I Grabbed the Tyrant’s Heart - Chapter 24
I knew in my head that I wouldn’t be able to come personally now that he’s the Emperor. I emptied my mind thinking that he would have forgotten me, but I didn’t expect to meet him like this.
I didn’t know what he was thinking right now, and I didn’t know how to act.
So I followed what everyone else was doing. I stretched out my skirt, bent down, and recited a word to honor the Emperor.
“Oh no, everyone, raise your heads. In the Academy and the Consium where education is conducted, it does not have to be so formal.”
Everyone stood up without making a sound at the tone that lies between the border of friendly and businesslike. After a few moments of silence, a scarlet-haired girl came and stood next to me.
“Your Majesty, I am Lili from Xuen!”
Where was the girl with flashy eyes wanting to tear me before, only the girl with flushed cheeks remains.
“Aahh. I have something to ask you.”
“Yes, Your Majesty. Please ask me.”
Perhaps because the Emperor looked like he knew her, Lili Xuen looked boastful and the girls who looked at her with envying gaze came into sight.
“I think I heard something about the fallen Hardland. Is that what you said?”
“I asked if you talked about the fallen Hardland, did you not understand?”
“Th, that, Your Majesty.”
“The previous Emperor took everything from the innocent Hardland. That’s why I swore that Hardland would receive back everything they had, what they deserved.”
Lili Xuen, pale white, and the frightened girls behind her were seen as nothing by the expressionless Emperor.
“Dare you say again what you said?”
I stared blankly at the man with the murderous atmosphere.
“That, well. Your Majesty.”
I came to my senses to the gritting sound next to me.
“That, girl. That is.”
“If you can’t speak properly, how does the Marquisate educate you? If you dare say something like becoming the Empress, I will look quite stupid.”
Her face, which had been white of blatant ridicule, turned red.
“Because you dared to break an Imperial decree, I will cut off your head and hang it in front of the city gate. Drag her away.”
As soon as the Emperor finished speaking, the two knights in blue uniforms behind her stepped forward and grabbed Lili Xuen’s arms.
The Old Dean was startled and began to beg the Emperor.
“Your, Your Majesty. It’s a mistake made by a still young student. Be generous and forgive her just once.”
“It is unavoidable to prevent the country’s order from being disrupted.”
Ah, when he asked the students to raise their heads, the tone was not kindness, but coldness.
“Yes, Your Majesty. They are still at an age where learning can make a difference. Please have mercy.”
“I don’t want to lose the Dean too, so you can stop.”
I was bewildered by this appearance of a cold man as if made of ice.
Is he the person I know?
I couldn’t come close.
Aurin came to mind watching Lili Xuen’s scarlet hair as she howled and walked away. Her letters that I received during my long life away were a light and a salvation for me.
I took one step forward.
“Excuse me, Your Majesty.”
A drop of water fell, creating a ripple. Unintentionally receiving attention again, I chose to breathe.
“I am Euseniel Hardland.”
The man looks at me, urging me to speak.
“Lady Xuen has made a big mistake, but if Your Majesty forgives her, who is still young, with a heart of unlimited grace, then all people will look up to you.”
“She’s well past the age of six, that Xuen.”
I don’t know why she’s six, but I’m just asking him to forgive her. Being young is an excuse.
Was it a misunderstanding that there were parts of him that didn’t change?
“Forgiveness is Your Majesty’s domain, and this lowly person dared to presume.”
As I bent down again, a large hand clasped my shoulder. When I looked up, I still saw the man’s expressionless face.
But I seemed to know the feeling behind it.
“Don’t kill Lili Xuen, just lock her in the basement of the Imperial Palace.”
The other remaining knights left to carry out the order. The Dean clasped his two hands and shouted in admiration.
“Your Majesty’s heart will move us all!”
“You have to admire Lady Hardland’s heart. Asking forgiveness for those who insulted her family, is it something everyone can do?”
“Yes, of course.”
The Dean’s affirmative tone was closer to ‘It’s amazing to talk to this scary Emperor!’ rather than saying I was kind.
“I will tour the academy, so the Dean can go and do some work.”
“I will guide-”
“It would be nice if the current student could help.”
With an ominous premonition, I slowly retreated.
Like how I expected it, his round eyes turned towards me.
“I ask Lady Euseniel Hardland for guidance.”
The man’s red lips as he looked at me, who could not bear to answer, rose in satisfaction.
* * *
“This is a joint area of the Academy and the Consium. If you look over there, you will see a building with a round roof.”
“Not a building, but a forest.”
“There was a forest here.”
“If you want the promenade, you have to go that way. I will guide you.”
Fortunately, everyone was in the auditorium, so it was quiet outside. I saw some students, but they seemed busy going to the auditorium.
If I had received a lot of attention here, I would have been really exhausted.
If you go to the Concium, there is a pretty deep forest around the lake. The promenade was well paved, so I guided the Emperor there.
No one spoke as we walked. Is he the kid I know?
His behavior is familiar, but how can a person change like that? Maybe he was the second prince. No, he’s too big for the second prince. The second prince is only 12 years old, so he must be smaller than Gael.
“This is a promenade made for the students of the Academy and the Concium.”
The man was still speechless. He just stared at me with dark eyes.
“It’s just the two of us here. So, don’t bow down, and don’t use titles.”
I felt nostalgic at those familiar words.
With a low whisper, the tips of his long, white fingers left a trace of red on my cheek and reached my ear. Soft palms wrapped around my face, wanting to lift it slightly.
“Look at me, Euseniel.”
The black eyes are staring straight at me. I shook my head because I felt like I was going to be enchanted just by seeing them.
And I shook off the man’s hand that was touching my cheek.
Black hair flowed down the straight forehead of the man who tilted his head slightly to the side.
I couldn’t decide what to say or what face to make when I saw the child who I had been with in my childhood.
I was choosing which of the many questions to ask first, out of countless questions about why my family had to be evicted, why he hadn’t contacted me, and how he’s been doing for a long time.
But the list of questions I was thinking of didn’t include ‘how and why did you change like this’.
The man said earnestly.
“Euseniel, are you mad that I came to see you so late? Is that why you’re acting like this? Sorry. I’m sorry, Euseniel. Sorry I’m so late. I was wrong.”
I took a step backwards under those wet black eyes.
What made me even more bewildered was this man’s appearance. My childhood friend was now my perfect ideal type. There were no words to describe how handsome he was.
His hair and eye color, as well as his height and body, pale double eyelids, a sharp nose, and a straight mouth and jawline are my favorites. Those trembling eyelashes and the bewitching beauty that runs down the corners of his eyes.
My childhood friend with blonde hair and blue eyes would never have been like this.
“Euseniel. Please. I was wrong.”
I backed away from the approaching man.
“Don’t avoid me. Please don’t.”
Whispering in a tone close to growling, the man reached out his hand and grabbed me. A soft touch wrapped around my hand.
The wet eyes looked very similar to those I knew, so I opened my mouth without realizing it.
I carefully recited my name. Then, the man’s distorted eyes widened dramatically.