Chapter 1. Prologue
The attendants in the main castle bowed their heads when they saw Raha. The attendants pretended not to know much about the tall, handsome slave who followed her.
“All the presents are almost ready.”
Raha smiled and looked back at Shed.
“Let’s go in.”
She walked in with Shed. As soon as she entered, all the seated servants bent deeply at the waist.
Then the man who had already come as a guest and was sitting down also stood up. He bowed silently to the extent that showed no disrespect.
The Duke’s eyes in monocle looked at Raha, then naturally went to Shed, who stood behind Raha. It was a look that did not linger. It wasn’t even rude. It was just enough that it would be given naturally to anyone standing there.
“Have a seat.”
So Raha sat down first and then blinked slowly. It was the first time she encountered the Duke since the day when he gave her a dry bouquet of flowers.
There was nothing special about it. It was such a rare meeting to begin with.
“I see you’re being presented with gifts.”
In any case, Duke Esther also had a distant imperial bloodline, and more importantly, he was in the position of having the current emperor and the princess’s nanny as his own sister.
It was the top ranks that were given gifts when the huge amount of genuine goods came to the imperial family.
He wasn’t going to have a conversation with her about what he was given. It was the same with Raha. She didn’t even want to stay long. Raha intended to leave the main palace as soon as she received the gift that had already been offered to her.
It was then.
A rough male voice. Raha lifted her chin with a cold expression.
A man who was missing one eye and wore a black leather eye patch embroidered with gold thread was approaching. It was the Marquis Duke, the father of the current captain of the Guard.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve greeted you. Have you been well?”
“Of course. Please, have a seat.”
“Thank you, Your Highness.”
‘It’s a lot to take in.’
Even if there was no chamberlain, the servants were capable of doing their jobs. They wouldn’t usually overlap time like this.
In fact, the servants were looking quite perplexed right now. That’s right. It was not like after the war that they had to deliberately meet up. It was not a good idea to show the gifts in one place.
Moreover, one Duke was uncomfortable with Raha, and one Marquis was annoying for Raha.
“You got the Western Treasure Sword. Princess.”
“Marquis got the news very quickly.”
“That’s too much praise. However, someone as soft as the Princess would not use a sword. Perhaps it’s a gift for the slave?”
“The Marquis is witty. Yes, I only want to give my slaves good things.”
“I’ve known of the Princess’s generosity for some time.”
The Marquis laughed lightly with his one remaining eye. That eye immediately gazed at Shed, who was standing behind Raha with an expressionless face.
“He looks like a knight. Hmmm….he looks better than most knights.
What do you think? Why don’t you let him train under the Kingsguard?”
“What do you want to do with my slave?”
Raha said lightly, but the Marquis stroked his chin and said.
“In times of emergency, slaves may throw themselves to save their master’s life. There is no reason for you to feel burdened by the Kingsguard. Since my son is the captain of the Kingsguard, he will be more than happy to train with him.”
Raha’s eyes turned cold.
The captain of the Kingsguard was the Marquis’s son, so he must have heard about the events at the Inner Palace in detail that Karzen had made Shed crawl to the silver road.
“What do you think?”
The Marquis’s suggestion was an obvious ridicule. But the answer did not come from Raha, but from Shed.
For a moment, the Marquis could not believe his ears.
“Is that the reply you just gave me?”
“You’re a slave and you’re being arrogant…!”
You’re talking in your sleep and you’re being cheeky…!”
“How rude. Marquis.”
Raha gently put down the teacup.
“Why is he being arrogant? I, his master, have allowed it.”
“Your Highness! He’s a slave! Being respectful is different!”
“Yes, it’s different, Marquis.”
The eyes of the princess, bearing the mark of the successor, looked languidly at the Marquis.
“I am the heir to the surname of Del Harsa, and I gave him permission.”
“To say that the slave is arrogant meant I’m arrogant as well?”
The Marquis’s one eye widened slightly. Like a cunning aristocrat, he quickly bowed his head.
“No, Your Royal Highness. I ……. I misspoke.”
“I like the Marquis because you’re quick-witted.”
Was that a compliment? It was a compliment that could be very unpleasant to hear. Words that hurt one’s pride, like treating a high-ranking nobleman as an astute employee. But the face of the princess who said it was still elegant as always.
Then a silence fell.
It was a short silence. The Princess, the Duke, and the Marquis. No matter how restless they were after the sudden death of the chamberlain, it was impossible for the nobles not to be concerned when so many big figures were sitting here. It was only natural.
“Your Highness. It’s the Golden Diagonal you chose.”
Raha looked up. A gorgeous gold case on a silver tray lined with red velvet.
What was in that case was a very valuable ointment called the Golden Diagonal. Freshly made scars were almost always removed. It was difficult to get it no matter how much they paid, because each ingredient that went into it had to wait at least ten years.
It was good that it came in as a gift. The royal family had the authority to choose the gifts. So as soon as she saw the Golden Diagonal, Raha chose it immediately.
It was for Shed to use.
This was when the attendant bent down and was about to leave.
“Are there two Golden Diagonals?”
The Marquis frowned his forehead and opened his mouth. The attendant who was holding the inventory list hastily checked the paper and shook his head.
“No, Marquis. There is only one Golden Diagonal that came in this time.”
The Marquis’s complexion slowly began to deteriorate.
“Your Highness. I was supposed to receive a Golden Diagonal.”
The servant gasped in surprise. It took less than a minute to confirm.
“No way. Oh, there’s been a mix-up.”
“It’s inconvenient that there’s no chamberlain.”
Of course there was no chamberlain. He was killed by Karzen’s sword and died suddenly. This happened because of the disruption of the system.
The Marquis, whose forehead was twitching lightly, spoke up first.
”Your Highness. Would you mind yielding to me?”
‘’I’m afraid not. I have to use it.”
“The Princess will never get hurt, and it seems there’s no injuries…”
The Marquis raised his eyes.
“Are you going to use it for your beautiful slave?”
It was a word that could mean many things. There wasn’t a nobleman who didn’t know about the rumors of Raha’s nightly torment of the slaves. This slave still looked fine, but who knew what kind of scars he might have inside his clothes.
There could be whip marks, or maybe even stab marks from a blade.
Raha was amused to hear the Marquis say something too provocative.
“You have a good sense of humor, Marquis.”
The Marquis looked at Raha with his eyes as if he was exploring for a while and said.
“If so, could you give me that treasure sword you took last time?”
“Did His Majesty tell you to threaten me, Marquis?”
“…… No, of course not.”
The Marquis looked very offended by the word that what the Princess was about to take what he wanted for a lowly slave.
“In a normal, elegant sitting, when such an uncompromising dispute arises, the two parties will use their knights to conclude it.”
“However, since all of the Kingsguard’s lives are solely for the Emperor……”
“The Princess has no official knight.”
The Marquis laughed with his other remaining eye. It was a laugh that reminded Raha of the creepy chamberlain who was killed by Karzen. The pretentious, cold, and eager to mock the other person.
Raha looked at the Marquis.
“Or is there any knight you have in mind?”
‘Why does he sound like a snake?’
What knight does she have in mind? Of course not. If Raha had been an ordinary princess, she would have had knights who adored her as a lady. Unfortunately, she was an indirect threat to the throne of the twin. Even if all her limbs were cut off, the threat would be eternal.
That was why Raha didn’t have a knight. Because depending on how they interpret it, there could be a rumor that she’s after the throne.
Raha smiled as usual as she looked at the Marquis.
“I have a knight, too.”
“Oh, really. Who?”
For a moment, the Marquis’s face stiffened. Even at the mention of the emperor’s name, the princess’s complexion was as soft, calm, and oddly innocent as always.
“Is there a problem?”
“What shall we do, Marquis? Shall we wait until His Majesty returns?”
The Marquis bit his back teeth. He said in a polite tone as he squeezed out.
“No, Your Highness. But, I have to take that ointment today.”
“Do you have any urgent patients at home?”
“Not for my family.”
The Marquis laughed, lifting only the corners of lips.
“The wounds my mistress has suffered can’t be relieved by medicine.”
“Since I cherish her so much, I want to use the Golden Diagonal for her. Will the royal family show generosity for the poor people?”