The emperor gazed at Marcus Lucius challenging. He needed to see the spirit of the fight. He wanted to see a reaction, but he knew that it wouldn’t happen. As long as it wasn’t about the life of the woman that he loved, Marcus Lucius wasn’t extremely tense. He even seemed to be relaxed in a very attentive, not disregardful way. It could be just an impression or an illusion, because Marcus Lucius could react very quickly and precisely. It was like looking at a wild, strong lion that was just laying calmly in the savannah but could attack any moment.
-As you said, you’re the emperor. It’s your decision. – Marcus Lucius answered straight.
-What do you suggest, then, as a soldier to a soldier. What should I do with you as a human being? And as a soldier? What should I do for the empire? – Hadrian sounded serious. As Marcus Lucius didn’t answer straight away, Hadrian added after a couple of minutes. – Please, be honest with me. It’s about your future. It’s about The Senate and the People of Rome, Senātus Populusque Rōmānus.
Hadrian knew that the idea of the great empire, of the great homeland and its rules was very important to Marcus Lucius. If it wasn’t, Marcus Lucius would have behaved differently.
SPQR Senatus Populusque Romanus The Senate and People of Rome