Chapter 1. Prologue
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Shed was aghast. While others knew the King to be a sickly, overly straight-forward person, he was the brother who had the ingenuity to tease Shed at least this way every time in private. It was a mood Shed hadn’t felt in a very long time.
[She’s doing well. No … Shed Hildes. So where the hell have you been?]
Writing that fast was also an ability. In addition, the wild, angry, and frustrated feelings were incorporated directly into the King’s writing. This was even more so since the King had suffered from mutism
since he was a child. As a result, he rarely thought of it as an inconvenience to speak in writing.
“I want to die.”
Words spilled quietly from Shed.
The King, who had set his pen down with a neat demeanor, observed his half-brother once again. Shed, who had made the numerous ladies of the kingdom heads over heels because of his natural and beautiful appearance, now looked very tired and exhausted.
[…..I’ll call the doctor…]
The King reached out and pulled the blue string. The sound of a small bell, made of brass, rang faintly. Moments later, the royal doctor arrived in a hurry.
* * *
What followed was similar. Likewise, the doctor, almost fainting with surprise at the face of the former King, took Shed by order of the King and began his medical examination.
“Please take off your clothes for the examination.”
“I’m sorry, Your Highness, you have a lot of worries…….”
The doctor was at a loss for words.
But frankly, he wondered what had happened the moment he saw the former King. Hollow cheeks, sunken gaze, and fatigue.
Instead of asking what happened, the doctor focused on the examination. There was still a familiar stab wound on the solid, long thigh.
“The scar is still there. I think it will last forever.”
“It can’t be helped. It’s just a mark from a crazy dog.”
Shed replied casually. The doctor looked embarrassed.
He did not dare to mention the fact that the crazy dog was Duke Bertus, who was Shed’s uncle and one of the dukes of the Hildes kingdom. He was the head of a family that had already been destroyed because of rebellion.
“Uh, my lord.”
The doctor asked in a cautious voice.
“I beg your pardon, but there is a strange scar on your chest. It looks like……. something like a slave’s seal?”
The rest of the words were a joke, but the answer came easily.
“…..what? King? No……. what the hell?”
Shed looked down at his chest with indifferent eyes. The traces of the branding were already blurred. It was a trace that would disappear completely soon after a few infusions of sacred power.
“Well, fortunately, you have no health problems, my lord.”
The doctor soon finished Shed’s examination. Other than the fact that he had lost a lot of weight, there were no major problems with his body. He was a royal born with a blessed body.
However, it looked like he (Shed) had not slept properly for a long time, but the doctor did not dare to mention it. Even if he didn’t say, he knew best. Dry eyes and thin cheeks. Fingertips with thick fatigue. The doctor thought Shed looked like a beggar….
By a narrow margin he was still the only monarch of the Hildes Kingdom.
The doctor finished the examination by saying Shed should sleep a little more.
After the examination was over, Shed went out, following the Commander who had come for him. Then he suddenly stopped in front of a large wall.
It was a place where an insignia with signs of the immediate family of the current king was displayed.
“There’s a new addition.”
“Ah, yes. It was handmade by His Highness.”
Shed stared at the insignia. The Commander continued to speak in a quiet voice.
“It was customary.”
There was Shed’s nephew who had died before the age of one, but who had indeed been born a prince. It did not even have a corpse left, and Shed still remembered the blanket with only blood on it.
The other day, Raha thought he must have been a bodyguard for a lady of high rank or noblewoman, because he had an outstanding appearance. But she was wrong. Shed had only escorted one and only one person so far. It was not a lady or a noble woman.
[Shed. You’re a knight, protect my son. He’s your only nephew.]
The one and only prince of Hildes kingdom.
But Shed could not fulfill the duty the King asked for, and his nephew died. It was because of the young tyrant of the Delo empire. Karzen didn’t particularly aim at the Hildes’ bloodline.
It was only his sky-piercing arrogance that led him to choose the Duchy of Morpo, where the little prince was hiding, as his new occupied territory.
It was not geographically distant, not friendly to Delo, moderately wealthy, moderately solid, and suitable for consolidating Karzen’s position as monarch….
Due to its appropriateness, the Duchy quickly became ashes, and the little prince, who was sleeping, also died.
“His Highness has granted you an audience.”
Shed went inside. He thought he would see the Queen this time, but surprisingly there was only the King. He offered Shed a seat and then showed him some writing on a piece of paper.
[I haven’t seen you in a while, and your face is no good.]
Shed casually stroked his chin. Indeed, he has lost a lot of weight. The priests had worried about it many times. It couldn’t be helped. He couldn’t eat properly and could hardly sleep.
The Princess said his appearance wasn’t bad. But if she saw him like this, she might not have even paid attention to him like before. That Princess had cold eyes.
[Don’t leave now, just rest in the royal palace. You look so tired. Shed.]
The neat handwriting characteristic of the King came into view once again.
Shed smiled faintly at the King’s words, who did not ask any questions, but recommended only rest. Suddenly it occurred to him. If only Raha had one family member like this, he wished she had. She would not have buried her face by the pile of cold corpses.
* * *
The Queen’s eyes went wide as she saw Shed whom she thought was dead.
The Queen couldn’t overcome her overwhelming emotions and burst into tears, and the King was busy soothing the Queen with a bewildered expression.
The dinner ended in an atmosphere of flawless peace, except for the tears that the Queen constantly wiped away with her handkerchief during the meal.
The King seemed to be watching Shed carefully throughout the meal. He noticed that he was just filling his stomach appropriately to supply his body with nutrients. Late in the evening, after calling Shed to the reception room, the King asked.
[Shed, do you intend to marry?]
[Since you are the king’s brother, isn’t it only natural that you should get married?]
[Tell me whenever you have an idea. The sooner the better. Let me know if you want someone.]
‘The one I want….’
Shed stared out the window for a moment.
* * *
Rumors of the return of Shed Hildes did not spread in the kingdom at all. Moreover, not many people in the royal castle knew about it. The royal employees were very tight-lipped, and of course it was due to the fact that Shed did not even walk around. He stayed still in his bedroom after a long absence.
‘…I heard from the chieftain that he was doing that. No, isn’t this the first time he called me?’
The chief jeweler thought as he stared at the blue jewel he had just received. A person with that level of background could tell where the jewel came from with just a quick glance. The jewel had a hard surface with no scratches, and its color was uniform and brilliant. There was no trace of separate cutting, even though it was certainly of the highest quality. It was obviously an ornament that was on a sword. It was not just any sword, but a very good treasure sword.
So with this…….
“Yes, my lord. I can make a brooch out of it. It is a really good jewel…….. It can be made into a beautiful design that is very glamorous and stands out.”
As a Hildes craftsman, who had made his fortune in trade through his natural wealth, he naturally had excellent skills in crafting luxury items. The man’s voice was tinged with a faint mixture of pride, but Shed didn’t react much.
“Make it unnoticeable.”
“Yes? You don’t want it to stand out?”
“Oh …… I understand. Then I’ll make it as simple as possible.”
To do that, he needed to work on the back of the jewel, not the front……. If it’s a simple design, he’ll be able to make it quick because it requires less work. Who is the lord giving this to?
“Do you have any other requests?”
“Make it so that it can hold a thick shawl tightly. It should not fall off.
“Shawl …… yes, my lord. I will do so.”
Was it for a woman?
It was a thought that crossed the mind of the craftsman at the moment.
Normally, female nobles would wear shawls. The craftsman recalled the dozens of marriage proposals that had come for the King and replied that he would have the brooch made within a week. Shed put down the crudely stripped blue gemstone.
* * *
Raha, who had been looking down blankly at her hands gathered on her lap, raised her head. Karzen walked over, blocking Raha’s attempt to get up from the bed with his hand. He sat up in bed and frowned at Raha’s expression.
“You’re not feeling better. The fire happened and spring passed in a flash.”
“You don’t have to come often, Karzen.”
“It doesn’t matter, it’s too close to my palace anyway. I’m worried that you’ve been sick too long.”
This was not Raha’s palace. It was a separate palace that had been made suddenly as a temporary residence.
It was inevitable. Raha’s palace was more damaged by the fire than expected. It was not an environment in which Raha could ever stay, and the ceiling could collapse, so she was moved to a temporary location.
Most importantly, Raha did not want to stay in that palace.
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