August 15, 1823.

It was Napoleon Bonaparte's birthday, and the scene was quite different from the usual formalities of the imperial court. His children, both sons and daughters, gathered around him, singing "Happy Birthday" with enthusiasm. The mood was light and cheerful, more akin to a family gathering than a stately celebration.

Napoleon appeared visibly relaxed and pleased. Surrounded by his family, there was a noticeable softening of his usually stern demeanor. The room, set up for the occasion, was not overly decorated, maintaining a simplicity that allowed the focus to remain on the familial interactions.magic

"This must be my last birthday," Napoleon said wearily.

When Napoleon said that to his children, they immediately wore a somber expression. They had been aware of their father's declining health, but hearing him voice it so bluntly brought a sense of reality to the situation.

Francis quickly tried to lighten the mood, saying, "Come now, father, let's not think of such things today."

There was a collective effort from the children to steer the conversation towards more positive topics, showing their concern and affection for their father.


Napoleon, noticing their discomfort, attempted to reassure them with a small smile. "I appreciate your spirits," he said, trying to inject a bit of optimism into the atmosphere. "Let's enjoy the day as it is."

The children nodded, and gradually, the mood in the room lifted again, albeit with an underlying sense of melancholy. Meanwhile, Ciela was silent since

the conversation shifted, her expression thoughtful and somewhat distant. Earlier, she had been nodding along to the tune of the music, but now she seemed lost in her own thoughts.

Napoleon, observant as ever, noticed Ciela's silence. "Ciela, you've been quiet," he remarked gently, reaching for her hand. "Is there something on your mind?"

"It's because of what you said earlier…" Ciela pouted. "It reminds me of the inevitability of things changing."Napoleon squeezed her hand gently, acknowledging her feelings. "I'm sorry. You know what, let's just enjoy this evening," he suggested with a comforting tone. "Today is about celebration, not worry."

Ciela nodded, managing a small smile. This seemed to put her at ease, and slowly she rejoined the conversation. The rest of the family followed suit, making a conscious effort to keep the atmosphere light and celebratory.


lightsΝοvel As the evening wore on, the family engaged in various activities. They played some simple parlor games that brought laughter and a sense of togetherness. Even Napoleon participated, his involvement adding to the cheerfulness of the occasion.

The children took turns sharing their recent experiences and future plans. Napoleon listened intently, offering advice and encouragement. It was clear he took great interest in their lives and aspirations.

Eventually, the gathering came to a close. Napoleon expressed his gratitude for the time spent together, remarking on how proud he was of his family. The children, in turn, thanked him for the evening and expressed their love and respect.

The months flew by and Napoleon's stomach cancer was getting worse. He could barely eat without feeling intense pain, and his once robust frame had become frail and weak. Despite the best efforts of his physicians, the cancer was relentless, leaving him in constant discomfort.

One particularly difficult night, Napoleon's pain became unbearable. Alone in his room, away from the eyes of his family and the court, he resorted to biting down on a pillow to muffle his groans of agony. The once mighty Emperor, who had commanded armies and shaped the fate of nations, now lay in his bed, battling an enemy he couldn't conquer.

The Imperial Doctor, Dr. Antommarchi, was summoned urgently. Upon arrival, the doctor administered what little pain relief was available at the time, but the options were limited and their effectiveness was waning as Napoleon's condition worsened.

November 5th, 1823.

Napoleon arranged a meeting with Francis, his successor to the throne.lights

"Father, I have come here as soon as I was informed. How can I help you?"

"Francis, do you remember the time when I summoned you but later rescinded it?"

"I do remember, it was when Tristan and I were talking about the state of the Empire. It was a depressing moment but I was eager to know why you called me that time only to cancel it."

"That's because I thought it was not the time. I still have the energy to do more," Napoleon said as he rose slowly to his feet.

With a cane in his hand, Napoleon glanced at Francis. "Follow me, I'll show you something."

Napoleon, leaning heavily on his cane, led Francis through the opulent corridors of the Palace of Versailles. They moved away from the well-trodden paths, towards a secluded area of the palace. Francis, who thought he knew every nook and cranny of Versailles, looked around in surprise.

They arrived at a nondescript door, which Napoleon opened with a key he carried with him. Behind the door lay a dimly lit hallway, its design markedly different from the rest of the palace.

"This is amazing," Francis exclaimed, his voice echoing slightly in the hallway. "I've explored Versailles a lot, but I never knew this existed."

Napoleon chuckled, a faint sound that betrayed his weakness. "This place is known only to me and a few confidants. It's where I've kept some of the most important and sensitive items of the empire."

They continued down the hallway, which eventually led to a large vault door. Napoleon opened it, revealing a room filled with bookshelves that had boxes in them, containing a plethora of documents.

"I'm an inventor, Francis, and this vault is where you'll find blueprints to a technology that I haven't introduced," Napoleon said. "This is what made the French Empire strong, through modern technology. This is the only thing that's keeping us ahead of our enemies. This is where you'll find technologies that may be beneficial to the empire if introduced. The reason why I'm sharing this with you is because you are going to protect and continue developing them for the Empire's future," Napoleon explained, gesturing towards the shelves lined with documents and various models of machinery.

Francis, taken aback by the revelation, walked slowly through the vault, examining the items with a mix of curiosity and awe. He saw designs and concepts that were far ahead of their time, ranging from advanced military weaponry to infrastructure innovations.

"Father, this is incredible," Francis said, looking over a blueprint of what appeared to be a gas turbine engine for ship propulsion.

"There's a lot more interesting designs, though I may not have the chance to see them all but you may. Ahh, this is making me sad. Well, at least I manage to build some things I want before leaving this world."

"Father—" Francis called softly. "Please, stop that."

"I feel very weak now, Francis. And any moment now I might die. I have been constantly reminding you of that."

"I know but…"

Napoleon placed a hand over his shoulder. "You are going to be greater than me, Francis."

"I could never, father. I could never be your equal."

"You don't know that," Napoleon said. "Okay, let's return now."