It was perfect timing.
Caelion dragged the time on as she instructed, and the Emperor and Apollonia arrived at the arena in the midst of their second duel.
“Oh, Father.” Paris greeted him belatedly.
He had abrasions all over his body and wasn’t breathing properly.
“Paris, what kind of low-level behavior is this” The Emperor rebuked Paris to show his dignity, but Apollonia knew that he was never hard on Paris.
“I gave the Princess of Rajan Kingdom to you but who said you could bet her as a prize yourself Besides, this is the Royal Militia.
Where did all of your dignity and discipline go, betting a woman like this as if this was the dark market”
“I’m sorry, Father.
The war had drained the Royal Militia so I want to relieve the pressure through a light duel.” Paris lowered his head and explained further.
“If Caelion hadn’t come, it would have ended just fine.
I didn’t intend to make the princess a prize.”
“So, is it settled”
“I won the championship, but——” He blurted out and paused.
Paris couldn’t lie when the Emperor had already watched the duel between him and Caelion.
I’ve already heard about it on my way here.
Did you bet Count Buiché as a prize” The Emperor asked Caelion this time.
“He is neither your prisoner nor your slave.
Don’t you have common sense”
“The vassal had sworn his allegiance to me.”
“What was Count Buiché’s opinion about this” The Emperor asked, looking around.
Only then did he see a silver lining inconspicuously mixed in the crowd.
Uriel was there the whole time.
“I agree with it, Your Highness.” He answered the Emperor casually.
His countenance was devoid of any emotion but nobody found it strange since most of the people there were whispering about the Duke’s blinded love for the witch.
The Emperor was troubled for a moment despite arriving at the arena, knowing the whole situation.
Apollonia knew this very well since she was the one who greeted him that morning and leaked the news.
Then, she and the Emperor appeared at the Great Hall when Paris and Caelion’s match was about to end.
She also knew what the Emperor’s expression meant.
He stopped the duel early since he couldn’t wait for it just to see Paris lose.
But at the same time, he didn’t want to waste losing Uriel as a prize and just let this entire thing go.
As long as he was there, Caelion couldn’t be eliminated.
However, Paris was unlikely to beat Caelion again right now.
The Emperor realized this just from watching the second match.
“But, my brother——” Apollonia murmured.
The Emperor and the rest of the knights watching were surprised by her unexpected interruption.
“Did you forget about what you promised me, brother” She muttered sadly as if finding it unfair.
Paris looked at her in a panic.
“Before the battle, you told me and my father’s concubines that you will bring a lot of loot for us so that we can pick and choose anything we wanted.”
It was true.
Paris loved to brag and that disposition was even more pronounced in the presence of women.
“Madeleine asked for a Panath’s opal and I remembered telling you that I didn’t need anything from Rajan Kingdom at that moment.”
Rajan was not famous for jewelry or ornaments so what she said a year ago was probably seen as if she didn’t want to compete with the Empresses.
But even at that time, Apollonia already planned to find ‘Milon’s eye’ or even just traces of it.
Paris had no idea that she was going to make use of it in this way.
“Nia, you know the spoils from the Rajan Kingdom—–”
“I have no room for monsters in my private palace but when I heard that Rajan’s princess had excellent swordsmanship skills, I thought about turning her into an Escort Knight.” Apollonia looked into the Emperor’s eyes and blurted out.
Should she do something more
Shouldn’t this be a method for Paris to show everyone his power
Unsurprisingly, the Emperor’s eyes were shining.
“So, the princess of the Rajan Kingdom already had a promised master”
The Emperor looked at Caelion and said in a subdued voice.
“However, Your Majesty.
The Crown Prince made a pact with me.” Caelion said as practiced, standing upright.
“——but the crown prince made a pact with the princess first.
It is also inappropriate for prisoners-of-war to leave the Royal Family.”
The King said in hesitation, his wolf-like golden eyes shining even more intensely.
“Please give her to me, Your Majesty.
Name your price and I will give it to you.”
Evangeline was slack-jawed from his embarrassing remarks but the Emperor only saw Caelion’s eager eyes.
“I don’t know.
You only managed to achieve victory in the second match.
Didn’t Paris defeat you at first” The Emperor raised an eyebrow at him before glancing sideways at Seta.