Chapter 13

 

Kwanach huddled closer to me and asked,

 

 

 

“Are you okay? Are you hurt? If you’re hurt, you have to tell me.”

 

My shoulders slumped spontaneously as Kwanach spoke harshly and angrily.

 

“No…………………… It’s no big deal. I got a little motion sick

 

“Can you walk? Get on my back.”

 

“What? It’s just motion sickness.”

 

How could I sit on the emperor’s back, even if it hurts to death?

 

“You don’t seem well. It looks like you’re going to collapse. What if you fall and get hurt while walking by yourself?”

 

“Do you think I’m that weak…?”

 

Kwanach gave me a look as if to say ‘Do you have to ask?’ I bit my lips trying not to argue with him. 

 

There was no point in attempting to clear up this man’s misunderstanding.

 

Besides, what could I say to a man who was twice as big as me? A man who wields a spear as heavy as I am on a horse that runs faster than a carriage…..

 

I looked at him with strong determination, not willing to let him carry me in front of the eyes of many.

 

It was then, a man stepped out of a sailing ship and moved towards us. He seemed to have seen the strangest thing in the world and appeared frightened.

 

“……Your Majesty.”

 

Still grasping my arm, Kwanach turned and stared at the man.

 

“Oslin.”

 

I looked at the man called Oslin, a little surprised at the name that came out of Kwanach’s mouth.

 

He was the man who wrote several minstrels and chronicles that celebrated Kwanach’s achievements.

 

He was one of Kwanach’s dear friends who had known him since he was a slave.

 

Oslin was from a poor baronial family, who revived the family with his wondrous business skills. He did not discriminate against people of status, and was quick to recognize and aid Kwanach’s extraordinary qualities.

 

Oslin was a brilliant strategist in Kwanach’s Revolution and was a powerhouse that could not be ignored in what was now the Radon Empire. He was in charge of the Internal Affairs Department of the Administrative Bureau.

 

He also oversaw the Ministry of the Interior in the Administrative Bureau, the bureaucratic body of the Empire.

 

Oslin slowly approached us and stood at an appropriate distance.

 

He had dark green hair and grayish eyes.The corners of his mouth curled upwards, making it seem like he was smiling even when he had no expression on his face.

 

Oslin politely bowed at Kwanach, and turned to face me. I could dimly see Oslin’s expression as he fiddled with his monocle.

 

Somehow, he didn’t seem to like me. Oslin quickly returned with a wry face, but I didn’t miss the disapproval he had hinted for a moment.

 

Kwanach introduced me to Oslin.

 

“Usphere, this is Baron Oslin Beinard. He’s a close friend of mine and a first level official in the Internal Affairs Department of the Administration.”

 

“Nice to meet you, Empress.”

 

Oslin bowed graciously. I gave him a nonchalant look.

 

“Usphere Catatel Radon. I look forward to working with you.”

 

I put a lot of effort into my newly given last name of Radon today.

 

Oslin smiled and turned to Kwanach.

 

“What are you doing here instead of boarding the ship, Your Majesty?”

 

He was using honorifics, but his tone and expression toward Kwanach was light and friendly. It seemed that Kwanach was used to Oslin’s way of talking.

 

“There is a problem. The Empress is ill.”

 

“It’s nothing serious, Kwanach.

 

I glanced at Kwanach and twisted my shoulders, though of course he didn’t move a muscle in his grip on me.

 

“What are you talking about? You look like you could fall over at the slightest tap. We have to get on the ship first, so get on my back.”

 

“If you are so worried, then just give me a hand.”

 

“Why?”

 

Kwanach asked with a grim expression, as if it was unacceptable that I didn’t listen to him.

 

“Hey, Your Majesty.”

 

Oslin, who had been watching the two of us argue, interrupted with a strange look on his face.

 

“Do you already call each other by name?”

 

I was a little embarrassed and uncomfortable that I forgot to call him by his title.

 

No matter how comfortably he asked me to call him by name, it might not seem like a good idea to mention the emperor’s name in the presence of his people. Unless it was just the two of us, it was only natural to be polite to the emperor.

 

Known as a loyal subject, Oslin threw me a brief glance with a more disapproving expression than before.

 

If I were to give a bad impression to a powerful man like Oslin too soon, it would make my life in the Imperial Palace difficult. I was about to ask him to understand that the name was a mistake on my part.

 

“Why not?”

 

Kwanach glared at Oslin as he spoke in a sharp voice.

 

“I’d like my wife to call me by my name.”

 

“Ahaha,”Oslin let out an awkward laugh.

 

“That’s not impossible, but still, etiquette…….”

 

“Etiquette. I turned the country upside down because I didn’t like it. You call me by my name too, don’t you?”

 

“When did I ever…No, Your Majesty. We were in private at the time.”

 

“If you’re unhappy, you may as well speak now. Don’t judge the empress.”

 

Oslin seemed to be barely able to maintain a smile as both ends of his mouth quivered. At this rate, I felt like I was going to lose more points to Oslin. I didn’t want to spoil my plan because of this.

 

I said urgently, pulling Kwanach’s shirt.

 

“Let’s get on the ship quickly. I’m dizzy….”

 

Kwanach glanced at Oslin as if he was nibbling on him, then shifted his gaze to me. It was a deliberate attempt to get his attention by pretending to be weak.

 

 It worked. The problem was, it worked embarrassingly well.

 

Kwanach frowned and quickly picked me up. He carried me in his strong arms. That’s when my face touched his broad chest.

 

“Kwa, Kwanach….!”

 

I had a serious case of deceptive vertigo. Kwanach walked unhesitatingly to the ship, holding me in his arms.

 

Oslin managed to mumble something and followed him. All at once, the knights deliberately averted their gazes, trying not to stare at us.

 

The efforts he made to protect the privacy of the emperor and his wife made me more ashamed.

 

“Oh, my God.”

 

My face was burning hot.

 

Kwanach paid no heed to my embarrassment and headed toward the sailing ship without a care in the world. Despite the fact that his stride was broad, his chest was steady and unshaken.

 

Whenever something happened that was beyond what I could do, my mind would jumble and I would come to a complete stop. Eventually, I chose to just be silent. I closed my eyes and turned my face to Kwanach’s chest.

 

It was better to accept it because even if I struggled, he wouldn’t let me go anyway.

 

It felt like we were walking for a long time while I was in Kwanach’s arms. We were going up the ship and went straight to the cabin. 

 

I could faintly hear the gasps of astonishment from people’s voices, which made my face become even hotter.

 

Unlike Kwanach, I was nervous and embarrassed at the same time.

 

Creak.

 

Eventually I heard the door open, and my body fell to the soft floor.

 

“This is the room where you will stay.”

 

I opened my eyes, which were tightly closed, as I heard Kwanach’s low voice.The room was large and luxurious, not unlike what one would expect from a cabin on a sailing ship.

 

I was on the bed where Kwanach had set me down. It was large enough for me to roll around.

 

The silver thread canopy glittered and shone around the bed. Someone had left the candles lit beforehand, and the crisp wood scent tickled my nose.

 

I averted my gaze and found myself eye to eye with Kwanach, who was standing next to the bed. My face was still feverish, but he was in great spirits. Somehow, I felt a little unfair.

 

He looked at me and started speaking.

 

“The maids should always be on standby, so pull the rope and call them. It will take us four days to reach the empire by ship, so if there is any inconvenience, let me know. But why are you looking so red? Do you have a fever? I’ll get you a doctor as soon as possible……”

 

Kwanach had a serious expression on his face, and I said frankly,

 

“It’s not a fever, it’s because I’m embarrassed.”

 

“Why is that?”

 

“Because you carried me as if I was a child….”

 

Kwanach crossed his arms and tilted his head. His arms tensed up.

 

“I’ve never treated you like a child. My wife felt ill, can’t I do that much?”

 

“But in the eyes of others…”

 

“What’s so important about other people’s eyes? I’m the emperor and no one can dare judge me. Now that you’re married to me, forget the etiquette you practiced before.”

 

“…….”

 

“Do you know why I became emperor?”

 

Kwanach’s voice was low and resonant. He stared at me and said,

 

“To do what I want.”

 

“…….”

 

“I won the throne with my hands covered in blood, so I’ll do what I choose to do.”

 

Kwanach’s voice sounded gruesome for a moment. His past, which I had only been exposed to in words, seemed to pass through my mind. 

 

“I understand your intentions, so please discuss them with me next time instead of doing it suddenly.”

 

My words lifted the dark shadow on Kwanach’s face.

 

“I didn’t expect you to be so flustered.”

 

“Of course, I was embarrassed. You said earlier that in the carriage we would start slowly with small skin-to-skin contact…….!”

 

“This wasn’t skinship, I was just moving the patient along…”

 

“…….”

 

“Oh, so you thought it was skinship?”

 

Kwanach smiled, his lips lifting softly. Even though I was annoyed that he was teasing me, his smile was so charming that I was speechless.

 

The effect seemed to be doubled when the smile was applied to a sardonic, stern face.

 

Don’t make fun of me….”

 

“I’m not making fun of you.”

 

***