Chapter 3 - The Proposal
Only then did people come to realize that the crawling official was someone who had sought the emperor’s life. From that moment on, the voices of dissent in the empire disappeared. After he succeeded the throne, the emperor began to wage war in a frenzied manner. As if all the nations of the world were the bane of his life.
Ten years later, there no longer existed a country that would not kneel beneath him. Naturally, the same was true of the kingdom of Navitan. Be that as it may, why? How come?
“Wh-why in tarnation would Emperor Estian send a letter proposing marriage to a tiny country like this…”
Cecile could not comprehend the matter. The continent was packed with countries where he could find a wife, countries that were not Navitan. So why did he pick this kingdom of all others?
“A tiny country!? Our country of Navitan is most definitely…”
“Yeah, okay. So why did he send the letter!”
“T-that is to say…” The king was cowed and reduced to a stutter before Cecile’s mighty scream.
The king showed Cecile the letter of marriage proposal that was stamped with the emperor’s crest. Cecile took it in hand and began reading. And moments later, she burst out with incredulity.
“I had no thoughts for something like marriage, but I have to get married because of people getting up to no good since I have no heir? And he chose the country to send the letter by lot? Moreover, what’s this? Send me a healthy princess who’ll bear children well since I need a successor? What does he even think I am? A beast of breeding?”
“In-insolence! It is a letter of the emperor. Watch your mouth!”
“You think I’ve got the mind for that right now?”
Cecile hurled the letter to the floor. The king of Navitan hurriedly picked it up and carefully handed it over to the head chamberlain.
“Regardless, things being as they are, you must go. I feel relieved now to hear your voice so full of vim and vigor. Here. What are you all doing! Prepare for the princess’ departure!”
“Since when have you treated me as a princess!”
The attendants grabbed Cecile and pulled her away at the king’s words. On the way out, her brothers and sisters, whom she was seeing for the first time, waved farewell by the side.
“I love you, Cecile. We shan’t ever forget you!”
“I’ll remember you, Cecile!”
“It was nice knowing you and let’s not meet ever again!”
“I’ll take good care of your corpse!”
‘Remember me, what? Who’s who to begin with anyway! Putting that aside, is that something you’d say to your half-sister you’re meeting for the first time? Why don’t you all curse me instead!’
The princes and princesses, whose green eyes and platinum hair were almost eerily identical to Cecile’s, bid farewell as she was dragged away. Of course, Cecile mightily raised the middle finger towards them.
* * *
‘That was a month ago.’
Cecile was soon brought to the Empire. And there, at a mansion near the imperial palace, she had to study the empire’s etiquette and history for a month. Her studies included what the emperor liked and disliked, and even matters regarding the bedroom. All of her tutors felt sympathy.
“I pray that you will survive.”
And finally the day of the wedding arrived and her tutors saw her off, dabbing at their eyes with handkerchiefs as she climbed aboard a coach. No matter how she looked, the sight they made for was less “seeing off the bride to her wedding” and more “sending off a coffin to a funeral”.
‘I’m not dead yet! Though I will be soon.’
She had heard many stories about Emperor Estian while staying in the mansion. Mostly it was about how often he killed people. And she also heard that the people of the Empire were very curious as to how many days would pass before Cecile, the wife-to-be of the emperor, would die.
While Cecile was locked in thought, the coach came to a stop. Imperial attendants opened the door of her coach, revealing the spectacle of countless soldiers lined up alongside a red carpet as petals danced in the air. Cecile sucked in her breath at the sight.
To think she had to go die with such extravagance.
She boiled with anger. She had lived quietly cooped up in her royal villa and had braced herself to a life of being sold off.
‘But isn’t it too much to send me to die like this?’ She felt renewed fury building up towards the kingdom of Navitan. ‘You’re gonna live a comfy life after doing away with me like this, is that it.’
If she was to die anyway, she would not roll over quietly. It would be fun to take enough people to stave off boredom on the road to hell, at least.
‘Since we couldn’t be together in life, let us meet in death, oh father. And you too, my dear half-siblings.’
Cecile was not getting off the carriage, which led to an imperial attendant confusedly calling out for her attention.
“His Majesty is waiting. You must hurry…”
The corner of Cecile’s mouth curled up. ‘Well then, if I’m to die anyway, I’m gonna let all hell loose before I’m gone.’
Like so, it was with firm determination that Cecile opened her lips to speak. “No.”
“I said I don’t wanna.”
“Wh-what do you…”
Cecile smiled brightly at the bewildered attendant. “I’m not taking a single step away from here unless His Imperial Majesty comes to pick me up himself.”
And so began her quest for madness.
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