Predatory Marriage — Chapter 177. Eve
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
The lingering worry was like a splinter in her fingertips. Invisible, but a constant annoyance that was impossible to entirely forget.
As the day of the wedding approached, the shadow of anxiety in the corner of her heart loomed larger and larger. Leah kept herself busy with wedding preparations as she tried to ignore it, though since she was unfamiliar with Kurkan customs, most of the preparations were Ishakan’s responsibility.
In the midst of her other work, she also studied the Kurkan language, which strangely had no vowels, only consonants. She was confused at first, but with some effort she could read it clumsily.
Mura would occasionally praise her efforts, explaining that the Kurkan language was difficult for foreigners to learn and that she had never seen anyone learn to read it so quickly. Leah always pursed her lips in embarrassment at the praise. She was not used to being complimented for the things she did.
The hectic days passed quickly and finally the wedding came. Kurkan weddings began with a ceremony that lasted for five nights together, ending with the wedding vow. On the morning of her wedding, Leah ate red petals as soon as she woke, then washed in a bathtub filled with them, scrubbing herself meticulously and then drying her long hair.
After her bath, she went to breakfast. In Estia, if there was any event she always went hungry the day before, but in Kurkan it was the opposite. Her ladies were worried because they hadn’t been able to get her to eat as much as they thought necessary. Mura encouraged her with every bite.
“You’re doing fine! You need to build up a little more strength before the first night, please try harder!”
Leah ate until she thought her stomach would burst and then finally stopped, insisting that she couldn’t eat any more. As Mura dressed her with the help of the other ladies, she explained several Kurkan customs.
“Beginning today, the guests will enjoy a banquet. They will wallow like pigs in Ishakan’s wine and food. But you will not be seeing them.”
When two Kurkans married, both would welcome the guests. But when a Continental married a Kurkan, only the Kurkan partner would welcome the guests. The Continental would only see the guests on the last day, when they took their wedding vows.
“Ahhh…” Mura sighed as she arranged Leah’s hair, and the other ladies echoed her. “I’m really worried. He’ll surely behave like a wild beast…”
“What should I do?” Leah muttered as she drank a special nutritional potion Morga had made for her. “Maybe I should call a doctor…”
Her expression was serious as she sipped the bitter tasting potion, her other hand extended to allow them to trim her nails. Mura took the glass away when it was empty.
“We will establish security measures. If you think it’s dangerous, run away.”
Mura repeated that multiple times as she continued to dress Leah. Today her gown would be red, high quality fabric with a separate top and bottom that elegantly framed her bare belly. She wasn’t used to exposing so much skin, and ran her hand over the bare space self-consciously.
There was also a fine veil embroidered with gold, and jewelry on her forehead, neck, wrists, and ankles. Along with the jewels on her wrists and ankles, small bells dangled, emitting a faint chime as she walked to keep away bad energies.
The sun had set and it was fully dark outside by the time Leah was dressed. After a glance at the position of the full moon, Mura and the other ladies departed, leaving Leah alone. It was silent without them. Leah briefly examined herself in the mirror and then went to look out the window.
In the distance she could hear voices, music, and loud laughter. It seemed as if the wedding banquet was in full swing.
As she looked at the palace, she slowly ran her hand over the window frame, feeling its hard, cold texture. It made her think of Estia, and she wondered if the King’s funeral was already over. The date of her father’s funeral and her wedding had overlapped, by pure happenstance.
It felt strange.