Predatory Marriage — Chapter 101. Hunting With The Barbarians (1)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
“That’s not necessary.”
“All right, Blain.” She gently patted his head. “Good decision. If I did, things would get coring, right?” He didn’t respond, so she continued, “Wait a little longer and it will all fall into your hands. It’ll be much better than a puppet like that man. Don’t be too impatient.”
She looked at him affectionately, but he said nothing. Leaning over, she ran a hand through his hair.
“It will all be yours,” she whispered. “Leah, this country…this continent…”
Her ambition could not be satisfied with this small kingdom alone. Cerdina was convinced she would achieve everything her heart desired.
“Regarding the hunt, I’ve already heard about it.” She smiled slightly. She was aware of the real reason for Blain’s visit. “I was a bit surprised at first, but what does it matter, if the beasts were watching me anyway. Better to meet them at a place I’ve prepared.”
She supported Blain’s decision. It had been a timely thing to do. Finally, he spoke.
“Even if I’m putting you in danger?” His voice was strained, and he clenched his fists, his veins bulging under his pale skin. “Will you support me, too?”
Cerdina’s eyes widened, but quickly she relaxed her face.
“Of course, Blain. I’m sure you have your reasons. If you needed it, I would provide you with my corpse. Anything you want. I’ll make sure you keep the crown, my dear son.”
Her voice was loving, cloying, insensate. Listening to her left a bitter taste in his mouth.
‘You’ve gone too far already,’ he thought.
It looked like it would rain any moment. The cloudy sky was totally unsuitable for a hunt, but that didn’t deter those gathering to participate in it. After all, the hunt was just an excuse.
Leah looked down to survey her surroundings. Tents were spread throughout the forest and fires burned, a convenient formation of barracks. The hunters and attendants moved in perfect order, preparing for the hunt, and chefs were standing by, ready to receive whatever animals the hunters provided.
Although more than a hundred people had gathered, only a few were participating directly in the hunt.The King of Estia did not come, pleading illness. The queen, the prince, the princess, and the King of the Kurkans would be the only royalty present.
Countess Melissa stood beside Leah with a nervous expression. Baroness Cinael was usually among Leah’s followers and liked to participate in these kinds of activities, but today she was nowhere to be seen. Leah made her way slowly to the place where the hawks were caged. She would have to investigate the matter further when the hunt was over.
In a large cage, a hawk flapped its wings, and she smiled. It was her bird, and it looked as if the bird recognized her.
Slipping on her gloves, she fed it bits of raw chicken. She loved that it looked so brave and graceful, even when it was just eating. It looked as if the hawk would easily catch a rabbit or a pigeon, but Leah’s hawk wasn’t very good at hunting. She had never trained it. She just rewarded it with delicious food, even though all it knew to do was circle in the air, a simple life with peaceful pleasures.
Cerdina’s hawk was more astute. It hunted well, and when it couldn’t catch its prey directly, it would chase it toward the hunters to catch it instead. All the other nobles coveted Cerdina’s falcon, but Leah did not. She had never been interested in hunting. Like her falcon, she only wanted to enjoy the forest in her own way.
But Leah’s hawk stopped pecking and seemed to forget the raw chicken she had given it, hesitating. The other creatures present all did the same, the horses and hunting dogs lifting their heads to look in the same direction at once.
The hunting dogs had been barking, but now they were silent, their tails down and wagging. The horses stopped chewing their carrots and backed away, abandoning their food just as Leah’s hawk had done. Their instinctive fear of a top predator overwhelmed them.
The gazes of the people naturally followed the eyes of their animals, and the once noisy forest became silent.
The animals sensed the presence of the King of the Kurkans, Ishakan.