Chapter 3. She's really here

 

***

 

Roselyn slowly swallowed a sigh.

 

It was an unwanted marriage, but she tried to make it work.

 

It was foolish.

 

Throbbing.

 

The cold wind penetrated under her ankles, where one of her ankles couldn’t feel anything anymore.

 

Feeling pain that should not be felt, Roselyn pulled herself together.

 

“I will accompany you, Your Majesty. To the end, Your Majesty. I will always be …….”

 

“Anna.”

 

Roselyn called her by the name she’d called Countess Puglish when she was a child. She smiled obliquely and shook her head.

 

Some accidents and illnesses had caused her entourage to leave her side.

 

Lady Charlotte, her beloved maid of honor; Count Thomson, her strong supporter in the palace; and Vice-Commander Cartren, her protector.

 

But everyone knew who stood behind those deaths, and who was responsible for them.

 

Anna was the last person left.

 

She couldn’t afford to lose Anna, too. Anna was the only one who was …….

 

A tidal wave of misfortune swept over her. It was a misfortune fabricated by the most powerful authority and greedy desires.

 

She had endured well until now, but now her brother had fallen into the pit and everything had gone astray.

 

Roselyn clenched her fists and held on.

 

If she collapsed here, they would eat every last piece of Roselyn’s bones like a swarm of starving locusts.

 

Dying was okay. But she didn’t want to fill them up with her flesh and bones.

 

“I’m sorry. Anna. I guess I didn’t do a good job of preventing it. That’s why I’m in trouble.”

 

“Your Majesty…….”

 

Roselyn smiled bitterly, feeling Tanatos’s cold air once more.

 

“Don’t hesitate to leave. To the safest place far away….”

 

 

“Your Majesty!”

 

Countess Puglish raised her voice unknowingly with a pale face. Roselyn smiled and patted her cheek as she whispered.

 

“I’ve got everything you need in Noem’s seaside residence just in case.”

 

“Why do you say that? Why would I want to …………Your Majesty?”

 

Countess Puglish, Anna’s voice trembled.

 

“Leave me….Rosie.”

 

In the end, Countess Puglish burst into tears.

 

Her voice trembled with the watery air as Roselyn called Anna’s childhood nickname. To Anna, at that moment, Roselyn was her childhood friend, not the Empress.

 

The Empress, who was actually standing at the center of this storm, smiled quietly, but why was she showing tears?

 

Anna bit her lip in grief.

 

“Rosie ……I haven’t heard this name in a while.”

 

“Just bear with me for a few days. Count Sorrento is also putting in a lot of effort. Are there one or two people who are on your side? Don’t worry too much. The Sunset family won’t collapse.”

 

Roselyn replied with an ambiguous smile.

 

She looked at the closed door again. Countess Puglish also wiped her tears and put on a strong expression.

 

It was too early to be relieved, but there was nothing good about showing an agitated appearance.

 

It was something she had learned while guarding the Empress’ side for a long time.

 

After a deep breath, Countess Puglish opened the tightly closed door.

 

“Here comes Her Majesty, the Empress!”

 

The music stopped as Viscount Hudson raised his voice to announce Roselyn’s arrival.

 

In the silence, Roselyn lifted her head and entered the banquet hall, not bothering to hide her unbalanced footsteps.

 

Tap. Tap.

 

In the midst of that glamorous party, a beastly scheme awaited her, baring its poisonous teeth at her…

 

She strengthened her right leg, which felt no sensation and walked straight into it.

 

****

 

“Look over there. The Empress is here.”

 

At Ronasso’s words, Tamon stopped looking at the snow that began to flutter from beyond the balcony.

 

The sturdy, massive body of a man who had served as a general slowly turned backwards.

 

His broad shoulders, in particular, twisted into a long shadow.

 

Tamon’s red eyes stared at the Empress, who appeared from afar with her gray hair dancing in the cold wind.

 

“She’s really here…”

 

Tamon chuckled.

 

“Didn’t you see the message I sent?”

 

Surely, when has that woman ever acted in accordance with his expectations?

 

She was good at catching him off guard with her cold face.

 

Tamon leaned his back against the balcony railing where the white snow was falling and stared at the back of the woman as she walked across the banquet hall.

 

She seemed to be walking restlessly as she always did.

 

Every time he saw her, he thought……..

 

Her silver hair that was tightly rolled up, and the back of her neck that was clearly exposed, looked delicious.

 

If he were an animal, he had a desire to bite and break it at once.

 

Tamon’s red eyes were blazing as he followed the Empress’s back.

 

The emotions involved in the deep gaze were complicated.

 

He was too big to be cold, too young to be hot.

 

“Roselyn V. Sunset.”

 

Even her name that rolled on his tongue was a mixture of sharpness and sweetness.

 

The Empress of Tanatos, who was as good as an enemy, and the only woman bold enough to look Tamon straight in his red eyes.

 

Tamon Krasis was Amor’s diplomatic general, who was on good terms with Tanatos.

 

Until just a few years ago, he was running around the battlefield under the title of General, and his vigor was distinctly different from the nobility.

 

His red eyes, which carried the stigma of having contact with the devil or being stained with too much blood from the enemy camp, also contributed to his threatening atmosphere.

 

No one wanted to make eye contact with him. But because of his beautiful appearance, the noble ladies were always mesmerized by his smile.

 

His red eyes, which glowed gorgeously when he smiled and were as beautiful as rubies, attracted people. 

 

It was all nonsense.

 

Neither did he  mix with demons nor bathe in blood.

 

It was just rumors created by fear, but Tamon let them make as much noise as they wanted.

 

The more the stories about him spread, the more advantage he had.

 

It didn’t matter if it was fear, mystery or admiration.

 

He could use anything if it was advantageous in the negotiations.

 

But that woman.

 

Only the Empress of Tanatos did not show any emotion or agitation towards him.

 

Rather, Tamon was tempted by her.

 

“It’s amazing. I think she’s a woman made of ice at this point. What do you think? Do you think she’s human?”

 

Ronasso Baschel, commander of the First Order of Barnes, who accompanied Tamon as a delegation said as he poked Tamon on the side.

 

He whispered happily about what he had heard as if he thought Tamon had never heard the rumors.

 

“The former emperor of Tanatos was so worried about his incompetent son becoming emperor that he offered a sculpted statue made of ice to be made into an empress? I think the rumor has credibility.”

 

“Nonsense….”

 

As he said to himself, Tamon castigated Ronasso and brushed away his useless thoughts.

 

Sipping the red wine, he kept his eyes on the Empress of Tanatos as she approached the Emperor.

 

Just a month ago, she negotiated as if tightening his leash.

 

“I cannot allow it.”

 

“This is a win-win deal for both Amor and Tanatos. Don’t you always think of the Sniorans from the Katulan Islands as an eyesore? We will subdue them and prevent them from bothering you forever.”

 

“Give you the island in return for keeping the pirates at bay? If the island falls, Tanatos’s territorial waters will shrink by about 3,000 meters. And did you think I didn’t know that those three thousand meters include some of the waters in dispute with the Legar nation?”

 

“It’s only 3,000 meters. Also, the disputed area claimed by the Legar is cleverly located away from there, so there is no need to worry about it. If you really worry, I will choose an island that is not part of the disputed area. Yeah, that Oyster stone island would do.”

 

At Tamon’s words, the Empress stared at him and smiled softly.

 

“So that’s what you wanted.”

 

Her smile made him flinch for a moment, but Tamon quickly turned to face her with an unconcerned look.

 

“What do you think………?”

 

“Amor’s ship was wrecked near Guldor Island.”

 

“….”

 

“It seems there was something covert aboard that crude ship.”

 

She looked down with a painted smirk on her face.

 

Tamon knew that it was a habit that came out when the Empress of the enemy country deepened her thoughts.

 

It was the result of observing her for a very long time.

 

A competent negotiator must be aware of the opponent’s habits.

 

For example, she would bite her lips when she was upset, she would frown when she was bored, and she would lick her lips with her red tongue just before she cornered her opponents.

 

Whenever he saw that red tongue, Tamon felt his throat tighten in a strange way.

 

There were times when his blood boiled up and his body stiffened.

 

More than once, he crossed his legs, pretending to be unconcerned, because of the strong sensation below the waist.

 

‘Damn, my lewd body.’

 

“By the way, I’m sorry about the ship…” Tamon said.

 

The Empress smiled at Tamon, who didn’t look the least bit sorry.

 

“The ship is …… already hauled away by my country.” Tamon said.

 

***