Chapter 152 – Why Call Me Elder Brother? (1)
“Lord Koshar. This is King Heinley I of the Western Kingdom.”
The escort abandoned his playful manner and introduced King Heinley, and Koshar bowed to Heinley with perfect gentility. The man imagined Koshar to be too much of a ruffian to succeed the Troby family, but when it came to it, Koshar had impeccable manners. The man stared between Koshar and Heinley, in suspense for what kind of conversation they would have.
“Good work. You may go.”
Heinley ordered the man to go away, and he was forced to turn around in disappointment.
Koshar watched the scene with a close eye. He remained outwardly calm, but he was still surprised inside. It wasn’t because the bandit-looking man offered to introduce him to his sister, but because the Western King seemed to be eagerly anticipating Koshar’s arrival.
‘This is good, in any case.’
Now that he met the king, he wouldn’t have to abandon his vendetta against the concubine.
Koshar opened his mouth to give his formal greeting. Before he could say anything, however, something astonishing happened.
“Elder brother. It is my humble honor.”
King Heinley called him ‘elder brother’. Koshar blinked in surprise.
Koshar was rendered speechless. He stood as frozen as a statue, and Heinley gave a small chuckle.
“Ah. It seems you don’t know how to react.”
Actually, Heinley himself was unsure what to do beyond this point as well. He had only been thinking about bringing Navier’s brother to the kingdom, but hadn’t considered any plans beyond that. He simply knew that to gain favor from Navier, he had to gain favor from her family. In Heinley’s eyes, Koshar was marked “Priority number one.”
Similarly, Koshar, who didn’t know the reason for his summons, was stalled on what words to say. Although Koshar had occasional quarrels with Sovieshu since childhood, in an official capacity, he always treated the Emperor with civility. Koshar had taken the same etiquette lessons as Navier, but a king from another country had never called him “elder brother” out of nowhere.
“What is the meaning—”
Heinley gave an “Ah” and pointed at the door with a wide, friendly smile.
“Please enter first. We can talk later after you’re refreshed and rested. Are you tired?”
“You bear a great resemblance to your sister.”
The room prepared for Koshar was comfortable, spacious, and luxurious. It had a soft beige interior, and the timber and workmanship on the furniture were of the finest quality. The bathtub was filled with warm water and sprinkled with rose petals, and clothes were prepared that fit his measurements.
‘How does he know my size?’
Not knowing that Heinley had prepared clothes of all sizes, Koshar felt like he had been possessed by a ghost.
‘If I listen to him, then I’ll find out all his reasons.’
After changing his clothes, Koshar was led by a handmaid to King Heinley.
When Koshar entered the room, somehow, Heinley looked worse than before. He was sitting at a table, his expression dark and his forehead crumpled. When he saw Koshar, however, he got up, welcomed him, and called him “brother”.
“I thought the color red would suit you, brother.”
“Your Majesty. I apologize, but you keep calling me ‘brother’…”
“Ah. Let me explain.”
Heinley, however, suddenly found it difficult to speak. Koshar waited patiently, and after about five minutes, Heinley confessed.
“In truth, I don’t know what to say.”
“What is certain is your sister. I promised to marry her.”
Koshar had taken a sip of water, and he choked when he heard Heinley’s words. Heinley quickly offered him a handkerchief. Koshar held out his hand to accept, when he saw the initials embroidered on it.
It had Navier’s initials. That meant this handkerchief—
Heinley quickly withdrew the handkerchief, then pulled out another one to offer him and smiled awkwardly.
“My apologies. I often take that one out first.”
“That handkerchief is…”
“It originally belonged to Empress Navier.”
Koshar thought so. That handkerchief was clumsily embroidered by his father’s unskilled hand.
“I know. My father gave it to her as a gift.”
“Is that so?”
Heinley smiled, turning slightly red in the cheeks.
“So it came from father-in-law.”
Koshar was glad he wasn’t drinking water this time. He could hardly comprehend everything that the young king had been saying. Father-in-law? No, why does the king have that handkerchief?
“Ah. Empress Navier gave it to me.”
Koshar kept staring at it doubtfully.
“She tied it around my neck.”
Koshar was caught drinking water again. He coughed roughly into his hand as Heinley knocked him sympathetically on his back. Empress Navier tied her handkerchief to that king’s neck?
“It was in secret.”
Heinley quickly added to his words, recalling that she had tied it to him when he was a bird.
‘She tied him up in secret!’
Koshar gripped his cup more tightly. His head was spinning. What was going on here? Why did Empress Navier tie a handkerchief to the king’s neck?
Heinley pressed the handkerchief to his chest and continued with a proud smile on his lips.
“The situation is urgent, so I’ll explain first. I promised to marry Empress Navier.”
“I don’t know the exact circumstances. But Her Majesty the Empress proposed to me first.”
“This is only a guess…but I believe Emperor Sovieshu is preparing to divorce the Empress.”
Koshar’s face froze in shock.
“What do you mean?”
Koshar’s face was quite similar to Navier’s, and Heinley found that his heart was pounding.
“As I said, I don’t know the details. But she is not the one who would propose to me for no reason.”
“Sadly, she offered me a marriage of convenience.”
Navier. Koshar’s precious sister, whose only dream was to grow up to become empress. If she planned to marry the Western King, there must be a reason.
Koshar nodded. He knew that Sovieshu was deeply in love with his concubine, and that she was also pregnant. People in love could leap into doing crazy things. Perhaps Navier heard of Sovieshu’s divorce from the concubine. However…
“It seems you accepted the offer. Why?”
He didn’t understand. Navier was in a politically difficult position, and had offered a proposal before getting divorced. Why would Heinley accept it out of nowhere? Navier was a lovely woman of course, but marriages between nobility and royalty weren’t meant to be romantic. Koshar weighed the advantages and disadvantages. King Heinley must also have a mind full of calculations.
However, Heinley’s answer was disarmingly simple.
“I love her.”
Koshar blinked his wide eyes. What?