Chapter 1. Prologue
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Karzen, who had confirmed the reason for Raha’s disappearance from the banquet, opened his mouth.
“You should change your clothes and attend the banquet. It’s an imperial palace without a host, so you have to keep your place.”
One of the attendants left the bedroom to check the Princess’s dressing room. The outer palace was going to be noisy for a while.
The Kingsguard, who could not even raise their heads to Raha, tried to transport the body of the chamberlain that was lying on the floor. They did, but….
“I didn’t ask you to clean up.” (Karzen)
The Kingsguard immediately retreated. Karzen said without sincerity, loosening the buttons of his bloody uniform.
“Perhaps we should borrow your slave.”
Raha responded without hesitation.
It was a cold name. Livestock wouldn’t be raised like that.
“You didn’t even give him a name?”
“That’s his name.”
Karzen, who felt significantly better, smiled. His gray eyes stared at the slave who came before him. Shed still didn’t raise his head, but from his appearance, he looked strong like a knight.
“Can I call him 192 as well, Raha?”
“Call it any way you like, Karzen.”
“You are generous.”
Karzen pointed with his chin to the lifeless body of the chamberlain.
“Raha’s maidservants are not fit to clean up such a mess. The Kingsguard has to attend the banquet, and they shouldn’t get their clothes dirty.”
Karzen’s uniform, splattered with blood, fell to the floor with a thud.
“You drag the body out. Number 192.”
When Shed obediently tried to drag the chamberlain’s body, Karzen stopped him.
“Not like that.”
“How can a slave walk with both feet in front of the Emperor?”
Karzen gave a twisted smile.
“Crawl and follow me.”
Raha’s blue eyes opened wide for a moment. But it was only for a moment. As soon as Karzen looked back at her, her expression adjusted.
Karzen insincerely ordered the maids next to Raha.
“Have the Princess dressed as quickly as possible. I want to see her in the banquet hall again in fifteen minutes.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
Perhaps it was the lingering scent of blood, but the maids seemed more frightened than usual. Karzen quickly left, and the maids busily crowded around Raha. It completely blocked Raha’s vision.
Raha thought perhaps Karzen wouldn’t make Shed drag the dead body all the way out of the palace. That would not happen, but at least to the entrance of the inner palace… ……. In that area, Karzen might let Shed go.
The corridor was long, but still bearable. Shed had to. His knees will be very sore. What if he hurt his knees? Raha realized that her eyes kept shaking and dropped her gaze to the floor.
The maidservant, who had come back in that short time and brought the dress from the outer palace dress room, could not open her mouth and was busy decorating Raha.
Raha wanted to ask her where her slave was. But she knew her voice would tremble if she asked, so she remained silent.
She hoped Shed would come back soon. She hoped and hoped, but Shed still didn’t come back even after she was done with her preparations and headed for the doorway.
Only the trail of blood of the body of the chamberlain remained long beyond the courtyard and the outer palace.
* * *
“Look. His Majesty is back.”
“The Princess… She’s here too.”
“Where did she go?”
They noticed that Karzen and Raha had both changed into new clothes.
Why did they disappear together and why did both of their clothes change?
It was strange but that was all. The Princess came out dressed in new clothes in a crowded place nonchalantly. It was also a testament to the impossibility of a scandal.
What kind of thief would come out screaming?
Moreover, the Emperor’s expression was clearly deteriorating. He didn’t have a smile on his face earlier, but now he looked as if someone had hit him on the back of the head, and there was a hint of darkness on his face.
The people who were afraid to look at the emperor naturally shifted their gaze to Raha.
The Imperial Princess was in a state where she had changed everything but her necklace. Of course, no matter what she wore, she was a dazzling Princess. If she didn’t have the eyes of the heir, if she was just an ordinary twin of the emperor, he must have given her his love with ease.
Because she was so beautiful.
But now, she was just an ambiguous being who received the love and hate of the twin emperor.
The court secretary approached Karzen and bowed his head.
“Are there any young ladies you like in particular?”
“What if I order to bring all the women here to my bed?”
“Come to think of it, I’ve never had the pleasure of having them all together.”
“Um, Your Majesty, …….”
“Who do you think will rebel? I think I’ll feel better once I cut off those heads.”
The court secretary froze completely. Karzen leaned his back against the upper seat in a rambling manner and put the back of his hand to his cheek.
“There must be women you have decided on anyway. This is just a trick.”
“Shall I bring you the list?”
Unlike the previous emperors of the Delo Empire, who had inherited a divine token and always had a solid base of support, Karzen was the only emperor who could not inherit the eye of succession.
Therefore, he needed an outsider with a clear position. It was strategically the right thing to do to have a woman from a strong family as his wife. If they tried to twist the leash in the future, how to solve it was not important right away.
Karzen shifted his gaze, resting his cheek on his hand. Raha was talking to the daughters of the great noble families. The large diamond necklace around her neck was still the only part that did not bother him.
“Your Majesty, the dance….”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
Karzen had already danced with everyone once.
Karzen has put off even getting engaged, so maybe he’ll put it off this time as well. Some of the people guessed as much..
Karzen said, looking at the clock, which was almost ten o’clock.
“Tell Raha to stay until the end of the banquet today.”
Was it his (the secretary’s) imagination? It was a cruel tone.
* * *
At three a.m., Raha was finally able to return to her palace.
Karzen did not let her go until the banquet was over. As a result, she stayed there until late at night.
She wanted to run right away. She wanted to run and check on Shed. Is her slave alright? Is he hurt? Any broken parts?
Is he alive….?
However, contrary to her worries, she couldn’t run. Because the banquet hall was located close to her palace.
When the master of the palace returned, the maids hurriedly bowed their heads. Raha looked around.
“The slave is in the inner palace.”
“Is he alive?”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
Finally, her tense shoulders relaxed slightly. She didn’t know why her heart was pounding so fast when she didn’t even run a bit.
“How far did he go?”
“To the silver crossroads.”
It would have taken half an hour to walk there, but Shed had to drag a dead body on his knees all the way there.
Raha ordered coldly, and immediately headed for the inner palace. She walked through the large courtyard, where the cold night air had descended, and eventually ran to the inner palace. She was panting before she knew it.
The bedroom door was slightly opened.
Shed, who was leaning against the chair, turned his head slowly.
“Don’t get up.”
Raha ordered and went inside like running. She quickly narrowed the distance and stood in front of Shed. Her pupils stopped. It was as if cold water had been poured over her head, and she felt like the heat had been taken from her head in reverse.
Shed’s knees were covered in blood. The blood flowed, and under the legs was bright red.
“Oliver is coming…”
Raha said quickly. Whenever a large banquet was held at the Imperial Palace, all the imperial physicians stayed in the palace in case of unexpected accidents. And Raha’s attending physician was waiting not far from her place.
Raha couldn’t even touch the red blood. She just looked at the messy wounds that seemed to have been fixed slightly and asked,
“Does it hurt?”
“It’s bearable, Princess.”
Raha said through clenched teeth.
“Don’t use honorifics.”
Karzen, that crazy guy. The mad tyrant who made a rag out of a fine man’s knees had to know that even behind his back Shed would be treated the same as a slave. Only then did she feel that her anger would subside, even if only a little. Not only in her mind, but in the mind of this slave as well.
Shed smiled faintly.
Oddly enough, the words calmed the pain.
Raha was annoyed at the maids who had not even done the least treatment. Yes, she understood that they were surprised to see the body in front of them. But at least they should disinfect and give medicine or something….
As she thought so, she closed her eyes tightly.
She shouldn’t blame the maids.
Raha took out a transparent and high-quality alcohol from the cabinet.
Despite running without hesitation, Raha still looked beautiful.
The dress worn by the emperor’s most beloved Princess was gorgeous, embroidered with gold threads, and there were large diamonds shining on her head and neck, obviously from the same set.
So beautiful and born with a cold voice……..
Raha was the only one who did not know that her facial expression was such a mess.
No, it was the face that only Shed knew.