The Young Daughter of the Goddess 2

Anthalon was called the ‘King’s Advisor,’ but he rarely offered useful advice. Neither the king nor he minded.

In the morning, Anthalon would go to the king’s quarters and suggest that he go hunting or meet with petitioners for the first time in a while. In the evening, he would advise the king on which concubine to visit or which official to drink with. The king would sometimes follow Anthalon’s advice and sometimes not, depending entirely on chance. In fact, King Roandros of Epherium had never paid much heed to others’ advice. When he had no particular opinion of his own, he simply found it convenient to do as Anthalon suggested.

Queen Sabina could not tolerate this.

Nine years ago, at the age of twenty-four, Sabina ascended to her long-desired position, feeling invincible. She was young, came from a noble family, had a slim waist, and hips that were impressive as if she had given birth to three children. In fact, she had given birth to one, but the child had died, and only her family knew this, so the royal family never knew. Savina was convinced that she would soon bear the king’s children and create a proud forest of her lineage.

Nine years later, at thirty-three, Sabina was alone. The palace, where children should have been playing, was instead haunted by palace maids and servants wandering around like ghosts. Even the king was not by her side. Roandros had many concubines, and by now, Sabina had become no different from them. Perhaps she should have anticipated this outcome. She had seen the two women who had been queens before her living quietly among the concubines, yet Sabina never thought that such a fate would befall her.

However, to tell the truth, none of the dozen or so women guarding the king’s bedchamber had given birth. So, was Sabina’s hope futile from the start? No, it wasn’t. There was an exception. There was a baby born from Roandros’ love affair with a street dancer when he was a prince. The baby, who only lived for three months because Roandros’ father ordered the execution of the mother and child to prevent leaving behind common blood, was said to be a healthy boy who closely resembled the king.

People whispered that the dead mother and child had cursed the royal family, preventing descendants from being born. Some said the king kept the dead child’s swaddling clothes, which caused the curse.

In her fifth year as queen, Sabina asked Roandros if he really had such clothes. He looked at her with a puzzled expression. Later, rumors spread that the queen’s maids had secretly searched the king’s quarters, but it was never confirmed if they found blood-stained swaddling clothes. Regardless, no children were born, and in the seventh year, Sabina’s family summoned a renowned shaman to perform a ritual to appease an unnamed spirit. Rumor had it that a baby’s wail was heard from the ritual fire.

Nothing worked. Sabina remained alone.

Sabina frequently imagined young princes and princesses laughing and playing hide-and-seek in the sunlit courtyard. She imagined it so obsessively that it seemed she could hear their chatter all around her. Though she believed she heard it, she kept silent, not wanting to be called mad.

Sabina wasn’t the only one desperate. When she heard that Anthalon, the king’s advisor, had traveled to the land of reeds to visit the temple of Haje, a god known for prophecies, she didn’t think much of it. How could the priestesses of Haje provide a solution to a problem that had remained unsolved for twenty years?

Her expectations were correct. Sabina sneered upon hearing the content of the prophecy. Even if she wanted to follow it, she wouldn’t know how, as it was complete nonsense. She should have realized that this kind of prophecy was no match for those who could find meaning in the twisted goat intestines.

‘A descendant who will grasp all the land from the Nemi River to the Sky Lake will be born. He will return from the abandoned place and rule the place that was once forsaken for a long time.’ How could human creativity interpret this as if choosing a lowly woman, like a dead dancer, to break the curse and produce a descendant?

She doubted the king would listen, but she was wrong. The king often followed Anthalon’s suggestions when he had no other thoughts.

One night, a young, beautiful dancer brought by Anthalon was sent to the king’s bedroom, and she soon became pregnant. Ten months later, she bore a son. Sabina thought she was dreaming. The dancer was elevated to the highest rank among the concubines, and a festival celebrating the birth of the prince lasted for three days and nights. Flowers and gold coins rained down in the square.

Sabina, regaining her senses, was convinced that the child could not be Roandros’s. She had no concrete evidence, but the ignorant, lowly dancer who cowered before her could not have borne the king’s child when she, the queen, could not. Yet Roandros lavished all his affection on the prince, neglecting even his regular visits to the queen’s chambers.

No one in the palace cared about the queen’s feelings if the king didn’t. On the day the dancer, who had previously been nameless, appeared at her first official event as the mother of the prince and received the name Erectina, people couldn’t take their eyes off the young beauty holding the baby. The king didn’t leave her side. Anyone could see they were a family, while Sabina appeared as an outsider, an uninvited guest. Sabina approached Erectina to look at the baby. The black eyes that resembled the king’s looked up at her knowingly, as if to say, “When I become king, you, a useless being….”

When Anthalon approached and whispered, “His Majesty’s child is Your Majesty’s child. The queen will remain supreme, as always. How could a mere dancer be a match for the noble queen?” Sabina knew clearly. That woman was her enemy. She was losing. If things continued as they were, she would lose forever.

A few days later, Sabina summoned General Ribola. He was a man who had served her family for generations and owed his position as a general to their patronage. He accepted the secret command, promising to execute it soon.

Anthalon advised the king to pay more attention to the queen, but as always, the king ignored such bothersome advice.

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