Chapter 91: The Emperor Who Overturns the Bad Custom
“Angus Bull. It is my honor to receive your countenance.”
In the audience chamber, a formal place where the Prince and ministers are in attendance and even more so, guarded by many soldiers.
There, a young general was kneeling on one knee and bowing to me on the throne in a formal manner.
“Raise your face.”
“Someone give Lord Bull a seat.”
I said, and one of the attending eunuchs came over with a chair.
Angus stood up and, seeing this, hurriedly knelt down once more.
“M-Much obliged, my lord.”
“Good. You and I are related. In a normal family, I would call you brother. And since you have made merit for us, you may sit down without reservation.”
“Yes, I am gratified.”
Angus expressed his gratitude, bowed again, stood up, and sat down on the edge of the chair.
He is the husband of the fourteenth princess, Arlene.
Although he comes from a commoner’s family, he has accumulated many war merits and succeeded in marrying off Princess Arlene during the reign of the previous Emperor.
He is an honest type of warrior who has continued to fight on the frontier without being flattered by his position as the husband of a princess, a quasi-Royalty.
I had always had a rather favorable impression of him.
“I received a report from the Fourth Prince. It seems that you have been fighting well with Turbaif for the past few years.”
“I am grateful for your superior assessment. The debt of gratitude I owe to the Imperial family for the stipend and for having Her Highness the Princess as my wife cannot be repaid even if I spent three lifetimes. All I can do is spend my days and nights with all my heart and soul.”
“Earlier, I heard that you defeated a truant messenger in a one-on-one combat when he tried to make it look like Turbaif had revolted.”
“Yes, we were blessed by the circumstances and managed to get through with minimal casualties.”
With this brief exchange, I was able to get a general idea of who he was.
Probably, no matter how much we talked here, only superficial exchanges would come out.
He is a man who has a good sense of what is “public”.
That is a good thing, but it is a little boring.
“Winning one-on-one combat means that you have a good skill. Let’s see how good you are.”
“Yes, if you order me to…eh”
Angus, who was about to nod, opened his eyes in astonishment.
The other Prince and Ministers also began to stir.
The reason is that I stood up quickly from the throne and pulled out the demon sword Livyathan.
“Y-Your Majesty. It is dangerous.”
The Sixth Prince, Sirius Ararat, stepped out of the line and cautioned me.
Of the dozen or so Princes, he was the most honest.
At best, he is honest; at worst, he is damn serious, and he tried to stop me with a straight face.
“Don’t worry, no one’s going to get hurt.”
Sirius gulped as he was about to say something.
Most of the Ministers scrambled, some of them fuming and fainted.
“Don’t lose your temper, Livyathan, it’s only a courtesy.”
Livyathan backed away reluctantly—-rather, somewhat sulkily.
When Sirius tried to argue with me, that was all it took for it to snap.
So the killing intent leaked out and overpowered all the Prince Ministers.
Livyathan is still a mad dog even though it awakened – or rather, it is getting worse.
“That’s the Demon Sword Leviathan …….”[TN: he’s pronouncing the old way]
“I-I thought I was going to die. ……”
“As expected of His Majesty, he is in complete control of that thing.”
I feel like it’s losing its temper more often, but my word is absolute and it will follow it, so there’s no problem.
That being said.
“Draw, Angus. I’ll be your opponent.”
Stepping out of the throne, I approached Angus.
Angus bowed, then accepted the eunuch’s sword (it is customary for generals to be disarmed during an audience) and drew it.
“Here we go.”
He took the initiative and attacked.
It wasn’t intended for a kill, so naturally, he didn’t take it seriously.
I began to use my sword techniques to test Angus’s skill.
Livyathan seemed to be sulking again, but this time completely backed down, stating that my orders are absolute.
What Livyathan reacted to was Angus’ behavior.
It was the way he moved, clearly indicating that he was trying to hide his true power and make me feel flowery.
Leviathan interpreted it as ‘being played for a fool,’
But I saw it a little differently.
After exchanging a few sword techniques, I put Livyathan down.
Angus, who was not in earnest, stopped there, of course, and put his sword down as well.
“I see, I have a general idea.”
“You were trying to lead me to victory, weren’t you?”
“I-I’m sorry, sir!”
Angus dropped his sword and knelt on the ground.
“Good, I don’t blame you. In fact, I’m flattered.”
“I see what you did just now. It was you who made it so that the other side had no choice but to accept the one-on-one fight, wasn’t it?”
He was stunned.
Angus expressed his dismay just like that. And the ministers around him were in an uproar.
“Fufu, if I were only the Prince, it would have been interesting to follow as a soldier with you as General.”
“M-Much Obliged, my lord.”
“What was that all about?”
“I don’t know, but I think that Sir Bull was up to something, and His Majesty easily detected it.”
“I see. His Majesty is as impressive as always.”
“I like it, so let’s reward you. Is there anything you want?”
I put Livyathan away and returned to the throne.
From this point on, I had to behave like the Emperor.
Angus hesitated for a moment.
” …… It’s impolite of me to say so.”
“It’s all right, I’m offering you a reward. What do you want?”
“I want to see Lady Arlene more often.”
Angus looked at me with straight–challenging eyes.
Arlene – to see your wife more?
For a moment I wondered what he was talking about.
The reason I didn’t understand immediately was that it was a situation peculiar to the Princess.
It took me a few seconds to understand it, because I, as the Prince, had no connection to it.
“Why is that bad custom still in effect?”
“No, no. It’s a matter of course…”
Angus became impatient.
I interrupted him.
“Fuu, there is no need to be in a hurry. I considered it a stupid custom, too. It’s not something that would shake the foundation of the nation, so I will just put it off.”
A glimmer of hope flashed in Angus’s eyes.
“Don’t worry, I won’t make it any worse. You’ll be notified when it’s done .”
“—-! Thank you very much!”
“What was that all about, Your Majesty?”
Don asked me as I returned to the study after dismissing the audience.
“You mean about Angus?”
“Well, without knowing the real situation, I suppose the Princess’s marriage would seem to be viewed as a reverse of the royal wedding.”
“Yes, it’s a story that is treated with some envy and admiration even in the private talks.”
I suppose so.
After all, it is a marriage between a commoner and an Imperial Princess.
It’s one of the top paths to success, and it’s a dream come true.
And it would be a beautiful story — if it were not a political marriage, but a marriage out of love for each other.
“All right, I’ll show you the reality. Follow me.”
We had just entered the study but I took Don outside with me.
We got into the carriage and headed for the destination.
A short time later, we came to a mansion in an upscale residential area of the capital.
The gatekeeper of the mansion, upon learning of the Emperor’s visit, hurriedly opened the main gate and let the carriage in.
“Is this ……?”
“This is the residence of the Fourteenth Princess, Arlene.”
“Yes. It’s a very interesting residence, though”
“There is a …… small house by the mansion. Come to think of it, I’ve seen this kind of style before. ……”
“That’s Angus’ place.”
Don looks at me his expression clearly says, “I can’t believe I just heard that”.
“W-What do you mean?”
“Exactly what I say. The big one is Arlene’s place, the little one is Angus’.”
“When a Princess and a commoner are married, they are both married couples, but also Lord and subject. It is a perverse custom that the husband’s residence should not be larger than the Princess’s.”
“N-No way. Then just to meet …….”
Don asked timidly.
The man I had brought in as the Vizier was a wise man.
In an instant, he understood what I was talking about.
“That’s how it is.”
The carriage stopped and I jumped off.
Hearing about the Emperor’s visit, a panicked-looking, elderly woman came out from inside the mansion.
She came in front of me and knelt.
“I am very sorry, I did not know that His Majesty had come…”
“I came on a whim. You are not to blame.”
“T-thank you very much.”
I gestured for the woman to stand up.
“So you’re the head chambermaid.”
“Yes. My name is Cassandra.”
“How are Arlene and Angus?”
“Thank you for your concern. Their relationship is very good. They have not tainted each other’s identities.”
Don, who was standing beside me, mumbled in disbelief.
He doesn’t know, but I know what’s going on.
I entered the house with Cassandra and Don in tow, presumably to the parlor where Arlene was waiting.
“What about visitation?”
“Once a week, sir.”
“Once every two months.”
“That’s not much.”
Not even to my knowledge.
“Yes, Her Imperial Highness says once a month for the sake of the heir, but considering Lord Bull’s status, we thought once every two months would be best.”
I glanced at Don.
I could see he was becoming more and more exasperated.
Don had been with the royal family before he got to me, and there too with a Prince.
I guess he had no idea of the ‘darkness’ surrounding the Princess.
While talking so that Don could hear me, I was led into the reception room.
Inside were the Imperial Princess and her maids.
Fourteenth Princess Arlene.
She was four years older than me, and we had played together in the royal garden when we were children.
“It’s a pleasure for your descent….”
“No, there is no need for such a thing between you and me.”
For the sake of the future, I behaved as a brother, not as an Emperor.
This is one of the differences between a prince and a princess.
When dealing with the Prince, a single mistake can lead to the usurpation of the throne, so I have to maintain my Emperor-like behavior, but when dealing with the Princess, who does not have to worry about that, I can break it down considerably.
Arlene was a little surprised but immediately smiled.
“Yeah. I will do so. It is a privilege of a princess, isn’t it?”
“It is the privilege of a princess, but I have come to talk to you, sister.”
“What is it?”
“Frankly tell me, do you like Angus? I mean as a married couple.”
“Angus has asked to see you more as a reward for his service.”
“That man …… so disrespectful.”
Cassandra muttered, while Arlene sadly lowered her eyes.
“Who are you?”
I asked, glancing over my shoulder at Cassandra.
“I am talking to the Princess. Who the hell do you think you are to interrupt …… me?”
Cassandra’s face paled, she fell to her knees and slammed her head down again and again like grasshoppers on rice.
Ignoring Cassandra, I turned to Arlene again.
“How about you, sister, do you like Angus? I ask this not as your Emperor, but as your brother.”
“…… yes, very much. He is kind and strong. He loves me and …… can you believe it?”
“He doesn’t have a single concubine in that mansion over there.”
“Oh, come on, is that true?”
“It’s impossible, isn’t it?”
If a Princess and a commoner were married, they would be considered squires with separate mansions and not be able to see each other properly.
However, even though a former commoner, if he marries an imperial Princess, he is a quasi-royalty.
It is a natural behavior to take a concubine.
And for the princess to be jealous of that is considered the most disgusting behavior.
The reason is that it doesn’t make sense for the Lord to be jealous of a subject.
“Are you sure there aren’t any?”
“That’s right, …… such an idiot.”
Despite saying so, Arlene seemed happy.
“Okay, I know how you feel, sister. Well, what to do, it would be easy to give Angus a knighthood, but–“
“No, you can’t. That would hurt a man’s pride.”
“Yeah. It would be just as bad to strip you of your royalty.”
I was been thinking about it a lot.
“This stupid custom is wrong in the first place. The law forbids it. For legislation, Fourth Vizier…”
“It takes about two weeks for the formalities to be completed. By His Majesty’s authority, as a test case before legislation, it can take effect immediately.”
Don speaks without hesitation.
From the moment I glanced at Cassandra, he must have fully understood and thought about what I wanted to do.
“Okay, then I’ll do that. Cassandra.”
“From this day forward, you are not to talk to my sister and her husband about their status. If you break it, you will be hanged immediately.”
Cassandra’s voice trailed off. That’s enough of a threat, I thought.
“You are a fine judge of character, sir.”
“Thank you, …… Noah.”
Arlene’s case was now closed, or so we thought.
That night, a rare visitor arrives.
It is the First Princess, Rain Ararat.
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