Chapter 83 - Whoop His Imperial...
Quiet conversations and light laughter filled the banquet hall alongside the delectable fragrances of fine cuisine and wine.
Estian sat at the seat of honor of the long table. To his right sat the delegation of Aswan, and to his left the officials of the empire. But even as the people chatted, their eyes would constantly stray to a certain spot. To be more exact, to where Princess Yuliana sat.
Waist-length black hair, dark as the night sky, sparkled like stars under the light of the chandelier. Bright red lips and white skin decorated delicate facial features, while the neck and limbs were long and straight. All of these words described the princess who drew everyone’s focus, the one wearing the traditional garments of Aswan and holding a glass of wine in hand. Estian was no different in that regard, but what set him apart from the others was the utter coldness in his gaze.
“A honeytrap, is it,” Estian murmured inaudibly to himself as he took a sip of wine. He slowly lowered his full glass, observing Princess Yuliana through it. For an instant, he could see something flash by the princess’ chest, but it was so fleeting that no one else noticed.
‘What witchcraft is this?’ Estian scanned the faces of the people who appeared mesmerized as they gazed at Princess Yuliana. ‘The power to captivate others, perhaps. It does seem rather powerful.’
In truth, Yuliana was a princess who was not even known by the public until she turned of age, yet at some point, she suddenly began to be lauded as the belle of the world. ‘I did think it was strange…’ he mused. No wonder she never took a step out of Aswan; it seemed she did not want her secret exposed.
Estian let out a small sigh. The aim of the Aswan delegation was all too obvious—him and Girgantia. Even as they pretended otherwise, the delegation had their undivided attention on trying to get information on the dragon. The imperial officials who had been so guarded at first ended up loosening their tongues with but a single smile from Princess Yuliana, who stared at Estian even as she conversed with the others.
Smiles had bloomed on the faces of those who noticed the focus of her attention. One of them in particular—who was lacking in tact—said, “I say, what a surprise that Princess Yuliana is so familiar with international affairs. I am truly learning much today. I pray that your stay here will be long.”
“My, thank you. I always did want to tour the empire at least once. I’ve always admired this imperial palace from childhood, too. Besides, I am delighted that everyone is so welcoming.” And with that said, Princess Yuliana gave Estian a gentle smile, which roused sighs of pity from the spectators. There was no need to even ask what they were all thinking; it was written across their faces, ‘If only she was our empress!’.
As a little more time passed, they began to express that thought under the influence of alcohol.
“Hahah, I say. If only Princess Yuliana came just a bit sooner…”
“Yes indeed. She lacks not a single thing, be it education or etiquette. Truly worthy of being… Ahem, hem.”
Princess Yuliana quietly smiled at their blatant yet not outspoken implication of ‘You should have been empress’. Estian, on the other hand, wore a wry smile. How dare they question the choice he had made?
‘I admit I’ve been living somewhat peacefully these days,’ he mused. Apparently, due to him being a little docile after Cecile came, the people were forgetting who he really was and what deeds he had committed. ‘Maybe I should thrash a few of them, seeing how so many are up to no good.’
Estian sighed again and thought, ‘What a bother.’ He quickly lost the motivation to do so, as it would only serve to extend the length of this banquet.
‘I want to go back already,’ Estian inwardly muttered. Cecile’s voice, saying how she was bored and how she was only waiting for him, kept on ringing in his ears.
‘She must be bored alright.’ It was why he had sent all sorts of precious things to the empress’ palace.
‘What reaction will she show when I return today?’ Estian wondered, certain that Cecile would run out toward him eagerly. She would then begin chattering excitedly while having a blush on her face. Oh, how he wanted to see that.
‘I want to get up right this instant, but…’ Estian shot another look at Princess Yuliana. Or rather, at her chest. The officials’ faces brightened at his openness, seemingly happy that he was showing interest in another beauty. The more imperial offspring, the better, even more so if they inherited the blood of a princess who not only possessed both beauty and knowledge, but also had a right to succession. “Princess Yuliana.”
“Please speak, Your Majesty.”
“Will you come by my side for a moment?”
“If it is your command, gladly.”
The princess who had continued to express interest and the emperor who accepted it. It seemed to everyone that a chapter of a novel was going to begin here and now today. They looked for something to snack on while spectating but the moment Estian reached out a hand and touched Princess Yuliana’s waist, the doors to the banquet hall were slammed open with a furious bang.
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