Right after the dinner had ended, Ludwig and Sebastiano had gone to the balcony to discuss. Ludwig wanted to try to make Sebastiano a bit less tensed, but he didn’t really succeed in that. What Ludwig understood, was that Sebastiano was afraid of his older brother Horace. Ludwig didn’t know Horace very well. He only knew the macho outside, but was that indicative of Horace’s stance towards homosexuality? One of Ludwig’s brothers would probably joke that Sebastiano’s homosexuality would be a very good occasion to lift all the laws against homosexuality in Talemantros. Ludwig himself could have made that remark as well, but he knew that Sebastiano would not value it at this moment. Ludwig and Sebastiano were still discussing when the Danish prince Christian passed through the balcony doors. They had witnessed the complete scene between the Danish prince and the Potenzan countess and had remained silent during that. When Christian and Francesca left the balcony, Ludwig and Sebastiano began to talk again. “That’s going to be a night for them,” Ludwig commented. “Indeed,” Sebastiano said. “What will the people think if we suddenly enter the room from the balcony? Especially what will Horace think?” “We’ll just enter the room when nobody is watching,” Ludwig said. “But there is one thing I am asking myself. I hardly know Horace, but to what extent do you know him? To what extent do you know what he really thinks behind that macho façade?” Sebastiano remained silent. Ludwig himself was also doubting about the future. He had seen quite some strange actions from Sebastiano’s grandfather, the Emperor of Talemantros. And also some strange trains of thought from that same person. Ludwig had a diplomatic passport, but how much would that be worth if he would be caught napping with Sebastiano in Talemantros? The increasing Kievan influence in Talemantros would not make it easier for gays over there, either. Ludwig seriously doubted if he would dare to visit Sebastiano in Talemaniki, even given the fact that he had already done so during the summer holidays, which Sebastiano had always spent with his family. The police in Talemantros was probably something else than the empty‑headed skinheads he sometimes fought against in Eiffelland. In any case, the situation with Sebastiano’s family began to become a strain to their relationship. They had their first serious quarrel over the war between Talemantros and Altai. That quarrel had more or less settled, but had also dragged the two guys’ future after the school exams into the spotlight. Both guys would have to serve, and Sebastiano would have to return to a country where homosexuality was prohibited and a family that did everything to keep his homosexuality a secret to the Talemantine. “Sebastiano, after the school exams, you will return to a country that has laws against you and a family that rejects you. At least that part of you that determines who you are to a very large extent. According to me, that is the reason why you are afraid of your brother,” Ludwig said. Sebastiano remained silent. “Why don’t you try to convince your grandfather to let you study in Eiffelland? It will give you five more years,” Ludwig said. Because Ludwig and Sebastiano were talking to each other at the balcony, they completely missed the Corsican King’s entrance. But that entrance was impossible to miss for anyone in the ballroom. Also the Eiffellandian crown‑prince Friedrich saw what was happening. He had to grin a bit about how prince Christian wanted to say that he was Prince Christian from Danmark but actually said that he was the Christian prince of Danmark, as if all the other Danish princes were pagans, Muslims, Jews or atheists. Also Friedrich was annoyed about the way the Corsican king had entered the party, but he would never show that. The fact that the Eiffellandian royals could perfectly hide their feelings was helpful again. “Come Laura,” crown-prince Friedrich said to his wife, “let’s help Sweyn out.” And the two went to King Jean‑Pierre of Corsica. They were introduced by the Danish crown‑prince Sweyn. “Bon soir, votre majesté. Aussi au nom de ma femme, je peux vous dire que nous sommes très enchantés de vous rencontrer ici,” Friedrich said when he was introduced. He spoke French fluently, and only people whose mother tongue was French could hear that Friedrich’s mother tongue was not French. OOC: Translation: Bon soir, votre majesté. Aussi au nom de ma femme, je peux vous dire que nous sommes très enchantés de vous rencontrer ici = Good evening, your majesty. Also on behalf of my wife, I can say that we are very pleased to meet you here.