Translated by Tianic, contributing editor: Tana N
The previous chapters are being edited with Grammarly paid version, current progress: v1c1
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“[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ure.” I sided my body to make space in the doorway, “Welcome, General Winterhard Lennie!”
“Allow me to introduce.” Winterhard, who wore a suit of armor, said, “You will not slap me, will you?”
“I dare not.” I laughed, “Since the battle on the altar, you save no pleasant attitude for me, everybody knows that.”
“Cut the crap.” Winterhard’s hand made a gesture, she said, “This is Portaria’s Chief of Operations Officer.”
I smiled and nodded to greet him. Most of the time, the Chief of Operations Officer position would be taken by a royal family member. Since my army camped on his family’s land, I had better not offend him anyhow.
“This is the special counselor of the High Priest from the Portaria Holy Temple.” Winterhard continued, “He happened to be at the HQ, so we brought him along.”
I looked over and found this counselor to be my old acquaintance. He was the Portaria white-robed priest who followed me all the way to Divine City and insisted on awarding me with a bunch of medals.
“Ser Knight of Protoss,” He said with a smile, “don’t you remember me?”
“Mr. Priest, how could I.” I said with care, “You awarded me my very first medal. Please forgive my manner earlier.”
“This is the local Viceroy, and this is the the PUF’s Deputy Quartermaster.” Winterhard said, “There’s one more general coming shortly after.”
I greeted each of them and said, “Please, come in. I hope my tent is not too shabby.”
“Immediately call the other 2 division commanders, Lord Justice, and my Chief of Staff.” I remained the last and told my orderly, “Tell them it’s an emergency meeting!”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
I entered my pavilion as well. Right before I had everybody seated, Carlos and my bros were here.
“Sit down.” I hinted several seats beside me, “These people are from the PUF headquarter.”
I had only one table in my pavilion, which was a long dining table for about 60. After all the people had sat down on both sides, I hinted the priest clerk to let him start talking.
“Now, it happened like this.” The clerk stood up; cheeks were still a bit swollen. He eased his tone as much as possible, “On the first day of Mr. Cohen Kheda’s arrival, he arrested his deputy – York Tyrant following the captivity of all the lower ranked military officers. And he wanted to execute them.
“Wait,” Winterhard raised a hand to interrupt the clerk, “Ser Cohen Kheda, did it happen?”
“Positive.” I was dead serious.
Winterhard wrote something on her paper, “Mr. Clerk, please continue.”
“Good. As you all know, former legion officers’ jobs were ordered by the Holy Temple; they’re good officers!” The clerk was a bit emotional, “Even they did something wrong, the cases should be at the temple’s discretion. I want to remind Ser Cohen Kheda, whatever your intentions are, your current status is not sufficient to decide the fate of hundreds of officers. I sincerely wish for you all who present to judge this matter fairly to prevent such a tragedy to occur!”
As the clerk stated, the people who were on this table were either sitting or pondering solemnly. But the young Portaria Chief Operator was acting like an outsider as he was picking his long nail on his little finger.
A moment of silence.
“Chief Operator, Your Excellency,” Eventually, Winterhard broke the silence, “What do you think about this matter?”
“Are you asking me, General?” The Chief Operator lifted his eyes and said, “It’s none of my business I presume.”
“Yes, Your Excellency.” Winterhard said nevertheless, “But since you’re here, can you tell us your view on this!”
The Chief Operator slightly adjust himself on the wooden chair, then looked over to me.
“Ser Cohen Kheda,” He said, “may I address you like this?”
“Sure, Your Excellency.” I said, “As you wish.”
“First, I would like to express my thank-you since you saved my cousin, the Portaria prince.”
“Ser,” He continued, “you should know, he’s the only one I get along with…”
I almost fell over from my chair, who would expect him to mention that now?
“You’re welcome, Chief Operator.” I said with a smile, “Under the circumstance, I merely did my job.”
“Yes, your job!” The Chief Operator said, “I believe Mr. Cohen Kheda will definitely not make his decisions without reasons. It’s his style all along. Last time, he slaughtered a mage and our King commented that he did it right and in time…”
“Forgive me, Chief Operator, I don’t want to cut in.” The clerk said, “You should focus on this matter only.”
“Do you expect me to judge an honored Protoss Knight?” The Chief Operator said, “Let me tell you now, I don’t have any view on this!
I was amused. This Chief Operator was impressive as he said a lot which equaled having said nothing.
“Mr. Cohen Kheda, I know you would not unreasonably punish these officers,” The white-robed priest who came along with Winterhard said, “but on this matter, you need to consider the temple’s reputation. No matter what, punishing temple-ordered officers on such a large scale, it’s a difficult reality for them to accept.”
To be honest, this white priest had a point.
“Mr. Priest, I did not want to punish them either.” I said, “They forced me to. As for the reasons, I will talk about them later on, is that alright?”
I made a ‘please’ gesture to the Deputy Quartermaster, who was presumably the Prime Minister’s deputy. Why the Prime Minister didn’t come himself, I wondered.
“ I have the same view.” The Deputy Quartermaster said, “I think you overdid it a bit. I believe you must have your reasons, but for the Holy Temple, they’re good officers. Some of them just graduated from the seminary.”
“I know.” I nodded, “Anyone else?”
“Ser, if you won’t object, I’d like to comment.” A general-like man stood up, “”As a general, I understand your intention to discipline your army. But others might consider what you’ve done to be exclusive. Do you think it’s appropriate right before the War?”
Just as I expected, he put the label on me.
All have expressed their view over the clerk’s appeal. It basically concluded that the Chief Operator remained silent, Winterhard was neutral, and the rest supported the clerk.
“General Winterhard Lennie,” I said, “Have the PUF headquarter explicitly ordered me to not execute them?”
“They have not, consider your status, the HQ cannot give you any orders on this matter.” Winterhard replied, “My duty is to record the meeting as well as to bring a message from the His Highness himself.”
“His Highness wanted me to inform you,” Winterhard said seriously, “you and your officers ate up, used up the supplies from all service stations along the way. It has already caused a bad reputation for you. Ser, please value your goodwill as a Protoss Knight.”
“I understand.” I stood up and said, “I’ve comprehended well on your opinions. Now, it’s my turn.”
“Yes,” Winterhard said, head lowered, “ser, please.”
“As a matter of fact, what I want to say is simple.” I said, “I think, an officer is an officer. There’s no different if he’s from the temple or not. As long as they did something stupid, they’ll have to pay for his stupid act.”
“Now I’m standing here with 3 titles. As a Viceroy of Swabia, I’m responsible for the King; as the Protoss Knight, I’m responsible for the Protoss race; and as the commander of the Ninth Legion, I’m responsible for the United Force! Amongst which, none of them requires me to take responsibility for the temple!” I hardened my tone, “I’m ok with temple-ordered officers, but if they wanna stay in my camp, they’ll have to obey my rules, non negotiable!”
“Mr. Protoss Knight!” The clerk said, “Pay attention to your words, you stated that you’re not responsible for the temple?”
“I said that, why do you think I gave you three days?” I sneered, “You’ll not be executed for no reason!”
Having said that, all were stunned. None expected that I went so far as to even kill the clerk.
“Ser, did I hear it right?” The white priest said astonishedly, “He’s the clerk!”
“Mr. Priest, you know I respect a lot.” I said modestly, “Please allow me to explain.”
The white priest was in a dark as he nodded, unaware of how to control the situation.
“Everyone, I need to tell you what these so-called officers were doing on the first night I arrived here.” I reached a piece of paper, “This is the document from the Law Advocate Department. Their deeds have truly surprised me, and I’m glad to share them with you all.”
“On that night, I had a thousand men to enter this camp containing 70, 000 soldiers from the gate all the way to the commander’s pavilion, which was this tent, we were not stopped! And why? Because ” I lingered my voice, “there were only two soldiers on duty at all 7 camp entrances including the main gate, and the only two were drunk.” I read according to the document, “There were 74 lieutenant-ranked, 24 major-ranked officers had women in their tents, 9 officers were molesting boys. They were just – too occupied!”
“Among the hundred officers who stayed over the town that night, Brigadier York Tyrant and his followers, 39 were found in the whorehouse, 24 raped local residents, more than 60 were drinking and gambling…” I read as I approached the Deputy Quartermaster, “These are the so-called good officers, from the seminary! Do you still insist that?”
“Ser, these are all minor details!” The Deputy Quartermaster said, “Our officers were outstanding on daily jobs…”
“Outstanding? I get that!” I laughed, “Jack, my Lord Justice. Please tell them what they have done on their daily jobs?”
“Yes, sir!” Jack flipped through the files, “During the most recent three days, the LAD have dealt with more than 400 cases including murder, robbery, rape. Almost each felony involves a former officer. If I sentence them according to the military law, all will be needing more than 5 executions to make up for what they have done.
“No way! That’s not possible!” The clerk can no longer keep calm as he yelled, “You made that up! And your bloody justice!”
“What I said is true, and these temple-assigned officers have confessed! I have their signatures on the document.” Jack said, unhurried, “I am Lord Justice. This is my job. If you accused of faking it, have your proof!”
“You faked it.” The clerk yelled, “I know, you wrecked their bodies to fill in your purpose! You went even so cruelly to cut an officer’s genital!”
“No such thing has occurred.” I kept a straight face, “I promise!”
The clerk paused for a second, “You…”
“Mr. Clerk, may I remind you that you need to have proof for anything you say.” I said, “If you cannot find an officer with his genital off, your charge will be doubled!”
“That officer who raped the bakery owner’s daughter, where is he?” The clerk hadn’t the slightest idea that he was stepping into a trap, “Is he alive?”
I laughed hard. And as I laughed, the look on the clerk’s face became hardened.
“Turns out you knew he raped the bakery’s daughter, hahaha!” I laughed, “You’re right, that officer is no longer alive. His crime had made me lost my mind. I have personally ordered his soul purified by holy fire. As for his body, I guarantee, his body is intact.”
I clapped and a second lieutenant entered the tent and delivered a box in front of the clerk.
“He’s in the box.” I said with my head sided, “Please, have a look.”
Burnt to ashes, there was no way he would recognize him.
“You’ve promised! You won’t kill anyone before I come back!” The clerk yelled, “Ser, don’t forget you’re a Protoss Knight!”
“A Protoss Knight is also a human being.” I said, “Can’t a Protoss Knight throw a tantrum or lose his mind?”
“You have no rights!” The clerk said, “Anyone who’s here won’t allow it!”
“You’re wrong, they will,” I eyed through everybody at the table, “after what I said.”
“Please, you all must want to know why I can’t wait to execute these officers. I’ll tell you, loud and clear. Not only their crimes made my hair stand, they even bragged about their crime to others!” I’ve prepared my speech, “Please consider, if they don’t die, how severely would they damage the temple’s and even the Protoss’ reputation! We have a coming war, and what bad they would have caused to the United Forces! The temple, as well as the Protoss race, would have become a giant joke on the Peace continent!”
“And yes, I executed an officer beforehand, and I have to be wrongly named of tyranny for executing hundreds of temple-assigned officers.” I slammed the table and roared, “Don’t fucking reason with me, I know all the reasons! I’m clearing your own messy situation with my own fame! However, you all people who’s been saying the reputation of the temple and the Protoss came running to stop me safeguarding their reputation! What’s on your minds, wake up!”
No one said a word. No one had the guts to oppose me under such a situation.
“My decision is final.” I said, “Any more objections?”
“Ser, I understand you feeling.” The Deputy Quartermaster said, “Can you cut down on the execution? After all, the temple made a great effort raising these officers.”
“Sure, and you’re responsible should anything to occur!” I looked him coldly, “Do you know why the Chief Quartermaster himself didn’t come? Because he knows this is the only solution, dumbass!”
The Deputy Quartermaster went silent. He didn’t even bother that I just scolded him.
“Ser,” The white priest made a bitter smile, “may I have a word?”
“Ser, amongst the people here, I’m the one who met you during the early days. I know you’re a bit baffled in such a situation, and I shouldn’t make such a request.” The white priest said, “But I have to personally ask you to at least keep York Tyrant because he’s my niece.”
“Please, Mr. Priest.” I nodded, If you promise he’ll be silent, I can do that.”
“Thank you, ser.” The white priest said with gratitude, “I have no more requests.”
I looked at the time and said, “So, no more opinions, you all?”
“Lord Justice!” I turned to Jack, “You have my permission to arrest the clerk.”
“No! No!” The clerk remembered what I said about executing him. He stood up in panic, “I’m innocent!”
“Mr. Clerk, look,” Jack approached him, “I am Colonel Jack, Lord Justice of the Ninth Legion, for you disobeying the commander’s order and conspiracy of sabotaging the temple’s reputation, for the evidence is irrefutable, I now announce your arrest.”
“No, I’m innocent…”
Wilder, who’s been standing aside immediately came over and stopped his yelling by breaking his jaw with a punch.
All sighed at him. Who would expect the earlier high-spirited clerk was now a goat to be sliced by.
“Ser, our business here is done.” Winterhard put away her papers, “We’re heading back to the HQ.”
“I’ll see you off, forgive my manners.” I said with a smile, “I had nothing to say about the atmosphere when dealing with such business.”
Winterhard glanced me and said nothing.
“By the way, Lord Justice,” I told Jack, “bring York Tyrand for Mr. Priest.”
“Sir, yes, sir!”
“Thank you, ser.” The white priest approached me and whispered, “By the way, ser, you could mark them on the papers that these officers died of incidents, you know, to make the temple feel better this way.”
“Sure.” I roared, “Please, everyone. I won’t keep you to watch the execution. That’ll be a bloody slaughter.”
I should thank my ‘Protoss Knight’ title for gaining their support on this matter. They cannot do anything to me as I put the Protoss label on them.
More than 300 officers gazed at us with their begging looks while the six people were leaving from the main gate. As the clerk was escorted with his hands and feet tied, more and more officers under the gallows started sobbing then quickly, the sobbing became crying.
“Jack,” I said in a lowered tone, “the execution!”
Hundreds of gallows moved while the ropes made nasty sounds as they tightened. The criminals’ face became twisted.
“Let’s go!” I turned back. Though I was prepared for such a scene, I felt disgusting, “They deserve it.”
“By the way, boss!” Jack said quietly, “Are we actually noting that they die of incidents?”
“Yes, in this way the temple’s face will be saved.” I said, “You come up with something, anything.”
“Choked by food?”
“Choked by water?”
“That’s it, I know you want to make me happy.” I tapped Jack’s shoulder, “I’ll be good in a moment. Let’s talk business in the tent.”