The order caused a huge uproar amongst the noblewomen. The Empress wasn’t doing something particularly wrong— even the royal island had limited space and a dead emperor’s surviving concubines did normally end up making way for the next one’s harem— but she was acting far too quickly without giving them any time to prepare. They were basically being thrown out of the palace before Philip’s funeral could even be held; this basically stripped them of the right to attend the event.
Nearly ten of the concubines from the various noble families of Faust, with the Archerons being the only sixth-level family that didn’t have one in the royal household. Confident in their backing, these women immediately denounced Apeiron for violating their rights.
The Empress remained indifferent upon her high throne, listening to them chatter for a full minute before saying lazily, “Julian.”
“Your Majesty,” Julian grinned with understanding.
She pointed at one of the prettiest women who was also shouting the loudest, “Strip her and throw her outside.”
“As you wish!” he bowed low, immediately flashing away.
“Wait! Don’t dirty your hands, just get a few guards to do it.”
Julian immediately returned and picked out six brutish guards before turning to the now-pale woman, “Make sure she doesn’t have a single piece of clothing left.”
“No!” the concubine shrieked, “I’m Duke Wellinburg’s niece, you cannot treat me like this! My uncle will kill anyone who dares touch me!”
The royal guards hesitated, but two of them continued towards her. The other four remained apprehensive until they caught Julian’s cold gaze, one of them reacting quickly enough to jump towards the lady. He barely made it a few steps forward before he heard a few popping sounds behind him, the thick stench of blood assaulting his nose. The remaining three fell to the ground as Julian stuffed their still-beating hearts into his mouth in one go, a trickle of blood dripping down his chin that was cleaned up with a lick.
The hall fell into absolute silence, the concubine standing in shock until the guards finally touched her. She started shrieking and tried to struggle, but as someone without much physical power she couldn’t stop them from tearing off her clothes in a few moments. Her naked body was lifted up and hauled out of the hall, screams quickly turning into sobs along the way.
Julian summoned a few more guards to clear the corpses and clean the blood. While the rest of the hall trembled, he was perhaps the only one who understood the truth of the matter. It was incredibly kind for her standards to not eliminate everyone speaking against her with one blow; she was restraining herself.
She waved the harem to the side before focusing on the royal children, her gaze now softer but still stern. She scanned across them all before asking, “Why is there someone missing?”
“Princess Reyna departed a few days ago, Your Majesty. We are unable to find her.”
“Alright, one missing is fine,” she said as she glanced across them all. Even Nyris, the strongest and most talented of the lot, froze up under her gaze like he had fallen into a cave of ice. It felt like she could see through all of his deepest secrets, his teeth chattering as he gritted them which only stopped once he slackened his jaw. It was only when she looked to someone else that he regained control of his body.
The Empress pointed out Nyris, Neil, and Ryan, “You three, think of how you can contribute to the royal family and let Julian know. If it’s enough, your mothers can stay. As for the others…”
She looked at the remaining children, “Your bloodlines are trash, but if you can do well you’ll be allowed to stay. You have one week to convince Julian that you’re worth keeping, or you can fuck off to your mothers’ families. All your territory and planes under the royal family will be confiscated.”
All of the royal children paled at her words. Philip had specifically prepared a plane for each one of them to train themselves in, and it was acknowledged even if not explicitly stated that these planes would eventually become private property if maintained well. Every single one was worth a fortune, but they were being confiscated with a single command.
Neil and Nyris were the only ones who remained unaffected. They had already started expanding into their own private planes, so the ones from the royal family didn’t affect them much.
Almost every one of the royal children was backed by some of the remaining families in Faust. Apeiron’s move would offend nearly every island-level family, something that even Philip himself wouldn’t do wantonly, but she didn’t care at all. Outside of the new Archerons and Anans, she had already established an enmity with them thirty years ago.
While everyone was still digesting the change in the situation, the Empress idly ordered, “I haven’t been feeling too good recently. At least we’re getting more space around here, go find me some toys to play with.”
These words shocked everyone present. Philip’s funeral hadn’t even been completed while Apeiron herself wasn’t coronated yet, but she was already looking for lovers. She was an Empress! Tradition held that she would have one husband titled Emperor Consort, the rest should have been hidden from the public eye.
Of course, Julian himself was never one to care about tradition, “What should I look for in them, Your Majesty?”
She waved her hands in annoyance, “Don’t care. Boy, girl, human, elf, whatever… just get me something to entertain myself with.”
“Hmm… The first batch will take three days, is that alright?”
“What? That’s so long… Forget it, I can do something else. We’ll have Philip’s funeral in the meanwhile.”
Julian was an extremely efficient worker. Invitations for Philip’s funeral had been sent out to the various families of Faust before the first light of dawn, sending the entire city into a flurry. The funeral was to be held the very next day, at ten in the morning! There was simply no time for a grand event commensurate to Philip’s glory; there was barely enough time for them to prepare a proper eulogy.
However, this time there wasn’t any resistance. With Apeiron on the throne, nobody would be surprised by such crazy things. Besides, she hadn’t actually done much bad outside of fighting Sharon, even resolving the problems from the other two empires. Losing territory was one thing, but the only royal runemaster with enough talent to become a saint runemaster was a strategic asset that couldn’t be overrated. Just his Mana Armaments had greatly improved the survivability of every legendary mage; the differences would only grow more obvious with time.
Time seemed to fly by, and the next morning everyone important was gathered at the memorial hall of the royal palace. The place wasn’t big, so only three to four members of each family could attend. Outside of Alice, Richard surprised everyone by bringing his step-siblings Demi and Wennington. The latter had lost his youth and developed into a tall, buff youth who was already level 15, while the former had honed her powers through large battles and reached a frightening level 17. She was even suppressing her advancement just like Richard had himself.
The Empress was dressed in a brand new set of ceremonial clothes that was almost reminiscent of an army’s general, black form-fitting fabric making up the base with a tall collar and knee-high boots that emphasized her lean figure. The uniform itself was androgynous, even leaning towards masculine, with her murderous aura accenting her dangerous beauty. The outfit had two rows of buttons and cufflinks, the neck holding a dark gold emblem of an ancient titan. The only frilly part of it all was a sky-blue rose stuck in the chest pocket, something that added to her charm.
Portraits of the previous emperors were hung on the royal altar in front of her, and after the ceremony Philip would join them. However, this portrait didn’t depict the enormous man everyone knew but an unshaven youth who looked more like a humble commoner. The older people present recognised the image of Philip from thirty years ago.
As the bell tolled and the ceremony officially commenced, the Empress walked to the front of the altar and remained silent for a while before speaking loudly, “Here lies a man who would never give his enemies peace. With his death, they can enjoy a good night’s sleep.”
That seemed to be the entirety of her eulogy. Apeiron personally took Philip’s portrait and quietly placed it in its position alongside the rest, staring at it for a few minutes before turning around, “The funeral’s done.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: HH
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA