Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
In the front hall of the viceroy’s mansion, King Fischer’s handwritten will was passed and read among the civil servants.
Since the start of the Luhrmann rebellion, only the House of Kheda was still resisting. Therefore, little by little, the empire’s civil officials who were still loyal to the royal family fled and gathered in Dark City and Darkmoon. They were numbered nearly 50 till today.
Although most of them were not from renowned noble houses, nor were they supercrats who had much power, they were not to be looked down upon. All of them have been deputy directors of the empire’s main ministries, they knew how to administer and most of them were even better than their head directors. Basically, the ministry directors’ main job was socialization rather than administering or book-keeping that were mostly carried by their deputies.
Literally speaking, without these deputies, the empire machine will malfunction. Luhrmann made a huge mistake when he chose to just win over the head directors.
Viceroy Visual Kheda sat quietly behind a desk drinking water one sip at a time while Flynn Rhonda remained standing silently behind him. Both of them were humping their brains to come up with a speech later for the remaining officials. These people were not very friendly to Cohen.
Then finally, as everybody has read the king’s will, the piece of cloth was back in Visual Kheda’s hand.
“What are your opinions?” Visual Kheda spread the cloth onto the desktop, “During such a time of crisis if you do not oppose, we shall carry it out accordingly.”
No one said a word. No one dared to oppose it because it was King Fischer’s dying order, but they doubted if they could trust an abominable rascal viceroy. What kind of hell would he lead the last people loyal to the empire to?
Likewise, Flynn Rhona was anxiously hoping the impeding arguement to start and finish sooner because with the more men serve the empire, the higher chance they can win. If these officials can speak out their different opinions, she will be able to find a way to win them over; but if they chose to bury the doubt and take the grudge into their daily duties, the future will be even more uncertain.
As for Visual Kheda, he thought the silent atmosphere has become more severe and unbearable rather than unchanged. Before today, he was still working closely with these people; but now, their standings have opposed due to the pass of the king.
“What can I do? It’s Fischer’s will. I have already failed Climos, I cannot fail his son.” Visual Kheda thought. Finally, the hand that has been holding his forehead rested on the desk, “Whatever they think, let me keep the royal clique from falling apart.”
As Visual Kheda was prepared to speak, a eunuch, looking all panic, ran by the door, “Lord Visual, Viceroy Cohen fainted after hearing the king’s letter, he puked blood!”
“WHAT?” Visual was stunned, he talked, “Flynn, go now. I’ll be right with you.”
Flynn left before Master Lorenzo approached and asked, “Lord Visual, you should go to your son. Sounds like he is suffering.”
Visual Kheda looked at Lorenzo, for a time, he was puzzled by this bad-tempered man’s plan.
“I advise you to go.” Lorenzo approached a bit more, he forced a smile then whispered, “No matter what, we can’t lose him either.”
“Well, then, I’ll let you handle this place.” Visual Kheda vaguely caught Lorenzo’s idea, he nodded and exited the front hall.
Once Visual Kheda was absent, small discussions quickly mounted amongst the civil officials who still remained.
As they watched with confusion, Master Lorenzo stepped by the table where Visual Kheda had been sitting behind. He kept his back to the officials for quite a while before he turned to face them.
“I assume you all know me, yes?” Lorenzo’s arms supported his upper body by the edge of the table, his much-aged body was shivering, “Servants of Swabia?”
“Master Lorenzo…” A voice said, “What did you mean by that? You’re our mentor!”
Lorenzo raised a hand to halt the noisy discussion.
“My name is Steve Lorenzo. Since the age of 36, I’ve been the master of Divine City’s Royal Academy. Now, 20 years have passed. I was a very different person back then, more stubborn than this day. I was not from a noble house by birth, therefore the early days in DC were harsh. I was constantly faced with harassment, difficulties, and exclusion from colleagues. But still, King Climos Summers, being a young emperor, held up to his ground despite all the objections, insisted on making me master of the academy.” Lorenzo continued, “It was a morning when His Majesty summoned me to the royal garden. He said ‘Steve Lorenzo, a unanimous voice itself within the empire is naturally not normal. That is why I need a firm man like you. I believe men under your influence will be as firm and as stubborn of their belief as their mentor’. Therefore, even though I was not liked by everybody, I took the job, became the master and the principal mentor of Swabia at the age of 36…”
“Since then, not a single day goes by that I remind myself I am the MENTOR of Swabia. I hold the duty to educate promising people for the king, for the empire!” Lorenzo suddenly thumped on the desk, he raised his voice, “YOU, ALL OF YOU, do you remember your vows at your graduation?”
“Aye!” Dozens of voices replied, “Loyal to the Race Supreme, to the empire, to royalty, I offer my life!”
“Very well. I am glad I haven’t failed. King Climos has not failed.” Lorenzo welled his eyes, “At least you all remember the vow and have been carrying it out. At least you’ve gathered here from DC where the rebels are standing. You keep doing what you’ve vowed, with the utmost faith. I, Steve Lorenzo, have not failed. King Climos Summers has not failed.”
“Master…” Many of the officials also held tears.
“Let me mention Cohen Kheda. I know you don’t like or trust him. But do you know him? For myself, I hate him, I truly am. I even refuse to mention his name, refuse to hear it.” Speaking of Cohen, Lorenzo grew complex in his eyes, “However, in the days to come, I am loyal to this man, with everything I’ve got and with nothing held back.”
“WHY? Because it’s King Fischer’s will! The Swabian King’s order!” Master Lorenzo said absolutely, “Follow the order. Help the new king is my way to show my loyalty to the empire. Although the Summers have passed away, its purpose remains. Its purpose will prolong and last for eternity!”
“No matter how difficult this order is, nor do I care about if I personally can accept it, I will carry on. It is a choice after careful consideration.” Lorenzo raised his voice, “As a Swabian official, it’s my duty.”
All civil servants calmed down slowly from the shock earlier.
“I, Steve Lorenzo, solemnly swear, I will carry on my duty firmly to serve my king, till the end of my time.” The tears stored in his eyes flew along the headmaster’s wrinkled face, “I hate this man, but I know him. He has the power to fulfill King Fischer’s will. Also, I… I believe in His Majesty’s choice.”
“You people, if you still have other thoughts, you’re free to leave. I won’t stop you. It is a choice that’s going to take everything you’ve got. The least reluctance is going to make it worse than it already is. I cannot force you.” Lorenzo peacefully gazed at his past students, “You’re going to make more choices in the future. No one will know if the choices are right or not.”
“Master, I’m with you.” One civil servant stepped up, “I will do my utmost to help King Cohen Kheda. Helping him to recover Swabia, eradicate the rebels and revenge the Summers shall be my primary purpose.”
“I am with you, master!”
“I’m with you!”
Nearly all civil officials tore, stepped up and swore their allegiance with very hoarse voices.
“Thank you, all. I now announce King Fischer Summers’ special decree comes into force immediately.” The upsurge of emotions overwhelmed Lorenzo, he said as his clenched hands shivered irresistibly, “Let those shameless rebels watch Climos Summer’s willpower. Let them see the Summers have not failed!”
“On behalf of the House of Kheda, I extend their appreciation for your trust.” Lorenzo rolled the loyal name list. Before he made his leave by the door, he turned back and bowed to the rest of the hall.
All civil officials curtsied back, eyes still welled.
When Lorenzo brought the list to the back hall, elf physicians were tied up treating Cohen Kheda. The patient had countless wounds that were caused by a variety of ways. His incident earlier has made the healed wounds to break, which was extremely troublesome.
“Minister,” Lorenzo handed Visual Kheda the list, “King Fischer’s special decree has passed and taken effect. This is the list of officials who swore their loyalty.”
“That’s very good news, master. Thank you.” Visual took the scroll, “In the days to come, there will be more things we’re going to need your help.”
“I’m a servant to the empire, so do the ones who chose to stay. But 2 of them chose to leave.” Lorenzo glimpsed Cohen who fell in a coma on the bed, “I hope he is all right.”
“Don’t worry. Cohen will be fine.” Visual Kheda forced a smile, “As his father, it’s the 3rd time for a situation like this. He’ll still be alive even after we’re all dead.”
“Nothing else I can think of. To be honest, I haven’t run out of luck.” Visual Kheda tucked the list into his chest pocket, “We’re in a really bad position now. Still, soldiers and military officers are here with us. All the more so, Master Lorenzo, you’ve shown that you’re very trustworthy and firm to your faith.”
“Minister, I did it because of…”
“… of whatever. Now it’s the result that matters.” Visual Kheda stood up, “I am the minister so I shall do a minister’s job. Walk with me, Master Lorenzo. We have so much to talk about. I want to rearrange some crucial position and issue a series of policies.”
“What about here?”
“I trust they can handle it properly.” Visual shared a look with his 3 daughters-in-law, “Sitting here is not going to work.”
Lorenzo nodded, “Indeed. We have many jobs. The first thing is King Fischer’s funeral.”
“That’s Cohen’s call.” Visual Kheda began stepping out of the room, he said so but shook his head, “If you don’t want any more of a mess.”
Lorenzo sighed. He gave one more look at the comatose Cohen Kheda, then followed Visual Kheda’s trail.
It didn’t take Cohen long to wake up.
“How do you feel, Cohen!” Winslet has been watching her husband.
Cohen’s eyes rolled left then right. Either way, they stopped gazing at the ceiling.,
Winslet gently stroked her man’s forehead, she said softly, “It’s okay to cry, my love.”
“Help me up.” Cohen said with an effort, “To Fischer.”
Winslet turned, her eyes inquired Flynn as the latter silently nodded. Therefore Winslet and Carey helped Cohen up and took him to the chamber where Fischer’s body was located.
The young king was already changed. His crossed hands rested on the chest. A hint of a smile was still there on his face.
“Tell me,” Cohen gazed carefully at the king’s face, “What is that smile? Why did he smile at that time?”
No one was able to answer.
“Perhaps Fischer was thinking of something beautiful.” A while later, Winslet said, “Maybe at that moment, he thought about the future or recalled the past. Maybe that was why he smiled.”
“However, however, I barely smiled back during his last moment.” Cohen’s lips started trembling, “You call that brother behavior?”
“No one can smile if faced with that.” Carey said with tears, “Darling, please do not blame yourself.”
“Yeah, right.” Cohen nodded, “I don’t.”
“Sit down, Cohen. I have to ask you something.” Flynn arranged a chair for her husband.
“Your father wants us to ask you how do you want Fischer’s funeral. A king’s funeral is…”
“Funeral? What funeral?” Cohen suddenly fixed his eyes on Flynn’s face, “Only a dead man needs a funeral.”
“But Cohen, Fischer’s already…”
“NO! Fischer is not dead!” Cohen widened his eyes, “He’s not dead. How can you put such a happy smile on a dead man’s face? He’s not dead!”
“Cohen, we understand if you refuse to believe it. He is gone peacefully so let him be.” Flynn frowned.
“Go? Why go? Who’s going where?” Cohen’s facial muscle weirdly twitched, “He’s not dead and he’s with me.”
“Calm down! Cohen, King Fischer is gone.” Flynn said with great sorrow, “Man cannot change it!”
“Ha… hahaha. MAN CANNOT CHANGE. HAHAHAHAHA. LIAR, LIARS!” Cohen laughed, his grim face darkened, “YOU OWE ME! OWE ME!”
The laughter was so loud that it was heard by the entire mansion. Visual Kheda stopped his job and listened, a few seconds later, he drove his attention back to his meeting.
Carlos and Malphite shared terrified yet curious looks. They had no idea what to do.
When the laughter eased came Cohen’s order, “Carlos!”
“Bring me 10 best elf mages.” He said, “Summon the elf matriarch and elders asap.”
“Sir, yes, sir!” As Carlos replied, he was asking Flynn with his eyes, hoping Cohen’s wife would stop him. However, Flynn said nothing.
She would want to stop him. But there was no reason nor any excuses. Besides, a much bigger problem found them very quickly.
Not long after, Carlos came back with 10 elf mages.
“Freeze Fischer’s body.” Cohen said, “Like you used to freeze mine the last time.”
Maybe Carlos had explained to the elves beforehand, the mages quickly began releasing magic rather than asking anything useless.
“Keep him like this before the matriarch arrives here. If you screw it up, I’ll do the same to you!” Cohen refused his wives’ help and stood up on his own.
“Carlos, walk with me.” Cohen shift difficulty to the door.
Malphite naturally offered his help carrying Cohen’s arm seeing how hard Cohen walked. Cohen took Malphite’s help rather than refusing him.
“Flynn, what do we do?” Carey asked.
“Let him be. We have more important things to do.” Flynn was also at a loss to her husband’s behavior, “Don’t mention his decision before Winslet’s mother’s arrival. I’ll talk to father.”
As for Cohen and his 2 subordinates. They’ve stopped walking and Carlos was getting sweaty.
Because Cohen Kheda was facing him on a stool within a short-range. His reddened eyes were gazing have been giving Carlos the chills.
“Sir, I’m just your staff.” Carlos swallowed his dry throat, forced a few words, “Are you seeing me as your prey with that eye?”
“Silence!” Cohen said cruelly, “How many troops do we have?”
“We… we didn’t suffer too much during this battle.” Cohen’s eyes forced Carlos to tell the truth, “There are about 100, 000 soldiers available for deployment.”
“Huh, 100, 000. That should be enough.” Cohen raised his eyes to the sky.
“Sir, what are you thinking?”
“Of course I want to attack.” Cohen said emotionlessly, “Attack my way to DC.”
“Sir, I don’t know who gave you the courage but you DO know we’re short on supplies. There’s no way we can strike under such circumstances. If you do that, our soldiers are gonna starve to death.”
“Watch your mouth! Repeat that again!” Cohen stared at his Chief of Staff,
“Doesn’t matter. Now I know the reality. And you don’t! Sir, you are over your head!” Carlos bumped his chest, “I think you cannot order this attack.”
“I can’t? It’s my army.”
“Indeed, this army is your handy work. But a commander will never let his soldiers make meaningless sacrifices.” Carlos insisted, “A commander, no, a good commander only lead his army to victory, not the other way around!”
“Huhhe, haha, you’ve also changed.” Cohen’s vision sharpened, “Everything changed.”
“I have no choice, sir. I have duties. You can fire me, kill me or even swallow me alive.” Carlos said calmly, “But you’ll never take this army to attack like this!”
Cohen said nothing but humph-ed. Malphite helped him to stand up.
“Bring all forces back to Dark City in 5 days. You are the frontline commander, stay here.” Cohen darkened his face, “Alert the Dark City Hall, gather all alien chiefs.”
“SIR, YOU REALLY WANNA DRAG THE CLANS INTO THIS??!!”
“It’s none of your business.” Said Cohen, “If you care about your reputation, take good care of the frontline.
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.