Predatory Marriage - Chapter 163
Leah decided not to worry about what Ishakan might be hiding. It was enough to concentrate on Byun Gyeongbaek. She believed he wouldn’t passively accept what had happened. She had assumed that he would gather his troops to attack immediately, but he had been more patient than she expected. Given his temperament, his reaction was almost too moderate.
But he had been colluding with the followers of the former King of Kurkan. That was strange from a man who had always despised Kurkans and called them barbarians. Suddenly, she wondered.
Had he really successfully defended the frontier with the Kurkans? The eyes of the royals had never reached as far as the western frontier. They had always believed what Byun Gyeongbaek told them. More than once, Leah had tried to inquire herself, but there was little information that could be obtained within the palace, and she didn’t have the resources to look deeper into the matter herself. She had decided to focus her efforts elsewhere.
In retrospect, everything had changed drastically the moment Ishakan had killed the former King and took the throne. Perhaps there was something more to the truth.
“I’ve come to find you, Leah,” said Haban. Since Ishakan and Genin were both busy, Haban had come to take her to the Kurkan sorcerers.
They talked of many things on the way there, and when Haban casually mentioned how busy everyone was preparing for an expedition, Leah swallowed hard. She didn’t need to ask where they were going, but it was a shocking thought to her. An expedition to Estia, no doubt.
When Ishakan had said he would give her a gift, was this what he meant? He was always doing things she would never have imagined him doing.
“We plan to spill as little blood as possible,” Haban added as he looked at Leah’s face. “There are still many things to do. The date for the expedition was set for a month from now, but I think it will be later.”
By things to do, he must mean Byun Gyeonbaek. It would be best to take the opportunity to deal with him, but if they focused all their efforts there, it could result in the Estian royal family escaping. The better strategy would be to press just enough to keep Byun Gyeongbaek busy. That was probably what Ishakan would do.
Haban hummed as he walked on, and Leah gripped the skirt of her dress in her fingers. Her heart was pounding at the mention of Estia, and she heard the rattle of chains in her ears. It was a small sound, faint, but felt so real Leah had to resist the urge to cover her ears. Subtly, she lifted the hem of her skirt to make sure nothing was tied around her ankles.
She thought of Ishakan. She was in the desert, in Ishakan’s land. Even if there had been chains on her ankles, it would be because Ishakan had put them there.
“Oh, and I heard you’re getting married,” Haban added excitedly, bringing Leah back to herself. She had been imagining golden eyes. “There will probably be a wedding first, so it may be two months before the expedition.”
Apparently the news of the wedding had spread quickly.
His happiness calmed her anxiety. Leah banished her unnecessary thoughts and silently followed him. After a while, they arrived at a spacious hall that Haban explained was originally a banquet hall. Now it was filled with medicinal herbs, crystal orbs, books, braziers, and many other things, and in the center were several Kurkans debating fiercely.
“Leah!” Morga noticed her first and quickly came to greet her. The other sorcerers quickly followed, surrounding her. Among all the Kurkans, they were the thirteen most powerful sorcerers.
They had been given permission to look at Leah, so they surrounded her, unblinking, staring at her silver hair.
“It’s an honor to meet you, Leah…” They finally said in very soft voices.
Leah smiled and waved a hand.
“You can talk to me normally.”
It appeared she wouldn’t break. The sorcerers raised their voices slightly to greet her again.
“Today we will try to find out what kind of spells you have,” said Morga. “We will find a solution, you can trust me.”
Leah nodded at his words, and one of the other sorcerers turned and called out to her.
“Leah!” His eyes filled as he approached. It wasn’t just sympathy. He was looking at her as if he were looking at a god. “My daughter was taken as a slave. But thanks to you, she was able to return to the desert.” His voice was thick with tears. “Thank you for this chance to repay my debt.”
The words made her feel strange. All this time, she had thought that everything she had done as Princess had been in vain, erased when she was handed over to Byun Gyeongbaek.