Chapter 1 Part 1
I had always felt that when I talked toKwanach, there was sometimes a subtle nervous silence in the air. This was despite the fact that Kwanach didn’t seem that scary to me.
A silence that tickled my toes and collar. It was when I was strangely aware of Kwanach.
Kwanach suddenly stood up, walked a few large steps and turned his body.
“I’m not looking, so get dressed comfortably.”
Kwanach turned away, showing his back to me.
I don’t think any women would complain if their husbands saw them changing.
But I was so embarrassed that my face felt hot.
I was grateful that Kwanach turned away. I grabbed the chemise that Marianne had folded on the small table by the bed and stood up.
I put my arms behind my back and unfastened the dress buttons, but it was not easy. It was difficult to change clothes without the help of a maid.
Kwanach’s shoulders shook, but he still turned away from me and answered.
“I can’t undo the button on the back by myself.”
“Oh, I see.”
Kwanach turned around and looked at me. While I stopped for a moment, he strode up and stood close behind me.
“Do you want me to unbutton them?”
No, actually I wanted him to call the maid. But it seemed that Kwanach was ready to undo the buttons.
I could smell his body scent from right behind me. His intense, hot breath reached the back of my head, sending heat flowing down to the back of my hair.
Would it be strange if I say no? It wasn’t like he would take off my clothes, he was just helping to undo the buttons. Yeah. It would be embarrassing to call Marianne….
I thought it over, and finally nodded.
Kwanach didn’t say a word and just moved his hand.
Tink. The top button was undone. I could feel the heat of Kwanach’s thick fingers on my skin.
There was no direct skin-to-skin contact. But there was a slight graze of Kwanach’s fingers on my skin.
Thump, thump. Thump, thump.
I stifled a gasp as the buttons came undone one by one.
Right behind me, Kwanach’s low voice penetrated my ears.
Kwanach fled to the side and turned his back towards me again. His fingers seemed to tremble faintly.
I quickly took off my dress and put on the undergarments and the chemise that Marianne had left behind. The chemise was a bit more shimmering and transparent than the one in the north, so the silhouette of the body was subtly visible.
I swallowed a couple of times for no reason and said,
“I’m done changing.”
Immediately, Kwanach came closer to me.
“Then let’s go to bed. Lie down. You’ve been tired all day.”
I lingered and went into bed first. The bed was large enough for four or five people to lie on, but I lay down as far to the right as I could.
Soon, Kwanach came up on the bed as well. He lay at an angle and stared at me with a piercing gaze.
“Didn’t you agree to hold hands? We can’t sleep hand in hand if we’re that far apart.”
“……Yes, I suppose so.”
I wriggled over and lay next to him.
Kwanach stretched out his big hand toward me. I reached out and grabbed him, alternating between his hand and his eyes.
Immediately, his long, thick fingers squeezed my hand.
“…… Have a good night.”
“…… you too.”
I lay facing the ceiling, with one hand firmly held by Kwanach. I felt him skim over my body.
‘Can I sleep like this?’
I wiggled my toes, which were wrapped in the covers, feeling my heart beating fast. Even though I wore only one thin chemise, I felt hot.
* * *
I was gradually awakened by the faint sound of birds chirping in the distance.
I slowly turned my eyes and looked around, Kwanach was already gone.
I slept comfortably for a long time. I felt refreshed as I woke up. I thought I wouldn’t be able to sleep because of my nervousness yesterday.
However, after a few minutes of holding Kwanach’s warm hand, the drowsiness came over me. It seemed that I fell asleep before he did.
‘What’s happened to my nerves?’
I used to worry a lot and could not sleep well. But this time I slept just like that even though I was extremely nervous.
I wondered if Kwanach was appalled. It was the first time we were lying in the same bed, no matter how much we said we’d sleep holding hands. It was our first night in the Imperial Palace, and his wife was so carefree that she immediately went off to dreamland.
“I hope Kwanach slept well.”
He woke up before me as usual and went to take care of the political affairs. He never seemed to leave his mighty body alone for even a moment.
He was an incredibly hard working man. That was probably why the empire was so stable and developed in the years after the revolution.
I had to do something today. I needed to get a grasp of this unfamiliar land as soon as possible. I pulled the rope and called the maids
Marianne, in a polished appearance, came in and bowed her head without a single strand of hair sticking out.
“You called, Your Majesty?”
“Good morning, Marianne.”
“Yes, good morning, Your Majesty. Is there anything you need?”
“Can you prepare a simple breakfast for me? I think I’ll just fill my stomach and go outside. I didn’t get a chance to see much of the palace yesterday.”
“All right. I’ll tell them to get ready right away.”
A few moments later, Marianne came back with a pie made with warm milk and fresh raspberries.
Marianne was already aware of my eating habits.
Unlike in my homeland, where only nobles were allowed to be maids of honor, Marianne was a commoner who was educated at a specialized institution for maids.
The Radon Empire was taking the lead in breaking down class divides. Ability was more important than origin.
Marianne’s work was as neat and she was more polite than any maidservants I had ever met.
I finished my meal comfortably, changed into my activewear and left the bedroom.
In Achaia, I always had to wear formal dress to maintain the dignity of royalty, but the Radon Empire had far fewer such etiquette restrictions.
I decided to go from the Imperial Library, guided by Marianne and a knight.
The path to the library was very clean and polished, and artificial fountains and ponds were seen everywhere. I couldn’t imagine having something like fountains in Achaia, because the water was always frozen for half of the year.
According to the seasons of the Radon Empire, it was early winter here, but it was still lush and green. It was nice to be able to walk around the palace and smell the fresh grass everywhere.
‘Next time, we will go to the greenhouse garden. I’m going to say hello to the plants there.’
It was said that the greenhouse garden was greatly improved on the east side. Just hearing about it made my heart flutter with anticipation.
The Radon Empire had the largest library and greenhouse garden on the continent. The Palace was filled with my favorite things.
The library, which we arrived at after crossing the palace, had two floors in all. It was a large building that didn’t immediately fit all in my vision up close.
Marianne said, bowing her head.
“We’ve collected and recorded all the books that were never officially published, as well as folklore and legends that circulated only by word of mouth. Are there any books you are looking for?”
“Oh, I don’t have the exact book I’m looking for. Probably something about magic.”
“Your Majesty was blessed by the Goddess. We have a number of librarians on hand, they can show you the relevant section.”
The inside of the library was as complicated as a maze. It would have been a real disaster without a librarian guiding us.
From the outside, it seemed like books were all located on the two floors, but the basement was also packed with books. I was told that there were also magic artifacts scattered throughout to prevent the books from being ruined by the humidity in the basement.
I wonder how much he spent to build such a library.
I knew that the Radon Empire was wealthy, but I didn’t know it was to this extent.
I was led to a place that had a collection of books on magic from the northern regions.
On the way there, I was barely able to contain my excitement at the sight of the books I had been dying to get my hands on, but I put it off for the next time. Because there was something more urgent to figure out.
I needed to find a story about the Catatel family. And if there was a way to have children, I needed to know about it.
Actually, I’ve never wanted children in any way. However, I thought I needed a child to keep my marriage with Kwanach stable. Because as far as I knew, marriage between nations was like that.
The strategy was to advance the blood mixed through the union of the man and the woman.
The librarian led us to a place, which was separately gated. She held the key and said,
“Only those with permission from the Emperor can enter.”
I was wondering if I should ask permission from the Kwanach before I came.
“Of course, the Empress is welcome to come and go as she pleases. The librarians are at your service if you need us.”
It was then that I realized my changed position.
Marianne and the knight had to stand and wait outside for a while. Leaving the people standing guard at the gate of the library, I went in alone.
As soon as I stepped inside, the cold air rushed over my body. I could smell the moldy odor of old paper.
I thought it would be dark inside since there were no windows, but there were lamps here and there, creating a cozy atmosphere.
There were dozens of bookshelves lined up, each column packed with books.
I wondered if the stories about the awakeners of the Catatel could be found here.
It would take a while to go through them all. Apparently, I would have to spend a long time in the library today.
* * *
“Your Majesty. The Empress is in the library.”
Kwanach lifted his head as he was examining the tantalizing final decision documents were submitted by the administrative office. The attendant, who reported on Usphere’s whereabouts, bowed deeply.
“Is she gone yet? Did she eat?”
“She has been in the library all day….”
“What if she collapses? What are the servants doing? They need to take care of her meals!”
The attendant flinched at Kwanach’s loud voice.
Kwanach frowned and waved his hand roughly.
After the attendant left, Kwanach sighed deeply for a moment.
‘This princess is really…..’
Kwanach touched his forehead.
He built the biggest and most interesting library on the continent, because he knew Usphere would love it. The library wasn’t the only thing he built in the palace that had Usphere’s preferences.
He was glad to hear that she liked it, but he was unsettled by the news that she was so immersed in it that she even skipped her meals.