Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
Visual Kheda did not immediately react before he quietly finished Carlos’ report.
“Father,” Flynn worried, “what do we do?”
“Do as he said.” The new minister stood up, hands clasped behind, paced back and forth in the chamber, “Although there isn’t an enthronement yet, Cohen is the king now. We cannot disobey him on this matter.”
“But… commander’s mind is still not sane!”
“And you’re so eager to make it big and let everybody know his plan is crazy? Actually, making you the frontline commander is an excellent decision.” Visual looked at Carlos and Flynn, he said, “As for the clan chiefs’ meeting, it’s necessary. We have a lot to talk with them. I think the chiefs value my opinion more than Cohen’s, so I’ll go to the meeting, to keep them as calm as possible. As for internal affairs, Flynn, as King Cohen’s wives, you are burdened with more jobs, bear with it.”
“I understand.” Flynn nodded, “But it’s not going to work if we skip Fischer’s funeral.”
“To Cohen, King Fischer is very special. In fact, I can more or less guess Cohen’s thoughts.” Visual said gradually, “We’re Cohen’s families and friends, therefore we can indulge Cohen’s behaviors. However, we cannot understand him. All this time, the only one who’s able to do it is King Fischer alone.”
“If we admit the king’s death, then the only one who can understand him is gone for real. That must be what Cohen thinks.” Visual continued, “If I were him, I would not be able to take that. Cohen merely expressed his feelings with actions. And the point is, no one can stop him. Therefore we have to give Cohen this one. Let him handle Fischer’s body and I’ll make sure the civil servants won’t say a word.”
Since Visual gave his green light, Flynn had to accept it.
“Good, it’s settled.” Visual reached for a glass of water, “As Swabian most important court members, our first objective is to stop the king’s plan to attack in the near future.”
“I never could have imagined. What a tough job.” Flynn forced a smile, “Father, about the rest of the court…”
“Although we still lack in number, we only have 3 provinces to manage. Daily operation is not a problem. We even have more hands to help the new academy.” Visual left his cup, “Nevertheless, we need to make it through this time. Carlos, I trust you can defend this place.”
“Absolutely, Your Excellency.”
The same night, Cohen kicked everybody out of the chamber to leave himself alone with Fischer’s body.
Lit by magic lights, Fischer was shrouded by a thin layer of cold air. The cold steam shaded his smile. Cohen just sat silently on the floor aside, emptying his brain.
Everybody was worried though they had no idea what to do. Flynn quietly told the guards and mages outside that once Cohen did anything abnormal, stop him.
A moment later, a lady arrived with a fluffy animal. She gently pushed the door open then let it in.
Arnold trotted and obediently rested by Cohen’s feet. The man and his eudemon kept the same position, their eyes at Fischer. In the huge room, there were no other things nor sounds.
“My feelings,” A long while after, Cohen thought, “you see me…”
“Yes, master.” The next moment, Arnold transformed into his human form. Two Cohen sat together side by side.
“You know my past, can you understand me?” Cohen’s voice was deep.
Arnold shook his head, “No, master.”
“He can…” Cohen pointed at Fischer, his finger trembled, “He doesn’t know my past but he can understand me. I’ve never thought about losing him, and never a life without him.”
“Master, you have many friends and families.” Arnold was not able to say anything other than this.
“They’re different.” Cohen forced a wry smile, “Different.”
“I have many friends, families. But none of them truly understands me. In their eyes, I’m just a weird person. They tolerate me because of our relationship.” Cohen said with a very quiet voice, then the voice turned dreary, “Fischer is the one who connects me and this world. Now, the connection is broken. What’s the meaning of my existence? Who am I? Who can prove that I once existed in this world?”
“Master, maybe you can seek help from the one… you know, like when you were born.”
“Who, Marshmallow? I tried, I even summoned lighting bolts to strike myself…” Cohen shook his head, “But I can’t feel her existence. In the past, every time before I found her, I would have this bizarre but strong feeling. Not this time.”
“Then what do we do?”
“Dunno, I can’t…” Cohen gazed at Fischer, “I… I don’t know what to do or what else I can do. I can only preserve his body and hope that he’s going to wake up one day as I did in the past…”
Three days later, the elf matriarch, along with the elf elders have arrived in audience Cohen before a short discussion with Visual Kheda.
As expected, Cohen had summoned them to preserve Fischer’s body.
The elf matriarch had given enough background to the entire story. Therefore, after careful discussions with the elders, she offered a serious and cautious solution: after bringing Fischer back to Dark City, the elf will take advantage of the magic crystal from the Dark Forest mine.
It would be an extremely complicated and expensive solution. The needed element ice ores equaled Dark Forest’s total production of an entire year.
Cohen approved without even thinking.
Twenty days before the New Year, Swabia’s next king brought the body of the past king back to Dark City, marking the grimmest, most sorrowful day since the establishment of this place.
The same day afternoon, Cohen had his meeting with the chiefs of all alien clans from the Dark Forest. As expected, Cohen’s plan was firmly, unanimously objected, thanks to certain people’s intervention.
Fortunately, the topic of the meeting was strictly classified or the city officials who just swore their loyalty might think the new king was mental and resign as a whole.
One of the reasons to not attack was the lack of food. No one can make food out of nowhere. What made it worse were the refugees from the capital as a result of the rebellion. Now the population was more than 10 million in the 3 provinces under Kheda’s name. Feeding these people has become a huge burden for the government.
Before Fischer’s abduction, Dark City’s officials have counted every seed of grain before they can account for enough army provisions. As of now, the only way to organize another military operation was to feed on people.
“Even if we do not attack now, all food for soldiers has to be cut in half.” As a City Hall supervisor, Flynn was straightforward, “If not, there’s no way we can make it to the next harvest.”
Cohen asked, “How much food is enough to finish the war?”
“We need at least 2 harvests.” Flynn replied, “If we don’t run into any natural disasters.”
“Meaning I’ll have to wait until after next fall.”
Since his plan was hindered by food, Cohen’s silent time doubled, even tripled. After the conversation with Flynn, he spent his whole day in the chamber where Fischer’s body was preserved.
With the effort of nearly a hundred skillful elves, Fischer Summers’ body was sealed in a giant, coffin-like piece of magic crystal.
Ten thousand pieces of precious magic crystals were fused into one giant cube to protect the body of this young emperor.
Now Fischer’s eyes closed, face smiled, as if he had fallen into a deep sleep. A tiny eudemon curled up on his chest.
Whenever Malphite entered this place, he would find Cohen Kheda crouched in a corner, his eyes fixing on the ice-emitting crystal, face looking weirdly bazaar. Malphite was not certain about the facial expression. But he was sure he could not look at Cohen directly in the face.
It was an agony no language can describe.
His wives wandered outside of the room every day. All exsertion trying to make him better have failed. All friends have become strangers in Cohen’s eyes and been ignored.
The situation changed after Cohen’s mother’s arrival.
Still insensitive, but Cohen began to talk. Sometimes he would issue orders. After a while, Cohen once again read Fischer’s letter before he made the decision to wed his fiancée, Dior Merlin.
“Shouldn’t you ascend the throne first?” Master Steve Lorenzo commented, “My king, I advise you to not make improper decisions.”
“King, don’t call me king!” Cohen spurted up, one hand tried to reach for the imaginary weapon on his waist, “Try again!”
“Cohen,” Katherine pointed at the chair, “sit!”
Cohen did as he was told, but his malicious eyes were unchanged. Though walking on thin ice, Steve Lorenzo was not afraid to confront Cohen’s vision. At least, the old master had not lost during the battle of willpower.
“Master Lorenzo, forgive him.” Katherine spared her hands, “My boy…”
“Fine, but at least settle a date.” Lorenzo searched everywhere from his vocabulary and finally found a replacement word, “Sir?”
“I won’t do it before my army takes down DC and I kill Luhrmann myself!” Cohen glimpsed Lorenzo, “I’ve had enough. Don’t try your luck again!”
Lorenzo’s next aggressive comment was stopped by Flynn, the latter smiled at Cohen, “I’m sure we’ll achieve that. When’s that coming wedding you mentioned earlier, love?”
“As quick as possible since it’s what Fischer wanted.” Cohen then paused for a moment, “Tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow?” Flynn’s helpless eyes turned to Katherine, “Is it too soon?”
“Let’s settle for tomorrow.” Katherine’s caring eyes looked his son, “Whoever’s needed is here already. It won’t be hard.”
“And, I don’t want a single priest in the wedding.” Cohen added, “As long as the paperwork is well-recorded.”
Therefore on the same night, duty called, Lorenzo and Flynn held a meeting that included all related officials in the name of the ceremony.
First Flynn made a simple explanation by telling the officials it was King Fischer’s dying order. Therefore no one objected. Then Lorenzo clarified Cohen Kheda’s current title.
“Gentlemen, we all know Cohen Kheda has become the king. The king now understands his goal and is actively doing his job to fulfill that goal.” Lorenzo told, “However, the death of King Fischer has caused severe damage, both physical and psychological, to King Cohen Kheda. In his heart, it is a friendship hard to separate. Therefore, King Cohen Kheda stated that he will neither ascend the throne nor be addressed as king before all rebels are eradicated and the empire is recovered.”
“How… how is that possible.?”
“If we didn’t call him ‘king’, there’ll be multiple problems. What about the public appeal, soldiers’ morale?
As different voices took shape one by one, Lorenzo cut in his idea, “For me, it was not a proper action in regards to curtesy. However, if I stand in his shoes, I can somehow understand his pain. In another point, it is the precise prove that our king is not a cruel-hearted man. More importantly, before ascending the throne, King Cohen is still a Protoss Knight, which has a variety of benefits for him and for us.”
Lorenzo continued, “As what we tell to the public and the army, we say ‘King’ or ‘His Majesty’; but when we talk when he’s present, we’ll address him as our sir or commander.”
“Is this really not a problem?” Still, some voices expressed their concern.
“There isn’t. It takes some getting used to.” Lorenzo sighed quietly, “King Cohen is not like the princes with blood heirship, nor is he like rebels. It never occurred to him that he’d one day be sitting on the throne. So it’s understandable for his behavior.”
“That is to say…” One of the civil officials thoughtfully said, “Although he does weird things constantly, our king is actually a kind man by nature…”
“Yes, you’ll know that yourself.” The thought of Cohen’s man-killing eyes made Lorenzo’s face twitch, “Dismissed.”
The next day saw the wedding between Cohen Kheda and Dior Merlin held in the viceroy’s mansion.
Perhaps his mother’s comfort had worked, Cohen was calmer than ever. He dressed in formal ceremonial robe and he took the time to meet the alien chiefs. What was more comforting was Cohen did not again mention he’ll attack. He has focused on internal affairs rather than the army.
Today has later proven to be a quite stimulating day for a certain Rivalzian nobleman who has spent his recent time in Dark City.
Baron Iva Merlin, Dior’s father, he’s never played any poker games with anyone since he arrived in Dark City because of the decepting trick from a despicable businessman. Closely protected by groups of guards who took multiple shifts, Iva Merlin spent most of his days eating bread, drinking water and playing with himself. Anything related to romantic affairs was ancient history for him.
With nothing much to do, Iva Merlin has become the most frequent visitor of the backyard of his house, making it the city’s most stunning garden. Different flowers always blossomed every day during every season.
Whenever a girl, human or not, stood by the fence and was amazed by its beauty, Iva Merlin will generously offer some seeds and patiently tell her how to grow and care for the plant. Because a girl always reminded him of his daughter.
When he was young, he’s the best nobleman at gardening. Even the king had a spot in his royal garden, especially for Iva Merlin’s flowers. However, everything changed since the pass of his wife.
This morning, a team of guards arrived at Iva Merlin’s house followed by several city officials. The Baron was caught off-guarded because no city servants have visited here since today.
“Your Excellency, I was under orders to inform you of the following.” After introducing himself, the one who spoke unscrolled a piece of paper, “Baron Iva Merlin, your title has been canceled by Rivalz Empire a year ago.”
“I’m aware of it, mister.” Iva Merlin forced a smile of awkwardness, “I stopped using my title. Actually I rarely go out.”
“Therefore you’re to be accommodated elsewhere.”
“Listen to me, my lord.” Iva Merlin said, “The house is my property!”
But the official was very tough, “We’re acting under orders.”
“Then where do you want me to go?” Iva Merlin glimpsed his flowers, “My lord, I can’t leave my garden.”
“Please be changed. We have a schedule. We’ll collect your belongings for you.”
Iva Merlin understood how the nobility world worked so he made no more actions. After changing, he boarded the carriage by the door.
Then the official told the driver, “Back door, viceroy’s mansion.”
It terrified Iva Merlin.
Public knowledge was that Dark City had a dark vista. Iva Merlin couldn’t even figure out how much benefit they can still extract out of his empty status. Furthermore, Dark City’s viceroy had a notorious reputation.
Under such a circumstance, it naturally came to Iva Merlin that his life will end there.
Oddly enough, that moment, fear was not on the top of Iva Merlin’s head. What was surging in his heart was the deep remorse for his daughter.
As soon as he got off the carriage, a middle-aged man with graceful bearing welcomed him.
“Mr. Iva Merlin?” This kind-looking male introduced himself, “I am Visual Kheda, minister of Swabia.”
“Yes, Your Excellency.” Iva Merlin forgot his lines, “I… I… greeting, my lord..”
“This is Steve Lorenzo, master of the Royal Academy.” Visual Kheda warm-heartedly introduced the aged man who dressed in scholar’s robe, “He has an appointment for you.”
“My Lord, what is this all about? I don’t understand.” Today was full of surprise. Iva Merlin was too confused to believe he was this lucky to be welcomed by these two important people.
“I understand your confusion, but let me finish.” Master Lorenzo stepped ahead, “From certain aspects, we’re all indirect victims of a certain man’s farce.”
“Very well, master.”
Appointed by Swabian Royal Regime
Iva Merlin, resident of Dark City, has shown his absolute love for the empire. After careful consideration of the contribution from the House of Merlin, proposed by the minister, approved by King Cohen Kheda, Iva Merlin is to be endowed, earl.
Dark City Hall
“Earl?” Iva Merlin nearly fainted, his voice uncontrollably went higher, “Me?”
“Yes, you, sir.” Visual held his hand, “Congratulations, mister, you’re an earl now.”
“Can you at least explain it?” Earl Merlin once again required, “If it does not bother you, Your Excellency.”
“Let me put it this way, Mr. Merlin. I have an obstreperous son and he is the one who sits on the throne.” Visual lowered his voice, “Today is his wedding.”
“I know His Majesty’s wedding. But does it have anything to do with me?”
“I’m afraid it does.” A hint of apology was added to Visual’s smile, “Because the bride is your daughter, the beautiful, smart Ms. Dior Merlin.”
Iva Merlin instantly slumped onto the stone pathway.
After a brief rest, Iva Merlin was taken to the front hall of the viceroy’s mansion. Although the titling ceremony was very formal rather than short. The moment he gained the earl’s mark, his face paled.
“Earl, we’ll be a family in a short while. Make yourself at home. There will be people here to inform you about your position and where you’ll live.” After the ceremony, Visual appointed Iva’s personal guard and eunuch, “I will be very occupied today so I shall leave you be. I suggest you take a walk in the garden. Don’t be shy should you have any needs.
“By all means, minister, there’s no need to trouble yourself for me.” Iva Merin replied while his mind was somewhat unhinged.
“Take care of Earl Merlin.” Visual told Iva’s eunuch then left quickly.
Hence Iva Merlin took a seat in the garden listening to his eunuch explaining the rules and routines of the viceroy’s mansion. Thereafter the panic and terror and astonishment on his face eased quite a bit. At least he thought his guards and servants were quite nice till now.
Since the pathway in the garden was quite busy due to all the eunuchs and orderlies running back and forth, Iva Merlin was advised to move to a relatively quieter corner to stay.
Boring, therefore Earl Merlin’s attention was driven by the plants around him. He stood up and began recognizing the flowers as he picked up how wrong some of the flowers were planted.
As Iva Merlin carried on his hobby, Cohen has just finished a meeting with a few sub-commanders and headed quickly to the front hall. The garden was the only way there.
“Isn’t that…” Iva Merlin caught Cohen’s presence, he suddenly yelled, “Turner!”
Turner was an alas Cohen hasn’t used for quite a while. To be more precise, he was Mr. Turner for only once. Therefore he didn’t react to that name right away so he kept on walking.
However, fire began shooting from both of Iva Merlin’s eyes. Fists clenched, he walked straight past the flower bush towards Cohen Kheda. Certainly, Iva Merlin was put down onto the earth at a distance of 20 feet by Cohen’s guards. If they didn’t see the nobility mark on him, such an abrupt action would have cost Iva Merlin of his life.
“Release him.” Cohen stopped and recognized the man at his feet, “He’s not a threat.”
“You despicable coward!” Iva Merlin’s body bounced off the ground the moment the guards loosened him. Then he started cursing, “I gave you my daughter so she would be happy with you, NOT to marry her to someone else! I don’t care about being an earl! Give my daughter BACK! You dishonest trafficker, shameless man. I’ll crash your neck!”
Cohen was not in a hurry to explain. Actually, Cohen didn’t know how to break it down from the start. Therefore he said nothing. As a result, Captain Malphite had to pivot to keep a safe distance between the two.
Like Cohen’s guards, Iva Merlin’s guards were as anxious. They had no idea nor the experience of what to do under a circumstance like this.
“Yo, what is going on here?” With a suit of a royal ceremonial robe, Katherine Hagrid arrived in the garden. She said, “Cohen, how did you offend your father-in-law?”
Iva Merlin instantly froze. With harsh moments, he turned and found his daughter approaching hand in hand with a graceful madame.
“Cohen, off you go do your business.” The madame said with a smile, “Earl Iva, forgive him. My boy needs to grow up.”
“Clean yourself.” Dior Merlin offered her father a handkerchief, whispered a complaint, “For once, you can’t make my life easier.”
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.