Chapter 4 - A Wildly Hot Night
‘I wonder when the emperor will come.’
After the wedding was over, Cecile became surrounded by the imperial attendants and was led to the room she was in at present. When they arrived, the attendants bustled about getting her changed, washed, and ready for the night. By the time Cecile regained her senses, she was left all alone in the large room.
The room was far bigger and more luxurious than anything she had seen in the royal palace of Navitan. And the room was not the only thing that oozed with extravagance. Be it the bed, so wide one might roll ten times without falling, or the table, chairs, and dressing table, there was not a single thing that did not scream premium.
On the table on one side of the room was a veritable mountain of fruit, other food, and alcohol. The arrangement was pleasing to the eye, but the quantity was tremendous. So much so that one might mistake this place for a banquet hall.
Cecile drew near the plate of fruits, peeking around her despite knowing there was no one around, and cautiously took a bite out of a neatly sliced orange fruit. The refreshing juice erupted with sweet goodness, rejuvenating the inside of her mouth which was dry from tension. “Yum.”
Back when she was living at her royal villa, fruits were a luxury item that could only be had during large events. The kingdom of Navitan was a country with a poor climate, so its fruit market was mostly dependent on importation. It was painful for Cecile as she was fond of eating fruits. She had once valiantly attempted to grow a fruit tree in the garden of her royal villa, together with her maidservants, but that had not borne much fruit. Though of course, that was not to say she did not eat any. Many times she snuck into the greenhouse of the main palace to loot its treasures.
Cecile was engrossed in gobbling up fruit after fruit, even as she savored nostalgia when suddenly her hand paused. ‘He wouldn’t grouch about me eating first a bit, would he?’
The emperor’s face suddenly came to mind. And along with his face popped up a question she had forgotten in the fever of her feast.
‘Why didn’t he kill me, I wonder?’
She had heard his officials crying for blood in the distance as she was hauled off by the attendants after the wedding.
“Let us wipe out the kingdom of Navitan!”
“I am ready to wage war this very instant! I will burn them off the face of the earth!”
“How outrageous to send such a crazy woman!”
And to their cries, Cecile inwardly responded, ‘Yes, my sentiments exactly! Smash ’em good!’, silently cheering them on with fervor.
For a long while, Cecile puzzled over as to why the emperor had not killed her on the spot back then, but afterward gave up and went over to flop herself onto the bed. The pleasantly springy mattress and soft bedding on her face were blissful.
‘I just might enjoy being an empress.’
She could not help but bubble with joy, lying on a cleanly kept nice bed after a meal of tasty fruits. Before the wedding she was feeling ‘I may as well die’, but now that thought was fading at such speed that one might think her shallow. But a moment later, Cecile’s face grew dark. ‘But what’s the point of having such thoughts now?’
The deed was already done. She did not know why the emperor spared her for the time being, but her fate was set in stone regardless. Cecile returned her gaze to the table from before. Her eyes zoomed in on the many bottles of drinks placed next to the mountainous pile of food. She went over to uncork one of them and a deep, heavy fragrance wafted out.
‘I don’t know much about wine, but this has gotta be expensive!’
The bottle was in a stylish wine bucket, which was apparently made of silver, so it was surely nothing ordinary. Cecile took out a silver cup from the bucket and after filling it to the brim with wine, she took a sip.
“Ahh!” She exclaimed.
It turned out to be a very strong drink. She felt the insides of her throat burn the moment she swallowed.
“Wow, this stuff is no joke,” Cecile murmured and stood there, slowly blinking. She felt the world start to spin in an instant. The hotness of the alcohol began to spread throughout her body before she even put her lips to the cup again.
“Mm?” Cecile rubbed at eyes upon seeing the room start to blur. What is this drink? Was there an alcohol that got one drunk straight away like this?
‘Don’t they usually call that drugs, not alcohol? Hang on. Drugs?’
Cecile went over the changes occurring in her body again. Mind growing hazy. Body kindling with heat. Breathing turning into panting. She vaguely remembered having often heard about a drug that induced such symptoms. Where did she hear? Oh, right. It was in the books she had shared reading with her maidservants. The titles of those books flashed through Cecile’s head.
‘A Hot Night’, ‘Forbidden Love Is Always Sweet’, ‘The Lark Cries: Touch of Obscenity’, etc. Every single one of them were Books That Must Not Be Named. The plot device taken from the bible of clichés, which set romantic lovers on the express track to the bedroom, free of any tedious narration…
Cecile flung away the cup in her hand, aghast. “Is this an aphrodisiac?”
Aphrodisiac. What sort of drug was it? A drug that instantaneously burned away reason with the flames of desire—of the sexual kind, of course, towards the opposite sex.
“Those sickos! Why the heck would they put something like this here!” Her tongue cursed them out of its own volition. She put a finger in her mouth and tried to vomit out what she drank, but it was already too late. Cecile felt the strength quickly drain from her body.
‘No. Not like… this…’
She swayed on the spot and dropped flat onto the bed. Cecile wondered as to why that thing was here as her consciousness began to fade.
‘Damned emperor… You were planning on using this tonight?’
She could find no other answer than this. For some reason, though, she felt pity amidst her anger. So what if he’s handsome? He can’t even get it up without using drugs. Thus Cecile’s eyes gently closed amidst her musing thoughts. And when she came to her senses again, she felt as if the world was shaking.
The heck? Why’s my body like this? Hang on where am I again? Why am I like this? Fortunately, she managed to recall what happened before she collapsed even in her dizzy state of mind. And so she burst out in curses again. “Bloody damn emperor!”
“They do say that about me often, yes, but it’s been a while since someone said it to my face. How novel.”
“Eh?” Cecile opened her eyes at suddenly hearing a voice. The handsome face of a certain someone she saw earlier in the day was gazing at her. His black hair was like the embodiment of the night sky, and his black eyes held unfathomable darkness, seeming to possess mystery within. She had found him plenty attractive when it was bright out, but she did not think he would look even more stunning in the darkness of an enclosed room. This isn’t fair, she thought.
Cecile continued to ogle him blankly, but as her line of sight slightly shifted downwards, she blurted in bewilderment, “What the. Why are you completely naked?”
“Not completely. I still have my bottoms on.” Estian calmly replied.
With this, Cecile realized why the world was shaking moments ago when she had her eyes closed. Before she knew it, the emperor had climbed aboard the bed and was taking off his clothes. She saw the formerly worn clothes of the emperor lying scattered to the side, which proved her thoughts correct. Meanwhile, the emperor picked up a piece of clothing that had fallen and tossed it out of the bed.
The clothing should have fluttered down nearby, but instead, she saw it fly far and slam into the wall. The emperor swept back his well-groomed hair after displaying a feat that was not possible without a fair amount of strength. Cecile watched it all with a hazy mind.
‘He’s got good looks, and a good body too.’
She decided to put off thinking about the situation she was in and enjoy the superb view in front of her. Lean muscles on a moderately tanned body. Cecile had gulped when she witnessed the undulating muscles and raging veins on his arm when he threw the piece of clothing.
‘Ha. How’d you know I like that kind of body?’
What she saw before her was the ideal physique of the male lead portrayed in the novels she read with her maidservants. They had all sighed together in the face of reality back then, lamenting the fact of handsome men having lousy bodies, and brawny men having lousy looks. Where in the world could one ever find a man with both qualities? Or so they had thought.
‘So this is where you were!’
If only she could, she would have taken him to show to the maidservants at the royal villa. Cecile stared blankly at the emperor for a moment more before she was soon struck by an important question. “Wait a second. Why are you on top of me?”
She was happy with him getting naked and all, but why was he doing so on top of her? He took a brief moment to think over her question before replying, “You want me on the bottom? Is that how you like it?”
“No, that isn’t the problem?”
“Then what is?”
Cecile’s mouth took the liberty to spit out her thoughts. “First of all, I think feeding aphrodisiac to somebody counts as one.”
The emperor’s face turned rigid at her words. “Aphrodisiac?”
“Yes, aphrodisiac. Just how unconfident do you have to be, putting something like that here? Only scum uses such things. They should all be put down.”
Perhaps her heart was urging her to die tonight, seeing as how she had survived the day. Cecile continued to speak, even as she felt wonder at how daring she was being at that moment. “I did hear about such drugs existing, but goodness gracious I did not expect an emperor would resort to it.”
“Hold it. I believe there seems to be some misunderstanding.”
“You don’t have to make excuses like that. I’m the only one who knows anyway. Oh right, the attendants who prepared it must know, too. Dear me… But still, I must say, you are aware that intercourse without consent is a crime, yes? The same goes for aphrodisiacs.” Cecile gushed out her torrent of thoughts.
The emperor raised himself off her body at her barrage of words and walked over to the table. He glanced at the bottle Cecile had opened and asked her, “So you’re saying you drank this and you think it’s an aphrodisiac?”
“I do know that it’s not alcohol. What sort of drink makes you weak in the body and knocks you out?”
“As you say, it’s not alcohol.”
Oh, I knew it. But just as Cecile was about to let loose another wave of curses inside…
“This is a ‘truth serum’.”
“It’s a truth serum, I’m telling you. A very clean one at that, too. Why were you drinking this? I was going to use it if things got troublesome.”
Cecile felt dumbfounded at the reveal. Why oh why would you put something like that here of all places?
“Truth serum… Were you going to use that on…”
“That wasn’t my intention.” At that moment, the emperor’s eyes narrowed. He shot a glance at the wall of the room before striding over to the bed and pounced on top of Cecile as if pinning her down.
“Wha-what are you doing?”
“What I must do tonight.” The emperor answered her question in an apathetic tone. He then turned her on her belly and roughly grasped her shoulders.
“Agh!” Cecile yelped at the sudden pain she felt in her shoulder muscles. She had spent a hectic time for several days, preparing for the wedding, and moreover, her body had been stiff with tension the entire time she was on her way to the imperial palace. And due to sleeping with a bad posture when she was knocked out by the serum a while ago, her neck was duly aching. The emperor pressed his fingers against those knotted muscles, which led to a scream bursting out of Cecile. The emperor’s hand moved again.
“Ahhh! Augh! S-stop!” Cecile continuously moaned at the merciless hands of the emperor. Before she knew it, she was under the bed covers. Amid the darkness, Cecile twisted and turned in a struggle to avoid his hands, whimpering all the while. “N-no! Not there! Stop, stop it! Aghh!”
“Stay still, will you.”
“No! Knock it off!” She pleaded.
Intense sounds were made every time the emperor’s hands moved. Cecile soon realized something was odd as the pain wrung a tear from her eye.
‘It feels incredibly good?’
While it did hurt due to the emperor only targeting knotted areas of muscle, what came after the pain was an entirely new sense of liberation. And in no time, her previously sore neck was rolling around perfectly fine as well. After realizing this, Cecile ceased her struggles and entrusted herself to the emperor’s touch.
“Augh! The-there…! Ahh…! A little, little more…!” Cecile moaned as she tossed and turned from the mixture of pain and euphoria, but then suddenly a certain thought flashed through her head. In a dark room. On the first night of marriage. Body curving beneath the bedsheets. Moaning.
‘Hang on a second. Isn’t this the perfect situation to give someone the wrong idea?’
It was at that moment…