Predatory Marriage - Chapter 348
Chapter 348 – Banquet (2)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
Quickly, he withdrew his hand, and they headed for the banquet hall.
The emissaries from Balkat had already arrived. After concluding their conversation with some Estian nobles, they immediately came forward to greet Leah and Ishakan.
Her eyes met Herod’s, who was approaching at the front of the delegation. Immediately, his eyes flashed a greeting, and Leah looked away, pretending not to have noticed.
But where was the Queen of Balkat?
She was not at the King’s side. Even as Leah looked over the other dignitaries, she saw someone who resembled the Queen. Though she had heard rumors that the two had a bad relationship, she had not expected the Queen to refuse to attend a public event.
It would be considered a major diplomatic breach if the Queen did not attend. And Balkat was not in a position to make such blunders with Estia.
But she did not think Herod was someone stupid enough to make such obvious mistakes. It was hard to guess what his intentions might be.
“Let the light shine on Estia,” he said. “I am Herod of Balkat.”
He greeted her graciously, with a light kiss on the back of her hand. There was no obvious s3xual intent in his greeting.
“We have prepared a light entertainment as thanks for Estia’s hospitality.”
The watching nobility looked interested at the word entertainment. Leah nodded her approval to allow whatever Balkat had prepared to be presented in the banquet hall.
“I hope you enjoy it,” Herod told Leah, smiling.
To the rhythm of music, women entered the banquet hall, dancers dressed in the Kurkan style. All eyes were focused on this talented display in the center of the hall.
Leah watched, but without much interest. But suddenly, she cocked her head to one side. Among the many dancers, there was one that stood out, a lone woman dressed in red when all the other dancers were dressed in white.
She had emerald eyes seductive as a snake’s, and a mole under one eye only accentuated the beauty of her face. Her dancing was sensual, displaying the attributes of her body, as if her red clothes were rose petals fluttering around her.
The eyes of the watchers were drawn more and more to her, and she was obviously pleased to realize it.
The music moved faster. The moment it reached its crescendo, the dancers all threw their hands upward together, raising swaths of concealing fabric up into walls.
That fabric blocked everyone’s vision, and the eyes of the watching Kurkans went cold. As one, their pupils contracted. But as the curtains of fabric dropped, and no weapons were revealed behind them, the Kurkans began applauding as cheerfully as if nothing had ever happened.
All that had changed was the dancer in red. Now she wore gold jewelry, a long cloak, and a small crown upon her head. It was far too rich for a simple dancer, and she approached Leah and Ishakan in graceful, dancing strides, her jewelry jingling.
“Let the light shine on Estia. ”
She stopped before Leah and Ishakan, laying her hand upon her breast.
“I am the Queen of Balkat, Judia.”
There was a commotion among those present at the words. No one had ever heard of a Queen presenting herself in such an unconventional manner, and murmurs rose among the Estian nobility. The emissaries of Balkat, however, were indifferent. They appeared to be used to it.
Leah had heard such decadence was common in Balkat, but she hadn’t expected anything like this. Leah tried to hide her reactions, but their culture was truly shocking.
Ignoring all the murmurs, Judia looked directly at Ishakan.
“It is a pleasure to meet the King of Kurkan.”
Balkat was seeking peace with Estia. Estia’s ruler was Leah.
But Queen Judia was pointedly ignoring her, even when she was standing right before her. Incensed, Leah opened her mouth to reprimand the woman, but then she felt a warmth on her hand. Ishakan had reached for her. But when she turned to look at him, he was looking at Judia.
“Strange,” he said. “Isn’t Balkat supposed to be seeking peace with Estia?”
The Queen’s eyes widened slightly at the blunt question. In diplomatic terms, it was surprising for anyone to be so straightforward.
“We want a good relationship with both kingdoms,” she soon responded nonchalantly.
She smiled. The enchanting scent of perfume wafted forth.
“Especially…deeper relations with Kurkan.”
It was impossible to misunderstand what she meant. Her eyes sparkled, filled with confidence that Ishakan would not be able to resist her charms.
Ishakan wrapped his arm around Leah’s waist.
“That’s a pity, when I only listen to my wife.”