Instead of bringing up the sleeping situation, the chamberlain subtly conveyed the news that Karaf had rewarded the servants this morning.
His expression as he spoke was very impressive and proud, making Asha feel a little uneasy.
It was as if a child seeking praise had done something impressive, and she couldn’t shake off that feeling.
That made her think that what Karaf had done might have been what he was looking for.
Despite this, the chamberlain’s next words had a melancholic tone.
“It seems that His Majesty is gradually blooming……”
It was a double-edged statement.
As an imperial flower, it was good for him to embrace enlightenment, but what the people wanted was for him to transform from a tyrant to a saint.
The chamberlain, who had been subtly observing her, spoke taking advantage of the situation.
“By the way, it seems that His Majesty has not been sleeping well at night lately.”
Not knowing anything, Asha eagerly took the bait he threw.
“I’m not sure about that….. but I heard him calling for Lady Vanessa in the middle of the night.”
Upon hearing this, Asha’s expression darkened slightly.
As the chamberlain watched her, Asha replied.
“Then I should go and put him to sleep tonight.”
“…..Really? Would you do that?”
The chamberlain spoke with a happy heart, and his words unintentionally came out in a loud and clear voice before he blushed and coughed awkwardly.
“No, please don’t misunderstand my words….”
A question mark rose above Asha’s head, but the chamberlain misunderstood the significance of her determination to put him to sleep as sexual intimacy.
Not knowing that, Asha did her best to make sure that she would put him to bed properly tonight.
However, the servants were more serious than usual, concentrating on the preparations for the bath.
This was Asha’s first time attempting to go to the emperor’s bedroom in the middle of the night, and everyone could tell what it meant.
Only Sonya looked at her with a worried expression.
Asha had a luxurious bath with massage and pearl powder dissolved in water but when she came to her senses, she was already wearing a silk nightgown and had been transported to Karaf’s room.
Karaf, who had returned to his bedroom after working late into the night, was surprised to see Asha in his room.
“Ah, Your Majesty.”
Asha replied, greeting him casually, while Karaf stuttered over his words.
“What, what are you doing here?”
“I came to help Your Majesty sleep. I heard you’ve been struggling with insomnia lately.”
Karaf couldn’t bear to say that the reason he suffered from insomnia as his head ached just thinking about the joint palace.
But when Asha stood in front of him in her silk nightgown, her hair unbound, his mind went blank and he felt as if his head had turned white.
“How did you know that?”
“The chamberlain informed me.”
“That senile old man……”
Thinking it was the chamberlain’s scheme, Karaf muttered with a frown.
He felt awful now that he thought the old man had gone to such lengths as to persuade Vanessa.
Asha, however, unaware of the situation, pushed a cart over to the bed.
“What’s all this?”
Karaf, who was lost in thought and didn’t even notice, asked curiously and was surprised.
Asha smiled and answered innocently.
“Your Majesty told me that reading history books at night helps to sleep better.”
Asha proudly showed him the books that she had borrowed from the temple library.
“Tonight, I will diligently read the books for you. You can focus and listen or even fall asleep while listening. It’s like killing two birds with one stone.”
At Asha’s innocent and naive words, Karaf was taken aback, and then he burst out laughing.
Asha asked curiously.
“Why are you laughing?”
He responded, wiping a small tear from his eye with his index finger.
“It seems like even Vanessa is having trouble sleeping these days.”
“Well, I… have a lot of books to read and things to worry about, so I have trouble sleeping.”
“Then, I should also warm up my body so that the Empress can sleep well.”
Asha’s body froze at those words.
It was only then that she realized she had walked into the lion’s den on her own.
Karaf looked at her and spoke mischievously.
“I was just joking. But I will indeed warm you up. Don’t you have a particularly low body temperature?”
“How did you know that?”
When Asha asked, slightly surprised, Karaf paused for a moment before answering with a melancholic expression.
“I know that much, at least.”
He remembered how her body always felt cold whenever they slept together in the past.
He wasn’t sure if it was just because she was nervous during their intimacy, but every time he held her hand or embraced her, he could feel her cold body.
However, he knew that his own body was also cold.
On days when the moon doesn’t rise, due to a curse, his body would burn like he was going crazy, while on other days, he would get cold as if trying to conserve energy.
The fact that he couldn’t warm Asha up with his own body was bittersweet.
Seeing her uneasy, Karaf spoke calmly to reassure her.
“……Don’t worry. I’ll take your hand and sleep. How can a flower touch the butterfly first?”
Despite Karaf’s attempt to calm her down, Asha still looked uneasy.
Karaf avoided her gaze and browsed through the books she had brought.
“You picked up a lot of really boring history books. I can’t help but fall asleep with these.”
“What a relief.”
“Although it’s a relief, I’ve already read all of these books.”
Asha asked in surprise.
The books he held were records of past emperors.
Karaf sighed and said.
“Yes. These books are must-reads from a very young age if you want to become an emperor. You need to know how messed up the previous emperors were in politics so you don’t repeat the same mistakes.”
Karaf glanced at her.
He didn’t mean to joke, but he felt pleased and happy seeing her laugh.
“Then read this book so that Your Majesty will also understand me.”
Asha said, presenting a book related to ethnic minorities.
Karaf laughed and said sarcastically.
“I guess you still don’t know what a minority enthusiast I am. There was a time when I gathered information like catching mice, if only that could break my curse.”
Asha turned her head and suddenly noticed a hot pink book on the table.
“Uh? What’s that…?”
Unknowingly, she tried to grab the eye-catching pink book, but Karaf shouted in surprise.
“Don’t look at that…!”
Suddenly, he reached out his hand from behind, making it seem like he was pouncing on her. His strong reaction caused Asha’s eyes to widen when she looked up at him.
Karaf’s face was red enough to be distinguishable even in the shadows.
Fortunately, Karaf managed to take the pink book before Asha did. He quickly got up, put it in a drawer, and locked it with several layers of padlocks.
However, his body trembled as if he had experienced something terrible, and he stomped and kicked the drawers comically.
“…… It had a pretty heart drawn on the cover.”
He immediately stopped and stiffened at Asha’s words.
“…… Did you see it?”
He asked horrified, turning his head.
Asha was startled, and she shook her head hastily, seeing those red eyes that could be seen in any horror novel.
Karaf hadn’t realized that he looked like a grim reaper who had just crawled out of the pit of hell.
It was a look that didn’t go well with the pink book with the cute heart on it.
Asha quickly erased her expression and spoke with a stern face.
“I only saw the heart on the cover. It was so big that I couldn’t miss it”
Karaf looked away, embarrassed, and his earlobes were burning red.
“…… Well, that’s good.”
Asha pretended to be calm, unable to bring herself to admit that she had seen the book’s title.
The title, written in red inside a large heart, was so eye-catching that it was impossible to miss.
[An amazing love dictionary that is useful to know. I am a Love Doctor! Confessions of a Real Man Who Captivates Women]
Karaf turned his back to her and lay down somewhat awkwardly, which was uncharacteristic of him.
Asha couldn’t help but secretly cover her mouth and giggle.
She couldn’t even imagine that he would try to win her affection with the help of a love book.
The more she thought about it, the more ridiculous his actions seemed to her, and she burst into laughter.
Feeling the bed shaking beneath him as Asha struggled to suppress her laughter, Karaf closed his eyes in embarrassment.
Asha playfully poked his arm.
“Are you already asleep?”
“In that case, I suppose I don’t need to read to you tonight.”
As Asha made out as if she was about to leave, Karaf finally turned around nervously.
Asha then presented a cute and innocent-looking picture book to him and asked.
“You said you’re a minority culture enthusiast, have you read this?”
“Isn’t this a fairy tale book for kids? I don’t think I’ve read it.”
Asha smiled and suggested.
“Then, shall I read it to you?”
Karaf quickly nodded in agreement.
The book Asha chose was a storybook about spirits, which was easily accessible to children from an early age in minority ethnic groups where spiritualism was prevalent.
There was a rumor that minority people had mysterious powers as they had made contracts with spirits since ancient times.
However, there were hardly any scholars who had studied them in-depth, and it was difficult to find any data on ethnic minorities in the imperial library, as they were already excluded from the Imperial Library.
Although a lot of it was exaggerated due to it being a myth, perhaps Karaf would find it interesting to hear.
Asha cleared her throat and began reading the book in a gentle tone as if she were telling a story to a child.
“Once upon a time, in the Etzheim Empire, there were five spirits.”
Karaf chuckled at the quaint opening line but listened attentively because her voice was soothing to hear.
“These were the spirits of fire, water, wind, earth, and lastly, flower. They all relied on each other to survive, and together, they worked to protect the Etzheim Empire.”
Asha read the fairy tale hoping to soften Karaf’s negative feelings towards minorities, and would occasionally look at Karaf.
“But fire and water always fought whenever they met. The wind and the earth were far apart from each other. The earth was jealous of the wind, which occupied only the vast sky. Eventually, they began to fight each other to expand their own power. Meanwhile, the flower gradually withered. The flower spirit had the highest vitality among the five spirits, but it was a weak being that could not live without the help of others.”
Karaf was completely absorbed in the story.
He was so focused that a wrinkle formed on his forehead.
Asha slowly read the next chapter.
“For the flower to flourish, it needs sunlight and water, it also needs air and soil. But while the four spirits fought, the flower burned, drowned in the water, could not grow its roots deep into the ground, and was buffeted by the strong wind… until it finally withered.”
“…..No, it can’t be!”
Suddenly, Karaf let out a roar and Asha stopped reading for a moment, looking at him with slightly wide eyes.
Karaf himself did not know that he had screamed, his eyes were shaking and he was out of breath.