Chapter 146 – A Blindfolded Man (1)
Koshar snorted at the bandit.
“What kind of scam is this?”
“So, is the king trying to get me to invest in something? Did he say there was a good prospect somewhere?”
The man cried out in dismay and pointed to the symbol of the Western Kingdom on his chest.
“Look at this! It’s real.”
Koshar studied the crest for a moment and nodded, and the man’s face turned to relief. However, just because the symbol was real, didn’t mean that Koshar cared that the Western King was trying to find him. He spoke bluntly.
“I won’t answer a summons from the Western King. Even if it’s about anything related to my sister.”
Koshar still did not look believing. The man grunted frustratedly to himself, but he knew Koshar’s reaction was understandable. How many foreigners would follow if he told them that a neighboring king was looking for them? Perhaps if it was done in a more formal manner, it would have been more believable. However, the man had to travel quickly and secretly, and thus his appearance was more than questionable. Still, Koshar was known for his muscles rather than his brain, and the man never expected he would react like that…!
Koshar snorted and tugged his reins. In the end, he did not leave, but stared at the man expectantly. When the man looked at him in confusion, Koshar responded.
“Well? Shouldn’t you guide me?”
The man didn’t think Koshar would come along, so why all of a sudden…? He stared in bewilderment, but Koshar did not bother explaining himself.
“Go. Lead me.”
The man started and walked ahead.
“Come this way.”
However, Koshar did not intend to see the Western King meekly. He recalled the rumors that the Western King had fallen head over heels in love with Rashta at the New Year’s celebration. When Koshar had gathered information to find Rashta’s weakness, he heard that Heinley’s love was to the extent that he argued publicly with Emperor Sovieshu.
Koshar did not trust King Heinley. No matter how much he thought about it, there was no reason for the Western King to call him. However, Koshar was expelled from his country, and he had no work and no rights. So he followed along. If the Western King really summoned him…
He was going to persuade the king to take him to Rashta.
Rashta stared at the bird’s blue feathers. She didn’t know what species it was, but she felt an air of nobility around it. However, this was not the time to admire the bird’s appearance.
Rashta murmured and reached for the bird. She gripped a handful of its feathers, before taking a deep breath and yanking them out. The bird screeched and fluttered in surprise, but the cage prevented any means of escape.
Rashta reached out again and pulled out more of its feathers, and the bird cried out and pecked her hand with its beak. She jerked her hand backwards.
The bird gave Rashta a dark glare. If she put her hand in the cage again, she really might get hurt. Rashta pulled away as she had enough feathers anyway, and she brushed the feathers off the floor and hid them in a pillowcase.
Rashta once again apologized to the bird.
Despite her guilt, she was determined to protect herself and her baby. Although the Empress’ violent brother was banished, the rest of her family remained. Apart from Sovieshu’s promise to make Rashta empress, she had to secure her own safety by any means necessary.
Even if it meant that she had to do a terrible thing.
‘How was I driven this far?’
This was all because of the Empress’ hostility. If the Empress and her brother had not attacked her first, Rashta was convinced that she would not have done this.
She sat down in an armchair, placed her hand on her belly, and sobbed.
A few hours later the sky had darkened, and when Sovieshu entered the room, she was still crying. Sovieshu looked exhausted when he walked in, but when he saw Rashta, he immediately became alert.
“Why are you crying?”
Rashta pointed towards the cage. Sovieshu’s eyebrows flew upward when he saw the missing feathers on the bird.
“Why is it in this state? No, why do you have this bird?”
“The Empress sent the bird back, and Delise took it and gave it to Rashta.”
“Why are its feathers like this?”
Sovieshu walked up to the cage, examined the wound, and pressed his lips tightly as if he were trying to quell his anger.
“Rashta doesn’t know.”
She shook her head, sniffling. She was sorry for the way the bird was glaring at her, but she thought she could repay it and raise it for herself.
Rashta put her hands together in a begging gesture.
“Your Majesty, now that the Empress has abandoned the bird, can Rashta keep it?”
Sovieshu stared at the bird without a reply. He was deeply offended that his present was returned this way. Rashta begged him again, wiping away her tears.
“Your Majesty. Rashta wants to take care of it. It’s so pitiful.”
Sovieshu looked back at Rashta and gave a weary sigh.
“Why do you want a bird that someone else has abandoned? I’ll buy you a new one.”
“This creature has a life too. How can you throw it away?”
“Who said I will throw it away?”
“Huh? You won’t?”
“I will raise it.”
“Why will you keep the bird that Her Majesty has abandoned?”
Rashta looked at him nervously. His reaction did not make sense. She didn’t expect him to raise a bird himself. The Emperor was a proud man, and he was supposed to be furious that the Empress ruined and rejected his gift. The Emperor wasn’t as angry as he should be. Was it because he still had feelings for the Empress? He said he was going to unseat her. Did he change his mind?
If Rashta had been able to read Sovieshu’s mind, she would have been relieved instead of anxious. Sovieshu was indeed angry. The Empress had fainted because Prince Heinley’s bird had died, and then she had plucked the feathers out of the bird he had sent her. He wanted to confront the Empress and ask what she was doing. It was true that during the hours that the Empress was unconscious, Sovieshu suffered a fear as if he were submerged in ice water. He was afraid that she would collapse again. However, the anger that had lost its way in his body had reignited again.
Without a word, Sovieshu took the cage and left Rashta’s room.