Chapter 1 Part 1
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Kwanach spoke silently, using only his gaze. Then he looked at Roman and me alternately with a dubious expression.
It was then that Roman stood in the middle and made a speech.
His greeting was formal and tasteless. The gist of it was that the people here had to work together for the development of the empire, and that the Guilier would do his best to help.
“May Goddess Fahar bless the Emperor and Empress for making this place shine!”
Roman thanked us as he looked at the platform where we sat.
“I have prepared a few highlights for this beautiful evening, Your Majesty.”
“What is it?”
“It’s magic fireworks!”
As Roman beckoned, the Guilier’s people who were waiting in the corner simultaneously broke the small magic scroll. Immediately, the night sky was ablaze with fireworks.
The colorful fireworks changed into various shapes and embroidered the sky splendidly. Exclamations of admiration leaked out from everywhere.
“Please enjoy the banquet and dinner!”
Roman smiled and retired to the back .
The orchestra began to play. A beautiful melody flowed through the outdoor banquet hall set up in the middle of the forest.
Even though it was winter in the Empire, it was as cold as autumn in my homeland, just right for an outdoor banquet.
The servants began bringing various dishes and placed them on each table. A large brazier was set up far away from the tables, and they began to roast the meat on the spot.
It was a romantic atmosphere. Everyone looked buoyant and happy.
Just ……. What on earth is he up to?
Is he trying to restore the Pernen Dynasty? Or is he planning to take revenge on Kwanach?
Have the last few years just been a period of hiding and gaining power?
Soon, dinner was also served at our table. Kwanach kept me waiting for a while and then took a bite from the appetizer dish.
Kwanach nodded and said.
“It’s okay. You can eat it.”
“There is no need for you to do this, Kwanach.”
“We’re not at the imperial palace, so I’m more nervous.”
“But …… This is what subordinates should do. I heard that even at the palace you are always checking like this before meals. I didn’t know.”
“At the end, what I check is the most accurate.”
Kwanach was unconcerned.
“But still. If you get hurt….”
“Usphere, it would be better if I were injured instead before any harm came to you. That’s exactly what I’m hoping for. What’s the problem?”
“Since you are the Emperor, you must take better care of yourself.”
Kwanach burst into laughter and took an appetizer from my plate.
Whoosh, the illusion of magical fireworks danced like a fountain behind his charming smile.
“Well, I’m not a very precious person.”
Kwanach placed a plate in front of me.
It was food with sweet potato mousse and root vegetables rarely seen in winter. It was dressed with a refreshing dressing, and the savory smell tantalized my nose.
I took a bite of the food, which Kwanach had made sure was safe, and then said.
“You’re a valuable man. How many people do you have to take responsibility for?”
I tried to tell him that I didn’t want him to get hurt, and that he was the only person I could completely trust and rely on here.
But somehow I choked up and couldn’t speak.
My throat seemed to catch fire as I swallowed the food.
It was all I could do to get the barely contained words out.
Kwanach’s panicked face flickered into view. I could feel the heat coming from my chest and gradually hardening from the tips of my extremities.
Kwanach grabbed my body tightly.
“Call the doctor!”
The gentle sound of the strings stopped. The ominous buzzing began to die down as the area became desolate.
My vision spread out in a blur, I gasped, and was held in Kwanach’s chest.
He was mumbling something without a break, but I couldn’t hear him well.
‘My body….. I can’t move my body.’
It was hard to lift even a finger.
‘Is it poison?’
The heat that spread near my heart enveloped my entire body. My extremities hardened like stone, then my head.
My head froze and my thoughts didn’t flow smoothly. Still, I could know one thing for sure.
If this continues….I’m going to die.
It was an instinctive realization. It was a natural fear. Death was approaching quickly.
I could feel Kwanach’s hot and hard palms sweeping me down anxiously. His shaky voice sounded like an echo from afar.
“Oh, Usphere, please, I beg you.”
Kwanach was crying. That was the only thing that seemed clear. Hot tears trickled down due to the dulling fattening of my senses.
“I shouldn’t have been greedy for you. I thought I could protect you this time. I am…again….”
Kwanach was slurring incomprehensible words as he bowed his head. He rubbed his rough cheek against mine and whimpered like a sorrowful beast.
“Please, kill me, kill me, for God’s sake. Why again this time…Why…”
Kwanach growled in a low, raspy voice as he ran his fingers through my hair. His body trembled more and more violently, and his voice subsided more and more grimly.
“I’ll find those who have done this to you and tear all their limbs alive… Pull out their tongues so that they cannot leave a single word of their wills. Find their families and kill them all in front of them…. I will make them feel the same pain that I went through….”
The moment I heard Kwanach’s insane words, I seemed to come back to myself for just a moment.
I could faintly hear the sound of soldiers moving in unison. He brought quite a few of the Kingsguard from the Imperial Palace. The soldiers seemed to envelop the banquet hall.
‘I can’t die like this, never….’
I squeezed out what little willpower I had left.
It was the madness that I had glimpsed. If I was assassinated and met my end, he would turn into the bloody tyrant he once was. I couldn’t leave it like that. I would not let the bloody fate of my previous life repeat itself.
‘I’m not going to die. Wake up…never…’
After the regression, I have made various preparations since I was a child to avoid being poisoned. I was resistant to almost all poisonous plants.
Moreover, didn’t Kwanach methodically check them? If it was a poisonous drug, he would have spotted it first.
But while Kwanach was fine, I began to feel fever all over my body as soon as I took a bite.
That was the difference between me and him…..
It’s magic power.
Magic power in the body.
A toxicity that reacted only to magical power, like sclerosis. I’ve never heard of such a poison, but it was a possibility.
It was Roman who had also created the cursed magic that caused sclerosis. It was possible that Roman had planned something like this for me.
If that was the case, it was clear that this should be my last gasp before I died.
I tried my best to keep the magic in my body as quiet as possible. I blocked the path of the magic that stretched all over my body.
‘Is it effective?’
The heat that burned through my entire body seemed to subside a bit. I don’t know how long this would prevent my body from deteriorating.
I felt my consciousness gradually fading away.
I had to tell Kwanach who Roman was.
I could faintly hear him crying out like a beast.
Now I could only pray to Goddess Fahar and the Silver Forest.
‘Please help me to wake up before Kwanach breaks down completely and unleashes his carnage.’
But soon after, my mind turned completely black.
*Third person’s POV*
The moment Usphere’s trembling eyelids closed, Kwanach froze for a moment.
The sounds playing in the area coalesced into a nasty buzzing noise. Nothing could be heard properly.
Kwanach breathed out roughly like a beast that was thrust through a harpoon earlier in the hunt. His big back twitched. With his jaw trembling, he checked Usphere’s pulse with his crude hands.
It was beating faintly. She was not dead yet.
The carriage had just pulled in to where the banquet was being held to pick up Usphere just in time. Inside was Simon, who was brought in case of emergency.
Kwanach picked Usphere up in his arms. She was as light as paper, even though her whole body was stiff and limp.
Without saying a word, Kwanach approached the carriage with a stiff expression. His face was soaked with tears, but his bloodshot eyes were dangerous.
Every step Kwanach took, the Kingsguards waiting nearby moved to corner the people little by little. It was as if they were squeezing their prey.
The nobles were all groaning and whispering. How could the Empress fall? By all accounts, this was an attempt to poison her.
Kwanach laid Usphere safely in the carriage and spoke to Simon.
“Head for the palace as soon as possible, taking all necessary measures. The Kingsguards will follow.”
“Yes, yes. Your Majesty ……”
Simon’s face was completely frightened and soulless.
Kwanach spoke in a low voice and held Simon’s chin tightly.
“Pull yourself together, and somehow keep the Empress alive.”
As soon as Kwanach dismounted from the carriage, it ran quickly along the forest road. Guards on horseback in front and behind the carriage.
Kwanach stood still until the carriage with Usphere completely disappeared from his sight.
For a long time, the forest was filled with the sound of horses’ hooves trampling the earth, Kwanach turned and looked back at the people.
The Kingsguards had driven all the nobles and Guilier’s attendants to the center of the banquet. Everyone stood frozen, unable to sit in their chairs.
Kwanach drew a sword from a Kingsguard who was close by and approached the people.
“Who is it?”
Kwanach’s raspy voice was the only sound echoed in the forest, where music and speech had completely disappeared.
“I don’t know who did this, but I’m sure you won’t die comfortably.”