A splendid and spacious bedroom that can be said to have been almost completely covered in dazzling gold.
On the bed there was a white-haired old man who had been lying there for three months.
The feeble sound of breathing, which seemed would be extinguished at any moment, flowed out with a colorful sound but did not fill the large space and quickly faded and spread repeatedly.
A young male attendant standing next to such an old man was carefully wiping the back of his wrinkled hands with a warm wet towel.
The left wrist that supported the old man’s hand was wrapped in a thick bandage, with nothing under it.
Occasionally, his eyebrows frowned as if in pain, but the gaze looking down at the old man was full of woeful affection.
The older male attendant, who had been watching the scene from a distance, briefly clicked his tongue inwardly.
Even though he told him to rest for a few days, the young attendant who adamantly chose to look after the emperor who failed to hold his position was both great and foolish.
He was speechless at the thought that the inside section of his left wrist, which has not yet completely healed, was causing considerable pain.
Two weeks ago, that young servant, who got on the wrong side of the 4th Prince Sethian, who is now the Crown Prince, was amputated mercilessly by his wrist.
He can still vividly remember the blood fountain that spouted out from the neatly cut surface, but somehow the next day, he started taking care of the emperor like now without a single sound of pain while only wrapped in a bandage.
Even though another servant offered to replace him, he refused, saying it was his job.
Showing such a spirit and devotion, he thought he deserved to not only be cared for the most by the emperor among his servants but to also have been thought of more deeply.
‘It would be nice if he didn’t fall down like that.’
The sick emperor only wakes up three or four hours a day.
He was always the first to find that young servant when he came out of the deep sleep he would never wake up from.
Then he would hold his hand like a man longing for warmth and wouldn’t let go until he fell asleep again.
As he is the emperor’s extremely cherished servant to that extent, he thought it would be even worse if he collapsed.
He thought he’ll have to force him to take a break from time to time.
At that moment, someone knocked on the bedroom door and made their voice heard.
“The 2nd Prince, Zair Rune Kinelly, asked for an audience.”
Hearing the voice of the guard who was waiting outside, the chief attendant headed towards the door.
Meanwhile, the young male servant quickly organized the things he had been using to care for the emperor and prepared to leave.
The chief attendant knocked twice on the tightly closed door from the inside and stepped back, and only then did the door open.
Zair, who strode into the room, glanced at the chief attendant who was bowing to him.
“How was his condition?”
“His complexion has quite improved.”
With an unimpressed answer, Zair walked towards the bed.
In any case, the chief attendant only said that every time to ‘throw everyone into confusion’ regarding the remaining time of the emperor’s life, but in reality, there was no significant improvement.
Zair, who had already listened to the emperor’s physical condition in considerable detail through the Imperial Physician, which he had already bought, intentionally did not show an expression on his face.
Behind him followed an old man with a concave bowl on a tray.
With his white hair tied together, he showed the dark brown water in the bowl to the chief attendant.
“We have brewed some evello tea leaves, which Prince Zair has prepared for His Majesty.”
The chief attendant looked at Zair with a slightly startled look.
Evello was a tea leaf that was classified as a precious medicinal product to the extent that it was called a panacea, but it was not easy to obtain as it was cultivated in very small quantities in other countries in the southern part of the continent, even in certain areas.
A gentle smile flowed out when he imagined that Zair, who had been looking for medicines that were good for the body since the emperor lay down on his sickbed, must have looked all over just to procure evello.
Nevertheless, the fact that the imperial physician was brought was one verification or another, but a test was still essential.
The tea water was first tested by the imperial physician, followed by the chief attendant.
After rolling the fragrant and bitter tea in his mouth and passing it through his throat, the chief servant immediately confirmed that there was nothing wrong and nodded his head.
Soon after, the imperial physician immediately approached the bed, called the emperor five times, and tried to wake him up, but it did not happen as expected.
Subsequently, the assistant physician and the chief attendant helped pour the tea into the emperor’s mouth.
Zair, who was silently watching the scene, turned his eyes and threw his gaze at the young male servant.
Unable to take his eyes off the emperor’s face, the servant covered his round wrist wrapped in bandages with his right hand.
When the bowl of tea was all drunk up, the Imperial physician and the assistant physician left the room.
The servant, whose left wrist was severed, also followed after them, saying that he would change the water.
While the chief attendant was watching, Zair approached the bed and looked down at the poor-colored emperor without saying a word, then asked a short question.
“In your opinion, when will his Majesty get back to his position?”
“It won’t be long since Prince Zair has shown his utmost sincerity as such.”
The chief attendant said, even though he knew that the end of the emperor’s life was just around the corner and that he would not be able to get out of his sickbed afterward.
This was not only meant to hide the emperor’s condition but also because he wanted Zair to look as relieved as he is now.
“That’s a relief.”
He was always blunt and reticent, but as the chief attendant who remembered all the kindness he had shown to the emperor, he thought that he was like a true son.
A small groan came from the lying emperor’s mouth.
The chief attendant, who was about to get close to the bed quickly, knew that the emperor, who had opened his eyes, would be looking for the young servant first, so he waited for his orders.
No matter who is by his side, he will habitually call the young attendant’s name first.
However, no matter how much he waited, the emperor did not call the young attendant.
He just blinked his wrinkled eyes a few times, opened them, and looked up at Zair.
The emperor, who reached out his weak hand to Zair, closed his eyes again as his hands were caught in two solid hands.
Then the sound of his breathing made the same sound as before, as if waking up for a while was just a lie.
Zair seemed satisfied with that alone.
He slowly laid the emperor’s hand down on the bed and left the room, asking the chief attendant to take good care of him.
The chief attendant looked bitterly at Zair’s back, which was seen through the closing door.
After leaving the emperor’s bedroom, Zair asked the two knights guarding the entrance to protect him well then walked down the wide hallway.
His eyes, which had been filled with regret, suddenly turned cold.
As he passed the hallway and reached the stairs, he saw the young male attendant coming up from below with a clean wet towel and a basin of fresh water.
Seeing him taking the courtesy greeting like before, Zair approached him and asked in a low voice.
“What happened to your left hand?”
The young male attendant did not readily answer.
Hesitating, he answered only after being urged by Zair once more, ‘Because I offended Prince Sethian.’ Since it was so common for a servant to die because of offending the royal family, there was no reason to not believe it.
Zair kept his gaze fixed on the bandaged arm of the young attendant who was barely holding the basin, and asked so low that only he could hear it.
“Do you know the value of your left hand?”
The round eyes of the young attendant opened suspiciously.
Those eyes met Zair’s cold gaze.
“Sethian took your hand because he knew its real worth.”
“Your Highness, what are you trying to….”
“Think carefully and come to me once you realize its worth.
Your ignorance is pitiful.”
Zair passed by immediately as if he wasn’t willing to hear an answer, and didn’t turn his head afterward, even though he knew that the young servant’s gaze was fixed on him.
As he went out and headed towards his castle, he found a crow flying in a circle in the sky.
The crow snuck through the window of Zair’s room, which was open, and did not go out until the owner of the room arrived.
Upon arriving in the room, Zair saw the white butterfly which was following him, passed by him, and entered a transparent bottle on the table.
Despite the novelty, Zair locked the butterfly by closing the bottle’s opening with a blue plug without changing his expression.
Meanwhile, the crow, who had entered the cage that was open in the corner of the room, was silently watching Zair, who pulled back a curtain and placed the glass bottle inside.
Zair, who had filled the glass bottle display stand with butterflies with the one from a while ago, came out with a bottle of white powder from its end.
When he sprinkled some of the powder on the feed in the cage and closed the door, the crow dropped its head and collapsed as if it had been waiting.
Something pure white came out of the black crow’s body like smoke.
It was the same butterfly that Zair had locked up in a bottle a while ago.
As the butterfly escaped, the crow, who woke up as if nothing had happened, rolled its eyes and began to peck the feed in the cage.
The colorless, odorless, and tasteless, ‘Possession Potion’ that was mixed in evello seems to be quite edible for that crow.
Throwing his gaze at the butterfly floating in the air, Zair said.
“Start your report.”
As if understanding the words, the butterfly floating in the air flew towards his forehead.
It flew without stopping and was sucked into his forehead as if seeping into it, and Zair closed his eyes and frowned.
It wasn’t long before the butterfly came out.
As was the case with the crow, who is now eating with his eyes open, the butterfly slipped out like smoke.
Zair’s eyes, which opened afterward, were filled with conspicuous brilliance.
A small smile appeared on the corner of Zair’s lips as he rolled the name for the first time in his mouth a few times.
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