Cecile felt utterly bewildered. Never had she entertained the thought that the emperor would be handsome.
'Why did I assume the emperor would be ugly?' She wondered. No one had ever told her that he looked hideous, yet why had she thought so? Cecile soon came to realize why.
'There was no portrait of him, for starters.'
All nobles would leave piles upon piles of portraits depicting poses of every sort at every new commemoration, event and the like, so much so that a separate mansion had to be built to store them all. If nobles were like this, how would royals, no, imperials be like? But she had never even heard of somebody having seen the emperor's portrait.
'Come to think of it, you're supposed to send a portrait along with a letter of marriage proposal.' Cecile mused.
The king of Navitan had never shown her any such thing. In other words, it did not exist. Elsewise, he would have surely gone and twittered, 'Behold! Does he not look marvelous?!' Though of course, Cecile would surely have yelled back, 'A scam, without a doubt!'
And secondly, no one talked about the emperor's appearance. When she combed through her memory for anything related to his looks, all she recalled were words illustrating 'the bloody devil of the battlefield' and 'war god's incarnation'.
'The god of war is ugly, though.'
The god of war in mythology was said to be disfigured with every kind of scars. Seeing how people sang about him resembling the god of war, how could one ever imagine him to be a beauty?
'It is partly my fault for not asking, though.'
In the first place, Cecile had not the tiniest interest in the emperor as an individual, which was why she did not ask about the color of his hair or how he looked right up to the very day of her wedding.
'But I mean, still. Shouldn't you give me a heads up at least once if he's this gorgeous?'
Cecile discreetly wiped away the saliva that almost leaked from her mouth as she took another look at the emperor. Still lookin' good. So good, that if not for the situation she was in, and if he did not happen to hold the title of emperor, she would have been very inclined to invite him to take a seat beside her and ask for his name, ask for his home address while she was at it, and hold his hand on (non-)accident.
'Really? A man with these looks is the worst tyrant of the empire?'
She felt such discrepancy that she began to suspect those rumors of being mistaken somehow. The man looked more suited to a theater stage than a battlefield.
While Cecile was ogling the emperor, forgetting the very situation she was in, he began to speak. “The tutors who taught you.”
What about them?
“I should kill the lot of them.” He continued.
Cecile felt as if she had been abruptly doused in freezing water at his placid words. She was momentarily distracted by his face, but the man before her was none other than Emperor Estian! The very emperor who would be killing her.
“Wh-why would you...” The moment she was about to ask why he was going to kill the tutors, the emperor took a step into the coach and leaned inside. He reached out to take Cecile's arm and pull her. Cecile had no time to even scream as she fell forward, dragged by his powerful strength. She instinctively closed her eyes tight, expecting the impact of falling, but she instead felt as if her body was twirling in mid air.
“Eh?" When she opened her eyes again, Cecile found herself in the emperor's arms. “What are you doing?"
Incredulity displaced her surprise. A princess hold, all of a sudden?
“Didn't you say this is a custom of Navitan? I'm doing as you wished, so what's strange about it?"
“You won't kill me?”
"Why would I?"
“I was merely brought here to give birth to an heir from a minor country, chosen by lot, yet I spouted nonsense about making the emperor come pick me up, escort me inside, and change the flower colors."