Promptly, attendants waiting outside swarmed the room like flies and dragged the injured men out.
My attention was rapt on their figures, wondering if I would look the same way when my body was carried out.
I felt a piercing gaze at the side of my skull, and I turned daringly, meeting the emperor’s gaze fixed on me.
Why are you looking at me like that Are you going to cut me down too
Cold sweat trickled my back as I stared at my predator like a trapped prey.
My feet felt like it was cemented on the ground.
Looking back at the Emperor, I saw my unfamiliar self reflected in his golden eyes and I wondered if this would be my last day alive.
The emperor studied me for a few more seconds before breaking the silence.
“Take her away.” His voice came out firm and resolute.
He turned on his heel and sauntered towards a door that led to a connected room.
It shut close behind him with a dull click, and instantly my legs crumpled as I sat on the floor, relieved for having been spared at the last second.
Not long after, I came out of the room and saw the relieved expression on the maid’s face, matching my own.
I found it hard to believe that I am still alive.
I took a series of deep breaths again and again as I wiped my clammy palms on the hem of my dress.
The head maid sported a blank face.
She took me back to the emperor’s bedroom but at my own pace this time, unlike earlier when she almost ripped my arm from its socket.
“You are to stay inside this room for the rest of the day.”
I nodded in agreement, sitting on the chair by the windows just like what the maid had instructed.
I have had quite an eventful day since the break of dawn, and I don’t think my heart could handle it if I were to do this every single day.
I now realize why people in the book always called the emperor a tyrant.
He had this raging temper inside him that couldn’t be easily tamed, and in order to calm him down, a doll would have to be brought as a sacrifice.
Is he some sort of a cannibal or something
The emperor, who hasn’t been able to sleep, was a tyrant who brought bloodshed in his wake.
If he weren’t stopped right on time during his onslaughts, no one would be left alive inside the Imperial Palace.
I recalled how unnerving his golden eyes were, gleaming and murderous and even the beasts at a zoo didn’t have that much ferocity in their eyes.
It was like a predator’s gaze scrutinizing you closely, waiting to see a moment of weakness until he pounced.
But the aggression in his eyes simmered down, however, when he took in the doll’s presence in front of him.
I looked at my still trembling hands.
At least I proved myself to be useful in all this.
I didn’t die so that’s all that matters, I guess.
I took a breath of relief.
After a while the maid brought me dinner; a plate with a heaping pile of duck meat, white bread and vegetable soup, which was a lot for a slave like me.
They might have given me such a big portion as a reward for having proved myself useful during the commotion earlier.
I grabbed the silver spoon beside the plate, noting the craftsmanship etched on the silverware, and took a sip of the steaming soup.
I almost cried at the warmth that filled my insides, quelling the coldness in my body.
My heart raced in excitement as I eyed the hefty dishes in front of me.
Nothing could be much sweeter than this! The cold, wet grainy porridge I used to eat back then at the cages was just bland and dull, and it left an unsatisfying taste in my mouth.
This on the other hand was just amazing.
And I would be a fool if I don’t eat all of this!
I focused on what lay ahead of me instead of thinking about the horrors of the day.
I dipped the white bread onto the soup and ate continuously, my body trembling at how tasty it was. At least the food’s amazing!
In the Imperial Palace was a private study, where Emperor Ridrian sat scowling.
He was clearly not in the best of moods.
He leaned his back on the chair, tapping the armrest with his fingers as he contemplated silently.
Raven stood across from him, looking a little bit nervous.
Raven straightened his back.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“I am certain that I told you I don’t need it.” His voice lacked any emotion.
“It seems to me you’re already at your limit and I decided that this couldn’t go on, so I took it upon myself to do something about it.
I will receive any form of punishment for having disobeyed your orders.”
Raven’s words came out steady, not shaking in the slightest.
Ridrian stared at him, not saying anything for a couple of seconds before he laughed.
“You seem confident that I won’t lay a hand on you.”
Even though he laughed, the emperor still felt irritable.
Murderous intent seeped out of him and Raven noticed it at once.
He took on a kneeling position in front of the desk.
“Please don’t say that.
Your Majesty is the Supreme Being of the Ivant Empire.
You can do anything as you please.”
Ridrian scoffed at that.
“Ha! You and Ivan certainly have a way with words.” He covered his face with his hand, head shaking as a smile bloomed on his face.
Not having any sleep for more than a week left him terribly exhausted, and his sanity was barely holding on.