When the Emperor, Rudolf, entered the banquet hall, the music and the chatter had all stopped.
In addition, most of the lights were turned off except for a few.
When the people were hailing the Emperor, Rudolf raised his hand as a reply.
‘He looks very tired.’
Luke, who glanced at the face of the Emperor, laughed to himself. The pride and elegance which had to be in the Emperor’s eyes seemed tired. His expression didn’t fit a person that was supposed to be called an Emperor.
Considering the recent events, it was bound for him to be tired and exhausted.
“I see that everyone has come here. It is my pleasure to have so many people around me to celebrate our victory.”
With those words, the nobles with Duke Butler laughed at him.
They felt that the Emperor was so pathetic that he was declaring a war that was considered a defeat by a nation being branded as the victors.
“We are fighting against the rogues who have forgotten their manners as a man and are indiscriminately forming relations with the fairies. How can we leave the matters like they are because of those deceased men, who are fundamentally oblivious, and are trying to disrupt the worldly order and status.”
The Emperor argued that the war against the Republic was a fateful battle that would decide the destiny of the continent. He blamed the Volga Republic in his speech while he occasionally poured out swear swords wrapped in a gentle façade.
“In the midst of the chaos created by the shameless rogues, there was a man who fought against the North invaders and gave them deadly blows. As everyone knows, he is the descendant of the Sword Emperor Rakan, Luke de Rakan.”
When the Emperor pointed his hand in the direction of Luke, lights followed and gathered around Luke.
“Because of Rakan’s work, the bandits didn’t dare enter the Empire, and the brave empire soldiers were successful in driving out the bandits and defending their borders. It was all because of Rakan Viscount’s thoughts and hard work, so I hope to give him a huge credit today.”
At the words of the Emperor, the nobles looked at Luke with envy in their eyes.
The Imperial family had retrained and bullied the family of Rakan but because of the current situation, they were compelled to reward them.
“Luke de Rakan, come in front of me!”
At the call from the Emperor, Luke approached him slowly and knelt in front of him.
Emperor Rudolf pulled out the sword at his waist and placed it on Luke’s shoulder to announce the huge award he was granting him.
“Because of the bravery that Luke de Rakan showed, I grant him the title of a Marquis. And according to his title, he will be given a new estate.”
‘What, what did he say?!’
Luke was shocked, but the nobles were even more surprised.
They were expecting the title. But to also be allotted land?
No one thought that Luke would be given two awards.
Moreover, there was no law that stated for a Marquis to be assigned with a new territory.
For Luke, there was no loss, but for the nobles, it was nothing less than a heartbreaking shock.
Last time, Marquis Cavanill tried to lure Luke in giving a piece of his land.
Duke Butler too had been thinking of a similar way to get Luke onto their side.
The war hearing had been canceled, but the noblemen were thinking about the future, and it was always a good sign to have the Rakan family of the South which had considerable power.
However, the Emperor had the first advantage.
It was a bomb-like award.
“Majesty, such reward is too much.”
After someone had rebelled against the declaration of the Emperor, Butler snapped back to reality.
He was worried that someone from their side would speak out not realizing their situation.
There was a lot of concern because Butler could suffer a lot of political disadvantage, but fortunately, the backlash wasn’t from the noblemen.
“You… Count Juke.”
The Emperor frowned upon seeing a gritty mature noble filled with greed.
He knew why Count Juke had started to rebel against the reward.
A few months back, when Luke took the office, the Count’s son, Darren de Juke, was given punishment.
The sentence was so severe that Darren went crazy even after the wounds had healed.
It was natural for Count Juke to resent Luke. He was one of the people who would have felt pleased if Luke died in the war.
However, he ended up surviving, and not just that, he also received an award for his major contribution.
His eyes were red, not even knowing he was going to receive the anger of the Emperor, yet he didn’t stop.
“There is no reason to overly reward a person that had already faithfully fulfill their duty to stop the enemy. Moreover, you know, Rakan tried to surrender to the Republic.”
“Those are just words. However, it was nothing more than a deception,” the Emperor spoke.
If the north wasn’t devastated and the war went along as the Emperor planned, he would have killed Luke even if surrendered.
But the situation was different now, and the Emperor had to raise Luke’s value.
It wasn’t a false surrender, but he had to cover it as he might receive Luke’s loyalty.
And if the war hero was denied of anything, their so-called victory would not be viewed as that.
However, Count Juke was persistent.
“It wasn’t just that. I also heard that Rakan had stolen the loot.”
‘I don’t get it. How did that pig know?’
Luke was tense.
He hadn’t brought all of them to the capital. He put a few in his subspace bracelet and was going to give them to his subordinates once he went back.
‘Is there someone in the Fortress who is giving information to Juke? No, he is probably just spilling random words.’
It was common to put baseless statements out.
And Count Juke gave a verbal statement too. He was the descendant of the house which had been engaged in the sphere of commerce for generations, and he was a trustworthy figure.
However, that wasn’t enough to push Luke into trouble. The Emperor was determined to make sure that the war was seen as their victory.
“Be quiet! Don’t you know that the Rakan Viscount wasn’t just true to his duties, but he also put his life at risk by entering the enemy region with little force?”
“What were you doing when Rakan Viscount and the dead Count Naiman were struggling with the bandits? Were you just adding gold coins from every corner of the nation?”
It didn’t matter if it was the nobles of the Emperor or the other noblemen, not to mention Count Juke. The Emperor wasn’t going to let anyone reject his decision.
Count Juke was a typical ‘cat on a wall’, who used both the sides for his gains.
“To try to defame a man who can’t be praised enough for his efforts! I am suspicious if you have made a deal with the bandits. What is your plan? Take him to the intelligence office right away!” Ordered the Emperor.
The color of Count Juke’s face turned pale from red.
He didn’t know if the Emperor meant ‘take him to’ or ‘drag him to’ the intelligence department. The kinds of torture that would be given to him would depend on which words the Emperor used.
“Ugh! Ma, Majesty! I was wrong. Please let me be!”
Count Juke was taken by the guards and was pulled out from the banquet hall, and the ones seeing him being taken could remember a saying ‘if you stay still, you might still stay in the middle’.
“Is there anyone else that is discontent regarding the reward I gave?”
At the cold question of the Emperor, the people only looked at each other, but no one answered him back. No, they couldn’t do it even if they wanted to.
“Since no one disapproves, I will reward him.”
After a bit of drama, Luke’s triumph was official!