Aside from the fact that the emperor’s presence was nowhere to be found at the closing banquet, with the excuse of being busy and that he would be returning back to the imperial palace, this year’s prayer festival was a success and everything went by smoothly.
Well, at least that’s what everyone thought.
Ivant empire was already in a festive mood before the prayer festival even started but they felt even more thrilled after being given generous support from the imperial family, who had graced them with a lot of wheat and meat that would last them for months.
Because of this, the people of the empire showed their respect towards the emperor ceaselessly and praised his name on the streets.
Some said that such supply and wealth was made possible because of the three conquering wars, and this one in particular was the starting point for the upcoming conquest war on the Kingdom of Lucretia.
It was the first time the emperor supported the prayer festival ever since he ascended the throne.
What a kind, responsible king the emperor is.
As we made our way back, Raven said that the Temple of Life wasn’t welcoming of Ridrian at first, saying he was always up for bloodshed ever since his enthronement up until the conquest wars.
It was a fact the emperor knew as well, which was why he made sure to give a tremendous donation annually to silence their mouths.
The way he saw it, he was killing his enemies with kindness.
The temple, on the other hand, said they would send a lot of their priests in return.
The Pope didn’t have the audacity to break the promise especially when he took an amount of the donations for himself and the sum was equivalent to building one sanctuary.
Thanks to this, the emperor had enough preparations for the upcoming Lucretian conquest war.
He was a tyrant, yes, but at least he does his job extremely well.
If casualties are to be reduced because of the priests’ influence, then nobles will surely appreciate it since it would guarantee their children’s safety and well-being.
The temple would do it for the sake of its image and consequently, people voicing out protests against the conquest war would also decrease tremendously.
With that in mind, the emperor would be able to proceed with his plans as much as he’d like, even though it would be the last conquest war.
Because I have read the original story, along with the fact I’ve been with the emperor for more than three months, there were times I am able to figure out what goes on in his mind, save for complicated situations like this.
I was lying on the bed together with the emperor, peeking at the approaching morning sun I could manage to see in between the drawn blackout curtains.
I guess I’ve been up all night again.
A sigh escaped my lips.
“Can’t I just go back to my room and sleep there” I even tried sneaking out in the middle of the night but to no avail.
“Hmm.” The emperor hummed, stretching his arms as he pulled me closer to his chest.
His forehead creased in his sleep.
Stop pulling me close, will you! Your face is buried in my neck again!
Goosebumps formed on my skin when I felt his breath fanning the back of my neck.
I was screaming internally, and my body was squirming against his tight hold.
If anyone else was in the room with us they would see my face as red as a burning tomato.
I should be used to it by now, but I felt there was a subtle change in his touches every single time.
He hugged me as a doll in the beginning and after I rolled down the stairs, it seemed like there was a need for it.
And now I am here, trapped in his hug after returning from the prayer service.
I’m not running away.
He was tightly holding onto me as if I would make a run for it the moment he loosened his hold.
I even thought of telling him to stop hugging me when I’m sleeping and that he doesn’t have to worry about me running away, but I dismissed the idea altogether.
There was an obvious, drastic change in our environment for the past week.
But he seemed to be adamant, however, in staying the way we are.
I’m guessing he knew what I felt but he was simply ignoring it on purpose.
With how he quickly picks up on things, I doubt he doesn’t know what my needs are.
What’s so handsome about this person anyway I sighed once again, losing count of how many times I did.
It’s been a week since the emperor and I returned to the imperial palace after the ceremony in the Central Temple.
Which also meant that it’s been a week since we first kissed.
My cheeks warmed at the memory and it’s like my brain stopped working altogether.
If this were part of a comic book, there would probably be a boiling kettle sketched to my face.
I suddenly felt annoyed at the emperor.
I turned and glared at him but it seemed like I dug my own grave and rested on it at the same time; his face looked utterly peaceful, his black curly tresses were messily tossed above his eyes as he slept soundly before me.
My face turned a shade deeper at the mesmerizing sight.
Having such a gorgeous face should be illegal! The sight makes me weak on the knees!
I turned my back on him again while willing myself to calm down.
Then, I realized it was also a week ago when the emperor collapsed after drinking the holy water.
With so many thoughts whirling in my head, I finally became sleepy.
My eyes closed slowly when something soft moved against my lips that I shifted back to wakefulness.
I somehow jumped from my chair and found myself near the windows with my back against the glass.
To my utter surprise, I realized it was the emperor’s tongue that moved against my lips.
What’s this What just happened
Disoriented, I was genuinely surprised that I hastily covered my mouth and looked back at the emperor.
His eyes met mine, and he seemed to have no idea what to do with his hands as he put it down awkwardly, like a child caught stealing cookies.
My face burned as I stared back at his sleep-addled eyes, making me tear my eyes off him.
A familiar bracelet on the carpet caught my attention. Bracelet
Only then did I remember that I had taken off my bracelet.
I could see the faint, fuzzy platinum hair in my peripheral vision and just as instantly, chills ran down my spine.
My eyes must be surely blue now.
So this is why the emperor was staring at me like that.
My panicked mind was swarmed with thoughts, recalling that one of the dolls that took off the bracelet got killed the morning after.
The bracelet on the floor was not far from where the emperor was, and I felt like a mouse aiming for a piece of cheese and I immediately rushed towards it.
I almost got it!
My hand was less than an inch away from the bracelet when the emperor spoke suddenly,