Translated by Wealthy Whale
Edited by Iris Sakura
“Your Highness, what do you mean?”
The Emperor looked like he wanted to answer but instead remained silent. Soon, he started to have a dry cough. As the Emperor made such a painful expression, the sound of the rumbling, sharp coughs filled the peaceful room.
“Physician! I’ll call the physician!”
“It’s fine… It’s fine…” The Emperor waved his hand while still coughing.
The Archmage’s face was gloomy. He knew the Emperor’s health was not the same as before. He also knew those painful coughs that started last winter had never stopped. But still, he hadn’t known it had become this severe.
The Emperor, who finally stopped coughing, looked at the Archmage with a slightly tired face.
“You know it… You just saw it. I still keep it as a secret, but I don’t think my condition… will get any better.”
“So you have to talk to Bern immediately about the seal…”
Unfortunately, he couldn’t follow that command. The seal was supposed to be given to the person pronounced as the next crowned Emperor. It was to be kept in perfect secrecy.
Usually, before the incumbent Emperor dies, they will announce the next Emperor. But this has created some cases where princes that didn’t get chosen started a rebellion.
‘He has weakened a lot.’
The Emperor was a weak-hearted person. It’s also due to his aging body, but the Emperor’s anxiety was fundamentally a result of his weakened mind.
“Your Highness, it’s still too early to say that. I apologize, but I beg you to reconsider. Since you were a prince, Your Highness has suffered through many big and small obstacles in your life. You will do the same this time.”
“When Prince Bern finally comes to the throne… At that time, I will tell him for sure. So please don’t worry,” the Archmage continued to speak.
He kept saying the Emperor doesn’t have to worry about anything but is the Archmage himself truly confident?
Things kept running in his mind about Raytan. The Archmage constantly monitored him over the past few years, but nothing happened. Unusual incidents, such as Lillian’s hair catching on fire, never happened again. He couldn’t even sense the existence of any magic from him.
‘The tomb… should I tell His Highness about it…’
The Archmage agonized. The discovery of the empty tomb was still only known to him. However, if he spoke about it now, won’t it make things worse? Conflict arose in the eyes of the Archmage, who was still looking at the Emperor.
“Maybe… when I’m still alive, something bad will happen. Don’t you know it too? It’s not just about the seal. They, maybe they are-”
“They are all dead,” the Archmage shook his head and replied.
“It was already over when Your Highness was still a prince. His Majesty, the late Emperor, completely took care of it. There isn’t even a single person left.”
The Emperor was even talking about worries he had never brought up before in his life. It seemed that he was more daunted than the Archmage had thought. On that account, the Archmage tried to speak again with an affirming yet kind voice.
“In any case… please don’t concern yourself. I will protect Your Highness and Prince Bern. Nothing like that would happen.”
The Archmage couldn’t say anything more.
The Emperor gazed at him with hazy eyes then he closed his eyes heavily. The Archmage, biting on his lips, carefully wrapped both of his hands around the Emperor’s hands. Then he recalled Raytan’s face.
Black hair like night. Crimson eyes like blood.
Just like him who is in the legend.
Two days ago, Mrs. Pauline’s dance class started.
Sezh has in no way thought about dancing in her whole life. So she didn’t know it was such a difficult task to use her own body. Mrs. Pauline sighed and took a break several times throughout their short class. Although she was a good teacher, Mrs. Pauline seemed to have hit a roadblock when it came to teaching Sezh’s awkward body.
However, Raytan, once again, was unimaginable. It was also his first time learning to dance, but he got praised less than an hour after the class started. Sezh felt betrayed.
Luna was very happy to hear the news. To be exact, she was relieved that Lady Lize said she would make all the arrangements for Sezh’s debut. Since Sezh didn’t have a single decent dress in her life, the garments to wear for her debut were a problem. It also costs quite a lot to prepare many other things.
Soon, everything was done being prepared by Lady Lize. Despite that, Sezh still felt uncomfortable. It seemed that she was burdening Raytan over nothing.
Luna kept convincing her with words and words, “It’s true that Master Raytan doesn’t like such a place, but even if he doesn’t like it he still wants to escort you. It means that he really cherishes you, Princess. He promised, so please rest assured.”
Raytan truly did not go back on his words. However, that was not the reason why Sezh was uneasy. She kept getting anxious about the unknown expression Raytan had made the other day. As she rolled a bit while lying in bed, Sezh couldn’t stop thinking about Raytan.
Somehow, his face looked as if it was full of sorrow.
It was the first time she saw him, who was always expressionless, making such a face. It was very strange and unfamiliar. Sezh wanted to ask him what was going on, but she’s afraid Raytan will make such an expression again.
Sezh couldn’t even tell Luna and ended up frustrated by herself. If Eton had been there, she would have spilled everything to him. She wasn’t sure that Eton could help, but at least he can tell her what’s wrong from a male’s perspective.
Eton hasn’t shown up yet since he disappeared four years ago. Occasionally, Sezh would go to the room where he used to stay, but she never saw the owner. He might never come back at this rate. Every time Sezh thought about it, she became dispirited. Besides, as planned, she would soon break away from the palace, so it’ll be sadder if that day was the last time she saw him.
And then there’s Luna. Before Sezh’s return, Luna’s death was a month from now. Luna had said she hadn’t gone home for a long time and went out. Following that, on her way back to the Imperial Palace, she died in a wagon accident.
Since it’s impossible to go to her home together, Sezh planned to somehow stop Luna from even leaving the palace. At least until she successfully left the Imperial Palace. No, if Sezh is lucky, she might be able to flee from this place with Luna.
After crossing that hurdle, she only has to stop her mother from poisoning Lady Lize.
‘Everything will be okay. I can do it,’ Sezh struggled to suppress the anxiety that kept rising in her thoughts.
Brother Raytan, Lady Lize, Luna’s death, Eton’s absence, and even this unexpected debut. Her head hurt. Sezh was overwhelmed and anxious. Rather than keep worrying about it, Sezh decided to solve the problems in order one by one.
‘First of all, let’s do what we can do! It’s not good to disappoint Lady Lize who already cares about me a lot.’
Sezh put her best strength to get through each day. In the morning, she takes Kazaki lessons with Raytan, and in the afternoon, she has dance class with Mrs. Pauline. Within those days, Lady Lize also sent multiple sets of dresses and accessories, so the craziness continued.
As time went by, the debut was fast approaching.
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The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog