Predatory Marriage — Chapter 156. Unexpected Death (1)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
The Princess of Estia had been kidnapped by the barbarian King.
The misfortunes of such an important person were the kind of gossip society enjoyed most. Everyone was talking about the Princess, and the barbarians, and Byun Gyeongbaek, who had lost his bride.
They talked about how humiliating the beautiful Princess’s treatment must have been among the vulgar barbarians, every rumor more shameful than the last. The chaos in the royal palace worsened every day.
“If things continue like this, the country really will be ruined,” Count Valtein sighed. Finance Minister Laurent, sitting opposite, echoed his sigh, and Countess Melissa sipped her tea in silence.
The three people closest to the Princess had gathered at her former palace for tea after losing their master. Though it had been a long time since they met, the atmosphere was sober. Everything was in turmoil.
The day of the kidnapping, Crown Prince Blain had immediately begun pursuit with the royal knights. But the disorganized and frenzied pursuit had only resulted in losing a considerable number of knights when they were attacked by night.
Byun Gyeongbaek was enraged, having lost his future wife, and lashed out at the royal family. They had had to return the dowry he had paid for the Princess, and were just relieved that he had not asked for compensation money. He swore never to leave the barbarians in peace.
Surprisingly, however, he had agreed that if the Princess was retrieved from the barbarians, he would still marry her. It was shocking, considering she had surely lost her v!rginity by now. People praised him for his generosity, but those who knew the Princess knew he was only doing it for himself.
Countess Melissa set down her teacup.
“Honestly, I would like the Princess to stay with the Kurkans,” she said firmly.
“Madam…!” Count Valtein stared at her in surprise.
“Despite the rudeness of the Kurkans, they have been good to the Princess,” she said firmly. “Besides, if the Princess were to return to Estia…”
Her voice faded to a sad murmur.
“It will only carry a greater burden than she had before.”
None of them could argue with her words. For a time, the three sat in bleak silence.
The political mechanisms of the royal family were barely functioning, and it seemed they could come to a halt any time. Byun Gyeongbaek was causing trouble among the nobles, increasing the pressure on the royal family every day.
It seemed that the royal house would inevitably collapse. Without the efforts of the Princess, it was only the matter of time. Finance Minister Laurent shook his head.
“But I don’t know what the Queen is thinking,” he said suddenly.
All of them knew her cunning and her obsessive love for her son. The only thing on her mind was the day the Crown Prince would ascend the throne. But it was strange that she stood by while the country was collapsing. And the Prince, renowned for his bad temper, had done nothing after the failed pursuit of the Princess.
They all had done nothing, as if they had other plans.
“Actually, I think the Queen has been behaving oddly. Did you know that all the flowers in the garden of the Queen’s Palace have wilted…”
Countess Melissa frowned at his words and lowered her eyes thoughtfully.
“Come to think of it, lately there are many new servants in the royal palace,” she said. “I heard the Queen chose them, but no one knows where they came from. They have no courtesy.”
The new people had upended the hierarchy in the royal palace. It was all the servants and ladies-in-waiting were talking about. Listening, Count Valtein tapped his finger on the table anxiously.
“This is still an unsubstantiated rumor,” he began abruptly. He looked at them both. “It is said that the Queen is letting Tomari into the palace…”
Both of their eyes widened as they thought what this meant, but there was a sudden noise outside and the door burst open. A red-faced lady-in-waiting was shouting breathlessly.
All three rose from their chairs at the same time, sharing the same dread, the same terrible suspicion. The lady’s voice trembled.
“His Majesty…is dead.”
The King had died unexpectedly and suddenly.