Predatory Marriage

Chapter 15 - The Land of the Beasts
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Chapter 15 - The Land of the Beasts

Chapter 15 – The Land of the Beasts

The Kurkans were barbarians who inherited the blood of the beasts. They’re said to have existed on the continent even before history was first recorded.

They lived in the cluster of deserts located at the western end of the continent and were divided into tribes based on the kind of beast each one inherited their blood from.

Only one person could unite these tribes—the king of Kurkans.

How exactly the king came to power, no one knows. However, most guess that it was based on the concept of survival of the fittest.

The continent condemned the savage behavior of the Kurkans and called them barbarians. The main cause of their disdain was due to this race’s custom of marriage by captivity.

Companionship was extremely precious to the Kurkans. The moment they deemed someone to be their mate, they would resort to all sorts of means to obtain their hand. If they couldn’t capture them through lawful means, they wouldn’t hold back from committing a crime, even going as far as to abducting them forcibly doing whatever they pleased.

However, the countries of the continent could only criticize this practice verbally. They wouldn’t dare take military action. And that was because they’d already tasted defeat.

In the past, the countries had formed a coalition and tried to invade the Kurkans’ lands.

On the surface, it was a war that condemned the customs of Kurkans, but their real intention was different. The coalition’s insidious desire was to capture a large quantity of Kurkans, and sell them at a high price as slaves. Parties with the same interests allied themselves with the coalition and ambitiously participated in the conquest, but it soon disintegrated.

The land of the beasts…?This bears no exaggeration.

The continent’s people could never get used to the climate of the Kurkan’s lands. The hot sun blazed right above their soil during daytime. And at night, the ground turned cold like ice. They simply couldn’t comprehend how the barbarians managed to live there.

However, the climate was the least of their troubles. The Kurkans were born to be great warriors. They were sharp, brave, and knew every inch of the desert. Hence, Kurkans played with the Allied forces like toys, attacking them by using topography and climate to their advantage. After suffering from a series of miserable defeats, they decided to retreat forever.

To this day, the continent chooses to tolerate the Kurkans’ presence, left with no choice. And the Kurkans lived in their isolated world, with no interference from the continent.

But now, the delicate peace was about to be broken.

???

This was the first time the Kurkans asked for an audience with the other countries on the continent. The belligerents wanted peace and were seeking harmony.

However, Leah honestly couldn’t believe that. She knew all about that the present king bloodthirsty nature. He wore a bloodied crown, having seized the throne after killing the previous king. For that fierce and violent man wanted peace? Something must be amiss.

Estia was located near Kurkan’s border, and in case a massive war broke out, Estia would be the first country to take the blow and would suffer the most. So, she needed to start planning right away.

Leah’s mind was racing when suddenly, the thought of a man she spent a night with suddenly popped into her mind. The arrogant Kurkan who tricked her by assuming the identity of a prostitute, Leah somehow imagined him wearing a crown…

She could picture his conceited yet beautiful face vividly. The brilliance that exuded from his bright eyes was forever seared in her mind. Undoubtedly, he would’ve been a perfect match for the splendid golden crown.

However, the idea that the king of Kurkan went to the illegal prostitution quarters of a foreign country and pretended to be a pleasure worker was absurd and impossible. Leah shuddered at the ridiculous thought and calmly examined the situation.

“What did His Majesty say?”

“It was a demand for us to have friendly relations with them. He asked whether we could accept it right away. He also requested us to prepare for a conference with the Kurkans.”

“I see.”

A welcoming conference for the Kurkans…?The mere thought of it was irritating. The aristocrats were always starving for amusement and would surely not miss this opportunity. And among those greedy bastards was Byun Gyeongbaek of Oberde.

Tired, Leah pressed her temples. Just the thought of meeting him made her head ache. She’d hoped to avoid him as much as possible until their wedding day, but now, there was nothing she could do.

“l guess we need to prepare for this special guest’s welcome.”

Count Valtein nodded his head, tension evident in his eyes. Leah sighed with resignation.

Meeting the new king of Kurkan and Byung Gyeongbaek of Oberde, who’s been fighting against Kurkan all his life, at the same time? Nothing could be worse than this.

She could only hope for a bloodbath to not occur in the conference hall.

???

The afternoon ended with the finalizing the plans and discussions of details of the welcome conference. By the time they finished an informal inspection of the banquet hall, the sun had already started setting.

Now, it was time for her to go back to the queen’s quarters.

Reluctantly, Leah stepped towards the palace, and the closer she got, the stiffer her body became, her chest heaving with heavy breaths.

The maids of the queen’s quarter approached her. Unlike her bright and cheery maids, the queen’s maids wore a gloomy look. Their faces lacked any kind of emotion as they muttered under their breaths.

Leah followed the pallid looking lady maids, who escorted her to the reception room. All the servants soon retreated as the doors closed behind them.

Leah spoke carefully, “Mother.”

“Oh? You’ve arrived?” The pretty woman’s face bloomed like a flower, as if her joy came straight her heart. To anyone else, her smile would’ve seemed gorgeously refreshing.

Her brown, curly hair was swept to one of her neck, and the droopy shape of her blue eyes made her seem kindhearted. Just by her appearance, one could tell her delicate nature. Cerdina, the queen of Estia, was the exact opposite of Leah.

“I’ve been waiting for you, Leah.”

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