Predatory Marriage — Chapter 345. True Identity (1)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
Leah was surprised to see Mura appear with a bandage on her forehead, having somehow been injured in the night.
“Mura!” She exclaimed. Leah could not believe this had been an accident, given Mura’s agility. It could only have been a punishment from Ishakan.
But how could he have punished her like this, after Leah had defended her so insistently the night before? But just as she was contemplating Ishakan’s betrayal, Mura clarified the circumstances.
“I did this to myself,” she said, defending Ishakan. “I did not take proper care of you. And don’t worry, I’ll be better soon,” she added, more softly.
“This is directly related to my honor,” Mura said stubbornly.
Leah could guess what she meant. The bruises on her arms could not be considered solely Mura’s responsibility. Ishakan probably hadn’t even considered her guilty.
It was because Leah had taken responsibility for the marks. If she hadn’t spoken, Mura would surely have lost her position as her head lady-in-waiting.
“I don’t want to lose my position. Absolutely not,” Mura said. “And that man from the bookstore will pay for the damages he inflicted.”
A few days later, the Kurkan army finally returned to Estia, having conquered the Herben Kingdom. Nothing else of note had happened, other than Mura striking Haban because he had made fun of her bandaged forehead.
Finally, the emissaries from Balkat arrived at the royal palace of Estia.
They arrived to find a silent palace.
Leah did not come out to greet them herself. Instead she sent Count Valtein, to prevent any situations that might cause misunderstandings.
They were only trying to save their own lives by offering Kurkan slaves in exchange for peace. Leah did not need to establish personal relationships with them. It would all be over after the banquet to be held that night.
Once she had ensured that the King and Queen of Balkat were escorted to a secondary palace, Leah returned to her other business.
She was strangely busy that day. Ishakan had left the palace that morning, promising that he would return before the banquet, as if he had pressing matters of his own.
It seemed to Leah that there was something strange about him. He had only just come back from the last military campaign, but he had taken Haban, Genin, Morga, and even Mura with him. From the looks of it, he had taken all of the Kurkans from the palace.
What the hell is he doing…?
But she knew Ishakan would never do anything that would hurt her. Leah pushed the thoughts away. He would tell her what he was up to when the time was right.
In the meantime, Baroness Cinael took Mura’s place.
“It reminds me of the old days, Your Highness,” the baroness said shyly as she handed Leah a cup of hot black tea. Leah accepted it with a slight smile.
Most of Leah’s former ladies-in-waiting had taken a temporary leave of absence, overwhelmed with guilt for having followed Cerdina’s orders.
It didn’t matter if it had been a spell that brainwashed; the things they had done could not be undone. Leah had sent the grieving ladies away to recuperate. They would be allowed to return when they felt better.
Countess Melissa, her former head lady-in-waiting, had been in the countryside for the last few years. Other ladies were engaged in other work to take their minds off what had happened to them. Those vacant positions were currently filled by Mura and other Kurkan women.
Some of Leah’s ladies had become close to the Kurkans. According to Mura, it was because they shared a common cause.
Leah assumed it had something to do with food.
But because of everyone doing their best to support her, she was able to concentrate on her work. She was very grateful.
She was talking with Baroness Cinael while looking over some documents when another of her ladies rushed in.
“Your Highness, the King of Balkat is here.”
Leah’s hand froze, hovering above a paper mid-signature.
“He has been told to wait in the audience room,” the lady went on. “What should I do?”