You, My Devil - Chapter 1
The shouts of the citizens who filled the circular dome were getting louder and louder as if piercing the ears.
Heina barely maintained the expression on her face, holding her trembling chin, her hands in cold sweat clasped to her chest.
Arzen’s horse quickly turned, and the sandstorm rose up violently.
The crowd was even more excited and shouted his name over and over again. The Emperor and Empress sitting to Heina’s right, and Arzen’s father, Baris, watched with their breath as Arzen drew his sword and thrust it into the opponent’s horse’s waist. The startled horse raised its waist and ran wildly, and the Prince of the enemy country riding on it plummeted to the ground.
Heina, who was watching the scene from the seat closest to the stadium, a huge body in armor fell with a thumping sound, in the middle of the crowd.
The shouts of the crowd, convinced of Arzen’s victory, seemed to pierce the sky. Heina swallowed her tears of relief as she watched Arzen tugging at the reins from afar with skillful hand movements.
From the moment she heard the news that Arzen had been chosen to participate in this unusual slaughter game in her country that reveres manners and literature, Heina hadn’t slept soundly at night.
She stared with tearful eyes at the enemy before her eyes, wallowing in the sandy wind. He fell from the rambling horse like crazy, so he must have at least broken his neck.
“I hope this will help those savage races realize their position.”
A low whisper was heard from her mother, the Empress, to the Emperor. Heina looked at Arzen shining in the center of the arena with his sparkling armor. She wanted to kiss Arzen’s golden hair that was hidden under the helmet. She wanted to promise she would never put him in a situation like this again.
It was then. The fact that the Prince of the enemy country, who had fallen at Heina’s feet, ran toward Arzen and jumped on his horse.
“Oh my God!!”
At the same time as a startled scream erupted from the Empress’s mouth, Arzen, who had been pushed by the Prince of her enemy, fell from his own horse.
Arzen’s horse, who lost its master, ran wildly as if expressing with its whole body that the person pulling the reins was not its master. However, the Prince of the enemy country riding on Arzen’s horse did not fall as if he had formed one body with the horse. On the other hand, Arzen, who fell to the ground, could not get up easily, perhaps because his leg was broken.
“Stop the game now!”
Heina jumped up from her seat and shouted. Watching her pleading, the Emperor of Constance clenched his fists. It was a fight for the pride of the nation, but if left alone, even more brutality might happen. He eventually admitted defeat by raising a white flag to the Emperor of the enemy country who was sitting opposite the arena.
“The game is finished!”
It was only 20 years ago that Nike, a country founded by nomadic peoples who had wandered without a state while raising horses on the grasslands, began to invade and expand its power in each country.
Emperor Nike, who named the country after himself, plundered his neighbours, and established a more powerful imperial government based on his strong military base. The countries where he had waged war were devastated, and the smoke of burning corpses was everywhere. Heina was told from a young age that Nike’s people were also savage and heinous, similar to his cruel personality, and it was beyond words.
The Prince of the enemy country was now riding a horse towards her fiance, Arzen, who had fallen to the ground. A huge sandstorm blew all over the arena.
“Your Majesty! Please stop the game immediately!!”
Heina pleaded with her father with her face bursting in tears. The Emperor’s hand holding the white flag was trembling sadly.
The enemy Emperor Nike, who was watching the match from the other side, looked at it and smiled. He raised his glass high and shouted at his knight riding on the horse.
“Yuri! Prince of Nike Empire! Let me lift a toast!!”
At that moment, the Prince of the enemy country called Yuri grabbed the reins of the excited horse and turned wildly. At that wind, Arzen’s horse trotted on its master’s body. Arzen’s body clad in armor trembled in great pain. The crowd bit their mouth in surprise, and a wind of sand blew across the silence of the arena.
Heina screamed at her unmoving fiance who was trampled by the horse. At the same time, the scene where the Prince of Nike, who jumped off the horse, mercilessly cut off the leg of the Arzen horse, unfolded before her eyes.
Tears didn’t come from her surprised eyes. Arzen’s horse, with its leg broken, sprawled across the floor. A fountain of blood gushed from the cut, staining Yuri’s armor crimson.
As he walked beside the dying horse, unable to close its eyes, the Prince of the enemy country took off his helmet and threw it to the floor. The fiery red hair was shining even more red in the sun.
A smile crept onto his lips. It was creepy. It was a look that seemed to make the burning hot energy disappear at once. Seeing his back as he walked towards Arzen with his sword still dripping with blood, hey, she got goosebumps all over her body.
A verse from a forbidden book that she had secretly read in the imperial library pierced her head.
[ A red-haired devil is born, and the sun swallows the moon. East will become West, the sea will become a meadow, the world will be engulfed in flames, and all will be a handful of ashes. ]
These were the words that automatically came out of Heina’s mouth. The moment she watched the scene where the red-haired devil stabbed Arzen’s chest with a large, heavy sword, and grabbed his head then slashed his helmet, Heina lost her consciousness on the spot.
Heina screamed and opened her eyes. The bed was damp. It was a repeating dream for a year. When she realized that she could no longer see Arzen’s bright smile, her tears, which she thought had dried up, ran down her cheeks again.
Arzen wasn’t the only thing she lost.
On that day, at the last sound of the soldiers’ trumpets in her ears as she collapses, Heina’s home country, Constance, disappeared from history. The national event masqueraded as a friendly game was only a way to hide Nike’s soldiers on their way to Constance. In the war with Nike, which started with Arzen’s death, she lost her precious country Constance and her fiance, Arzen at the same time.
“Are you okay? Did you have another bad dream?”
Nike’s handmaid, draped in white cloth, entered her bedroom and asked anxiously.
Heina lay back down on her bed and closed her eyes. Every time she saw the brown skin of Nike’s handmaids and the dark hair, she felt her own cruel plight as real as it could be. She had been imprisoned in the palace of Nike, in the middle of an enemy country, for a year.
The handmaid opened her mouth as she closed the curtain that had been rolled back at the large window. The moon was hidden by a thick veil.
“Tomorrow is the day Lord Yuri returns from his expedition. You’ll be busy early to prepare for the meeting, so it’s better to go back to sleep.”
Heina rolled her body into bed and then clenched her molars and spit out. The handmaid, who was heading towards the door to get out, asked her again.
“If you can’t sleep well, even hot tea….”
“Didn’t I say to leave my room right now!!”
She got up and threw the vase next to her towards the door. The moment the vase hit the door and shattered with a bang, the thick wooden door opened wide.
For a moment, Heina felt the dry, hot wind peculiar to Nike from outside, whirling and rushing into the room.
“Why the hell is this your room?”
A man in traditional Nike attire, barely wrapped in a white cloth, came into the room without hesitation and let out a cold voice.
“No, Lord Yuri…this time is….”
Surprised by Yuri’s unexpected appearance, the handmaid bowed her head and shortened her words.
Heina jumped up from the bed. Seeing the man with a pale white face contrasted with the fiery red hair, she began to tremble in terror.
The 4th Prince of Nike, Yuri. The one who killed Arzen and set her country on fire. The red-haired devil strode towards her bed. Hyena’s mouth was dry and she swallowed a gulp.
He bent his torso and raised his lips crookedly towards her. His slow, cruel voice rang in her ears.
“Have you forgotten that this is the capital of Nike? This palace in the middle of the city, this room, everything you wear and eat here, even the air you breathe, is mine. How can a slave of a defeated country be able to argue about mine or yours?”
The smell of his body, resembling the smell of blood, was felt up close.
Heina’s chin began to tremble. Seeing Yuri again after 3 months, he had grown even more mature. His red hair that grew to cover his eyes and sharp lines on his face from countless battles made him look like a manly man. Heina couldn’t believe Yuri was the same age as her.
“Do… Don’t come closer.”
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