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Episode 87 - Country of Music ‘Cut-Sleeve Emperor.‘
Like its name, Zene, the country of music and peace, Zene’s architectural buildings mirrored the architectures recorded in ancient Greece. Instead of using red sand as the base for buildings, Zene opted for white sand and white boulders.
Even with the distance, Eugene and the others could see illustrations of instruments, music, and angel clouds carefully hand-carved into the pillars of these buildings. Everything about Zene was delicate and intricate, very different from what they are used to seeing in Xenperia, which had a more old-English vibe.
It was beautiful and new! Citizens in Zene dressed up like Ario, in airy comfortable white dresses. Some dresses had wide chest cuts, whilst others had full chest cover-ups, like Ario. Everyone wore one-piece clothes that extended all the way or beyond their toes creating this image of them floating above the ground. On their waists, they wore colorful cloth to extenuate their figures and on their feet they wore light brown sandals, not wanting to hide them away unlike the Xenperian citizens.
Although Zene and Xenperia were two close countries, one was like day whilst the other was like night. There were no similarities when looking at the two countries from an outside perspective!
‘Weird!’ Eugene stared wide-eyed at the sight surrounding her. They rode for one full day and one full night using government roads that only important people of United West Liasel can use! She had not expected such changes when it only took that little time to reach a new country! And here she was as if she was acting in a high budget movie set!!
Citizens of Zene were cheering them on as they fastly rode to their destination. Unlike Xenperian citizens screaming their lungs and heart out, Zene’s citizens joined in to play orchestra for them. However, unlike an orchestra concert, they didn’t need to sync their instruments using a conductor!
“Pretty!!!!” Eugene could hear Euria and Aernest fangirling from inside the carriage. Yes.. she was still sitting with Duke Marleigh and has been since they departed from Xenperia.
Like what Ron said, Zene was a country of music. The citizens playing instruments looked incredibly relaxed and experienced as if they'd always welcomed foreigners visiting Zene this way. Little did Eugene know that everyone in Zene had musical talents. Everyone was a genius in their way and didn’t need any practice to synchronize as a town.
“We are heading to the Royal Palace of Zene, where the Emperor of Zene resides. After greeting the Emperor, Ario will bring us to our accommodation.” Duke Marleigh suddenly announced from outside the carriage.
“The royal palace again?” Euria confusingly questioned. In her mind, she associated anything Palace to the Imperial Palace in Xenperia, the one she frequently visits.
“A different Palace!” Ramon assured Euria after seeing her giving an unpleasant face.
“.. Okay…” Euria replied, fumbling with her thumbs.
The three carriages along with a fleet of soldiers riding horses soon entered the Royal grounds of Zene with ease. From the entrance alone, the Royal Palace of Zene was different from the Imperial Palace of Xenperia.
As they rode, white trees in large quantities came to view. Beautiful white trees with white petals were as beautiful, or even more beautiful than Sakura petals falling when they departed from Xenperia! Everywhere, only white trees and different species of white flowers bloomed. Although the weather was relatively warm, the surrounding area looked as if they were in the middle of winter.
After quite a while of slow pace riding, they arrived at a huge lake-like-sea. On the lake-like-sea, multiple lands floated atop. And on top of the multiple lands, multiple Greece-like-buildings stood tall. The lake itself stretched incredibly far, too far to see the end.
Exactly a WTF scene.
A scene that almost gave Eugene a heart attack.
To enter the Imperial Palace, one must ride on a boat… or swim. This was very shocking and flabbergasted everyone on site. Just when they thought nothing could surprise them anymore, Ario’s feminine voice spoke out.
“If you look at the furthest building on the right side of the lake, that building is where the King of Zene currently resides. The building close to that is where his majesty’s audience room is and where we will be heading to. To the left is where you honorable guest will reside. It’s safe and impossible for any mishaps to happen inside the Imperial grounds.” Ario smiled at the group looking at him in confusion.
‘We will be living above water?Safe?’ Eugene looked at Ario in disbelief. ‘More like, impossible to help if anything happens’ She shook her head and lightly sighed.
Duke Marleigh and Duke Rodriguez only furrowed their eyebrows but did not say anything else.
“We... We will live here?” Euria shook Eugene’s sleeves. Her voice was full of worries. Yes, the Royal Palace here was different from Xenperia’s Palace, and it was beautiful, but that didn’t mean she wanted to live on the water!
Euria shuddered whilst staring at the mass lake that seemed to stretch forever.
“It’s not scary, Young Miss. I also live here, in fact, I live just by Young Miss’s courtyard. We will be neighbors.” Ario comforted Euria, speaking in a lighter tone to relieve her worries.
“You live here? It’s safe?” Euria bit her lips, her eyes glancing back and forth between the many pavilions and courtyards on top of the lake.
“Yes, Young Miss! I assure you!” He gleefully smiled at Euria. As if the heavens knew that this was the right moment to extenuate a man’s feature, it ordered the clouds to move away for one split second. That one split second allowed for the covered up sun to shine on Ario’s eyes, making his eyes glisten in maroon color as opposed to his usual jet black eyes.
He at that moment looked like a figure from an ancient Greece picture.
“...Well then, let us depart?” Ario nodded at everyone to follow him and guided them to a large boat that could fit 15 people.
The baggage they brought will be brought over to their place of rest at a later time.
The boat ride was slow, but not too slow where you start to get bored. Everyone was mesmerized by the beautiful lake that was clear of any leaves and only reflected the deep blue sky. Indeed, this place was suitable for the Royals to live, which was what the children thought.
“Are there any fishies?” Aernest suddenly asked, breaking the silence.
Ario looked at the vast lake in deep thoughts before slowly turning to Aernest to reply. “No Young Master…” Ario slightly smiled at Aernest before turning away again.
Ario’s sigh did not go past Duke Marleigh, Eugene, Louis, Ron, and Aedelak who immediately thought that there must be more to the lake than having no fishes. Nevertheless, they did not question Ario and choose to stay quiet. It was only a little while later that Ario’s voice spoke again, this time even more softly.
“Ever since the Queen’s passing, the lake has been rid of any sea creatures.”
Everyone stayed quiet after his sentence.
It was 10 minutes later when subtle instruments coming from the pavilion they were heading to were heard.
‘Someone is stringing a harp’ Eugene silently listened.
The magical sound got louder the closer they got to the huge Greece-like-pavilion and their solemn silence completely melted as soon as they stepped foot into the land. The ground they stepped foot on was unexpectedly sturdy and did not feel as if they stepped on a small ground floating on water. It felt normal and natural, to the children’s surprise!
Ario as a guide, walked in front of everyone to guide them to the King to pay respect. Walking in, 10 men dressed in white attire were either standing, holding transparent bowls of fruits, or sitting, playing harps by a mini platform. The instruments played softer to accommodate everyone walking to the King. -It was as if they were filming a dramatic movie!
Glancing around, the 10 men surrounding them unexpectedly gave the same vibe Ario did. Everyone was feminine and ...beautiful. Some had long jet black hair, and some had Ario’s bobbed hair. They were incredibly gentle as they greeted them with a nod and smile on their faces.
Eugene blinked, feeling as if she caught on to something. What she caught on to, she didn’t know, but she felt as if she would find it out soon.
Upon closer look, the dress the 10 men were wearing was even more revealing than the clothes people wore in the capital of Zene. It was… transparent. Through transparency, you could see their completely toned body. Some had distinguishable muscles on their upper body whilst some had strong legs. Fortunately, they had white cloth sitting on their waist that was long enough to cover their private area otherwise…whelps. Not made for children.
Louis only needed to glance once at the children to let them know that they should keep their eyes to themselves. Other than Ramon, Aernest, Euria, Ron, Aedelak, and Aeselak not moving their eyes away from their feet, everyone else walked in with confidence. Louis looked straight ahead as if his eyes didn’t see anything, Eugene bravely looked around her surroundings as if there was nothing to look at, whilst Duke Marleigh and Duke Rodriguez stared at the end of the Pavillion in silence.
‘......’ Louis quietly rolled his eyes at Eugene in his mind.
Arriving at the end of the Pavillion, Ario’s voice loudly spoke. “Blessings to his Majesty, King of Zene.” He kneeled in front of a curtain that separated King from everyone else.
Other than Ario kneeling, everyone else did not. They only bowed their heads to show respect but remained standing tall.
Ario continued. “My King, our esteemed guests have traveled far and have safely arrived in front of you. Due to some circumstances, two great nobles had to cancel their trip and remain in Xenperia. The-” Ario got cut.
“Ohh, are these the Paladins of Xenperia?” The King of Zene spoke, cutting Ario off. His voice hinted arrogance, and pride he has as the King of Zene.
‘.... hostility?’ Eugene frowned, carefully studying the figure behind the red transparent curtain.
“Yes, Your majesty.” Ario calmly replied as if he was used to getting cut off.
“.....” Silence befell them for 2 minutes before the King spoke again.
“Hmmm, how cute, how small. Open the curtains for me to see them.” The King spoke in a normal voice this time. It wasn’t one of masculinity, but a voice that soothes people, unlike a voice anyone's heard of before.
“Yes, your majesty” Voices beyond the curtain spoke in unison.
With sounds of shifting around, the curtains separating everyone from the King slowly parted in the middle.
Slowly, a figure dressed in a black dress came to view. The man, no.. the King his right arm resting on one leg, whilst the other leg stretched out comfortably. The King was undoubtedly good looking. He had shoulder-length jet black hair, with hints of blue hue. Sparkly reddened lips, and a pair of confident black eyes. A Greece God.
Slowly, the curtain opened further, revealing four people sitting on the floor, close to the King.
“!!” Eugene’s eyebrows twitched.
This sight shocked everyone, even Ario who’s eyes widened tremendously.
The four men each had one transparent bowl each. One was carrying grapes, one was carrying a watermelon, one was carrying melon, and the last person carried a bowl full of raspberries. This wasn’t the shocking part! The shocking part was that their upper bodies were completely bare!
The children who were curious about the appearance of the King of Zene reddened and shifted their sights immediately. The only people with dark facial expressions were Duke Marleigh, Duke Rodriguez, Louis, Eugene, Aedelak, and Ario.
‘... This King..’ Eugene's eyes glinted. Is a Cut Sleeve.
It was obvious what these four men were for. They all had red-purplish marks around their necks and upper body. What else could this mean? Even their lips looked swollen red!
The people that realized what these marks meant or have an inkling of what the relationship between these five people was was Duke Marleigh, Louis, Eugene, and Aedelak. The rest, including Duke Rodriguez, were either too young or didn’t have a smart enough brain to bring their imaginations from mosquito bites to something … scandalous.
‘Ha...’ Eugene mentally sighed. Isn’t it just their first day? What sort of situation is this?
One day outside the Veria estate and this already happened? No wonder Levis and Moniqua were overprotective! ‘I can’t imagine what the next few days will be like.’ Eugene sarcastically shook her head in concede defeat.
Not that she was against boyxboy things, but the fact that the Emperor was brave enough to show this sight to children…truly... What was his brain made out of?... Shit?
‘I guess the Emperor is a brave man. Who's still-functioning-brain would have the audacity to show these sights to children? Especially to Noble children from another country?’ Eugene blinked.
‘Cute?’ Eugene sighed again from the King calling them cute.
“Hmm.. how not cute.” The king revoked his earlier statement. Seeing the children only blushing, yet still keeping to their manners without any exaggerated reaction was boring. It wasn’t a reaction he was looking for.
“Ha…” The King sighed loudly without a care for the world. ‘I guess they are too young?’ He lazily blinked. Glazing over at Duke Marleigh, he almost sighed a second time. The two Dukes didn’t have any reaction as well.
‘Hmm..’ The King’s smile was brought back to his face once he glanced over at Ario who looked to be embarrassed.
‘Wait..’ He locked eyes with Eugene who was blatantly looking at him. Without taking away his eyes off of her, he grinned wider! ‘This child knows!’
‘How does she know?’ He blinked at Eugene before looking away. Now.. he was flustered. ‘Did the great nobles teach their kids about that?’ Wanting to confirm his thought, he looked over at Eugene again. Ah Yes... This child knows.
Noticing the King’s smile getting wider and wider, Duke Marleigh and Louis stepped forward to block Eugene. Whatever that smile meant was creepy and gave them goosebumps.
Swatting for the 4 men with upper bodies exposed to leave, the King then took on a more formal way of sitting; his legs crossed.
It was silent. Not even a sound of harps playing could be heard...The silent atmosphere slowly became darker and heavier with each passing second, with no one doing anything. Before long, even the dense Duke Rodriguez realized something was wrong. Slightly leaning his body forward, he prepared to take action if something was to happen.
The King raised his hands.
Author's Note: I love Bl, so I must write BL!! BTW, I don't mean anything by cut-sleeve. I do not mean it in a degrading way so please do not misunderstand!
Storytime: This author here fell one meter deep into the snow because this author couldn't see the road. Anyway, my back is dead and I am dead too. (Didn't know that what's in front of me was a stairway lol)
(February - September 2020)
(September 2020 - First half of 2021)