Chapter 1. Prologue
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“Greetings, Your Majesty.”
Everything was flawless.
Even at a party like this, Karzen and her unmarried self could be seen as friendly twins.
Three hours passed, and the introduction of the noblewomen was over. Raha, who had to sit next to him the whole time and listened to the greetings together, noticed a hint of boredom on Karzen’s face.
It was understandable. Raha was pretty bored too.
“I’ll see you later then. Raha.”
Raha’s words quickly became polite as people watched. Of course she had to do that. Because when she didn’t call him by his name, Karzen’s eyes began to grow cold.
Raha knew that Karzen’s gaze stayed with her for a very long time. It made her tense up the whole time, and she had to try hard to keep her body strong.
It got a little comfortable after Karzen went dancing.
Then she became aware of what new rumors had been spread during the week she had been confined to the inner palace.
“The magic branding is now known to many of the nobles.”
The sorcerer, who was Karzen’s confidant and who carved his magic into each of the slaves, approached.
“Since I branded them in front of a large number of priests, how could the event go unnoticed?”
Now if the next slaves came in again and died quickly, the nobles would be eager to know about it under the surface. Whether the slaves were dying quickly because of their magic branding or because of Princess Raha’s sadistic sexual preference…. It was none of her business.
However, if it was the former, it was easy to guess that the nobles would certainly be afraid of Karzen. He was very good at tightening the collars of the nobles in this way.
Raha came down from the upper seat and made her way to the table where she could sit, appropriately. As a rule, there was always at least one seat reserved for the royal family, so if she sat at the most crowded table, that was it. They were all invited here anyway, and they were all nobles of at least the Count’s family or higher.
Moreover, the upper tables that were relatively close to Karzen were all full of noble daughters of the same age as Raha. In other words, they were Karzen’s brides.
“I greet you, Your Highness.”
Raha was the first to sit down, with a painted smile on her face. The ladies followed her and sat down. On the table was a sumptuous array of desserts that had been painstakingly prepared in the Imperial Palace kitchen.
Raha thought while tasting the champagne.
‘Everyone must have eaten very hard.’
As expected, it was a good idea to serve chocolates with alcohol. The sweet and elegant taste made people reach out to taste just one more. They could eat four of them easily.
Once the alcohol was added, it became much easier to sip on the champagne and wine. Of course, a party was only normal when it was fun and exciting, but how strange the atmosphere must be when the nobles who couldn’t drink were shivering.
If Karzen’s mood gets bad, who would handle it?
Raha admired the champagne bubbling up with a thin smile on her face.
It had been a while since there was a banquet with an atmosphere of unraveling. And surely in a crowd of drunken people, there was always bound to be someone who would make a mistake.
Moreover, there were certainly people in the imperial family who didn’t mind receiving “hostility”.
Like Raha del Harsa.
It all started with the sound of a missed champagne glass.
The noblewoman sitting at one of the tables gave a surprised look.
A voice shouted in surprise. Raha saw two people who looked like a mother and daughter. The mother must have come to see her daughter.
They seemed to have a very good parent-child relationship, daring to come this far to see their daughter even though they were seated like this.
Raha knew only after seeing the lady’s face up close.
It was the Queen of a neighboring country.
This was not an occasion to invite only nobles in the country. It was just that Karzen, the emperor of the Delo empire, had stepped on too many toes, and usually political marriages were frequently held between other countries as well.
”I’m sorry, Your Highness.”
The apologies repeatedly came back to Raha, the highest ranking person nearby.
“I was so surprised…”
The Queen placed her hands on her chest in a graceful manner and gasped for breath. Indeed, how well armed she was. But her attitude was still qualitatively different from that of the somewhat half-hearted young ladies.
“I’ve heard terrible things. Your Highness.”
The way she approached Raha to apologize and stabbed her purposely was unusual.
“I heard that there was a slave with a particularly beautiful face among the slaves.”
She must be talking about Shed. Raha came to know the story later, but in the imperial society, there was even a secret word that Shed was not a slave of the princess, but a doll.
Raha replied, still holding her champagne glass.
“Yes, there is.”
The Queen asked with a worried look on her face.
“Was it so beautiful that you had to bring in the priests?”
‘I did not bring them here.’
“But I was told that the slaves are no match for the magic and that they will all be dead within months.”
‘They will die in a few minutes.’
“Aren’t there too many slaves? They’re kept hidden and we can’t even see any.”
‘The mad tyrant who has trampled lives will not allow it.’
Raha didn’t even smile. She didn’t really feel sick and her face stiffened. If she was, she wouldn’t have been able to draw a single smile in front of Karzen.
She glanced at the girl standing beside the Queen as she called her ‘mother’.
She was the Queen’s daughter, so she must be a princess.
She was a princess.
She looked clear, seemingly without a single wrinkle.
It was the same for everyone who attended here, but it was especially noticeable that they were particularly decorated.
Everyone can dream.
From the looks of it, the Queen cared for her daughter, either as property or as a child. So, even in this glittering banquet hall, her daughter would be the most beautiful and adorable.
Even the dream to be the Imperial Empress didn’t seem so far-fetched.
Maybe that was why the twin Princess, who was attached to the emperor’s side and even used magic on the slaves, must be so disgusting.
Or maybe the Queen was just angry that the Holy Kingdom was destroyed. Many people were angry at Raha because they couldn’t get angry with Karzen.
Air bubbles came up from the glass of champagne she was holding.
It was none of Raha’s business what kind of woman Karzen would have as his empress. In fact, she didn’t know how the ladies would react to him if the crazy emperor showed even the slightest sign of interest in them.
But at least not in this kingdom, where they could pick a fight face to face.
Raha was tired of the Queen being particularly hostile to her.
“It’s a pity to see them rolling around in the shadows…..”
Raha smiled slowly.
“If the Queen wishes, I will invite you to my palace tonight. That’s where my slaves are staying.”
“But only my slaves can enter my palace.”
Raha’s eyelashes fluttered slowly. A smile slowly spread across the Queen’s face as she understood what Raha meant.
“Do you want to make me a slave of the Princess?”
All of the royals invited to this banquet were the pinnacle of the kingdom, whose country was strong and possessed reliable resources. To take the Queen of such a country as a slave was, by all accounts, a unilateral declaration of war.
Above all, Raha was not an Empress, but an Imperial Princess.
That meant that a slightly less burdensome existence was right behind her. Everything would be less problematic when she drew a line that fit.
Raha’s gaze turned to the Queen’s side.
“Maybe your Princess can.”
As Raha took a step closer, the princess who had been following the Queen’s side involuntarily backed away. Raha knew from the moment she felt like she was loved by a devoted mother, and she was.
“Princess. Your joke is amusing.”
Raha laughed faintly, as if she had just heard a very funny joke.
“You don’t seem to know much about me since you are a guest from another country, but I don’t like jokes.”
“I suppose I could ask His Majesty.”
It was not long before the Queen’s hands, hidden beneath her large sleeve, were weakened.
“What are you going to ask?”
The eyes of the nobles, which had been completely focused on Raha, shifted back. At the same time, an intimidating figure stood tall. It was Karzen.
“Raha. Did I hear it wrong?”
“This is the first I’ve heard there’s something my twin wants. What is it?”
So a normal, educated blue blood had to do that much here. Because the Queen seemed to have understood Raha’s warning well enough. She deserved to be shown graceful mercy…….
“Can you give a woman as a slave?”
In a flash, the Queen’s breath hardened. Karzen looked at Raha strangely. The answer came after a delay.
Now the neighborhood princess’s face began to turn pale.
“This is the first time I’ve heard of a slave you want. Who do you want?”
Karzen looked around slowly. He could see the faces of the Queens and the Princesses one after the other among the nobles, who were also breathing carefully, but they failed to catch Karzen’s attention. Karzen looked again at Raha, who looked so numb and nonchalant.
Raha smiled at the urging voice.
“Not right now.”
It was a subtle answer.
“Tell me right away if you have one.”
That’s right. Such banquets were not to Karzen’s liking, and he would probably like to start raging like a blood-crazed man again now.
Raha smiled softly.