The voice of the man, who was standing in front of Seoyeob, shrunk because of the sharp voice that was just like a sword.
He judged that Jin Ye might have heard most of what he said, and she was trying to give him a hard time because of his mistake, so he couldn’t even talk properly.

“Tha-that…”

However, as though she didn’t mind it, Jin Ye ordered the man to get out.

“Just leave now.”

The man who was relieved immediately walked back without even minding Seoyeob, who was his master.

Not long after, along with the sound of the door being closed, only two people.
Jin Ye and Seoyeob remained inside the library.
Seoyeob then talked with a lower voice as if he was on guard in case Jin Ye’s people that were waiting outside would hear him.

“Your Majesty, that is impossible.
I would have noticed it if there were Prince Hwa’s people around there back then.”

While being silent, Jin Ye stared at Seoyeob.

Even at this time, she didn’t doubt Seoyeob.
She knew he would do his best and take care of Yeon Mugeon.
After all, Seoyeob was a man that would eliminate Yeon Mugeon himself even without the Imperial Order.
He himself was uneasy about the existence of Yeon Mugeon, so it was obvious.

In the first place, even when he was given a secret order from Jin Ye to find her fated person, he was unwilling to do it.

“Do you even need to go as far as to bring that person in front of your eyes?”

Saying something like that.

He was reasoning that a fated person would someday appear on their own, so there was no need to make a move to find them and tortured them early.
Still, because Jin Ye said she wanted to see him, he ended up bringing Yeon Mugeon in front of her.

Jin Ye thought about the past, wondering if it had been wrong ever since that time, and then said,

“The name seal has gotten darker.”

Thump.

Seoyeob felt a shock as if his heart had dropped down when he heard what Jin Ye said.
His eyes quaked helplessly.

“What, do you mean by that?”

It was a very grave talk, but Jin Ye’s expression didn’t change much.

“You know it well, don’t you? The meaning of the name seal getting darker?”

Seoyeob slowly clenched his fists.

There was no way he didn’t know the meaning of that.
The meaning of the name seal getting darker was that the fate also got tougher.
However, even at the time he brought Yeon Mugeon, the name seal on Jin Ye’s shoulder was vivid and thick with a perfect dark color.
Yet it got even darker?

Seoyeob finally had a hunch that his prediction might be wrong.
It might be his feelings only, but his arm that he burned not long ago throbbed.

“That is impossible.
There’s no way Yeon Mugeon is… alive.”

At the denial that was said once more, Jin Ye bloomed a meaningful smile on her lips.
She had already been convinced that Yeon Mugeon was alive.

The pain around the name seal that had been continuing on since a few days ago.
At first, she thought it was the price for going against heaven’s will, but then she gradually realized that was wrong.
Rather, the name seal penetrated deep into her shoulder joint, expanding its territory.

It was a hell of a happening.
Her mood turned worse.

Such a feeling oozed out into her words.

“Seoyeob, I’m not suspecting you.
I’m sure you have done your best.
You must be sincerely hoping that person does not come back.
Because of that petty jealousy.”

A sarcastic tone.
Seoyeob noticed that a crisis had come to him.

“… Your Majesty.”

“Don’t you think it’s funny that I believe more in your love than your loyalty?”

Seoyeob couldn’t hold any longer and plopped down in front of her.
He bent both of his knees and bowed his head.
As Jin Ye looked down on him intently, Seoyeob, who couldn’t fight against the pressure, let out an apology from his mouth.

“Forgive me, Your Majesty.”

“For what?”

This cruelty to stab him once again until he bleeds even though she already knew everything.

Even though he held a hope for a moment, Seoyeob always ended up seeing the lowest of him because of this kind of thing, He always helplessly became insignificant in front of Jin Ye.
This was the reason he felt he’d be happier if he stayed next to her as a retainer that is not a man.

“I know well about my sin of looking at someone I shouldn’t have dared to look at and keeping her in my heart even without you reprimanding me.”

It was truly an obsequious attitude.
It would be better if he tried to beg for love, but Jin Ye didn’t even allow for such a chance.

“This heart, I will hide it better, so…”

Taking the space on Seoyeob’s slurring words, Jin Ye asked.

“Don’t throw me?”

Jin Ye let out a laugh while looking at Jo Seoyeob, who couldn’t open his mouth.
Then, Seoyeob’s expression crumpled with agony and shame.
Looking at that, Jin Ye felt pity about this man, who was hanging into this hopeless love.
As she felt that, she somehow felt that her wrath about him being unable to perfectly kill Yeon Mugeon subsided.

Well, her order wasn’t to kill Yeon Mugeon.
It was to throw him away.
If she took a look on the surface only, Seoyeob didn’t violate the imperial order or do it carelessly.

Even if Yeon Mugeon really returned alive, then what could she do? In fact, her own anxiety was also unclear.
Even if that person was on her side, he wouldn’t be able to change anything.

She was just irritated beyond all bounds.

Just like looking at a small ant crawling up the wall.

It was just that far.

… Thus, the ant should be killed by pressing it lightly.

For now, that all was her sentiment.
Therefore, her order also came out lightly.

“Then find out if the person in Prince Hwa’s home is really Yeon Mugeon or not.
Check it with your own eyes, and if it’s really him, kill him immediately.
You have to take care of him for sure this time.”

“I’ll do that, Your Majesty.”

As he answered, Seoyeob lowered his head even deeper to the floor.
With an easy mind, Jin Ye turned her small feet.

“Then I’ll be waiting for Yeon Mugeon’s head to be presented before me.”

It’s late so go home now; she was about to add that.
However, as though he realized this was the last chance for him to initiate a conversation here, Seoyeob quickly talked as soon as she finished her words.

“But, Your Majesty.”

Jin Ye’s feet stopped.
A creaking sound rang because she stepped on the floor too deep.

“If Yeon Mugeon disappears…”

Seoyeob dragged out his words.
Noticing he was hesitating, Jin Ye repeated his words.

“If he disappears?”

She urged him, but Seoyeob closed his mouth tight for a while.
It was because he was confused.
About whether he would cross the ‘line’ or not once he said it.
If he crossed the line, there was a possibility she would throw him here.
As that was the worst situation, Seoyeob was conflicted to run the risk immediately.

Jin Ye, perceiving the sign, untied a rein.

“Deep night is always like that.
Sometimes, it makes humans say something they can’t say, just like when people are drunk.
I won’t charge you for your crime, so say it.”

Only then did Seoyeob organize his breath.
It was a dangerous question, yet he couldn’t help but ask because he was curious.

“Even for once, have you ever thought of being a woman?”

As he asked, Seoyeob thought it was ridiculous of him to add a supposition of if Yeon Mugeon disappeared.
Still, there was no one but that person who saw the majesty emperor of this nation thoroughly as a ‘woman’.
Also, although it was absurd, Yeon Mugeon was the only person that wasn’t her retainer that Jin Ye had ever faced.

Although Seoyeob wanted to possess that only place…

“Are you asking about if I want to be someone’s woman?”

It was distant from her.

Therefore, he couldn’t open his mouth at Jin Ye’s question.

“…”

“Jo Seoyeob’s?”

Seoyeob shut his eyes.

He dreamed a short dream.

Her small and fragile hands restrained his body, and he endlessly gave all he had to her.

That strong monarch in front of his eyes collapsed as the most fragile woman in his arms.

Whispering love while smiling, crying in no one else’s arms but Jo Seoyeob’s.

If he could possess that time even for a bit, if he was given such a chance, Jo Seoyeob would be happy even if he was thrown as the ikjaes’ food and got his body bitten.

“Then, before I die… I would like to have you.”

He wanted to have her before he died.
For the last time, he wanted to hold Jin Ye as a woman in his arms.

Just like Yeon Mugeon who said that reckless wish a few days ago.

… Is that it? Was that why that person?

However, he couldn’t be so reckless like Yeon Mugeon.
He knew that if the ‘retainer’ Jo Seoyeob left, there was no one to protect that woman from her side.

That cold-blooded woman who didn’t give her heart to anyone; thus she was a very lonely person.

After coming out from his imagination, he saw Jin Ye’s feet that were further away and weren’t directed to him.
As it had been the case, word of apology was the only language he could say.

“Please forgive, my irreverentes.
Just like you said, this is a deep night, so…”

He couldn’t bring himself to say he was out of mind so he slurred his words.

Jin Ye listened to him in silence and delayed her reply.

A night without wind blowing, a quiet library.
In his own way, Seoyeob said a part of his sincerity that he had been narrowly showing all this time.
It was indeed meant that Jo Seoyeob stepped the line he had never crossed all this time.
Jin Ye too, was thinking if she would cross that line or not.

Soon enough, she opened her mouth after deciding what she would do.

“Perhaps, I can give you a chance.”

A rotten thread of a rope that would break if it was pulled a bit.
That thing fell before Jo Seoyeob’s eyes.

“…!”

Seoyeob flinched as he saw a bit of hope.
Jin Ye became certain as she saw his hands were trembling.
Thinking that this man would really devote his life for her sake.

“You look like you are really taken aback, Sir Jo.”

Seoyeob raised his head and stared up at Jin Ye.
His eyes were quite desperate.

A hope without any light.
Although he knew she wasn’t being sincere; although he knew he was only being used.

Even so, he wanted to grab the poor rope Jin Ye gave him.
He had to grab it.

Also perhaps, Jin Ye knew better about his feelings than Seoyeob himself.
Therefore, she gave him mercy for a short moment.
She then woke him up, as if telling him to get a hold of himself.

“You’re no different from when you’re young.”

You’re still having those innocent eyes from when you were still a boy.

Mumbling that, she finally walked away from Seoyeob.

Thanks to those last words, Seoyeob realized it bitterly.
About why he couldn’t be her man.

Jin Ye was no longer that person from that time.

The absolute power of the Hwan Empire.

Monarch, that was her.

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