The legendary Byzantine Emperor was having his lunch when they arrived.
After entering a sphere-shaped building, they waited in the hall until Shaar was permitted entrance by the messenger.
Two solemn-looking servants pushed the bronze door carefully and Shaar walked into the dining hall.
Shaar scanned the dining hall roughly and figured it could accommodate hundreds of people but there was only one table in here.
The fire in the fireplace was burning strongly with a soft bearskin spread across the floor. Even the fence around the fireplace was made of gold.
Emperor Kontos sat by the table with a napkin around his neck. He was holding a silver knife and when Shaar walked in, he was cutting a bloody steak open. Blood even spurted on his white napkin.
The room was extremely quiet. The Emperor didn’t look up, continuing to enjoy his meal instead. A middle-aged man was standing behind him but the man quickly hid within the shadows.
In fact, before laying eyes on him, Shaar didn’t even realise his existence. Even when he saw the man, Shaar had a false impression that he was really a shadow and not a living being. There was no sign of vitality in him.
His appearance was ordinary with an ordinary outfit. With his head down, his arms were dropped to the side and even the look in his half-opened eyes was dull and lifeless.
It was an odd feeling but the impression he gave to Shaar was much stronger than the Emperor.
Shaar snuck a glance at the Emperor. He was old with a face full of wrinkles. Although his figure seemed burly, he was shockingly skinny like an old lion that had lived past its glorious years. His bones were wide but the silk robe on him seemed to be hanging off a rack instead of a person.
Kontos paid no attention to Shaar, patiently cutting a piece of bloody beef and putting it into his mouth. He savoured the fresh and bloody taste of meat before letting out a contented sigh.
He had always liked to eat meat like this. It was a habit he grew during his days in the army. Although the physicians advised him that it would do no good for his health, he still stuck to the habit.
After sucking on the taste of blood for some time, Emperor Kontos finally looked up at the young man standing in front of him.
An unreadable smile appeared on his face when he realised that Shaar wasn’t kneeling. Shaar didn’t look terrified or anxious. On the contrary, he seemed to be more attracted by the golden candlestick.
“Do you like it?” The Emperor spoke.
“Uh…what?” Shaar was startled.
“This candlestick, you’ve been looking at it.” Emperor Kontos tossed the knife away and picked up a silver wine goblet. He drank a sip of the wine and the lingering drop of wine by his lips resembled blood.
Shaar felt awkward and he smiled out of embarrassment, not daring to look at the candlestick anymore. But he was sighing internally. Damn, that’s a huge candlestick…it must weigh a few pounds. I wonder if it’s made out of pure gold…
“You can take it when you leave. Think of it as a bestowment from me.” The Emperor put down his wine goblet and took off the napkin.
“Uh…ah?” Shaar was thrilled. A look of joy appeared on his face, “Are you really giving it to me?”
Kontos laughed. He was starting to take a liking to this impetuous guy. At least, someone as innocent as him would be easy to control.
Innocent…If Ruhr or Tatara heard his thoughts, they would’ve knocked their heads against the wall.
Kontos wiped the smile off his face and put up a solemn expression, “So you're Shaar Thunder.”
“That’s me!” Shaar puffed up his chest.
“You don’t seem to be very respectful towards me.” Kontos’ gaze was slightly mocking.
“Uh…” The hillbilly contemplated and answered the Emperor with something he had never thought of before. He shouldn’t talk to the Emperor like this but the Emperor didn’t seem like a difficult person.
“That’s because I’m not from Byzantine.”
In other words, he wasn’t one of your people so he didn’t have to be respectful.
Kontos was startled but he recovered with a laugh. He looked at Shaar and nodded, “That’s true, I looked at your papers. You grew up in Primal Wildfire and you joined our army temporarily before the war started. Mmh…but from now on, you’re part of us now.”
Shaar didn’t answer, staring at the Emperor instead.
“I’ve heard about your performance on the battlefield. It seemed kind of exaggerated but I think you deserved it. Plus, you injured Hastings.”
The Emperor’s pupils constricted at the mention of Hastings. A hint of fierceness was heard in his tone.
“I got lucky with a sneak attack,” Shaar was honest. He had a feeling that the Emperor would prefer to heat the truth, “Hastings is far stronger than me, I was no match for him. If it was an actual duel, he could’ve killed me easily. I managed to injure him because it was unexpected. Besides, he wasn’t badly injured.”
Under the Emperor’s request, Shaar had to narrate the whole incident from when he challenged Hastings by posing as Bonfret, how he kidnapped Bonfret to the battlefield, how he made Bonfret attract Hasting’s attention and how he launched a sneak attack on Hastings from the side.
Throughout the narration, Shaar shaped himself as a vulgar person. When he got excited, he started spouting profanities continuously. Shaar didn’t even bother to mind his manners.
Shaar wasn’t a fool, he was doing it on purpose!
Even though he wasn’t very scheming, Shaar could sense the Emperor’s change in attitude! When he spouted the first profanity, the Emperor raised his eyebrows and his eyes seemed to crinkle too.
In the end, when Shaar cursed Bonfret, a look of joy even appeared on the Emperor’s face.
Shaar couldn’t have missed it.
He purposely exaggerated the part where he punished Bonfret and when it came to the part where he injured Hastings, he made it as brief as possible.
When Shaar was finally done, Emperor Kontos’ gaze was filled with joy.
The Emperor liked him slightly when he first saw Shaar but now that he was done telling the story, Kontos liked him even more now.
The profanity he directed towards Bonfret pleased the Emperor greatly and when Shaar talked about Hastings briefly, it gave Kontos a false impression that Shaar was an honest man who did not claim credit for himself.
Along with being innocent, the Emperor gave hillbilly another praise, loyal and honest.
(A loyal and honest hillbilly? Ruhr and Tatara would’ve complained about it.)
Courageous, innocent, loyal and honest…which Emperor wouldn’t like a warrior like him??
Emperor Kontos was in a great mood that he even asked Shaar some personal questions, such as his life as a hunter in Primal Wildfire, ways of hunting and killing beasts. Shaar deciphered the Emperor’s expression and shaped himself as a silly reckless man, purposely speaking about his embarrassing moments in the wild and the times when he went all out to get himself out of danger.
Kontos himself didn’t realise that he was smiling more frequently than the last ten days combined.
At the same time, the Lance Lord was getting more and more of a favourable impression on the hillbilly.