Chapter 14:

Chapter 12: Wheels and Cogs

The Immortal Witch's Death Wish

East Goumei, New Capital City of AllonBookmark here

With the king having been slain just 3 months back, the country was facing a huge crisis. The economic blow from their loss was tantamount to the destruction of their capital city. Truly, the demon had enjoyed its month long terrorization of the city, and acted with cruelty not yet seen before in modern times.Bookmark here

Regalia shuddered remembering the atrocities that he had witnessed. The demon, a tall and lanky man wearing such an obscure choice in fashion, walked the streets and picked apart anyone he saw.Bookmark here

The way he did it, it was clear, he was playing around with the lives of his prey. After inflicting his first bout of terror, he kept out of houses, only killing those that took to the streets. People were falsely convinced that he could not enter their house. But in truth, this was just the game he enjoyed playing. At night, one could hear screams of unsuspecting families neighboring them. Bookmark here

Like always, the deaths of course…. were never fast. They howled for hours at a time. Often times he would drag the bodies out in front of houses he knew were watching and torture them in front of everyone. When he finally grew tired of this game, he stormed into the previously believed fortified palace, and executed the king.Bookmark here

“As of this moment, I declare myself the king of All of Goumei. I demand your best offerings. lest, you not be spared.”Bookmark here

Of course, when many did not, the demon had utilized a strange foul technique. He still breaks out into cold sweats at night thinking about the ominous feeling of it. That type of move corrupted the minds of everyone who felt it. Siblings turned against siblings, and the country’s very own soldiers wiped themselves out. He called it...Corruption Magic. Bookmark here

This was a term unheard of in all the magic recitals and books. It was most-likely only possible due to the foul miasma they called their aura.Bookmark here

“Lord Regalia.-... are you listening?”Bookmark here

He instantly returned to the real world before him. Sitting in front of him, was the council of 12. Well… what was formerly the council of 12. As of now the council was composed of only four members - Earl Regalia included. Bookmark here

The Earl sighed. As of now the council was as full as it could get. The round table now looked just like any other stone slab when not decorated by the vast majority of its nobles. The city of Godon was normally a very eccentric city, and the nobles often stayed there extensively during their vacations.Bookmark here

To think, by the time they’d return their work would be much more cut out for them. “Ehm*.. Sorry, I’ve not been sleeping too well as of recently.”Bookmark here

Count Jidan looked at the man with sorrowful eyes. He knew exactly what kind of pain the man must’ve seen in the city of Godon. He had went to visit it himself only to find everything in utter chaos. That type of demon that arrived there, made himself a personal hell befitting of his kingdom. “I’m deeply troubled about your health as of recent.” The man had lost a good 30 lbs in the past 3 months. Bookmark here

Regalia shook his head. “No, no it is alright. I’m one of the lucky ones to have survived that.” He put on an energetic smile and sat up straight. “Now… let’s discuss matters. Did you manage to do the task I had asked of you?”Bookmark here

Count Jidan nodded. “Ah yes, the orphanage. Everything is in preparation actually. I found the perfect one.”Bookmark here

The only two that looked truly excited to be here at this meeting was Count Jidan, who dressed in all black from his pointy hat, to his cuffed robes. Pure black fur adorned his shoulders and cuffs. Aside from that, the only piece of jewelry he wore were several silver chains.Bookmark here

His companion was the same and preferred to remain humble in appearance. The other two however, were very much like nobles. The Baron of Lexin, and the Baroness of Yuba dressed only in the most exquisite of silks. They had taken the time to dress up even more glorious than ever to lift the spirits of the citizens when they saw them pass by.Bookmark here

The oldest man in the room was Baron Marlough. While his personality was not that great, he held great allegiance to the kingdom. It was said many years ago, he had turned in his own father, the previous Baron of Torind. The result was a failed regicide attempt. When asked why he betrayed them, he simply said one must pay allegiance to their own kingdom. Even over their own family and lusts.Bookmark here

The Baroness, a younger woman of her late 20’s could not help but flaunt her wealth about. She had a fan in her hand and continuously waived it to her face. Despite how pretty she looked with the makeup she was wearing and the glamorous yellow-white outfit, she was tremendously cruel. She also seemed to be a mastermind of sorts. So when the council was summoned fourth again, she was the first to call them to action.Bookmark here

Though they were all careful to take heed of the council rallying. under her name, they realized what this had meant now. This council was about to turn into a deadlock of power, and she had presumably made the first move, cementing her place within the pillars of the council. Bookmark here

However, Earl Regalia and Count Jidan had already prepared for this. Upon hearing her rallying call, they had already set up a countermeasure. The tensions in the new capital- no, all over the country was indeed very high. New factions and parties were sure to form in this period of instability if a new leader has not been chosen right away.Bookmark here

“I think we all know what we’re here to discuss, correct?” she spoke.Bookmark here

“Of course. The instability in the kingdom is getting higher and higher each day. With our prices inflating and many of our noble families extinguished, there is a huge gap of services and expertise.” The old man spoke.Bookmark here

“It is as you say. We’ve focused much of our efforts on cleaning up the city and saving survivors, but I think it is high time we make haste. If we put this off any longer, newer parties and noble scrapplings will strive for the throne. What we can’t possibly allow, is for any of the unfit parties to strive for the throne.-”Bookmark here

Count Jidan interjected. “- So do you mean to tell me that you are the most fit for the position to take on the new role of King?”Bookmark here

As expected the Baroness beamed. “Well of course! I am the most fit for the position to take on the new role of the king. However-”Bookmark here

She smiled before she said her next statement. “I believe the one who should take the leadership position should be you, Regalia. Out of all the people that hold a seat on the council you are the most liked by the people. That’s where I come in. I’d love to take over your earldom.”Bookmark here

This was an immensely calculated bait and stab proposal. She had set the tone that she could lead and go after the position herself. But, now, by offering this position to Earl Regalia. If Regalia refuses, the only better alternative would appear to be her. After-all, it appeared as if she did not have an agenda after the throne. Bookmark here

In truth, she didn’t really care about whichever position she took. She could run circles around anyone in a game of politics.Bookmark here

However, this was going to be one very rare instance, where Regalia and Jidan would claim victory over. “No. I have a far better proposal. This will ensure the kingdom remains the same, and very much will ensure the rightful heirs to the throne are in power.”Bookmark here

They listened intently as he divulged that plan. Finally she let out a small laugh. “Oh, truly you guys have my admiration.”Bookmark here

The old man interrupted the group’s explanation. “This is no time for games. My allegiance is to the rightful king and country alone. Not some hodgepodge -”Bookmark here

The door to the room burst open and instantly captivated everyone’s attention. Standing at the entrance was a 6’4 behemoth, tall and lanky with the clanging of metal rustling with every breath. His armor almost seemed too heavy for his stature, yet with every step he took into the room, there was a heavy dull thud. His outfit was still stained with blood and his left arm had been missing. Bookmark here

Everyone was shocked. His eyes remained fierce and determined despite the fatigue and damage he had sustained. This was none other than Duke Eris. The man was responsible for the country's military regiment. It was a complete surprise that the man had survived. He had long been lost during the frey, fighting against the demonoid.Bookmark here

“To think you guys would start without me.”Bookmark here

“B-but how?!” Everyone was completely stupefied. Bookmark here

“It would take a lot more than my own men to kill me. Nor a demonoid for that matter.” He sighed calmly. Before taking a seat at the front counsel table. “So. Let’s talk.”Bookmark here

Out of everyone, sitting at the table, now there was yet another unexpected element. This man was hailed as a hero by all the common-folk. For his reverence, standing besides his military units through the end until the Hero ranked adventurers had arrived was impressive. He then remained with the remainder of his units and fought alongside the adventurers. Bookmark here

To see the man still alive and moving yet, meant for certain there was no other that could not challenge him if he was to vie for the throne. “Well… what exactly have I missed thus far?”Bookmark here

They filled him in on the plan they had to quench the people’s thirst for the throne. Eris patiently listened to the whole plan and thought intensively about it. Bookmark here

“No. I reject this plan. I believe it’s time we take this country in a new direction. It will take time, however… having faced that monster in battle, this is something that needs more than a normal monarch. They need a military state that looks more towards preparing this world for the other threats that now oppose all of us.”Bookmark here

Everyone looked at him stunned. This was a man hardened by war, who was usually always battle ready and constantly looking for the next battle. Before, he would have been ready to bring the war to the doorsteps of any other country- demon, or not. To see him change his demeanor so rapidly, yet still hold the same aura as he always had was perplexing. Bookmark here

When he stood up and left the table, it was clear those were the final words he had to say. He was going to turn this country into a military state. There was no other options, and given the fact that they were overshadowed by the influence this man had, his will was going to be the change of the country. Bookmark here

As the man left the room, the impending doom of the trio fell over the room. If they were to become a military state and become a force to fight off demons, they could not possibly survive the decision. Bookmark here

The state itself would blindly follow their hero, and fight regardless of the fact that they have little military power, nor the economic power left to become a state that continues to fight enemies of the same strength that had crippled them.Bookmark here

The Duke of all, the highest military might was granted his position because of his fight-hardy demeanor and perseverance. However, they had assumed he had died. This man surviving in a time where the country was entirely crippled by a devastating blow, was the worst case scenario. Though he had won many wars and battles against ALL odds, this was something that was clearly not able to be turned around. Bookmark here

After the Duke left, the baroness had no choice but to concede. “Very well. We’ll go along with your plan. We cannot let that duke become regal. Though, something has changed with him that is for certain… he’s no longer capable of even being in the position he is. I’m not sure what became of that event with the demonoid, but that is no longer even the person the general was.”Bookmark here

“Well how do you suppose we deal with this scenario? Surely we’d lose should he face us in opposition.” Jidan asked.Bookmark here

Regalia coughed a little bit. “Surely this was an unexpected outcome as well, but we mustn't give up. If we’re to truly fight for the sake of this country, we’ll have to set the pillars of the future here and now. If we forfeit it to the Duke, we’ll have to give up quite a lot of hope and forfeit the kingdom to many more losses of this caliber.Bookmark here

The baroness thought for a second then smirked. “Then… how about, we simply get rid of the Duke?”Bookmark here

Everyone stopped to contemplate the question. It sounds unlikely. The adventurers guild would not possibly accept such a mission. “Of course, if they were to believe that the man was indeed a demon, they would accept the mission. In this situation, there are many who are convinced of Duke Eris’ death. In fact, by now rumors had spread for quite a while throughout the country. We’ll simply submit a mission request stamped by us all under the guise that we are convinced he’s a victim of necromancy.”Bookmark here

The old man put his input as well. It seemed he was definitely in agreement as well now, that this country’s well being was much more important than the outcome. He agreed with the plan that the baroness, Ophelia had suggested. “We do have to take care of the situation. If we cannot ensure his death through the adventurer’s guild, we do have the option to kill him ourselves.”Bookmark here

“You surely can’t mean that there are men strong enough to rival the Great Duke?” Jidan had asked.Bookmark here

“The Great General? That is not the great general, Count Jidan. He has weakened significantly. Knowing him, he will not show himself publicly for several days. It was an impressive feat that he was able to make it here just by sheer will. You saw it didn’t you? His shaking, and injuries. The man is biding time before he can turn this country around. Noone would like to see their hero weakened and vulnerable.”Bookmark here

They all seemed to be in agreement with Baron Marlough’s words. Regalia nodded. It seems they were all on the same page. “Then, how about the prior proposal. I had found a proper candidate for the ascension to throne. He is a wise young child and quite strong willed, as well as incredibly intelligent. To level the offer, how about this. We’ll act as a support council to the new anointed king, until they can become of mature enough level to lead on their own.”Bookmark here

All of them nodded. They have reached a concord for sure. In order to save this country, they had but a month to make sure that everything was taken care of before the Duke asserted himself into power. This was no issue for the greatest minds in the kingdom. They will for sure make sure the country’s future is ensured.Bookmark here

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