Chapter 1. Kill the Empress
He hesitated to answer on rare occasions.
Asha read Tamon’s dark gaze as she could not wait any longer.
She grabbed Tamon’s wrist as he grabbed hers.
She could feel him flinching.
Asha gently turned her wrist in his grip and said, holding his hand
“Come with me. I need to see what’s going on.”
Tamon looked down at his hand, which she held.
He instantly felt deflated as he looked at their hands as if saying ‘Let’s go together.’
‘It’s not good for you.’
Tamon nodded heavily and silently.
‘You’ll be in despair and sad……’
He was afraid he would not be able to face that sight.
Asha’s grief resonated much greater than his own.
Then, when the purple eyes got watery, the emotions became so rough that he wanted to turn the world upside down.
‘Get a hold of yourself.’
He got on the horse, vowing no matter what emotions he faced, he would be with her.
Asha kicked off her horse and departed first.
* * *
For Roselyn, July was a joy and a miss.
July was warmer than the spring sun, and memories of the mansion still float before her eyes…….
Asha stared at the abandoned house that had burned black.
The smell of ashes, which had not yet gone away, hit her nose.
Not to mention the majestic gate with its lily-shaped inscription, the garden her mother loved, the woodland where her grandfather used to read his books, even the vine forest where she and Cain played hide-and-seek and fell asleep many times.
Everything crumbled into blackness, losing its shape.
Even the word “horrific” seemed unable to explain it all.
“What is this…”
Asha stared blankly at the burn-out mansion, speechless.
She knew something had happened, but she never imagined it would look like this.
The moss-covered entrance to the mansion was as deserted as a graveyard.
The mansion, burnt black with only the skeleton remaining, was as horribly sad as a dried-up corpse.
Her feet did not dare to fall off.
It was said people would lose their minds if they were too abashed, and Asha was just like that now.
Asha burst out laughing as she stood at the entrance. She laughed and cried with a twisted face.
Wet moisture ran down her cheeks. Her lips were twisted as she started laughing.
Her feet accelerated as she walked one step or two into the mansion.
After passing through a row of tree paths like knights, she ran to the woodland where her grandfather used to read and the gazebo where her father and mother often drank tea.
Memories of the past passed by her eyes along the wind.
She saw little Roselyn, playing house with Anna and her brother Cain.
One day she fell out of the tree, Cain ran to the lobby with Roselyn on his back.
The only place that was intact was the pavilion a little away from the main building.
Everything was a mess.
She sat on the ground and gripped the dirt with both hands.
Sad tears dripped to the dry ground.
She thought she wouldn’t feel hurt anymore, but it was inevitable.
A wailing cry rang out at the abandoned house.
The quiet soother caressed her many times, but it did not easily stop her crying as sadly as a child.
Tamon, who had been waiting for her in silence, hugged her shoulders.
Gripping his collar with her white hands, Asha cried for a long time and then fainted.
* * *
And when Asha woke up again, it was long past evening.
She had cried so much that her eyes started burning as soon as she opened her eyes.
She swept by the burning eyes with her dry hands and ran into Tamon, who was just coming inside.
Seeing him standing, Asha chuckled first and spoke to him.
“How long did I sleep?”
“….. 3 hours?”
“I didn’t sleep as much as I thought.”
Asha was just happy to see the water kettle in Tamon’s hand.
She held out her hand, meaning to give her water. But it was not the kettle in her hand, but Tamon’s hand.
He sat her down and then sat next to her with a very serious expression on his face and examined her complexion.
Asha laughed quietly, not saying that she wanted water, not his hand.
“What do you think? My hair is messy.”
Tamon squinted and looked at her face slowly and murmured indifferently.
Asha thought it was serious and fumbled around her eyes.
Tamon, who was smirking, pulled her close and kissed her eyelids.
“Don’t ask me again. You’ve always been the best in my eyes.”
Asha was embarrassed for no reason, even though she knew Tamon was joking.
“….. water, please.”
Asha pushed Tamon’s face away and pointed to the kettle he had set down.
Tamon poured water and handed it to her.
She was thirsty, and as soon as the water went in, her headache seemed to subside.
After drinking the full glass and emptying it again, Asha finally took a breath.
As the cold water swished and wetted her esophagus, the heat inside seemed to subside a little.
“Tell me if you know anything else.”
Looking at Tamon’s calm eyes, she could only see that there was more she didn’t know.
Asha waited a moment, then glanced at him and smiled.
“I can go and find out.”
Then there was a slight stir in his calm eyes.
After a brief silence, Tamon rose from his seat and went to the cabinet.
Perhaps it was a mansion that had been managed normally, but there were quite a few drinks on display in the bedroom cabinet.
He picked a random one and filled the crystal cup.
Asha didn’t know much about alcohol, but she knew that that ocher color was extremely high-strength rum.
He gulped down the thirst-quenching liquor in one gulp.
Then he filled the empty glass half full and brought it to Asha.
“Do you want a drink?”
Asha looked at the glass he offered for a while and reached for it.
Then, Asha drank it in one gulp.
The cold water had cooled her esophagus, and now it was on fire again.
She closed her eyes and savored the fire as if she remembered it.
“They dug up the tomb of the Duke of Sunset.”
She opened her eyes quietly and Tamon said in a voice as devoid of emotion as possible.
“And when they burned the mansion, they burned the coffin with it.”
“That’s all I know.”
Ice and fire broke out inside at the same time.
She felt a blue and red light soaking her head, her flesh.
“Do not lose your pride, Rosie. You are my pride.”
As she left, she thought of her grandfather, who could not let go of her hand.
She nodded slowly.
This was enough.
Well, with this much fire….
She could hit Gillotti directly in the neck without hesitation.
* * * *
The fireworks that signaled the beginning of the festival floated high in the sky.
It was a celebratory shot specially presented by the Imperial Palace.
As if they had been waiting only for today, people rushed into the city and filled the glamorous streets.
Since July attracted many outside guests, the best inns and hotels were already booked six months in advance.
Nobles with money would build a house or rent an entire mansion in Bern or a neighboring area.
During the first week of July, music could be heard throughout the city.
‘The light that never goes out, the music that never stops.’
Children running around with fake flower crowns on their heads.
Asha, who was glancing out the window at the full view of the festival, smiled.
“They’re all wearing flower crowns.”
Asrell, who was helping Asha dress up, gazed happily at the children running around under the window.
‘’Those flowers are Tanatos chrysanthemums, aren’t they?”
“Yes, they say it’s a perennial flower. It blooms in July, but it is the first flower to make flower crowns. There is a superstition that it will be eternally glorious, but there were a lot of them out around this time of year.”
“It’d be a great honor to wear that.”
Asha laughed at Asrell’s joke.
“It’s actually hard to get the real flowers. Even chrysanthemums don’t use a lot in the imperial family. The ones the children are using now are all fake.”
“Oh, it was a fake flower.”
It was said that the flowers that bloomed on the spot were perennial flowers when the winter spirit permeated the Tanatos land.
In July, the first ever blooming perennial flower was said to be the same flower that conveyed the power of winter.
It didn’t matter if it was true or not. There was no way to confirm anyway.
However, the imperial family would have flower “hunt” as part of the July Festival event.
The reason for naming it a hunt was that the method was somewhat radical.
Participation was limited to the nobility, and there were no sanctions for the means and methods.
Delegations from other countries could participate as much as they wanted. However, they were at a disadvantage compared to the Tanatos nobility.
In the imperial family, the skin and horns of the silver deer were given to the first person who brought the flowers.
The skin and horns of the silver deer were worth the same price as gold, so everyone would look for it with all their heart.
The perennial flower was a flower that decided where it would bloom on its own.
So it was difficult to find this flower using special procedures or methods.
People had to dive into a treasure hunt that could only be left up to natural luck.
Listening to Asha’s story, Asrell placed a white flower pin on the veil that hid her hair, head, and face.
At first glance, it was in the shape of a flower similar to a perennial flower.
“I wish Asha endless glory.”
Asha replied to Asrell’s wit with a laugh and stood up.