12. The Returnee Noble Lady (11)
“How strange. What did I do wrong?”
“You’re just wrong in the head.”
“That’s unthinkable! My strategy should have been flawless… nevertheless, she still doesn’t fall for me… where did I go wrong?”
“I said, it’s your head. That’s why I told you, you should just stay silent. Have faith in your appearance—that’s all you’ve got going, really!”
“Rave, Your Majesty, if both of you have nothing important to discuss, you can get out.”
Jill coldly told the Emperor, who was currently discussing something with the snake on the table. She no longer felt like being polite to him.
Hadith, however, didn’t seem to be offended. He scratched his head.
“Why didn’t you eat all of my handmade croissants?”
“That would be—wait, that shouldn’t be the priority here!? You came all the way here from the castle, and even put the guards to sleep, did something happen?”
“Nothing in particular. I just came to see your face.”
Jill’s face turned fervently red.
But Hadith didn’t seem to notice. He sat down and crossed his legs. He was still wearing the bandana and the apron…
“…well, certainly, a troublesome thing has occurred. You were supposed to be released from house arrest and come see me immediately.”
Jill had never received such an imperial edict—which means…
“…Marquis Veil is ignoring Your Majesty’s order?”
“He pretended to have abided. However, you remained here, and I couldn’t go out because my condition was still bad. I ordered him to bring you to the Imperial City, I don’t know if he ignored that, too…”
“…could it be, a rebellion?”
To Jill’s assumption, Hadith let out a cold laugh.
“He’s got a lot of courage, to test a Cursed Emperor like that.”
“…what do you mean, cursed?”
“No one talks about it in Kratos?”
“It’s just minor gossip, like how death or conflict constantly happens around Your Majesty…”
Hadith’s eyes widened a little at Jill’s statement.
“’Minor gossips’, you say… I never thought you would interpret it like that.”
“I don’t want to utterly deny it, however, Kratos and Rave aren’t exactly on good terms, right? That’s why, I only partially believe them. I want to hear the rest directly from Your Majesty’s mouth.”
“So you want to judge me with your own eyes and ears…? Wouldn’t that be a trouble?”
“Because I might fall in love with you.”
He had slyly spun her honest words, bringing out a new meaning.
“W, what are you saying, wait, isn’t that okay—!? Didn’t Your Majesty try to seduce me just now—!?”
“I want you to love me, on the other hand, I don’t want to love you.”
“Aah, can’t you guys continue this talk later? There are more pressing issues. Proceed to the explanation, please!”
Due to Rave’s interruption, Hadith coughed.
Although some things remained unclear, it wasn’t like Jill wanted to prolong talking about it, either. Jill listened attentively.
“Do you know why I’m the farthest Prince from the throne?”
Jill’s attention was picked hearing such circumstances.
“If I’m not mistaken, it’s because Your Majesty’s mother was a low-ranking concubine… as such, only your brother, Vissel, was allowed to remain in the Imperial City as the prince, while Your Majesty was sent to the frontier.”
She realized it while explaining—his mother didn’t choose him.
Hadith laughed and affirmed, to Jill’s bewilderment.
“‘Driven out’, to be exact. Every time she saw me, there was always that terrified look. She also called me a monster.”
Rave, who stared at Hadith, muttered, ‘fool’ at him.
“Be it the predecessor or any of the previous generation, none of those Emperors were able to see this me.”
“But I can see him. That’s why I know. One day, I will become the Emperor—no, I have to.”
Hadith said that the catastrophe began on his eleventh birthday.
A half-brother he hadn’t ever met before died suddenly—it was a heart attack.
However, there were still many men worthy of the title ‘Crown Prince’. Hadith, who had been abandoned to the frontier, was of course forgotten. Nevertheless, when the next Crown Prince was decided, said Prince died again—this time, drowned in the bathroom.
“The next Crown Prince hung himself. He said that he could hear a woman’s voice every night upon becaming the Crown Prince. The next one died of suffocation when he was washing his face in the morning. That was how the Crown Princes, who were chosen before me, died one after another. Every year, right on my birthday, like some kind of a present.”
She was speechless, and glanced at Rave. However, Rave remained indignant.
“I didn’t do it. Even if those things didn’t happen, this kid would still become Emperor, after all.”
“I wrote letters to the capital, but only to Prince Vissel—my brother. However, his status as a prince was fragile, at best. He didn’t have the power to summon me back. My mother only found it bothersome and an inconvenience that I kept trying to contact him.”
“Even though the two of you are siblings…”
“However, with those tragedies occuring five years straight, it became impossible to dismiss them as mere coincidences. The Emperor accepted my brother’s statement and summoned me back to the court. I was thereby appointed the Crown Prince. After that, no one died. That was the decisive hit, afterwards, my father decided to ced the throne. He was probably scared, ruling on top of this me.”
To escape the same fate, the previous Emperor decided to retire and left everything to Hadith. In a way, his father was pleading for his life.
That was how the youngest Emperor of the Rave Empire, who was only eighteen years old at that time, came to be.
“Finally, on my coronation day, my mother hung herself. She said she didn’t want to reside in a kingdom ruled by monster. That was when I started to be known as the Cursed Emperor.”
Jill was left truly and utterly speechless.
***T/N: Oooooo the plot thiccens….. this author sure didn’t hesitate when it came to the dark side of the story.