you couldn’t come.”
Instead of answering, Raha lifted her chin and stared at Shed. It seemed ridiculous to her that he had come out like this at night.
“I said I would come at night.”
She wrapped her arms around Shed’s neck. In an almost instinctive action, he lightly lifted Raha’s body and pressed her tightly against his chest. It was the kind of contact that could best be described as a “tight hug.”
“I can’t stay long.”
She wouldn’t not be able to come tomorrow, and a whole week.
“So what should we do?”
Raha whispered, and kissed Shed lightly on the lips. Kissing him while wearing thin clothes like that, Shed thought she was playing with fire. This Princess was really active in a funny way.
While thinking about that….
He gladly untied her shawl with one hand. He felt an incomprehensible urge to lick Raha’s smile with his tongue. Shed tilted his chin and kissed Raha deeply.
Raha’s clothes fell off.
* * * *
A week flew like an arrow.
Raha ordered a dessert with alcohol in chocolate to be served at the banquet this time. Already two weeks ago, the imperial kitchen had been hard at work, airlifting all the precious food in from all over the world.
It was cold in the middle of winter, but it was still the perennial social culture of the Delo Empire to use a lot of glass to show as much of the outside scenery as possible. It would cost a lot of money for heating, but there was no reason for the imperial family to worry about the money.
All of the large windows, more than twice as tall as a man, had new red velvet curtains. Tightly defined and richly creased, with delicately colored gold thread patterns on the edges. Everywhere you looked, it was an imperial banquet.
The sweet melody of the orchestra, hidden like a background, echoed ceaselessly. The atmosphere itself was different from the previous banquets, where the priests were dragged in.
It had to be.
‘It’s a party to choose the emperor’s fiancée…’
‘It’s a nice atmosphere.’
The emperors of the past had naturally hardly ever held this party. The emperor’s marriages were, of course, absolute political, and it was common for the emperor to enter into a betrothal with the daughter of a family that met his requirements beforehand, and then made her Empress.
In fact, Karzen had also exchanged marriage proposals with several daughters of large noble families in the background. However, there was only a back-and-forth of matchmaking. The young emperor, who had more full military power in his blood than any of the previous emperors, did not hide the fact that he did not like all the ladies.
They would throw a party to soften the frosty atmosphere anyway. It was not a bad idea for everyone. Karzen also wouldn’t be able to ignore the pleas of the nobles to pay a little attention to the frozen internal affairs.
In any case, the gazes of the nobles, who had been busy with their calculations, were focused in one place a moment later when they heard a loud voice saying that the emperor was about to enter.
* * * *
“You put a lot of effort into it. Raha.”
It was Karzen’s candid tribute to the banquet hall.
“Do you like it?”
“Not as much as you do now, I’m afraid.”
Large diamond earrings sparkled on Raha’s ears. The earrings, finished in pure gold, were revealed to be one set with the necklace. There was another, more visible one, if she had to choose a combination.
Raha had a dress of a color similar to that of Karzen’s clothes. It had been designed that way by the Imperial Chief Designer from the beginning.
Karzen lightly kissed the back of Raha’s gloved hand. He didn’t like a wife, a fiancée, an empress, or anything else, but he knew the essential purpose of this banquet, and he was dressed like a grown man.
Raha glanced at the profile of the twin, who looked very much like her.
The young and beautiful emperor.
It was a romantic banquet to openly choose an empress.
It was all good. It was good.
Instead of having the eyes of the successor, he mercilessly invaded other countries, so it would be good to do this to renew the image. Duke Esther had advised him to find a fiancée at the right time.
Good. Weaknesses also turned into opportunities, so Karzen must have been very lucky.
She was the twin born on the same day at the same time, but Raha didn’t have much luck.
*Okay, let me give you a little bit of information about this novel. For some who were confused about the prologue, the prologue was a chapter of the future event, which will happen and explain around chapter 70-ish. So chapter 2 to chapter 70-ish are the start of the story, how everything will unfold and lead to the prologue chapter.
Right now to chapter 70-ish, Shed the ML is an unknown slave with unknown background, no one knows he is a king even Raha (the priests know he’s the king, of course). And only Raha knows his name is Shed, everyone else including Karzen, only know the slave named is 192.