November was the Month of Winter. The city in the north, Antiffler, was ready to become the world of ice and snow at any time under the freezing wind.
The light blue and clear river named Donati went through the city, and Count Mecklen’s garden villa was located on the piece of highland near the river. Behind the villa, there was a very steep hill called Saxony, carved with countless fine relief sculptures.
This was a classic pillar-structured villa, which accorded with the conservative building style of Holy Heilz Empire. However, when Lucien went through the garden blooming with the light-purple flowers called Crystal Elf and stepped into the hall, he discovered that the design of the place was definitely inspired by the passion from the Kingdom of Syracuse based on its luxurious decoration, the featured curved lines on the walls, and the unique layout of the place.
The walls around and the ceiling above were drawn with many beautiful half-naked young women. Together with the well-built male statues placed in the space, a bold and unrestrained atmosphere was created.
Lucien had some understanding of art and psychology. When he was appreciating the stunning design of the place, he was also trying to figure out what the young nobles of the empire were thinking. It seemed that the younger generation of the nobles in Holy Heilz Empire had been fed up by the extremely conservative traditions and rules, and they were leaning toward the luxurious style from the Kingdom of Syracuse not far away from them.
This was for sure a piece of good news for the Congress of Magic and the Kingdom of Holm.
While many places like Allyn, the Kingdom of Holm, and the Duchy of Calais were all developing at a fast pace with great energy, and the popularization of the alchemical items were also bringing many big changes to the social structures and people’s way of thinking, the younger generations in Holy Heilz Empire and the Kingdom of Syracuse were still blindly enjoying their wealth and extravagant way of living.
When the young fell, the nation fell. Those people who worried could survive, and those who saw no dangers would die.
Wearing a polite smile on his face, Lucien walked to the host of tonight’s party, Deniz Mecklen.
“My dear Beaulac, I thought you wouldn’t come!” said Deniz, who was a delicate and pretty young man with long blond hair. There were many exquisite designs on his dark-red suit, including the mysterious ruby brooch and the fine silver chains.
In Lucien’s eyes, Deniz was like a postmodernism artist, which complied with the description of Beaulac: Deniz was passionate about painting and sketch, and he also designed jewelry and clothes himself. At the same time, he regarded himself as a fine and perfect female, and thus Deniz liked men.
Lucien knew that he could never underestimate Deniz, who was the first one among the younger generation of the nobles in Antifflerto become a grand knight. At that moment, Deniz was only around twenty-seven, but he was already a level-five grand knight, and his blood power, Thunder, was very powerful.
After gently hugging Deniz, Lucien grinned, “Why wouldn’t I?”
Deniz covered his mouth and giggled, “That was just my instinct. Men are always rude but fragile. I was afraid that you and Arthen might give each other some hard time over the party, and I know that Arthen has been waiting for this opportunity for so long, so he could rule you out from the underground palace competition. Then, it would be way easier for him to win the game. The rest of the monkeys will bend their knees in front of him.”
Lucien had some uncomfortable feeling in his stomach, but he tried to maintain the loving smile on his face, “Monkeys are just monkeys.”
Lucien’s response surprised Deniz, and he looked at Lucien with his light-brown eyes, “What happened to you, Beaulac? You’re different now. I can feel your confidence.”
Playing to be mysterious, Lucien just smiled but did not say anything.
Deniz giggled again, “This is getting very interesting now. I’m wondering if I should go down there as well. Please me, Beaulac. Maybe I am willing to help you beat Arthen.”
The fact that maybe Beaulac could win the important help from Deniz was the very reason why Beaulac accepted the invitation to the party.
Lucien purposefully put on a quite encouraged look, but he also said, “Maybe Arthen will have some helpers as well.”
Deniz laughed, “Don’t get all excited. This is not a decision yet. The old one in my family carries a lot of hope in Arthen after all.”
Clearly, Deniz was waiting for Beaulac to ask again and use all the means he could to please him, but Lucien did not really need his help. So, he decided to look up at the ceiling.
“Isn’t this my beloved cousin Beaulac?”
The deep and feigned voice came from the gate.
Lucien believed that he had heard the voice earlier when he was walking around. Turning around, Lucien saw a tall blond man walking toward them holding the arm of a beautiful young woman.
The young man was wearing a fancy and formal uniform from the military. On his right chest, there was a fine ribbon, and on the other side, there was a row of medals. Beside him, the young lady was very elegant dressing in a light-blue evening dress. She was definitely attracting most of the men’s attention at the party.
Lucien looked at the blond man and grinned, “Arthen, you might want to behave in a more mature way, as a member of our Gorse family. The other guests here might think we’re rude when you are yelling.”
“Beaulac, you” The look in Arthen’s eyes changed. What Duda told him was correct. Something had happened to Beaulac, and right now he was showing a completely different attitude to him!
Arthen did not show his thoughts on his face, instead, he still put on a smile, “My dear cousin, nobility comes from our blood. A noble who cannot awaken his blood power is not qualified. Also, you know nothing about art. You don’t know painting, music, piano, or poem. You tell me how you differentiate yourself from those ordinary citizens. After all, many of them at least know how to play a musical instrument!”
When Beaulac was the most promising inheritor of the title, he was busing with reaching out to the other nobles and attending all the parties, so he hardly had any time studying art. And when he lost his edge, he devoted all his time to knight training, but he obtained nothing in the end. Thus, many nobles called Beaulac a savage behind his back.
Lucien was not interested in winning the quarrel. He simply lifted his eyebrow a bit and responded, “He who laughs last laughs best.”
“Oh, really? I’ve heard that you’ve been to the black market very often recently, my dear cousin. I’m sure that you’ve discovered some good stuff there. But I would like to advise you to think about how far you can go with this external help.” Arthen was indicating that he was constantly watching Beaulac.
As he was saying it, Arthen held the young lady’s hand tight in his own, “And the really wise lady, like Jocelyn, always chooses someone like me.”
Jocelyn lowered her flushed face. However, to Lucien, a real wise lady should always rely on herself and her power.
When Lucien was considering how he should respond to this in accordance with Beaulac’s personality, the hall suddenly quieted down. A blond girl dressing in an exquisite white evening dress showed up at the gate. Decorated with sweet laces, the girl was like an elf. She was not very tall, but there was energy in her elegance. Behind her, there was an old lady wearing a black dress.
“It’s my great pleasure to have you here, Princess Sophia.” Deniz walked to her and kissed her hand respectfully.
Somehow, Lucien could always encounter princesses.
Sophia grinned, “Deniz, I’ll only recognize your hospitality if you play for me.”
Deniz giggled with his pinkie up, “Come on, I’m not good at it. There’re so many guests here. We should have a gentleman playing for us.”
Lucien had some uncomfortable feeling in his stomach. When he looked up, he saw that the old lady was looking at him.
The old lady’s eyes slightly squinted. It seemed that she could tell Lucien’s knight power.
“I’d like to play for you, Your Highness.” All of a sudden, Arthen stood out.
The look on Jocelyn’s face became quite gloomy.
As known to all, Princess Sophia was a big piano fan. However, because she was not a knight and she did not have much talent in music, she was not good at playing thepiano at all. At the same time, she was the second-in-line inheritor of the empire and a level five alchemist, thus Princess Sophia also had many pursuers.
Arthen’s proposal surprised Deniz, after all, he was just joking. On the other hand, Sophia just smiled and her green eyes looked at Arthen, “I am looking forward to it, then.”
Feeling encouraged, Arthen walked to the piano in the center of the hall and started playing.
Hearing the song, Lucien could not help rubbing his forehead, as what Arthen was playing was For Silvia.
Soon, Arthen finished his playing. All the nobles started applauding. Although Arthen was not good at music, as a grand knight, it was not hard for him to play a music piece after proper training.
Seeing the beautiful smile on the princess’ face, Arthen stood up wearing a triumphant look. He cast a glance at Beaulac suggesting it again that he was nothing more than a savage.
Lucien spent a few seconds considering how Beaulac would respond to this, and then he also stood out, “Your Highness, can I do an improvisation for you?”
“What?” Both Deniz and Arthen were very surprised.
The surprised look on Sophia’s face only lasted for a second, and then her elegant smile returned, “This is really out of my expectation, Beaulac. I did not expect that you would stand out. But if you can play a beautiful piano piece for me tonight, I would see hope again in my own playing. Are you going to give me some confidence?”
Her voice was soft and gentle. The scent of her body was very charming.
“I will.” Lucien had already fallen in love with someone else, so he was not much influenced by the charismatic princess.
Lucien sat down in front of the piano and put his hands on the keyboard. Then, he pressed down the first key gently.
The impromptu was very beautiful. Deniz opened his mouth big as he could not believe that a savage could play such a beautiful song. Arthen looked very upset. He now believed that Beaulac had found some really useful magic items from the black market.
Lucien soon finished his playing. Sophia smiled and applauded, “Thank you, Beaulac, for giving me the confidence. I never knew that you were this talented in music.”
After bowing slightly, Lucien walked to the princess, “About this, I’ve got a secret to share with you, Your Highness.”
“Oh really? What is that?” Sophia blinked out of curiosity.
“Of course,” said Lucien like a gentleman, “I can only share it with you, Your Highness.”
All of the nobles could tell that Beaulac was trying to stay closer to the princess, but there was nothing they could do to stop him.
Lucien whispered in the princess’ ear, “If you only play the black keys, in other people’s eyes, you will look like an expert as well.”
Sophia burst out laughing. When she laughed, she was as beautiful as a blooming flower. The nobles, including Arthen, were rather jealous.
The black keys could form the pentatonic scale, thus even an improvisation could produce a piece of classic melody.