“My lady, Lady Vivian.”
The hand shaking her shoulder was not gentle. It was different from Roger’s slow but steady motion.
Vivian’s eyes widened, sensing the difference from the touch.
She saw Hamel looking down at her. Vivian then noticed that Hamel had woken her up from sleep. Perhaps the call that she heard in the dream was Hamel’s voice.
“Is it morning already?”
Her body was throbbing and it didn’t seem like she slept properly. Hamel, who was nodding her head when Vivian rubbed her eyes and asked, abruptly stopped.
“Oh, my lady.”
Hamel opened her mouth with a very startled look. It was rare for her, who was not panicked by anything.
Before Vivian could come to her senses, Hamel’s voice rose.
This surprised Vivian who then stopped her hand from rubbing her eyes. Vivian suddenly felt a burning sensation in the bridge of her nose.
Hamel rushed out of Vivian’s bedroom. As soon as Vivian lowered her head, drops of red blood fell on the white blanket and left a stain.
Hamel, who returned to the bedroom in an instant, blocked Vivian’s nostrils with a fine handkerchief to prevent more blood from flowing out.
There was a commotion in the morning which was different from any other days.
At the breakfast table.
“Vivian, wouldn’t it be better to postpone the visit to His Majesty until tomorrow? Hamel said that you had a nosebleed this morning.”
Count Lector asked with a worried look as he had heard from Hamel. Vivian, who had already stopped bleeding for a long time, rubbed the bridge of her nose for no reason.
“It was just a nosebleed. I guess it’s because I didn’t rest that much.”
“It’s all right, maybe I can see why His Majesty awarded me a medal that day. Isn’t that what father was curious about?”
Vivian spoke cheerfully to ease her parent’s concerns about her. The Countess thought of persuading her more, but then quit. Now that she had become an adult, the Countess thought that her daughter must have made a good decision.
“I didn’t get you an escort, but do you need one?”
Usually, a family knight would escort the lady to go outside. Vivian expressed her denial by waving her hand. She already had an escort which was her power.
“I’ll be right back then.”
After a hearty meal, Vivian left the mansion and got into the carriage.
* * * * * *
“Your Majesty, Vivian Lector has arrived.”
Vivian took off her hat and roughly arranged her tangled hair with her hands. It hasn’t been long since the servant announced her arrival, but he was giving a hint that it was okay to go in. Vivian walked inside with a faint smile.
The place where the servant led her was in the Emperor’s palace, the indoor garden. As soon as she stepped in, the scent of nature brushed her nose. Even when she went inside, she could see eye-catching greenery. She felt strange with the spatial disparity. Especially since Vivian uses nature as her ability.
“Lady Lector, here you are.”
The Emperor was sitting at a table in the middle of the indoor garden. He was working on the scrolls on the white table.
Vivian approached and greeted him.
“I greet the Emperor.”
“You don’t have to be so formal, sit down.”
When the Emperor waved at the servant, the scrolls were quickly removed and a chair was brought. Vivian sat awkwardly in the seat that the Emperor had prepared.
“So, did you enjoy studying abroad?”
“Thanks to your full support, I was able to learn with pleasure.”
“Ha ha, it’s like Count Lector told you to say that to me.”
Vivian didn’t show it, but she felt guilty inside. It was definitely the part where she was advised by her father at breakfast. But even before the Count said it, Vivian thought she should say it. Anyway, it was thanks to the Emperor that she was able to stay in peace in Hiddenca.
“Okay, we shall skip the small talk and let’s move on to the point.”
It was known that the Emperor hated wasting time and Vivian recognized it very well through this current conversation. As soon as the greetings were done, it was time to get to the point. It was not a form of conversation that came back and forth like in an elegant situation.
Vivian gulped down with tension.
It was clear that the Emperor’s unexplained aid and the award of medals would be related to the matter he will bring up now.
Suddenly the emperor raised his eyes. His eyes, which had been calm all along, gave a brief welcome.
“Are you coming now?”
The emperor asked someone, but it wasn’t Vivian. His eyes were on Vivian’s shoulder.
Vivian inadvertently turned her head.
The green leaves and colorful red lilies that were located everywhere were cleverly harmonized. The features underneath it are more glamorous than any other flower.
Vivian found a familiar face and breathed in silently.
Roger, a man walking in uniform, also paused when he saw Vivian sitting across from the Emperor. But it was so short that it didn’t even show.
Roger swirled and kissed the Emperor on the back of his hand. A solid face, which would not bow to anyone, remained unchanged even though he bowed his head.
“I heard you called, Your Majesty.”
“You’re here on time. Lady Lector also just arrived.”
Roger’s eyes reached Vivian at the Emperor’s words. Vivian’s eyes didn’t meet his because she was awkwardly avoiding eye contact. Perhaps because the Emperor was in front of him, Roger’s eyes quickly shifted to another place.
Another seat was set up, and it was for Roger.
Vivian couldn’t figure out why Roger was involved in the conversation between her and the Emperor. Roger’s words that the Emperor called him were annoying to Roger’s own volition. And so was the Emperor’s attitude as if he was giving up his seat to Roger.
It seemed that Vivian was the only one who didn’t know about Roger’s appearance.
“Your Majesty, the point is ·····?”
Vivian, who was already uncomfortable, said without notice. Because she couldn’t wait to finish the conversation and go back. That impatience prompted the Emperor to talk earlier.
The Emperor, who took a sip of tea, laughed with his mouth bent.
“It’s about both of you.”
The Emperor’s eyes glanced at Roger and Vivian in turn. Vivian felt an unknown sense of uneasiness in tying her together with him whom she had no contact with at all.
“I want both of you to get engaged for a while.”
It was not long before the anxiety hit the target like an arrow.
The teacup fell and the tea in it fell under the table. Vivian’s dress was soaked in scarlet tea water. But Vivian didn’t notice it because she was so surprised.
“Lady, are you okay?”
The Emperor was surprised and raised his hand to call the servant. After the servant came up and handed over his handkerchief, Vivian noticed that she had spilled the tea.
Vivian was stunned even as she wiped her skirt. She had no choice but to.
‘The Emperor wants me to be engaged to a man whom I am afraid to run into in real life?’
Looking back, it was a subject that tingled her heart for a second.
“I…. I’m sorry. I was so surprised.”
“Your Majesty, that was so abrupt.”
Roger said to the emperor while watching Vivian wipe the spilt tea on her dress. Vivian stopped her hand unconsciously when she heard the low tone that tormented her every night. Fortunately, it was hidden by the table and invisible to others.
Vivian looked up and stared at Roger. He also heard the Emperor’s abrupt declaration, but somehow he was too calm. This was not his first time hearing the Emperor’s order.
“My decision was a bit hasty I guess.”
The Emperor poured tea back into the empty glass with a sorry face. Vivian couldn’t bring herself to drink it because she didn’t think it would go down her throat. Instead, she kept an eye on the Emperor. Her eyes wanted an explanation about why there was going to be an engagement.
“Lady Lector, I heard you’re the best at earth elemental art.”
“Yes…… I am.”
All she wants is to clear up the situation about the engagement, but the Emperor wants to talk about her ability out of the blue.
Vivian opened her mouth because she could not help but respond. The Emperor added a satisfied smile to her answer.
“There’s one thing I wanted to do before I ascended to the throne.”
Suddenly, the Emperor’s smile disappeared and instead, a seriousness was established on his face.
“To straighten up the Land of the West.”
“The Land of the West.”
Vivian recalled the “Land of the West” brought up by the emperor.
The vast territory of Mosbana continues to the East, West, South, and North, with the capital at the center. In the East, South, and North, through various businesses and territorial expansion, Mosbana was undaunted.
However, the West was too much. The reason was due to the sudden appearance of magical beasts decades ago.
All of a sudden one day, there was a split between time and space on the Western land, then an endless influx of magical beasts came through the cracks.
The territory of the beasts, which was initially only a little part, began at a shabby estate adjacent to the beach then gradually increased its area.
The beasts expanded their territory by killing all visible humans, then occupied the lands one after another. It was a natural result because it was more difficult for ordinary people to prevent the invasion than to win the stars in the sky.
[ED/N: It was incredibly hard for the citizens to fight off the demonic beasts.]
The previous Emperor, who received reports of the appearance of demonic beasts, set up measures as soon as possible. The fortress walls were built around the sites that were still available.
Does taking care of the beasts come first or building a wall? It was a race against time, and it is said that the money spent on this ridiculous scheme was one-fifth of the treasury at the time. As such, the situation in Mosbana was a crisis itself.
The quick response prevented the beasts from entering the capital of Mosbana, but the problem was the land of the West.
Among the land in Mosbana with clear seasonal changes, it was the Western land that had the highest investment value due to its fertility all year round. As more than half of the land was occupied by the beasts, of course the loss was great.
The Emperors of that time tried to manage their magic somehow and attempted to reclaim the land of the West. But it was a difficult task. The expeditionary team sent to fight the evil spirit was helplessly killed, and the nobles avoided going to the West.
It was the Marquis of Ozent who ruled the territory where the wall was built at that time. His territory was vast, and the people of the land were always active.
But when the beasts appeared, Marquis Ozent returned to the capital, saying he didn’t know the estate anymore. He had a way to make a living in the capital, so it was a possible choice, but it was too much for the people who lived in the West, whose land was their only hometown.
In conclusion, the people still live in the Marquisate of Ozent. Riddled with the anxiety that at any day, those beasts might cross the wall.