She saw a razor-sharp blade glint through the darkness. The emperor had suddenly pulled out a dagger from somewhere.
'What... Is he going to kill me now?'
For all her antics wishing for death, she still felt fear in the face of death. The emperor moved like lightning at the moment Cecile tried to scream. She could not even register what happened; what followed had occurred all too quickly. All Cecile could tell was that she was sent flying along with the bed sheet, and that the dagger in the emperor's hand was shot out as well.
“Ghah!” Cecile screamed in an unintended chorus together with a voice that didn’t belong to the emperor. Tumbling to the carpet with a thump, Cecile lay there blinking. And the moment she turned her head around, she let out a shriek. “Ahhhhhhhhh!”
She was struck by the sight of a man with a dagger in the exact center of his throat, glaring ferociously at her. Blood spurted from the man's wound.
"M-must, complete the mission..." The man had yet to die despite being stabbed in a vital spot. "Must kill Princess Cecile..."
The gurgling man's hand rose into the air. In his hand was a dagger as sharp as the one in his throat. And that dagger was pointing precisely towards Cecile. Cecile could not even compel herself to dodge; she merely gazed on at the incoming blade. I'm going to die.
'But why me and not the emperor?'
Wouldn't anyone think to aim for the emperor instead? Why are you going for me when I've done nothing wrong! Her mind was a cluster of thoughts, but none of them managed to leave her mouth.
Just before the dagger landed on her forehead, the man's body went flying away along with a blunt sound. At the same time, the dagger fell from his hand and rolled to the floor.
She heard a low snarl suffused with fury. Upon hearing that voice, Cecile realized that the emperor had kicked away the assassin. 'The emperor saved me just now, didn't he?'
He had done so by tossing her from the bed and booting the assassin just now, too. The emperor was most definitely trying to save her. Now the emperor was taking out more daggers from his belt and began to sling them towards the wall. Cecile lay there prone on the floor, quivering, and beheld what unfolded before her eyes. She had enjoyed reading about this sort of thrilling situation in novels, but experiencing it herself in person, she never wanted to go through something like this again.
Thwok! Thwok! Thwok!
It was surprising enough to see daggers embedded in the wall, but she even heard loud explosive sounds upon their impact. The handles of the daggers oscillated, their blades completely piercing the wall. Even before the daggers turned still, stains began to appear from around the blades. Cecile could soon see that the stains were dark red in color. It was blood. There was no way pigs or cows were in there, so it could only be human blood.
'There were people in there?' Just what the deuce was up with this imperial palace? How could people be hiding in such places? Meanwhile, the emperor approached the wall and kicked it violently. It fell apart with a crash, and out came what had been hiding inside, slowly falling forward. Naturally, what came out was a corpse. A corpse with a dagger smack dab in the center of the forehead.
"So this is all of them. They sent fewer than expected." The emperor murmured.
Fewer? There's a body on the floor and three daggers in the wall. A total of four assassins, but you say fewer than expected?
Cecile held her breath as the emperor returned to sit on the bed. Cecile set the cogs in her head to motion at the sight of him sitting. What should I do now? Give him a job well done and take my leave? Or do I have to clear the bodies lying around? She was gawking at the corpses, unable to move, when the emperor stood up and strode over to one of them, hoisting it up by the scruff. He picked up the body of an assassin larger than himself, like holding up a doll, and easily tossed it out through the window.
'So it's true that he possesses herculean strength.' She had not wanted to confirm one of the emperor's rumors in this manner. A long while after the emperor disposed of the corpse like throwing a pebble, a splash could be heard from afar, like something heavy dropping deeply into water. From there, the emperor resumed moving again and three more splashes followed up. All of the assassins' corpses were tossed outside.
"Clean, and just the way I like it." The emperor murmured to himself in remark, dusting off his hands, while Cecile looked at the smashed wall and the pools of blood, itching to ask, 'Clean how?'. The emperor seated himself in a chair by the table and called for Cecile. "Come here and sit."
Cecile shot forward like a puppy to its master and knelt before him. Her actions caused the emperor to frown, however. Seeing the look on his face, Cecile planted her forehead onto the floor with an audible thump, saying, "I apologize. I was impudent, holding my head up. Please forgive my insolence.”
Gone were her thoughts of wanting to die. She was jolted to her senses after having witnessed a living person die before her eyes. She did not want to leave this room the same way those corpses did. And she absolutely did not want to float alongside them either.
'I should've just behaved obediently!'