“I’ve been to the point of death many times,” the emperor continued.
“I’ve been treated harshly, but I didn’t complain.
I admit I persevered on my own, but I would like for you to talk to me a little bit.” He placed his hand on my hand and held it tight.
It was an unusually nervous gesture.
I shook my head at his words.
He was persevering.
I just thought there was no use to express your troubles.
Talking to the emperor didn’t change anything, and I never thought a tyrant would listen to a doll.
Maybe it was because he was meant to be alone in this world. But, not now, I thought.
I shook my head again, thinking of how the emperor had behaved recently.
He inquired about my tastes, cared about my reactions, and worried about me.
This was undoubtedly different from the tyrant I met the day I entered the palace.
I have watched the warmth seep, little by little every day, into his eyes.
He would listen to my story.
He should be the one I can rely on now.
But still I struggled.
“Iona” The emperor looked at me when I didn’t say anything.
He seemed worried.
His usual cold, metallic eyes had softened to yellow in the moonlight.
Those eyes somehow warmed my heart.
I thought I wanted to be by his side and help make him happy.
At first, I just wanted to run away because I couldn’t die in vain like in the original story, but I also had no empathy for the emperor in the story.
Before I knew it, I was in a position where I couldn’t escape even if I tried to.
I closed my eyes for a moment and wiped the tears away with the back of my hand.
I had to control my heart that was churning with deep emotion.
I needed to be aware of my situation in this world.
I was not the heroine; I was just a supporting role.
I wasn’t worthy to be by his side.
I needed to know what was happening with Eris before I tried to heal his trauma.
I couldn’t put him in danger.
I remembered her boldly calling out the emperor’s nickname as a joke.
I also could see her face, happy, as she clung to me.
I desperately wanted to deviate from the original, but I hoped that only the romance would remain the same.
For Ridrian’s sake.
The emperor put a hand on his chest, as if he were having an upset stomach.
I hesitated, but, at least for now, he needed me.
It was as straightforward as that.
I took a deep breath and smiled.
“I don’t know how much I can help but, if you want, I will stay by your side and comfort you to sleep.”
“Really” he asked, hope in his eyes.
I am Your Majesty’s doll.”
The expression of the emperor, who I thought would be happy like he had everything in the world, collapsed at the words I pronounced.
He hurriedly shook his head and grabbed my arms in denial.
No!” he insisted.
“You are not just a doll.
You are…” He paused for a moment and frowned.
What was he trying to say He carefully contemplated his next words, holding my hand tightly in his grip.
“You are Iona.
So please, don’t leave and stay with me.”
I don’t think that’s what he was initially trying to say.
But he had the expression of someone who didn’t even know what he was trying to say.
Once the trial is over, I had no reason to stay in the Imperial Palace.
I couldn’t remain a secret because I was receiving a lot of attention.
I did not make my decision lightly.
I put my hand on his.
“Yes, I will,” I promised.
At my answer, he relaxed his hand.
Then he hugged me.
He was overwhelmed with emotions and did not know what to do.
The two hands that were holding my shoulders were shaking.
“That will do.” The emperor had a smile unlike any other in the world.
It was a much prettier smile than I had seen in the pavilion.
The smile made my emotions erupt again.
I didn’t deserve it.
It should be Eris standing here, so until Eris found her place, I would do what I could.
I nibbled the inside of my lips and tried to suppress my discomfort.
Will I be able to protect the most significant plot flow in the story, simply as an extra The first meeting between Ridrian and Eris had taken place without me, as the doll was already dead.
What has actually happened is already a twisted version of the original.
Still, if the two true lovers continued to meet, maybe they will still get attached to each other.
Then the overall flow of the story will be preserved.
If I tell Eris that there is a man who is after her and she needed to be defended by the emperor, maybe even the destruction can be prevented.
I knew what I wanted was completely contradictory, but I was determined to do what was best for everyone.
Ridrian smiled a little awkwardly and let go of my hand.
He stroked my hair with a much happier expression on his face, but still twisted the strands with some concern.
“I made you cry.
Are you okay”