Chapter 1. Prologue
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The next day.
Raha woke up before the sun had even properly risen at dawn, despite being in such a stupor.
For years, she had been in the habit of waking up at dawn when she entered the bedroom of this inner palace.
The man’s eyes were still closed.
The person she had mingled with last night.
That fact left a weak trail in Raha’s mind. He was an extremely arrogant slave, but seeing him with his eyes closed like this, he didn’t have such a bad atmosphere about him. It’s like you wouldn’t punch a child in the cheek just because you’re angry.
Raha lightly touched the man’s silver hair with her hand. It occurred to her since yesterday that this man’s face was quite to her liking. To put it more frankly, it was an appearance that could steal the hearts of many noble ladies.
A quiet red tinge to his eyes. His features were strangely sharp and delicate. There was no impression of weakness at all. It only felt very strong and overwhelming. It must be because of his unique raptor-like eyes and tense body with muscles.
She hadn’t seen the man standing with both feet firmly on the ground. However, she felt that he was very tall even when he was tied by the chains, so she thought when he stood up straight, he would be very tall.
Raha, who was looking down at his thick arms, wide shoulders with muscles, smiled. When she fully appreciated the man’s face, her heart felt strangely comforting.
Slowly getting out of bed, she gasped as soon as she stepped onto the floor, for a tingling pain rose intensely from below her waist. She was taken aback that it was a confounding pain.
‘Does it hurt this much?’
She thought, standing still with a frown on her forehead. After a few moments, she was finally able to move to the bathroom, her steps were slower than usual.
The maids who accompanied Raha to her bath were not the ones she usually had. They changed every time. But that didn’t mean there was anything unusual about them. It didn’t matter that she couldn’t walk well or that the insides of her thighs were sticky and dry with fluid. It was okay.
There was no servant here, at least not one who was aware of the fact that Raha was becoming like this for the first time in her life.
After sitting still for a while, Raha raised herself up in the tub after almost an hour. The maids remained motionless in the bathroom and bowed their heads deeply.
When she returned from the bedroom, the man was sitting on the bed.
He was looking up at the sunlight pouring in through the high windows, and Raha was speechless for a moment……. It was a brief sentiment that even she didn’t know why.
The man looked back a beat late. Their gazes collided in midair. They did not say anything.
After a few moments of silence, Raha moved. The man didn’t take his eyes off Raha once until she walked to the bed.
It was the same for Raha.
She stopped in front of him and cupped the man’s chin up in her hand and lifted it. It was a cold gesture as if she was checking the value of jewelry. It was the heartlessness of an infinitely noble royal family. However, she swept the cheek of the man with a gesture that she was not aware of.
Raha slowly opened her mouth.
“Why are you so cold?”
She noticed later that the man’s hair was wet.
“You used the bathroom on the left.”
There was no shadow in the bathroom on the side he was in. The bathroom on the left, which the man must have used, was the only one of the four baths in the palace that did not have hot water.
“Don’t use that bathroom. There’s no hot water.”
Raha glanced at him as she pointed to the other bathroom.
“You’re really unlucky.”
That’s right. He was lucky, that was why he was captured to be her slave.
Raha’s words were met with a surprising answer.
“If I wasn’t lucky, I would be dead already.”
It was an unexpected answer. Raha smiled slightly as she swept the man’s cold, wet hair.
“I’m sure you would have. Just like the other test subjects.”
“Almost instant death, right? I wasn’t there when it happened, so I don’t know.”
The man didn’t answer, but the silence itself was the answer. Even if it wasn’t obvious, Raha already knew about it.
How often she saw slaves dying within minutes because they could not overcome the engraving of the seal.
The atmosphere around the man quieted. Only then did Raha gain confidence that what she kept thinking in her head was right.
It seemed that he was not treated coldly as an experimental subject.
Raha asked, sitting down on the bed.
“How does it feel to watch them all being killed in front of your eyes?”
She didn’t sound very malicious. The man could hear it in her voice. It sounded like someone who was curious about the truth and asked.
But just because her tone was childlike didn’t mean that the content was refreshing either. The man threw a glance at Raha.
He frowned faintly on his forehead.
“Do you talk like that on purpose?”
“You act like you’re in a hurry to see me get angry.”
Raha hesitated. It was an unexpected statement. But it was also right on target. The man who had been staring at her big blinking eyes quickly shifted his gaze. That was all. She waited for some words to follow from the man but he didn’t speak. Eventually, she asked.
“Won’t you get angry?”
“I don’t think it’s something I’d serve to you.”
The casual reply was unusual. Such rational words? There were quite a few people in the world who said rational things. But cold reasons were something that was maintained until the damage was done. There were some slaves who showed the last bit of chivalry, but even they couldn’t hide their anger in the end.
So it was a first for Raha.
‘Is it because he’s not dead yet?’
This man might not have been anything special. He might be oblivious for a while that he should take out his anger on her because of Raha’s blood that he was still healthy.
This man would change when it came time for him to die. Just as the slaves had done to Raha so far.
It was Karzen who caught them, and it was also Karzen’s knights who had trampled on their country. In fact, the only thing in front of them was this hateful, noble, and weak-looking Princess.
She didn’t think their personality was particularly bad. People normally lashed out at the weak rather than the strong. So she was able to channel the curses directed at her appropriately.
The sunlight streaming in through the high window curled around the man’s silver hair. It felt like a gathering of light, and Raha’s gaze lingered there for a moment.
What is it?
He was still a slave, though.
He listened to her quite well yesterday.
Raha raised her body. Then she stood in front of the man and lifted his chin. Yesterday she was unable to pay close attention to every little detail of the man because she was shaken.
The first thing that came into her mind was still the man’s eyes.
They were blue-gray.
She almost burst out laughing without even knowing it.
Wasn’t that too blatant? The color of his eyes was a mixture
of the eyes of the heir Karzen and the eyes of the not-so-heir royal family, Princess Raha.
Like it was screaming that he was the test subject.
“Do not raise your head in front of Karzen.”
Raha’s words were met with a straightforward answer.
Looking into these eyes might make Karzen angry and he would take the man’s eyeballs away.
Then Raha, who happily admired the man’s beautiful face, sat on the man’s thighs. The man’s solid muscles could be felt through the thin layers of cloth. She felt it again yesterday, why is his body so hard?
He seemed to be a knight, all things considered.
Come to think of it, Knights basically eat a lot. Only then comes to mind that he must be hungry. Raha got up.
“Shall we go eat breakfast?”
She pulled the man’s hand. Originally, Raha rarely ate in this inner palace. The last time she had eaten something here was many years ago. But that was her own situation.
This man will be hungry in return for being alive.
Raha took the man straight to the dining room. His gaze stayed on the hand of the Princess holding his hand for a while, but Raha did not know.
“Please sit down.”
The man muttered cockyly to the Princess, and despite his defiant gaze, in some respects he was quite polite.
For example, he would stand until Raha sat down first. Raha was convinced that his appearance was quite natural. No matter how much she thought about it, she was sure he was a knight that served a great person. He must be a knight that a noble person befriended, cherished, and put his full trust in.
Was he a knight of a precious lady?
Then, did he enjoy secret meetings with that woman every night?
Raha held her chin and laughed as she looked at the man sitting opposite her.
“There’s no one to help me with my meal, so eat whatever you want.”
Again, the man waited for Raha to take the spoon first and slowly began to eat. She didn’t have much of an appetite, so she thought she would eat roughly something.
Why is that? They didn’t bring any special delicious food today. But she had a strange appetite. Once she recognized it, she thought of something else.
Raha was hungry.
The feeling of being hungry was unfamiliar and strange. Raha pushed the soup she was trying not to eat into her mouth more eagerly.
She chewed the meat in her mouth slowly and swallowed it. The luxurious cream seemed to slide down her tongue. After pouring champagne directly into the cup, Raha thought while tilting the cup.
Apparently she was hungry because she did quite a bit of physical activity yesterday.
Or perhaps it was because someone was eating with her.