Predatory Marriage — Chapter 36. May I have This Dance? (1)
He moved like a seasoned hunter who had his sights set on his prized prey. He waits and goes in for the kill when they least expect it, just like what Ishakan was doing to Leah now.
Ishakan had tied up her hands in a metaphorical sense, and she realized she couldn’t escape him easily.
In silent frustration, Leah bit her lip and tried to pull her hand free from his grasp, but he only tightened his grip in response, before finally letting go when he noticed her erratic breathing.
He couldn’t help but frown at the sight, and Leah finally breathed out in relief.
“I assumed you would be eager to welcome me,” Ishakan continued, “I guess I was wrong.”
He drew closer, stopping just a hairbreadth away from her ear and whispered, “Are you angry, princess?”
Leah shot him a sideways glare.
“People are staring.” She replied firmly in a low voice, reminding him of his promise to treat her justly as a princess when in public, and Ishakan pulled away with a smirk directed at her.
Their entire exchange was being watched by everyone within the vicinity. Eagerly anticipating what would happen next as one would with a play. Leah knew she could not afford to lose her cool now. Ishakan was a barbarian, who didn’t know or would care about propriety and manners, so the blame would fall entirely on her shoulders. It would put her in an undesirable position within the court and her people.
She tries to think of an appropriate response, and Count Valtein moved to help her, but the sound of trumpets cut off their conversation. Its horns blew in a way that let everyone know that the king had finally entered the fray.
When the trumpets cease their sound, the orchestra begins to play a majestic piece as the king marches inside to greet everyone. The nobles too, stop their staring and pay their respects as he passes them by, bowing their heads in a show of reverence and respect, but despite that the tension in the air remained unchanged.
Lingering eyes were still on the King of Kurkans and the Princess of Estia.
And the king was quick to notice, if the way he narrowed his eyes in disapproval were anything to go by.
Just like everyone else, his eyes were drawn to the purple silk sash Ishakan wore in boastful arrogance before looking away. Even Cerdina and Blain had been astonished by his sash, but were trying not to let their amazement show.
However, the sash wasn’t really Blain’s focus, but rather the physical closeness between Leah and Ishakan.
And if Ishakan noticed his subtle glare, he did not react to it at all. When that proved fruitless, he turned his eyes to Leah, giving her an icy blue stare as if to say, “Remember your place as Estia’s royal princess.”
Leah moved silently, quickly putting a distance between her and Ishakan, and followed the other royals of Estia as they found their seats. The other three sat down, but the King of Estia remained standing as he gave a welcome speech to him and their esteemed guests.
Blain took it as an opportunity to move closer and gave Leah a warning.
“I thought I told you to stop hanging out with those barbarians.” he growled softly, looking like he was paying attention to the king’s speech. Leah had hoped she could ignore him too, but found it rather difficult to do so.
“I thought you were smart, sister. What didn’t you understand with that statement?” he continued, “Don’t tell me you’re in love with that barbaric king?” He scoffed as he took a sip of his goblet, “Are you planning to sell out your country after all?”
“I did not mean to deal with him.” She quickly rebutted before sighing out in defeat. She had tried to stop herself from being goaded in to respond, but her emotions got the best of her, as she shot him her best glare. “He’s the one who sought me out, I did nothing.” She made sure to enunciate every word, “And I can’t do anything that would jeopardize the treaty.”
“Of course, dear sister.” Blain nodded with a sly smile on his lips, but his eyes were steel, as cold as ice. He felt quite triumphant in squeezing a reaction out of her. He silently gestured for her to resume looking out to their guests, and Leah did so gladly.
“Then allow me to be your first dance.” Blain offered, still looking ahead, and Leah straightened up in her seat with a haughty look.
“Apologies, brother,” she said in a mocking tone, “But I think that right belongs to my fiancé.”
Hearing this, Blain chuckled dryly… “Don’t even think about cheating your way out of this.” he reminded her.
She was, by all means, still single, and thus, it was only right that her first dance would be among her family, even in the case of her being engaged. She knew this, but she wanted to keep as much distance between her and Blain as possible, and dancing with Byun Gyongbaek would ensure that.
“Now that I think about it, I don’t believe I’ve seen Byun Gyongbaek.” Leah said as she looked around and Blain hummed in disinterest.
“As to be expected,” he said, “He’ll be useless once this whole treaty is over and done with. These barbarians, I’m awaiting their departure.” Such remarks only proved to Leah that Blain was still clueless to what she was planning for the treaty.
On the other hand, the Kurkans had already begun their move the first step they took into Estia.
Under the guise of the treaty, each and every Kurkan had begun stealing the kingdom’s secrets piece by piece, little by little. If this continues on, Estia would be completely defenseless should both the Kurkans, and Byun Gyongbaek choose to abandon the kingdom.
And here Blain was, completely confident that the peace treaty will pull through. He never thought that such a possibility would exist, as if certain the peace treaty would go entirely smooth.
Even now, Leah was still working hard that nothing else would go wrong, and here Blain was reaping the fruits of her efforts. She clenched her fists tightly in concealed frustration and anger before snapping at him…
“If you want this peace treaty to absolutely to be in our favor, you’d do best to refrain from calling them that demeaning term.” she hissed at him, keeping her face pleasant and graceful for the crowd, “Besides, we don’t know what the outcome will be, so don’t write off Byun Gyongbaek.” she finishes with a huff.
Blain’s eyes narrowed towards her, and for a moment, she was worried he’d openly scold her. Fortunately, the King has finished his speech, as applause resounded, and both prince and princess schooled their features back to a pleasant expression as they applauded with the crowd.
With the end of his speech, the banquet has officially begun as their guests began to enjoy the feast. Music and dancing filled in the silence, entertaining them all, and Leah could see some had even managed to ask Kurkans to join them for a dance.
Leah could feel someone was still staring at her as she got up to walk around, and despite the many eyes, Leah could immediately spot him even a mile away as he stared at her rather intently. And as much as she was tempted to stare him down, she was determined to not give Blain any more reason to doubt her intentions.
Only it wasn’t just Blain who got under her skin, but another, who was now making an appearance before her.
“Princess!” A jovial voice greeted her, heard over from the music and laughter in the hall. Leah held back a groan and paused her steps before turning to greet the man with a bright smile as was expected of her.
This chapter has not been translated by NovelUtopia, we have picked up the novel from chapter 69.
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