Sultan’s Love - Chapter 1
Translator and Editor: Shin and Ailxxi
She smelled like sunshine. She can’t remember how long it’s been since she last smelled it. She liked the whiff of it emanating from the soft pillow.
Her body felt stiff as if she had been beaten all over. When she stretched out her hand to pull the blanket up, she felt a sharp pain. She felt wide awake in an instant.
The first thing Saye saw after she opened her eyes was the ray of light which illuminated the bed warmly.
Saye’s room was in the farthest corner of the harem, where the sunlight didn’t reach. Also, this room was ten times bigger than hers. She looked around but she was alone.
She felt another sharp pain from her palm. When she looked down, she saw that both her hands were wrapped in bandages.
She tried to recall what happened last night. After she vomited on Prince Kainer’s shoulder, she lost consciousness. That was her last memory.
What happened after that and why the harem which was usually noisy at this time was deathly quiet, she didn’t know.
A little bird was singing on the railing. Because of that, she broke out of her reverie and stood up.
When she stepped on the cushy carpet, she felt a piercing pain from her right sole. As a matter of fact, there was no part of her body that did not ache – her shoulders, both her feet – she was sore all over. Then, she remembered how the Sultan desired her …
Last night was like a nightmare.
She opened the door and went outside, but there was no one there. The place which was usually full of dressed-up women laughing was now empty.
Saye was alone.
She stood still and looked around the spacious bedroom with regret in her eyes. To be precise, she felt wistful about being in the warm sunlight.
“Bye,” she whispered to the bird on the railing as she closed the door behind her.
As she got accustomed to the pain in her body, she felt hunger. Usually, she’d forage for leftovers in the sitting room at night.
She went to the sitting room but there was no person or food there. Clutching her stomach, she headed to her room.
Opening the ancient door, she saw the familiar dark void waiting for her.
It was the only place that let her sink into the comfortable darkness. She hadn’t used the bed in a long time. The bed felt cold and she was frightened because it seemed she fit in with the darkness too well. Instead, she scampered to the corner of the room and curled up.
“I don’t want to open my eyes again,” she prayed everyday.
She closed her eyes and wished to fall asleep and never wake up. If she couldn’t escape from this place, she’d rather die instead.
Kainer’s gaze was as sharp as a blade. In his chilled glance, the servants fell flat on the floor and begged for his forgiveness.
“W-We were just gone for a bit, but – ”
“You mean to say you left this room all together?”
Three days had passed. Since she’d been unconscious all that time, the four maids who were watching her left to get a light snack. When they returned, the room was empty. Before the Sultan found out, they searched for Saye but he’d arrived before they could find her.
“Behead all of them.”
The maids begged before those merciless words came out from his lips.
“Please, please give us mercy once more! Sultan!”
“We will find her. We will find her and…”
“I will find her by myself, just pay your sins with death.”
Leaving those ominous words behind, Kainer turned around. The guards on his side pulled the howling maids out of the Harem.
Kainer’s friend that was always beside him, Hassan, the commander of the guards, knelt and waited for his command.
“If no one came out of the Harem, that means she’s still here. Find her.”
As they spoke, his men were combing through the Harem which had about 150 rooms in it.
“Is the person in charge of Harem not here yet?”
It had been three days since Kainer became the Sultan. Everytime a new Sultan ascends, all the chiefs in charge of various departments get replaced.
As soon as he got wind of Saye’s disappearance, he ordered the person in charge of the Harem who was in the underground jail to be brought to him.
“I’m here, Your Majesty!” said the servant who hurriedly knelt down.
“I have a question.”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“Where is Saye’s room?”
The kneeling servant fervently tried to remember who Saye was. The Sultan ordered the guard to call him, the person in charge of the Harem, to find a woman. It seemed like the new Sultan was interested in someone in the Harem. It was not unheard of for a son to take his father’s woman.
He found a way to save his life. He tried to recall each and every woman the former Sultan favored but he couldn’t remember a girl named Saye.
“Do I need to cut one of your hands to help you remember?” Kainer spat out irritably.
“N-No Sultan. I remembered now!”
He recalled a girl who was always veiled who was always hiding during the day. He’d seen her sneak out at night and rummage for leftovers a few times.
“T-The room in the north. The farthest room in the north.”
He silently praised himself for remembering such information. Kainer did not respond and simply passed by the servant on his way out.
He passed numerous rooms. The handle of an old door caught his eye. Slowly, he opened it and saw darkness inside.
“We will bring a candle, Your Majesty.”
Before Hassan could order a servant, Kainer raised his hand to stop him. He opened the door wider so the light could illuminate the room. The Sultan slowly approached the rickety bed in the middle of the room. It was full of dust, a testament to its disuse.
“She’s not here. Let’s look somewhere else…”
The room was not habitable. A room devoid of sunlight did not suit her. As he turned to leave the musty old room, something in the corner caught his eye.
A small body crouched like a sleeping doll.
“Your Majesty, I’ll take her.”
Hassan tried to take the girl instead of Kainer.
“Shh. Can’t you see she’s sleeping?”
Hassan quickly stepped back because of Sultan’s attitude – as if he was worried that the girl in his arm would wake.
When the light touched Saye’s face, she opened her eyes with a small groan. The light revealed her dark gray eyes, peeking beneath her silver eyelashes.
Kainer tried to hide his smile as he saw her look of incomprehension.
“… Your Highness, the Imperial Prince?”
“I’m now the Sultan.”
He corrected Saye’s words and opened the door to the room where she was supposed to be. He put Saye down on the bed and knelt before her.
“Your Majesty, how can – !”
“Everyone, leave and close the door.”
They were visibly confused by Kainer’s behavior as Hassan herded them out of the room. Saye grabbed the blanket and pulled it all the way to her neck as she looked at the shut door.
“Why did you kneel…”
“So I can look you eye-to-eye.”
As if it were natural, Kainer leaned closer towards Saye.
At that moment, Kainer frowned. Feeling as if she’d made a mistake, Saye looked down to avoid Kainer’s eyes.
“Your wound was almost healed but it opened again.”
Her wound opened up and dyed the blanket red because of how strong she gripped it. She only realized what she was doing when Kainer pointed it out.
“Did you only feel the pain now?”
She didn’t understand. Why was Kainer being nice to her?
When he heard Kainer shout, Hassan, who was waiting outside the door, came in.
“Bring me some clean cloth.”
“I will call the healer,” answered Hassan as he looked at the Sultan grab Saye’s hand and unwrap the bloody bandage.
“Just bring me some clean cloth. I’ll do it myself.”
Hassan’s face hardened. Kainer was no longer a mere prince, he was now the Sultan. For such a person to personally tend to a girl’s wound was unheard of.
Hassan did not say a word and merely did as he was told. He returned and handed a white cloth to Kainer.
“Does it hurt?”
“It’s okay,” Saye said with a shake of her head. Now, she didn’t feel any pain. Kainer replaced the bloody bandage with a clean one, all the while not letting go of Saye’s hand.
“Why are you doing this to me?” Saye asked impertinently. She wasn’t concerned as she thought she’d die anyway. Nothing would change. She didn’t know why Kainer chose to keep her alive and she didn’t care because she was feeling overwhelmed and tired.
“I’m not sure.”
He looked at her with gentle eyes. When Saye realized he was looking at her with a small endearing smile, she lowered her gaze.
Everyone in the Harem knew about this handsome Prince. Some said he resembled the former Sultan a lot. Others thought he would succeed him because of how alike they were. On the other hand, others thought he wouldn’t because he was far down the line of succession.
When she first saw the rumored Prince in the library, she couldn’t take her eyes off of him. It was only then she understood the line ‘a man who can make a woman’s heartbeat race’.
She once daydreamed about reaching out and touching that fringe of his, to make those black eyes which were staring down the book look at her – like now.
“If I hold you, would I be able to answer your question?”
Kainer grabbed Saye’s chin and forced her to look at him.
“Yes,” Saye answered as she smiled faintly.
He was the Sultan. There’s nothing he wanted that he couldn’t have.
Again, she would have to lie on the bed with her legs spread open and wait for the long night to come to pass. What would happen to her after that night? Could she get out of here like the rest who’d already left the Harem?
“What’s the meaning of that smile?”
“As you wish, Sultan.” Saye bowed her head gently.
Kainer looked down at the girl who said she’d hold him. He couldn’t begin to fathom what was going through her mind. Instead, he slowly raised his hand and stroked her silver hair.
The silver hair slipped between his fingers. He rose from the bed. Instinctively, Saye curled her body and closed her eyes tightly. The sun had set. She was ready for the long night ahead.
Instead, she was dragged into his arms and held on a tight embrace.
“Let’s just rest for today.”
“The last three days have been tough for me, too. We need to rest even for just a night, don’t you think?”
Her face was buried in his neck. She could see the tanned, silky skin move as he breathed.
He felt her worry so he kissed her forehead to reassure her. When she felt his warm lips, she exhaled some of the breath she was holding back.
After a while, the sound of even breathing was heard throughout the room. Saye, who was frozen in his arms, looked up to see Kainer soundly sleeping.
… Why didn’t he hold her?