Chapter 13 - What is Love?
“Your Highness, we have arrived.”
The Grand Duke, who had been yawning and leaning in a rather unflattering posture in the comfortable coach, turned into a polite gentleman as soon as he alighted the carriage. He walked with his back tall and straight, accentuating his robust physique and catching the people’s attention. The maids passing by couldn’t take their eyes off him. Agares searched for his very, extremely, tremendously busy brother.
His older brother was the Emperor: the lord and sun of the empire and the noblest man in the world.
But, if he had to be honest, Agares pitied his brother. If he had not had the good fortune to be born the second child, then Agares would have been the one stuck up there working. Although he pitied him, he acknowledged that his brother was a capable person. If there was anyone Agares would readily concede to, it would be his brother. The emperor’s seat was not easy to fill since even such a capable person was still swamped with work.
He was the man who carried the burden of this great empire on his shoulders, but in private, he was simply Agares’ older brother. The two siblings had a good relationship which benefited even more so from the fact that Agares was not interested in the position of the emperor. There was never any need for either of them to compete for the throne. To be honest, Agares would have rejected the position even if the throne had been handed to him on a silver platter.
“Where are we?” asked the Emperor.
“In the Emperor’s office.”
“So you know. Address me by Your Majesty.”
The Emperor, who was busy reviewing some documents, commented on the way Agares had addressed him without even looking at him.
“I am here to request a presence with Your Majesty the Emperor.”
He knelt down, raised his hand over his chest, and lowered his head. Now that he was greeting him in the utmost proper—albeit sarcastic—manner, the Emperor glared at him, annoyed.
“Just call me Brother,” he relented.
“Are you busy?”
“Of course. I think I would have more free time if you helped out.”
“Ho ho, what are you talking about? How can an incompetent man like me help you?”
“What do I do with you?”
Ellis, the Emperor, touched his forehead and put down the fountain pen he had been holding. He rose from his seat and sat down in front of Agares. The Grand Chamberlain immediately prepared tea and placed it in front of Ellis and Agares.
“What brings you here?”
“You don’t think I’m here because I miss you, Brother?”
He added a dash of cuteness to his speech but saw that the Emperor was unfazed.
“No? Not at all, huh.”
Ellis knew his younger brother well. When they were younger, he had found his little brother’s curiosity bothersome. But now that he was all grown up, however, there was no way he would have performed the commendable deed of visiting him.
“I heard you didn’t return to the grand duchy yesterday. It’s time to stop and get married. How long are you going to live like that?”
“Ah, come on. What are you, my mother?”
“I’m saying this because I’m your brother.”
For a long time now, Agares had been pestered by talks of marriage. He was certainly approaching quite a late age to remain unmarried, especially considering that he was a member of the royal family. In the royal family, whose offspring were rare and precious, to begin with, men were customarily expected to be engaged and married at an earlier age than usual. In fact, Emperor Ellis had been engaged to his fiancée at an early age and was married in his teens following the sudden death of the previous emperor. Ellis then became emperor and his betrothed became empress.
“You and Mother are the same. Why are you so anxious over marrying me off?”
“Isn’t it natural for us to feel that way because a certain, adult male shows no intention of getting married and instead just plays around?”
“But I’m of the belief that I’m at the age when it’s still appropriate to be playing around.”
“No, it’s time to settle down now. That time has passed, Agares. Even if it hasn’t, the imperial family lacks descendants, so you should get married quickly.”
“You’re not even thinking about having a child, so why are you telling me to, Brother? It’ll mess up our genealogy.”
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