Episode 5. Precursor symptoms
It was a normal day.
She ate her usual lunch, had her usual tea time, and ate lots of cakes and cookies.
Of course, it was pretty sad that she was all behind bars, but she had gotten used to the idea of being locked up, so she didn’t mind.
Anyway, it was a normal day, and it wasn’t until the sun was setting that she greeted the returning Emperor with her usual soulless greeting.
His expression was grimmer than usual as if something bad had happened.
Ashria stiffened with nervousness as she watched Askaar enter the cage with a somewhat nervous gait.
He was notorious for lashing out at her whenever something unpleasant happened, and Ashria felt that she needed to stay out of his sight even more today.
Ashria didn’t hesitate at the last word and dropped to the ground like a dog in front of him. She had a sinking feeling that if she hesitated on a day like this, she might end up with her limbs chopped off and her torso shredded.
So she did something he hadn’t asked her to do. She pushed the fabric covering her p*ssy aside slightly, and her plump, interlocking labia spread wide of their own accord.
This gave him a full view of her tautly swollen cl*toris through the gap in her immaculate flesh.
Askaar quickly unbuckled himself. He pulled out his thick c*ck through the front of his shirt and stroked the tip against her parched h*le, which was dry from lack of stimulation.
Without proper stroking, the dry hole was very small and narrow. As the fist-sized glans began to throb with force, her v*g*na gaped open to receive it, but there was no way she could take it.
Knowing that penetrating her like this would cause a moan of pain to escape her mouth, Askaar didn’t mind in the slightest, forcing her hole open.
Despite the pitiful shuddering of her body, which seemed to be whiter than ever, his face was as cold and harsh as always.
Ashria’s pain didn’t matter to him; he was the kind of man who thought it was more important to make himself feel better right now.
he was that kind of man.
At least until her tiny, rabbit-like body collapsed helplessly to her side, her white sheets stained with blood.
The unfamiliar sound of a cough echoed like cold water in a room that was slowly filling with fever.
For a moment, Ashria felt her vision go white as a shredding pain ripped through her lungs.
She hadn’t wanted to show weakness in front of Askaar, so she hadn’t made the slightest sound of regret.
She had been f*cked by horses, r*ped by countless men, and burned alive by fire, but she had managed to keep her wits about her.
Ashria felt her mind fade in an instant.
She still has a bit of time before the black magic takes her breath away… She was bewildered by the unexpected turn of events.
Even though she knew she was destined to die, she didn’t want to go down in history as the maiden who died suddenly while trying to have s*x with her father.
Along with her flirtatious thoughts, she realized it was blood that was spitting out of her mouth.
The gurgling, foul liquid flowed out of her mouth in a steady stream. The pure white blanket, which the servants must have washed diligently, had long since become stained after blinking a couple of times.
Her vision was blurry and her ears were deafening. She thought Askaar was calling out to her for some reason, but it was muffled enough that she couldn’t hear out what he was saying.
All she could see was contained only blood-stained sheets.
Oh, my God, she can’t believe she’d coughing up so much blood from her miserable body.
Her vision pulsed with dizziness.
She was going to die today. It was sudden, but it was the moment she had always hoped for, and she was willing to let go.
Even though she was looking at a bed covered in her blood, she felt very calm. She wasn’t strangely surprised.
Was this what everyone did when they were about to die?
The pain that felt like her lungs were being torn apart had long since passed.
Now she felt calm as if her body was floating on a cloud. Sure, her body was spitting up blood and lying on the ground, but her mind felt like it was flying in the sky….
Her eyelids felt heavy. Ashria lowered her eyelids, not bothering to stop them from closing.
She could hear a familiar voice screaming in her ear, but it didn’t matter.
If she closes her eyes now, she’ll never see that face again.
* * *
It was strange. In none of the records has there been a member of the royal family who fainted and vomited blood due to weakness?
Askaar’s hands shook as he nervously scanned the records of his ancestors.
Anyone with a reputation as a skilled doctor, even if they weren’t an imperial physician, would be brought in to examine Ashria.
More than a dozen doctors had already done so. And yet they all said there was nothing wrong with her. It was a strange thing, then. Ashria was covered in blood and passed out, and yet every single one of them said she was fine.
It wasn’t until the number of doctors in and out of the palace had passed the twenty mark that an impatient Askaar spoke up.
“There isn’t a single decent doctor in the country?”
Ashria was in such bad shape that it wouldn’t be surprising if she was out of breath forever. Looking at her, her face pale and her eyes closed, she felt like she was looking at a corpse, and an unpleasant chill ran down her spine.
he wonders what the hell is going on.
“Her body seems to be a little weak, but as usual, she doesn’t see anything wrong with her….”
“But why the hell, she won’t wake up!”
It’s been a week since Ashria collapsed like that. For the entire week, she had been sleeping as motionless as a truly dead person.
At first, he wondered if she was trying to pull a fast one to get out of her cage. But that thought didn’t last long.
“I wonder if… something happened to her, not physically, but mentally….”
The doctor blurted out, his mouth moving as he tried to stay alive in front of the aged Askaar.
Little did he know that his words would only make Askaar’s expression harden even more.
“Isn’t that… wow, isn’t it said that even plants thrive when you say nice things to them, and the same goes for people… I wonder if she collapsed because she wanted to escape reality for mental reasons….”
The doctor couldn’t organize what this meant as he spoke. But he couldn’t stop talking because he was afraid of the glaring eyes staring at him. he realized that if he stopped talking, his heart would be next.
“Well, it’s not like there aren’t cases of… oh, it’s not like there aren’t cases, it’s clearly in the records… and… well, since she’d been asleep for so long… I wonder if there isn’t a reason why she wouldn’t wake up….”
Askaar, who had been tight-lipped for a while, clenched his fists and crinkled his brow.
That bitch, who wouldn’t blink an eye no matter how much he tormented her, collapsed because she wanted to escape reality? No way. This is bullshit.
Even though Askaar thought that he couldn’t bring himself to dismiss the doctor.
Even when she was burned alive, she didn’t show any emotion other than physiological screams and tears. If he knew nothing else, he knew she was poisonous.
It was a shame that Ashria was so mentally ill.
A wild dog passing by would laugh at that. I’m sure it’s true…
“Well, if you say a lot of nice things to the Empress… maybe she’ll have a better chance of waking up.”
Askaar snorted in disbelief at the quack doctor’s words.
I’m supposed to say nice things to the Empress, just so she can stay awake and not have to deal with an obnoxious little bitch who gets on my nerves?
He was offended. An indescribable emotion coursed through him, rising to his toes.
He chewed on his lip slightly as he glared at Ashria’s pained face.
“You’re talking nonsense.”
The doctor’s head jerked up at the next words.
“Get out of here now.”
I’m going to die, he thought. But somehow, Askaar didn’t punish or kill him; he simply threw him out of the palace. He’d sent him back the way he’d come since he wasn’t a palace doctor in the first place.
When the doctor is gone, it is just Askaar and Ashria in the room.
Over a week, her pale cheeks had grown even thinner and become worse, they were no better than the bums on the streets. Askaar gritted his teeth and kept his anger to himself.
He didn’t know why he was angry. He didn’t even know who it was directed at.
“Did you think you could get out of the cage by lying there and pretending to be sick?”
Askaar said with deliberate sarcasm, even though he knew she wasn’t pretending to be sick on purpose.
“Who are you to be so clever.”
Yes, she was a clever bitch, which didn’t explain how she ended up like this.
Like Lourraine before her, she must have taken after her mother, trying to be clever and get my attention.
She was skinny as a skeleton, her white skin as cold as a field of snow, and the deep hole between her legs hotter and stickier than anything else. She must have gotten my attention by having such a hole and nonchalantly spreading her legs as if she were bothered by it.
The other girls were desperate for a win, but this girl must have faked disinterest on purpose to get on my nerves.
The way she raised the corners of her mouth like other girls her age at a mere slice of cake, the way she groped for the sofa with a quizzical look on her face as if the fluffy couch was new, the way she ran around like a puppy as if the lakes in the mountains were new to her.
It was all done on purpose to get my attention.
All of the scribbles she hid under her pillow in plain sight. All of it…
I want to go west again
To be called by name
I wonder about the snow, the ocean, the leaves, the tulip fields.
Eating sandwiches on a mat in the grass.
Suddenly, the scribbles she had scribbled out of context came to mind. Askaar spat out a short stream of profanity and impatiently kicked the coffee table next to her.
The heavy marble table flew out of his hands and smashed into the wall with a loud crack. Still frustrated, he let out a ragged breath as he smashed the couch, then the small drawers and nightstand.
Even as the sound echoed through the room, Ashria remained asleep, her face serene.
He couldn’t help but feel angry at the selfish man for being so frustrated, while the person responsible was sleeping like she was more comfortable than ever in the world.
The whole thing was just annoying. He was annoyed with Ashria for turning her insides upside down.
He dried his face, knowing that if she woke up, he’d be in for a rude awakening.
If she ever woke up, he was going to make her pay for making him feel like a dog.
I’d tie her up in her room for a week, slam my c*ck into her tiny flesh, and if that didn’t work, I’d make her spread her legs and squirm on top of me in front of a bunch of nobles to make sure she knew exactly who she belonged to.
That wasn’t enough.
I didn’t just lock you in a cage and leave you there, because I didn’t know when or how it would happen again, I tied your hands to mine and dragged you like a dog everywhere I went.
From the moment she woke up in the morning until the moment she went to sleep at night, she would stick to me like a dog, ignoring doctors, whether she was in pain or bored.
She would beg me to let her go, but I wouldn’t listen. Even if she had to go to the bathroom, I would follow her in case she made a fool of herself.
How many more horrifying thoughts would she go through if Ashria knew?
“I wonder if there is any reason why you want to wake up… .”
Suddenly, the doctor’s words echoed in my head.
“No reason you want to wake up?”
She has blood in her veins that could bring the world to its knees if I die, She’s the only one of so many people in this world who inherited my blood so strongly, and then she has no reason to wake up.
Askaar was not convinced.
But at that moment. As if his mood wasn’t already low enough, there was a knock at the door, and one of the maids barged in, greeting Askaar warmly. Judging by her young face, without all the br*ast fat, she was a newcomer.
Fearlessly, she went about her duties, nursing Ashria’s sleeping body in front of the angry Askaar. She turned her over once to make sure she didn’t get a pressure sore, and then wiped her body with a towel soaked in lukewarm water, working furiously with her tiny hands.
As he watched, Asker suddenly called out to the maid.
The maid, who had been concentrating on her work, replied in anger and surprise as if she hadn’t expected the emperor to call for her. Her wide-open eyes reminded me of Ashria’s.
That look of surprise was all she ever showed me, except for her nonchalance.
“How old are you?”
Looking at the emperor who suddenly asked her age, the maid answered in a loud voice.
“Uh, I’m nineteen.”
As expected, she was Ashria’s age. Askaar took a moment to study the maid’s face.
Plump cheeks and moderately shiny hair. She appeared to be a well-to-do lady of the house. A maid in the service of the Hagiya royal family, she could hardly be of low status.
There was a short silence, and then Askaar spoke once more.
“What do young ladies at your age like?”
A deep sense of defeat washed over him, even though he had asked the question first.
It was so obvious why he was asking this question of a maid, and the answer was already known. Despite his anger, one side of his chest throbbed.
“Do you mean young people at my age?”
The maid made a dumbfounded face at the question but then realized the emperor’s gaze was on her and quickly answered.
“I usually like jewelry and dresses.”
“I know about those things.”
She did. Askaar knew that much. The problem was, that was all he knew.
“Other than that… well, it varies from person to person, but….”
“Tell me all about it.”
“Well, these days… it’s fashionable to have a man’s heart.”
The maid flinched, not sure if she should say this in front of the emperor.
“A man’s sincerity?”
“Yes, Your Majesty… things made by men are popular. The more care that goes into them, the more they become something to show off at social gatherings….”
Askaar rolled his eyes, thinking that all things grotesque were fashionable.
“I’ve seen people make their cakes and cookies, I’ve seen people embroider colorful handkerchiefs, and I’ve seen people learn to arrange flowers and make their bouquets.”
As the maid went on and on, Askaar’s expression grew grim.
Such frivolous things were fashionable, and they were all the work of the lowly.
“Do noblemen do such things with their own hands?”
“Usually, yes… but not all men do it, of course. Some men have been caught lying and pretending to do it themselves, and have been made fun of for it. In such cases, the gifted young lady has been made fun of as well……….”
The maid said something more, but it fell on deaf ears.
The words of the doctor, who said there was no reason to wake up, and the words of the maid, who said it was fashionable to give thoughtful gifts, only cluttered his mind.
* * *
Still, Ashria’s eyes did not open. She wondered if she would never be able to open them, a thought that made her feel even more uncomfortable.
Askaar was becoming more and more ferocious with each passing day, lashing out at his servants in vain.
In desperation, he remembered that Ashria had smiled before Eton, but not before him, and he had allowed a horse, not a person, into the palace, let alone into his bedroom.
Dragged into the bedroom where Ashria lay, Eton was surprised to find her asleep as a corpse.
He scrambled to the bed, biting and sucking on his whitened face for a long time, and when he saw Ashria still unmoving, he cried out and screamed for Askaar to wake her up somehow.
Eton had been in the bedroom for less than an hour before he was forced out again.
Askaar, who had dropped his work to sit beside her and watch Ashria, spoke cautiously.
To have her abandon her duties. He sighed deeply and washed his face dry, thinking that she was quite the woman.
“Very good, even better than your mother.”
The bedside table beside her bed was filled with colorful tulips. They had been plucked from the garden by Askaar himself, after listening to the insolent maid.
It was a complete defeat. There was no denying it now.
Askaar thought he had fallen into her trap, and it was tight. She didn’t know when she’d gotten to this point, but by the time she realized it, it was too late.
“…I’ll take you home.”
“I’m going to take you anywhere, west, north, south, you name it, now wake up.”
All he said was that he’d take her anywhere, and yet Askaar rolled his eyes as if he’d said something he couldn’t, and he hung her head in insult.
“If you wanted that sandwich on the grass so badly, I’d feed it to you….”
It was no big deal. A sandwich on grass was a sandwich on grass. If she wanted, I could make her eat a gold-plated sandwich in a field of diamonds.
Askaar stammered her name.
The name was unfamiliar. It was the name of a woman who was my only blood, a woman who had shared my body countless times. The reason was simple.
“…because I’ve never called her that.
Ashria. The only time I’d ever heard the name was on the occasional payment form.
Called by name. Askaar scoffed, remembering her scribbles.
What a position to be in, to be born as his daughter and then to be given such a precious name.
How dare he criticize her desire to be called by a single name when she could be throwing it around to other men.
Perhaps the reason she sleeps so soundly is that she doesn’t know where she is, she thought, and she pushed aside her past of treating her like an animal, thinking that maybe he should give her a tutor and give her a lesson in imperial studies so that when she woke up, she would know her place.
If she had heard him, she would have applauded him inwardly for his brazenness, but alas, her eyelids remained tightly closed.