1 Basal Tale

The tightly fastened chains, shackled on his wrists and ankles restricted him from making any movements; Sungho could barely breathe through his broken nose, barely able to move the muscles on his face because of the immense anguish.

How did he end up in this place?

Sungho could no longer remember the instances before the men who introduced themselves as the imperial guards entered his room, where his so-called chambers turned out to be his cell and shoved him out.

Why did he wake up in a jail cell? Who imprisoned him?

His last memory was accompanying his brother on his first hunt, but their chase immediately went wrong. They were not clever enough to notice the wolves stalking behind them, which drastically resulted in endangering themselves.

Wasn't he bathing in his pool of blood earlier?

He was certain of his death. After all, Sungho grabbed the wolves' attention to lead them to him. And if the wolves followed Sungho instead of his younger brother, then this only indicated that his plan worked out and his brother was saved.

"I know he's alive. The wolves were too busy consuming my corpse—Burgh!" A hard strike on his face interrupted him from speaking.

"Who are you talking to, prisoner?" the first imperial guard fooled around.

"I guess the screw in his head loosened from the long days of torture. Ha-ha!" laughed the other imperial guard beside him.

Sungho constantly grunted while the guard was roughly tapping the side of his face with the shoe of the spear in his possession.

"I advise you to pray for heaven's forgiveness for seducing the Empress, rotten scholar. Cause you will soon meet your death by the hands of the Emperor himself."

Huh? What nonsense was the guard spitting?

Sungho had never seduced a woman once, more so an empress. He had never been in an intimate relationship with any woman in his life before because he was busy hunting and working for his family's needs.

Sungho was raised from a poor family. He was not born with a golden spoon nor a silver one. He never dreamed of being affectionate to a woman since he was most concerned about the needs of his family.

His three jobs would consume his time and energy to think and do any other things since he was the oldest of his three siblings. With this, Sungho did not have the chance to attend school, so he focused on helping his parents.

He would hunt just before the sun could rise, walk on foot from the forest to the town to work his two other jobs, and as he arrived home, it was already nighttime.

But just when Sungho was about to give a reply to the guard, a dooming sound echoed through the room that silenced the people inside.

Soon after, a loud yell announced someone's arrival. "His Majesty, the Emperor, has arrived with the Empress." 

Only then, when the dooming horn was blown, Sungho lifted his gaze and observed his surroundings.

At the head of him, there stood a seat made of glistening golden metal and what leads before it was the rolled down red carpet. It was apparent to declare that the seat was for someone all-powerful; it was the throne of the ruler.

Strong rock pillars facing each other stood in line on the center of the hallway; each pillar had a person standing before it. They wore the attire of what he had seen in his younger brother's borrowed history books, Sungho would recall it was called the civil official's uniform.

This long designed uniform was made in green silk with wide sleeves. The uniform had a collar that was white and round-shaped. In addition, on their chest and back, an emblem of a single celestial crane was embroidered in silver thread.

As he looked behind him, Sungho saw the entrance; however, he could no longer shift his gaze any further. It was excruciating to move his head.

"All hail the Emperor and the Empress!" Sungho heard the people applaud in the room and bowed all at once.

His eyes averted from examining the area and went onto the two highly individuals. Both were decorated in polished clothing with gleaming accessories produced out of gold and expensive pieces of jewelry.

Although the two sparkled indefinitely, Sungho was bewildered by the appearance of the woman beside the man. Inexplicably, he could feel his blood boiling; he could notice his chest toughening after Sungho saw her image.

Who was she?

He had not once seen her face in his life, and yet he could sense annoyance growing inside him. It felt as if Sungho desired to strike the woman and kill the man that was standing alongside her.

"The vile has been restrained, Your Majesty." Sungho side-eyed the imperial guard as he spoke.

Vile? Am I the one this man is referring to? 

"What are you looking at?" The other guard stabbed him on his stomach with the spear's shoe, causing him to make a guttural sound and crunch down the floor.

No. Ignore the guards. What was this anger? Sungho did not know that woman, but his insides were telling him he should hate her.

As the emperor and the empress walked past him, Sungho raised his torso, refusing to bow down to the two. It was what his body was telling him to do. It might be odd; however, Sungho himself could not state what it was.

And when they finally passed before him, Sungho found himself with a blade pointed at his neck. "The blade is sharper than you think. Without a doubt, the keenness of this double-edged sword can leave a fatal wound on your neck, rotten scholar. Bow down to the rulers of the Byungho Empire."

There was no mistake the blade was finely sharpened. He could even see his reflection on it.

"My reflection?"

Sungho looked intently at the image of the blade. It was his image, however, it was foreign to him. It was not his face, it was the face of someone else.

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