He flashed me a smile, doing it so sincerely that the irritation in his features just a few moments prior vanished.
“What’s wrong Iona”
Hearing my name softly uttered from his red lips made me flustered that I quickly tore my eyes off him.
When the assassin came barging into the emperor’s bedroom, it was not long until I was rendered unconscious for three consecutive days after the maid pushed me off the stairs.
The first thing I heard upon waking up from my near-death experience was that the emperor called for the nobles into the study, and I instantly understood what was going to happen so I hastily left the room to come try and stop him.
Healing from my injuries almost took a month.
The number of medicines I’ve been taking regularly helped a lot.
I grew so used to them that it felt strange not needing to take them anymore after eating my meals.
At least I’m back to full spirits, I thought.
But recently, something else had been troubling me; I noticed there was a change in the emperor’s demeanor ever since I went to the library that day.
I thought he would be angry at me for walking around the premises without his permission.
I even resigned to the fact that he would punish me himself and I braced myself for what’s to come.
But when he saw me standing outside the door, his expression immediately lit up showing how happy he was seeing me well and awake.
He pulled me in his embrace then, wounding his arms around me so tightly I couldn’t breathe.
It was comforting to know that he felt pleased about my recovery, but isn’t his reaction a little too much I’m just a mere doll who has recuperated, nothing more.
When he led me back to his room, he didn’t pull me into a hug and just laid me on the bed, tucking me beneath the blankets.
He made sure I was covered all the way to my feet and suddenly, he asked me what my name was.
Heat flushed my cheeks as I slowly moved my lips and mouthed my name.
His eyes focused on me intently, nodding as he recited my name a few more times and smiled.
“Iona… what a pretty name.”
He had been calling me Iona ever since then, not missing a chance to address me by my own name.
But why the sudden curiosity Aren’t dolls just a stand in for Liliana, to fill in the void she had left But even though he calls me by my name now, his actions and the way he treated me were pretty much the same.
I was still his doll, and he hugs me every night until he falls asleep.
There are also times when he would also ask me personal questions, like he wanted to know about the real me, like he does not see me as Liliana anymore.
It seemed like he blurted out whatever he thought of without thinking much of it.
Every time I answer his questions, my eyes are cast downwards since I found it hard to look at him directly, especially when I know that he is a tyrant in the novel I read, the one who lets his anger get the best of him by cutting people into pieces like they were just slabs of meat.
The soft calling of my name on such a blissful morning surprised me, but I was pulled back to my senses when Ivan cleared his throat and spoke.
Chancellor Ivan turned to look at me, seeing that the emperor was not paying him any attention.
“The doll… I mean, even the lady did not get up yet.
Please get ready as soon as possible.”
“Why the hell are you here in my room How dare you wake me up! Where’s the maid” The irritation seeped back into the emperor’s voice as he roared.
The chancellor appeared nonchalant despite the emperor’s exclamation.
“The maid is currently occupied.
Who else would dare to wake you up if not me Please get up.
If we don’t make it this year, the cardinals would have my head.”
“Well, isn’t that great” The emperor yawned.
The chancellor scoffed in annoyance.
“Aren’t you being too much, Your Majesty” It’s surprising that the emperor and the chancellor were discussing this in front of me.
The emperor took his time getting out of bed as if the chancellor was not rushing him at all.
The sluggish pace clearly showed that he didn’t want to go.
“Go back to sleep.” He said, draping the blankets over me.
He smiled at me once again before turning around to grab Ivan by the neck and pushed him towards the door.
“Your Majesty, what are you doing My legs are working just fine, there’s no need to treat me this way.” Ivan complained.
The emperor snapped.
“Stop nagging, will you Shut up and follow me.”
“H-hey! You’re dragging me!” The chancellor tried to shake the emperor’s hand off him but to no avail, looking like he was a pig being dragged forcibly into a slaughterhouse.
The emperor really was acting strange.
The way he had been treating me for the past week didn’t make any sense.
Although him being sweet was nothing out of the ordinary, he only did it to play his part well.
But what I noticed recently was that he’s really, genuinely, trying to be much nicer than usual.
He always looked at me so warmly, but it somehow grew even more gentle if that’s even possible.
Am I overanalyzing this I quickly shook the thoughts off my head.
It’s been a week of calling me by my name, and I understood that it was his attempt to separate me from Liliana, that I am not just her substitute.
Getting rid of Liliana entirely was out of the question since he was still suffering from his nightmares and trauma.
Ever since the emperor called me Iona, however, he had slept soundlessly for a week, which took me by surprise.
Why was he suddenly sleeping well Are the nightmares about Liliana no longer there anymore