“Would you like another glass”
The attendant, who was serving him exclusively, asked as he cleared the plate.
Eugène nodded and held out his glass.
Richly fragrant wine filled the colorful glass, which he could not dare to imagine on board.
It may not be alcohol the Emperor himself drinks, but this wine was undeniably the finest Barbera wine, and for Eugène, it was his first time drinking such a wine in his entire life.
The sweet scent lingered at the tip of the tongue, while it flowed down the passage of the throat so smoothly like silk that he drank the wine despite his blue mood.
Though he restrained himself from drinking to the point of getting drunk, the current situation made him want to keep drinking, free of any limits.
This was the only good thing available in the court.
Eugène suppressed a sigh as he looked down at the enchanting liquid swaying in the opaque glass.
The banquet was not over yet.
The entertainment began after the nobles finished their meal.
The performance, which started in a lavish room, commonly referred to as the ‘Agate Room’, was a new opera composed by the most popular composer in the capital these days.
This work dealt with the regrettable tragedy that occurred at the court of the Duke of Benoist during the days of the Prince-Electors, armed with poetic beautiful lyrics and captivating music, but the plot was nothing more than an obvious political drama.
The overall plot of the opera was as follows.
In the days of the Prince-Electors, the Duchess and her guard knight met while the Duke of Benoist, the primary lord in the south, had gone off to war.
The two fell in love while avoiding the eyes of others, enjoying secret meetings to whisper their love for each other passionately, however, ultimately, they were caught by her husband, who returned from the battlefield and met a tragic end.
… Eugène, sitting among the nobles and watching the performance, felt bitter.
The story itself was a fairly common article, but considering the scandal that had almost swept the capital, this work was by no means a simple coincidence.
Eugène could clearly pinpoint where the composer got the motif for the song.
Perhaps even if the composer was asked about it directly, he would not be able to deny Eugène’s point.
The Emperor watched the work of art with great satisfaction.
He was so pleased with it that after watching the performance, he praised the composer and actors and gave them money.
The excited composer asked for permission to reenact this performance at the grand theater of the capital Michèle.
The Emperor claimed to be the composer’s first patron, and so, gladly allowed him.
Eugène, who witnessed the scene, had nothing to say.
Simply because… he didn’t want to say anything.
This time, the ballet began as soon as the composer left.
Just like a performance at the court, dancers dressed in dazzlingly flashy dance costumes performed a beautiful and grand group dance depicting an ancient myth.
The theme of the dance was the creation myth, and it was a magnificent story that began with the creation of the sky and earth.
The creation myth of the Ladivenia continent begins with Regire, the Queen of the Sky.
In the beginning, she opened the sky and created light, and gave birth to twelve sons alone.
In accordance with their mother’s wishes, her sons built remarkable and beautiful cities in the sky and ruled over the people on earth.
A century of gods that would never return.
People called that period ‘The Century of Seram’, that is, the century of the twelve gods.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
However, except for one, the rest of the eleven sons soon began a war of succession, coveting their mother’s authority.
Rain of fire poured down from the sky, and the mother wept with sighs.
Mother Earth became a sea of fire and was swamped by water, and the cities of the sky fell into the sea and disappeared.
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Ktbeut tf vlv cbatlcu, tf uba mjeuta eq lc atf oluta yfakffc tlr ygbatfgr jcv vlfv.
After the Great War, the goddess was left with only one grandson.
Eustace was the only son the crippled Artamia saved and hid in the ground.
Eustace, raised by the hands of a deity, opened up a new land by taking the soil from his father’s garden.
That land was what’s called the Ladivenia continent today.
It has been said that the lineage of the Emperor begins with that same Saint Eustace.
Only God knew whether that was true or not, but since the claim of Régis, the founder of the empire after ending the era of the Prince-Electors, was so, the genealogy of the current imperial family also contained that claim.
Therefore, Eugène was unable to see the dance in front of him as pure art.
Eugène found no beauty in their dance, only thinking that the head ballerina of the corps de ballet was delivering an act of brazen flattery.
Throughout the performance, all the other nobles either sincerely admired or pretended to as they watched the scenes unfold, but Eugène found it to be boring.
As a soldier caught between a rock and a hard place, he was the type to be impressed by the sound of cannonballs hitting the enemy’s flagship rather than the ensemble of violin and harpsichord, and considered accurately measured nautical charts more beautiful than the gentle dance moves of a dancer.
Eugène did not receive a formal education as he lived a life even worse than that of commoners, owing to the fact that his family collapsed even before he matured, and was an aristocrat only in name.
He taught himself all the things that were necessary to survive, and whatever he deemed unnecessary was dismissed without a second thought.
For that reason, he had not a shred of the so-called aristocratic knowledge.
This is because aristocratic knowledge was an expensive virtue that could only be obtained by investing immense money and time.
That’s exactly what his ex-wife pitied the most about her husband.
Eugène had no interest in ballet or opera, one of the representative means of amusement of the aristocracy, nor did he have the artistic sense to understand them.
That didn’t mean he loved poetry or literature.
He was a man who couldn’t even rhyme when writing a letter.
He couldn’t even be a sweet talker to Louise, who was sensitive and loved art, let alone a good husband.
That must also be a reason why his wife fell in love with Duke of Fernand, who was famous for his elegant taste.
He was a man who filled what Eugène could not give her.
He had an overflowing artistic aptitude, an excellent eye for seeing works, and even tried making them himself.
Eugène, lost in thought for a moment, came to his senses by the loud applause.
When he looked up at the stage, he saw the dancers bowing with grace. Maybe now is the time to wrap it all up Eugène estimated the present time and harbored small expectations.
It was just a simple dinner banquet, not a ball, so it won’t last all night. The Emperor is human, and so are the Grands, so wouldn’t it be time to go to bed at this point
Whether his wish had been fulfilled, or whether the time had really come, the servants began to draw the curtains when the ballet was over.
The curtain was lowered on the stage, and the Emperor put down the glass he was holding and ordered the attendant to take it after having enough of it.
Before the Emperor left his seat, the nobles who could not leave first waited for the command as they continued to murmur.
The chamberlain, who stood next to the Emperor and served him throughout the performance, stepped out in front of the Emperor.
He knelt and posed a question to the Emperor.
That famous line that even Eugène, who was ignorant of court etiquette, knew, came out of the attendant’s mouth.
“Your Majesty, who would you like to carry today’s lamp”
It was one of the greatest honors bestowed upon a nobleman to carry the Emperor’s lamp and enter the Emperor’s bedroom.
It was because entering the Emperor’s bedroom was a privilege that only the chosen one could enjoy, and if fulfilled his role of carrying the lamp, he could have a private conversation with the Emperor for a short time before he went to bed.
A meeting held in complete privacy where the attendants were not present meant the Emperor’s utmost trust.
The level of that trust was so deep that one could even find a chance to carry out an assassination.
It was a privilege that was considered supreme honor even in the days when the imperial power was unstable.
Moreover, presently, the Emperor’s power had ascended to heaven like the rising sun, so there was no way to predict how the nobles would react.
Indeed, all the noblemen were eager to bask in this glory, blinded by the great spectacle, unlike when they had to test the wine.
They earnestly took off their hats, knelt on one knee, and looked at the Emperor with eyes like that of an admirer.
It wasn’t a verbal demonstration, but rather a silent one where they meant to convey that it would be great if they were the one chosen from the rest.
The noblewomen were just sitting there, but judging by the look in their eyes, it seemed that, if given the chance, they would kneel as well.
It was a golden opportunity to jump into the bed of the young and handsome Emperor, but they were not allowed, so they may be the ones who feel sorry for themselves the most.
It was a sensible thing to follow the current tide.
Eugène, like everyone else, knelt and took off his gloves.
As it was a rite that was both an honor for the nobles and an acknowledgment of the Emperor’s authority, to remain seated while pretending not to know was a foolish act that could easily lead one to be blamed for irreverence.
A contemplative gaze passed over the nobles.
The Emperor, scanning through the eager eyes pleading to be selected, stopped when Eugène, the only one who looked unperturbed, entered his field of vision.
The Emperor and Eugène made eye contact.
The corners of the Emperor’s eyes lowered faintly.
The Emperor who found him was smiling again.
Not with his lips, but with his eyes while directly looking at Eugène.
“Today, I shall ask Baron Amieux to do it.”
The Emperor smiled softly and chose.
Just as he guessed from the moment their eyes met, it was Eugène’s own name.
The disappointed nobles lowered their heads and sighed.
The noblewomen unfolded their fans and started whispering in unison.
Eugène forcibly hid his distorted expression and got up from his position.
The attendant approached and handed a specially crafted lamp to Eugène.
“Please come this way, Baron.
I will guide you to His Majesty’s settling.”
The chamberlain, who was a Count, respectfully guided Eugène.
Originally, the person with the lamp took the lead, but he showed special kindness to Eugène as he was unfamiliar with the structure of the court.
There’s nothing he could do about it.
He hated standing out, but it would be more foolish to refuse such an honor in this place.
Eugène silently proceeded to the Emperor’s bedroom with a beautiful hand lamp adorned with gold and ivory.
It was not known why such a thing was necessary for the brightly lit court, but the ritual, which was somber enough to be almost religious, was carried out every night without fail.
This made Baron Amieux’s name even more famous.
Even those who were unsure clearly realized where the Emperor’s favor rested because of this particular choice and began to take an interest in Baron Amieux himself, instead of the former Baroness.
It was something Eugène never wanted for himself, but he was left with no other choice.
He was already in the court, where every person monitored and eavesdropped on one another’s every move.
Furthermore, he was already a celebrity here.
His name was already deeply engraved in the minds of the courtiers, not as the defeated rival of the Duke of Fernand, but as the Emperor’s favorite subject.
A small dish floated in a wide bowl made of silver.
The dishes filled with scented candles, which were only about two fingers long in length, were delicately balanced on the surface of the water and fluttered gently.
Thanks to this, the Emperor’s bedroom was filled with the calming scent of gardenia.
In some ways, the decor was overly Eastern Empire style.
A fact that should be highlighted even more so considering that this place was the settlement of the Emperor, the most powerful man in the Western Empire.
But it wasn’t just the Eastern Empire-style decor in the Emperor’s room.
The gold ceramic that adorned the fireplace and the arabesque-patterned carpet under his feet were all from Shaak.
The rumor that the Eastern Empire style was starting to become popular in the capital these days seemed to be true.
If they had lost the last war, one would have been treated like a traitor if they were to own even a single small piece of decor, but perhaps thanks to their massive victory, this exotic taste was only recognized as part of a luxurious trend.
The vice-chamberlain closed the doors of Balustre.
The Emperor, dressed in a thin robe, sat down on a long chair after washing his face under the care of an attendant.
The upright and dignified Emperor he had seen throughout the evening disappeared, leaving only a man exhausted from his daily routine.
He looked the same as when he first saw him.
“Take a seat there, Baron Amieux.”
The Emperor, whose tone of voice became more private, softly ordered.
The vice-chamberlain took the lamp from Eugène’s hand, bowed politely, and disappeared.
When the attendants left, the bedroom door was closed, and only the two of them were left in the room.
Eugène sat down on the chair opposite the Emperor, as the Emperor commanded.
Through the dim light, he could see the Emperor sweeping up his golden hair.
The Emperor’s unraveled hair was quite long, and although it was casually hung over the messy hem, it had a subtle gloss.
“Did you like the room you were assigned to Since I instructed my chamberlain to pay special attention to it.”
The Emperor, reclining on the long chair with his arms on the armrests and his back leaning against the backrest, asked Eugène a question.
He took on a friendly demeanor as if the two were close friends.
However, Eugène remained cautious despite the Emperor’s seemingly lax attitude.
No matter how dangerous the court was, it was not as dangerous as the Emperor.
“There’s nothing for me to be choosy about, Your Majesty.”
He said in all honestly.
He replied straightforwardly and paid not other greetings, such as expressing his joy of entering the court or how grateful he was for everything.
Since the Emperor would’ve figured out his real feelings if he did anyway.
“Even if there is nothing to be choosy about, there will be things you need.
I’m guessing there’s something missing since the room was prepared in a hurry.
If you need anything, say it without any hesitation.
Since you are a guest invited to my palace, the host must treat you properly.”
“I’m someone who has only lived on a ship for years.
The fact that the bed doesn’t shake while sleeping is a great luxury, so there’s nothing more to ask for.”
Any other courtier might have given a witty answer.
But Eugène frankly presented only the facts as they were.
It’s not that he wasn’t skilled at speaking.
It was because he knew that he could not move the Emperor’s feelings with his light wit.
“Seemed like it.
You stayed at an inn as soon as you entered the capital after all.”
The Emperor smiled bitterly upon hearing Eugène’s answer.
“When I heard the report from Adelphe, I snapped.
Nevertheless, you hold the title of a vice admiral as well as the Emperor’s favorite subject, so how is it that you’re not residing in a mansion Don’t you think it would’ve been a chance for some ill bunch to almost seize such a pointless flaw and put your honor at stake”
Though it came off as a light rebuke, there was a hidden message in those words.
Eugène slightly frowned and raised his head.
He was unable to admit the fact that the Emperor called him his ‘favorite subject’.