Polymath Redux Annex
Chapter 52 – Attempted Regicide
I stood surrounded at blade point. What the actual hell is wrong with this man?! He suddenly took me; teleported us right into the middle of the First Prince’s Royal Guards! Does he even understand how powerful these people are?! That now we have no means of escape and he’s just signed our death warrants?!
He tossed a small iron sword onto my lap. “What are you doing?!” I involuntarily snapped and shouted back at him. When I looked around, the Royal Guardsmen were all poised to strike us down on command. Everything from the way they handled themselves, how they moved and held their weapons screamed extremely professional. I was not a fighter or warrior by any standard but even I understood to respect the precise level of discipline these men must’ve gone through to stay their hands without so much as a visible shake.
“Wait,” a voice came from behind the soldiers. It was the First Prince himself! Leon Mil Avis Chrom; the man loved by both the Gods and the people stepped forward to confront us, the would-be assassins. If our roles had been flipped, I would’ve had the ‘assassins’ taken down in an instant without a chance for negotiation. I suppose that’s what made this man and the rest of us commoners so different. Bravely, he stepped forward. His blonde hair swayed by the night breeze and shining as though he had just gotten out of a bath. He stood before us in his royal garbs, militaristic in style but that kind of presentation commanded charisma and respect. “Before we do anything else, why don’t we have a little chat?” he smiled back at us.
“What are you doing, Prince?” another man entered the conversation. His heavy boots stomped against the dirt as he approached us. There was a particularly elegant and wise presence about him. An elderly figure, though even through his loose robes it was rather noticeable that he hid an impressive physique. His golden eyes flashed at us. I felt as though a sword had smitten through my chest and I was dead. “You waste time talking to assassins.” There was no doubt, this elderly man was the all-powerful ‘Dragon King’.
My face paled as sweat rushed profusely down my back. My hands trembled not by the cold but by fear. I instinctively clutched onto the hilt of the iron sword that this phantom gave me. Yet, even past that harrowing white mask, I could tell that he did not feel the same kind of anxiety that I had. Instead, he simply let out an audible sigh as he shook his head. He whispered, “unfortunately, we’re rather strapped for time. There are two more that needs rescue after this,” The phantom snapped his fingers.
I don’t know what he did but I noticed a faint movement of black shadow swirl around us at incredible speeds. The next thing I knew, all the Royal Guards that were previously trying to contest us were now on the floor with their plated armours busted or breached like toilet paper and heavily bleeding out. They fell to the ground writhing and moaning. “What the…?!” both the First Prince and the Dragon King were surprised.
Were they dead?! Did he just kill them?! With dread, I shrieked back at the sight of such instantaneous and indiscriminate violence. I wanted to get away from here. This man is insane! A psychopath! My attempt at crawling away was impeded when my back hit against something.
With shaken resolve, I glanced back. There was a woman dressed neatly in a black oriental dress. She held a blade darker than the night, the edge of which ran down with a thin crimson liquid.
“You bastards!” a loud and deep voice rang from the distance but almost instantly appeared before us. A large man suited in heavy plated armour rushed at us with a gigantic twohanded axe drawn up. Without hesitation or warning he swung down the lumbering weapon at the phantom. However, even this man was no match. The Phantom simply stopped the axe’s arc with his bare hands and swept the legs of the assailant. The armoured man fell to his back with a ‘clang’ and briefly exposed himself up for an attack. Phantom did not let this opportunity pass by as he raised his hands and chanted beneath his breath something like, “Flame Pillar.” A large inferno stone column appeared in the sky and relentlessly crashed down on the armoured man.
With a definite and savage ‘crash’ the man had been buried. Was he dead too?! Even if he miraculously lived, the intense inferno would surely burn him to cinders! It’d be a surprise if any of these people could survive after all this! “No, Seron!” the First Prince shouted out, but there was no response from the man underneath the burning rubble. I averted my gaze. The contents of my lunch wanted to escape through my mouth but I held it in.
The First Prince and the Dragon King were left with awestruck expressions on their faces. The two most prominent and powerful figures on this entire continent, now reduced to haplessly stunned logs. However, even they were professionals. Prince Leon knew what he needed to do and took several steps behind the infinitely more powerful Dragon King.
Phantom did not let them continue to move. I don’t know when, but he was no longer by my side but suddenly appeared next to the First Prince. He tapped both the Prince and the Dragon King on the shoulders, to which then they immediately fell to their knees. It was like gravity had intensified where they were standing. A bright chain of light burst from the floor and held them in place.
“Lord Sinclair!” another voice came from above, this time a woman’s. A woman wearing plated leather armour soared down at us from the sky. Attached to her back were large golden wings and two magnificent horns. She wore large knuckler gauntlets used for close range blunt force hits. Unlike before, Phantom did not directly bother to intercept and simply pointed up. The woman behind me, shifted into shadows and rushed at the Draconian warrior.
“Shuri!” perhaps I had been one of the rare ones to see a flustered expression upon the stoic and aged face of the mighty ‘Dragon King’. “This power… who are you?” he asked Phantom, but even I, who knew his identity, could not properly answer that question.
Phantom didn’t bother with responding and simply looked towards me. All in the span of what could be counted in minutes, the situation had turned completely. We were surrounded and about to meet our doom, but now both the First Prince and the Dragon King were at our mercy. “Now then, you said you had the convictions to go through with it. You want to save Rena and Charlotte, right? It was you yourself that said this was the way you wanted do it.”
He got me good. I looked down at the sword in my hand. I gulped and gazed back at the still composed blue eyes of the First Prince. I returned the question, “wouldn’t you? If you were like me… powerless. If you were in my shoes, wouldn’t you kill them?”
Without hesitation, Phantom replied, “No, I would not. This is the least effective way to go about things.”
I couldn’t help but let out a drained chuckle. “How… how can you say it that quickly? How can you make life or death decisions so instantly? Is it because you’re strong? Because you have the power to take down even the Dragon King and all the Royal Guards? If I had your power, would I also be able to answer without hesitation?”
However, Phantom shook his head. “It has nothing to do with strength. Even before strength, making decisions all just come down to a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”
“What do you mean?” I asked as I stood back up, still clutching onto the handle of the sword. “I… don’t understand. I could never do what you do. To so boldly make life or death decisions at the drop of a hat.”
“You’re wrong. Anyone is certainly capable of it. Even you. Should we try?” He then told me, “then, answer with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to these next set of questions. As you listen I want you to hold tightly onto that sword.”
I didn’t know what he was getting at, but for the time being I did as he told me.
“First Question: Do you care about Rena and Charlotte?” with that first question I felt my palms and fingers tightening their grip on the handle of the sword. My heart rate started to spike. Was that even a question that needed to be answered? I did so anyway…
“Would you be willing to give your own life to save them?”
“Yes!” I felt my previously drained stamina return to me as my heart jumped even more. Breathing with my nose became smothering so I started to take in air through my mouth, “haa… haa…” my breaths became haggard with an adrenaline rush.
“Would you do anything to save them?”
“Yes.” I answered, this time without hesitation. I think… I think I’m starting to understand a little.
“Would you fight against the world for their safety and happiness?”
“Even if you have to mess up your own life. Even if you must take the lives of innocents. Do you still wish to protect the two?”
“… Yes… I do!” as I answered, there was a strangely liberating sensation. “Ah…” I opened my eyes. I held no personal hatred for either the First Prince or the Dragon King, but I was going to follow through my convictions even if they or anyone else had to die! Regardless of anyone who has to suffer because of my actions, I would rather the world burn than to see Rena and Charlotte hurt! Before my notice, my body started to move forward and I now stood before the First Prince.
Strange, I was merely a commoner but I had the power to decide his life or death. He knelt before me powerlessly and helplessly. I now stood before him with a unwavering determination.
I’ll sacrifice everyone for the safety of my family. If it was me now, even this atrocity, I could commit it without a second thought. Like a guillotine my blade slowly raised. I took a deep breath and stared directly into his blank blue eyes. He made no excuses or pleas and simply closed his eyes to accept his fate. The First Prince… he was strong too.
My blade was going to kill him… however, something stopped me. “Would Rena and Charlotte be happy if they saw you doing this?” Phantom abruptly shifted the question. All of a sudden, the strength and adrenaline gathered in my arms dissipated as I was left a petrified mess.
“…” that question was unfair. “… No,” is all I could answer with.
“Would Charlotte still smile at you if she knew you were doing this?”
“… No,” my eyes blurred. A warm liquid ran down my cheeks.
“Would Rena be able to live a happy life if she knew about this?”
“… No,” nausea gripped my stomach.
“If you made an enemy of the world, who would be left to protect them? To call family? Would you be able to protect them from the world?”
“… Dammit, no…”
“Then, do you truly think that the bishop will stay true to his worlds and let them go if you did this?”
“Final question: your beliefs and convictions against Rena and Charlotte’s happiness… which one is more important to you? Yours?”
“… No,” the sword in my hand dropped to the floor with a silent and heavy clang. I fell to my knees, tears like an unstoppable torrent. Just what is this?! What did he want me to do?! Now we’re just back to where we started!
It was like he read my mind, Phantom replied, “this isn’t where we started. You should now know what needs to be done next. Neither the First Prince nor the world is your enemy.” Yes, that’s right. I had always known who the true enemy is but was afraid of my own powerlessness to fight against it. “So then, you’re free to answer however you like for the next question. What is it that you need to do now?”
“I have to rescue them… I need to save Rena and Charlotte,” but I knew I couldn’t do this alone. “Please, help me!”
He nodded. Phantom started to clap, “congratulations. You have your priorities all straightened out. Oh, but before we go, I think we should fix this.” When he snapped his fingers, a burst of light poured from the darkened skies of midnight. It was surreal. The soldiers that had previously been grievously wounded burst back to life as though they were zombies. Even the knight who had been buried under the pile of flaming rubble resurrected with only minor scratches.
They had all been on the verge of death, but now it all seemed like a distant joke. “What the…?” the Prince repeated in surprise. We were all surprised at this godly display. The light shackles that bounded him and the Dragon King were also dispelled.
Phantom then turned to Prince Leon, “I do apologize for that bit of drama. I had to teach my companion about learning to set priorities and making proper decisions.”
Again, without my notice, Phantom appeared beside me. “Regalia,” he called out. The shadow woman who had been fighting against the female dragon warrior this entire time also came back. She sunk into his shadows. Phantom then placed his hands on my head as he took out a familiar red crystal. “Because this would otherwise leave a bad taste in my mouth; just this once I will help you.”
However, before we could leave, the First Prince called out, “wait!”
Phantom… Mordred turned back, “yes?” he asked.
“Who are you?”
Mordred thought for a while before he answered with a bow. “I am…” he trailed off as he looked at me. As if he read his mind, he introduced himself with an alias, “I am ‘Phantom’. Please do not worry, I’m sure in future you and I will cross paths again.” With those parting words, the red crystal activated and we were once more teleported away.