IF NEOMA was going to write her life story and give it a title, she'd definitely call it 'My Father is a Sc*mbag.'
After she awakened and asked if her father would bring her with him, he just looked at her, shook his leg until she let go of it, and then turned to Nero. Yep, he acted like he didn't even see her even though she gave him her most charming smile.
"Nero, work harder to awaken your powers as a de Moonasterio," Emperor Nikolai told her twin brother. "From now on, I'll carefully watch over your development."
Okay, Neoma was surprised to hear that.
[He took an interest in Nero even though I was the one who awakened first]
It seemed like she wasn't the only one who was surprised by the emperor's declaration.
The servants around them looked proud and happy. If His Majesty had taken interest in the prince, that only meant that from now on, Luna Palace would receive more attention from the emperor. More attention meant a bigger budget for the palace.
And of course, the servants would feel honored if Nero became the emperor's official heir apparent.
[Whatever the case is, I'm still being ignored here!]
"I'll work harder to protect my sister, Your Majesty," Nero promised the emperor. He was smiling but his words were as cold as the look in his eyes. Gosh, her brother was indeed a monster in the making, huh "Thank you for your concern. Now, if you have nothing else to say, I'd like to kindly excuse myself with Princess Neoma. I'm sure she's tired from her awakening."
The servants and the knights who heard the prince gasped.
Even Neoma was shocked.
[Oh my. Nero got balls. In my past life, he couldn't even look the emperor in the eye when we were kids. But right now, he's talking to our father as if they're equals.]
Wait, this shouldn't be about her twin brother.
[I should be the star this time!]
"Papa, Neoma saw a monster in my dream," Neoma said in the cutesy voice that Nero couldn't resist. Also, she gave her father the best puppy dog eyes that she could muster despite her urge to punch his throat. How could the emperor be this heartless towards a cute little girl like her! "Can you tell Neoma about it, Papa"
Emperor Nikolai gave her a look that said he was disgusted by her. "I don't want to talk to a princess who can't even talk properly."
Okay, that made her cheeks burn from embarrassment.
The servants even looked away as if they didn't want to make her feel ashamed even more. But what the hell The damage had already been done!
"There's nothing wrong with how Neoma talks," Nero declared. Then, he looked at her and gently pinched her cheek. "Don't worry, Neoma. The way you talk is fine."
Neoma forced a smile. "Thank you, Brother." She still refused to give up so she looked up at the emperor again. "Papa, I will talk properly from now on. I promise."
Emperor Nikolai just gave her a stoic look before he turned his back on them. "Strengthen the security around Luna Palace and add more royal knights," he ordered to Glenn, his personal knight. "Make sure that no harm will befall the royal prince."
Glenn bowed at the command. "As you wish, Your Majesty."
She waited for the emperor to add another order that would somehow show that he also cared about her. But it didn't happen. His Majesty went out of the dining hall without even looking back once.
Neoma felt a stab in her heart.
[Is he saying that he only cares about the prince]
What a sc*mbag of a father.
"NEOMA, how do you feel"
"I feel great, Brother," Neoma assured him. Then, she patted the space next to her. "Let's sleep now, Brother. I'm sleepy."
Nero smiled and gently pinched her cheek. "I'm glad to see that you're still as energetic as before. And thankfully, your eyes have returned to their original color."
That was true.
A few minutes after her awakening, her red eyes returned to being ash gray. After that, she felt very hungry that she was able to eat three plates of big steak in one sitting. Thankfully, her nanny didn't scold her for eating "too much."
Anyway, right after having dinner, she felt sleepy. So Nero asked her maids to give her a bath and prepare her bed right away.
And thus, here they were now in their bedroom.
Neoma and her twin brother were now wearing a matching pair of yellow silk pajamas. Usually, Nero would read a thick history book before sleeping. But for tonight, he seemed to be determined to look after her because he didn't bring a book.
"Neoma, can you tell more about what you told the emperor a while ago" Nero asked while he was sitting beside her, his fingers playing with her hair that was scrambled on the pillow. "Did you really see a monster in your "dream""
Neoma nodded. Now that she was lying on the bed, her eyelids were starting to feel heavy. "Yes, Brother. I saw a shadow monster that looks like a baby dragon."
His forehead knotted in obvious irritation. "Did it hurt you"
"No," she lied while shaking her head. "I cried loudly until it got away from me. It seems like the monster hates loud crying noises."
"That's a relief," her brother said. "Neoma, just because your power awakened doesn't mean you have to fight to protect yourself. You don't have to do that because I'm here for you."
She smiled and nodded. "I know that, Brother."
[If our father isn't such a jerk, I wouldn't have cared about this "awakening" **, you know I wanted to live as a lazy princess loved by her powerful brother.]
"I'll work hard to awaken my powers as well," Nero promised her. "Neoma, once I become the official crown prince, you won't need to beg for the emperor's attention. When I grow up and become more powerful, I can overthrow him anytime."
She laughed nervously at that. Was Nero seriously thinking of overthrowing their father in the future If someone else heard her twin brother, they would probably think that Nero was planning a coup! "Brother, why would you need to overthrow the emperor when you're already the crown prince Being in that position means you're the heir apparent."
"I can't wait for His Majesty to die before I ascend the throne," he said with a smile. Oh, my. How could he smile like an angel when he was saying cold things that only come out of a devil's mouth "I can't just sit back and continue watching him treat you bad, Neoma. I want to end it as soon as possible."
[And for that reason alone, you want to overthrow the emperor!]
Gosh, what a violent thought for a five-year-old baby!
"Brother," she called him with a scowl. "I want us to get along with our father. We're a family, aren't we"
"The two of us are family," he insisted. "We don't need the emperor."
"But I want us to get along with our father," she said with a pout. "He's also our family, Brother. I'm greedy so I want to be loved by everyone."
He let out a frustrated sigh. "Alright. I'll try to get along with the emperor."
Neoma smiled and opened her arms. When her twin brother gave him a hug, she kissed his cheek as a reward. "Thank you, Brother."
Nero's face lit up. "Anything for you, Neoma."
WHEN Nero was sure that Neoma was already deeply asleep, he silently sat up and got off the bed. Then, he carefully pulled up the blanket until it covered her pretty neck. [I'll be back, Neoma. Sleep tight.]
After making sure that his sister was comfortably sleeping, he quietly left their chamber.
"Guard the princess well," Nero coldly ordered the two royal knights standing by the door. "If something happens while I'm away, I'll have your heads. Is that clear"
The two knights bowed deeply. "We understand, Your Royal Highness."
He turned his back on them and started to walk away.
Alphen, the thirty-year-old head butler with brown hair and dark chocolate eyes, followed closely behind. He even put a silk robe over his shoulders. "Your Royal Highness, the assassin is in the cell now. Based on our investigation, she was alone when she entered the palace as a mole. Are we not going to report this to His Majesty"
"The emperor doesn't care about this issue because it wasn't me who got poisoned," Nero said coldly. "And I can deal with the assassin on my own."
He hadn't awakened yet as Neoma did.
But he was confident that he was the strongest five-year-old boy in the whole empire. Aside from his natural physical strength, he was also gifted with a strong Mana and a great talent for swordsmanship. Even though his body was tiny, he was full of potential.
And of course, his desire to protect Neoma only made him stronger.
[Speaking of Neoma…]
He had a feeling that her twin sister knew that his food was being poisoned. That was definitely the reason why she asked him to switch food with her.
[I should have noticed that.]
He wanted to question Neoma about it but he didn't want to force her after she just awakened her powers. Once she had rested enough, he would slowly begin to question her. But of course, he'd be very careful since he didn't want to scare her.
The source of this content is no/vel//bi/n[./]net'
His thoughts were cut off when they finally reached the basement of Luna Palace. It was a secret cell that he only found out about recently. When he asked Alphen where he could torture Neoma's irresponsible nanny before, the head butler brought him there.
Oh, right. Killing Neoma's irresponsible nanny was his first kill. And now would be the second.
"Your Royal Highness!" the assassin, still wearing her maid uniform, kneeled and bowed until her forehead touched the cold ground of her cell. "I beg your forgiveness! I was being blackmailed by Marquis Severano! I didn't want to harm you or Her Royal Highness!"
Nero smirked. He didn't know why but the scent of blood and the feel of cutting flesh with his sword made him feel excited. Ah, he was the only five-year-old boy in the empire who felt that way. "I don't care who ordered you. The fact that you're the reason why I almost lost my Neoma is enough for me to kill you." He extended his hand to Alphen. "My sword."
Alphen bowed before he placed his short sword in his hand.
"Your Royal Highness!" the assassin cried helplessly. "Please have mercy!"
Nero smiled sweetly while pulling out his sword from the sheath. "I don't have mercy for people who hurt my precious Neoma."
Filthy blood was spilled that night.
NIKOLAI smirked when he heard Glenn's report.
Apparently, Nero had been killing every servant in Luna Palace who dared to disrespect him or the royal princess. No wonder he had the servants wrapped around his little finger even though he was only five years old.
[Fear is one great tool to use if you want people to follow you.]
To be honest, he didn't expect Nero to rule over the Luna Palace. Neglected children like him were often mistreated by servants. But his son found a way to rule the palace, huh
[He's really my son.]
"Your Majesty, what should we do about Marquis Severano" Glenn asked. "It seems like the original target was Prince Nero and not Princess Neoma."
"I'd like to ask for Nero's opinion on how the foolish marquis should be dealt," Nikolai said. "Tell the royal prince that I want him to join me for dinner tomorrow evening."
NEOMA was lying on her stomach on the carpeted floor while drawing. She was mindlessly coloring a stupid sketch she made. For her "drawing assignment," she drew a stick figure of her, Nero, and her sc*mbag of a father.
[Why is it so hard to get close to my father]
Her thoughts were cut off when she heard a knock on the door, followed by Nero's voice. She told her brother to come in.
"Neoma, you're not yet done with your assignment"
Neoma smiled when Nero entered the room. She sat up and showed him the paper that she was working on. "I'm done, Brother."
Nero smiled and sat beside her. Then, he looked carefully at her drawing. Particularly, he was looking at her stick figure holding the hand of his stick-figure version. It seemed like he was satisfied by it because he smiled when he looked at her. "Your drawing has improved, Neoma."
That was b*ll** because she knew her drawing sucked. But she smiled anyway.
"Thank you, Brother," Neoma said sweetly. "Are you done with your sword training"
He smiled and nodded. "We can play today."
She pretended to be thrilled and raised her arms while screaming happily. "Yehey!"
Her gullible twin brother looked satisfied by her reaction.
Their happy moment was interrupted when Alphen knocked and entered the room. The head butler was carrying a giant box in his hands.
"Greetings to the royal prince and the royal princess," Alphen greeted them with a bow. When he raised his head, his attention was focused on Nero. "Your Royal Highness, His Majesty had sent you clothes to use for tonight."
Nero's forehead knotted. "For what"
"His Majesty is inviting you for dinner, Your Royal Highness."
"How about me" Neoma asked excitedly. "Did Papa send me clothes as well Am I also invited to that dinner"
"My deepest apologies, Princess Neoma," Alphen said with a bow. "His Majesty only sent clothes and invitation for Prince Nero."
Nero's mood instantly turned sour but when he turned to her, his eyes widened in shock. "Neoma, are you crying"
Neoma didn't want to cry, damn it!
Gosh, she was very aware that her father never loved her in her past life. She also knew that gaining his favor in this lifetime would be very difficult. She thought she was prepared to be treated like sh*t again by her father. But she didn't expect that it would still hurt.
[Just what did I do for that stupid emperor to hate me this much, huh]
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