Predatory Marriage — Chapter 99. Bride Kidnapping (2)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
Genin and Haban watched Ishakan calmly, memories of the past flashing vividly through their minds. When he had decided to become their new king and asked for their help, he swore he would never be like his predecessor.
Now he spread his hands.
“The time has come,” he declared. “You still have a long way to go.”
One by one, he said goodbye to each of the Kurkans. As he was doing so, the Kurkan who had served Leah at the auction house approached Haban.
“Excuse me,” he began. “But that woman who saved us. Do you happen to know where she lives, and if she is single?”
Haban was startled by the bold question and froze as if he had been struck by lightning, but the young man continued, ignoring his reaction.
“If she’s single, can I come kidnap her later? I think I fell in love at first sight. Of course, I’ll ask her first if she agrees to being captured into marriage…”
Genin clapped her hand over his mouth, forcibly silencing him. The young man was surprised and confused, but Ishakan, who had noticed the scene, smiled.
“Lushan,” he called calmly.
The young man pushed Genin’s hand away from his mouth and glanced between her and Haban before he responded.
“Yes, my king.”
Ishakan stared at him. Silently. Gradually, Lushan’s face grew rigid, and he averted his gaze, avoiding Ishakan’s golden eyes. Ishakan didn’t have to speak. The pressure of his eyes was sufficient to make the younger man begin to tremble.
“I sincerely hope you won’t carry out any of those plans,” Ishakan said.
“…I’m sorry.” Lushan bowed deeply as Haban and Genin looked on with pity. But ignorance was considered a sin. Lushan was lucky that things had ended this way. The Kurkans finished their farewells and left for the desert, and Ishakan watched their backs as they moved through the eulalia.
(TL. Eulalia: it is a herbaceous plant)
His hair fluttered in the cool breeze, making him think of the hot sun and golden sands of his home. He missed many things about that place. But he couldn’t go back yet. There were still many things to do. Haban and Genin followed behind him as he walked away, conversing,
“I think Byun Gyeongbaek of Oberde has gone crazy.”
“The princess only mentioned that he might succeed, and he acts as if he’s already on the throne.”
Ishakan would be furious if Byun Gyeongbaek married the royal princess and obtained the right to the throne. Byun only had control over the borders because of his military might. But if he gained the power of the royal family through marriage, that would change the whole story. From there he would only need to secure financial resources and the support of the nobles in favor of the princess, and then he would become a true threat to the crown prince’s position.
At first, Byun Gyeongbaek had wanted the princess simply to possess a beautiful and honorable wife. But with her hints about the throne, Leah had fanned the embers of his greed, and they were beginning to smolder.
“This country is a mess,” Haban grumbled, “And the princess is always sacrificing for it…”
Ishakan smiled. “There will always be trouble wherever Gypsies are found,” he said.
“And what about the Queen?” Genin interjected.
“Well, that worries me.”
“If the Queen is a Gypsy, isn’t the palace in danger?” Haban asked gravely.
“It’s more than dangerous. The whole palace is in her hands.”
Her spells weren’t omnipotent. They were hard work to maintain and certain conditions had to be fulfilled. But while casting a spell was difficult, the longer it remained active, the more powerful it became and the harder it was to break. The queen had been at the palace for a long time. The place would be riddled with her spells.
“She could have bewitched the king as well,” Ishakan said.
“She must have cast an ancient spell. Brainwashing, right?”
“Maybe. He was the first person she approached.”
It must have taken a lot of effort to gain the king’s love and convince him to banish the previous queen. When Ishakan had last seen the king at the banquet lunch, he definitely had not been in normal condition. The brainwashing must have progressed even further by now. The queen’s influence might have gone so far that the king could no longer distinguish his own thoughts from her commands. But they couldn’t be sure how far the queen had gotten. They just knew she wouldn’t have stopped with a simple spell.
“Call Morga,” he ordered.
Genin glanced at Haban, her face darkening. She didn’t like this idea.
“If we call Morga,” Haban said, making a last effort to persuade Ishakan against it, “We might lose track of the Tomaris we’re already following.”
Ishakan shook his head. “There’s no way around it. This matter is far more urgent.”
Haban and Genin looked at each other grimly, but Ishakan had fixed his gaze on the horizon, in the direction of the palace of Estia, though it was too far away to be seen. His lips curved in a smile. He could hear Leah’s small, wavering whisper in his mind, warming the depths of his heart.
—I want to live.
Ishakan was desperate to fulfill her desires.