Five Kings - v1c2 part 1



The Red King

Not yet edited.


The palace, without Shah or Cyan, felt somewhat deserted. It was quiet as there were no bodyguards to protect the king.

When I went to Ruri's room, she was already awake.

"What happens with your throat, Master Hisoku? It's red."

"Oh, I was wearing a... collar and it seems to have rubbed off."

I had prepared an excuse about the red mark on my neck but Ruri was seen frowning not convinced.

The marks on my wrists were much worse. The skin was peeling off, but thanks to the large bangles, Ruri couldn't see them.

"You look pale, you must not be feeling well."

"You seems to be in good shape. Do you want to start eating regular food? I'm sure you're tired of all the soft food."

"Of course no. All of Master Hisoku's foods are delicious. I could eat those sick foods all the time."

Ruri smiled, and that made me feel warm inside.

"If you like, we can have ice cream for dinner today."

"Really? I'm so happy. Ice cream is my favorite! It's so sweet and cold, it would be a shame to let it melt."

I smiled at that.

It reminded me of someone who had also said that they liked ice cream. I'll make some more and give it to Haku.

Ruri's condition seemed to be improving, her cheeks were tinged and her golden hair was starting to shine again. Her smile was dazzling in the sunlight, looking so beautiful with her hair braided loosely over her shoulders.

However, there was a distinct scar on her neck.

"I'm so sorry, Miss Ruri. It's my fault that you were injured so badly. If there is anything I can do, please let me know."

"What are you talking about?" Ruri's sky-blue eyes rolled.

"I heard that Master Hisoku came to this royal palace as a star seer. I apologize for thinking of you as one of Shah's women. Please just call me Ruri."

I shook my head, wondering if I had hidden my feather tincture properly. If Ruri was in love with the Blue King, she would mind.

It was too late to worry about it now, but I didn't feel comfortable showing Ruri the blue tincture that had just appeared again in my chest because of last night interc*urse.

According to the maidservant, Ruri was the head maid. She was also in charge of bringing the women who had been summoned by Harem to the king, just like I had been.

I hated the blue king for making Ruri do such a thing.

"Miss Ruri, have you known Shah for a long time? I've heard that you've been friends with Mister Cyan since you were young."

"Did Shah tell you that?" Ruri squinted her eyes as she nodded her head. "That's right. Cyan and I were raised in the palace. Lord Azure was four years older than us and came from the east. He grew up in a land of constant strife and came to the Blue Palace as a child."

"The east..."

Ruri grabbed a map from the bookshelf and spread it out on the floor. It was the first time I had seen the whole Chevron, which was shaped like spilled water.

"This is the west, where Master Hisoku used to live," she said, pointing to the lower left corner of the map.

The center of the map was the royal capital. Ruri slid her finger to the right of the capital.

"This is the east. When Lord Azure lived here, the east was the Blue King's territory, but now it is ruled by the Black King."

"Uhm... the Black King rules the east, the Green King rules the west, and the Red King rules the south, so... Shah now rules the north?"

Ruri chuckled.

"No, the north is the territory of the Purple King. Lord Azure is the Padishah who rules the 'center' where the capital is located."

"Padishah?"

I was puzzled, having never heard the word before.

"That's what we call a king who rules the 'center'. Padishah is also known as the 'king of kings' because he had the power of the other kings to submit to his rules. Master Hisoku, do you know the name of a small country adjacent to the east?"

"Uhm, it's... I think it's Old Vair in Point?" Thinking back to the history of the palace that Ruri had just told me, I answered. "It became the territory of the East about seven years ago, right? It's a country rich in resources and used to be in dispute with the great country Saltire."

"Yes, that's right. Saltire is a country so large that it spans from the east to the north."

Ruri pointed around the east, which stretched diagonally upward.

"His virtue of winning the dispute against Saltire and obtaining Old Vair in Point made the Blue King rule the 'center' instead of the Black King."

"Well, the present king means Shah, right? So does that mean he wasn't a Blue King yet when Shah came to the palace?"

"...Huh?"

Ruri tilted her head slightly. Did I say it wrong?

When I realized Ruri put a troubled look on her face, I felt like I had said something unnecessary, so I hurriedly changed the subject.

"Is the Black King really satisfied with governing the East? If he had more authority than the other kings, wouldn't he have wanted to be a Padishah?"

"You're right," Ruri said, picking up a book and reading through it. "There have been many disputes between kings over the position of Padishah. It's written in this chapter. Read it yourself first, and if you don't understand anything, I'll read it to you later."

"You're very good at teaching, aren't you, Miss Ruri?"

I pouted. I tend to want to hear things I don't know right away, but she always just gave me a brief introduction and then asked me to read it myself.

The compliment was a clever way for me to get over my curiosity.

"And Master Hisoku is a good student. Actually, it would be better for you to learn from Master Cyan than from me. He is a man of vast knowledge."

"Does Mr. Cyan always fond of books?"

"Yes, even when he was young, Master Cyan was told by people that he would become the best bachelor in the palace. Lord Azure, on the other hand, disliked studying and said that gazing at the stars was a lot more fun."

That was unexpected since the Blue King told me that Cyan had forced him to listen to his yarn about the stars.

"You two are very close, aren't you?"

"No, Lord Azure and I had never seen each other before he came to the palace. I was the child of another king, and we lived in different palaces."

"How did you know each other?"

"I sneaked into the Blue Palace."

"What? You did?"

Ruri let out a small laugh.

"It's a secret. The two of them told me that if I wanted to live in the Blue Palace, I have to become a Blue Maid. It seems like only yesterday, but it's already been ten years," said Ruri, turning his head out of the room. She stared at the empty garden with a compassionate gaze.

"Do you think there is such a thing as fate, Master Hisoku?"

"Fate?"

"It was Shah who made Cyan—who was supposed to be a bachelor—became his aide. While I, who was born in another palace, became a blue maid now. He has the power to make others follow his destiny, even if it drives them crazy."

This was not the way someone talked about her lover. Ruri's clear voice sounded so intoxicating that it made my head feel numb and my voice was shaky. A question crept into my mouth.

"In which palace were you born, Miss Ruri?"

The woman only nodded her head sadly. She did not give me an answer.


*   *   *


"Hah..."

"What are you sighing about?"

"Wah, it's Mister Haku. You startled me!"

"That's my line. I called out to you, but he didn't even notice. Are you that immersed in your thoughts?" Haku asked as he lifted a jar of water. "Did you get scolded for staying out here so late last night? I was so worried you didn't come to the kitchen this morning."

"It wasn't anything serious. Shah just telling me that he was going to the west today."

"Really? I hope so..."

Haku still gave me a worried look. Instead of responding to his worry, I tried to lift the water jar.

"Wow, it's heavy."

"It's too heavy for a slender person like you, princess. Your legs are unsteady."

Haku replaced two of the jars. When we entered the kitchen, the cooks called out to me, probably because of what had happened last night.

"Did you oversleep, princess?"

"Yes, haha. It's been a long time since I stayed up late like last night, so I couldn't get up."

"That's pathetic. It was still early in the evening, you know."

I was honestly happy to be making a lot of fuss with the cooks. But I probably won't be able to come to the kitchen as much later. Once Ruri recovered, there would be no reason for me to be here. What a pity.

I whispered to Haku secretly, "I'm making ice cream today, would you like me to make some for Lord Red as well?"

"That cold candy? I'm sure Master Gil will be pleased, but I wonder what the servant will say."








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