The trial began as soon as the Emperor ordered.
Judge Alpes, originally the main master of this courtroom, but demoted to a court clerk for today, stood up from his seat to give an overview of the case.
“Unfortunately, the purpose of this trial, which is being held in His Majesty’s presence, is to determine whether or not the divorce suit filed by Baroness Amieux against Baron Amieux is appropriate or not.
Baroness Amieux admitted to her infidelity and seeks a divorce on the grounds of the crime.
Her determination will be guaranteed by her witnesses.
Witnesses of Baroness Amieux, Louise Marie de Chastan, include Jacqueline Selen de Limofan, Abbess of the Convent of St.
Regire in Olverran, Jérôme Kleman de Chirac, Abbot of the Abbey of St.
Altamia in the capital Michèle, Pascal Sylvain de Decour, one of the judges of this court, Louis Bastien de Jenoche, district judge in Lemandine, and Baron Dumont, Philip Bertrand de Dumont, her father, and Baron Olvero, Guillaume Maurice de Picato, her maternal uncle.”
Whenever their names were called, the witnesses who appeared in the court stood up and paid their greetings.
Except for witnesses composed of relatives, most of them were either from the central aristocracy or based in territories under the influence of the central aristocracy.
Eugène watched the course of the trial without any expression.
“Yes, Your Honor.”
The wife answered quietly.
“Is it true that you confessed to adultery?”
The clasped hands were now deathly pale.
She answered in a low voice, barely hiding her shame and humiliation.
I committed adultery.”
“Why did the person who committed adultery petition for divorce? Divorce is a great insult and challenge to the sacred marriage guaranteed by the code of law.
Moreover, it is uncommon for the spouse at fault to petition for a divorce.
Could you specify the reason why?”
The judge was questioning her.
Louise, faced with something she had never experienced in her life, responded to the judge, unable to hide her bewilderment.
“Because my conduct was not honorable to my husband.
He deserves a more chaste spouse than me.”
There was no energy in the voice that answered as if it was a tale that even she herself did not believe in.
“Did you know that if a divorce is concluded through a trial, the spouse at fault will be fined?”
I am willing to pay any fine that is imposed on me, and I will deeply reflect and repent for having disturbed the court with my personal affairs and for blasphemy against the sacred code.”
“Did you know that if the spouse at fault is a woman, the dowry paid at the time of marriage will not be returned, moreover, you will have to pay the alimony?”
I will bear it.”
Although it was a voice drenched in shame, she answered steadily.
The determination she showed in the decision to divorce was unwaveringly firm.
Well, if it had been an event worth canceling now, she wouldn’t have created this situation in the first place.
Upon hearing all her answers, the judge turned and looked at Eugène.
He then reported his personal information recorded in the complaint to the court.
“The spouse of Baroness Amieux is Baron Amieux, Eugène Lothair de Chastan.
He has yet to officially state his position, and his witnesses are as follows.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Ccjabif vf Cgubr, Uglfra bo atf Cyyfs bo Va.
Serajmf lc atf mjqlaji Zlmtèif.
Llqqbisaf vf Klwobrrf, j qglfra ogbw atf rjwf jyyfs, Afjc Ktlfggs vf Dbeatljez, j vlraglma pevuf lc atf Ubga bo Kglfggf, Vfyjralfc Ktfbvbgf vf Xbwwf, j gfulbcji pevuf lc atf Ubga bo Ebrrbc, Zjgdelr bo Oj Djliif, Zjgafii Obelr vf Oj Djliif, tlr ecmif-lc-ijk, jcv Zjgdelrf bo Oj Djliif, Dfjaglmf Zjguba vf Oj Djliif, tlr jeca-lc-ijk.”
Despite appearing as a witness against her niece, the Marquise of La Baille did not change her expression.
Rather, it was Louise who was shaken up.
She seemed very surprised to learn that her aunt, who not only helped her debut in court, but also cared for her for years while loving her like a daughter, came to the court as a witness for her husband, and she did not look back even though she was trembling.
“Then let’s hear from Baron Amieux first.
Does Baron Amieux, Eugène Lothair de Chastan, agree to the divorce petitioned by the Baroness?”
Eugène opened his mouth to the judge’s straightforward question.
He knew the trial was a political show, and he didn’t feel quite happy about acting as a puppet.
He, like his wife, hoped the trial would end as soon as possible.
At the overly concise answer, the judge raised his eyebrows as if puzzled, and then looked back at the Emperor.
The Emperor beckoned him to proceed.
“The Great Code stipulates that if a spouse is found to have committed adultery, the punishment can be requested to the court.
In this case, the Baroness confessed to committing adultery directly with her own mouth, so the Baron only has to file a petition.
Depending on the crime, the severity of the punishment varies, but it is decided after considering the spouse’s possible requests.
Will the Baron use the rights guaranteed by the law?”
“No, I will not use it.”
“Do you not want to demand punishment for the crime?”
“No, I don’t.”
Eugène answered bluntly.
Judge Alpes had seen nothing but lengthy arguments and exaggerated tears complaining of injustice while proceeding with the lawsuit, and so, looked at him strangely, as if he was unfamiliar with Eugène’s plain-spoken attitude.
“As you may be aware, in the event of a divorce, the spouse at fault must pay alimony to the other spouse.
A woman can claim her husband’s property separately from the dowry she brought, and a man can claim alimony from the wife’s family along with not having to return the dowry.
How much alimony does Baron Amieux want?”
“I don’t want any.”
At the unexpected answer, the judge asked in perplexity.
“I said I don’t want any.
There is no need for alimony.
I will also return the dowry.”
“Why are you making such a decision, Baron?”
The judge went beyond the level of comprehension and looked at Eugène with the gaze of a madman.
But Eugène did not give up on his assertion.
“I’m at fault for this as well.
Unlike other husbands, I have never been by her side ever since we got married.
It is natural for a young and beautiful woman to long for love.
As for adultery, I myself am not innocent, so I have no intention of reproaching her.”
The judge raised his eyebrows as if he was hearing all the nonsense there was.
Eugène was speaking from the bottom of his heart, but no one took his words seriously.
They looked at Eugène with such eyes as if he were a strange animal.
The courtroom was filled with strange silence for a moment.
“That is not true.”
Breaking the uncomfortable silence, the Emperor, who had kept his mouth shut after the initial warning, opened his mouth heavily.
Eugène looked up at the Emperor.
“You were not separated from your wife for typical reasons, Baron Amieux.
You’re a soldier, and the last five years have been wartime.
It was to protect your honor as a nobleman that you went to the battlefield and fought for your country.
And, as you had done, the Baroness was obliged to uphold her honor as a noblewoman.
However, not only did she break that oath and commit adultery, but she also filed for divorce with a sinful body, tarnishing the noble name that the Baron had risked his life for.
What soldier would do his duty if such a sin was covered up under the guise of naivety?”
The Emperor harshly and indirectly rebuked Prince Merrick in the audience with a sharp expression in Eugène’s defense before turning his gaze and looking down at him.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
“I am well aware that you feel sorry for your wife.
However, it is dangerous to ignore the virtues of the nobility demanded by the law.
The Emperor’s chide ended like that.
In principle, the Emperor’s words were not wrong.
It was impossible to take a different attitude from the standpoint of commanding the entire army and governing the country through the military.
However, it was also the Emperor who made him and his wife a spectacle in court.
Eugène burst into laughter inwardly at the absurd reality.
He might as well have burst out laughing out loud if he could.
“Yes, Your Majesty.
I will keep that in mind.”
However, just as he did in the study, he did not express his true feelings.
Eugène respectfully accepted the Emperor’s words.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
Louise trembled as she answered the Emperor, and then lowered her gaze.
“As I just said, you failed to protect the most precious things that you should have as a noblewoman.
Not only that, but you also made a mockery of your husband by defiling his name.
Do you admit the crime?”
“I admit it, Your Majesty.”
“Will you continue to ask for a divorce?”
She was unable to open her mouth for quite a while as if frozen.
“Are you going to make me ask the same question twice? Answer, Baroness.
Will you continue to ask for a divorce?”
“… I will ask for it, Your Majesty.
I will ask for it.”
The Baroness almost passing out at the Emperor’s interrogation, took a deep breath.
The Emperor looked at the Baroness without saying a word.
It was an emotionless gaze that revealed nothing, but the gaze terrified the Baroness to death.
The sight of the slender lady trembling was pathetic, but the Emperor did not bat an eye even after driving the Baroness to such a state.
“Then I shall punish you.”
A strict gaze was directed forward.
Twelve witnesses and a few spectators stood up from their seats.
“Originally, marriage is a sacred union guaranteed by Lex Ardica and blessed by God.
It is a crime to blaspheme not only the code of law but also the burden of protecting the code as a noble by breaking this union.
But marriage is the way of life before it is an oath.
To force the continuity of an unwanted marriage is also an act of blaspheming the sanctity of marriage.
The ruling was decided on that account.
Baroness Amieux had committed a crime and a sin but admitted it herself.
Baron Amieux then agreed to divorce without any conditions.
As such, since the will of the husband and wife are the same, the requested divorce will be granted.”
The conclusion that had already been reached even before the trial began was announced.
The nervous wife managed to raise her trembling body and let out a breath of relief.
Eugène silently listened to the verdict with his head low.
“The spouse at fault, Baroness Amieux, has to pay the full cost of the divorce trial and the divorce fine.
According to the provisions of the code, the fine is 15,000 dinars and must be paid in full within two years at the latest.
Fortunately, your husband, Baron Amieux, will not claim alimony, so it will not be difficult to pay the fine.”
Contrary to the Emperor’s words, the fine imposed on his wife was terribly grave.
15,000 dinars was an amount that exceeded the annual income of any great aristocrat.
For Baron Dumont, who was only a low-ranking aristocrat with a small local estate, it was such an amount that even if he were to sell all of his property, including the estate, it would still not be enough.
Baron Dumont let out a long sigh with a heavy expression on his face.
“Once the divorce has been established, Baron Amieux should be charged for the related paperwork.
However, this case is related to the present imperial family, and the entire cost shall indemnify the Baron for the one-sided damage caused by the fault of the Emperor’s kin.
In addition, considering that an unmarried person cannot serve as a soldier under the military law, the long-term leave will be paid, so Baron Amieux does not have to return to the military until remarried.
It just so happens that the court’s social season has begun, so the timing is appropriate.
I’ll see you at the palace, Baron Amieux.
There is a lady of an esteemed family whom I would personally like to introduce you to.”
The initial words were that of a strict judge, but the ending was friendly as if he were speaking to a close friend.
The sentence itself, which indemnified the cost of the paperwork, was shocking, but what was more surprising were the two special favors that the Emperor added.
It was surprising not only to the audience but also to Eugène.
He couldn’t hide his embarrassment and looked at the Emperor.
Golden eyes, which were slightly squinting due to the smile, stared at Eugène as if they were anticipating something.
Didn’t I tell you, Baron? The Emperor never goes back on his word.
The smiling eyes seemed to whisper to Eugène.
It was hard for Eugène to guess what the Emperor meant.
While it was nice that he kept his word, Eugène had never wished for such a public favor.
For the Emperor to publicly refer to him in this way was tantamount to bringing him out of the dark and into a very bright place.
Just as the Emperor’s promise was not simply a promise, the Emperor’s favor could not merely be a favor.
An ominous premonition crept upon him that perhaps this wasn’t the end of everything, but that, this was just beginning.
T/N: okay i feel like i should address this so here goes; i don’t have an editor/proofreader working on this alongside me since this novel’s updated 3x a week and it’s very hard to find someone who matches my time zone so grammar mistakes and typos are inevitable, for which i would like to apologize in advance :[ plus i’m a student running on low sleep whilst working on this so that may be one of the reasons too lol anw thank you so muchh for reading and also for the comments <3 they make my day hehe p.s. this chapter marks the end of the first arc, so that’s 2 more arcs to go until things start taking a turn in that direction ;]
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