Helen looked at her sister as soon as she heard about the concubine.
If it was a concubine that a powerful Emperor wanted, it couldn’t be her. Her sister Edith also looked at her father with panicked eyes.
“Don’t worry Edith. It won’t be you who goes to the Idelberg Empire, it will be Helen.”
Now Helen was perplexed. How could she be the one that the Idelberg Emperor wants?
“Does His Majesty Idelberg want ….me?”
It was only possible for the second daughter to take the place of the concubine, either because the emperor wanted her directly or if there was a serious problem with the first daughter.
The father shook his head and answered.
“No, the Idelberg Empire wanted Edith.”
“But why am I going?”
“Listen carefully, Helen.”
The father said in a stern voice, but his unusual buoyancy was still evident.
“This is our opportunity. An opportunity to deal with my lifelong nemesis.”
A nemesis? ! And it wasn’t exactly a nemesis, it was the son of a nemesis.
For the previous Emperor had already retired, and the current Emperor was his son.
Helen didn’t know what happened between her father and the previous Emperor of Idelberg, but he hated and disliked the previous Emperor of Idelberg to death.
However, his enemies in other countries knew well, and if her father killed the Idelberg Emperor now, the arrow would naturally go to Cordelia.
“But father, this is too dangerous!”
Edith shouted. Helen couldn’t believe her sister could speak that loud to their father.
‘If I do that, I’ll die.’
Just thinking about it made her mouth dry.
The Emperor grabbed Helen’s shrinking shoulders firmly.
“So shouldn’t Helen go more? Edith is the future leader of the country. But Helen…”
Her father didn’t finish his sentence.
But Helen’s cold eyes drooped.
‘So this time I’ll still just be used for Edith’s benefit.’
Helen knew that whether she failed or succeeded in killing the Emperor, she would have no life of her own afterwards.
Once the assassination was over, she would have to die, and her father couldn’t have not known that.
Helen realized that her father, who looked at her with a cold stare, was no different from abandoning her at this moment.
And she didn’t have a choice. To be the concubine and die, or stuck in the house and waiting for her life to end.
“I will obey your orders. I will go to the Idelberg Empire in place of my sister.”
Helen gritted her teeth. Even at this moment when her father had abandoned her, she liked the warmth of his father’s hand rising above her shoulders. Such a tragic outcome….
It was only when she was prepared to die that she could receive a touch from her father.
“Yes. That’s my daughter.”
She was his daughter only if she gave up her life.
Helen felt a bitterness in her mouth.
The emperor hugged Helen with a happy look on his face. Little did he know that this embrace was Helen’s lifelong wish.
“If you finish well and come back, I will protect you for the rest of your life.”
Everyone in the room knew that Helen was not coming back.
But Helen didn’t dare to say it out loud. She hoped that the last warmth she felt from her father would last as long as possible.
She looked over her father’s shoulder and saw a faint smile of relief on her sister’s face.
Could that smile be an illusion?
God always grants our wishes when we least expect it.
Helen didn’t expect her wish to come true this way, that if she was willing to die, her father would let her out of the castle.
She never thought she’d go outside the castle to kill someone.
Helen didn’t doze for a moment on the carriage ride to Idelberg.
Except for the moment when they stopped to rest, she stayed tightly to the carriage window and looked outside.
She had never seen anything like it. The trees were so tightly planted that she couldn’t see what was ahead of her, and her father, who looked down from the top of a high ridge, was barely more than a thumbnail.
Perhaps that was why Helen was so excited, even though she was going to Idelberg to die.
She felt like a fool, but she spared no time and tried to look at the sight as much as possible.
The people she saw when they passed the market were all radiant. They were full of life, and everyone was laughing in their own way.
The image lingered in her mind, and Helen looked at her reflection
over the ridge by the river where the procession was resting for a while. She could see her figure in the water floating along the channel.
She wanted to smile like that innocent little girl she saw at the market.
But what she saw in the water was a skinny woman with a cramp in her mouth.
Helen vented her anger on the water.
took it out on the water, stirring it quickly with her hand so that she wouldn’t see her image.
‘I’m never going to shine like those girls…’
Helen didn’t even look out the window that day because she felt so depressed.
She was depressed because she felt like everything was sparkling, except her.
Helen stood before a High Priest wearing a white veil.
The wedding ceremony that took place upon her arrival in the Idelberg Empire was very simple. It was such a small ceremony that it was embarrassing to even call it a wedding.
The emperor’s chamberlain and the pope read the proclamation in front of the delegation of nations. The emperor was nowhere to be seen, and Helen thus became the Emperor’s twenty-seventh concubine.
They entered the imperial Castle and passed through it in a hurry.
All the maidservants and knights who came with Helen from Cordelia had to leave except for one.
A knight named Paul remained, but even that he was not allowed in the concubine’s annex, so she was effectively cut off from Cordelia.
Helen was standing there in a daze with her small luggage when a girl with red hair with one head smaller than Helen’s, came running toward her.
“You were waiting for me, weren’t you? Sorry! The chief maid’s little speech was too long.”
‘Who is she?’
With her round eyes and red hair, the girl looked like a rabbit Helen had when she was little. Cute.
While Helen was thinking about this, the red-haired girl chirped like a sparrow.
“My name is Ellie! Is your luggage heavy? I’ll carry it for you!”
The spontaneous Ellie quickly took Helen’s luggage.
Ellie looked rather surprised because the luggage she thought was heavy was infinitely light.
“Huh? It looks like you didn’t bring all your luggage? I guess your country will send your luggage by carriage later!”
Helen didn’t know how to answer. Many of the princesses from other countries brought more than one carriage, and many of them brought two or three pieces of luggage.
Helen felt embarrassed that she had only one light bag.
“Then let me show you to your room.”
It wasn’t until a few days later that Helen realized that Ellie was her personal maid all along.
It was the first time she had heard of such a maid.
‘It’s impossible for a princess to be ignorant of such things, isn’t it? Let’s just keep it quiet.’
Helen mainly just nodded at Ellie’s words.
Helen had come here to kill people. That, and the empire, the emperor.
That was why she didn’t dare to get close to Ellie. She was afraid that Ellie might get hurt by spending time with her.
So a few weeks went by. The routine has not changed. Helen was worried about the Emperor coming to visit, but no one came.
When she woke up in the morning, Ellie would wait for her. Then she would take a walk, read a book, and that was the end of the day.
What some might consider a boring day felt like a blessing in disguise to Helen.
‘It’s fun’, Helen thought.
But Ellie was like a sparrow who chattered incessantly. There was no reply, and her heart, which was closed like a castle iron wall. Unbeknownst to Helen, she was opening the door to Ellie little by little.
“Would you like to have a meal, princess?”
Helen murmured quietly as she watched Ellie take care of her meal.
“What about you…?”
“You don’t eat?”
“Are you worried about me just now?”
‘Was I not supposed to say that?’
Ellie looked at Helen in surprise.
‘I said something unnecessary! Other princesses wouldn’t say such things!’
Helen bit her bottom lip.
But Ellie was rather delighted.
A person who had been behaving like an abandoned kitten had finally opened her mouth in a matter of weeks.
And now she was even worried about a maid like herself.
“Oh, how can a princess be so kind!”
Ellie would take Helen in her arms and hug her if she could.
However, she did not forget that she was dealing with a princess.
“Please eat. I will eat when I return, after the princess has finished her meal.”
Helen’s cheeks reddened involuntarily at Ellie’s friendly words.
Never in her life had she felt such friendliness.
As each day passed with Ellie, Helen was greedy for life.
She wanted to live a little longer.
The freedom she tasted unexpectedly was so sweet that she didn’t have the courage to end this life.
‘Yes, the emperor didn’t come….That’s why I can’t kill him. It’s not that I disobeyed my father’s orders.’
Helen moved her hands, looking for excuses every day.
If she received a letter from her father, she would write the reason she thought.
That the concubines were not allowed to see the Emperor without permission, and it wasn’t easy for the concubines to leave the annex.
‘Will my father forgive me for this…?’
Helen closed the book she had been reading as she thought about the letter.
It was hard to breathe and she couldn’t look at the book.
There was nothing wrong with going on with her life without having to leave the concubine’s residence.
One maidservant was assigned to her by the emperor and one knight brought from the Cordelian Empire, but even that was useless when she was tied to the residence and only read books.
A year of time had passed since she didn’t leave the annex like that.
Every day, Helen read only books, and never went out of the annex, but she knew the rumors about Emperor Idelberg.
Because the concubines’ biggest concern was the emperor except Helen in this annex.
The chatter of the courtesans seated at a round table in the side yard could be heard in Helen’s residence.
“Did you hear the rumors? After winning the war, he freed all the prisoners. Maybe he’s not as cruel as the rumors say.”
“But… he fought in the war for ten years.”
“That’s true, but…Rumors of him being an evil spirit, but he doesn’t get out of the palace much. So, how did he commit the evil deed?”
Helen’s ears perked up as she listened to the conversation of the women.
She agreed with the concubines.
Rumors had spread in her home country that the Emperor of Idelberg was a scary demon, but there were many things that didn’t fit the demon’s fame.
For a whole year he had not been seen to be as greedy as the rumors made him out to be.
He was also rumored to be merciful to those of lower status than himself, and even though he was the emperor, Helen heard that he woke up early in the morning every day to take care of the political affairs. Moreover, he was always improving his martial arts skills.
An Emperor who had none of the seven great evils: anger, greed, pride, jealousy, laziness, gluttony, and lust.
He was the perfect emperor.
However, there was one part of him that Helen was curious, and it was the very part of ‘lust.’