Chapter 1 Part 1
After two days of driving through the harbor, we finally arrived at the capital of the Radon Empire.
“We will enter the city quietly.”
Kwanach remained in the carriage with me the whole time. And he was planning to do the same when we entered the Imperial Palace.
“But the people who have been waiting for you would be disappointed?”
“I will give a speech in a few days. I think it would be better to show the Empress to the people after the grand wedding here. And all the knights are tired.”
“Okay. I think the people here find it difficult to accept that I am the Empress.”
In the capital, traffic was tightly controlled.
We quietly entered the palace, not yet meeting my new people.
* * * * *
The maids and knights took me to the place where I would live in Radon. Kwanach went out for a few days to deal with the political affairs that had piled up while he was away from the empire.
The imperial palace was very spacious and sophisticated. The design was striking in its pursuit of practicality while adhering to temperance.
If the Royal Palace of Achaia focused on splendor and beauty, this place was the exact opposite. I could feel throughout the place the efficiency-oriented character of Kwanach.
There was only one building in the distance that had a very different atmosphere. It looked like a detached palace, but I couldn’t help but be drawn to it.
The building was in the style of Achaia.
Delicate carving decorations and elegant curves. It was a building similar to the royal palace where I had lived all my life.
I asked the knight who was there.
“What is that building?”
“Oh, it’s a recently built palace. I’m not sure what it’s for, since it hasn’t been opened yet. The garden in front of the palace is said to be very beautiful, Your Majesty.”
Then we passed through the detached palace to the east and headed for the main palace.
My room was on the second floor of the main palace. Dozens of rooms on the second floor were reserved for the future royal family of the Radon Empire.
At the entrance to the Empress’s bedchamber, there was a line of maids in formal dresses.
“How are you, Empress? My name is Marianne, and I will be serving you from now on.”
The woman who seemed to be in charge of the maids stepped forward and introduced herself as Marianne.
“Nice to meet you.”
Marianne seemed very dour. She looked to be in her late twenties.
Her brown hair was tied up neatly, and her eyes were bright amber. She was also much taller than me, and I found her somewhat difficult to approach.
Still, the impression alone gave me confidence that she would do a good job.
“I will do my best to make your stay in the palace comfortable from now on, Your Majesty.”
Marianne opened the bedroom door and I stepped inside.
The room was five times larger than the one I’d had in Achaia.
As I walked through the corridor of the palace, I realized that the Radon Empire valued practical beauty more than luxury…
I felt like all the glamour that I hadn’t seen outside was gathered here. It seemed that a lot of care was taken since it was the Empress’s bedroom. They didn’t have to do that.
Wherever I turned my eyes, gold glittered and shone. From the tiniest of decorations to moldings, window frames, and even bed frames. It would have been faster to find a place without gold in it.
There was a huge chandelier on the domed ceiling, studded with diamonds and gems near the candelabra. It was still daylight, but the chandelier glittered with the light reflected off the gems.
It didn’t seem like a room for me to stay in. It felt like it was the room for an important guest. In spite of the luxurious atmosphere, I was overwhelmed unconsciously.
I looked around awkwardly and asked Marianne.
“By the way, where is my reception room?”
“The Empress’s reception room is set up separately outside the main palace. As you may have seen it on our way here, the newly built palace is your parlor.”
“You mean the entire building is mine?”
“Yes. It was the Emperor’s order that the Empress can use it freely for whatever purpose she wants.”
It was burdensome. The palace looked large enough to hold a ball. Why would he give the entire place to me?
I wouldn’t use it often but only for banquets or tea parties for the ladies anyway.
No. Kwanach may have prepared a separate palace because he wanted me to do so.
I was no longer a princess who had no problem living alone and confined to her chambers. I was now the wife of the new Emperor and the Empress of the new empire.
Perhaps Kwanach wanted me to be a part of the clandestine political wars that rage among the noblewomen.
The position itself had changed, so it seemed that I still had to have a more active social life than I was in Achaia.
‘I’m already tired just thinking about it.’
Marianne said as she lowered her head, perhaps noticing the fatigue on my face.
“I’m sure the journey was quite tiring, shall I prepare a bath?”
“Oh, will you do that for me? Thank you very much.”
“I’ll make sure you have enough incense oil. It was prepared for His Majesty and Empress to use for your wedding night at the imperial palace.”
My body froze for a moment at the word ‘wedding night’. As I thought carefully about Marianne’s words, I finally realized the implied meaning of the “at the Imperial Palace” part.
Marianne thought that I’d already slept with Kwanach.
I was attached to Kwanach for days, but we had never actually slept in the same bed. Because Kwanach always told me not to worry about him and to go to bed first.
At first, I couldn’t sleep with him by my side, but I gradually got used to it. I sometimes fell asleep helplessly, unable to do anything because of the exhaustion from the trip.
Then, in the morning, I woke up to find Kwanach dressed neatly and standing by my side. He seemed to wake up early but he always slept later than I did.
Our relationship was perfectly healthy but in the eyes of others…….
Of course, they thought I had already experienced my first night because Kwanach was in my guest bedroom late every night.
The heat rose to my throat. But we were a married couple, so I thought there was no need to be so embarrassed.
‘What will we do today? Will Kwanach come to my bedroom?’
I felt completely different from when I let him into the guest bedroom. It was even more strange to see Marianne, who said she would take care of the preparations for our wedding night at the Imperial Palace.
To make matters worse, what Kwanach said the other day was floating vividly in my head.
“I said I’d wait until you’re ready, but don’t relax too much in my presence. I’m not a trustworthy man.”
…… Will I be okay today?
* * *
The first day at the Imperial Palace came to an end.
For the first time since Kwanach and I were married, we were apart for half a day.
He once told me that when we arrived at the imperial palace, he wouldn’t be able to stay by my side, because the business that had accumulated during that time he was away seemed to be considerable.
I followed Marianne’s lead and took a quick look around the main palace, then went to my room to rest. It was because the tension that had built up during the trip had suddenly dissipated and I felt exhausted.
I was sure it was even worse for Kwanach, who was busy with his political duties. While I was alone, I thought of Kwanach from time to time without even knowing it. It was only for a few days, but I was getting used to the routine of being with him.
I waited for Kwanach in the bedroom, where the chandelier was faintly lit along with candles.
It was late at night. There were rose petals scattered all over the bed, and the seductive scented candles were slowly burning. I felt my cheeks burning for no reason at the explicit atmosphere.
On a small table by the bed were a couple of glass bottles filled with fragrant oil. When Marianne gave them to me, she asked,
“When you were intimate, did it hurt?”
Her voice was hard and clerical as if it was only her job to take care of my body.
I couldn’t have known, because I hadn’t tried it yet.
Perhaps affirming my hesitation, Marianne pointed to a particularly pink glass bottle and said,
“This is a fragrant oil with some aphrodisiac and sedative properties. It can be useful in marital relations, so don’t be shy about using it.”
I glanced at the bottle Marianne had spoken of and slumped. My cheeks were burning with embarrassment.
“His Majesty is here.”
The bedroom door opened and Kwanach walked in. For a moment, my chest tightened with tension. It was very heavy.
As usual, Kwanagh was dressed in casual clothes. The silk shirt gently wrapped his firm body.
His chest was half exposed. Even though I tried not to look at him, my eyes naturally turned in that direction because of the large area of bare skin.
Kwanach stepped slowly towards me, while I was sitting on the bed.
The faint light cast shadows over his eyes and nose. The strong impression of him became more and more intense.
Even though I was nervous about what Marianne said, I was happy to finally see Kwanach. I wanted to ask him how his day was, but my lips grew heavy as Kwanach approached.
Because he was looking at me with a stronger expression than usual.
Kwanach slowly approached and stood in front of me.
“The atmosphere in the bedroom is very …….”
Kwanach couldn’t finish his sentence, and I chose to remain silent. He, too, seemed to sense this bewitching momentum that was somehow pushing the union of the newlyweds.
I felt that the longer the silence, the more embarrassed I would become. So I said hesitantly,
“It seems the maid of honor was concerned about our first night at the Imperial Palace.”
I choked up and cleared my throat. Kwanach also coughed a few times as if he felt the same way.
“So, Usphere, your clothes…… what you’re wearing…”
Kwanach slowly scanned me from head to toes.