The Emperor’s Request
After the battle, I was led by several maids to take a bath and prepare for my audience with the emperor.
Once the bath was done, the maids prepared a set of clothes for me and brought me to a waiting room to wait for the emperor’s summon.
However, someone appeared in front of me before the emperor asked me to go inside.
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Clark. I watched your battle in the arena, and it was an eye-opening experience.”
I frowned slightly at the words of the blonde young man in front of me.
Alan Quintin, my first brother and the crown prince of the empire.
To think he can smile so naturally after he just tried to poison me.
“Nice to meet you, your majesty. It’s an honor to hear your praises.” I replied with a smile as well, although I was sneering at him inwardly.
Well, Alan is probably doing the same. He must be cursing the young man that destroyed his plans.
“Is there anything you need from me?”
Alan stared at me for several seconds before nodding.
“Straight to the point. I like that. Let me be direct, then. I hope you can forget about what happened today.”
Oh? So you are afraid now.
Well, let’s play with you a little bit.
“… I don’t understand what do you meant, your highness.”
“No, you understand, Mr. Clark. Someone in your position surely knows the consequences your words can bring.”
I did not reply, just looking at him fixedly.
“Mr. Clark, you don’t want to turn me into an enemy right? I promise you that if you forget about this, your Red Skull Gang will have my complete support when I become the emperor.”
… Eldest brother, you will never be the emperor.
Mm… How should I answer right now?
Unfortunately, someone else appeared at that moment, stopping me from messing with my brother.
“Alan, what are you doing here?”
Alan frowned. He hurriedly turned around and sighed when he saw the empress.
One of the few people he did not dare to defy.
“You are bothering Mr. Clark. What are you talking to him about?”
“Nodding important, mother,” Alan said smilingly and looked at me. “I apologize then, Mr. Clark. Let’s find another opportunity to talk later.”
Alan then left the waiting room as though escaping from something.
Lilia could not help but narrow her eyes as she watched Alan leave.
“… That boy, he has been behaving strangely lately. I think he is hiding something from me.”
Yeah, he is. He just tried to poison your lover.
Plus, he is probably planning to kill your husband.
Of course, I’m not going to say that out loud. It’s better if Lilia is kept in the dark for a while more.
Instead, I feigned a respectful expression and bowed slightly.
Lilia frowned and her eyes showed a bit of dissatisfaction. However, she knew it was not the time or place to behave intimately with me.
“You don’t need to be so polite, Mr. Clark. I’m proud of your performance today. Also, I need to talk with you after your talk with the emperor. Please go to my chambers after that.”
I could not help but put on a strange expression. This woman…
“… It’s a bit inappropriate, right?”
For an instant, a mischievous smile appeared on Lilia’s face. However, it disappeared as quickly as it appeared, making it almost unnoticeable.
“Don’t worry, I just need to talk with you about something private. Nobody will trouble you for it.”
I could only shake my head with a wry smile.
This woman sure is daring.
But if she dares, I obviously dare as well.
“I understand. I will be there.”
“Good. I’ll wait for you.”
Smiling seductively, Lilia left the waiting room.
Not even ten minutes later, the emperor asked me to go inside the throne room.
As soon as I entered, the emperor fixed his eyes on me. He sat on his throne and observed every one of my movements, as though trying to see through all my secrets.
I behave respectfully, as it was expected from a subject in front of the emperor, kneeling on one knee and bowing my head slightly.
“I pay my respects to your majesty.”
“Rise.” The emperor said with a dignified tone. “Your name is Clark, right? I had heard about you before, but I never thought you were much better than the rumors.”
“It’s nothing to be proud of.”
“You don’t need to be so modest. It’s my first time seeing such a young beyond-twelfth layer powerhouse. In fact, I was surprised when you revealed your true strength in the battle against Louis. Who would have expected you were hiding so much strength?”
“Thank you for your compliments.”
The emperor nodded slightly. He then stared at me for several seconds as though thinking about something.
“Mr. Clark, now that you won the tournament, you are technically my son-in-law. Due to that, I want to ask you for a small favor.”
I was slightly startled. What is this man planning now?
“Yes, it’s related to Dina. More accurately, to her little brother.”
“Little brother? Do you mean Prince Claus?” I put on an expression of surprise.
“Yes. To be honest, today’s arrangement was done without Dina’s consent. Princess Dina doesn’t wish to marry. However, as a member of the imperial family, this kind of marriage is part of her responsibilities. Hence, to avoid troubles, I plan to marry Dina to you one month later.”
“… That is rather fast. What do you need of me then, your majesty?”
“Well, the thing is, Claus is very close to his sister, Dina. So he may try to do something once he learns about his sister’s marriage. I hope you can help me with that.”
… Hey, this father of mine sure is ruthless.
Hahaha, so he even thought of this. Is it a countermeasure in case his other plans fail?
“… I don’t understand, your majesty.” I put on an expression of confusion. After all, Clark should not know anything about this.
The emperor narrowed his eyes and explained.
“Mr. Clark. I hope that if Claus leaves his assignment and appears before you, you apprehend him. Even if he is a prince, he can’t defy war orders.
“If he tries to rescue Dina, you must catch him. And if you can’t, you must kill him.”
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