Chapter 1. Kill the Empress
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The boy ran for a week, day and night.
No, actually, he ran straight through, not even knowing how long it had been.
He just ran barefoot most of the time, except when passing through the Laosen region with the help of a farmer’s cart.
He had very little to eat and his head hurt. His skinny legs were wobbly and my swollen lips were torn with blood.
‘A little more….’
It wasn’t that he didn’t have money, he was afraid to stop at the village. The boy just ran madly towards the sea, fearing that they would track him.
“I’m sorry. It’s okay to fail because I asked you this favor. If … If you think it’s too dangerous, don’t hesitate to give up.”
It was an order from the dazzlingly beautiful Empress.
No, this wasn’t an order.
In fact, Arsene begged her.
“Let me do anything for you, please use me……….”
At the feet of the country’s best woman, 15-year-old Arsene dared to beg.
“….Are you sure you’re okay with this?”
“Yes, please…Let me do whatever I can for the Empress, please.”
One of the boy’s cheeks was faintly scarred from a long-lasting injury.
It was the same child, who was with the Empress under the collapsed building when the demons attacked.
That day the child suffered a long torn wound from under his eye to his chin.
Fortunately, with the help of the Empress, he was treated in the temple and the wound disappeared, leaving only a faint mark. They said that the mark will fade more as the child grows older.
As if to atone for his courage that day, Arsene received much support from the Empress.
When it came down to it, the emperor they had saved that day would not open his mouth to talk about it.
He even hated the children who were there that day.
Why? After that day, the Emperor even kept the empress away. No, he began to hate her. Everyone knew that day was the starting point, but they didn’t speak of it recklessly.
A filthy Emperor.
Arsene did not think that the Lord of the Land was the Emperor. How could an Emperor who abandoned his people be the master of this country? The real master was the Empress. It had to be her.
The boy vowed that he would always be a knight for the Empress.
When the Empress said he could have anything for rewards, Arsene bravely replied that he wanted to attend the Imperial Academy.
The Empress accepted the boy’s wish with a more beautiful smile than anyone else.
That was only three years ago.
The boy was now finally a knight of the fourth level.
It was a great achievement after three years, but he was never good enough to do anything for the Empress, who was trapped by the Emperor’s schemes.
The child was still a child.
He cried sadly when he visited the Empress.
He got down at her feet and begged.
“Please, let me do anything.”
And the Empress, after a long time of worry, gave the child something.
“Then……… Hey, can you bring this to Louvre?”
Louvre was a port town on the northeastern end of Tanatos.
“There’s a sea merchant named Red Snake, you can give this to him before he crosses Thalia.”
Thalia was the name of the sea bordering Louvre.
Tanatos, Amor, Ortu, and Mach.
All he knew was that it was a sea of great diplomatic importance, an intermediate sea surrounded by the four countries.
In Thalia, a fearsome chieftain appeared and the four nations took turns to defeat him.
Each time the chieftain was defeated, trade took place actively for about two months.
This time was called the “trading month.”
Various marine plants and seafood that could only be gathered in Thalia could also be gathered during the “trading month”.
They had defeated the chieftain in Ortu about a month and a half ago, and now it was time to trade.
It was almost time for even that to come to an end, so there was a good chance that if the merchants got on a ship, it would be the last ship of this trading month.
If he missed this ship this time, he would have to wait for the merchant, Red Snake, three months later. Then it would be too late. Arsene bit his lip.
It took eight days to get from the capital of Tanatos to Louvre by horse, and ten days by carriage.
But how long did it take the boy to run on his feet ………?
Arsene didn’t do the math.
He only considered the purpose. There was no point in thinking about how long it would take, how hard, or how difficult it was.
Unconditionally, he did it.
It was the Empress’s first order, her request, and possibly her last mission.
Arsene really wanted to get it done.
Gasp. Gasp. Gasp.
He ran, walked, and snuck into a passing wagon and came quite a distance.
Arsene thought that perhaps he would lose the thing the Empress had given him, so he wrapped it around his wrist.
The object mysteriously changed size on its own, changing to a length that fit the boy’s wrist.
At first it looked like a necklace, but once it was in Arsene’s wrist, it was like a bracelet.
“Someone can track you down. This object can either protect you or put you in danger. But …… are you okay?”
Hesitating for a long time, the Empress asked in a heavy voice.
Arsene nodded his head strongly.
A pure white hand stroked Arsene’s hair. She even kissed the boy gently on the cheek.
“Thank you, Arsene.”
That was enough for Arsene.
Just hearing his name in the Empress’s voice was the greatest honor in his life.
Arsene wanted to be the proud knight.
A knight of pride that would protect the Empress and not cause her any trouble…
But what’s the point of it all without her.
The boy pressed down on the tear-filled eyes with his dirty sleeves.
He was not going to cry over something like this.
Her Majesty had been through so much worse than this.
He didn’t see it, but he crouched down in the farmer’s cart and listened to what they were saying.
“What? Torture her? The emperor has finally gone mad!”
“Shhhh, be quiet. There’s nothing good about saying it loudly. What if someone hears it?”
“Who’s listening out here on the street? Oh, the kid you picked up in the back? Go back and put him in the coffin. I’ll go get my legendary pickaxe and give it a go!”
“Legendary pickaxe? If it’s really there, why don’t you go beat the Emperor?”
“Earlier you said you were afraid of who would listen…. ……”
“No one will be able to hear you on the street. Eek, tsk! What is it, really! It’s not enough that he betrayed her, he has to torture her? It’s a shame that such a man is the emperor of this country. I must have his balls removed!”
“That’s exactly what I think! Is it Natasha, or Tasha, or whatever….. Oh, I don’t know what will happen to the country now.”
Arsene clenched his teeth so hard that they bled as he listened to the conversation.
“That lowly emperor!”
The boy had never thought of himself as smart.
But he thought he could be more reasonable than that idiotic emperor.
‘He doesn’t even know what’s important…’
The boy opened his reddened eyes and made an effort not to shed a tear. The warmth of the Empress who stroked his hair was still fresh on his head.
He just ran toward the Louvre like an ant looking for its own burrow, and then ran again.
He was lucky enough to be able to rent a carriage and ride again. It was an old carriage belonging to an old merchant on his way to the Louvre.
He clung to the old man who looked suspiciously at Arsene, who looked like a beggar.
Arsene pleaded with the old man that he had to enter the merchant ship to make money for his brother’s medicine and that if he was late, his brother would die.
And so the old man gave up his seat at the end of the carriage.
“……Just a little more……………”
Arsene took the bottle water from his pocket and moistened his mouth just a little. As he was putting back the hard water bottle in his pocket, he heard a rattling sound of coins clinking together.
It was the money that the Empress had given him separately. She gave the boy quite a bit of money, telling him to spend it if he needed it.
“Take only one silver and one gold coin. If you have a lot of money, it will also look suspicious.”
He put the money in his inner pocket just in case.
She gave him some fine jerky, saying she was sorry she didn’t have time to take care of him. Arsene cut off a small piece of the dried meat the Empress had given him and ate it, desperately trying to stave off hunger.
“…Be sure to bear in mind that there is no need to accomplish this task while putting yourself in danger.”
The look in the Empress’s eyes as she said this was very apologetic and sorrowful.
It was him who had bowed his head at her feet and begged her to use him, so why did she feel so sorry?
‘It must be very important.’
Arsene closed his tired eyes as he felt the carriage moving. He wasn’t going to doze off, but his body was already ragged from the arduous journey.
Arsene was determined to complete this task.
However, this was also the end of the road once he arrived in Louvre.
Just a little bit… just a little bit more patience.
At the sign of the carriage stopping, Arsene realized that he had dozed off. It seemed that the voices of the people had increased.
‘Did we arrive at Louvre?’
He also felt the air was a little different. It was a little more humid, full of unfamiliar scents….
Arsene rubbed his eyes to wake himself up. At that moment, the cover of the carriage that had been closed was lifted up.
“Did we arrive….”
It was before Arsene even finished all his words.
The stinging smoke hit Arsene’s eyes. Startled, he turned but something blunt struck his back.
In the blink of an eye, Arsene lost consciousness.