Predatory Marriage - chapter-33-bribery-2
Chapter 33 â€“ Bribery (2)
Watching the servants in silence, was a woman, whose hair made it look
like her head was bigger than the rest. She carefully sidestepped the
array of servants, before holding out an ashtray for her king, to which
Ishakan effectively dropped the growing ash from his cigarette.
â€œGenin,â€ he acknowledged, â€œWhereâ€™s Haban?â€
â€œHeâ€™s scoping out the conference hall.â€ She answered. â€œHe told me
he wanted to make up for last nightâ€™s little skirmish.â€ Her tone was
haughty as she spoke bluntly to him. It might have sounded like she was
defending Haban, but Ishakan knew better as he shook out more ash, and
blew out another puff of smoke.
Last night, Princess Leah had witnessed a glimpse of a Kurkanâ€™s true
nature. He would have preferred if she did notâ€”she didnâ€™t need to see
Certainly, it would have been better if Haban had managed to get her away
before the events occured, but Ishakan was thinking perhaps it was
another factor that couldnâ€™t be avoided in that circumstance.
â€œWhat can I do then?â€ he asked her, â€œI was born like this, I
couldnâ€™t hide it for the rest of my life.â€
â€œI know, but-â€
â€œAnd Iâ€™m not one whoâ€™s easily frightened either,â€ he continued,
cutting her off, before letting out a fond smile, â€œDo you know how
brave she was? Instead of being frightened and scared, sheâ€™s working
hard, worrying about last night.â€
Ishakan then let out a sigh, â€œI donâ€™t know how to use her to our
advantage in the negotiation.â€ He admitted as he discarded the
cigarette, placing it on the ashtray as he put on his robes. â€œShe was
always like that, so devoid of fear.â€
His unruly brown locks were then slicked back as they were combed over,
clearing out any obstacle to reveal his sharp eyes and forehead. The
collared garment was engraved with colorful embroidery embedded with gold
threads. The servants thoroughly filled the small buttons one by one in a
row and trimmed them neatly so that there were no wrinkles on the cloth.
â€œOnce the negotiations begin, I think the most problematic part will be
the princess since she is the core of the royal family.â€ He fretted.
â€œBut the negotiation is just an excuse, right?â€
Ishakan held the leaf tobacco in his hands again once more, hovering it
close to his mouth. Sheâ€™s one of the many reasons why he came to Estia.
But it seems that Leah is becoming more and more the priority than
anything else. Ishakan sighed and puffed up smoke, lost in his thoughts.
â€œBut it keeps on bothering me.â€ He finished softly.
Genin didnâ€™t know whom Ishakan was referring to, but she could fully
understand. Genin blinked as she asked a question.
â€œArenâ€™t you here to repay her kindness? Do you have an interest in
her?â€ She finally asked, and instead of receiving a reply, Ishakan only
offered her a smirk, which gave Genin a clear picture on what he was
â€œYouâ€™re making her your bride.â€ She stated, and Ishakan let out a
bark of laughter.
The idea itself was absurd.
â€œYou think too much as a Kurkan. You must keep in mind, sheâ€™s an
â€œWhy should that matter?â€
Ishakan lets out a sigh. â€œJust donâ€™t look at it from a Kurkanâ€™s
At the statement, Geninâ€™s brows furrowed in thought, and soon fell
silent, before finding her voice once more.
â€œItâ€™ll be a difficult path.â€ She told him in reply.
Indeed, it was a hard thing for Genin to understand. After all, she got
married to her husband when they held her captive, which was the Kurkan
way. And for the Kurkans, it didnâ€™t matter that Leah was already
betrothed to Byun Gyongbaek.
Ishakan took his time to formulate a reply as he chose what accessories
he would be wearing for the day, particularly the only around his neck.
â€œOne step at a time,â€ he told her, â€œAnd letâ€™s begin with
todayâ€™s banquet.â€ Genin nodded in acceptance before looking over the
jewelries as well.
â€œThe one on the right looks like it would suit you better.â€ She
supplied helpfully, and Ishakan nodded.
He picked up the necklace, the one with a fiery red ruby as its
centerpiece. The door then burst open, as a Kurkan servant came in and
stopped shortly behind them.
â€œYour Majesty, heâ€™s arrived.â€ The servant told them and Ishakan
The person theyâ€™ve been waiting for finally arrived. Ishakan received
the hand mirror another servant handed over to him and checked his nape.
â€œLet him in.â€ He ordered, and the servant quickly obeyed, leaving the
room once more. The next time the door opened, a middle-aged man entered.
His attire was fit for the banquet. Despite it being modelled largely
after the latest Estian style, he would undoubtedly stand out in the
crowd, even those of Kurkans.
He had a confident aura around him as he stood up straight and tall. But
despite his bravado, he couldnâ€™t hide the cold sweat that was beginning
to form on his temples. HIs eyes raked over the room, before stopping at
Ishakan, meeting his golden eyes. He gulped down briefly and stood still.
â€œI believe this is our first meeting.â€ Ishakan started and the man
gave a terse nod.
â€œYes, itâ€™s a pleasure to finally meet the King of Kurkans.â€ The man
responded. Ishakan beamed at him despite the late greeting.
â€œPlease, donâ€™t be nervous,â€ He said, â€œI donâ€™t bite.â€
The man only let out a light laugh before silence reigned once more. He
didnâ€™t know how else to respond to the slight tease.
â€œIndeed, Kurkans donâ€™t eat humans.â€ Genin added with a genuine
smile, and though it was meant to put the man at ease, he was still not.
Genin moved back as Ishakan came forward to finally shake the manâ€™s
hand, before gesturing to the nearby chair.
â€œPlease sit,â€ Ishakan offers, â€œWe have much to discuss.â€ He
added, but the man did not move, and was still resolutely standing.
â€œI wonâ€™t say anything that would bring harm to Estia.â€ He already
clarified as Ishakan observed him.
This oneâ€™s not so easily fooled, I see. Ishakan thought. Is this why
Leah keeps him around? Sheâ€™s got a good sense of people, Iâ€™ll admit.
He mused to himself before letting out a light chuckle.
â€œAnd you wonâ€™t need to,â€ he reassured. â€œBut thatâ€™s not why
youâ€™re here.â€ He signalled his servants, and one of them moves to
bring out a box that was placed by the corner, before bringing it closer
to the two men, presenting it between them.
The man did not want anything to do with what the box contained, but when
the servant opened it up, his eyes widened as he saw what was inside.
Seeing his reaction, Ishakan moved to his side, whispering right next to
â€œAll I want,â€ he began to utter, â€œIs to get close to you,â€
Ishakan pulled away as the man looked at him warily, â€œCount Valtein.â€