“I feel like I am being viewed by many as someone scary but not all the maids who have served me cried. Well, it’s just not true. There were also the ones who acted cutely. They would sometimes say, ‘Don’t get sick anymore, Your Highness!’ and make me chuckle.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. They surprised me too.”
The boy in front of me smiled innocently but it looked fake to me. Although he was half of my actual age, he already had a such a well forged weapon.
The tense atmosphere around us reminded me of the past. Back when I took part in an executive’s meeting and someone asked me what the main characteristics of a product was. It felt like if I gave the wrong answer here, the social life I had endured thus far will end tragically.
“… What are you looking at?”
Dear author, do you think I can claim for damages to my mental health? The fantasy I had so far of a friendly man has been shattered.
“With all due respect.”
“You look pitiful.”
At this point, I wondered what would happen in 5 years. Now matter how I looked at it, rather than a Labrador retriever like boy who could wield a forged axe, he looked more like a ‘spoon-killer’ who attacks people with his spoon*.
*T/N: basically it didn’t look like he could do much HHAHHA
“You may be thinking that I’m crazy. But it’s just a stereotype. Not everyone is unhappy just because they were sick.”
I lowered my head as I mumbled.
“You mean to say that I wasn’t unfortunate?”
A mysterious expression flashed on his face before a sweet and warm smile akin to the sun in springtime was plastered on his face. He looked like a young saint. But his eyes remained sharp like a beast that had been starved for 3 days.
As I thought about the Prince’s face a little more, I suddenly realised something.
Maybe I should be thankful that I had lived out my 30s so fiercely. If it had been the young innocent Ashley Rosé in my position, she might have just passed away.
He continued speaking. I had been blunt but he ignored my rudeness.
Once I realised it, I could see the evidence one by one clearly. His pale face as if it had not met the sun. His brutally dry and cracking lips. His skin that seemed to be hanging off his bones. And his habitual dry coughs.
The tense atmosphere around the boy’s whole body made him look as if he was standing precariously near death and his room full of green plants reminded me of a plain white hospital room. That’s right. Because of this, being unable to interact with other people became a big issue to him.
“Could a sick person not be unhappy?”
Unknown emotions swirled aimlessly within his hazy green eyes. His guards were put down for a while, revealing his observant and guarded nature.
Instead of chiding me persistently, the boy had asked me a question.
‘Was it because of my experience?’
“My apologies. I have had seen it before but I have not experienced it myself.”
“… Have you been sick before? Very sick?”
“… I haven’t but my father has.”
“Ah. Your father. Has he passed on?”
It is no mistake that this Empire will be ruined. And I fully knew that the Crown Prince was the sole reason behind it. Or maybe there was a gene that made their personalities milder when they grew up. Since the Crown Prince was the final boss, would the 4th Prince be considered the mid-level boss?
Amor learned how to act by copying the behaviour of those around him. ‘The stronger the poison, the more splendid you’ll come out of it’ was what I thought as I saw his venomous yet friendly smile. The innocent child looked like he didn’t know.
From where I was, it was not difficult to see his calculating and hypocritical act.
“Yes. He has passed on. A long time ago.”
“Is that so? So, he passed on… Do you not miss him?”
“Even if he came back to life, I have no way of making him happy.”
I erased the expressions off my face and looked at him seriously. Silence befell the room where even our breaths could barely be heard. The eyes that were looking at me were glazed over and cold like ice.
“What amusing things you’re saying.”
From this day forth, I had utmost respect for Rusbell. She was able to turn this fighting dog to a man. It was a miracle akin to turning a bear to a human.
I refuse to believe that I have a brother like you. He managed to input new data into my folder of ‘men with bad personalities’. Fleon. Have I ever said that your personality was horrible? I’ll apologise. There are men worse than you.
“You made me amused so I’ll answer one question from you.”
Ah, right, of course. Huh? I had been listening to him speak with my head down before I shot up with a gasp. A question? This was something I needed so much. Unbeknownst to me, I revealed my desperation.
“Oh, what’s this?”
Amor’s eyes narrowed like a fox’s. Darn it. I made a mistake.
“It just came out of me.”
I groaned. It was obvious that my expressions that I had been hiding well thus far were now revealed unintentionally.
“Usually, when I talk to someone of your age, they would freeze up, unable to say anything. They would either break bowls or flip them over. Sometimes… even the bravest ones become a blubbering fool in front of me.”
What answer does he want from me?
“You’re a little eccentric, aren’t you?”
“Yes. That’s why I had been enduring your insolent tone and cheekiness.”
Amor squinted his eyes slightly.
“Congratulations. You’re the first to have talked with me so much. I’m saying that you are fun to talk to.”
After saying that, he leaned comfortably on his back before tapping his stomach. He smiled languidly like a beast that has eaten his fill. Looks like he finished his meal but was he really full only after eating that much? He didn’t even finish a third of his soup.
“Are you lost for words? You can leave if you have no questions.”
I knew that he was blatantly provoking me. I knew that I had dug my own grave by coming here. But still I lowered my gaze and erased those thoughts.
I raised my head as he called my fake name. Amor’s smile deepened.
“You can run away.”
When I met Amor’s soft gaze, my mouth dried up.
“But you. Do you really not have anything you’re curious about?”
If I was going to leave this room, I was going to head back to my palace without turning back. And I will do it without hesitation.
Should I just be bold? Or should I just return to my palace quietly?
My queries weren’t going to take long.
“I do. I have some things I’m curious about.”
I had been pounding on a stone bridge the whole day but now, I wanted to live like I had no tomorrow. I might even disappear tomorrow morning for all I know. So, I murmured fiercely.
“I’m afraid, I would like to hear more about the Crown Prince.”
I decided to throw a fastball without hesitation.
“His Royal Highness, the 1st Prince.”
His eyes widened before he slowly closed them and opened them again.
His red lips curled softly, drawing a semicircle on his face.
I felt an incomprehensible chill. Like the feeling when I lost an important document. A siren, that I had developed after living fiercely in my previous life, rang, warning me of danger.
Amor shifted all the dishes to one side, before stretching out his long arm and holding his chin.
“My brother… To talk about my brother…”
As his loose shirt fell, his long and thin neck that resembled that of a deer was revealed.
Amor, who laughed out loud in the pleasant day, opened his eyes with grace and looked at me with a fluttering gaze.
“If you had been a noble, I would have just told you my brother’s appearance. But you must be thinking that you could aim for the empty seat next to my brother.
“Actually, my brother has been very troubled by this problem. What’s more, he actually hates it.”
That’s it. That’s right. Castor hated women that liked him.
Even when he was the Emperor, he was the man who made the Empress feel like the unluckiest woman in all of Kaltanias.
“Have you heard? What happened to the Saintess after she came all the way here to profess her love for my brother?”
Even now, the rumours surrounding him were not good. Before becoming the Emperor, he was famous for slaughtering women in self-defense. In this regard, he was often compared to the 2nd Prince and his wife who had an amicable relationship.
Well, this was all arranged by the author so that he could become Rusbella’s man.
Usual romance fantasy stories would have a wicked villainess. The one in Kaltanias was the daughter of one of the 3 Ducal families who founded the Empire.
Moreover, she was a powerful woman with her uniquely cold and cruel personality which proudly rivalled Castor’s.
<You’re bothering my eyes.>
She died. It was the first time in my life ever pitying the villain in a novel.
There were a lot of comments about her unprecedented exit from the novel. Amongst them, the theory that Castor was the one behind her death gained much support.
“I don’t know why a maid like you is curious about him, but my brother is a very scary person.”
“I know. Well, I’ve met him once before and thought that he was very cool…”
Castor had his value. But he was useless to me because I only had 2 things in my mind.
Could I even count the number of people who he killed with my hands? He killed his nanny who had raised him dearly. And he even killed his fiancée who had risked her life loving him.
Dozens of families have been uprooted by him. If necessary, he would kill the person who had helped him yesterday.
Perhaps it was natural that I would die by his hands 6 days from now.
I was the abandoned Princess. I was a worthless and useless card to have because I had a scar on my face.
But I didn’t want to die.
“That’s strange. Where could you have seen my brother…?”
He raised the corners of his mouth and straightened his chin with a hum.
“You’d have no reason to walk over to the west where my brother’s Te Palace is unless you were actually heading for my Terret Palace or the 2nd Prince’s Arroté Palace.”
He looked into my eyes as if he was seeking a reason for my actions.
“You came here for the first time and you’ve already seen me. That’s amazing.”
Frightened, I kept fidgeting and my gaze kept shifting restlessly, I lowered my head.
“Well, that’s good. I like fun and new things because I get bored sitting in my bed for long periods at a time. So it’ll be fun to be nice to you. Moreover, I’ll be able to talk to you about things I can’t tell my brothers about.”
Rusbella, who had traveled from far, always felt sorry for Amor who sat on his bed all day. Whenever she sees him, she would sit next to him and talk to him for a long time. The sweet and kind Rusbella was afraid that Amor might be bored so she would bring books and games from her home country.
In the novel, Amor had a great curiosity for the world outside so he rejoiced like a child at everything Rusbella brought.
At that time, I thought of Amor as my child when he acted like a 2nd generation chaebol who was eating cup noodles for the first time. Now that I thought about it, Amor might have actually been excited about seeing Rusbella, not the games or books. She must have felt like a fresh breeze for a boy who had a timer on his life and was always on his bed.
Of course, this was all just my vague imagination. I had no idea if Rusbella had run away from home or was making rice cakes now.
Amor’s thin yet husky voice made me perk up my ears.
“Talking about my brother. He’s cruel and heartless. He’s generous to himself but he treats others like trash. That’s why there was always a shortage of hands in his palace. Bodies are carried out of it every day. He might have killed some in my palace as well.”
Unexpectedly, this boy liked to talk a lot.