Chapter 1. Prologue
It was very interesting.
What kind of a crazy nobleman would speak of his mistress’ wounds in front of a Princess?
No matter how reckless a person was, it would be impossible.
If he had a minimum of courtesy and common sense.
And the Marquis was already well known as the father of the Captain of the Kingsguard, who was Karzen’s closet assistant.
There were times when Raha had no retreat even though there was no minimal courtesy and common sense. In any case, wasn’t she just a Princess who received gifts and slaves to warm her bed?
Could she even question such rudeness on such a topic?
So there was little change in Raha’s smile. If she had held a fan in her hand, she would have covered her mouth and looked at the Marquis.
Seeing that the Princess didn’t express any anger, the Marquis was puzzled. Why isn’t angry at him for being disrespectful? Isn’t it unpleasant? Had her emotions all broken?
No matter how cold she was, if she was ridiculed beyond her limits, she would be able to force her hand.
Not so with this Princess. The fact that he couldn’t see even the minimal reaction was sometimes even strange.
Now that he had come this far, the Marquis wanted to achieve his goal. He had to get the precious Golden Diagonal to make him feel better instead of leaving it for the Princess to use on a slave.
The Marquis opened his mouth in a polite prompting voice. Just then, a voice drifted in from the side.
“You can borrow Esther’s knight.”
The Marquis couldn’t believe his ears for a moment and turned his head to the side. Yes. There was Duke Esther sitting at this table who hadn’t said a word since earlier.
“Duke Esther. Just ….. What did you say?”
”Since the Princess naturally has no knights to use, I said that she could borrow my knights.”
The Marquis, who was speechless for a moment, immediately laughed, slowly shaking his shoulders.
“Yes, the Esther has had a weakness for princesses for generations.”
Duke Esther said in a cold and calm voice that it was hard to believe he wanted to help Raha.
“You must be vulnerable to the Imperial Princess.”
The many meanings in those short words. The other nobles didn’t know. But only the ones sitting here. Only the Marquis knew.
No matter what kind of mockery the Marquis made, the complexion of that beautiful Princess who had her ceramic smile and figure was slowly turning pale.
The Marquis said, feeling satisfied.
“I’m sure the late Countess Borbon will be happy to know that. Wasn’t she the one who took the poison for the Princess?“
“I don’t know how happy she can be. But the Princess is a very lucky person….”
“Rumor has it that the Empress gave the Princess the poison…Yes. It’s just a rumor, isn’t it?”
There was no answer to come back. Because it was always like that. It had been that way for years. Karzen must not know it, but the Princess was extremely reluctant to talk about Countess Borbon.
The Marquis said in a satisfied mood as he saw Raha’s face, who was sick and tired.
“Come to think of it, even at the funeral, the Princess didn’t show a drop of tear. I could not help but think that she was really resolute in her position. Duke Esther knows this as well?”
Duke Esther slowly opened his mouth.
“So with the loyalty of Countess Borbon, the Esther will forever be friendly to the Princess. I’ll lend her a knight.”
The words sounded clerical.
“Do you want it, Your Highness?”
The Duke looked at the Princess, who turned pale.
“It’s okay. Duke.”
Raha’s answer came back with no highs or lows. Raha no longer wanted to sit facing Duke Esther. It was even worse to borrow his knights.
The Golden Diagonal.. . Yes. Let’s sell all the treasures she has and get another one. Sell the obtained jewels piled up in the palace and say how valuable they are. Raha thought so and got up.
However, a firm hand wrapped Raha’s arm and hand. It was Shed. Shed’s hand felt very hot against the exposed skin of Raha’s body, which was cold and chilled.
At that moment.
The silk glove that Raha was wearing came off with a strong but not coercive force. Raha panicked, which was rare. It was Shed. It was just after she had lifted her head.
The Marquis’s cheek moved slightly to the side. The silk glove that Shed had threw precisely into his face fell to the floor.
* * * *
“ …Number 192.”
At Raha’s call, Shed moved his chin while checking his sword. It was a natural call, since he was a slave. The slave with an unknown expression. The Marquis was puzzled. How could an imperial Princess’s bedroom doll and the head of the Marquis’s family’s knights suddenly engage in an unofficial duel?
“Is it okay?” (Raha)
“What do you mean?” (Shed)
“The Marquis’s family produced great knights for generations.” (Raha)
“It’s okay.” (Shed)
Raha didn’t understand. Why did she allow it now? Wasn’t the knightly duel treated as a sacred place in the history of the great empire for generations? Even if the emperor’s interests were mixed in, it was an area where she closed her eyes and pretended not to know.
Raha’s gloves were taken from her and she lightly grabbed Shed’s chin with one of her exposed hands.
“Don’t get hurt. It’ll be fine. I can buy something similar again.”
At Raha’s whispered words, Shed almost burst into laughter. On the other hand…. The Marquis knew. The only reason the slave took off the Princess’ gloves and threw them was to ridicule him.
This Princess obviously knew it.
However, Raha spoke as if she had cut that part of her speech off, just as if Shed had applied for a duel to get back the precious ointment.
‘Didn’t the Countess Borbon get poisoned instead of the Princess?’
Raha really didn’t want to talk about that part.
Shed knew, guessed, and bowed his head close to Raha’s, as if to conform to this blank-faced owner.
Raha’s eyes stared at Shed.
It was arrogant of him to call her by her name outside. By the way, will he stop calling her ‘Princess’ or ‘Master’ outside from now on? Raha didn’t know why the name Shed called made her feel strange.
Raha pressed her lips tightly on Shed’s lips.
The Marquis was already waiting in a private training hall not far away.
“I admit it. That slave looks very strong. He seems to have been training with swords. But he’s still a slave. So even if your knight won, it won’t be an honor for the Marquis.”
“I think ‘sword dance’ is very popular in faraway foreign countries. The dance is a real treat, with beautiful women in thin silks dancing elegantly like butterflies with curved figures like a crescent moon. If you want to see such a thing, I will arrange for any number of exotic slaves and give them to the Princess.”
So it meant Raha should cancel the duel. Well, because Shed wasn’t even a knight.
Raha smiled softly.
“The Marquis is polite.”
The Marquis shut his mouth at the words. He never wanted hurt the Princess’s slave. Because her twin emperor could get angry because he (the Marquis) scratched the toy he (Karzen) had given to the Princess.
But to to let it go, that silver haired slave was overly….
He was arrogant.
This was not arrogant either. Knowing that the Princess was his master, the way he acted in front of the Marquis without fear was indeed a disgraceful and humiliating act.
Nevertheless, the reason why the Marquis had responded and instructed the Knight Commander, who was no stranger, to duel was because he was from a warrior family.
The slave wore very modest clothes that came up to his neck, as the Princess liked, but even such clothes couldn’t hide all his body lines. The muscles that were thickly prominent on his body. The whole world knew that he was an experimental subject who was brought from the Holy Land.
His posture was straight and neat, though he seemed to be deliberately relaxing his body. The movement of his long limbs was also natural.
Perhaps he wasn’t an experimental subject since birth, but was probably a knight before.
That was why the Marquis made a careful decision.
Moreover, no matter how much he thought about it, the Marquis thought it was unacceptable for the slave to use that precious Golden Diagonal.
Shed and the knight commander greeted each other politely with their swords in their hands.
This was a private training hall with only the Princess, the Marquis, the slave and the Knight Commander. It was something that Marquis had suggested, so whether he won or lost, there was nothing good for him.
Raha accepted the challenge without hesitation.
A little silence passed. Raha’s gaze was only on Shed.
It was a stark contrast to the Marquis’s gaze, who was watching the game leisurely with his arms crossed.
“Don’t hurt yourself. However, there is no need to go easy on the slave. Where’s the pride of a slave who’s being protected by a woman and warmed her bed?”
The Knight Commander clearly remembered the words that Marquis had given him. The loyal Knight Commander moved straight to reach a conclusion quickly.
The Marquis’s relaxed face hardened as it was. It was the same for Raha. They looked at the Knight Commander’s sword with a rare expression of bewilderment.
It fell to the floor.