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 excessive ardor, but Prince Merrick is still young and inexperienced. Prince Merrick was simply trying to get the one he loved rightfully by holding a divorce trial, and he probably didnt want to be unfairly involved in the outcome. If so, would he have dared to plead with Your Majesty to open a divorce court? Please take that into consideration, Your Majesty.”
From the looks of how she covered for him, it seemed as if Countess Patrí, not the Emperor, was the one who shared the same blood as Prince Merrick. The Emperor was still furious, but he silently listened to her plea as if he could not continue to ignore the plea of his imperial concubine whom he cherished so much that she was the apple of his eye.
Countess Patrí gained courage as she saw him like that. At least because she knew that the Emperor had no intention of pouring out his wrath on her.
“It is an exaggeration to treat the young kin of the Emperors mistake with such a severe punishment. The strong love between a man and a woman is something that even heaven cannot stop. Despite knowing how much a divorce is a great offense to the honor of aristocrats, you can see how big and deep the bond between the two is when they ask for a divorce trial. Even if you separate them with severe punishment, will they ever forget each other? Even if you force the Baroness back to the Baron, the marriage wont go on smoothly. You must not do this for the sake of the Baron, Your Majesty.”
The words that came out of Countess Patrís mouth were both sensible and reasonable. Although she was famous for her beauty, it took more than that to capture the heart of the Emperor who ruled the empire. As famous as her beautiful arms, her speaking skills were being displayed here to the fullest.
Hearing Countess Patrís words, the Emperors furious expression somewhat softened. It must have been a request from his lovely imperial concubine, but as she said, he had to think about the position of Baron Amieux, who would have to suffer without actually committing a crime.
That being said, even if the Baroness were to return the Baron, the problem would remain. This is because his wifes shameful scandal will leave a bad reputation not only for the Baron but for his successors as well. He looked at Prince Merrick with a brooding expression on his face and frowned bitterly.
“You certainly raise a point. I cant put the innocent Baron Amieux in trouble because of the fault of my kin.”
The guards who were about to drag Prince Merrick out stood there in the hesitation of the Emperor, waiting for the next command to come out.
If it were any nobleman, even if he was a great nobleman with great prestige, they would have carried out the Emperors command right away, but it was too burdensome for them to hastily carry out the beheading of Prince Merrick, who was sixth in the line of succession to the throne. They kept their posture slumped, carefully watching the course of the situation. Prince Merrick couldnt breathe and waited for the Emperors decision.
“… Seems like Im left with no other option.”
After a while, the Emperor sighed in disappointment and withdrew the command. The guards, who were observing the progress at the Emperors sullen gesture, quickly stepped back. Prince Merrick fell to his knees and bowed deeply, with his back covered with cold sweat. He was unable to stand properly as his legs felt weak.
“Im extremely displeased with Prince Merrick for committing an outrageous crime, but given the face of his mother, Aunt Alienor, I will let it go just this once. Let the divorce trial proceed as you wish.”
The Emperor, who was likely to have his head cut off at any moment before, changed his words. Lady Patrís face gleamed. Prince Merricks pale face started to change color as well.
“However, the trial will be executed as a trial with the Emperors presence, and I, myself, will be the judge. Not only the outcome but also the trial itself is bound to be talked about, so it would be a good idea to make sure that things are being done properly and to remain silent. …Prince Merrick, step aside and keep a low profile. You cannot enter the palace until the trial is over.”
“Yes, Your Majesty. I offer all my deepest gratitude to the Emperor.”
The punishment, which was initially beheading, ended in probation, so even Prince Merrick could not protest any more. Prince Merrick thanked him as he trembled. The Duke, who had almost passed the threshold of death because of something he had committed while living, stood up with a dazed expression on his face. The Emperor cut him off with a blunt gesture as if he didnt want to see him.
The Emperor, who had expelled and dismissed Prince Merrick, clicked his tongue in annoyance. Countess Patrí, who tried to hide her joy, handed the cold teacup to her lady-in-waiting, poured fresh tea into a new cup, and offered it to the Emperor. The Emperor barely managed to quench his anger as he drank his tea with a rich rose scent.
The Emperor spat out in a mutter.
“Dont do that too much, Your Majesty. What would a young Duke know?”
As has always been the case, Countess Patrí took Prince Merricks side.
“What do you mean young? Hes already twenty-seven years old. How can a person who is a member of the imperial family of a country behave like that? If he had a relationship, he shouldve just kept it in the dark. What the hell is a divorce trial? Is it normal to stay as a child in his little imaginative bubble?”
“As Your Majesty would say, there is nothing more romantic than that for a woman. Im rather envious of Baroness Amieux. Its like someone as noble as an Emperors kin wants you at the risk of the serious crime of divorce. Who in the world is like that? I never imagined that Prince Merrick could be so romantic.”
Countess Patrí smiled brightly and gave a naive voice. She looked incredibly innocent, flushed like a little girl, and envious of the unrealistic story.
Seeing this, the Emperor made a strange expression as if he was about to laugh. Its like hes shocked by the absurd remarks she makes, but at the same time, hes unable to scold her as she cutely talks nonsense without any hesitation.
“Now that I see, its you, not the Duke, whos young. No matter how much you love romance, where nonsense is it to bring romance to a divorce? Seems like theres nothing you cant say in front of the Emperor, the number one protector of the Great Code.”
The Emperor lightly rebuked the Countess. Countess Patrí smiled sweetly at the words that were more mature than a mere scolding.
“Im saying this only because Im in front of Your Majesty. Isnt it a given that Id always like to be honest with Your Majesty? Or is it that Your Majesty does not want me not to be honest?”
The Emperor finally surrendered to the imperial concubine who responded with a sugar-sweet smile. He shook his head with a wry smile. Shaking his head, he murmured lowly.
“I cant take it, Adelaide. I cant win against you.”
Following the low sound of the Emperors laughter, the stiff air in the room was gently released. Those who had been frozen like icicles as they observed the Emperors mood relaxed, grateful for the timely charm of Countess Patrí.
When the harsh atmosphere had somewhat subsided, Countess Patrí blinked and signaled the next petitioner. The petitioner, noticing her signal, quickly stepped forward.
The caller called out the petitioners name. The smiling Emperor turned his head to look at the petitioners as if he had just realized that they were present.
The audience resumed as if nothing had happened.
T/N: Below are the Authors notes regarding the setting of this novel.
※ Estina Empire setting
Language – Court language of the Estina Empire – Eneca
Language of the Former Electorate – Disseor.
Climate – Oceanic, Continental, Mediterranean climate
Religion – Saint Regire, Goddess of Creation and the Sky, and Eustace, God of Fire and Agriculture
Area – 9,599,961km²
History and Statute Law – Lex Ardica
Exchange rate – Units of Money:
Dinar (Gold Coins = 50 Dells = 250 Roux = About 200,000 Won) Around 154 USD present-day
Dell (Silver = 50 Roux)
Roux (Copper = A commoners daily wage is about 200 Roux.)
Weight unit – Libra (450g)
Length unit – Paeta (30cm) Eron (3cm)
※ The Code of Salica [Lex Salica]
[About the setting] Its a model of Lex Ardica, and its closely related to the succession of most of Europe. Originally, it strictly follows only the male direct line, and when the male direct line is cut off, the throne (or title) passes to the male of a collateral family rather than to the female. On the other hand, Semi-Salica Laws are flexible in such a way that when a direct male is cut off, it leads to a direct female. The empire in play was originally limited to the male line of succession, but with the change of Lan, it changes to a Semi-Salica law. For example, if the Emperor had three sons and two daughters, the son of the Emperors eldest daughter, Princess Anne Meredith, would be fourth in line of succession after the other brothers, and so on.
※ Title [Peerage]
[About the setting] The nobility titles, which are often used in romance novels, are not in the West but are based on the historical five-decade system that has been passed down from The Xia Dynasty in China. Since it is difficult to translate Western titles as they are, it is said that they were settled in the process of adapting them in an easy-to-understand way.
However, actual titles in the West are more complicated than you think. In addition, it is easy to get confused because the origins and usage of terms differ from country to country. I mainly referenced French data, so I will explain accordingly. The name is also French. It is different from the English name.
A Duke (Duc) is usually awarded to a child of an Emperor/King or nobles of equivalent status. At first, it was customarily given only to the imperial family, but as the descendants passed, the nobles often became the victors. It is the minimum rank required to become a monarch of a country, and the highest level a nobleman can ascend.
Marquis is said to originally refer to a nobleman who owned a frontier territory. It means a nobleman in charge of defending the border, however, when I looked it up, there was also another title called “Margrave.” But, in this novel, in order to make Eugènes title a Baron, Count was established to be the same as a Margrave, treated as a Marquis. I thought it would be good to have the lowest title among nobles to give the impression of a fallen noble.
Count (Comte) refers to those who were initially vassals of the Duke. It was like that until the 10th century, but after that, they became the owners of a small estate. Since the counts cannot own more than one estate, their status is limited, but these counts were usually the most powerful.
Viscount (Vicomte) was named after the Count and was originally the chief executive of the Count. It is a higher rank than a Baron, but the title itself came later.
Baron is a nobleman who has received the land directly from the King(or Emperor). In the early days, when the hierarchical relationship between the ranks was not established, the authority wielded by them was about the same as a Count, but as time passed, it became a title to refer to those who did not serve a lesser lord and directly managed the territories and was classified as a de facto lesser lord.
A womans title is the fathers (or mothers) when she is young unless she was born as a daughter of a King(or Emperor), and in some cases, she inherits the rights of her mother if the Semi-Salica Act is followed. For example, in the case of Queen Joanna of Spain, known asJoanna The Mad, neither her husband nor her biological father was able to take over the rulership of Castile, inherited through her mother, without her consent.
A womans status is usually determined by her fathers title, and when she grows up, its mainly decided by marriage. Lets take Viscountess Gagnon in the main story as an example. She was a Lady when her father was Duke of dEstuaire, but after the humiliation of Landrienne, her family was demoted and she became the daughter of a Count. Eventually, she married Viscount Gagnon and became a Viscountess.
In the case of France, it is said that in many cases, in order to give the Kings paramour a title, her husband was often the one promoted. The Korean translation is ~lady, so it seems like a title given only to the wives of aristocrats, but its not necessarily like that. Even if a woman inherits the Counts estate under the Semi-Salica Act, it would be translated as Countess in our country. Since the title of a woman itself is the feminine form of the male title. In Korea, the Countess and the Counts Lady are used differently, but the English name is just Countess.
It is said that the children of the aristocracy are called differently, no matter how much you search the web in Korea, you can only find English titles. So, without reference, I just unified it as Esteemed Daughter/Estemeed Son.
It is set in the era when the feudal system almost collapsed, the standing army and the centralized system were established, and aristocrats who lost their influence on local lands became court nobles. The reason the nobles with territories are all concentrated in the capital is not that there are so many things to play, but because the court has come to an era where the only means to gain power is the court.
※ Five Prince-Electors Houses eligible for Grand Fete
– East: House of dEstuaire
– South: House of Benoist (Suffering from hereditary disease)
– North: House of Redenise (which was an imperial branch and reverted to it as the line was cut off), leaving traces in the name of the Emperor. Thanks to this, the Crown Prince had traditionally served as the Duke of Rednise.
– West: House of Carmagnac (Fallen)
– Center: House of Rochere (Fallen due to treason)
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