He turned around with his pale face. His small shoulders and skinny face made the Emperor feel annoyed.
“You didn’t eat again.”
“I wasn’t hungry. If I get that kind of fancy meal three times a day, even if it was a healthy man, it’s too much. Isn’t it Your Majesty?”
“Then you should’ve at least ate something I prepared, porridge with ginseng. I even ordered them to put quail meat.”
“Hahaha. You told them to do that? They will make fun of you. What kind of emperor takes care of his meal?”
“I don’t do that if it was my meal.”
“That makes it even worse.”
He joked around and coughed. The Emperor got surprised and put his hand on his back.
“Ah, I’m okay. It’s just a minor cough.”
“I heard you watched the rain again yesterday.”
Yeho just smiled.
“I told you not to leave the window opened. Even if it’s spring, it’s too cold. You just got better after being sick during winter. How much do I have to say more?”
“I was happy that it rained… Today is very clear because it rained. I feel great looking at a clear sky after seeing dusty sky, and the air is very clean.”
“I wore thick clothes. When will it shower?”
“When will you stop asking me that question? That kind of strong rain takes more than 10 days to come.”
“I heard that if the weather gets warmer, the magnolia flowers will bloom?”
“That’s what I’ve been told.”
I don’t care about the flower season. One day Yeho asked about magnolia flower, so I asked a gardener. Now he is waiting for the flower to bloom. I looked at him with displeased face and said.
“Do you like magnolia flower that much?”
“Yes, it’s like my sister.”
“You always talk about your sister.”
“Hahaha. She was always wet because of her rain-like brother. Every year I gave her a hard time. She lost her mother because of my mother and because of me she was pushed aside. Even so she never complained and took care of me. And when my sister’s eyes were about to dry, it rained again.”
The Emperor kept his stern expression. He doesn’t show lot of expression because of his cold personality, but it’s also because he was trained to do that ever since he was a crowned prince. Yeho knew that, and he smiled. The Emperor looked at him and shook his head.
“Never mind. Even if you smile, even if you talk about the rain and magnolia flower, I won’t let you pass this time. I told them to prepare the porridge again. You must eat that.”
“Oh no. I should’ve at least acted like I was eating.”
He had a perplexed face, but he smiled happily. Looking at Yeho like that, the Emperor slightly smiled. This man is weird. The Emperor murmured inside of him. I thought he was a weird man when I first met him. No, I thought he was a woman that time. My father who loved woman gathered all the beautiful women around the small kingdoms, and the last one he called was Princess Sooyoung from a small kingdom where I don’t even remember the name. My father was so thrill for her to come, but she always postponed the dates. Finally he threatened them with his weak body and at last they were preparing for her to leave. But even before she left the kingdom, my father died. I did the coronation forgetting about Princess Sooyoung. I had organized the empire because there were some business that he already started, and I had to go on a patrol to show people their new emperor. Because of those busy days her existence disappeared in my head. And after I got from the patrol, because of my father death, that woman had to come in as my concubine. I heard the news that she was dying. She was weak when they were coming, and she lived with cough ever since she came. Nobody called her to greet. They said she just stayed in her small palace and waited for her death day to come. I remember before my father died, he always had her name around him, so I got curious and went to see her.
It was weird that no one came out from the palace when I came. There were no servants who always had to stand there and wait, and no servants were running around busily. I told the body guards to leave before I came here, and the palace looked like no one was living there. It was gloomier because of that. There was nobody inside of the palace also. Where did all those servants go? I should scold the head of the servants. Then I heard a faint humming sound. It was strange but familiar soft sound. I saw a woman sitting next to the window humming a song closing her eyes. An awkward make-up clearly showed her pale complexion. Her long hair was loosely tied, and her clothing wasn’t very neatly done. It was very strange to me because I only saw women with nice make-up and neatly did their hair with oil and decorate themselves with bunch of jewelry. When I stepped inside the room, I felt the cold air right instant, so I closed the window right away. Then I heard her voice saying leave it be. She probably thought I was a maid because she called out her name. Her voice was little deeper than any women, but I heard she lives with cough. I didn’t think it was weird. It made me focus on to her more because of her low but strangely soft voice. But the woman didn’t say anything anymore, and I purposely talked to her. She opened her eyes with surprise and stared at me because she wasn’t expecting a man’s voice. I was surprised that she had clear brown eyes. The color was like a baby deer that I caught last time. And her hair wasn’t black either. It was like dark wooden brown color. But her face wasn’t beautiful. The lines were very thin but not beautiful. I never thought this woman was a man until he calmly told me.
“It’s heated. I’m fine with cold one…”
The servant had a porridge on a tray. Yeho said it with perplexed face, and the Emperor woke up from his day dream.
“It’s not okay. If your lungs are weak, he said it’s not good to leave your body cold.”
Yeho smiled weakly and started to eat the porridge. The Emperor smiled looking at him eating the porridge little by little. The body that was thin like a chopstick now gained some weight. His complexion was better. He didn’t look like a patient anymore. The Emperor felt strange that he felt happy about that. This man is definitely weird. This man named Yeho made me happy in a strange place.
He confessed being a male, but he neither made any excuses nor begged for his life. He said that the sins he committed deceiving the Emperor, and with his male body coming into the concubines’ palace are worth to die. Asking him to kill him with that dying face didn’t make the Emperor mad or lose his word. Yes, that was weird. He didn’t take out his sword like usual when he rudely talked back to him. Instead he replied back with his word. Maybe I was bewitched by his clear brown eyes that didn’t match with his boney face. Or maybe it was because of the humming lullaby sound mixed with the rain sound. Anyway, I didn’t want to use my sword on him. Just like he said, he deceived the Emperor and came inside the concubines’ palace with a male body. It was obvious that I should’ve killed him or send him away to royal army. But I didn’t want to do any of those.
He is weird. The Emperor thought about it again and touched his long hair. His brown eyes looked at the Emperor as predicted. The Emperor smiled.
“Your hair was about to get inside the porridge.”
Yeho put down his spoon and collect his hair to the one side. He missed the feeling of his hair sliding through his fingers.
“It’s always like this. I can’t organize my hair. I’m not neat…”
Yeho was little bit hastily and sloppily tied his hair. The Emperor was curious why he was in a hurry. He organized his baby hair sticking out.
“What about not being neat? It looks bothering you, but I like your hair. I don’t like hair that’s organized with oil. It looks too greasy. The government officials and concubines are all the same. Sometimes I feel like I'm looking at dolls. You don’t put hair oil on your hair?”
“Then I need to wash it out anyway. If I don’t wash it every day, it collects dusts, and that causes coughs for me.’
“Is it? That’s why you hair is always looks like a feather.”
The Emperor touched his shiny but little dry hair. Depending on the side of light, his hair looked red or brown. He carefully observed his hair and said.
“Your color is unique.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. It looks black, but it changes when the light hit.”
“My mother was like that. She had a dark wooden brown color.”
Yeho took out his hair from the Emperor’s hand.
“It’s time, Your Majesty. You should go. It’s time for your government affair.”
The Emperor frowned.
“It seems like you know my schedule better than I do.”
“It’s because I can see the eunuch wondering if he should come in or not from outside.”
He replied and started to eat again.
“If you go for your work then I will finish this bowl.”
The Emperor stood up.
“I’m going to come and check after I finish my work. And I’m going to come little late to check if you closed the window.”
“You are going to be back?”
Yeho asked with surprised look, and the Emperor nodded.
“Why? I can’t?”
“It’s not like that… You Majesty. I think you are coming here too often… Don’t people say anything bad?”
Yeho frowned because of worry.
“Why, did you hear something?”
“No, it’s not like that but…”
Yeho dragged his last word, and the Emperor put his hand on his shoulder and shook his head.
“You worry too much. Finish your porridge.”
He strictly ordered him and left the room smiling.
Use arrow keys (or A / D) to PREV/NEXT chapter