Chapter 1. Prologue
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Feeling the hand that wrapped around her felt hot, her cheeks were really frozen.
It was cold outside. Raha remembered that the maids had suggested that she put on another thick shawl.
“Why do you always wear such thin clothes?” (Shed)
Shed said with a frown and Raha burst into laughter.
“Why do you care about your master’s health when you are a slave?” (Raha)
“Don’t you think a slave should care about his master’s health?” (Shed)
“I won’t die from this cold.” (Raha)
“It’s not about dying.” (Shed)
Those were words that were most unfamiliar to the ears of the problematic imperial Princess.
“What if you catch a cold?” (Shed)
“I don’t get sick very often either.” (Raha)
“Don’t you shiver when you are cold?” (Shed)
Somehow Raha felt nervous.
Raha blinked and Shed sighed.
“I find you amazing and strange.” (Shed)
“I’m strange?” (Raha)
“I think such a term is more appropriate for a test subject, not a legitimate Princess.”
“If you want, you can say that to me too.”
It was a casual reply. Raha knew Shed said it without much meaning. She knew…but Raha, who had not been able to look at Shed from the moment she entered this bedroom, opened her mouth still.
“I really find you very curious and strange.” (Raha)
Really, Raha was sincere.
Could this man in front of her know that those words were her true feelings that she hadn’t spoken in a very long time?
Raha looked at Shed slowly. She laid her hands on the back of Shed’s hands still covering her cheeks. Her hands were much smaller than his.
“Why weren’t you sleeping?” (Raha)
“Isn’t it the New Year?” (Shed)
“You’re from the West.” (Raha)
Shed suddenly looked dubious at the sudden remark. Unlike the tone, Raha’s words were both true and a bit puzzling.
“How did you know?” (Shed)
“There’s a custom in the West to look at snow for a long time on New Year’s night. Did it say it brings good luck? That’s why I heard that the Western New Year’s Banquet is the shortest.”
The party would end early, and everyone had to go home and stare out the window at the snow falling. The New Year’s custom of the West, which was thought to be a very lonely custom, would be the best custom for a harmonious family.
For Shed, perhaps he was just lonely. In the first place, it seemed a little far from harmony, and he said that his uncle died after cutting his thigh.
Raha removed Shed’s hands from her face.
“No one in the west looks at snow this long.”
“I see. Then….”
Raha smiled mischievously.
“Have you been waiting for me?”
Shed, who had been quietly looking at Raha, smiled softly, unlike him.
For a moment, again.
Raha was speechless. Not a short time passed before she finally opened her mouth.
“…..What if I didn’t come?”
Fortunately, she didn’t choke.
“I didn’t even promise to come today.”
“I wasn’t waiting for you on the battlefield, I was waiting for you in the bedroom. Does it matter?”
It was only then that Raha started to laugh. And again and again she realized. This man was really a knight.
Battlefield. Compared to that, yes, the bedroom was heaven. It was warm, fluffy, fragrant, and sometimes safe.
Raha answered with a smile.
“No. I thought it didn’t matter if I didn’t sleep.”
Shed smiled faintly. Facing him, Raha took off her shawl and changed her shoes into a pair of fluffy, soft slippers. She turned on some of the crystal lights that had been turned off, and the bedroom became a little brighter. Raha walked to the closet and took out a bottle of wine.
It was snowing outside and the atmosphere in the bedroom was cozy. Warm temperatures. Shed in front of her was her favorite of them all.
Raha, who was inevitably tired at the New Year’s banquet, realized that there could be such a good New Year’s banquet for the first time.
Raha blinked when her hand holding a glass was caught suddenly.
“I don’t know if you realize it, but you drink too often.”
For a moment, Raha almost asked Shed, “What did Oliver say to you?” But fortunately, she intuitively realized. Shed was just really…. …. He just thought she drank a lot.
So Raha slowly put the glass down.
“Now you’re meddling.”
Strangely, Raha chuckled. On the one hand, she was curious to see what Shed would look like when she confessed that this was something she had very much reduced.
But Raha kept her mouth shut, knowing that it was something better left unsaid.
“Maybe it’s because it’s winter and It’s cold.”
“Was the Princess aware that it was cold? I didn’t know that.”
“Oh my gosh, how did I have such an arrogant slave?”
Raha laughed. Then she saw the sword. It was the sword that she had placed on Shed’s hand.
Raha looked out the window and saw the snow that was falling endlessly.
Raha kissed him as she moved her head towards him. The lips that tried to fall with a gentle touch could not do as intended. Shed grabbed Raha’s chin and kissed her deeply. His arms closed around Raha, holding her in his embrace. A faint feeling of body warmth enveloped her body.
The movement was such that she could not hear the word cold after such irony.
Raha wrapped her arms around Shed’s neck. The kisses pouring with longing were pleasant.
Strangely, she felt no pain where she had been hit by Karzen. Nor her neck, which was strangled by her father, nor her cheeks, which had been beaten countless times by the mother empress.
Just like the ground, when the snow fell, everything was hidden in white. She had this funny illusion that nothing happened.
It was really strange.
* * *
“Hello, Your Royal Highness.”
Raha watched the foreign delegation politely greet her.
“If you don’t mind, would you like to dance with me…”
“I’d like to rest a bit.”
Raha smiled. She meant to go away, and the maid of honor who had been following Raha around eventually showed him a dance card. The delegation checked the many written names and then retreated in astonishment.
Raha, who was left alone, took a breath, recalling the names written on the dance cards one after another.
There were really a lot of people.
They did not miss a beat and went to greet Jamela as well. It was only natural that they wanted to look good to her, who was the emperor’s fiancée and a daughter of a great noble family.
Since it was the last day of the banquet, Raha didn’t have to dance as much as she did on the first day. Thanks to the signs of being overworked that day, she was able to rest a bit today.
The Marquis Duke was also present today. He approached Raha and smiled graciously.
“If you don’t mind, would you like to dance with me?”
Raha blinked. It was the first time since her eleventh birthday party that Marquis Duke had asked her to dance.
“There’s no space on my dance card, Marquis.”
“Oh my……Can I see your dance card for a moment?”
After checking Raha’s dance card, the Duke Marquis excused himself for a while. He returned shortly after, saying that he had taken over the order that was in front.
People had been putting in quite a long effort to dance with the Princess, but would they have offered him their place? Did he invite them to his residence?
“The honor of allowing me one dance.”
Bent waist and politely extended hand. Raha got up from her seat while lightly placing her hand on the hand of Marquis Duke.
Raha inwardly wondered what was wrong with this old serpent.
Raha and Marquis Duke went out to the central floor. The inner country nobles in a union that had absolutely not been seen for nearly a decade.
A dance tune played. The Marquis Duke grabbed Raha by the waist and asked as they moved.
“Where in the world does your slave come from, Princess?”
“Well….. I don’t know, since His Majesty has given me some of his experimental subjects.”
“Aren’t you curious? Where does such a talented person come from?”
“It is amusing to hear the Marquis praise my slave.”
“By the way, Marquis, I’m not really interested in that.”
Raha’s words were quite serious, although it was certainly intended to make the Marquis angry.
“Actually, I said this as a greeting, Your Royal Highness.”
The Marquis looked down at Raha with the one remaining eye
“Why don’t you let your slave participate in the martial arts competition?”
Raha’s jaw moved.
The combat competition.
It was one of the most important national events in the Delo empire.
It was a festival held at the entrance of spring.
At the Imperial combat competition, knights compete in a martial contest, which was very large in the previous generation. It has shrunk considerably since the accession of Karzen.
It was only natural. Karzen was a tyrant who always started wars. The knights of tremendous military prowess were sent to the battlefield of sin, so it was ludicrous to think that the rest of them would hold a martial arts competition with each other.
”I think it will be different this time.”
The emperor had a fiancée. And since he had narrowed it down to the Holy Land, Karzen will be feeling a little burdened to wage war for a while.
Therefore, there was a high probability that the competition this time would be a big combat event that restored the original scale.
“What do you think?”
“I don’t know. Don’t only the aristocrats participate?”
“Wouldn’t the Emperor tolerate the Imperial Princess’s slave well enough?”
“But still, he’s just a slave.”
“If it becomes clear the Princess’s slave have a great ability, it will be your pride.”