“I, Joshua have come per Your Majesty’s order.”
After so much commotion here and there, Marquis Zanquen finally arrived with the Imperial Doctor, who looked old and tired with sweat and uneasiness enveloped his entire body.
“Your life is on the line. The moment she dies, it will also be the end of your life.”
Those were the words that came out as soon as Kieran opened his mouth, he immediately spat out a threat to the Imperial Doctor the moment they exchanged glances.
“Un-understood, Your Majesty.”
And just like a quivering cat, Joshua immediately lowered his head, didn’t dare to raise his eye sight anymore. He bowed his head deeply and pitifully while bearing the Emperor’s words in his mind, before walking nervously over to the little princess who was also holding his dear life in her hand.
At the same time while checking on Keisha’s condition, he also listened to an explanation about her situation from Estelle. Even though Kieran had moved to the side—standing by the floor-to-ceiling window, and stared to the scenery outside; the Imperial Doctor couldn’t help but felt like he was walking on eggshells under all of the attention and pressure he got from every single person in the room, who was looking at him with a lot of gazes that have different meanings.
On the other side, his hand still trembled slightly—as an after-effect of Kieran’s threat that he received right the moment after he arrived. But, the moment Joshua caught on something he looked for from Estelle’s explanation, his eyes sparkled before he let out a small cough and asked, “My lady, did you say that the young miss–no, I mean, the princess cried vigorously due to an assassination attempt that targeted her this afternoon?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
After hearing Estelle’s confirmation, he shook his head and started to sigh.
“It’s highly likely because of that; since baby in general is a delicate creature, the shock must have scared Her Highness so much to the point she caught a fever like this.”
Joshua let out another nervous cough, “The fever will gradually going down as Her Highness calm down. For now, I’ll prescribed medicine to help her relax and eased the pain, as for the fever putting a wet cloth on top of her forehead will be enough for now.”
Joshua scanned his surroundings, while giving disorganized glances in all direction, he was either unwilling or unable to bring himself to let out the next words he wanted to say. It was only after a lot of efforts that he managed to say something again, “T-then…”
Listening to the Imperial Doctor’s hesitancy to continue, Kieran turned his have slightly and gave a side-long glance, giving him an order to continue his words.
“Then, I will prepare the medicine in liquid form and bring it back for Her Highness.”
Kieran finally changed his posture as he listened quietly to his statement; while, Joshua took it as a permission for him to go back to his corner and prepare the medicine. Thus, he ran out quickly unable to bear with the pressure surrounding him any longer.
“I will go get a basin and water, Your Majesty.”
“You’re excused.” Kieran said permitting Estelle to go, but his gaze was locked at Keisha, who was lying weakly on his bed.
After some time, the two of them returned together almost at the same time. One with a bowl of medicine in his hands, while the other one with a basin filled with water and cloths in her hands. The moment they entered the room, they moved quickly to do their respective duties.
Joshua walked over to Keisha and carefully help her to drink the medicine he had prepared little by little, and Estelle went to the other side of the bed to put on the wet cloth she brought over on her forehead and also wiped her body that covered in sweats; it first washed her face, next was the neck, then the arm.
In an instant, everyone froze, their action came into a halt. The entire room was filled with silence as if it had been doused in cold water.
“All of you are excused, I’ll stay here.”
Another instant silence, the only sounds that could be heard in the spacious room was the movement from the people who were leaving the room, trying to be quite as much as possible. In the midst of that, everyone have different thoughts filled in their minds; Joshua wondered whether the Emperor know how to take care of a sick patient, moreover the princess was still a toddler. Estelle was touched by the Emperor’s words but her heart was still reluctant to leave Keisha just like that. Nouvel felt worried for Keisha but in the corner of his heart, he felt happy because Kieran was starting to warm up to his daughter. As for Marquis Zanquen, he was also worried for the little princess, but at the same time couldn’t help but also worried for his son who was waiting for him at home, his uneasiness made him impatient to go home and check on his beloved son.
On the other side, Asher was busy sneaking around, trying to hide himself behind the bed while occasionally glancing over towards the top of the bed.
“All of you; including you, Asher.”
Kieran let out another firm declaration, making Asher poke his head out from behind the bed.
He whimpered in sadness as he moved unwillingly to join others leaving the room. Asher follow behind Nouvel with his head dropped pitifully, walked as slowly as possible in hope a miracle would happen and Kieran would let him to stay. However, his hopes dashed in vain the moment Nouvel dragged the door closed.
When he saw the little baby—wandered all by herself around his palace, for the first time after a long time, he found himself caught off guard.
“Nouvel, bring her over.”
He didn’t know what he was really thinking when he gave that order to Nouvel, was it just for naught? Or was it just an impulsive decision? At that time, she still couldn’t even speak properly, other than rambling a few words that were hard to comprehend.
I was waiting for the chance, while bearing hatred in my heart.
I have to kill her today.
But then, the sun had set and the moon had risen. Without him noticing, today passed just like that.
I have to kill her today…
Every moment he saw her, he couldn’t help but raise his hand, unable to stop himself from trying to reach her in order to end her dear life. However, despite having made the same determination the next day, he always failed to finish off the tiny life standing in front of him and complete his original intention.
And then, the day after that too. In the end, the little girl stuck by his side, accompanying him through those boring days. Until the very end, the colliding thoughts and opposite actions didn’t stop, left him looking at his hand in confusion; every time his eyes gradually became firm, each time his heart weaken.
The next moment he came back to his senses, he found himself already gritted his teeth. And there was no getting away from it.
That blasted wench!
If you are going to die you should just be done with it. Yet, you left something that’s the splitting image of you…!
Time went on, it couldn’t be asked to stop or pause and she continued to grow; the words that came out of her mouth started to sound clearer, her hair also started to grow longer little by little and she starting to resemble that woman even more every time he noticed her changes.
I was almost done forgetting you…
I had almost…
I can never be rid of this hatred until the day I die!
Even his hound, which only responded instinctively to strong magic. The beast that only obey him because no one else could oppose his power became a meek in front of that woman. And just like the splitting scene, Asher, which was barely seen in the past two years, protected her who has nothing—neither Mana nor Anima.
Did it disappear without a trace for the past two years because it wanted to stay with her?
Is it because she is that woman’s daughter?
Kieran stared at his daughter’s sleeping figure blankly for a long time, no one knew and could fathom the look he put blatantly in his face and eyes. He looked like… he was in trouble, got stuck in a complicated situation, which he—himself—didn’t know what is it and what to do.
As if there was no way out or solution for his lamentation. To him this was like a curse that couldn’t be broken, an incurable disease. He is trapped, caught up in his own thoughts and feelings, past and doubts, hatred and hesitancy.
“I hate you.”
“I hate you.”
Kieran kept repeating the same phrase over and over again like a spell that was created especially for him to enchant himself.
Until he couldn’t manage to continue any longer as he gently placed the tip of his fingers on his daughter’s head, who was asleep while struggling to catch her own breath. Seeing the tiny baby who couldn’t even breathe properly, how could he end her life? And just like that he couldn’t bring himself to finish the phrase he have said just fine a moment ago.
Happy New Year, Welcome January 2023!