Predatory Marriage — Chapter 187. Deceit
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
In Estia, preparations were underway for the King’s wedding. Only a few months had passed since the funeral of the previous King, but Blain was determined to hold the wedding anyway.
He would marry his half-sister, the Princess Leah, and though it was an incestuous marriage, the nobles of Estia accepted it without objection.
In other countries, such a marriage was considered repulsive. But they could not say so openly. It was another country’s internal matter, so they only whispered about it behind the scenes.
The new King Blain decreed there would be a magnificent wedding. He was impatient, but he wanted a public wedding. Invitations were sent throughout the continent, inviting dignitaries from other countries and even the Kurkans from the western desert. That was strange, considering they were usually ignored and despised as barbarians.
“We must have a banquet to welcome the dignitaries attending the wedding. A big budget will be necessary.”
Leah’s voice carried through the Cabinet Council and then fell silent as she stared at the assembled nobles. Normally, someone would have objected, arguing that the wedding need not be so extravagant. But no one disagreed now. All of them spoke and agreed unanimously. The Cabinet Council proceeded like a stage play.
It seemed Leah was the only one that felt any incongruity.
Had the nobles always been so loyal to the royal family? She thought in the past it had been different. It seemed so strange to her. As she wondered, she deliberately brought up the issue the nobles hated. Tax reform.
She had thought about it for a long time, but had never dared to attempt it. But this time, her fear was groundless. The nobles accepted it meekly. And having gotten what she wanted, Leah felt as if everyone around her was somehow deceiving her.
After another meaningless council concluded, a few nobles lingered. Leah approached Count Valtein and Finance Minister Laurent.
“Thank you for your hard work today. The meeting ended smoothly.”
“No, it’s thanks to you,” Minister Laurent replied, smiling. Count Valtein nodded his agreement.
Leah shut her mouth at their obedient attitudes. In the past, when they had spoken of affairs of state, these men had not held back. The two of them had always had a lot to say, from which nobles might be persuadable to what issues should take precedence.
Now every noble deferred to the royal family in all things, and the Count and the Finance Minister were no exceptions. They had no opinions. Like all the other nobles, they only nodded.
She wanted them to argue about some issues, but there was no point now. They would agree with whatever she said. Leah politely made her farewell and left the conference room, trailed by her ladies-in-waiting.
“His Highness has returned,” said an attendant, approaching her hurriedly.
Blain occasionally went hunting, and he was always very angry if Leah did not greet him when he returned to the palace. Leah immediately followed the attendant. Blain always took out his anger on the palace staff.
When she arrived at the entry hall, Blain was entering, accompanied by knights and squires. There was also a woman by his side with wavy blonde hair, looking beautiful in her hunting clothes and smiling prettily.
It was Lady Mirael, who was Blain’s current favorite consort. As soon as she saw Leah, a cloud passed over her face, but then she smiled faintly. Entwining her arm in Blain’s, she whispered something to him. Blain did not react to her words, but he also did not push her away.
Leah lowered her head. She knew she was to blame for this. Her body was defective, and she could not fulfill the duties of a wife. Though Blain had been generous to her so far, she knew she would be in danger after she officially became the Queen of Estia if she was a defective woman.
She did not want to be expelled. All she wanted was to fulfill her duties as a member of the royal family of Estia.