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HTSDAOE Chapter 2

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2. Moon of the Death (1)

“Your majesty the empress, it’s time to get up.” 

“……?” 

The birds flew away at the sound of the human voice. But what surprised Lasilia more than the birds who seemed to be speaking human language were the words that came out of a human themselves.  

Her Majesty the Empress…? 

Who the hell are you calling Empress? 

“Then, I’ll open the door.” 

Thud! There came a sound of tremendous heaviness by the door, followed by people. 

Srlk.  

The smooth curtain, which had been hanging at the foot of the bed, was pulled back. 

“Did you have a good night’s rest, your majesty?” 

“……!” 

Leila couldn’t say anything, instead her mouth gaped. Silent astonishment stood between her lips. The six women, with their hands on their chest and bowing politely, were greeting herself, not someone else. They were calling her the empress, not any other person. 

“Your Majesty, what’s wrong with you?” 

After a long silence, the woman at the front asked. In terms of age and attitude, the woman seemed to be the highest in rank among them. 

“What did you call me…….” 

“Majesty, is there something that is bothering you?”   

“…….” 

 I didn’t hear it wrong. I wasn’t looking at it the wrong way.  There was no one around me, and it was clear to me that these women were calling me empress.  

Why? What the hell is going on here? 

“I…” 

Lasilia swallowed her saliva by force. It felt more like she was swallowing needles, not saliva though. 

“Who am I….what am I called?” 

“Yes……?” 

Six women wore a look similar to Lasilia. Soon after, rumors quickly spread through the palace that the Empress of the Empire, Cartagena Pierion, had amnesia. 

* * * 

The atmosphere was strange. 

When she opened her eyes, even the prophet of that distant kingdom, who’d suddenly become the Empress, could not be unaware that the current atmosphere was absurd. 

The Empress said she doesn’t remember anything, and the court doctors did not blink an eye. They merely said, “Is that so?” 

It was strange and even suspicious. 

“Yes, then… Let’s say it’s amnesia. Shall I inform that to his majesty?” 

The court doctor, who was reminded of the Emperor, cautiously asked her. 

 “What is this?” 

Neither the courtiers nor the maidservants suspected or worried about the amnesia. They just crouched down and looked her in the eye. 

‘…No one believes it. This “amnesia.” ‘ 

If so, what is the reason? After thinking for a moment, Lasilia asked the courtier. 

“Have I ever had memory loss before?” 

“What? Um… That’s not true, Your Majesty.” 

Although she said no, Lasilia did not miss the courtier’s eye roll before answering. 

“It sounds like memory loss didn’t happen, but something similar did.” 

The eyeballs rolled again. 

“That’s because…your majesty is so sensitive and delicate…on the day of the blue moon, you often get sick.”  

“Blue Moon?” 

“Yes, Her Majesty. The blue moon will appear in a few days.” 

    

If it’s the blue moon…I once heard of it. The blue moon that rises only in the empire is said to be the moon of the demon realm. In some places, it is also called the moon of death. On the night of the frighteningly large and bright, but pale blue moon, you cannot see a shadow. It was a distant, fantasy-like moon that was visible to the eyes but never cast on the ground. 

‘Maybe it’s because I’ve never seen it, but it felt like just an old story.’ 

Maybe that’s why. 

Since ancient times, Blue Moons have been accompanied by all kinds of ominousness. 

Some said that when a Blue Moon rose, demons resurrect, and others say that the Blue Moon has the power to cast a curse. It is also said that it turned good people into madmen and took the lives of innocent people. 

‘Are they saying that the Blue Moon has something to do with her amnesia? No way…even so, you’d still worry.’ 

‘Being sensitive and delicate sounded different from being sick. If they don’t believe it, they must think that they’re being fooled. ‘ 

The court doctor said the empress’s body was sensitive and delicate, not sickly. It had a different meaning entirely.  

‘Isn’t it because you don’t believe anything I say? Even more so since I’m not the real Empress?’ 

Her head throbbed. 

‘Then what should I do?’ 

For now, she needed time to think this situation through calmly. Concluding this, Lasilia looked the people standing dead in the eye and spoke,  

“If there were days I was uncomfortable so often, his majesty must have already guessed about it ahead of time. I don’t think we need to tell him.”  

Things will be more complicated if the emperor finds out. 

“Ah…are you sure? Is that alright?”  

The courtier was pleased. It was so obvious. It seemed like he was embarrassed to have to tell the emperor of this ailment. She had to find a way out of this situation quickly. 

‘I’m not– yes, I’m not supposed to be doing this here. I have to go back to Delarta.’ 

Suddenly, she felt stuffy as if a rock had been placed on her chest. If God had resurrected her, there must be a reason for it. If the reason for her death was the treason by prince Ricardo, she might still have a chance to stop the rebellion now that she’d been revived. 

“I want to focus on quietly retrieving my memories by myself. I want you to leave now.” 

Everyone looked bright at Lasilia’s words. However, when their eyes met, they hurriedly bowed their heads and took a servile position, to be polite. 

‘The empress seems to be quite difficult.’ 

Everyone greeted her quickly and went out one after another. The steps did not make a single sound despite their speed. 

* * * 

“What? Memory loss?” 

Bang! 

Contrary to what she’d conveyed to the court doctor, rumors spread fast in the Imperial palace. In addition, the emperor had two shadow knights who were quick to examine the Empress’ every move. 

One of them, Riyan, dropped the freshly bitten apple from her hand the moment he heard the word amnesia. It was certainly rare for Riyan, who is said to be the first human to reach the status of Sword Master, to make this mistake. That’s how ridiculous it was. 

“Yes, memory loss.” 

It was another shadow knight, Serben, who’d come to the Empress’ palace to inquire about the news as hot as freshly baked bread. Serben kicked the up apple with his toes, took it with his left hand and handed it to Riyan. 

When Riyan frowned, he rubbed the apple on his shirt and handed it back again. 

Crunch! 

Riyan looked at Serben as she took a big bite of the apple. 

“Was memory loss such a common disease? I mean, like the heart disease, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, quadriplegia that Her Majesty often suffers from?” 

“How can that be? But look at the timing. The blue moon will pop up soon. Any disease is possible then.” 

“Oh, right. The Blue Moon.” 

The expressions of the two knights became similar. The mouths twisted so sourly they become bitter.  

“His majesty will be really sick when the blue moon rises, and the Empress doesn’t want to take responsibility for it, so she pretends to be in pain in advance…. that’s right. That’s the pattern, I’ve been seeing it for four years. But why amnesia this time?” 

Crunch!  

Riyan took another bite of the apple, frowning to the top of her nose. Serben looked admiringly at the apple left with only the seed in just two bites. 

“Does our evil and insidious Empress not know that even if she loses her memory, she can still make as much ‘contact’ as she wants?” 

Serben smirked and lightly pressed Riyan’s wrinkled nose with his fingertips. 

“I don’t think our vicious and conscientious empress could have failed to calculate that much. She must have something else in mind.” 

“What the hell do you think that is?” 

“Well, I heard that she told the court not to tell His Majesty.” 

“I don’t understand that even more. She pretends to be sick just to avoid getting in contact with him during the Blue Moon. Then why would you keep it a secret? The talk would be all over the place, anyway.” 

“Isn’t it that she prepared something dramatic? She likes that kind of thing. Getting attention all alone.” 

“Then she must be overjoyed.” 

“I know.” 

The two knights, who were born twins, usually hit it off well, but there were no disagreements between them especially on the topic of Empress Cartagena. They had concluded early on that Empress Cartagena was a fickle liar and a conman with no conscience. 

The evidence was that she laid down on the bed with all sorts of excuses whenever the Blue Moon came. 

Crunch! 

Riyan muttered, gnawing at the seeds as if biting the enemy, not the apple. 

“Yeah, the Blue Moon is right around the corner….how is his majesty? Are there any signs yet?” 

“Wouldn’t it be better to ask about it in person?” 

“Who doesn’t know that. His majesty is a man of courage. He says it’s okay because he didn’t die, even if the pain he feels is enough to want to die.” 

Unfortunately, that remark, too, needed no disagreement. 

The current emperor of the Eliaden Empire, Lescal, was different from ordinary humans in many ways. 

It started from his appearance of splendid gold. He was frighteningly beautiful, but also foreign. Even when he was not sitting on the throne, he was often alienated. His eyesight was twice as sharp as that of a human, and so was the life span. His skin was abnormally tough and knew not fatigue or disease. 

He was many times stronger than a human. He did not know the despair caused by the limitations of the body, nor did he know the human emotions that stemmed from despair. 

It was because of the blood of the Demons mixed in the Eliaden’s imperial family. 

Over the years, the blood of demons was diluted and there were Emperors who barely showed the characteristics of demons, but Lescal was different. He was born with the characteristics of a demon that could not be hidden at all. 

But that monstrous body experienced pain, too. 

The pain stemmed from the human body’s inability to contain the enormous power that came from the blood of the demons. On the day of the blue moon, the master of the Demon clan rises and the blood of the demons races as if ridiculing humans.  

The skin splits, and hard scales protrude from it, horns grow through the forehead bone. His back tears and his wing bones pop out. When the moon goes down, the change in appearance disappears, but that does not mean there is no pain.  

Riyan, who had been chewing her lips for a while, jumped from sitting on the floor.  

“I should check it myself. I’ll find out what our evil and insidious empress is up to.” 

Serben shook his head with his arms crossed. 

“Knowing doesn’t change anything. Seeing the memory loss and stuff, Her Majesty is thinking of staying in her bedroom again this time. You know there’s nothing you can do about it.” 

“I know it won’t change anything, but I’m still frustrated!” 

It was when Riyan cried out. 

Bam! 

 The door to the office slammed open without warning.  

“Your Majesty?” 

It was Lescal who opened the door. 

He came along clutching his wrists. Lescal had almost no expression, but now the two knights seemed to see a distinct impression. It was a very strange thing. 

“I have to go to the empress.” 

“What?” 

And this was a strange thing to say. 

As far as the two knights knew, this was the first time that Lescal visited the Empress first. Even if they disliked the Empress Cartagena, Lescal had no feelings about that. Lescal might consider the fountain in the Imperial Garden more useful than the empress.  

Anyway, he was looking for the empress. It was no ordinary matter. 

Lescal held out the wrist he was clutching to Riyan. 

“The symptoms are appearing.” 

“Your Majesty…!” 

On the inside of Lescal’s wrist, skin had cracked and transparent stone-like scales grew. 

 “Damn it!” 

Riyan shut her eyes tightly. 

There was a reason why no one could touch the evil, insidious, vicious and liar Empress. 

Unfortunately, the Empress was the only one who could control the blood of the demons. 

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