Masterpiece - Chapter 4
Nevertheless, he swallowed a sigh of relief, thinking that it was a blessing he wasn’t on his rut cycle right now.
The attendant and the knight accompanying the artist entered the hall without any trouble.
‘Are they betas, or perhaps omegas who have taken suppressants? Or maybe they’re fellow alphas who had somehow been recognized for their talents like me.’
Omegas were under the protection of either the state or their employer. With regard to an aristocrat’s estate, the governing body would have been the one to refer their names to a magnificent mansion such as this.
The population of ‘omegas’ was a small one in this world, and as they had the ability to conceive and bear offspring without any difficulties, they deserved such high, special treatment.
While driven by their procreative instincts, alphas often harassed and even killed omegas. So, in the eyes of the country, how could the alphas’ social reputation ever improve?
It was only natural for alphas to be at the bottom of society.
As he followed the two ahead of him and pondered these thoughts, they reached a fork in the stairs. This time, the stairs split into different directions. Couven placed his foot on the path leading to the back left.
As they moved further away from the hallway, where the two had gone earlier, the scent of omegas grew fainter. The alpha was able to breathe comfortably again. Finally, he had the leisure to explore the interior of the mansion with his eyes.
The corridor was softly carpeted in shades of purple, and the chandeliers that hung from the ceiling radiated brilliant light.
The walls were decorated with patterns inspired by nature, and the golden embellishments adorned them. The sunlight pouring like a waterfall through the tall windows created a stone bridge-like effect.
Somewhere, somehow, he felt a sense of discrepancy. There were occasional landscapes and sculptures, but curiously, there were no portraits of the members of this noble household. The only thing he managed to find was a series of ancestral portraits hung in the central hallway.
Even the grand, ornate ceiling that was hollow and without any paintings seemed dull.
The nobility often indulged in luxury and vanity, but how could it feel so empty? It felt like they were striving for the beauty of emptiness, even at the pinnacle of grandeur.
He hadn’t imagined that there would be so little in the mansion, especially since the duke had mentioned in his letter the need to fill the empty spaces with paintings and family portraits.
Calculating the cost of the paintings in his mind, Couven bent and flexed his fingers and toes. If he could properly negotiate the prices for the portraits and ceiling frescoes, he might be able to make a small fortune from this mansion.
Navigating through the maze-like mansion effortlessly, the attendant suddenly stopped at a certain door. He straightened his attire, cleared his throat, and adjusted his collar before proceeding.
“Your Grace, I’ve brought the artist.”
At the command coming from inside, the knight opened the door.
They had arrived at the duke’s office.
The attendant gestured to the artist to go in first. He followed behind Couven, and the knight stood guard, closing the door.
In the vast office, the first thing that caught Couven’s attention was the window. The thick, intricately designed window panes were solid and imposing. And at the center of the study, a meticulously organized desk held various documents.
Sitting at the desk, leafing through some documents, was the Duke of Quixote.
Although there were guest tables and chesterfield sofas in one corner, it didn’t seem like he intended to entertain guests here. Drawing this conclusion, Couven approached the man.
The duke finally sensed his presence now that someone had entered, and with an air of nonchalance, he closed the documents. Duke Quixote focused his attention on the artist only after he had carefully intertwined all ten fingers together.
The nobleman, his lips tightly sealed, observed Couven with a gaze slightly tinged with disdain. Since it appeared that the nobleman had no intention of greeting first, Couven placed his left palm over his right chest in a formal gesture.
“I am Couven Wyeth, an artist.”
“Pleasure to meet you. I am Alevi Quixote, the household head of the Quixote Duchy.”
After those brief introductions, the nobleman fell silent once more, his lips sealed, seemingly wondering why Couven had been summoned and what this whole affair was actually about.
Suppressing a sigh that was about to escape, the artist continued.
“I have received Your Grace’s letter. You mentioned that you would like to commission some artwork, and that is why I’m here at the Quixote manor today. You kindly sent a carriage for me this morning as well.”
“Ah, yes, I did. Will you accept the commission, then?”
When Couven received the letter yesterday, he had his doubts about its authenticity. However, he didn’t hold any negative preconceptions towards the person who referred to himself as ‘Duke Quixote’.
Regardless of the sender’s status, he had written with a polite tone in their letter, which indicated a sense of respect.
However, to switch to informal language immediately after the initial greeting was rather surprising. Did the nobleman feel entitled to take the lead because he had requested the commission? Couven couldn’t be sure if he was able to school his features correctly.
If the other party intended to be impolite, then perhaps Couven should respond with equal boldness. That was the only thought that crossed his mind.
“I will first listen to the details regarding the scale, quantity, types of artworks, and the expected compensation. Only after that will I make my decision.”
¹ Rut cycle – An alpha’s mating season. It is a period wherein an alpha’s pheromones are amplified while they feel a deep sexual desire for omegas. It is possible to control the rut cycle with one’s own rational mind, but once exposed to the pheromones of an omega during this period, the alpha is more likely than not to lose one’s rationality and pounce. ↩
² Chesterfield – A sofa that is finished with leather and embedded, pressed down buttons following a certain pattern. The armrests are at the same height as the backrest. ↩
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