Famous beauties in the world are bound to have nicknames worthy of them.
For example, Princess Salema Te Hanan of the Eastern Empire, famous for her deep blue eyes like an oasis, was nicknamedTashneri, orThe Pupil of the Lake, and Queen Gwyneth of Rodham, the head of the Five Nations, for the silver hair that flows down to the back of her knees. She was nicknamedLady of the Stars because of her hair.
Even in Estina, the Western Empire, there was a national beauty with a nickname more famous than her real name. She was the Countess Patrí, who was calledLady of Ivory.
Countess Patrí was nicknamed the Lady of Ivory because of her exceptionally graceful arms. As the name suggests, her arms, clear and transparent, like a statue carved out of ivory, were the most dazzling parts of her beautiful figure.
Such captivating arms provided her with plenty of things.
Her arms led the fashion movement for an unconventional evening dress that revealed ones skin up to her shoulders at the Imbert Palace. In addition, it served as an opportunity to remind many noble maidens of the importance of flawless white skin once again, and her name, despite only being a daughter of a baronet, was made known throughout the continent.
However, the reason her arms were even calledThe Noblest Arms in the World was not simply because of their beauty. Her arms were praised for being something more than just beautiful body parts and that is because the one who slept in her arms was one of the noblest people in the world.
Emperor of the Western Empire of Estina. Ebroin V, the ruler of one of the two great empires that divided the Ladivenia continent, and the King of Kings who ruled over two seas and five rivers.
Countess Patrí,Lady of Ivory, was the most beloved of the Great Emperor.
“What did you say just now?”
The Emperor asked quietly.
“A divorce trial?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
The young Prince Merrick, who had gathered up the courage to file a special petition, hesitated and carefully looked at the Emperor. However, it was difficult to fathom the Emperors thoughts just by looking at him. The Emperors eyes were infinitely indifferent.
A divorce trial.
The Emperor repeated Prince Merricks petition in his mouth. It was the first time in his life that he had heard such a petition in a special audience requested by the nobles. The content of the petition itself was also a problem, but the person filing the petition was even a bigger problem. As ridiculous as it was, it was the Emperors own cousin through his paternal aunt who petitioned for a divorce trial.
“Baroness Amieux, you said? Adelaide, just who in the world is she?”
Countess Patrí sitting next to the Emperor pouring tea, heard the question that had been thrown at her and spoke up.
“Shes the daughter of Baron Dumont, Your Majesty.”
“Baron Dumont is from the ancestral family of the Marquis of La Baille. I heard that Baroness Amieux is his niece.”
“The niece of the Marquis of La Baille? … Oh, I remember. Then she must be the wife of Vice Admiral Chastan.”
Countess Patrí was terrified to hear the Emperor muttering to himself. The fact that Baroness Amieux was the wife of Vice Admiral Chastan was deliberately omitted and not stated. It was because she did not think that the Emperor, who had little interest in the social world, would remember the identity of a woman who was nothing more than a Baroness.
Moreover, Baroness Amieux made her debut at the Imbert Palace during the past two years, when the Emperor had left the capital to lead a conquest with his soldiers. Countess Patrí was embarrassed when the Emperor unexpectedly remembered her, thinking that the Emperor was unaware of such an existence.
“Vice Admiral Chastan?”
But in this situation, she couldnt show that she knew him. The Countess tilted her head and asked the Emperor as if she was genuinely curious. Her pure blue eyes shone over her flawless, clear skin. At a glimpse, she gave off an innocent impression.
“Who is he? Its the first Ive ever heard of him.”
“Hes a Navy Admiral. One of the capable admirals who stood behind me against the Federation of the Five Nations when I was at war with the barbarians of the East in Landrienne. If she is the niece of the Marquis of La Baille, then she would be the wife of Vice Admiral Chastan. Isnt that right?”
It was a question he knew the answer to all too well, so he couldnt dare tell a lie. Prince Merrick bowed his head deeply and answered in a trembling voice.
“… Yes, youre right. She is also the wife of Vice Admiral Chastan.”
“But what did you just say? Did you say you were going to take Vice Admiral Chastans wife to a divorce court?”
“Your Majesty, that is-.”
“The Countess shall keep silent. Right now, the one Im asking is Prince Merrick.”
The Emperors tone became harsh. Countess Patrí cast her gaze on Prince Merrick with a gloomy expression on her face. Prince Merrick looked mournfully at the Countess, Countess Patrí, with a pale blue complexion. It may have been a plea for help, but even the Countess could not rush out in this situation.
“What are you doing, Prince Merrick? Im the one whos questioning you”
“Your Majesty, what it was meant to be-.”
“Tell me the facts without any excuses, Duke.”
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“Is that what youre saying right now?”
A majestic voice echoed through the Room of Ruby. Although it was said that the Room of Ruby was a place for the Emperor to have a private audience, the Emperors matters could not be private, even in the smallest detail. The guards surrounding the perimeter, knights, court attendants, and the ladies-in-waiting. As other nobles were waiting for the next petition, a sudden bolt from the blue fell into this space.
Everyone around could sense the Emperors wrath. Even so, there was no sound of breathing in the quiet room. The Emperors voice sharply pierced the silence, falling into the middle of the space as strongly as lightning.
“What do you think youre doing? Is that something a person whos the Emperors kin can say? Vice Admiral Chastan is an honorable and loyal military officer who has made great achievements in the waters of La Tyllen. On the other hand, arent you a subject who, despite being a prince, did not take part in the war and was busy taking care of himself in the safe capital during that time? How dare such a person petition me to take away the wife of a soldier loyal to his country?”
“… Your Majesty.”
“You cant say that what I just said is not at all true. If the Duke had nothing to do with the divorce, he wouldnt have stepped forward and demanded a trial. Youve now admitted with your own mouth to being an adulterer.”
The Emperors point of view was as fierce as a sharpened blade. Prince Merrick broke a cold sweat behind his back. He once again felt reproachful of his lover.
The man was only being punished right now because he chose to do it of his own volition, though it wasnt what he wanted. If rumors had not spread in the capital, or if the war had not ended and the Emperor had not returned to the capital at such a time, this is a case that could have been passed on quietly.
But things had already gone awry, and his life was at stake. He didnt know what the Emperor would have done if he hadnt taken the initiative in this way. He was a person who could inflate even the smallest tantrums, so there was no way to ignore such a huge fault. He knew very well how terrifying his maternal cousin, who was only a few years older than him, was.
“I plead guilty, Your Majesty.”
In a reluctant tone, Prince Merrick admitted his guilt. It was a rumor that would soon reach the Emperor anyway, so the Duke had no intention of concealing his crimes.
“In the Great Code of Lex Ardica, which the Emperor must protect and the nobles must follow, it was said that the right to claim what one enjoys comes after fulfilling ones obligations. If you thought that you would be safe even if you violate the national laws just because you are the Emperors kin, then youre mistaken. Guards! Drag out Prince Merrick. He failed to set an example as an Emperors kin, violated the Code of Lex Ardica by coveting a married woman, and tried to bring disgrace to the imperial power by making immoral petitions to me. Behead this man, hang his head on the wall, and also expel his accomplice in adultery, Baroness Amieux, from the imperial court so that she can never set foot in the capital again.”
It sounded like another bolt from the blue. Not only Prince Merrick, who thought it was a matter of great rebuke, not knowing that he would receive such a severe punishment, but also Countess Patrí, who had been sitting next to the Emperor by granting Prince Merricks request to aid in the petition, were dazed. The change of countenance was the same for the others who were there. It was not unreasonable for everyone except the Emperor to be stunned as the Emperors own kins neck was about to be cut off.
“Please calm down, Your Majesty.”
Countess Patrí whispered as she reached out her famous arms and hurriedly embraced the Emperors shoulder. Her heart was beating like crazy. Beheading Prince Merrick, theres just no way such a thing could take place. Prince Merrick was not just the Emperors cousin, but he was also the only son of Grand Duchess Alienor.
Grand Duchess Alienor, the only imperial adult of the present Ardi imperial family, which had been nearly wiped out due to the tragedy faced by its predecessors, was as authoritative as her position, and a great figure that no one in the social world could ignore. The resentment may not be a big deal for the Great Emperor, but for the Countess, who was still uneasy, she was someone who should never be made an enemy.
In fact, it was not because of Prince Merrick himself, but because of his mother, Grand Duchess Alienor, that Countess Patrí came to help him today. She was favored by the Emperor for her outstanding beauty and resilience, and she entered the ranks from being the daughter of a Baronet to a concubine, but her social foundation was weak due to her poor background.
Even though she was said to be the most beloved and favored concubine at present, at the end of the day, an imperial concubine was still an imperial concubine. Moreover, compared to the two older imperial concubines, her rank and familys influence were significantly lower, which is why she was ridiculed behind her back. If Prince Merrick was beheaded under such circumstances, it was obvious that she, too, would be in a bad situation.
Far from gaining the support of the Grand Duchess, Countess Patrí clung to the Emperor with an anguished heart, thinking that she might anger her for neglecting the death of Prince Merrick.
“This is not a matter for you to meddle in, Adelaide.”
The Emperor spoke even more sternly. But Countess Patrí shook her head. Even if she could have brought the Emperors wrath, she could not back down.
“Im aware that this isnt a matter that I can meddle with. But I know that I am the only one who can say a word to Your Majesty whos enraged here, so while Im afraid, I have no choice but to step up.”
Her voice became desperate. Tears welled up in her lovely blue eyes.
“Its not that Im not aware of the weight of the crime Prince Merrick has committed. But, Your Majesty, Prince Merrick is your own kin. And an Emperors kin is not guilty of a crime unless it is the crime of treason.”
She had a naturally soft and lovely voice. That sweet voice was even soaked in tears of sorrow, that any man would have no choice but to listen to her request. But the Emperor didnt budge despite her sincere pleas, as if he was not like any other man.
“Its not a crime equivalent to treason… how can you guarantee that? Prince Merrick tarnished the honor of the nobleman who has fought to defend this country for the past five years. In addition, he directly violated the law of the Lex Ardica, which puts the familys survival first. If such a matter was easily passed on, who the hell would remain loyal to the country? To the east is the Eastern Empire, and to the west is the Federation of Five Nations. Military loyalty is a precious virtue that this country should cherish above all else. Nevertheless, it was Prince Merrick who tried to shake the foundations of the country for personal pleasure. How can you say that this is not treason?”
“Its even worse because hes from the imperial family. I have no intention of forgiving him.”
The Emperors decision was firm. The guards, who hesitated at his glance, approached and grabbed Prince Merricks arms. Seeing this, urgency flashed in Countess Patrís eyes. She once again clung to the Emperor and begged.
“It is not unreasonable for Your Majesty, who must protect the law on behalf of the Gods and rule over all the people equally, to think so. But keep in mind that Prince Merrick is the one and only remaining male kin of Your Majesty. And remember that he is the only younger brother of Your Majesty.”
Countess Patrí shook the Emperors heart with remarks reminiscent of the three years of disgrace.
In the imperial family of Estina, which had to endure deep shame due to what the imperial family of the empire suffered, theTragedy of Lan was a deep wound that was difficult to reveal and talk about. Yet, she dug up the wound right away. She reminded him that even as an Emperor, he should not cut off Prince Merricks head at will.
“He may have committed a crime due to ex
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