Episode 1: You must be very shy(1)
‘I’m finally free!’
Aristine barely stopped herself from cheering out loud. She had finally gotten away from her sickening country and even more sickening father.
‘He is definitely crazy.’
Her father, the emperor, tortured her in all sorts of ways, using the justification of turning her into a ‘success’.
‘I really thought I died in that fire.’
The first thing she felt back then was the burning air, not the heat. Aristine had woken up to the sensation of something scraping her lungs and throat. If she had woken up just a little later, she would have died in her sleep.
When she opened her eyes, she was surrounded by flames and the windows were blocked off.
At the time, Aristine was only six years old. A normal person would have died. But Aristine survived. That is if you could call that survival.
She was charred black like a chunk of meat, yet her father looked at her young self and asked.
《How did it go? Did you awaken?》
Aristine, who was blankly staring at her father in confusion, realized.
‘Ah, father was the one who set the fire and blocked the windows.’
That realization hurt her more than her scorched lungs and the blisters that had begun to form on her legs and arms. It hurt so much that she wanted it all to burn.
‘I don’t think it will hurt anymore when my heart turns to ashes.’
And now, more than 10 years later, Aristine’s heart had burned completely into ashes.
After ‘the incident’ with her half-sister, Aristine had even been confined. Since she was locked up as a young child, she lived on her own for more than 10 years so it was strange to feel her heart beating with excitement.
‘Then again, I was able to see my past life thanks to the confinement so maybe there was one good thing about it.’
Aristine’s mind unlocked its potential to protect herself. She became able to ‘see’ her past life otherwise she would have gone mad.
‘…It’s nice to finally leave but it will be a little annoying later.’
Aristine gave a faint sigh as she thought of her older blood-brother who wasn’t in the palace right now. Either way, now wasn’t the time to think about the place she was leaving, she should be thinking about where she was heading to.
‘I wonder what kind of place Irugo is .’
The land of barbarians.
A place where fire and iron rule.
An isolated plain surrounded by demonic beasts.
《The Irugo barbarians mate with both beasts and humans, you can’t even call them human.》
《You will be in bed with a bastard who rolls around with demonic beasts.》
《Who knows, he might prefer the beast to your stiff self.》
The words her father whispered to her echoed in her ears again.
Certainly, a part of it was because he wanted to spew curses on Aristine’s marriage, but the emperor had always hated Irugo.
Silvanus and Irugo have not had a good relationship for generations.
Silvanus was very proud of the nations it had conquered but there was only one place it couldn’t invade—Irugo.
Aristine’s father, the current Emperor, came up with a grand plan to bring Irugo to their knees. However, the direction of the war took a strange turn and Irugo began to swallow up Silvanus’ land instead.
The person who made the greatest contribution to Irugo’s success was none other than—
‘Tarkan. My future husband.’
Aristine recalled the target of her arranged marriage.
The emperor proposed a ceasefire with Irugo when the court realized that a further continuation of the war would only result in a loss. And in response, Irugo’s king demanded enormous war reparations and one more thing.
‘The emperor’s direct bloodline must marry Tarkan.’
The arranged marriage was meant to represent an end to the hundred years of hostility and the birth of a new alliance.
The King of Irugo truly wanted the war to end. Because Irugo was surrounded by demonic beasts so continuing the war would put a great burden on them.
This was a story that would normally end with the saying—and there was peace between the two nations.
‘But my father never intended to let the war end.’
The only reason the emperor negotiated for a cease-fire was to buy time. For now, he wanted to break Irugo’s streak then he planned to prepare for war behind the scenes before trying to invade again.
‘And that’s why he sent me. I’m a discarded hand.’
Something to give enough justification to declare war on a nation they had entered a marriage alliance with. There were many things they could easily cook up to achieve that, but there was only one thing that suited the emperor’s taste.
‘Killing me and blaming Irugo for it.’
Aristine laughed inside the shaking carriage.
Did the emperor know that the discarded hand he sent to die would send back a gigantic ‘fuck you’?
But to achieve that, she needed one person’s cooperation first.
Aristine quietly recited the name of the person who would become her husband.
*Err, is there a word for blood-brother? As in, a brother from the same mother & father as you.