Light didn’t enter the emperor’s audience chamber.
The old palace, which had been handed down from his ancestors, had a splendid pavilion to match the majesty of the empire, but ever since Emperor Balthazar ascended the throne, black curtains had been placed on the windows of the pavilion, so sunlight could not enter.
Sitting on the throne decorated in gold, Emperor Balthazar placed one arm on the armrest.
He had white hair, white skin, and red eyes.
Despite being older than Empress Wilhelmine, who was in her 40’s, Emperor Balthazar, who suffered from albinism, didn’t look much older than Melchor, who was in his 20’s.
Rather, he had a softer impression of looking younger than the big, hard-faced Melchor.
When his thin eyelids slowly came down and went back up, his red eyes were exposed under his white eyelashes.
You do know that I care a lot about you, right?”
“I suppose so, Your Highness.”
“If you had told me to let you get married since you found someone you wanted to marry, I would have let you, no matter who it was.”
Was that indeed true?
But here he had to thank him moderately.
“Thank you, Your Highness.”
“You, however, kept it a secret from me and got engaged behind my back? All the while knowing that a marriage between aristocrats needs approval from an emperor.”
He would feel like he’d been ignored.
But the emperor looked more upset than angry.
Of course, whether he was angry or upset was not Melchor’s business to know.
The important thing was to get permission to marry.
“I’ve said that I am sorry more than once.
But there was a reason why I could not seek your permission.”
“Roseline and I made a promise to marry each other, but her father Count Crimson Rose did not agree with the marriage.
That’s why we were unable to officially make a vow.”
Words rolled smoothly from Melchor’s tongue.
He was a man of few words, but it wasn’t difficult for him to converse.
He stood still like a tree and didn’t speak when he didn’t need to, and when he needed to he was fluent as an eloquent orator.
Of course, that necessity was decided through his arbitrary judgment.
“A marriage objected by parents… happens from time to time, but that doesn’t give you a reason to not seek my permission.
Rather, you would need to ask me for more help if Count Crimson Rose opposed the marriage.”
The difference in status between the Crimson Roses and the Postenmeyers was immense.
If Melchor wanted to, he could take Roseline as his bride.
The situation would be much simpler if the emperor lent his force to that.
“It would have been possible if Your Highness had given an order.
However, you may not have been able to break the law.”
“Break the law?”
“Roseline is a minor.
It is impossible to marry her without permission from her guardian.”
The emperor, who had been slanting, slipped down.
He clutched the armrest and, holding himself up, lifted only his head and stared at Melchor.
“What? A minor? How old is she?”
“Seventeen, Your Highness.
Her birthday still hasn’t passed.”
Emperor Balthazar placed a hand over his mouth and blinked.
His eyes widening on his face was like someone witnessing a really unbelievable scene.
That is shocking.”
“My Melchor… Lord Melchor… Melchor Postenmeyer the Grand Duke, I didn’t expect you to fall in love with her this much.”
It was normal to give up if parents opposed the marriage of their minor child.
But Melchor had promised her that he would wait until she became an adult, and even that fact had been kept a secret.
Just so he could keep her!
This here was a scandal.
Emperor Balthazar rubbed the corners of his convulsed lips with his fingertips, barely holding back the urge to gasp.
“I truly thought you would remain single forever.
You’ve always seemed uninterested in marriage.”
That was correct.
Melchor had never thought of marrying anyone until now.
“Isn’t that so? You rejected Princess Annestrothe’s proposal.”
“The Postenmeyer family is loyal to the imperial family.
Shouldn’t the heir to the blood of the royal family join the family, so that their loyalty won’t be blurred?” Melchor said.
“No, it wouldn’t have been a good reason for you to refuse the marriage then.
At that time, you looked really adamant about not wanting to get married.
So that’s why I thought ‘Okay, he’s going to live alone forever or adopt a child.’”
The emperor’s judgment was correct.
A successor was essential as long as he was the head of the Postenmeyer family.
However, since he was still young, he was not in a hurry to make a successor, so he said that he could someday find suitable talent from the field and make him his successor.
“Anyway, I understand the circumstances.
I am upset about… the reason you kept it a secret from me, but it is convincing.”
“Thank you for understanding me, Your Highness.”
“Melchor, what else can I say when you want to keep your wife? I would tell you that you better stop keeping this from the empress.
And since Count Crimson Rose is dead there is nothing else to dig up.”
As for the gambling situation, I have some suspicion.”
“I mean the details of Count Crimson Rose’s murder.
I was rounded up and ran away from the gambling house, and on my way back to the mansion, the location the wagon was passing was strange.
And even the traces of the assassin have been wiped away clean.”
Emperor Balthazar, who had been sitting in a leaning position with his arm on the armrest the whole time, straightened himself out.
His face became quite serious.
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