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Things are going well.

The Healer had discovered the illness brewing inside Nan's heart. She now went to the Royal Infirmary twice a day, to receive herbs and treatment. I was pretty sure he was just trying to spend as much time with her as possible.

She was a sweet woman, and he was a good man.

They were honestly perfect for each other.

And ever since that day, Taehyung hadn't come to my room. I'd always see him in the training grounds, with the instructor. I'd asked for reports of him twice a week— if he was getting along well with the other soldiers, if he was adjusting to the demanding drills.

The instructor had told him that he didn't attempt to speak at all, with the other pupils.

Only that he was the best out of the entire group, in both swordsmanship and physical ability. It was his first time holding a real sword in his hands, and within a week he'd surpassed even the assisting instructor.

A surge of pride had gone through me when I'd heard that.

Of course.

Kim Taehyung was a natural genius in all things battlefield.

But there was one problem.


After that day I'd taken him to the auctions, he wouldn't look me in the eye. All he would do is serve me— whether it's tea or preparing my bath, and he really did a hell of a good job despite being only here for a couple weeks.

But he wouldn't look me in the eye.

Even now.

"Jimin," I finally call, placing down the cup of lavender tea on the nightstand. He pauses, waiting for further instructions.

But I want to talk to him.

"Will you come here?"

He obliges. But in a way that a servant does to his Queen. Like he really doesn't want to, but he is entirely forced to.

My lips soften.

"Are you alright?"

His brows furrow. His reply is stiff. Amber eyes, still downcast.

"I'm fine, Your Highness."

"Then why won't you look me in the eye?"

I see him freeze in surprise. But then he finally looks up, to see me. I offer him a weak smile.

"I'm sorry for taking you to the Arena, that day. It was a place I shouldn't have just rushed you into like that. The thin—"

"Do you go...often?"

I shake my head. "No. And when I become Queen, it's the first thing that I will outlaw in Asura. I was only there this time."

It honestly sounds weak, even to me. I wouldn't be surprised if he was thinking that I was a complete hypocrite right now— having bought a slave in the Arena and saying these things.

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