Raven rubbed his throbbing temples with the tips of his fingertips.
Not having sleep for the past three nights was taking a toll on him.
The doll had been safe for more than a month, which was a first.
He was relieved to see the doll gaining weight and she seemed to be faring much better than before.
But I can’t believe Your Majesty is angry all because of the doll.
He doesn’t know all the details, but he knew that the Lord was quite fond of the doll.
He goes back to his bedroom regularly, and he has been eating all his meals.
His intake of alcohol and sweets had lessened, too.
Raven thought maybe he could let himself hope this time.
It’s great to see the emperor grew fond of the doll, but he seemed to like it too much.
Having to deal with the emperor was a real pain in the ass.
And just recently, strange occurrences have taken place.
The only clue was ‘horsepower’, which was not at all helpful.
It was too vague, and what could that possibly mean It felt like someone was trying to take over the Imperial family.
Thinking about it was enough to make Raven’s head hurt even more.
Raven sighed and took his glasses off.
He rubbed the spot between his eyes in circular motions.
It wasn’t this difficult compared to keeping Ridrian in check, who was always brimming with anger without any logical reason.
Not only the doll had become the emperor’s only weakness, but it was also the trigger of his long bouts of unstable anger.
Everyone was on edge.
It’s been such a long time since the Imperial Palace reeked of blood that knights and nobles alike felt as if they’ve gone back to the past, where pools of blood was nothing out of the ordinary.
The nobles spoke among themselves, anxiously wondering if the emperor had gone insane and whether the Empire would be alright under his reign.
For the past three days, the doll was lying on the bed, still unconscious to the world around her and the emperor had yet to step foot inside his own bedroom. What a pain in the ass, Raven thought as he gazed at the sleeping doll in front of him.
His Majesty had decided to move the doll from the side room to his bed, saying that he could not see her clearly because the room had little to no light.
Three days ago, Raven had immediately come rushing to the bedroom upon hearing the servants talking about the ongoing commotion.
When he got there, blood was already spilled and a maid had lost her life.
The people who witnessed the tragic event filled him in with what had happened, and he deemed the accident similar to the assassin’s mishap.
As much as he wanted to interrogate the red-haired maid, he knew for a fact that it was nothing but pointless.
Fortunately, the wounds on the doll looked a lot better than the previous days.
He was also informed about the emperor’s alarming hysteria upon seeing the doll’s body covered in blood.
Seeing her wrapped up in bandages, Raven understood why the emperor had reacted so violently that day.
The doctor who was brought to the palace to attend to the doll was indeed skilled.
The wounds were beginning to heal properly, but Raven was worried if the doll would be able to wake up painlessly, since her body looked as if it would break at a mere touch.
Raven stared at the doll a moment longer, thinking how she looked like a corpse as she laid there unmoving, breaths coming out a little bit shallow.
You look a lot like her, Raven thought to himself.
Raven had seen the eldest daughter of the Crayes, Liliana Crayes, because she also came from a high-ranking knight family.
The girl was appointed to be the future empress and fiancée of the Crown Prince who was known for his vicious nature.
T/N: Ridrian was an usurper, and before he seized the throne, the empire’s then Crown Prince and Liliana was already engaged.
This could mean that Ridrian and Liliana had a secret affair.
He had never seen his master Ridrian and Liliana together, since Raven only pasted himself to his master’s side when Liliana already went missing from the palace.
He came to understand how much Ridrian cared for the girl that he went ballistic after losing her.
He could still remember the Ridrian’s screams as if it was just yesterday (originally emperor’s screams but changed it to Ridrian for brevity).
He had cried relentlessly for three days and three nights, destroyed the village where the girl was found to dust and ruins and searched for those who touched her and tore them with his bare hands.
But still, all he did wasn’t enough.
The hatred he felt blinded his senses that he went berserk in the battlefield and channeled his anger onto his enemies that by the end of the day, he was honored and regarded as a hero.
But his body diminished as the days went by.
He couldn’t eat properly then, and sleep didn’t pull him in no matter how exhausted he was.
He just swung and flicked his sword mindlessly, letting instinct guide his movements as he looked on with dead eyes, looking like he just wanted to die right there and then.
The truth is, Raven was so close to giving up on him.
But then something happened that surprised both him and his master.
The emperor paused when he saw a girl that looked like her, not hesitating as he grabbed her, stopping her from running away and asked, “Lil… Liliana”
Confusion etched the girl’s expression, rendered speechless at the sight of the bloody emperor.
He then realized that the girl was not Liliana, but he couldn’t bring himself to tear his eyes off of her the whole day.
It prompted Raven to speak to the girl and told her he needed her to stay by the emperor’s side, that he would compensate her if she cooperated.
The girl kept the emperor sane for a brief while.
But she could not fully immerse herself into the emperor’s intense and sick obsession that he did not hesitate to cut her down.
It was the first time he had harmed an innocent civilian, one that was not an enemy on the battlefield.
Raven witnessed how everything unfolded.
Suddenly, a thought filled his head as he came to a conclusion; that he needed to bring in a slave that looked like Liliana.
Since then, the country was always in search of slaves that resembled Liliana, doing all the pursuing in secret.
The girls were unfortunately used as scapegoats, but Raven reminded himself they were doing this both for the emperor’s sanity and the country.
They promised the dolls to compensate them greatly when everything was done.
But the madness of the emperor was unlike anything the naive girls had ever seen, that within a month or two, the doll or the emperor would be out of his mind and lose himself in the process.
Gradually, the emperor’s madness dwindled little by little, but it was present nonetheless, just waiting to break out at the next moment.
The twenty-fifth doll Raven brought was found torn apart three days after entering the Palace, done by the emperor’s unforgiving hands.
The emperor grew tired of mercilessly breaking the dolls that he decided to reject the dolls entirely.
The emperor said he didn’t need them anymore.
“Don’t even think of buying new dolls.”
But Raven went on and risked his life to look for a new doll despite the emperor’s order.
He couldn’t just stand by doing nothing when the emperor was suffering from insomnia.
He felt that it was his duty to do something, anything to help the emperor.
Raven sighed for the second time that day.
He didn’t think his majesty would go on a rampage just because the doll was hurt.
He brushed his hair back as he thought over his next plans when a couple of knocks distracted him from his thoughts.