Predatory Marriage — Chapter 166. Byun Gyeongbaek Kidnapping (1)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
Byun Gyeongbaek was an unpleasant man, but until now Leah had at least recognized his abilities, since he had kept the Kurkans at bay for so long on the western frontier. But it had all been a lie.
More, she had discovered that Ishakan had not only ascended the throne in a dominance struggle, but had gathered other Kurkans to rebel against the tyranny of the old King. It made her look at him with new eyes. She wanted to know more about Ishakan. She wondered what his life had been like, and how he had become what he was.
Slowly, Leah opened her eyes. She felt as if she had been sleeping for a long time. Morga had told her she wouldn’t wake up for three or four days, so she guessed it had been at least that long.
Reaching for a jug of water on the nightstand, she found a box on it tied with a pretty bow, and a note beside it. She drank first, then picked up the box and note. There was only one word written on the paper.
Leah smiled at the fierce handwriting, then untied the bow and opened the box. The swan feather quills inside were much smaller than the one she had used in Ishakan’s office. Picking one up, she laughed.
It was exactly the right size for her hand. He must have thought of this gift after seeing her write with his quill.
Leah couldn’t make herself put it down for a long time. She felt so incredibly happy. And maybe this would be the last time. After so much joy, she worried that a descent back into hell was inevitable.
Leah shook her head, trying to shake away the anxiety. She kept having these bad thoughts. She set the quill on the nightstand.
“Don’t you like it?” Leah turned in time to see Ishakan approaching to hug her, and buried her face in his chest.
“I liked it,” she said. “Thank you.”
Ishakan’s eyes curved as he smiled, and he wrapped Leah in a blanket and then picked her up in his arms, walking out into the garden. Under the star-filled sky, she drew a deep breath. She needed the fresh air after being asleep for so long.
When she laid her head on Ishakan’s chest again, she could smell metal, as if a sword had been laid against his skin.
“Ishakan?” She looked up at him. His golden eyes reflected the moonlight, but the mood in them was dark. Leah traced his lips with a finger, and his eyes flicked away before returning to her face.
She asked him the question.
“Are you… hiding something from me?”
After a brief silence, Ishakan spoke calmly.
“The King of Estia is dead.”
Leah clenched her fists to hide the sudden trembling in her fingers, but Ishakan had already seen it. Cerdina probably hadn’t thought the King worth keeping alive anymore, and decided to remove that which was no longer useful.
Leah had no affection for her father, but his death shocked her. There was no sadness or regret. What she felt was fear. She knew who Cerdina’s next target would be, after killing the King.
Suddenly, the sound of distant chains sounded in her ears, rattling as if they were waiting for her, another auditory hallucination. Leah drew a slow, deep breath, trying to settle her emotions. Ishakan’s deep voice spoke above her.
“It was decided to discuss the expedition again after the funeral.”
It was a last act of courtesy, not because the King was of the royal family of Estia, but because he was Leah’s father.
“I will not attend the funeral,” Leah said firmly in response to this consideration. She didn’t even hesitate. But inside, her mind was in chaos. After the funeral, Blain would take the throne. What would Cerdina do with her son on the throne of a ruined country? Especially if Byun Gyeongbaek decided to seize the initiative and attack…
Even in the Kurkan palace, she was still worrying about the Estian royal family. Leah forced herself to stop thinking about it, seeking out her happiest thought.
“When will we carry out our wedding?”
Ishakan stared at her as if he could see in her eyes that she was clinging to this last hope.
“As soon as possible,” he answered.
Leah nodded. She wanted to be tied to Kurkan. It would help her to stop thinking of the bad things. Ishakan had been strolling through the garden throughout their conversation, and came to a halt.
“That’s enough walking,” he said. “Would you be willing to go outside with me?”
Leah blinked. She hadn’t left the palace since she had arrived.
“You’re going to like it,” he tempted her. “It will be very interesting.”
It didn’t sound like they were simply going to look around outside the palace.
“Where do you plan to go…?” Leah couldn’t help asking.
Ishakan laughed like a mischievous boy. “To kidnap Byun Gyeongbaek.”