Chapter 3 – The Greatest Empire
If I remember correctly, according to the novel, the emperor’s fifteenth “doll” would have been disposed of about a week ago. And knowing his disposition, that he couldn’t sleep at all, I’m guessing that the imperial palace was probably dealing with a bloodbath right about now.
That was probably why Raven, himself, actively came here to buy me.
Raven forcefully grabbed my chin with his gloved hand and thoroughly examined me. I quietly cheered inside from being so close to him and seeing him in the flesh, but I was a little angry at the same time.
‘If you read fantasy novels, you know that all the girls are reborn as a noble lady who gets to sleep well, eat well, and live well. Why do I have to be the odd one out that has to be a slave?’
Despite his rude and ruff gestures, I stood there quietly with an expressionless face, thanks to the habits that I inherited from the girl who learnt from being a slave for many years.
“How old are you?”
When Raven sternly asked, the slaver standing next to me responded immediately.
“I didn’t ask you.” Raven bitterly replied.
“Sir, she can’t speak. She hurt her neck not too long ago.”
Raven’s gaze returned to me at the slave merchant’s explanation. He was checking me out a little more and finally lowered his hand.
“She really does look like a doll.”
Raven slightly nodded at me, who was stiffly standing in place, then turned his gaze to the slave merchant and spoke.
“I will take her.”
“Thank you for your business, it is a pleasure doing business every time, sir!”
The slave trader, who had responded habitually, was amazed by the intense glare from Raven’s bitter eyes.
“You better be careful with what you say.”
“O-Of course sir!”
The merchant became pale as a ghost, he bowed his haggard head that was covered in cold sweat. Raven threw a large, heavy leather bag at the feet of the slave trader with an expressionless face.
Even at a slight glance I could tell that the bag was full of thousands of gold coins. It was an excessive amount for a single slave girl.
“Take her to the palace.”
He ordered his subordinates to do so and then left the parlor without looking back.
I was sold as the emperor’s “doll” on that day.
Etherium is the capital city of the Great Empire of Ivant. Widely known to boast a state of the art civilization not found anywhere else, reaching the city through the main roads via two carriages took five hours from the slave merchant’s mansion.
Wow. It’s huge.
The Imperial Palace was right on the center; magnificent and prominent in all its glory along with the presence of the imperial castle and the perfectly manicured gardens surrounding it, seeming to stretch on endlessly. It was a daunting scale unlike anything I’ve seen in both of my two lives. No amount of reading it from a book would come close to seeing it up close and personal.
Even during the reign of the previous emperor, the empire had always prided itself on its own splendor and greatness. They made sure their presence was greatly felt to all the civilians. However, everything changed when the male protagonist took over; as soon as he stepped foot on the throne, he killed the corrupt royal families without a second thought and exiled the remaining ones to other countries to rid them from the empire.
Even the nobles who bravely defied his orders were not spared from his domination. Because of that, it is said that the bloody scent of iron and the screaming lingered hauntingly in the imperial palace for a year, a vivid reminder heralding the shift in the imperial power.
In a span of just three years, the empire has then become the most powerful country to ever exist. I know all these because I read it in the novel.
And seeing it with my own eyes confirmed everything that the book had said about the empire. The further I looked at my surroundings, the more vivid and real everything felt.
“This way.” Raven called as soon as I got off the carriage. My eyes were full of wonder as I stared at the Imperial Palace in awe, my mouth slightly agape. He put a cloak on me just before I got off the wagon and pulled the hood over my head. Raven led me to the back of a building where a few women were waiting patiently.
He handed me over and said, “Head maid Elmeria, this woman is the new doll.”
The woman who seemed to be in her fifties glanced at me for a brief second before turning to face Raven, her gray-brown hair billowing faintly. “You must have had a hard time, Sir Esteban. Now the palace will be much quieter.”