Chapter 28 - Show Me What You Promised
“You may rise,” the newly crowned empress spoke in a clear and beautiful voice. The officials stood up at her bidding, feeling relieved inside. She had seemed to be a bit touched in the head during the wedding, but thankfully their empress seemed to be normal. Then it happened, at the very moment they relaxed their guards—as the officials were awaiting more words from her, the empress whirled around to face the emperor, asking, “So when will you be showing me what you promised, Your Majesty?”
All of a sudden, the empress linked arms with the emperor and began to speak in fawning fashion. The officials grew wide-eyed. Estian was a person who was completely repulsed by physical contact with others. That was why, unlike the previous emperor and other noblemen, he did not allow any attendants into his room nor did he receive any assisting services. Even Kane had to maintain a step’s distance away from Estian, yet the empress went and clung to his arm? There was absolutely no doubt that the emperor was going to cut her head off on the spot.
But contrary to expectation, Estian embraced Cecile by the waist instead of drawing his sword, calmly answering, “Didn’t think you would be asking for it already.”
“You told me the same thing repeatedly before coming here, Your Majesty, didn’t you? That I’d be surprised arriving here. And I sure am. I don’t see a single thing you mentioned. Did you lie to me? You told me I’d find the treasure of the empire here.”
“Can’t you see it over there? All those officials are that very treasure of our empire.”
The officials were suddenly struck by nausea at the emperor’s words. ‘Excuse me? I beg your pardon? Treasure of the empire? Aren’t you the one who asked if we were prepared to hang on the imperial palace walls in twelve pieces upon failing to prove our worth?’
“You see, they devote their flesh, bones, and soul to their work. Toiling like dogs in the truest sense for the empire.”
‘Oh, but of course.’ The sickening feeling in their bellies finally settled down upon hearing his usual cold words, and everyone held a moment of choking sorrow. Who would’ve imagined that they were living the kind of life where they felt relief at hearing such abuse. ‘Me and my life… Oh, I want to go home.’
Just as the officials began to ponder upon the subject of life and wondered where their lives were heading, they heard sullen words from the empress. “You know this isn’t the kind of treasure I wanted. I want to go back now.”
“Oh, dear. How impatient you are, my empress.”
The officials began to feel discomfort in their innards once again. They had been thinking this for a while now, but it seemed like the emperor and empress were in a world of their own somehow. The kind of world that one might come across in a romance novel, full of pink warmth where lovers had eyes for none but the other. But above all… was the emperor a man capable of speaking in such a caring tone toward someone?
Showing not one whit of interest in the astonishment of his loyal subjects, the emperor held the empress by the waist and uttered a command. “But that’s also part of your charm. It can’t be helped then. Men. Bring the items I spoke of earlier.”
Soon after Estian’s command, an attendant entered respectfully carrying a red cushion with something placed on top. But he was not the last one to enter. Dozens of attendants lined up into the hall and knelt before the emperor, reverently raising their arms to display what they had brought.
“What are all these attendants?”
“Heavens, aren’t those all treasures of the empire? Isn’t that the diamond necklace presented to the emperor of two generators ago by the owner of the Regias Mines?”
“Look over there! Piot’s Ruby! My God, I’ve only ever seen it in books!”
The people gathered in the hall all began to grow excited upon realizing that the items being carried in by the attendants were imperial treasures. Each and every one of them were legendary items that did not fall short of deserving volumes of books written about them.
“Wait a second. Why were these things prepared again?”
“I… I’m not sure?”
As their excitement settled somewhat, they all began to wonder. Why on earth were these jewels taken out of the imperial treasury and brought here?