Chapter 1. Kill the Empress
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Anna rushed over and hugged Viscount Rotrega.
He had been running all night, and he was filled with the smell of wind and sweat.
He smiled compassionately as he patted his skinny daughter on the shoulder with his thick hand.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t come early enough. You’ve done some very great things here, haven’t you?”
Viscount Rotrega asked with an admiring look on his face as he held Anna in his arms.
Anna smiled gently and responded humbly.
“I just did what Rwanda taught me. It would have been dangerous if we didn’t help each other, so of course we had to do it.”
“No, without Anna’s help at that time, we would certainly have held a funeral now. I’ve been greatly indebted to your daughter.”
Henrik Alpatio praised Anna and gave Viscount Rotrega a squeeze on the shoulder.
Anna replied with an embarrassed smile.
“Come on, stop it, let’s get in quick. Father came too hurriedly and didn’t seem to have a proper meal.”
“I feel a little dizzy. Come on, let’s go in.”
“Oh, by the way, Anna. I have a letter that came from you.”
Having eaten outside, Anna decided to go to her room for a while to organize her luggage and change out her outdoor clothes.
She was in a hurry to get to her room, but Rotrega caught her and handed her a letter.
“This is the letter you told me about, isn’t it?”
It was a letter with a rose-patterned seal on it. The same seal was attached to the letter Roselyn sent last time.
Anna hugged the letter given by Viscount Rotrega with a brightened expression.
Because of the long-awaited letter, she could not manage her expression.
With a flushed face she hastily seized the letter and ran upstairs.
There were green eyes watching Anna from a distance, but Anna was too excited to notice them.
Anna read the letter even before she changed her clothes.
She carefully removed the seal and read the beautifully written letter.
The flowing writing began with “To the lady of the pink rose forest.”
[It appears that I will be attending the July Festival.
I don’t want to see my ‘ex-husband’ destroy any more of our ‘family’. I also owe you a debt that I have to pay back.
I hope I can see you then.
From a farmer at a carrot farm.]
“Oh my God.”
A farmer at a carrot farm. Anna burst into tears as she read each letter of her best friend’s cute nickname.
‘She’s coming.’ Anna was happy to be able to see Roselyn much sooner than she expected. It was somewhat hectic, but she was just grateful that she might be able to see Roselyn safe.
“Thank God, thank God. I’m really glad…”
Anna patted her chest several times, then carefully opened the envelope of the letter. Roselyn didn’t leave any really important information in the letter. She used deep and thick envelopes, especially when writing secret contents.
And this time again….
When Anna opened the envelope of the letter, there were small letters written tightly in the deepest part.
[Anna, maybe something big will happen at the July festival. So if you come, come secretly and carefully. I just want to see you safe.
Have you met “the man” by any chance? If you haven’t, you don’t have to try too hard. Nothing can take precedence over your safety.
If you can’t win him over, don’t be too hurt. It’s difficult enough as it is. We just have to hold him back a little bit when it happens.
If we can’t do that, I’m ready and willing to deal with him.
I’m ready and able to take anything that comes my way.
So let’s just think about seeing each other again, safe and sound.]
Anna took a deep breath.
This letter was Roselyn herself.
Rosie’s words, Rosie’s kindness, Rosie’s resoluteness were still blended into her letter.
‘Oh, you’re really safe, Rosie.’
Anna felt relieved after all this time.
She was proud to see Roselyn so much safer and stronger after such a terrible experience.
“That’s my Empress.”
Anna frowned and sobbed, her eyes turning red for no reason.
It was reassuring to receive Roselyn’s letter.
It made her feel even lighter, as if she had been walking through a hazy fog.
She had to leave now to arrive before it started.
Anna was getting more and more nervous.
When Anna returned after changing her clothes and finally drying her reddened eyes, Viscount Rotrega had already finished his meal.
“I’m sorry. I came down too late.”
After a few moments of looking into Anna’s apologetic eyes, Viscount Rotrega hugged his daughter tightly again.
“What are you sorry for? It’s all right, it can take a while for a woman to change her clothes. I was hungry too, so I ate in a hurry, hahaha!”
“By the way, I rode the horse for a long time, so I’m tired. How about we rest today and talk again tomorrow?”
Laughing softly, Viscount Rotrega patted Anna on the head.
Anna was married and took the position of the Empress’s maid of honor, but somehow the attitude of Viscount towards Anna seemed to have returned to her childhood.
Her father, who was always out and about due to his extroverted nature, always held Anna in his arms when he came home.
Anna felt a strange surge of emotion at that moment.
“Good night. I’ll go up first.”
The Viscount went up to the room where he was guided.
Anna turned and watched her father ascend the stairs.
At that moment, Henrik was coming out of the dining room.
They both called out to each other at the same time.
Henrik, smiling obliquely, spoke first.
“Let’s talk for a minute. I think it’s time for me to do what you asked.”
Henrik walked up to the office with Anna.
Anna sat in the seat she had taken before, and Henrik took a seat on the couch across from her instead of the top seat he had at the time.
“Would you like some tea?”
“No, thank you.”
“All right. Okay. It’s time he comes……..”
As soon as he finished speaking, the door to the office opened with a light tap on the door.
It was Perso.
‘Why is that person?’
Henrik walked around with Perso when they were outside, but Perso did not wait or escort him inside the office.
Moreover, now it was time for Anna and Henrik to talk privately.
Anna stared at Perso with surprised eyes.
Perso gave Anna a slight nod and a brief greeting, then sat down in the upper chair as he walked by her.
His demeanor was so natural that it almost felt arrogant.
It wasn’t an arrogance that made the other person uncomfortable, but the very kind of arrogance that was natural to someone who had been raised to be a noble from birth.
From that moment on, an uneasy ripple spread in a corner of Anna’s heart.
And as if to confirm that uneasy feeling, Henrik called Anna with a sorry smile.
“I couldn’t have said anything before. I didn’t mean to deceive you, but I want you to understand that there were circumstances.”
“…… What do you mean?”
Anna clenched her fists nervously and looked at Henrik with shaky eyes.
Henrik’s gaze turned from Anna to Perso.
“This is Duke Perso Gertium.”
The surprised Anna held her breath.
Tamon, Asha, and the knights, passing Orkins, entered Tanatos through Nylux quickly.
The forced march was repeated as they rode all day on horseback, then slept in their sleeping bags on the hard floor, and then rode again.
Even so, they were fine when it was warm, but from the moment they entered Tanatos, the harsh cold wind was too much for them to bear with just a sleeping bag.
“From today on, we must build a barracks, even if it is simply for sleeping.”
“It seems we must slow down our march a bit. If we don’t, we’ll collapse before we arrive.”
“There are children here. Please, let’s take a break, General. Hmm?”
Asha also agreed with the words of the Platanus knights who looked like they were dying.
She had been silently running after them so far, but she was also reaching her limit.
And it wasn’t just the knights and Asha who were tired.
The children in the fast-moving carriage and Asrell also suffered to the point of throwing up once or twice a day. Their physical strength had already reached the bottom.
“…This is no good. We’ll have to adjust our speed.”
There was a huge difference physically and psychologically between running a forced march in a warm place and running in extremely cold weather.
At least since they had entered Tanatos, they certainly had to march in good physical condition.
Tamon saw Asha nod and reached out a hand to point to the plains.
“That’s where we’ll rest for the day, since it’s out of the wind. The sooner we can get the tents up, the sooner we can rest even for half an hour.”
“Let’s build the barracks before it gets dark, guys!”
The knights’ hands and feet became faster in order to rest as quickly as possible.
As expected, they were so skilled that the twenty or so knights rushed in and built five barracks.
Asha went inside the barracks that was assigned to Tamon and herself.
It was just a sleeping bag with some fluffy wool bedding on top, but she was so tired that her body sank.
There was a small brazier in the hut, but it didn’t convey any great heat, but just looking at it made her feel relaxed.
Asha rubbed her stiff legs and feet as she sat on the thick, woolen blanket, waiting for Tamon.
The beast’s cry rang out for a long time, as if it was watching them from somewhere.
‘Yes, the white wolves have been inhabiting the area.’
Asha scanned the location, recalling the map of Tanatos.
The topography of Tanatos came to her mind vividly.
Only a day’s walk from here and they’ll reach the Black Canyon.
After passing through the Black Canyon and following a narrow mountain road for about five days, they will reach the Kralturian
The Kralturian Mountains were said to be guarded by the spirits of snow and ice.
Below that, Bern, the city of snow, ice, and gold.
It was the capital of Tanatos.
It was the place where Roselyn was born and raised.
“Lady Asha, Asrel said it’s almost dinner time.”
Arsene walked in quietly to tell Asha about dinner, but quickly fell silent.
Asha, who had never shown her tiredness throughout the run, fell asleep as if she were collapsing on her bed.
Arsene quickly covered his mouth with his hand and quietly stepped out of her barracks.
Around that time, Tamon was entering the forest beyond the campsite alone without having dinner.