“I think the emperor really loves the young miss, no, I mean the princess.” was what Nouvel exclaimed right after entering the room.
I couldn’t believe his sudden remark but what could I say anyway? I am just a baby.
Quite a long time has passed since the incident with Lydia, which was also the incident where Kieran blurted out a shocking thing, and he hasn’t visited me since then, which made a lot of speculation run wild in my little head.
Is he tired of bothering me now?
Does he think I’m useless now?
Will he kill me now?
You know, stuff like that.
But Nouvel would come visit me from time to time to reassure me that my wild imagination would never come true, and there’s one thing I’ve learned about him; Nouvel is a very talkative person when Kieran is not around and thanks to that, one day he managed to turn my boring and ordinary day into an extraordinary one. Nouvel who thought I was sleeping—even though I just closed my eyes—started a long conversation with Estelle, telling her how busy Kieran was, when usually he wouldn’t say a word when my eyes were wide open—which I found really annoying.
According to him, by giving me the name ‘Amarantha’ which means ‘Resurrection,’ he took back his right to name me, his daughter, from my mother who stole his right to name me back then.
[Keisha Amarantha Elaine]
Or now can be interpreted as the owner of eternal life who is blessed by God. I sighed with lamentation in my heart, the burden I felt was so indescribable, and this invisible pressure was so annoying.
The friendly Nouvel also said that many nobles opposed Kieran’s decision of giving me a name that associated with immortality because my background as a child of a concubine, who they believed as a former dancer, and more or less they considered as a commoner—in theory, she was a noble because she was adopted by Count Henyscira but technically, she was just a noble on a piece of paper.
When Nouvel narrated that part, Nouvel and Estelle’s tone changed drastically. So, the curious me finally decided to peek at their facial expressions which looked very gloomy and irritated, even though they had tried their best not to be too obvious of their annoyance. That’s when I started to wonder and ponder, did they know my mother?
It was also said that the nobles who opposed Kieran even went to the extent of opening a thick dictionary that recorded all the laws that existed in Kryfi Empire, which only made them unable to defy Kieran’s decision any further because in that very thick dictionary there is indeed a law that related to naming a child for the second time.
The law itself was passed about six or five years ago, in the last year of Emperor Cedrick Leif Elaine’s reign, Kieran’s father who is also my grandfather.
It is a law that allows a child to be named a second time; with the first case, is the second party–the child, is the child of a concubine and wasn’t recognized before—or also known as late recognition as descendant—which allows them to use the Imperial Family name, ‘Elaine’
The second circumstance; is when the child is the child of a spouse who is legally married to the emperor, or a recognized child but does not yet have a name associated with immortality, late recognition as heir.
And lastly, the situation where the emperor reclaimed his right to name the child—reclamation—which is the same as in my case.
This law not only allows the second party–the child, to regain their rights as the members of the imperial family; from getting the title of a Prince or Princess, to being treated properly. But if the emperor gives a name that associated with immortality, they will automatically get the chance to inherit the throne, and they will also be allowed to enter the imperial court and take part in it, they will even gain the authority to give orders to the imperial staffs.
Among these three conditions, what Kieran have done really touched me, he not only took back his rights, where he could have done by only acknowledging me to the extent of the first circumstance—late recognition as descendant—but he did more than that!
He not only acknowledged me as his legitimate descendant but also made me his rightful heir!
It’s a very touching situation, but at the same time I’m not expecting too much. Why? Because maybe he could regret what he had done now, he didn’t show or say it directly, but who knows?
And as a result of his impulsive decision, some people are conflicted, confused about my title, either to call me by young miss like usual, or princess. Well, the problem didn’t last long because some people had called me ‘young miss’ in front of Kieran, and it all thanks to him who acted like he didn’t care about that at all, putting an end to the walk on eggshells situation. Thus, I just need to cope with one and only person who started and continue to call me by princess, Nouvel.
On the contrary, between the bad speculations I had made about him and the situation between us, what really happened was the complete opposite; Kieran may not have visited me but instead I went to visit him.
It all started thanks to Nouvel who likes jumping to conclusions; he thought I missed Kieran just because he saw me daydreaming while staring blanky at the window—where in fact, I just enjoying the peace—and now the situation changed drastically, as fast as an eye blink.
During my first visit, after looking around during the trip to his study, I realized that apart from me, Nouvel, Estelle and Latte, there was no one else in Kieran’s palace, Latte wasn’t always here either, I only saw her at mealtime or when we went out.
Isn’t this the emperor’s palace? But why is it similar to a neglected place?
I said it’s neglected because it’s too quiet and the level of security is very lacking since the guards and maids was nowhere to be found. In contrast to what was displayed in front of me, this place was very well maintained and clean.
As soon as I arrived at Kieran’s room, I was immediately put into a crib. Initially, I was shocked when I saw the crib in his room, I thought: ‘was it wrongly placed?’
Besides me who kept laughing and smiling whenever our gazes met, almost nothing happened, and the atmosphere would be relatively quiet.
Today, I was not brought to his main study space but to the hidden space in his office instead. In fact, he had two workspaces: First, is the imperial court or also known as throne room. Second, is where I’m now, his study or private office, where he met nobles for private meetings and where he works on the official documents.
In his study room, behind a bookshelf there is a secret door to access a room that was hidden behind it. This hidden area is where I am currently in, which is used by Kieran as a separate break room.
Rather than a break area, it’s just a plain space with a table and a long sofa in the middle of the room, with a large window as the only light source to illuminate the room—including an additional decoration which is my crib.
By the way, now I know who the good-looking shining uncle with beautiful amethyst eyes from back then is. He is the Head of the Lucia March, Zanquen La Lucia. He has a son, who is two years older than me but unfortunately, his wife died a few months after giving birth to their child due to her weak constitution.
I heard he is the same age as Kieran and Nouvel, which means he is only in his late-twenties, but he decided not to remarry.
Marquess Lucia was originally known as the emperor’s sword, but after he had taken an oath of blood, the most serious oath of loyalty between knight and emperor, the Lucia Household is known as an Imperial’s dog instead. He was also the commander of the first knight division—the silver wolf, along with Nouvel, who is the commander of the second knight division—the black rose, the two of them were known as the strongest knights in Empire.
I stood holding the baby crib fence, while Kieran sat on a luxurious sofa while holding papers in his hand.
“Why are you looking at me?” He asked, the question that popped up suddenly caught me off guard because I was just started to stare at him, but he asked without even turning his head towards me.
I just gave him an innocent smile.
—What is it?
“This? Nothing.” He answered, before stole glance at me and said, “Are you bored?”
Suddenly, a knocking on the door echoed in the room.
“Your Majesty, Count Ryan is requesting an audience with you.”
There’s no doubt that the owner of that friendly voice is none other than Nouvel. Kieran let out a low breath, which was more like a quick breath than a sigh to me though.
“Just play there by yourself for a moment, I will be back soon.”
I nodded my head, then I plopped my whole body down to tell him a message: ‘F*ck off.’
He returned to his study, and I was only accompanied by the creak of the door that echoed as it closed with the silence that followed.
I was playing by myself by raising both my legs and arms parallel to face the ceiling, not much time had passed when I heard a crunching sound as the door opened. I tilted my head looking towards the door between the gap of my crib but found nothing.
What is it? Is a maid coming in?
I quickly lost interest and naturally turned my head back to my original spot. After all, a maid’s job was usually the same as the others, there was no big difference anyway, she would probably clean the room or throw out the trash.
I returned my focus to my little fingers, and wondered how much my hands would grow later? Would it grow to be as big as my old hands? but I have forgotten how my old hands look like or how big they really like. It was unfortunate, but I couldn’t even guess or estimate the size of my old hands anymore, one thing is clear my pinky is pretty short.
Will my pinky also stop growing faster than the other fingers like before?
I was getting excited by myself when all of sudden—in this very moment, I was covered in a dark shadow that appeared from above me. I instinctively looked up, and I froze in that exact position.
I thought it was a maid, but he was not a maid.
The man’s face became clearer the more he walked closer to me, he was wearing a bland uniform that didn’t stand out in the palace, he also has a long scar on the left side of his face—it extends from his brow to his cheek—and the scary man was holding a dagger in his hand.
I couldn’t breathe properly, my face instantly paled, and I froze. As soon as the dagger—emitted its shimmering white glow from the reflection of the light hitting it, entered my view, my body reacted automatically to fear, my heart fell, and my whole body went weak before trembling like a quaking aspen tree.
The man definitely wasn’t a servant.
He was an unwanted guest who came to kill me.
Am I going to die today? In this way?
This is crazy!
Somebody, please! I couldn’t die like this!
I tightened my grip, and I could feel my fingertips turning cold, I was so shocked that I forgot how to make a sound. Suddenly, I felt something touching the skin of my thigh, and I realized that it was my toy, I forced my stiff hand to reach the toy, then I held the toy tightly.
The toy that I threw made a sound when it hit the man’s face, he looks at me, annoyed. Suddenly, he chuckled like he didn’t believe it, his eyes turned cold and sharp.
“Just die!” He shouted.
The assassin tried to quickly lower the knife into me.
Unconsciously, I closed my eyes, preparing myself for the inevitable pain by biting down on my lower lip—though it starting to hurt, it can’t be helped. However, something flew by even faster than him. The guy let out a scream of pain as he was lying on the floor.
“Ng?” I let out a sign to express my confusion.
I struggled around to get up on my feet. Then I sat down, leaning against the crib safety fence and started to take a peek to see what was going.
“Grrr!” It growled.
What flew by that aiming at the man was a black panther.
When the man stood up and started to take the stance to attack again, the black panther growled again, it exposed its white canine teeth and long hooves, it was standing in front of my bed, with a defensive posture.
You protect me…?
In a flash, the man’s body was slashed, and his head was severed, splitting apart. At that moment, I suspected that there was something wrong with my eyes. That guy’s body was slashed in half by itself even though there was nothing touched his skin. Blood splattered everywhere in the room; the red and warm liquid splashed down my cheek as well.
When his body started to crumble down to the ground and Kieran’s figure was seen, his hand was loosely holding a remnant of cloth that was wrapped around his body, as a garment. Before coming towards me with clothes that have stained with the man’s blood.
How in the world did he enter the room?
I couldn’t figure it out. Huh? Wait-
Is it magic?
“A guy like this.”
Kieran gave a sharp look as he commented, that showed his disgust as he stared at the man’s corpse. What was shown in his eyes right now is only bloodthirstiness that I always saw hidden in the corner of his eyes. The look in those eyes, which I couldn’t forget no matter how hard I tried.
Those eyes were the eyes I saw when we first met; not only that, but also in our second meeting… I saw how it peeked out of the corner of his eyes. And now it was blatantly there on his face for all to see, it was even more terrifying than I thought it might be.
“How did he even get past the knight at the palace gate?” he wondered.
Somehow, a servant I’ve never seen before opened the door connected to the study and tried to kill me, but the thing is why me?
Kieran clicked his tongue.
“Call the Imperial guards.” He said as he gave an order in a cold voice as drops of blood dripped from the end of the cloth he was wearing.
He stopped a for a while and commented, “and clean this thing.”
After Kieran coldly gave his orders. Nouvel walked straight towards me; when Kieran followed behind him—on his way, he stepped on an arm, but he didn’t seem to care. While the black panther, which had already calmed down approached Kieran and started to circle him, his tail lightly brushing against Kieran’s leg, making it looks like it’s winding around him. What a beautiful sight to see.
A strong metallic smell of blood wafted through the air. I scrunched up my face as the smell covered my entire nostrils. It’s strong enough to make me gag.
Nouvel lightly lifted me, and Kieran gave a small mocking smile as I made all kinds of faces. But somehow, I wasn’t annoyed when I saw his mocking smile, instead I felt sorry for the look in the eyes that met mine, the pathetic look that mixed with irritation and disgust.
“I will tell you; this place is disgusting to the point that it is tiresome.”
I froze once again. This time it wasn’t due to fear but from the coldness emanate from the man standing in front of me.
How deep was the disgust? How thick was his contempt? I didn’t know where to start, or how to navigate through all of this.
“Don’t be too surprised by this.” Kieran said as he stroked my cheek lightly, wiping the blood that was splattered on my cheek, was now on the surface of his finger’s skin.
“It would be troublesome if you got surprised just by this.” he continued.