“A nation is built on its people.
Without the people, there would be no king.
So, I don’t agree with my father’s political ideology.” Liliana used to say this all the time.
But she never had the chance to spread her own beliefs.
They never listened to a little girl.
So, Liliana had given up persuading them altogether.
It doesn’t matter how many times she tried to make them listen, her words only landed on deaf ears as if she was talking to a wall.
She relented and decided to obey the Marquis’ orders in becoming a crown princess, thinking that at least the position would give her a chance, albeit slimly, to spread her own beliefs.
The ferocious Crown Prince then became irritated at Liliana, since she didn’t do anything she was told and it eventually led to a terrible catastrophe.
Ridrian couldn’t protect Liliana from that hell, and spreading her beliefs was the least he could do for her.
So, if he tried to go against her wishes…
“I won’t tolerate that disrespectful mouth of yours any longer.” His golden eyes gradually turned red from fury, making Marquis Vibrio’s eyes grow wide at the intensity.
It was a sight he had never seen before.
The Marquis fell off his chair with a loud thud and he sank to the floor, shivering in fright.
It was the first time he saw the emperor this angry in the years he had known him, the prospect of death seemingly closer at each passing second.
“Can’t you see that the more you do this, the less trust you will gain from your subordinates” He screamed hoarsely.
He hoped he’d be able to make the emperor see the consequences of his actions.
“I don’t know because I’ve never felt it before.” Betrayal and revenge simmered within him.
To trust someone and to keep them around only to be treated so disrespectfully.
After finding out that she was the fiancée of the crowned prince, he made sure to keep his distance as much as he could.
The love he had for her ran too deeply, but he was afraid that there might be a secret he was not aware of.
Being reminded of this once again, Ridrian raised his sword even higher and the Marquis closed his eyes tightly in defeat.
Then the door swung open and hit the opposite wall with a loud force.
The arm that held the sword was suspended in the air, the emperor stood motionless as he slowly turned his gaze towards the door.
“Didn’t I tell you to not let anyone in—!” He shouted but he was not able to finish his sentence upon seeing what lay just outside the room.
Several people stood unmoving.
A fidgeting scarlet maid, a knight that looked absolutely horrified, and Raven, who was shaking his head in disbelief at what was happening inside the room.
But what got his attention was the person who pushed the door open.
The woman with thick blonde hair, dressed in a bright blue dress that shone so bright it almost hurt his eyes.
She walked into the library, her heels clicking into the wooden floor in measured steps.
Perhaps he was too caught up thinking about the past that he immediately thought she was Liliana, especially with the same blonde hair.
But he couldn’t see the woman’s face, which was hidden behind a simple white mask one would wear at a ballroom.
It looked out of place compared to the rest of her garments.
The woman stopped in front of him, following the common etiquette the aristocrats adhere to and bowed her head.
Who is this
Ridrian then recognized his doll, poised and demure as always.
Suddenly, his feet that felt like they were trapped in a pile of mud felt lighter.
He stopped for a moment, realizing just then he had no idea what the doll’s name was.
He never asked nor did he ever wonder.
He had always referred to her as the doll.
It’s either he called her doll, or Liliana.
He didn’t bother asking her name since she was just a replacement.
But with her face now covered with a mask, the emperor clearly saw that this person was not Liliana, she was not who he had portrayed her to be and he knew nothing about her.
He took a series of deep breaths to calm down, the rage in his eyes dwindled and returned to its golden shade.
The doll had woken up from her slumber.
The three days she was unconscious felt like it never happened in the first place.
He returned Lotuboru to its place and hugged the doll hastily.
He could feel the doll squirming in his arms but he didn’t loosen the hold he had on her.
She’s not dead.
The smell of herbs and dried blood infiltrated his nostrils, along with the doll’s comforting scent that he grew accustomed to for the past month.
They stayed in that embrace for a long time.
Hesitatingly, the doll lifted her hand and patted his back awkwardly in response.
She’s patting me on the back again. He could feel his heart growing soft from her caress.
Warmth spread through his chest and even if he was already used to her, the feeling that came with her presence was still unfamiliar to him.