Chapter 1. Kill the Empress
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“You’re a brazen one!”
Tamon smiled elegantly at Theo’s angry voice.
“Don’t trust me. Don’t trust Lucy either. If possible, don’t trust anyone. Trust only yourself.”
“You’re good at talking.”
“Thank you for the compliment.”
Theo wondered how it had come to this, but stopped.
What’s the point of thinking about that?
It couldn’t have been something she could have stopped.
She looked at Tamon, who was leaning against the wall with his body slightly tilted as if his ribs were broken.
Theo had never seen Tamon so messed up before.
It was Tamon who always maintained a certain amount of composure.
Tamon wiped his bleeding lips with the back of his hand.
Theo could even see a blue bruise under his chin, which he frowned at the sight of the blood.
To see his own blood on that face instead of the blood of his enemies, Theo was thrilled about this…
Theo also knew that the fact that Tamon had silently followed this stupid order to just be beaten, no matter how much it was her order, was in itself redemption in this man’s own way.
He probably would not rebel even if Theo broke every bone in his body, but he was a demonic man.
“Don’t trust me” he said, but he would act like he could give his life for her.
Theo finally understood what Ronasso had said about Tamon’s going out as a delegation to confuse the nobles of other countries “like a fox”.
Theo threw the wooden sword she was holding at Tamon and stood up quickly.
“I’ll decide who to believe and who not to believe!”
“Of course you do.”
However, Theo believed in her instincts.
“I believe you.”
“I’ll believe you.”
Even if she was fooled again, Theo only wanted to believe Tamon again.
“Because no matter how blinded you are by women, you will not be a thug who betrays your own country!”
Hmph, snickering soundly, Theo quickly turned around.
She strode out of the training hall quickly.
Tamon, who was watching Theo’s back as she disappeared, leaning against the wall, lifted his lips in a bitter smile.
“It’s not that I’m blinded by women, Your Majesty.”
He muttered as if mocking himself.
“In fact, this is love.”
Even though he couldn’t express it out loud in front of the woman.
Yes, this is love.
Even at the moment of his ribs broken, there was no other explanation for this crazy state of being that he was happy just because he had an excuse to rely on her*. (*Roselyn)
If this is not love, what is it?
Tamon closed his eyes, biting back his vain confession.
Arsene’s turquoise eyes shone with surprise as he looked around the area.
The boy’s childhood was filled with iron and fire, and after that day of the accident when he had run into Jagma, he had wielded only swords.
In the small world of his childhood, he had never seen such a rare sight.
He could see all the colors of hair in the world, and the unusual things blinded him.
Some people walked around with long wooden sticks as shoes, and even some men wore dresses.
In the streets, unidentifiable foreign singers sang songs and people danced and laughed along with them.
What surprised Arsene the most was that people who were definitely nobles were also dancing in the streets.
How could nobles dance so freely in a place where commoners were passing by!
…He felt like he was in a strange land.
No matter how many times he rubbed his eyes at the unbelievable scenery, the scene remained unchanged.
Roselyn smiled at Arsene’s dazed expression.
Arsene’s emotions were all too understandable.
In fact, it wasn’t because of her that she had seen more of the world than Arsène.
This was the first place she had actually seen the world, except for what she had learned beyond the books.
It was no exaggeration to say that most of the places she had felt and experienced with her senses were brutally cold Tanatos, the capital city of Bern among them.
So even for Roselyn, as an adult, she couldn’t help but feel that this landscape was like another world at this moment.
“What! Asha! What is that?”
Arsene looked at the whole roasted octopus and backed away with surprise. That was, for all intents and purposes, a baby sea monster, but people were carrying it around on a skewer.
“Look, Hannah! Look at that one!”
Arsene tugged on Hannah’s hand, as if he could not look at it alone. Hana, who was half dozing off, opened her eyes wide in surprise.
Seeing what Arsene was pointing at, Hannah took a startled step backwards. She gently squeezed Arsene’s arm in fear.
“It’s called an octopus. It is very fragrant and firm when grilled.”
“What? You’re going to eat it?”
“Yes. Shall I buy one for you?”
At Roselyn’s offer, Arsene and Hannah shook their heads aggressively.
The sight was so cute that Roselyn, the twins, and Jorge, who had been meekly following behind, all burst out laughing.
Roselyn glanced at Hannah who was attached to Arsene’s side.
“I have one name. That’s all there is to it. I lost my parents when I was very young. Master Hartz offered me his last name, but I said no. So it’s just Hannah.”
Roselyn’s first impression of Hannah was ‘mature’.
Yes, even though she was smaller than Arsene, Hannah acted and looked ‘mature’.
However, that appearance was only for the first day.
The next day, Hannah dozed off, read fairy tales, and took a walk with the house animals.
She still had that mature impression now.
But Roselyn felt like she was looking at a completely different person from the first day.
It was the same now.
The image of Hannah who left the mansion was similar to that of the first day.
She* was a little spaced out, but determined, and no matter what she* saw, she* was not surprised. (*Hannah)
In fact, she even smiled at Arsene, who was excited, as if he was cute.
However, Hannah who was now holding Arsene’s hand was looking at the world with the same wonderment as Arsene.
She* opened her eyes in surprise at a single octopus skewer, her cheeks reddening, and gave a small laugh as she* locked eyes with Arsene. (*Hannah)
Looking at Hannah, Roselyn felt ‘something’ strange.
But she didn’t know what that ‘something’ was, she just felt frustrated.
It wasn’t that she could detect anything evil with such a small and cute girl.
She just felt a strange sense of déjà vu.
Suddenly, Roselyn remembered seeing the child on the first day of the festival when the monsters broke out.
Or more accurately, she remembered seeing Hannah. This particular pink hair color stood out, and she was sure of it.
The child looked up at Roselyn with her fine golden eyes. Her white cheeks turned pink.
“By any chance… Did you come out a few days ago?”
Hannah opened her eyes wide as if to say something, but slowly shook her head to the side.
Arsene, who was listening nearby, added.
“It’s our first time here today, aren’t we? What’s the matter?”
“No, it’s just that a few days ago I saw a girl who looked like Hannah.”
“A girl who looks like Hannah? Wow, you mean there is another one with a hair color like this? Amor is just another world.”
Arsene marveled once more and looked around with eyes that were still shining after all this time.
It wasn’t a single bit cold at night, and even though it was the last day of the festival, it was still packed with people.
No matter how special the occasion, it was a landscape where nobles and commoners didn’t hate each other, and where no one crawled or begged…
Arsene, who was slowly looking around, said in a voice that crept in, his cheeks reddening.
“Is it because it never snows in Amor? The people here all seem to be melting. In Tanatos, everyone looked frozen…”
At Arsene’s words, Roselyn looked around the area anew. She marveled. After listening to the child’s words, it really did look like that.
She thought the smiles of the people who regained their true form after the ice melted were like that. Of course, everyone’s circumstances were different and were shadows beyond the light, but at least the darkness didn’t cover the whole area.
Well, at least everyone didn’t look frozen. Before she knew it, the sky had gone from dark purple to deep indigo.
“Asha, it’s getting late. Let’s go quickly!”
The twins, who were looking up at the night sky, urged Roselyn and the children to hurry.
Even though they arrived a little earlier than scheduled, the cliff where the wind lantern ceremony was held was packed with people.
There were several layers of safety fences around the cliff, as the ceremony was held here every year.
“Oh no… I don’t think it’s going to be our turn.”
Roselyn looked ruefully at the people holding lanterns.
Tasha and Louie chuckled as they looked at the worried Roselyn.
“Don’t worry, Miss Asha. We’ll take care of it. Black traders always appear before the lantern ceremony! We’ll get it for you!”
The twins poked Jorge in the side and said.
“Jorge, please take care of Asha and the kids! You have to protect them well before we come back!”
Jorge nodded at the twins as he puffed out his shoulders.
“Go quickly and don’t cause any accidents. If anything happens, shout out!”
“Hahahaha! We will!”
Tasha and Louie disappeared through the crowd, chuckling.
Roselyn looked worriedly at where the twins had disappeared and looked down at the hand of someone pulling her.