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I was very nervous, and I grabbed my hands firmly. Both Soa and I were in shock that the Land Embracing Palace was calling for me. I was barely able to wear clothes, and Soa did my make up with her trembling hands. I simply put up my hair up and came to this Land Embracing Palace following the person that they sent. Right now I’m sitting down inside the inner palace.
“The Empress is entering.”
I stood up right away hearing an outside maid announcing and soon the door opened. Her hair was gorgeously put up with the gold yongjam (hairpin with the dragon’s head), and she was wearing a light violet colored dress. Her face with red lipstick was intimidating. She walked slowly and sat down and send away all the maids. And she looked at me with her cold eyes and pointed at a seat.
“I…I’m grateful, Your Highness.”
I barely replied and sat down slowly. I put my head down nervously thinking if she noticed anything.
“So, is it comfortable in the Heavenly Purified Palace?”
“Yes, it is.”
She said it like that and drank a sip of the tea that was already prepared.
“I like cooled down teas, so I always prepare beforehand. Do you enjoy teas?”
Her tone made me look at her unconsciously.
“I don’t enjoy it that much.”
“That’s too bad. I was about to ask you to try this good quality tea that just came in. To give that as a gift to a person who doesn’t enjoy tea is such a trouble.”
Her tone was confusing for me. I didn’t know if she was reproofing or not. But still she was drinking her tea and looked straight forward at me.
“Actually you and I can’t be in a situation where we enjoy our chatting like this. Since you are the Madame who entered the Heavenly Purified Palace, and I am the Empress.”
I was struggling not knowing how to reply to that, but she continued.
“Do you know all the North Empire’s tyrants in the past all had their Madames in the Heavely Purified Palace?”
I felt all of my blood was drying out after hearing that.
“It’s the fact. That’s why I was the first person to oppose His Majesty when he announced that he will take you in the Heavenly Purified Palace.”
“Do you know why?”
“I don’t know.”
“It’s because it’s not too much to say that the Emperors who took their Madames in the palace are half insane.”
“Your… Your Highness!”
I shouted with shock, and she smiled. Her smile on her cold face was very cold, but I didn’t feel any hostility.
“This is the fact also. But in the past, those emperors left their madames in there for a very short time. They probably had a headache because those women acted like they were the empress or something. But anyway while they were in the Heavenly Purified Palace, the emperors did whatever they asked. Even the things that would ruin the country. That’s why they are called tyrants.”
I said it like that, and she still didn’t erase her smile and continued.
“That’s why I opposed you. I knew he was obsessed with you than any other emperors in the past. It looked like he won’t even notice even he go bankrupted by giving everything to you. That’s why I opposed him more. But something was strange.”
She stood up and slowly came to me and looked down on me. I was trembling so much and looked at her I was scared that she might find out I’m a male.
“One day pa.s.sed, and two days pa.s.sed. I didn’t hear anything that something went out of the royal storage. I didn’t even hear the governments were being replaced. It was strange. Nothing was like this in the history. If it was His Majesty’s other concubines, they would act crazy to chop off my arms and legs. Or trying to grab everything from the royal storage.”
Her bitter words made me just blankly stare at her.
“And it was very memorable during the Planting Festival. Dragon’s fairy that calls out the rain. Because of your humble acts until now, all the conservative high officials are starting to look at you well.”
I didn’t know what the Empress was talking about. It started to give me a headache. She noticed my state and smiled her cold smile and went back to her seat.
“So, I’ll get to the point since you don’t seem to get it.”
Because her tone was either disregarding me or just considering me, I had a puzzled look.
“I, the North Empire’s Empress Yeonchu Sangah, will borrow the Yeonchu Family’s powder and become the small kingdom’s princess and this country’s Madame’s background.”
I replied like I was whispering. I didn’t even think that it was rude to stare at the Empress for so long. The Empress smiled like it was funny.
“Compare to being the dragon’s fairy, your face is too dopy."
“Your Highness, what did you mean earlier…”
“There is no meaning. Literally I will be your background, in other word I will be in place of your home country.”
“I…I don’t get…”
The Empress looked at my confused look and smiled deeply. She held her tea cup and continued.
“I don’t like you.”
“That’s easier for me to understand.”
I relaxed that finally there was something I understood. She raised her eye brows and drank one sip of her tea.
“Yes. There is no way for me to like you since you broke my pride into pieces as a woman. But I knew this was an arranged marriage, and I knew His Majesty doesn’t look at me more or less than an Empress ever since I got married to him. I have no intention of bullying you just because of that. My pride doesn’t allow that.”
She said it and took one more sip and continued talking.
“Then the only thing I’m really focusing is one thing. Make my husband into the greatest emperor in the history. That is my reputation, and my family’s reputation. And…”
She shook a small bell that was placed next to her. Then a maid carefully came in, and there was a small boy came in along. Unlike any other boys, his face was serious, handsome, and his body was built. Looking at his black eyes like black pearl, I knew this boy was his at once.”
“Unless you give birth to a child and threaten this child’s place, I can ignore that you took away His Majesty as a husband.”
The Empress looked at the boy and smiled gently to him, and the boy smiled along. The Empress moved her focus from me to this child.
“How are you doing today, First Prince?”
The boy replied briskly.
“I feel very good because the weather is really nice, Mother. I’m thinking of riding Wanah around the palace.”
“Oh, really? Then I can’t bother you. I will be waiting for you here and tell me all about it after riding Wanah, First Prince.”
“I will, Mother.”
He replied and was leaving the room and took a glimpse at me and ran outside the room. I looked at the Empress.
“Is that the only thing you worry?”
“Yes. There is nothing else I want from you except for that. If anything, this can be the shield from the other reckless concubines. Since you are obedient, innocent, and even better you don’t have greed and ambition, you are very convenient.”
I paused because the Empress treated a person like a tool. It looks like the only person that she actually has a meaning to is that boy who just went out. I closed my eyes and calmed myself down. I needed some time to organize all the things that the Empress had said like a hurricane. She was just drinking her tea like she is waiting for me. For a short time of a silence, I opened my eyes and looked at her.
“I don’t have anything I want.”
“I know. I knew it when I saw you during the Planting Festival. I predicted your character looking at your very humble looking dress. I heard a person like that existed, but I never actually met anyone like that. I was surprised.”
Even she said it like that, her face didn’t look any surprised at all. I sighed again.
“There won’t be anything you will worry about.”
Her one eye brow went up, but she didn’t ask further.
“I knew that.”
“Just let me stay in the palace.”
She put down her tea cup. It was first time seeing her eyes that dark.
“…You love His Majesty.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Then do you love somebody else?”
The Empress asked like she was attacking me, and I sighed again.
“See. It is His Majesty.”
She said it cynically and drank her tea. She opened her red lips again.
“His Majesty is a very lucky man.”
I didn’t understand what she said. I had a puzzled look, and her cold face had a smile again.
“What kind of a man has both women who will a.s.sist him to become the greatest emperor and who just loves him as who he is at the same time?”
I made a blank face after hearing her.
The door made an explosive sound and turned it into pieces. I couldn’t say a word because I was in shock, but the Empress just put down her tea cup and frowned little bit.
He was standing there holding a shining sword.