The ball slowly ended as the attendees all had fun...
At least, that's what it looks like on the surface.
The dignitaries will probably come up with their own measures after Kate announced Sylph engagement with Wu Yan.
They assumed the engagement was only a front to gain the allegiance of Yukari, Ikaros, Flan, and his other girls. Wu Yan & co had the potential and power to topple the power balance in this world.
The ball ended. But, the one who mysteriously became the protagonist of this ball stayed behind. Wu Yan stayed not because Kate asked him to, instead, he had a ton of questions for the emperor.
In a room much simpler than the ballroom, Kate sat on his seat with Sylph who wore her usual blue magician robe. Wu Yan, Hinagiku, Kotori, and Kurumi stared at the representatives of the imperial family. They stared at each other for dozens of seconds.
Kate nonchalantly drank his tea. He smiled at Sylph who poured more tea for him. Then, he glanced over to see Wu Yan & co who are still staring at him without saying anything. He shook his head and he placed his cup down.
"Look, I know you have a lot of questions..."
Kate lowered his head with a sigh.
"Come, ask away, I will do my best to answer your questions!"
Wu Yan lowered his head. Hinagiku and Kotori exchanged a few looks with him. The two girls nodded, gesturing for him to represent their group.
"Alright, I won't beat around the bush."
Wu Yan pursed his lips. He looked at Sylph and he addressed the emperor.
"Your majesty, why? Why did you announce the engagement between Sylph and I?"
Kate teased him.
"You sure shoot straight, I will give you that. What? Is Sylph not to your liking?..."
Wu Yan scratched his cheek.
"She's attractive but I never thought about her that way. Like I said, we never really talked much..."
"That isn't an issue!"
"Do you think political marriages take the consent and feelings of the parties involved into thought? If this was another faction, they would all say yes and then investigate if this would earn more favors for their clans, right?"
Sylph is quite a looker, she had power and she's also the beloved daughter of the emperor. Her appearance, talent, and background were all ten out of ten. Another shmuck would be in heaven when someone like Sylph becomes their fiancee.
However, Wu Yan isn't included.
For one, his girls were all pretty in their own ways. They are all very important partners he summoned out of 2D universes. Compared to Sylph, they were way better. They are all as strong if not stronger than Sylph too. As for background, well, if he wanted to, he can build a solid foundation up with the help of System and their abilities, maybe not to the extent of an empire, but, he's sure he can at least make a kingdom.
When Kate talked about pros, Wu Yan saw only 0 utility no matter how Kate tried to sell him on the idea.
"Indeed, you're right, there are almost no males who can turn a deal as sweet as this down..."
Wu Yan shrugged.
"Almost, anyway, she's great and all but you didn't answer my question, why did you draw me into this engagement?"
"Come, why would you say that?"
Kate calmly said.
"You of all people should know how all the factions wanted to earn your favor. Using an engagement is just a reasonable course of action, isn't that so?"
Wu Yan & co were at least tier 8 in strength. Flan and Ikaros are at tier 9 and although she's usually hard to track, Yakumo the demigod is also known to be on good terms with them. An elite force like this would greatly bolster the military power of any faction they join, right?
More importantly, they were young. None of the looked a day older than 25 years old (Author note: Ikaros, Astrea, and Flan are assumed to be humans). They had great chances of reaching tier 9 at this rate. Ikaros and Flan are also very likely to achieve demigod level power.
Any faction would pay a great price to recruit them.
"Yeah, I still don't think you would use an engagement for something like that."
Wu Yan stared straight down Kate's barrels.
"I might not know Princess Sylph, however, I know she's someone who wouldn't say yes to a meaningless and loveless marriage, and, if she said no..."
"Your majesty, surely you didn't force her into this, right?..."
"Of course not!"
Kate yelled without hesitation. Once he noticed his rude behavior, he reined in himself. Wu Yan & co had puzzled looks so he quickly recovered and he drank his tea.
"If Sylph said no, I wouldn't resort to forcing her, no way."
Wu Yan went silent. Sylph's icy expression thawed slightly. She looked at Kate with more respect.
Kotori spoke up before the mood can go silent again.
"Then, enlighten us, it sounds to me like Princess Sylph wanted this, did she suggest this idea?"
Wu Yan, Kate, and the other girls had looks of shock. Wu Yan had a look of disbelief while Kate looked at Kotori like she's a bright student who just got the correct answer. The girls looked at Sylph, they raised their guards against her even while the person herself stayed still with an expressionless look.
"Not bad, little girl, you are witty..."
Kotori wasn't exactly pleased Kate called her a little girl, but, she decided to focus on the issue at hand.
"Then, it's time you tell us the truth, right?"
Kotori's tone isn't one to be used with royalty. The air became colder as Kate and Sylph looked at Wu Yan & co. Kate caved in first.
Kate looked at Wu Yan and he looked at his hand.
"May I take a look at that ring?"
Wu Yan & co were confused for a second. They looked at Wu Yan's hand.
He wore a simple-looking white ring.
It was the ring they got from the treasure hunting trip last time, the ring inscribed with the characters for Authority.
Wu Yan recalled how Sylph reacted abnormally to his ring. After that, she started treating him differently whereas she treated him like a total stranger before that.
The ring is the cause of this?
Kate and Sylph were obviously focused on his ring. He narrowed his eyes.
Judging by their interest and the price they are willing to pay, it seems like he's involved in a giant plot.
Wu Yan recalled how he got his hands on the three rings, including this Ring of Authority. The box sealing the rings had engravings on it.
Wealth greater than all the gold in the world, Authority greater than anyone in the world, Power greater than anyone can imagine.