Chapter 1. Prologue
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At that moment, Jamela’s expression hardened. She quickly lowered her voice.
“No one is here. But yes. I won’t say any more.”
Rosain smiled faintly.
“Should I pour more glasses?”
She was parched. At last she stared at Rosain, looked at the Princess and the royal lord, and checked ten more times that no one was there, and sipped the champagne slowly.
The sweet liquid flowed down her thirsty throat, leaving smoothness in its wake. It was then that Jamela felt her nervousness sink a little all the way down. As she did so, she realized. Now, instead of dawdling like this, she must do my duty as a host. She must offer the Princess some refreshments…
Jamela turned to check the bottles lying on the table.
Rosain, who had been standing there earlier, was no longer in sight. He had somehow made his way to the pond with two glasses.
The imperial princess received the cups. The royal lord looked like he was displeased with something, but it wasn’t enough for the host to have to pay attention, and …….
It was not a good idea to interrupt, so Jamela just sat still. She still held the champagne glass in her hand.
Rosain returned with his characteristic bright smile.
The two of them won’t be having the champagne,” he said. “I wouldn’t mind drinking it all.”
“…… really, Rosain Ligulish.”
Rosain burst into laughter at what it seemed like a rebuke. Jamela glanced at him and took another sip of her champagne. The wind continued to blow and the soft sunlight shone beautifully on the water surface.
The Princess’s facial expressions were more varied than usual, as she talked to the royal lord. Sometimes she smiled, sometimes she was expressionless. It was always one of two.
It was the first peaceful afternoon Jamela had ever experienced at the Imperial Palace.
- Peeling secrets.
The Grand Council Chamber was located in the center of the Imperial Palace.
For several days, the hundreds of nobles who had attended the Grand Council Chamber found that Blake Duke, who had been behind Karzen while the meeting was taking place, had vanished.
Blake Duke was the only nobleman, with the exception of the emperor, who could enter this huge conference room wearing a sword. Some nobles were curious about his sudden disappearance, as he had always been positioned behind Karzen, but it did not last long.
No one knew.
Who did Blake go to see?
* * *
Severo, who had been reading a tower of documents as soon as he returned, turned around. Discovering Blake, Severo immediately rose from his seat.
“Long time no see! Blake Duke hasn’t changed, has he?”
“You have changed a lot.”
“The desert air is very hot and dry. Moreover, I felt like I was withering away alive every day to attend to the Emperor’s orders. Do I look crazy?”
“Not crazy. You just look haggard.”
“That’s the sound of it, isn’t it? I’ve tried to put all the good things on my face, but it doesn’t work.”
Severo stroked his chin ruefully. His impression, which had never been soft to begin with, was looking sharper as he lost weight. However, it originally suited Severo’s personality and position well.
Severo Crassus. He was Karzen’s first assistant.
There were other consecrated titles, but they were not addressed. Severo had been with Karzen since the days when he was Crown Prince, and was virtually one of Karzen’s most important limbs, along with Blake Duke.
“How is His Majesty?”
“He’s well. The great council meeting has dragged on and he doesn’t have free time.”
“As long as he’s well. His Majesty is a born warrior.”
Severo was a faithful subordinate. He then broached another subject.
“What about the Princess?”
“Of course the Princess ….”
Blake took a pause and replied.
“She’s doing very well.”
“Yes, she should. She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, so of course she should be well.”
Severo fluttered the paper in his hand. The words “the royal lord of Hildes” were clearly written on it.
“But I really can’t believe it. That Princess is getting married?”
“That’s what it is. I’m sure you can tell from the document.”
Severo crumpled the paper in a sad voice.
“I had hoped that no man could have the Princess.”
“Why is she, of all people? If she had been a little lower in status, if she was just the emperor’s side chamber, I could have asked His Majesty to give her to me as a reward.”
It was the most honest, but well-spoken words that Severo used to say, even before he left for the desert. It was filled with sincerity. Blake’s face hardened a little with tension. He reflexively turned around. Naturally, there was not a single person in sight.
“Why are you so nervous? This is His Majesty’s residence anyway.”
“That’s true, but there are thousands of nobles who come and go. You never know.”
“Watch what you say, Severo Crassus. Because of the last war, high-ranking aristocrats regard the royal lord of Hildes as their savior.”
“I understand. I imagine His Majesty is not in a very good mood.”
“He certainly wasn’t before your arrival.”
“I can’t have an audience with His Majesty for the moment, so I must go and greet the Princess. Where is she now?”
“I think she is at the Princess’s Palace. The palace was newly built by His Majesty as his gift to her.”
“Is that so?”
“Tell the guard outside to show you around. I will give them a message.”
”Very well. See you later, Sir Blake Duke.”
With excitement, Severo Crassus checked what he had brought with him. Then he immediately walked in search of the chamberlain.
“The palace is very glamorous, isn’t it?”
Severo Crassus murmured in a sigh as soon as he arrived at the palace of the Princess. No one was there to hear. Of course, the servant who was guiding him was not listening.
Severo walked through the entrance to the garden and took a quick look at the newly built Palace of the Princess.
It was a very beautiful palace. Although it was winter, the birch trees planted in a row created a fairy tale-like atmosphere.
The pure white snow on the dead branches even gave the illusion of entering a quiet countryside in just a few steps. It was a vast expanse of land where the word “forest” was more appropriate than “garden.”
Seeing such a huge palace brought out his emotions. He was pleased that Karzen treated Raha well. It would be good for reputation management only if they could visibly show the nobles that Raha was cherished.
But….He knew it wasn’t all it looked.
Severo chuckled. The frozen edges along the river cracked a little, and he gasped at the sound of clear water coming from under the surface.
He had a feeling that tomorrow he would have to confirm this from the public opinion of the nobles. If any of the nobles noticed the feelings the emperor had for the twin princess….
After all, this was a difficult thing to do unattended. No matter how great a knight Blake Duke was, he would not know how to delicately confirm public opinion. The same went for His Majesty.
Because apparently the Princess was very beautiful.
How beautiful would she be, and how important would she be enough to make him go to the desert?
He was not resenting that it was difficult. Knowing the tyrannical nature of Karzen, Severo Crassus chose him. Rather, I also thought that such a fiery nature was naturally necessary to strengthen the imperial power, despite his inability to have the “eye of the heir”.
Indeed, it was as well.
What nobleman would not bow to a conquering monarch?
However, one factor that Severo failed to grasp. He thought he would slowly lose interest in the Princess, and that was Severo Crassus’ only defeat. So this was how he went to the desert.
Karzen’s growing obsession with Raha sometimes seemed like madness.
“Master Severo Crassus.”
Severo lifted his gaze. A woman in a high quality maid’s outfit bowed gracefully.
“The Princess has granted you permission to see her. Please come inside.”
The well-decorated palace was luxurious and sparkling. Was this the palace of the imperial princess, or the palace of a beloved mistress, or more? It was so very ambiguous.
The maid knocked on the door and immediately ushered Severo inside. It seemed to be a reception room for high royalty, and it looked nothing like an ordinary reception room.
In other words, it was closer to the emperor’s audience chamber. A long red carpet stretched from the door to the back. At the far end of the large room was a row of seats for nobles.
In one of the higher seats sat Raha.
Severo walked straight to the Princess. Then bent one knee respectfully.
“It has been a long time, Princess.”
“You’re back alive.”
“Of course I am. Do you know where I have been?”
The fact that Severo went to the desert was a secret. Even Raha didn’t know about it. She smiled faintly.
“There was even talk that you must have died without being seen much.”
“Is that so?”
“I saw you before, but now you are truly dazzlingly beautiful.”
“Your clever tongue is the same.”
Severo’s words to Blake were no lie. The Princess was truly so beautiful that he was at a loss for words. In Severo’s eyes, she was and beyond.
Yes, this was what the imperial princess looked like before she started drinking.
It was when the imperial princess became a drunken stupor that he departed for the desert.
Severo handed the gifts he had brought to the maid.
It was a precious flower that bloomed in a far southern region, and a jewel from there.
No one in the empire here in Delo would know about it, but it was a very precious golden flower that bloomed only in the desert. The cost to bring it here was more than enough to buy a whole castle. Unfortunately this flower would soon wither, though, as there was no magic to preserve it forever. The price was high enough to cover at least a year’s distance between the desert and the Delo Empire.