Chapter 1. Prologue
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Raha knew. Unlike his smiling face, Karzen was in a very bad mood. It was a natural reaction since he wanted to show the priests the slave was defeated, but it didn’t work out the way he wanted.
It was fortunate that there were so many people there. Otherwise, the atmosphere would have been frozen to see how the emperor felt.
While Karzen gestured and the atmosphere was somewhat organized, Shed came up to the podium with the knight of the Kingsguard. A few sighs and marvels came from the seated ladies each time he passed by.
The captain of the Kingsguard, standing behind the Emperor, was in a very unpleasant mood. But it was not something that could be revealed in public. He hid his expression well and said.
“Only the top four winners will receive these extra prizes.”
Similarly, uniformed attendants approached Shed with red velvet square cushions.
On top of the bright red velvet cushions were pure gold accessories. They were made for this event by craftsmen who work directly under the imperial family, who produce only accessories for the immediate royal family, and each one was so perfect that it could all be named a work of art.
Originally, only the top four participants who were the fastest would be awarded the prize, but Shed’s speed was excessively overwhelming. The captain of the Kingsguard looked at Shed and said.
Shed extended his hand without hesitation. The eyes that had been following, wondering what that slave would choose, soon became round. It was an amazing piece that even the high-eyed nobles would have hesitated quite a bit, but the slave immediately chose one.
A pure gold rose.
“It’s beautiful. ……”
It was a pure gold rose with very elaborately shaped petals. The sharply taut tip seemed to have been made to be used as a replacement for a boutonnière or brooch.
Shed, who was looking down at the rose in his hand, lifted his gaze.
Shed stepped toward Raha . The Kingsguard captain quickly moved his body, but Karzen stopped him with a light motion of his hand.
The slave stopped and knelt in front of the Princess. He did not kneel on one knee like a knight. He crawled in front of the imperial Princess on both knees, as if he had never once forgotten his status, position, and circumstances.
Once again, the distracted nobles felt as if they had been drenched in cold water. The overwhelming perfect man was the imperial princess’s bedroom slave.
A bedroom doll.
Shed stopped in front of Raha and looked up. He was still on his knees. The rose gold held out carefully in front of her.
This was the moment when Jamela, who was next to Raha, involuntarily covered her mouth.
A beautiful flower made of pure gold was inserted into Raha’s clothes.
Shed said without raising his head.
“I dedicate it to my master.”
Raha looked down at the flower inserted in her clothes. Despite being the main character of a romantic situation that everyone dreams of at one time or another, the Princess was not the least bit pleased. She was just cold. Karzen, who was sitting right next to her, could clearly see that her eyes were not even a little shaken.
The same was true when not a few nobles sighed with envy. It was rather only the spectators surrounding the perimeter who were immersed in a dream. The Princess wasn’t happy, so was the slave with his head bowed.
Jamela opened her mouth at this strange situation, where the surroundings were buzzing but the center was quiet.
“The slave is really loyal, Your Royal Highness.”
She smiled and looked around.
“Truly a marvelous sight. Isn’t it?”
“Yes, Princess. It’s a wonderful scene that could be put in a play.”
Jamela’s father, Duke Winston, chimed in. The nobles in the vicinity reacted not much differently.
Raha finally smiled like a glass ball.
“Is it? I’m embarrassed.”
She tapped Shed lightly on the shoulder with her gloved hand.
“Thank you. Go in.”
It was a seemingly kind smile, but everyone sitting around her knew. The only thing drawing a lake line was the Princess’s lips. Her eyes were not smiling at all. There were no nobles in the vicinity, at least near the highest seats, who couldn’t so easily distinguish that cold fake smile.
That was why it was so strange.
Why did the Princess was so cold to a slave as beautiful, strong, and obedient as he was? To put it blunt, he had the most outstanding appearance among the same noble family.
“Why, I heard the new slave is beautiful, too.”
“A new slave?”
“Yes, a new slave.”
“I guess that’s the Princess’s preference.”
“What’s important about her preference? Next year, she’ll get more slaves anyway.”
“From what I hear, the hobby of abusing them disappeared and the slaves survive longer.”
“Because they’re faces worth looking at for a long time.”
The whispering sound was lost in the enormous murmur. Shed bowed his head and retreated from his position without a word.
Jamela glanced at Karzen.
“I envy you, Princess. To be presented with a beautiful flower on such an occasion. Isn’t it too romantic?”
Raha, who was holding the rose stuck on her clothes with her fingers, raised her head.
“Karzen. Your fiancée says this.”
Jamela was embarrassed, but Raha just smiled. Karzen made a hand gesture. Eventually, the six pure gold roses that had been displayed in the imperial palace were brought by the chief chamberlain.
The captain of the Kingsguard and a knight in close proximity took one of the roses and presented it to Jamela, and the other roses were given to ladies of appropriately high rank.
Of course, they were not as beautiful as Shed’s rose, which the royal craftsmen prepared very hard to present as a prize for the competition. Still, at first glance, they all looked alike. The roses that the slave had given as a gift to the imperial Princess were no longer special.
One could argue that.
Of course, the slave was the only one who had put it in his master’s clothes.
Eventually, Raha got up from her seat.
* * *
“Send that participant and that participant to the Order.”
The Imperial Warrior Family was very busy. Since this was the first competition to be held in a long time, there were many talented people who stood out, and there were also quite a few commoners who didn’t belong anywhere.
A participant with excellent ability could join a good Knight Order, even if he could not make it to the championship. Marquis Duke also looked happy as if he had already pointed out one or two. The banquet held at the end of today’s duels was very lively for the first time in a long time.
Karzen danced with Jamela and then also with Raha. After that, Raha thought this when she saw him having to dance with some ladies.
‘If we hold a national event every day, he’ll be in tatters.’
But that would not be a bad idea to hasten Karzen’s life.
Raha looked down at the pure gold flower inserted in front of the dress. Earlier, before going to the banquet hall, the maids had made sure it was properly fixed once again.
She didn’t feel much when the maids inserted the flower on her dress.
It was strange.
When Shed inserted the flower, she felt like he had poked a hole in her heart.
Was it because of the successful opening of the competition , or was it because she had seen blood? Or because it was the first time in a long time that a traditional banquet had been held. The nobles, who normally could not even drink to appease Karzen, were a little different today.
Honey-like champagne glasses filled with bubbles were emptied countless times. When Raha was watching the empty cups…
The same beautiful young lady, whose cheeks red from drunkenness, whispered.
“What do you think? Will the Princess’s doll be the winner?”
“He was better than I expected. I couldn’t even see it move.”
The beautiful slave showed his unrivaled ability, so it was worth being excited about. But not all the young ladies were amused. Some people frowned.
“Does it make sense for a slave to become a lord?”
“Maybe, prestige is…….”
“I’m not sure about the prestige…”
“But you all saw it, didn’t you? He presented the beautiful flower to the Princess.”
The young lady, her eyes shining, continued in a whispering voice.
“Naturally, I would offer the position of lord to the Princess. Besides, I’m sure that the Princess will rule well even in the barren land….”
The ladies were right across from her, froze and winked.
the young lady, who had been laughing and talking, reflexively stopped talking. Her eyes turned once to the side. There was a cold silence for a moment.
“What’s wrong? Keep talking, young lady.”
Karzen, who had approached them at some point, said casually.
“Why do you stop talking?”
“Your, Your Majesty. …….”
“Well, in the young lady’s eyes, I guess my twin is good at ruling the territory.”
“Do you think she’ll be good at ruling bigger things?”
“Well, that’s not what I meant. …!”
The young lady immediately knelt down flat on the floor.
The hem of her pale pink dress swooped down like flower petals. Her thin arms on the floor rattled and trembled pitifully.
Karzen approached the young lady and bent down. He grabbed her frail chin and lifted it up, and when they made eye contact, the young lady shuddered, unable to rebel.
“Why can’t you talk? It’s like I’ve stitched up your tongue.”
At the same time, he ruthlessly stamped one foot on the back of the lady’s beautiful hand.
The young lady let out a pain-filled scream. Tears streamed down her eyes.
“Ha, Your Majesty …….!”
“My daughter misspoke. Please forgive her!”
Count Buddha urgently knelt down as he dashed through the people. Brutally crushed at Karzen’s feet, the young lady’s hand was already a mess. Broken fingers, red blood flowed on the marble floor.