Translated by Tianic, edited by Grammarly
In Dark City, at the viceroy’s mansion. Spring has nearly passed and summer was on its way. The night was becoming shorter and the temperature warmer. Although there was still lingering mist during the morning, the breeze was working on sending it away.
It was still early in the day. Not many people were there on the broad boulevard in front of the viceroy’s mansion. And the City Hall people who have scheduled for audience have not yet shown up. Tennessee, the head guard of the mansion was pacing by the front door, enjoying the delicious air.
“AHHHH——AH——HELP——AHHHHH.” Suddenly, something fell from above.
Since Finscher’s kidnapping, the mansion had doubled its security. No flies can cross the threshold without double-checking. Therefore, as soon as the anomaly occurred, the officer on duty immediately called out and all the guards instantly turned extraordinary alerts and revealed their weapons. A well-sighted archer gazed through his arrow and reported, “A human!”
Quickly, several mages came affront, spread their arms, and a giant shield of light enlarged above the front entrance.
“HELP!!!” Before that stranger’s voice almost touched the magic shield, an invisible string hauled him so his body paused in midair then was dragged upward. He went up and down several times as he rattled and exclaimed, “AHHHHH… HELP! I WAS WRONG, YOUNG LORD!”
“Young lord?” Tennessee’s giant sword froze for half a second before suspecting there was a slim chance that this human was referring to Cohen.
Minister Visual Kheda was in Cohen’s chamber located in the back yard of the viceroy’s mansion. He had an early start today because of Dark City and Darkmoon’s heavy affairs and a plus: watching over Cohen’s doppelganger.
Currently, all four of Cohen’s wives were supervising poor Arnold, pouring today’s job to it.
As Arnold was listening and nodding, its face suddenly turned joyful and body started to shrink. The armor on its body began collapsing as well.
“Arnold, behave!” Dior Merlin raised her cute hand.
However, the eudemon has already shifted back to his puppy form, wings flapped and heading for the window.
Visual Kheda witnessed what happened. Unlike his daughters-in-law, his weary face expressed a hint of excitement. Then he let go of the paperwork in his hand, stood up, and stretched his body to mask the joyfulness.
“I’m off work.” Visual told the rest of the room, “Notice our people, they are off for today as well.”
“Off?” Flynn was surprised, “Father, our schedule is full today!”
“Those are less of a priority now.” Visual laughed, “You four better start thinking how to explain to someone why the garden is full of tapiocas.”
Winslet pondered, “Someone? Cohen! Cohen’s back?”
No wonder Winslet came to the right answer first. She has been praying for her husband ever since Cohen’s runaway from home. She prayed in the morning to the forest elves for Cohen’s relaxation; she prayed at dusk to the night elves for Cohen’s safety. Even during the day, she would pray to various elf gods. Her love for Cohen was so undivided and single-minded that even Flynn and Dior had to admire.
“Yes, father.” After Flynn had seen Visual Kheda out, she caught her sister who was just about to dash out, “Where are you going? Don’t be hasty. Calm down and we’ll all go together.” Although Flynn has been forcing herself to ease, the slightly blushed cheeks and shivering voice have revealed her heart.
One carriage was at the center of a huge number of guards and horses. As the fleet stopped at the viceroy’s mansion front gate, Malphite got off his warhorse, which was almost crushed by his weight. The orc quickly ran to Tennessee by the gate, saluted, and declared, “Captain of Viceroy’s guarding troops escorting commander back to his mansion.”
“Understood.” Tennessee, in his armors, saluted back, “Captain Malphite, after your dismissal, every IGT member below your rank will report to the Law Advocate Department immediately.”
“Yes, sir,” Malphite replied briefly. Seeing the Lord Justice was certainly not good. However, he’s willing to go. On the contrary, the guards aside were surprised at Malphite’s reaction. It is so not normal when a troop was sent to the Lord Justice when they just came back from a special assignment.
“BANG!” The door of the carriage was kicked open. An all-black-dressed young man unboarded the vehicle. He shocked his head then made an exaggerated stretched. The morning sunshine traveled through the thin morning mist and glowed on his black hair. There on the face was a smile and a pair of radiating eyes.
Commander Cohen has come back from his runaway. All guards promptly came to attention.
Cohen saluted back to the guards attentively then headed to the gate, “Oyi, Tennessee, morning, yo!”
“Morning, thanks to you.” Tennessee was both annoyed and tickled by the one who had been away for nearly 3 months. He gave Cohen a deep look, “No one dares to make a stretch here beside you, Your Grace.”
“Is that so? Come on, make one.” Cohen grinned, “That’s an order.”
Quickly, Tennessee was really annoyed by Cohen’s joke this time. He didn’t know Cohen’s intention behind his words. And besides, a head guard stretching at the gate was quite inappropriate, but a king’s order must be fulfilled.
“There you are, Cohen.” A voice rescued Tennessee, Flynn had already powdered her face, “You must be exhausted after last night’s secret patrol. Come, father’s waiting for you.”
The next moment saw Arnold clumsily bumping into Cohen’s chest.
“On my way.” Cohen then boomed to the sky, “Do you have enough? Get down here!”
A whirl of white took shape in lower midair then slowly descended. When it almost touched the ground, it spawned a rattling ‘thing’. Malphite seemed to know what it was because he quickly caught and straightened it. Only then did the guards found it was a plain middle-aged man.
And the whirl ceased as well. From it exited a graceful young girl with a white robe and an alarmingly delicate face. Opposite to her was Flynn by the door. Both females were wearing simple white, both had the exceeding beauty and both were so different.
Flynn threw her questioned eyes to Cohen. However, the king-to-be pretended blind, kept having fun with Arnold.
“This fine lady is just comfortable to look at.” Flynn was used to Cohen so she put on a friendly smile, “Darling, this must be your new friend. Which house’s name does she bear? Introduce us.”
“Want to know? It’s a secret.” Cohen replied, “Let’s talk inside. Come.”
Unwittingly, Flynn began heading into the mansion because Cohen’s arm was leading her. But Flynn cannot be too reluctant. She intended to have a slightly longer talk with the white-robbed girl.
Only after passing the frog yard did Cohen let go of Flynn. Then he had an intimate small talk with Winslet, followed by a surprising kiss for Carey and Dior. The result: all four of them were all blushed in the face. The punishment plans early in their heads had already be forgotten.
“Now, our new friend.” Cohen faced his wives and talked, “This lady is no stranger to Carey and Flynn. You’re old acquaintances.”
“Is that so?” Carey cautiously approached and began eyeing the girl, “But I don’t recall seeing her at all.”
Flynn also approached, she took the girl’s hand and looked into her eyes. While recalling, the girl’s deep eyes suddenly awakened Flynn, “I see. We’ve met you on our way back to Darkmoon. How are your wounds? And your name is… is Leila, right?”
Leila offered a friendly smile. However, Carey was still recalling, “… our way back to Darkmoon, did we meet anyone like her?”
“Don’t you remember? We headed back again to the capital.”
“That time, we’ve only met a dragon!” Carey suddenly exclaimed, “Dragon… are you?”
“My name is Leila. How have you been.”
“We are well, except that we’re mad at someone, every now and then,” Flynn replied as she tucked Leila’s arm in hers.
“Hello, my darling, why are you so close to a handmaid?” After a prolonged hug with Winslet and Dior, Cohen talked, “Leave the small talks to dinner. I’m hungry. Where’s breakfast.”
“My dear, we are going to breakfast.” Flynn put on a light smile, “You are going to see father and mother.”
“Darn it, I forgot all about it.” Cohen abruptly turned, “I hope it’s not too late.”
“Young lord!” Liverpool had just recovered from vertigo, he eagerly asked, “What about me?”
“Fine, then, what about you?” Cohen touched his jaw, “Mal, take this one and teach him some rules here.”
Malphite loved Cohen’s decision. Therefore he quickly approached and picked Liverpool up. The latter quietly resisted but dared not cry. It was Cohen’s order so he had to obey. And by the way, he can’t blame anyone for pulling that innumerate trick on Malphite.
Cohen said ‘later’ to his loved ones then broadly headed to his parent’s chamber for breakfast as if everything was the same. However, as the head of the female family members, Mrs. Katherine quickly revealed her power. Hence everyone in the mansion had to endure a period of the new king’s begging and moaning traveling from the Minister couple’s chamber.
At this moment, Visual Kheda was enjoying himself with a book in hand as if he didn’t hear the ‘torturing’ from the inner room. Actually, he’s quite supportive of his wife’s maternal way of showing love.
Intimated by his mother, however Cohen wept, red-faced, he had to let his mother and go through the breakfast. After he’s debriefed his whereabouts and listened to his father’s lesson, he was allowed to leave.
Seeing her son had left, Katherine was still worried. She approached her husband, whispered, “What do you think, my love? How was he?”
Visual Kheda left his book and replied, light-hearted, “Can’t you see? Cohen is rather happy now.”
Just as everyone in the mansion was overwhelmed in joyfulness, a team of soldiers left the structure without making a sound.
Malphite and Diana were leading, followed by squad leaders as well as all 80-ish IGT members. It was quite a handful of soldiers. Although each of them was very depressed, as a member of the viceroy’s guarding troop, they still got the honor. Therefore the team strode towards their destination: the office of the Lord Justice, mournfully。
Lord Justice Jack’s office was located right in Dark City. There are four compounds as well as two empty areas surrounded by secondary buildings. It was not big compared to other military facilities, but one should not underestimate this place, at least a battalion of LAD soldiers were guarding this place.
Several vehicles were parked at the empty space, loaded with torture instruments when they were deployed. Many one-man’s-height wooden racks were beside the vehicles, old and shabby, blood-stained: those were for lashing. All above were not big deals. Malphite once was told that the scariest instruments were in the dark yard furthest behind.
That was the IGT’s destination. On arrival, they saw only an empty ground, nothing more.
A LAD officer promptly arrived and ordered the guarding troops to line in the yard. Squad leaders on the lower stairs. The rest members had their complaints, but not in front of their sub-commanders. They all felt shameful after being sent here as a whole.
They didn’t like it, and neither did the LAD officers who watched them from aside.
Amongst these 80-ish newcomers, every single one of them was an honored soldier with brilliant military achievements. The justice department people wished that they could see these great IGT members elsewhere, not here. If they were pissed off, there was a high chance a fist will come at you the next second. After all, these people nearly annihilated a team of White Knights from the holy temple. Usually, no one in Cohen’s army dared to mess with them.
Among all the LAD personnel, Jack the Lord Justice was the happiest to see Cohen’s guards.
“Stand straight, boys and girls.” Jack silently showed from the back of the wrongdoing-carriers. Then he kicked right on an IGT soldier’s buttock, with no trace of politeness, “Where do you think you are?”
The poor soldiers furiously turned back and the next moment his eyes were stunned by the reflection of Jack’s rank mark. His rank was lower than Jack’s. So he had to endure.
“Well, well, isn’t that Captain Malphite. It’s rare to see you here.” Jack stepped onto the stairs with exaggerated, funny movements which would never remind anyone that he was a Lord Justice. With a hippie’s face, Jack said, “Like my place? So far, so good?”
“Atten-hut!” The orc led all his team members to salute, “Sir!”
“Save it. Don’t think that I don’t know what’s going on in your little brains.” Jack’s deputy handed over a pile of documents. The bossman went through the papers as he sat on a stair, “What a scene. The entire viceroy’s guarding troops. Interesting, since the first day of the justice department, I’ve never done punishment to an entire company. Honestly, I personally have been looking forward to this day…”
Down the stairs, everyone including Malphite remained silent. Before today, all of them have met the Lord Justice. But they were guilt-free by then. From his speech earlier, this Lord Justice seemed to be extraordinarily unpredictable.
Unlike the ones to be punished, all the LAD people were secretly gloating because they realized that even soldiers as remarkable as the viceroy’s guarding troops will have to lower their heads in front of their Lord Justice.
“Well, that’s about it.” Jack finished reading the papers and tossed them back to his deputy, “Now, the members of the Imperial Guarding Troops, I’ll deal with your actions which involves disobeying orders and putting your commander in danger.”
“We put the commander in danger?” A squad leader, who was a close friend of Jack, naturally talked like usual days, “JJ, seriously…”
“It’s Lord Justice!” The deputy yelled.
“Fine, Lord Justice!” The squad leader nodded, “We were protecting our commander. How could you say that we put him in danger?”
“Look like a man but talk like a pig.” Jack laughed, “You heard me. I’ll ‘deal with it’. You haven’t been convicted.”
“Understood, Lord Justice.”
Jack nodded with satisfaction then unhurriedly, he said, “Now, based on the evidence, you actually did it. So you’re all guilty as charged…”
All the soldiers were stunned. If Jack was serious about what he said, they would be hanged for it!
“Alas, you’re all silent. So that’s a silent confession?” Jack pretended, then yelled to his men outside, “Oyi, you lot, prep the gallows!”
“Wait, Lord Justice.” The squad leader earlier stepped out, “At least let us be clear of the offense.”
“You still don’t understand?” Jack’s face grew darker, the hippie smile instantly turned ugly, “You mother-fuckers, when your commander tries to run away, you’re supposed to stop him instead of encouraging him. Do you think he’s safe with you around? How it turned out, huh? YOU LOST HIM! A bunch of stupid heads!”
“We did, but he wouldn’t listen…”
“Damn you, I thought you are smart. Your JOB is to keep your commander away from danger!” Jack’s middle finger pointed at the squad leader’s nose, “Yes, you heed his command, but not to exceed your duty! DO YOU KNOW YOUR DUTIES? Tell me, was it fun to hide in the woods with your commander? Do you like raiding a nobility’s dinner? You’re lucky he came back.”
“Lord Justice…” Malphite stepped out and stopped Jack, “they followed only because I gave them the order. Please reconsider, these are good men. They worth more when they’re alive.”
“You’re the biggest moron, humph,” Jack called his subordinates to drag all IGT members outside and flogged them 50 each, save for the elves. Then Jack grinned to the IGT’s command group. All shuddered.
“I’m not in a position to punish you elves. So please make your way to Queen Winslet for your discipline.”
“Yes, My Lord.” A twenty-ish elf guarding members began exiting the yard.
“Wait, you, Diana. Not you, you’re staying as one of the command group.”
“Why the hell wingmen have to be flogged and elves don’t? We have wings…” One of the squad leaders grumbled with just enough volume that Jack could hear. He said as his fellow wingmen were being flogged outside.
“Don’t get the lips here. Look at the elves, and look at your face, huh, hideous.” Jack certainly knew what this squad leader was thinking. Therefore he talked as if he’s already malpractice the army law, “Unsatisfied? How about I give you my position?”
Then Jack added, “Plus, they have thin bodies, I might as well kill them than 50 floggings. Grow up, loser. I don’t care you’re a wingman or an elf. Next time I see you being this racist, I’ll rip your face!”
“There is a ‘next time’?” The one being scolded couldn’t care less that he was harshly insulted, instead, his face was full of pleasant surprise, “So we don’t need to die?”
Jack laughed again.
“If I was serious, all of you would be hanged for a hundred times, however…” Jacked paused then said, “Considering that you’re the king’s valuable assets and his pardon for you has just arrived. Therefore you’ll treat yourselves with a year’s wage deduction, demotion, 200 flogs and 10 circle-running the training ground, naked. Diana has the queen’s exemption of the flogs and naked running. But you’re still grounded for 10 days. Report to Queen Winslet afterward.”
“My Lord, 200 flogs!” The wingman captain requested miserably, “You might as well kill me too!”
“Put a hundred on your tab.” Jack straightened his uniform, “What? Too much for you? Bust yourself to private then.”
The captains had to swallow the punishments. But it seemed that this devilish Lord Justice was still unwilling to let them go.
“Now, the public procedures are done.” Jack grinned, “Boys, gimme some bonny hops…”
“Objection, my lord! We’re officers!” Yelled Malphite.
“Save it! I don’t care.” Jack laughed, “Hurry up, I’ve got an entire show for you.”
The captains had endured Jack’s ‘show’ till evening and they had finally learned how fearsome this particular backyard was. As to what had happened there, no one mentioned a word afterward. Either way, Malphite had vowed to never come back here again.
This chapter was originally published on Wuxianation, any despicable reposts or copies without proper citings are strictly prohibited.