Guards weren’t usually stationed at the second floor of the Imperial Palace to give the emperor some alone time. The lack of sleep made him irritable as it is, even saying that the guards’ presence was much more annoying than ordinary people’s. The only reason they were stationed there was because of the assassination attempts recently.
Raven was the one who insisted the emperor had the doll be guarded. At first, Ridrian did not think it was necessary because who would even dare deceive him and invade the palace? But Raven had a point there. The emperor then relented and had the knights guard his bedroom.
But these good for nothing knights didn’t even do their job properly. They only have one job and yet they still didn’t do it right. The doll wouldn’t be in this position if not for the knights’ negligence.
Ridrian scowled at the knights, making the two gulps silently. “I will leave your punishment up to Kraman.”
Kraman is the commander of the Guard Division. While he was usually gentle and sensible, he was strict and rough when it came to military law and their duties. The knights were spared from the emperor, but their future would be good as gone once Kraman found out about this. They scrambled on their feet and fell on one knee as they begged for forgiveness. “We apologize, Your Majesty!”
“Please forgive us!”
Ridrian gritted his teeth in annoyance before turning to the maids who were still on the ground, bawling their eyes out. “Tell me what happened.”
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry, Your Majesty!”
The other maid wailed, “Please spare us!”
The fear-stricken maids weren’t able to form any more words but the pleas of forgiveness. They cried and begged continuously, tears pooling their eyes and wetting their cheeks. The maids’ cries turned a pitch louder when the emperor swiftly unsheathed a knight’s sword.
Sensing what’s about to happen, the head maid sprang and leapt in front of the emperor, begging with the same desperation. “Your Majesty, these are the children who have worked under me for five years. What they did was unforgivable and stupid, but they are just children who doesn’t know what they’re doing. Please, Your Majesty. I’m sure there’s something going on, please allow me to investigate.”
The emperor stopped for a while and listened to the urgency in the head maid’s words. She anxiously looked at the emperor’s face to see if she somehow convinced him. Being at the receiving end of the emperor’s wrath made her hands cold and clammy with sweat. The only thing that could assuage the raging emperor right now was the doll, who was unfortunately knocked out unconscious.
Why the hell…
The doll could ease the emperor’s unpredictable moods, able to simmer it down like the brief period in between seasons. Aware that she had failed to keep an eye on the doll, the head maid bit her lip and lowered her head down.
The emperor faced the doll lying on the bed. Despite her bleeding head that was caused by the fall earlier, her face was still lively and blooming as ever. Perhaps it was because of the bracelet, the emperor thought to himself.
Suddenly, Ridrian was tempted to unlatch the bracelet on the doll’s wrist. He wanted to see what the doll looked like behind the mask she was wearing.
Ridrian shook the thought off his head. Now is not the time to get distracted. Facing the maids, the emperor asked in a booming voice. “Who did this? Don’t make me repeat myself.” The warning in his voice was clear as day, and everyone knew he was already at his limit.
But the maids were too paralyzed in fear, preventing them from answering the emperor’s question truthfully. “We don’t know! When I came to my senses, she was already at the bottom of the floor! Please believe me!”
“I don’t know why they did this. I’m sorry! Please, please! Have mercy pleas—“! The emperor’s patience ran out as he quickly angled his body and drew the sword out. The startled knight tried to stop him, but he was no match with the emperor’s innate speed.
The red-haired maid gasped and took a step back. In a matter of just a second, the brunette maid’s head fell and lolled on the floor, unblinking, and tears were still smeared on her cheeks like she didn’t realize she was about to be decapitated. The red-haired maid flinched when a spatter of blood reached her face, making her faint on the spot.
The emperor only glanced at the maids briefly before addressing the guards. “Drag these two out of my room. Find out who’s behind this.” His eyes swept over the knights, and they immediately noticed the emperor’s eyes were back to how it appeared four years ago.
The knight replied a few seconds later, slightly shocked at how everything turned out. He turned his heel and left the room with the maid slung over his shoulder. The way he had lifted the maid made it seem like he was already used to it.
The head maid uttered in a small voice, “Your Majesty…”
“How ignorant and foolish of them to touch my doll without my permission.” The emperor hissed.
“But why do you have to go so far as to kill the maid? The doll is just a slave!” The head maid answered, and even she was surprised at her own words.
The emperor’s eyes flitted sharply at the head maid who dared question his actions. He tilted his head and asked in a subdued voice. “And why should I forgive them?”
Elmira didn’t know what to say. There was no excuse for what the maids did, especially when three people saw how they pushed the doll off the stairs. It doesn’t matter what their reasons were, they weren’t supposed to touch anything that belonged to the emperor. However, she wished the emperor didn’t resort to such a violent response, and figure out who’s behind this instead. He made such a big mess for something so trivial.
The head maid parted her mouth to speak, but the intensity of the emperor’s seething eyes prevented her from saying anything more.
“You know me. I hate it when people touch something that clearly belongs to me.”
The head maid understood the weight of his words quite well.
The prince, whose everything was taken away from him, became the emperor of this Great Empire. He glowered at her domineeringly, and the head maid had no choice but to submit.
Frightened out of her wits, her face became pale and she quickly knelt on her knees. She knew him long enough to know that she had overstepped her boundaries. “My apologies, Your Majesty. I should’ve taught them better.”
“If this happens again, I’ll cut your head next.” He flicked the blood off the sword and handed it back to the knight. Drops of blood fell to the carpet, staining the fabric.
“Call a capable man. Have him nurse my doll back to health.” The Emperor ordered as he left.
The head maid nodded. “Yes sir.”
The Imperial Palace reeked of blood once again.