The Empire's Sacrifice - Chapter 1 - Sacrifice
Translator & Editor: Aki
Chapter 1 – Sacrifice
“Please save me.”
Ludis prayed with her hands intertwined and her knees bent.
There were many eyes on her, but she had given up on trying to keep her dignity because she was about to die. It has already been decided that she will be sacrificed for the peace of the Empire.
Bartold, the Emperor of the Vicio Empire and the father of Ludis, frowned at her when she didn’t want to cooperate.
Seeing that familiar expression of contempt, Ludis became terrified.
Those words came from the lips of Ludis, who was scared to speak up. It gave her a pathetic and weak appeal.
Adjacent to the ancient god-calling ritual, the young priest looked at Ludis with a pitiful expression.
Unlike the soft-hearted priest, I did not sympathize with Ludis.
There is no one who can stop the Emperor.
The Empire desperately needs the power of ancient gods.
It was because countless people of the Empire are dying at this moment due to the raging waters everywhere.
Moreover, food production was becoming increasingly difficult because half of the imperial territory was contaminated by a beast.
Now, only the capital and a few large cities bordering the capital were safe.
Ludis knew that fact too.
I once thought that I could do anything to save the Empire as a princess, if I had the chance.
But that didn’t mean that she would give her life.
To be a sacrifice of the Empire that will be torn to pieces and killed.
“I don’t want to die.”
Ludis eventually fell on the floor, scraping her forehead.
Blood flowed from her white forehead and soaked the floor.
But none of the numerous knights, the vassals, and the royal family around her, showed any sign of sadness or pity.
The priest was still the only one who sympathized with Ludis.
“If you sacrifice yourself, peace will come to the Empire. Are you going to ignore the voices of millions of people?”
The emperor said with a voice as cold as ice.
“If you want to summon an ancient god with strong power, you must sacrifice the blood of the Imperial Household. You know that yourself, don’t you?”
The Emperor clicked his tongue in annoyance.
Ludis’ body stiffened by the memory of being beaten by her father, the Emperor.
It wasn’t discipline time, which is why nothing was flying around, but his voice alone is enough to scare me.
After a long pause, Ludis looked up at her sister, who was clinging to her father’s side with wobbly eyes.
Unlike her, Selena who had noble blood running in her veins was a full-fledged lady.
The priest repeatedly said that Selena would be more suitable as a sacrifice than Ludis, who carried commoner’s blood.
However, the Emperor did not listen to the priest and decided that Ludis will be sacrificed instead.
Furthermore, he ordered them not to disclose the information that Selena was more suitable as a sacrifice compared to Ludis.
‘But, if it’s really for the people, shouldn’t Selena, not me, be the sacrifice?’
She has had a rough time. She has always been the one sacrificed instead of Selena.
“You, who has always been useless all your life, can now be useful for once.”
The Emperor’s voice softened a little, as if he was conscious of the gazes surrounding them.
“Let’s be honest here, even if you survive, how will you be able to enjoy life when you’re limp and born to an unclean mother?”
A limp in her foot….and unclean blood.
Having any bodily fault like limping was a fatal flaw as royalty.
Because of that, it made her shorter. She was also treated poorly by others.
All her life, Ludis has been yearning for affection.
All the sacrifices she made in place of Selena, being obedient to her father, who always scolded her, were all struggles she underwent for affection.
At that moment, the cries of the beasts, which were creepy just by listening, came from behind the door.
In addition to that, the sound of big sharp claws scratching the door was heard.
In response to the summon, an ancient god will descend to the ground, so the offerings were executed in the cave.
Ludis shuddered in fear, violently.
It was chaotic to think that she’ll be eaten alive to summon an ancient god.
“For the sake of the Empire.”
The Emperor spoke in a firm tone, as if he won’t listen to Ludis’ refutation any longer.
“Priest, you’re sure that when the memorial service is over, the summoned deity will grant my wish?”
The priest nodded his head, frightened.
Then, the Emperor ordered the knights to raise Ludis.
“Oh, father! Selena!”
Her sister, who was named after her, frowned as if she was seeing nothing.
“Let go, let go!”
Ludis struggled to get away from the knights, but since she lived in the palace all her life, her strength was not enough to overcome the power of the knights.
Ludis’ resistance meant nothing more than the rebellion of a newborn baby to the trained knights.
Ludis cried and begged the Emperor again.
“Put her in.”
But the Emperor ignored Ludis’ last cry for help.
The knights opened a huge stone chamber at the Emperor’s command and threw Ludis into the dark.
Ludis quickly crawled to the door, but it was too late.
The stone door was closed.
“Get me out! Please, please….save me!”
Ludis screamed and scratched the door.
Her fingernails broke and blood came out, but she didn’t feel any pain.
The closed door did not budge.
The only thing that was heard was the voice of the Emperor who executed the memorial service.
[Oh great deity, there are people who need your strength.]
The magic circle engraved on the stone gate began to emit a red light.
Then, the cries of the beasts from inside grew louder.
It was a sound from deep inside the cave that sent chills down to my spine.
[The blood of a human of the noblest lineage among humans is devoted to the distant ancient universe until the present.]
The bloody magic circle fluctuated.
[Please show yourself before us at this earnest call!]
An incredible roar resounded.
Ludis screamed and rolled on the floor in pain, it was as if her eardrums were being torn into pieces.
Then, the pain from the heat came.
It felt like she was being beaten with a fire-heated iron rod.
Endless pain swirled around her whole body, and Ludis can only get out of it after a long scream.
How long has it been? When I opened my eyes, the magic lines of the stone gate were gone, and all that’s left was darkness.
Ludis swung her hand and glanced around.
There was supposed to be a stone gate in front of me, but there was nothing.
As I was about to move, I heard the sound of an animal coming from behind.
At that time, she got chills all over her body.
Ludis didn’t move at all. She couldn’t even breathe.
Tears started to flow down my cheeks.
The beast slowly circled around Ludis, drawing a circle.
The sound of the animal’s paws rang like thunder in the stone chamber.
Ludis curled up, shivering.
Gradually, the circle drawn by the beast began to narrow down.
Ludis could now feel the movement of the beast through the flow of the air.
Am I going to die like this?
A terrible sight came into Ludis’ mind.
A scene in which one’s flesh and bones are being eaten alive by an animal.
He said that we must give enough blood to satisfy the ancient god that will be summoned.
Ludis wished deeply.
Thousands of sentences swirled in her head.
‘What’s wrong with being limp and being born to an unclean mother?’
On top of that, the voice of the Emperor rang like thunder.
My father was right.
She lived for 20 years, but all she had been through was pain.
No one loved her, and no one cared for her either.
Even if I wasn’t sacrificed, all that’s left for me outside will be the same pain I felt before.
I knew that too well.
‘I don’t want to die.’
Ludis longed for it.
‘Even if I have to live a hellish life, I don’t want to die.’
At that moment, I could feel the hot breath of the beast at the back of my neck.
Ludis moved back, screaming.
The hair that had been fixed was now loosened. And, a sound of a hairpin falling off could be heard.
She could feel the animal’s teeth coming close.
“I don’t want to die!”
Ludis desperately shouted, and searched the floor for the hairpin.
She was slashed by some sort of broken jewel, but she didn’t care.
She was on the verge of collapsing due to her uncomfortable leg, but she still didn’t give up.
“I can’t die like this…..”
Ludis shut her eyes tightly and swung the hairpin wildly.
After a few attempts, Ludis’ hairpin miraculously stabbed the beast’s body.
I could feel hot and sticky blood running through my hands.
Ludis opened her eyes, panting.
I could see the big eyes of the beast right in front of me.
Ludis had never seen anything like it anywhere in the world.
She saw the earliest drawing of the universe, time, and primitive beings. She also saw something there, sleeping deep in the dark.
It was like an abyss, sucking everything in and spitting it out at the same time.
The beast, no, ‘its’ eyes looked into Ludis.
Ludis screamed and ran, but she soon fell down.
Heading to ‘that’ place panting and screaming.
However, she couldn’t move anymore because she sprained her ankle when she fell.
‘Am I really going to die now…?’
The moment she thought of that, she started crying.
Ludis cried until no more tears came out. A hiccup came out of her mouth.
It was the first time in her life that she cried so much.
But no matter how much I cried, I couldn’t get rid of my sorrow.
‘What did I do wrong?’
Ludis often asked herself that.
What did I do wrong to make my father hate me?
What did I do wrong to make people mock and insult me?
‘What did I do wrong…..’
However, even if I agonized over and over again, I still couldn’t figure out the answer.
One night, when Ludis couldn’t sleep, she suddenly thought,
‘Is it possible that it wasn’t me, but father, who did something wrong?’
But Ludis couldn’t bring herself to believe it.
It was because if all the hardships I had gone through so far wasn’t my fault, my heart would be in so much pain because of such injustice.
She felt like she was going to let go of everything due to the anger bubbling inside her.
So, she just believed that it was all her fault.
Because that’s less unfair.
Because it’s convenient if I thought so.
All this miserable life, suffering, and endless ridicule….Ludis thought that everything was her fault.
But her death, it couldn’t have been her fault.
I remembered my father, who always smiled at Selena, but was cold and cruel to me.
A cruel father who made me a sacrifice to summon a god.
‘…….I want to live.’
In her thoughts, she screamed at her father with all her might.
‘Father, I want to live too.’
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