Predatory Marriage — Chapter 140. Appetite (1)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
There was no way he would send Leah back to Estia, even if it made her hate him. But now that she had decided to stay by his side, Ishakan didn’t see any reason to keep her tied up. Ishakan kissed her wrist.
“First, you must eat,” he said. “You have slept for a long time, so I will bring light food.”
Ishakan exited the hut and immediately returned with a tray filled with food. But perhaps because he considered Leah a patient, this time he didn’t bring food piled in high layers today. Leah laughed inside.
Ishakan sat in the chair beside Leah’s bed and organized the food one course at a time. First, he placed some hot porridge before her, and then lined up the courses to follow in a line as she ate bit by bit.
Leah had been smiling as she watched Ishakan cutting tender veal into small pieces, but she suddenly darkened as memories came to her mind. From an early age, when her appetite had been at its peak, Cerdina had regulated her food. Leah had eaten in Cerdina’s company at least once every two days, and every time it made her sick to her stomach. Eating was extremely stressful.
Cerdina had taught her a strict etiquette for eating. If Leah made the slightest mistake, Cerdina would stop eating immediately and hit her with a stick on the part of her arm hidden by the sleeve of her dress. And when Leah was too hungry and tried to eat more, Cerdina would laugh scornfully and point out the flaws in her body, pinching the flesh of her belly and thighs, even though Leah had a normal constitution as a child.
—I don’t think you can currently consider yourself the Princess of Estia, Leah.
Cerdina’s gaze was cold as she told Leah that she must always have a dignified appearance.
—Do you want to hear people saying that the stepmother made a mistake in raising her stepdaughter?
Then Leah would have to plead with her, begging to be forgiven, saying that she had made a mistake and wouldn’t eat anymore. Some people had taken pity on Leah and had tried to give her food in secret, but all were expelled from the palace after brutal torment.
The cycle repeated itself several times and after she saw what Cerdina had done to the victims, Leah began to refrain from eating on her own. She was even more careful because she feared the Countess Melissa, the only person she could trust, would be expelled.
As long as Leah restrained herself, everyone would be at peace.
She felt unpleasant as she ate the porridge, and put down the spoon. She couldn’t eat anymore. It felt as if she had suddenly become full. When she handed him back the half-eaten bowl of porridge, Ishakan frowned.
“Don’t tell me you’re done.”
“I’m full.” Leah hesitated for a moment, then spoke quietly. “I’d like to eat more, but…I can’t. Maybe it’s because I haven’t eaten in a long time.”
Ishakan was silent. His eyes glowed brightly, but any hint of danger quickly faded. He didn’t try to coax her any further, just took the food away, and then came back to hug Leah tightly.
Even though she hadn’t eaten much, his warmth made her feel full.
“Let’s get some fresh air,” Ishakan said as he stroked her hair. “I want to show you something.”
Carrying her in his arms, his big hand pushed open the canvas door of the barrack. Leah gasped as they passed from darkness into light, a scorching sun and golden sand as vast as the sea.
It was the desert.