If You Fall In Love With A Terminally Ill Princess - Chapter 4
Half a year later.
The subjugation forces returned to the Imperial Palace. They brought with them a piece of good news, and bad. The Emperor inquired Maron, the Commander of the Knights, to report.
“What is the good news that you have brought?”
“We successfully killed the dragon and dismantled its hide and the mana stone. We have brought it to the Imperial Palace. This exhibition, our forces had the lowest casualties ever, and the highest number of treasures obtained.”
“…and the bad?”
Maron’s eyes were on Kirona, sitting next to the emperor. An uneasy silence ensued.
“Maron, say it.”
Kirona urged. Maron avoided her gaze, and finally, after a long pause, opened his mouth.
“Jade Eclipse went missing in action. His body was not found… He is presumed dead.”
As she lived a life where death was predestined, Kirona learned a truth. Even if a person disappeared, the world continued to revolve. There was no such thing as an indispensable person in the world. This world, was ruthless. But a living person had to continue to live.
Eventually, one would get used to it.
In the end, Jade was right.
It had been five years since Jade Eclipse disappeared. Kirona had already become accustomed to the world without him. When she first heard the news, she cried. Her uncontrollable sobs racked her whole body so terribly, that the moisture in her body almost left her.
But now, it was all right.
She was still sad and missed him…but that was all. After all, Jade Eclipse to Kirona, was not an ‘indispensable person.’
Well, she would die soon anyway. It was comical to think about someone being indispensable.
Jade Eclipse, you idiot. If you’re going to die like that, at least say something before then go. I would have listened to anything. Do you know if you had confessed your love straight away, my heart would have been shaken. We could have slept together that night, if we were in the mood.
No, was that really love? Can I be sure that what I saw in Jade’s eyes that day was love?
Kirona shook her head. Five years was a long time. Now, she could not remember what his eyes were like.
Zelda, who sat across the desk from her, shouted at Kirona, whose expression was blank as her thoughts wandered. Kirona looked up in surprise.
“Your Grace, are you listening?”
“Huh? I’m listening.”
“I’m reading the Your Highness’ candidates for the birth father. Candidate number one, Count Adelon Bubahakasu. Newly emerging tycoon in the Midlands. In fact, he’s the power of the Midlands these days. Unmarried, twenty-six. He hasn’t been able to marry due to trade business in the past…”
“Your Highness, you were really listening, right?”
“Of course. I was listening. Keep reading.”
Kirona laid down the teacup and leaned against the armchair. Zelda Black, a knight who had been successfully filling Jade Eclipse’s vacancy for the last five years, took his eyes off the list he was holding and glanced at Kirona.
“I really was listening. You were talking about Count Habakazu.”
“It’s count Bubahakasu.”
“Darn it. Yeah, Bubahakasu or Buhakasuba, him anyway. That’s a very difficult name. He’s a foreigner? Did I ever sleep with a guy like that?”
“He’s not a foreigner, his mother is a South Coast immigrant. I guess that’s why the last name is exotic. Oh, looking at it again, it’s ‘Buabahahuk-Kahalesu’*. Five years ago, I’m certain he was your lover when you conceived Yuli. There’s a lot of evidence.”
“Give me a portrait. Let’s see. I might remember.”
Zelda pulled a sheet out of a mountain of piled paper. He was a muscular man with tanned skin and dark eyes. Kirona threw paper on the floor. He looked too hot.
“Why! I personally like this candidate the most!”
“No, I don’t like him. Drop!”
Kirona boldly dipped a quill in ink and crossed out the name of Count Bua-Ba-Ka-Hasu. Zelda yelled and hugged the portrait.
“Just because you don’t like his face doesn’t mean he can’t be a good father to her Highness Yuli. Please look at it broadly, Your Highness. I think he’s fine.”
“Zelda, do I look like a shameless person who chooses her daughter’s future by her preference in men?”
“No, seriously, listen. Of course, amongst the candidates, he’s the wealthiest. But his family is weak. Though it’s the golden age of fame, the old capital aristocrats are still in a rut. Money isn’t the only thing that you need to protect Yuli. I need a name too. The name of a dignified family! But Bua-ba-ka-hasu? Not this one. It’s too hard to pronounce, let alone talk of dignity.”
Zelda gave a look of doubt, but nodded, seemingly convinced. After a brief moment of silence, Kirona added.
“…Yes, to be honest, there are some that I didn’t like because they look so greasy. Was he really my lover? Did I sprain my eyes five years ago? Or was his face deteriorating in the meantime.”
“He’s so handsome. It’s because you’ve seen so many handsome men. According to the investigators, it’s clear as day that they were your lovers. The timing also aligns.”
Kirona muttered that it wasn’t possible, but she’d had so many lovers that she could not remember most of them.
Wasn’t that thick pile of portraits only from the lovers who she’d met at the time of her pregnancy? Among them, she must have narrowed down those who were good enough to be behind Yuli.
Zelda, who was flipping through the bundle of portraits of all the handsome men in the Empire, suddenly inquired out of curiosity.
“Your Highness, is there any man you think is really handsome?”
“Of course, I love handsome men.”
“Not just that, but to the point of admiration. You scoff unless they’re extraordinarily good looking. Looking at these portraits, you don’t seem to have a particular taste. They come in all sorts of types.”
“Look at Yuli’s face. Amongst the countless men, the man who made me give birth to Yuli’s face, must be the man that looks like Yuli!”
“Since Her Highness Yuli looks just like her mother, we are able to choose amongst these various candidates. Because we can’t find the biological father by face, everyone is so anxious that they snoop around the Imperial Palace. In the midst, they hope that they can become the biological father.”
“Yeah, I know she looks just like me. You know I’m joking. Thanks to this, the Imperial Household’s gold has become plentiful. She’s my daughter, but she’s praiseworthy.”
Kirona grinned and thought of the daughter she had in her belly. Yuli was the child who inherited golden eyes, the symbol of the imperial family, and Kirona’s wavy nightshade hair.
She was five years old this year. The first child born in the royal family in a long time.
Every spot the child stepped on was filled with laughter. The knights could not hide the smile that bloomed around their mouths whenever their eyes met with the child. The servants could not take the eyes off the child for a moment, fearing she might fall. During meal times, the Emperor only started to eat after seating the child on his lap.