"PAPA, this is very suspicious," Neoma said while looking at the long and dark alley ahead of them after they entered the emperor's "Anywhere Door." She couldn't see the end of the alley and that made her nervous. "You're going to abandon me here, aren't you"
"Nonsense," Emperor Nikolai said, then he started to walk ahead of her.
Scared that he might really abandon her in that cold, dark place, she ran after the sc*mbag and grabbed his hand.
The emperor stopped walking to give her an annoyed look as if he was telling her to stop clinging to him.
"Papa, a cold human being like you needs human contact sometimes so you wouldn't turn into an ice sculpture," Neoma said in the most innocent way possible. Although it was probably useless since the emperor already knew that she was a cunning foul-mouthed brat. Still, she had to make an excuse as to why she was clinging to him for dear life. She was scared of dark alleys, okay "I'm just helping you."
"If you're afraid of the dark alley, just say so."
She scoffed at that. Of course, a big liar like her wouldn't expose her weakness to an enemy. "Gosh, where did that accusation come from"
The emperor just gave her a dire stare. Then, he used his other hand to pull out a handkerchief from his pocket.
[What is he up to now]
Her father pulled his hand away from her grasp. Then, he held her by the arm and tied the hankie on her wrist. And yes, the heartless emperor held the end of the handkerchief as if he was walking a dog or something.
[I am so done with this sc*mbag.]
"Papa," she said when they started to walk again.
"My mother definitely didn't carry us in her womb because of love," she said in a flat voice. She knew that it was somewhat taboo to bring up her mother. But right now, she didn't give a damn. "I'm 100% sure that my mother only slept with you because of your face and body."
Much to her amusement, the emperor suddenly had a "coughing fit."
When she looked up to see her father's face, she was pleasantly surprised to see his cheeks and ears turn red. Well, he was still trying hard to remain pokerfaced but he failed to completely hide the flustered look on his face.
[Heh, nice try.]
"Where did you learn those words" Emperor Nikolai asked "coolly," but he couldn't even look at her in the eye. "I know that the de Moonasterio children mature faster than average kids. But you're mentality is way too advanced even for a de Moonasterio, Princess Neoma."
"Just call me genius, Papa," she said proudly. "I know how babies are made."
He took a deep breath as if he was asking god for more patience before he strangled her. "You definitely got that insolence from that woman."
"You mean my Mama" she asked excitedly. He didn't scold her for bringing up her mother so she wanted to test her luck. The servants in the palace weren't allowed to answer her questions about her mother. But still, she was curious about the woman who gave birth to her and Nero. Sadly, even in her past life, she didn't find anything about her mother. Maybe this was her chance to do so. "Papa, what's my mother's name"
Yes, no one was allowed to mention her mother's name– then and now.
"I don't remember," her father said coldly.
[What a big liar.]
"Gosh, now I know why I'm so good at lying," she said. "It seems like I got it from a certain someone's bad genes."
He turned to her with a cold look on his unnecessarily handsome face. "Let's stop talking about a dead person."
"Harsh," she said. Well, she was upset but not as angry as she should be after this sc*mbag talked that way about her mother. She hated to admit this but she didn't feel that much connection from her mother because she never met her. Heck, she didn't know the name of the woman who gave birth to her. "Papa, you should take care of your face and body well. Your good-looks are your only saving grace."
"Will it kill you if you don't talk back to me"
"I was born this way because of you, Papa," she argued. "I'm pretty sure that I got all my ugly and rotten traits from you. So if you're angry at my attitude, blame it on your genes. And while you're at it, question my upbringing as well for the way I behave now."
He let out another frustrated sigh. "You really have a say at everything, don't you"
"It's the trauma, Papa."
Emperor Nikolai turned his gaze away from her. "'Mona,'" he said in a soft voice that she didn't expect from him. "That's your mother's name."
"'Mona,'" Neoma whispered to herself softly. She didn't expect that she'd feel warm in the chest upon hearing her mother's name for the first time. Before she knew it, she already a big smile on her face. "Mama's name is so pretty."
AS SOON as Nero opened his eyes, he became aware of his condition.
Every fiber of his being hurts like hell. He couldn't even move a muscle no matter how hard he tried to. God, he felt like dying.
[No], he scolded himself. [I need to survive for Neoma.]
"Your Royal Highness"
A man with long-black hair and light blue eyes hovered over him. The stranger wore a white and blue robe with Yule's crest. Yule was the god that the empire worshipped so this person was probably the saint.
[That means I'm in the temple now.]
The source of this content is n0/v//el//bin[.//]net'
He had to guess because he couldn't move his head to look around. All he could tell was he was laying on a soft bed in a poorly-lit cold room.
"Greetings to the First Star of the Great Moonasterion Empire," the saint greeted him politely. "I am Dominic Zavaroni, the saint."
"Greetings, Your Holiness," Nero said in a weak voice. He might be dying from pain, but he couldn't forget his manners. "May I know my current condition"
"You're in a terrible condition, Your Royal Highness," Saint Zavaroni said in a worried tone. "Your insides are rotting fast and the black magic cast on you is eating your Mana now."
He expected that much, but it was still a huge blow to him.
[I don't have any intention to die and leave Neoma alone.]
"Can you save me, Your Holiness"
"My divine power isn't really working on you, Your Royal Highness," the saint informed him. "I managed to slow down the black magic's harmful effect on your body and Mana. But that doesn't mean that you're already safe, Prince Nero."
He could only let out a heavy sigh.
[If the saint himself can't dispel the black magic that's killing me, then who else can help me]
"Don't worry too much, Your Royal Highness," Saint Zavaroni consoled him. "His Majesty and Her Royal Highness are on their way here."
Okay, that surprised him. "His Majesty and my precious little sister"
The saint smiled and nodded. "Yes, Your Royal Highness. Once His Majesty arrives, we'll talk about the other options that we can do to save you."
That made him feel like his heart was in his throat.
Emperor Nikolai wasn't the kind of father that would bring his daughter with him to visit his son. Right now, he could only thing of one valid reason as to why the emperor decided to bring Neoma to the temple.
Unlike his innocent and angelic little sister, he knew the dark secrets of their blood.
"No," he said while shaking his head even though it hurt to move like that. "He's going to kill my Neoma."
Saint Zavaroni's furrowed brows made it clear that he was confused. "What do you mean by that, Your Royal Highness"
"His Holiness, please help me," Nero said in a cracked voice. "I won't let His Majesty sacrifice my Neoma for me to live."
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