Predatory Marriage - Chapter 237
Chapter 237 – Strange Potion (1)
Translator: Atlas / Editor: Regan
Soon the King of Estia would be married.
Oddly, it would be to his half-sister, the Princess Leah. But the nobles of Estia accepted this unusual marriage without any objection. Even the emissaries from other countries began to accept it as if it were natural, though they had been clearly uncomfortable when they first arrived.
It seemed that the longer they stayed in the palace, the more accepting they became of the incestuous marriage. They were no different from the Estian nobles.
“Why does no one express another opinion?”
The clear voice echoed through the Cabinet Council. Leah looked at the line of noblemen sitting there like scarecrows. An elderly gentleman with a dense white beard spoke.
“It’s because I think the Princess is right.”
“I will obey the will of the royal family,” another man agreed.
“Please don’t misunderstand our loyalty,” said a third.
Leah had to laugh at this loyalty to the royal family.
“If I said I planned to behead all of you,” Leah began, looking at them coldly, “would you agree with that, as well?”
They blinked as if they didn’t understand the question. Even Minister Laurent looked perplexed when she met his eyes. The seat beside him where Count Valtein always sat was empty.
“That’s enough,” Leah declared. “That will conclude today’s meeting.”
There were still more problems to discuss, but these meetings were pointless. No one discussed anything. Leah would just have to take care of them on her own.
The noblemen remained behind after the meeting, huddling in groups and chatting as they always had. Conversations about casual topics seemed normal. They even burst out laughing occasionally. Leah was the only one who didn’t belong.
It would have been easy just to go along with it. Everything would have flowed like water, if she just let it happen. But Leah didn’t plan to give in. Pursing her lips, she looked at the crowd around her.
She had to make them uncomfortable.
Leah had realized the strangeness of her situation partially with Ishakan’s help, but even before he had come, she had had a constant sense that something was wrong. That feeling was what had first awakened her to the possibility of a problem.
She had tried to provoke them today, but nothing had worked so far. She needed something more extreme to jolt them awake.
Lost in her thoughts, she was about to leave the conference when someone moved to intercept her. Leah looked up, startled.
“Byun Gyeongbaek Of Oberde…?”
“Let the light shine on Estia,” Byun said politely. “It’s good to see you, Princess.”
Byun Gyeongbaek Of Oberde ruled the western border, the territory bordering Kurkan. He was politically influential, so it was important to maintain a good relationship with him, but Leah didn’t like him much. He had a creepy air about him and kept stealing glances at her body whenever they spoke. She had caught him watching her almost obsessively, and when she wore dresses with a lower-cut bodice, like today, he shamelessly stared at her cleavage.
And when he bent to kiss the back of her hand, his lips lingered longer than they should have.
If she hadn’t been a princess, she felt sure that he would have used his influence to do worse.
But today, he wasn’t doing any of those things. Instead the normally arrogant man just looked frightened, wiping a visible sweat from his forehead with a handkerchief. Leah looked at him in puzzlement as he hesitated.
“Maybe the Princess…” He began awkwardly. “The barbarians…”
Her eyes widened at the mention of the Kurkans, and she waited for him to finish the thought. But Byun Gyeongbaek shut his mouth.
“It was nothing. A slip of the tongue,” he said. “Please forget it.”
Though she tried to stop him, he quickly escaped without even a token attempt at dignity. Stunned, Leah left the conference room soon after.
Why was he suddenly behaving that way? It must mean something. Next time, she would catch him and question him.
“Princess.” Her ladies-in-waiting bowed and fell into step behind her as she returned to her palace.
All the knights and ladies who had been at the peach orchard had returned safely. She had heard they had been given a sleep elixir, and when they woke up, they had been taken away and trapped in some faraway place. They had eventually been released and allowed to return.
And none of them spoke of it. As if it were forbidden.
The troublesome Lady Mirael had disappeared without a trace. There was no sign she had even visited her new, luxurious mansion. And Blain was completely disinterested in her disappearance. No one in the palace even spoke of her.
It was as if she had never existed.