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Published at 27th of May 2020 09:10:01 PM


Chapter 16

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Chapter 16




The slight curve of a friendly smile made me look even more dangerous. 

It was all or nothing. 

Now that I’ve even showed my face, I had nothing left to fear. 

“…What are you looking at? Hurry and pack them up.”

“Ye-yes? Yes!” 

I cheerfully pointed at the cakes again. 

The shaken man seemed to hold his breath as he hastily began packing the pastries. More than believing what I’d said, he followed what I said out of instinctual fear for his life. 

“Your Ladyship, the packaged pastries will soon be ready!” 

“Excellent choice.”

Chuckling, I took a step back in encouragement. 

Truthfully, I didn’t have anything to do with the cakes anymore, but I made sure all the cakes were sold until all the people in the line left. 

“Here they are, Your Ladyship.”

Trembling, the shop owner presented me with the wrapped cakes. I took them and stooped to look at the frozen children in front of me. 

“Now then, here you go! This is the chocolate cake you were talking about, right?”

“…”

“Hurry up and take it.”

“N-Noona, is this person really a witch-Heup!”

The trembling boy clamped his mouth shut. 

As I looked at them in confusion, the sister shielded her younger brother and bowed, even going as far as kneeling on the ground. 

“Your Excellency, please forgive us! Please don’t eat us! My younger brother was insolent out of ignorance…”

“…Oh my.”

It seems that my image wasn’t just terrible, it was on the level of human trash. 

Not knowing whether to laugh or cry, I pressed my lips together, but this only served to worsen the situation. 

The children’s small tense shoulders, which seemed like they would go into a full panic at the slightest touch, were practically touching the floor. 

“W-we really didn’t know anything. We won’t do it again…”

“You’re right, you shouldn’t do this again.”

“…”


“Why would you go around in this cold weather so thinly dressed? You even brought your little brother.”

As the girl felt something was placed on her shoulders, she raised her head, wondering what had happened.

Why did she give me this cloak?

Though they still looked at me with their eyes wide in confusion, at least they stopped trembling. 

“Y-your Excellency!” 

“Your youth is just one part of your life. If you don’t take care of yourself starting from now, what are you going to do when you reach my age?”

Though it may have been insufficient to soothe the children, everything I said was taken from experience. 

Suffering as I grew up as an orphan, by the time I was in my 20s, my bones were so stiff I suffered even more during the winters. 

“…But if you give me this, then what about Your Excellency…” 

“I’ll be fine. Anyway, once a little more time has passed, I’ll…uhm.”

I’ll be covered head to toe in magnificent goose down that can’t compare to this cloak. 

T/N Raws use the goose down term in romanized English. Since she’s comparing her feathers to an article of clothing, she uses a phrase that has to do with clothing. But since she’s a swan, you can just insert ‘swan’ in place of ‘goose’ as you read…haha…

I let out a warm but bitter laugh as I fastened the cloak to the bowed girl. 

Though I’m sure they wouldn’t start to like me just because I gave them a cloak, at least now they wouldn’t flinch at the so-called Northern Kingdom’s witch’s touch. That was enough for me. 

Stooping down, I handed the still-terrified boy the cake. 

“Now, eat the cake well and be sure to get back home before it’s too late.”

“…T-thank you.”

The children quickly rushed away, not waiting to hear if I had anything else to say. Now, for the remaining people…

“Ahh, you’re still here.” 

“…”

The three cloaked men stood stonily in the same place they were before. 

At first, I thought all three siblings looked similar, but now I could see that the one standing in the middle had a sort of reverence about him that distinguished him from the others. 

“…Hey you.”

“…”

“You think I’d just give the children their share when all of you were also waiting in line?”

I have some sense of respect, at least. 

*Grab.*


As I lifted the cake, the man’s hands that had been at his waist instantly reached forward. 

What kind of hands are that fast.

Though the man’s reflexes made me pause for a bit, I couldn’t waste any more time. 

Holding the box, I motioned towards the stiffly standing man and the rest of his trio of three brothers. 

“Well then, the rest of you should now return.”

“…And you?”

“Me? I still have some things left to do…Oh dear!”

When did the sky get so dark?!

My spine started tingling as a cloud cast a shadow over my surroundings. A stiffening sensation started to move from my neck to my shoulders. It was the signal that I didn’t have much time before turning into a swan. 

“What do I do!”

My back felt chilly in an instant. 

This was the first time I’d gone outside, so I’d passed time unaware of how quickly the sun would set. 

The dessert shopkeeper backed away as I looked at him. 

“Excuse me, could you give me a moment!”

“I, I am so sorry, Your Ladyship! But I haven’t done anything wrong! I was just following the orders I’d received…”

“That’s not what I wanted to say, could you come with me for a sec-”

And now, my shoulders started to get colder. Whether it was because of the sudden cloud that was quickening my transformation, or because I felt someone’s gaze on me, I knew I couldn’t stay here any longer. 

“Hahh.”

What is this.

I couldn’t hide my dejected expression as I turned around. 

If I went into the shop to catch the shopkeeper and the sun went down I’d be doomed when it came time for me to turn into a black swan. 

I just needed to at least get to a spot with no one nearby before I transformed… 

“…Wait.”

Not you again!

As the one in the black robes approached me, I felt like my chest was going to explode. 

Why can’t you just bother someone else, I don’t have anything else to give you anymore! 

I heard the sound of unsheathing metal as I defiantly bore my eyes into the black-robed figure. 

“Are you really…”


“Could you step aside? I’m a little busy at the moment.”

“…”

“Hey, I’m not joking around here, you know?”

The stiffening sensations had gone past my shoulders and all the way to my elbow. At the ominous sign that I’d soon be covered in black feathers, I pushed the man’s chest with all the strength in my hands.

“Hyu, Hyung-nim!”

“Ah…”

So why didn’t you move when I asked you to. 

As I pushed the man, his robe shifted a bit and a sharp jawline was slightly revealed, but I only had one thing to say at that moment. 

“Eat something sweet and relax a little. You seem like you’re going to kill someone.”

⬦⬥⬦

“…Hyu, Hyung-nim.”

“Move.”

In the now empty city square, Rashid pushed aside Tenon’s arm. 

It wasn’t his usual dangerous aura. 

Though Rashid hadn’t taken a single step, Tenon gripped his sword as he felt a murderous bloodthirst seeping out from his brother. 

Living up to his reputation as the empire’s sword, his sword ki was so strong it seemed like the sword itself would break. 

“Please calm yourself. What if someone sees and discoveries our identities.”

“…I told you to shut your mouth.”

Even the sound of his breath was quiet, which made the two brothers even more nervous. 

It was almost exactly the same as the time he’d held up the bloody head of King Tenas on the battlefield. 

“Big brother!”

Peyton yelled out as he returned, pushing Tenon, who’d helplessly stiffened up, behind him.

The motionless Rashid, who looked as if he’d never move again, turned his head. 

“…And the woman?”

“I went after her immediately, but she got away. I definitely went after her back but she disappeared without a trace among a field of reeds.”

Peyton bowed his head desperately as if to ask for forgiveness. 

The cold-blooded Rashid let out a harsh laugh. 


“Are you joking with me?”

“Hyung-nim.”

“You’re saying she shook off your pursuit? A woman escaped from the commander of the knights?”

“…”

The two brothers didn’t dare move an inch at Rashid’s thundering voice. 

However, this was actually the first time they’d lost track of someone in pursuit of them…no wait, this would be the second after Haniel’s incident. 

“It looks like the rumors about the Duchess are a li-little different than what we expected. For a witch, she seems to be too beauti- wait uh, what I meant was-” 

“Watch your mouth, Tenon!”

What impudent behavior in front of the emperor!

Peyton tried to change the topic by scolding Tenon and rambling on to divert Rashid’s attention.

Though he agreed that the duchess was certainly different in person than the rumors, this wasn’t the time for that. 

Their emperor and big brother was now in a mood far beyond foul…

“…”

*Gulp.*

The two brothers’ gazes stopped at the pink box in Rashid’s hand. 

They’d rather have an enemy king or commander’s head cut off and held up in front of them. 

They felt like their nervous hearts were going to beat right out of their chests. 

“Hooh.” 

The item was soon crumpled up in his hand. 

They’d predicted that he’d react like this but seeing the ruined cake, their hearts dropped to their stomachs. 

Rashid slowly pulled down the head covering with his other hand. 

“Though I don’t have any interest in getting involved in another household’s matters with my status as the emperor…”

“…Hyu, Hyung-nim!”

“I need to see if a witch really is living on my lands.”

His hair, golden as the sun, fluttered with the chilly winds of the North. 

The blood-red eyes rocked with more tranquility than ever. 

“Tell them to turn on the lights of the Winter Palace, at once.”



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