I’m not ready for anyone to know that I could read.
It turned out that being able to read and write were more important than I thought.
I was wondering why Lina was back suddenly when the door opened but it was the emperor that stood there instead.
It had only been two hours since we parted ways back in the wagon.
Wasn’t he supposed to be mingling with the high officials of the Temple What was he doing here Surprised at the emperor’s sudden appearance, I stared at him and saw his eyes dart to the book I was holding, left wide open atop my thighs.
The emperor looked just as surprised as I was.
He blinked a couple of times, eyes concentrating on me intently as he tilted his head, like he was lost in his own thoughts.
Then the expression in his face morphed into confusion. Why is he looking at me like that
Without closing the door behind him, he strode towards me and lifted me up from the floor.
The book slipped from my thighs and landed on the ground with a dull thud.
What Why Am I not allowed to read Is it some kind of a forbidden book no one should know about
Various thoughts filled my head and before I knew it, I was encased in his embrace as he hugged me tightly.
It was the first time he held me ever since last week.
With no space between us, I could feel him slightly shivering against me and I wondered what’s wrong with him.
“Liliana…” He whispered in a quiet voice.
When he uttered her name, it was only then I realized that Liliana liked this book.
Was he reminded of Liliana when he saw me sitting on the floor with this book in my hands
He was already seeing me for the person that I am, addressing me by my own name, Iona, but it appeared like I was giving him a hard time by unconsciously making him think of Liliana.
I wanted to tell him how sorry I felt.
I patted the tyrant’s back softly, hoping my gesture would show how sorry I am for stirring his traumas once again.
“Am I interrupting you” A voice spoke from the door, surprising me as I lifted my head and saw a man standing there with a soft smile plastered on his face.
He was probably in his late twenties, sporting blonde hair and a pair of deep blue eyes.
The way he carried himself also gave the impression that he was well-mannered.
And I recognized him right away.
He’s Lavis, the hidden prince of the Imperial family.
He was actually the only descendant from the two distinct, imperial lineages that the emperor kept alive.
Not only was he raised in the Temple, but he was also one of the few people who had treated the emperor so kindly.
It was probably why the emperor did not kill Lavis, since despite his lineage, he was a decent man with no ounce of greed in him— that or because he was aware he had no right to ascend the throne.
“As soon as you arrived, you dragged me, saying that you needed me and you forced me to follow you.
But I guess I have to leave you for the meantime.” Lavis spoke, bowing slowly.
I did ask you to follow me.” Then as if he’s coming back to his senses, the emperor released me from his embrace.
He turned to look at me and said, “Iona, he’ll help you.”
I stood dumbfounded for a brief while.
Did I hear him right What I studied the emperor’s face and my eyes darted between him and Lavis, both looking at me anticipatingly.
I pulled my attention away from them and decided to focus on the chandelier instead.
I refuse to believe what I’ve just heard.
Is he serious Was he really saying that Lavis would fix my throat
No one really knew if they were on good terms or not.
In the original novel, the emperor was wary of him but he spared him from being killed, while Lavis on the other hand genuinely cared about the emperor but he made sure to keep his distance.
And you’re going to give me my voice back even if it meant asking help from a man he didn’t fully trust.
The emperor I know of was not a man who would put himself at risk for the sake of a mere doll.
With this in mind, I watched him carefully and the emperor caught my gaze with his own, looking a little bit embarrassed.
With our eyes locked on each other, Lavis, who had been watching us quietly, burst into laughter.
“It seems like the girl doesn’t trust you all that much, Your Majesty.
She looks like she doesn’t believe you.”
“Shut up, will you” The emperor replied, but with no bite to his words.
“How would she trust you when you just tell her that I’ll help her without bothering to give me an introduction” Lavis arched one eyebrow.
He cleared his throat and turned to look at my face.
After Lavis’ prodding, the emperor acquiesced and gave the introductions.
“This is Lavis, the High Priest of Theres.
I brought him here to help you.”