Predatory Marriage — Chapter 176. Funeral
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
Although he had tried personally to find a Tomari who could counteract the strange potion, so far it had been difficult. Everyone tried to trick him with fake antidotes. Looking out the window, Byun Gyeongbaek clicked his tongue.
“Why is the sky so dark…?”
Dark clouds covered the sun, adding a somber cast even to midday. A gray sky suited a funeral. It had been like this ever since Byun Gyeongbaek had arrived in the capital.
After the funeral, he would have to obey the Princess’s orders and return quickly. He had already written a rough letter and tied it to the messenger bird that had come from Kurkan, then let it fly.
Dressed in a black suit, he went to the palace for the King’s funeral.
All the nobles in Estia were gathered at the burial site, an empty plot in the cemetery behind the palace, where only royalty were buried. It looked like a perfect funeral, between the nobles in their black and the somber weather. After some ceremony, floral offerings for the King followed.
Byun Gyeongbaek was the first nobleman to offer flowers. With a white chrysanthemum in his hand, he approached the coffin where the King’s body lay.
Strangely, the King’s body lying amidst the white flowers looked more alive now than it had before his death. Looking at the corpse dressed in its ceremonial robe and wearing a crown on its head, he had a bad feeling.
Byun Gyeongbaek hid his frown as he placed his flower beside the King and returned to his seat. As the other nobles were offering their own flowers, he looked at the first row of chairs. The Queen was wearing a black gown. Though her face was hidden under a black veil and hat, she did not look that sad.
He had never expected the Queen to cry over the King’s death. She was crazy about her son. She was likely just happy about the fact that the Crown Prince would finally ascend to the throne.
But there was no sign of the Crown Prince. The flower offerings were nearly over, and soon it would be time for the funeral speech. Where the hell was he?
Just as he began to complain internally, murmurs rose behind him. He looked back automatically and couldn’t believe his eyes.
The Crown Prince was slowly approaching. Amidst the multitudes in black, he was wearing a magnificent royal robe with glittering gold jewelry, and a long red cape that dragged on the grass behind him.
But there was something still more shocking.
“Blond hair?” Byun Gyeongbaek muttered between his teeth.
Instead of the silver hair that was the trademark of the Estian royal family, the Crown Prince’s hair was blond. As everyone stood paralyzed and bewildered, he finally reached the coffin.
Looking at his father’s corpse through narrowed eyes, the Crown Prince tossed a white chrysanthemum into the coffin. Then he took the crown from the dead King’s head and place it on his own. Turning, he looked at the paralyzed nobles.
“Listen, Estia,” he said.
Byun Gyeongbaek shuddered in fear. Black smoke rose from the prince’s feet. His voice had been clear before, but now it sounded strange and twisted.
<I’m from the true bloodline of Estia.>
As soon as he finished speaking, the black smoke rose and completely covered him, right before the wide eyes of the watching nobles. His blond hair had turned silver.
There was a shout of happiness, and all eyes went to the Queen. The black smoke enveloping the prince moved to her, swirling, and whipped back the veil, revealing her ecstatic face.
“Ah, finally…” Her face was flushed as she began to inhale the smoke. When all of it had vanished without a trace, she began to laugh wildly.
The watching nobles shouted and turned to run.
Byun Gyeongbaek fled with the rest of the frantic nobles. But when he felt a crawling feeling at his back and looked behind him, his eyes widened.
Black smoke spread from the Queen’s body in all directions. Anyone it touched immediately stopped. All emotion vanished from their faces, and blank as dolls, they turned to kneel on the ground, bowing to the Queen.
“What is this, damn it…!” Byun Gyeongbaek was running for his life, but he couldn’t outrun the black smoke either. It felt as if someone grabbed his brain and shook it, and then his consciousness was cut off.
Soon, everything was silent. They had been screaming as they fled, but now everyone was kneeling on the ground with unfocused eyes.
In an eerie silence, Cerdina’s shoulders shook with laughter.
“Hm, hahaha, hahaha….” Before all the bowing nobles, she rocked with laughter. She had created the perfect dollhouse. Only when her maniacal laughter at last stopped did Blain speak.
“Now you have to keep your word, mother.”
Cerdina smiled broadly at her son, who stood before her with a crown on his head.
“I haven’t forgotten, Blain.” Walking over to him, she bent down to kiss his foot and whispered sweetly, “My beloved King.”