Predatory Marriage — Chapter 188. Uncomfortable
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
She had to try harder and become the perfect queen, Leah thought, her fingertips playing nervously against each other. Suddenly a shadow loomed before her.
“Aren’t you going to greet me?”
Blue eyes were staring down at her as Leah snapped back to her senses. Lady Mirael stood behind him, gazing at her sternly as Leah obediently greeted him.
“Anyway.” Blain jerked his chin toward the nearby wagon. “There are skins that can be used from among the animals we hunted today. They will be sent to your palace, pick what you like.”
Blain stared at her.
“Smile,” he ordered.
Hastily, Leah smiled. It was a forced smile, but Blain didn’t care about that. He stroked her cheek with the back of his hand.
“Let’s have dinner together,” he said. “Come to the main palace later.”
With that brief conversation, he went into the main palace with Lady Mirael. Leah waited until he was completely out of sight and then hurried back to her own palace, where paperwork awaited her in her office. There were many things she had to attend to today.
Though she would become the Queen after the wedding, Leah was still a Princess now. And she had to take care of most of the royal family’s duties because of Blain’s disinterest in fulfilling his own responsibilities. His temperament had only become worse since he had ascended the throne. He mistreated and expelled people from the palace for even minor offenses. Since he had difficulty judging things rationally, Leah had taken over all affairs of state.
Of course, she was willing to do all this for the man she loved. But on the days when she collapsed into her bed, exhausted from the endless work, she did wish that someone would help her with the responsibilities. She couldn’t do this forever. Hopefully Blain would take some of the burden soon.
Signing the first of many documents, she looked up at Countess Melissa.
“I’m still a little nervous about making decisions on my own,” Leah said as the Countess removed the signed document and replaced it with another. “It would be nice if His Highness would look at the minutes of today’s meeting…”
She paused. The moment she mentioned Blain, the Countess’s smile had vanished, and a hint of coldness appeared on her otherwise expressionless face.
“Of course, the right thing would be for me to try harder,” Leah said hastily.
Countess Melissa smiled as if nothing had happened.
“Let’s rest for a while,” Leah said, putting down her quill and smiling back. “Can you bring me some tea?”
As the lady left the office, Leah sighed. Lately, the Countess had been making her feel a little uncomfortable. It made her feel guilty to be so uncomfortable, as the Countess had been with her since she was a child.
Shaking her head, Leah rose from her seat to go look out the window. Her fingers were numbed from gripping her quill as she slid them over the frame. Outside, the garden looked desolate.
Flowers did not grow properly in the palace anymore. All the small animals had disappeared, with no cats, birds, or squirrels to be seen.
She had asked the gardener to take special care of the osmanthus shoots, but they had eventually died. There had been attempts to plant other flowers, but all of them withered and died. Only thorny-leaved junipers grew.
Until now, the palace had always been filled with flowers, and Leah greatly missed them. A cool breeze blew through the barren tree branches, making them sway, and Leah lowered her gaze.
Suddenly, there was an emptiness in her chest. It was a familiar pain, but it had been tormenting her lately. When she called a doctor to examine her, he had said there was no apparent cause.
She thought it was fatigue and ignored it, but every time her heart ached, she suffered. An unbearable feeling of emptiness filled her, as if she had lost something so important…
But Leah didn’t know what it was.