Author: Ann Editor: Ann

“……Your Majesty?”

 

Meredith looked at the emperor holding her with a puzzled look.

 

He seemed surprised for a moment, but soon returned to his usual expressionless face and asked.

 

“Are you okay?”

 

“Ah, yes.”

 

“Then come down.”

 

“What?”

 

“It’s a little hard during the day.”

 

“Ah.”

 

Only then did Meredith realize that the sun had not set yet.

 

She quickly descended from the emperor’s arms, frightened as if she had made a very grave mistake.

 

And asked with a worried look.

 

“Are you alright? Maybe you feel pain in your chest. ······.”

 

“You look at me as if I’m a seriously ill patient.”

 

“You are seriously ill during the day.”

 

“……” 

 

It wasn’t wrong, but somehow I felt bad, and the emperor looked somewhat unhappy.

 

“Given that you’re talking about chest pain, you must have met Sir Jerome.”

 

“Yes. I called him last night, using insomnia as an excuse.”

 

I actually didn’t hear much, but.

 

I didn’t bother to talk about it because I was afraid the emperor might look at me with untrustworthy eyes again.

 

“But what brings you here……. How did you know about this place?”

 

Meredith asked in a voice full of wonder.

 

“It’s a very small corner on the second floor, and there was no one around.”

 

“You’re not very good at acting but also at looking around.”

 

“What?”

 

“I was behind the bookshelf before. You didn’t notice?”

 

“Ah····· Yes.”

 

Meredith had a look of great bewilderment.

 

“I had no idea.”

 

“I’m glad it was me.”

 

“But I don’t think I did anything too wrong.”

 

“You almost fell.”

 

The emperor pointed out what that meant.

 

“What if you broke a bone?”

 

“As long as my hands are intact, I won’t have any trouble working and reading.”

 

“……That’s very positive.”

 

The emperor replied with an expression of absurdity.

 

“So, are you hurt?”

 

“Thanks to you, I’m fine. Thank you for saving my life, Your Majesty.”

 

“I only came because I was anxious since the chair creaked.”

 

“Maybe the library is very quiet and you can hear all sorts of things.”

 

Meredith murmured with a slightly awkward look.

 

“Is your Majesty all right? Are you sure you’re not feeling worse?”

 

“It’s okay. Maybe it’s time for the sun to set soon.”

 

“Then it’s most painful at dawn.”

 

“Well, I’m used to it. More than that ·····.”

 

The emperor slowly bent down and picked up a book that had fallen on the floor.

 

Then he handed it to Meredith and asked.

 

“Did you try to get this book out?”

 

<The real reason black magic is banned>

 

····· If other people had seen it, it would have been a big deal.

 

“Yes, Your Majesty, thank you.”

 

Meredith quickly received the book from the emperor.

 

Immediately a complaining sound came out of her mouth.

 

“But I don’t think it’s going to help.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Yes, I’ve been looking around and I don’t think there’s any book I want here.”

 

“You mean you need access to the prohibited books, right?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“……Prohibited books are kept in secret bookshelves.”

 

The emperor opened his mouth after a thoughtful look.

 

“I’m the only one who has a key to it.”

 

“That’s great. I was worried that I should ask the librarian.”

 

Meredith reached out both hands to the emperor. The emperor looked at Meredith with an expression asking what she was asking.

 

“Please give it to me, the secret bookshelf key.”

 

As if he had left the key to her, Theodore smiled with an embarrassed face.

 

“You’re not thinking about going in right now, are you?”

 

“It’s time for the library to close soon, so I’ll take advantage of it.”

 

“Don’t do that, go with me.”

 

“……What?”

 

“Come with me.”

 

The emperor added as if he had forgotten.

 

“At night.”

 

“It’s enough for me to go alone, Your Majesty. You may have to take care of the backlogged work of the day ……”

 

“First. If you come here alone in the evening when the library door is closed, whoever sees it, wouldn’t they be suspicious of you?”

 

The emperor soon lifted his second finger and added a reason.

 

“Secondly, I can’t hand over the keys to the secret book to others.”

 

“Ah·····.”

 

“Don’t you understand what I mean when I’m the only one with the keys to it?”

 

“No, I see.”

 

Meredith concluded with a gloomy face.

 

“You don’t trust me after all.”

 

“That’s another reason.”

 

Meredith narrowed her forehead without realizing it, looking at the emperor who didn’t deny it.

 

“You’d better come with me at night for the first reason.”

 

“But wouldn’t I be less conspicuous if I moved by myself?”

 

“No, always be prepared for things to go wrong.”

 

“You mean when you get caught?”

 

“Don’t you think we should be together for a good reason?”

 

“A good reason?”

 

“You can say you’re on a date.”

 

“…to a closed library at night?”

 

It’s not some kind of a horror experience. Meredith was taken aback.
(t/n: she’s questioning(?) if going to a closed library at night is not some kind of a horror experience.)

 

“I don’t think anyone will believe me.”

 

“Anyway.”

 

He also thought it was a little unreasonable, and the emperor coughed embarrassingly.

 

“There’s a passage in the central palace that’s less visible to other people.”

 

It’s like the secret passage he mentioned last time.

 

“It would be safe to move through it together.”

 

“Okay.”

 

Meredith quickly agreed.

 

“Then, I will tell the maids of the Empress Palace that I’m going to the central palace.”

 

“Yeah. That would make your tail much less likely to be stepped on.”
(t/n: 꼬리(를) 밟히다 is a korean idiom which literally means ‘one’s tail is stepped on’. Meaning: For one’s whereabouts that had been concealed to be discovered. Here he is saying that would make others less likely to discover/ be suspicious of them.)

 

“I guess so. I’ll see you at the palace at night.”

 

Meredith quickly wrapped up the conversation and bowed down toward the emperor.

 

And immediately turned her back on the emperor and went outside.

 

“…..”

 

The emperor gazed at the back for a long time with eyes filled with unknown meaning.

 

***

 

The night came when I finished dinner.

 

As the time to go to bed approached, Meredith told Yulia her promise to the emperor.

 

“I’m thinking of going to the central palace now.”

 

Yulia’s eyes went wide when she heard Meredith.

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“Yes, I thought it would be better to spend as much time as possible to get a little closer to His Majesty.”

 

Meredith was stabbed and added an excuse.

 

“During the day, he and I have work to do, so I can’t help it but to meet at night.”

 

“Good idea, Your Majesty. That’s how you’re getting closer to His Majesty.”

 

Yulia looked delighted as if Meredith had a very commendable idea.

 

“I’ll bring the brush right away. Please wait.”

 

Meredith wore a cream-colored brush brought by Yulia and headed for the central palace.

 

I could feel the excitement of even the maids in the background.

 

Meredith somehow felt stabbed in the conscience.

 

‘It would be great if I were going for such a harmonious reason, but…’

 

I’m afraid I’ve been at odds with the Emperor from the very beginning.

 

‘If I hadn’t seen the scene in question on the first night of my wedding… … ?’

 

It would have been often that she would step into the central palace for the purpose of becoming really friendly.

 

Well, it’s all a useless assumption now.

 

“I see Her Majesty. May peace and well-being be with you.”

 

“Sir Felix, I see you again. I’m here to see His Majesty.”

 

“Oh, yes, let’s go in.”

 

Whether or not he had been told by the emperor, Felix gently let Meredith inside.

 

And go into the bedroom and sleep…

 

“Have you come?”

 

There was the emperor who was dressed in a night robe. 

 

Meredith was taken aback for a moment.

 

‘It’s night, so it’s obvious.’

 

The reason why I was embarrassed when I saw that was probably because of the thin cloth that was slightly visible.

 

Meredith quickly emptied her mind of unnecessary distraction.

 

“······ I see the Emperor.”

 

As she bowed down gracefully and straightened her waist, she noticed the emperor’s face, which was strangely different from before.

 

Even at night, it seemed difficult to completely remove the exhaustion from the face due to the illness during the day.

 

But there was no sign of exhaustion in him at night.

 

The shade beneath the eyes even gave off a dangerous and deadly atmosphere.

 

“Can I leave now?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

With a brief agreement, Meredith tried to go back where she came from.

 

And then, someone grabbed Meredith by the shoulder from behind.

 

“Ah·····.”

 

Surprised, Meredith quickly turned her head back.

 

The emperor was looking at her with an expressionless face.

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