Chapter 8. The crying sound

***

 

Creak.

 

The thick gate opened and a group of people walked out in perfect order.

 

One by one, they were part of the delegation of nations leaving Tanatos.

 

“I am sorry that we were not able to give you a proper reception. After the situation is stabilized, we will politely invite you back.”

 

The arrogant Emperor of Tanatos drove out the lions of the nations who had taken the trouble to gather there.

 

The delegation was prepared for months for a trade agreement over the Strait of Centica.

 

It was an important meeting in the interests of the seven nations, but the Emperor of the Empire drove them away as if he had no interest in it.

 

This was an act of deceiving the seven nations that had sent the delegation.

 

No matter how powerful Tanatos was, the seven nations were equal partners or allies. 

 

How could he be so proud and arrogant?

 

The envoys from each country were all seething with indignation.

 

If the situation in the country hadn’t been so tumultuous, they would have stayed and paid back at all costs.

 

The expulsion of the Empress, who was closer to them than the Emperor, was a particularly shocking incident for all of the envoys.

 

Several of them had formed quite an alliance with the Empress and nearly complained bitterly in front of the Emperor.

 

“Please be patient!”

 

But everyone stopped them. They all felt the same indignation, but that didn’t mean they should let it slip out.

 

Tanatos had become the most powerful nation, and not just because of the gold that constantly came out of the land.

 

It was because of the terrifying power of the country’s royal family to kill anyone if they wanted to.

 

Of course, there was also the royalty of other countries with corresponding abilities.

 

But, the Emperor of Tanatos did not have the ability to wield it as freely as he could.

 

It was a myth that implicitly circulated that death was inevitable if one came to incur his wrath.

 

‘But the Empress, whom he most wanted to kill, could not even be touched by his power.’

 

At the time of his marriage vows, the Emperor would drop blood into his holy water for his empress to drink.

 

By doing so, the Emperor’s ability was able to avoid the Empress.

 

It was one of the rituals that the couple should not inevitably point their swords at each other.

 

Gillotti Tanatos was thus unable to deal with the Empress directly and had driven her away to the Kralturian Mountains, the most severe in this land of ice.

 

A blizzard came.

 

It was a very heavy blizzard.

 

The day the Emperor abandoned the Empress, the day the delegation left Tanatos, there was the first severe blizzard in months.

 

With his red eyes glowing under his black robes, Tamon toured the Imperial Palace of Tanatos, which was obscured by the blizzard.

 

He stared at the castle with the hot burning eyes that melted even the coldest snow. 

 

He couldn’t figure out why he was so angry, so irritated, something he had never experienced before.

 

He felt as if he had lava boiling in his heart.

 

If the Emperor of Tanatos was right in front of him, he would not be able to hold back and would punch him in the face.

 

Instead of the Emperor of Tanatos, who could not be killed, Tamon stared at the glamorous palace of this country that harbored him.

 

That glamorous palace would surely fall in the near future.

 

The proud and incompetent Emperor, whom the mistress debauched and manipulated with the width of her skirt, and the incompetence of the nobles who knew about it but couldn’t stop him, would hasten the downfall of this country.

 

“It must. If it doesn’t happen, I will make it happen.”

 

As if to symbolize arrogance, the Imperial Palace consisted of many spires. Behind the pointed spires, he could see the Kralturian Mountains hidden by the blizzard.

 

The white blizzard raged brutally.

 

How much crueler is this country trying to be to that woman?

 

As far as he knew, it was the Empress who loved this country the most.

 

And yet, this country produced unprecedented blizzards, as if it was going to kill such an empress.

 

Tamon shuddered at the cruelty of the sky.

 

He couldn’t calm down at all, knowing that he didn’t have a single reason to be angry like this.

 

“They tried to kill the empress, and since she’s such an amazing empress, would the ice kill her? They made all kinds of ridiculous jokes about how the Emperor would reinstate her and forgive her for her sins if she came back alive after this.”

 

Ronasso hid and spilled what he’d heard in disgust.

 

Tamon sneered.

 

Forgiveness? 

 

Who should forgive whom?

 

She was the one who was betrayed and exploited from the beginning to the end of the hilarious skit.

 

There was a hint of murderous energy in his blood-red eyes.

 

The well-hidden sword that he had hidden tightly in his heart permeated. The anger kept rising. He couldn’t control the way his mind was leaning towards the snowstorm.

 

“What are you staring at? Ugh, it’s cold. Anyway, it’s a bad omen for the emperor. I can’t believe he kicked out all the envoys on such a cold day.”

 

Ronasso stepped forward, rubbing his arms.

 

The front row for departure was almost ready to go.

 

As long as they got permission from Tamon, who led the delegation, they would leave immediately.

 

However, while all the other delegations departed for their home countries, their own leader remained unconcerned.

 

He was staring beyond the golden castle of Tanatos.

 

‘What is he looking at? Is he aiming for the Emperor?’

 

Unable to wait, Ronasso secretly looked up to where Tamon was looking. Nothing was visible in the void.

 

After a moment, as if he remembered something, Ronasso snapped his cold fingers and let out a sound.

 

“Ah..”

 

It was too cold to make much of a sound, but after making as light a sound as possible, he sneakily poke Tamon in the side.

 

“Maybe she turned into an ice statue by now. How could he abandon his wife and Empress of this country so miserably? The Emperor is such an ugly man.”

 

As if he was afraid people would hear his curse, he said in whispers.

 

Ronasso inwardly clicked his tongue and took off the fur hat he was wearing and placed it on his chest. “I paid my respects to the Ice Mountains of Kralturian,” he said.

 

“For the death of the Empress, who was stronger, more beautiful, and more pathetic than any woman I had ever seen…”

 

Death.

 

Death….!

 

The word came close to hitting Tamon on the back of the head.

 

Tamon grabbed the reins, which he held tightly.

 

And before Ronasso could finish his salute.

 

“Heya!”

 

“………. Hey! Where are you going?”

 

Tamon Krasis drove into the blinding blizzard.

 

***

 

‘Am I dead?’

 

The moment the pure white snow that covered the black night felt warm, the Empress could see the death that loomed before her.

 

It had been a short and long ten days.

 

Horrible things swirled around her like a raging storm.

 

Her best friend died.

 

Her father died.

 

Her mother died.

 

Hated as she was, she had to watch it all happen.

 

“Oh, damn Gillotti.”

 

A stupid man.

 

For the first time in her life, the vulgar words she had never uttered flowed out her lips.

 

She laughed bitterly, wriggling her torn and frozen lips.

 

A drop of tear flowed down the side of her cold eyes. It felt hot.

 

She couldn’t easily close her eyes, for the faces of those she could not protect came to mind again and again.

 

She laughed like she was crying.

 

“I’m sorry, Charlotte.”

 

“I’m sorry, brother.”

 

“I’m sorry. Father. Mother.”

 

“I couldn’t protect you.”

 

Is this how it feels like to have a broken heart?

 

All her nails were missing, and her limbs, tattered by all the humiliation and terrible punishment, had already lost their feeling. 

 

“Why is this pathetic body still alive? What is it that I regret so terribly?”

 

Was it because of the blessing of the Northern Witch that Roselyn’s mother had struggled for months to find on her childhood day?

 

Her body, which had not caught a cold once, was struggling to overcome the freezing weather.

 

“Don’t be sick, my Empress, the pain makes you miserable, sad, and unjust…Live a strong, healthy, and happy life.”

 

The time when she was lying in bed with an injured ankle, the Duchess came running and patted Roselyn’s cheek with sad tears.

 

She was sorry that she couldn’t replace Roselyn’s pain herself, and nursed her close for days and days.

 

Mother.

 

Why did he cut off the head of that innocent person too?

 

No, if you think about it, the one who died was rather merciful and fortunate.

 

It was better to return to God’s arms with loved ones than to live and wander in the pain of a broken heart.

 

How did she end up like this?

 

She just wanted to do well.

 

Very well…………………….

 

She just wanted to be a good empress.

 

“No, this is not my fault.”

 

“Yes, it’s not my fault.”

 

“How could such a huge misfortune be my fault?”

 

She tried hard to console herself that it was not her fault.

 

She tried to keep her spirits up. But …………..

 

“……… No, maybe it’s all my fault. Yes, I am to blame.”

 

“If I had prepared better, if I hadn’t let my guard down, if I hadn’t looked at Gillotti’s murderous eyes that were staring at me….”

 

They wouldn’t have died so unjustly.

 

She was too upset and felt empty. Her heart was broken.

 

The helplessness of not being able to protect the people she loved was tearing at her soul.

 

There was nothing wrong with her broken body. It was only the sadness of not being able to protect them that invaded her.

 

“Ah….I’ll be there soon.”

 

Her breathing became slower and slower.

 

She finally felt her body, which was unnecessarily strong against the cold, freezing.

 

The intuition that the happy death was just around the corner, she then closed her stiff eyes.

 

“Come, death.”

 

“Come quickly, wrap me up and lead me close to my loved ones.”

 

“I’m going to embrace them and grovel at their feet, begging for forgiveness.”

 

Just then….

 

“Whaaaaaa….”

 

The sound of the animal crying penetrated her muffled ears.