King Hector POV
I arrived on my son's territory 2 days ago and saw the drastic changes he did on his dominion. Before entering his pricipality, we are to pass a county and then a viscounty. People on those places were on constant panic and fear. I was horrified with the state these people are in so I asked the viscount who is ruling near the Agmanacian border, Viscount Victor de Godrin. And what he replied to me shocked me entirely.
"The Black Demons will come here, Your Majesty. We have been told not to go to the border. To Agmanac's border. We are no longer allowed to go in that territory and no merchant or hunter can enter without the permission of the Prince himself. Even the Merchant Union is having a hard time trying to penetrate Agmanac. Your Majesty... You cannot enter Agmanac without passing through a newly-created fortress if you want to pass the main road. I heard that it isn't the only fortress created by the Prince. He also created stronghold on all major highways leading to Agmanac. He created mountain fortresses and the time he creates them are at an astonishing rate. He... He creates fortresses in a day... A DAY, YOUR MAJESTY!"
"Calm yourself Victor." I said calmly, though I myself am shaking inside. Building a fortress for a day? Not even dwarves and a grand earth magus could do such feat. How could Beale do those things?
"Fo-forgive me, Your Majesty. I lost my cool." Sitting back down, he continued to talk. "I see that your Majesty is riding your gryphons. Better not fly over, my King. The Prince have his own gryphon squadron on each of the major highway fortress which are supported with sharpshooters and battle mages. The fortresses are also outfitted with weapons I have never seen before, Your Majesty. Those things can shred your gryphons to pieces with just one shot." He said while shaking a little.
"How did you acquire this information, Victor?" I asked.
"By my own experience, Your Majesty..." He then bowed. "I lost my own gryphon squad along with my long time partner... Because of my own pride... B-But, Your Majesty... I know it was my fault but... don't I have my noble rights?"
"It happened when I received a message that a fortress is being built on the road to Agmanac. I hurriedly went their using my gryphon and was accompanied by my own gryphon knights. When I arrived, the aforementioned stronghold have already finished construction. I then flew over and demanded to see the chief guard or knight, invoking my right. It was then that we were intercepted by 20 gryphon riders and they demanded that we land or they will shot us down under the order of Prince Beale. I... I didn't follow and what happaned was a massacre. Arrows and magic were thrown towards us. The gryphon riders who intercepted us stood by away from us, blocking our exit. Then it rang... Those blasted contraptions that on one hit... blasted a gryphon to minced meat. I declared our surrender and proceeded to fly down when my partner was shot down. I was blasted away, only cushioned by the trees. I lost my consciousness then. When I woke up, only I was left alive. I then ran back here and filed a complaint to both the Prince and the to you, Your Majesty. Judging from your demeanor, you haven't received it yet due to you flying towards Agmanac. But the reply I got from the Prince only states this." He then took a piece of parchment from his clothes and handed it to me.
(Viscount Victor de Godrin. I received your complaint and this is my reply. I exercised my right to protect my dominion and that incident happened INSIDE my territory. You were asked by my guards and knights to land but you didn't comply. It was my order to shoot down and kill anyone not following the procedures I have implemented inside my territory. I don't care if you are a noble. You will comply with my rules when entering my dominion. Don't think your title and position has any power within my fief. Be glad that I didn't send my army to decimate your territory for trying to undermine my authority.)
Reading the letter, I was utterly dumbfounded. By right and customs, Beale was right. And this all happened inside his territory. But... Such decisiveness... Such cruelty... I stared at the now-tearing viscount in front of me. "I will try to talk to my son about this, Victor. I will also compensate you on your loss. We can't have your territory deprived of gryphon knights."
"I thank your Majesty for your benevolence but... I have learned my lesson, although in such a harsh way. Too much pride brings your demise. I have been idle for too long that I forgot that." Standing up, he then looked at me with an earnest and fervent stare. "I wish you safe travels, Your Majesty. I know the Prince will not be as harsh to you as he did with me. You are his Royal Father after all but to be safe, follow their rules Your Majesty. I have seen the Prince's capability in the capital first-hand. I will just say something Your Majesty if you would allow me."
Looking at his face, I assented. "You may Victor. What is it?"
"The Prince... He is decisive, cruel and powerful. A quality of a great general, a warrior, a warlord, a king, an emperor. We all know he is the heir to the Valoisian throne. He will bring great changes to the world. That I can say. Whether it be good or bad, I might not live to see that day. But with him on the throne, he might even overshadow the great founder of Valois, King Edmont the Great. But he is slowly gaining the fear and apathy of the nobles. They are scared of what the Prince will do next. They might rise up to dethrone the Prince and make someone else be the heir to the throne. Talk to the Prince, my King. Even with what he has done to me, it only made me gain respect to him and appreciation... for making me realize my mistakes. I beseech you... Talk to the Prince."
"I will Victor. I will. For the kingdom." I replied to his words with a clear voice.
"I thank Your Majesty for listening to my words." He then bowed deeply.
After that, we were escorted by Viscount de Gorbin up until the border to Agmanac. He then turned around and left. We walked on the road until we reached the fortress blocking the road to my son's territory. We were approaching the rampart which housed a big gate as an entrance when we were stopped by the border guards.
"Halt your steps and identify yourselves in the name of His Highness, Prince Beale!" A guard shouted.
"I am your king, King Hector Maxime de Bourbon de Valois, Ruler of the Kingdom of Valois and father of your Prince. By my authority, I demand you to open the gate and let us pass. I need to see my son." I stated in an audible voice.
Coming near me and confirming my identity, the guard slightly vowed and said. "Welcome to Agmanac, Your Majesty."
My knight, Ser Gregor d'Auvergne, jumped out of his gryphon and roared. "SUCH BLATANT DISRESPECT! KNEEL DOWN!"
He tried to draw his weapon towards the guard but I stopped him. "Stop. Sheath your sword."
Clealy shocked, the knight yelled. "YOUR MAJESTY! THEY ARE NOT RESPECTING YOU ENOUGH AND THIS IS YOUR LAND! VALIOSIAN LAND! YOU RULE THIS LANDS!"
"I understand your sentiment but still, sheath your sword." I then pointed at the rampart. "You could have died easily with those."
Looking at the rampart, he saw various weapons pointed at him. Staves, arrows and hollow metal contraptions. Horrified, he said. "They would even dare fire at the Royal Knights accompanying the King?!"
"They will. They are single-minded on their jobs. And the orders they received are absolute. From what I see in them, they are soldiers loyal to their ruler... I am not that ruler..." I said bitterly.
"Wha-What do you mean by that, Your Majesty?" the knight asked.
"They are loyal only to the Prince. They are his men. I don't know how but this soldiers are all extremely loyal to the Prince. And the orders from Prince Beale, for them, are absolute. To the point that we might die here if we dare not follow their rules and instructions." I stated plainly.
"Ho-how could that be..." the knight muttered.
I turned to the guard and asked. "I am in a hurry. I wish to be allowed to fly towards Prince Beale's capital."
The guard was silent for a while then spoke. "General Paimon have affirmed your request. Please proceed." He then bowed and stepped back.
I was shocked on the guard's statement. General Paimon? Who is that? I won't ask. I will just see who that general is in Beale's capital. Seeing that, the sharpshooters and warmages put away their weapons. Those hollow metal contraptions were also not pointed at us anymore. I then gestured my knights to ride on their respective gryphons and began to fly. I then looked below me and saw the size of the fortress that blocked our way. It's big... a fortress that can hold at least 3 thousand... I then looked beyond it and saw something more amazing. Walls... stretching for miles... Did he box in Agmanac?! How did Beale do such a thing?! No... He didn't do this personally... I can only have the answers on this question from Beale himself. I then looked behind me, to my knights.
"Let's go. We have to hurry."
Nodding to me, we then sped up towards this principality's capital. When we arrived, we were no longer stopped by the guards. They then told me that they have informed my son of my arrival. I was stunned by such statement. I mean he didn't even move. Looking at the grand castle that my son named Chernobog, I was shocked. A little more and this grand castle will be on par with the Royal Castle in the capital. Just how did he acquire such resources to build this. Not just this but the wall and the fortress and the soldiers who have undying loyalty to you... Beale... My son... Just who are you?
Agmanac Northern border
Princess Gabirelle POV
"Milady, we have arrived to the border leading to Agmanac but..." a knight stopped his sentence midway.
"What is it?" I asked.
"A wall, Milady. A wall stretching from what our eyes could see. From the rough estimation, it is at least 30 meters high..."
"Ohh... It is?"
"We never received a report like this. We must report this back to the empire!" the knight exclaimed.
"No. We are here on a diplomatic mission. Besides..." Pointing on a visible spire, I said. "I think ahead of us is a fortress or a bastion. We might pass through there." I said with a smile.
"As you wish, Milady." the knight vowed and walked forward, towards the visible spire.
When we arrived, what we saw was amazing. A huge fortress. I almost mistook it for a major citadel. The knight who was with me was muttering something like 'This is impossible' or words along those line. Anyway, we were greeted by a group of soldiers who pointed their spears at us without any warning. My knight then jumped in front of me, seemingly trying to protect me from the soldiers. My handmade who was with us held me in her bosom while looking angrily at the soldiers. It was then that my knight shouted.
"LOWER YOUR WEAPONS! WE DIDN'T COME HERE TO FIGHT! WE ARE OFFICIAL ENVOYS FROM THE GLORIOUS LUXUM EMPIRE!"
The soldier in front of us lowered his weapon but the rest didn't. He then walked towards us and spoke. "Are you the ambassadors His Highness, Prince Beale waiting for?"
Before my knight can speak, I released my handmaiden's hold on me and walked forward. I curtsied and said. "Greetings to you, soldiers of Agmanac. I am Gabrielle Monique Tudor y Luxum, 3rd princess of Luxum Empire and ambassador to the Emperor. I came along with my personal knight, Ser Edward Mason and my handmaiden, Lady Carmine Housser. Here is my identification plaque." I handed my imperial token to the guard.
Receiving the token, the soldier looked at it for a while then handed it back to me. He then spoke. "I have confirmed your identity." He bowed a little and continued. "Greetings, Princess. Welcome to the border city of Gastonia. We have prepared 3 hippogryphs for you to use. His Highness will receive you in the capital." He then stepped back and the soldiers with him removed their weapons pointed at us.
We rode our horses through the entrance and were escorted inside by the soldier who spoke to us. There we saw the entirety of the bastide we just entered. In the middle of it is a large citadel. I was amazed with what is in here. Because in front of my eyes, demihumans roamed around. With the spread of the Anthropocentristic religion, demihumans seized any contact with the human countries. My curiousity got the best of me and I asked the soldier guilding us.
"Excuse me. May I ask why are there demihumans in this city?"
The soldier in front, turned around and spoke. "I fail to understand the question, princess?"
"I mean, you know the new religion right? Demihumans have severed any form of communication to the empire yet why am I seeing them here?"
"That is the empire. We are not part of it and Prince Beale isn't part of the new religion." the soldier answered with a clear voice.
"But aren't you a human country? Shouldn't-"
I was stopped by the hand raised by the soldier escorting us. "Princess, I am a soldier. Politics isn't part of what I am ordered to know and do. Please direct your questions to His Highness." He then turned and started to walk again.
Although I am unsatisfied, I left it be... Until I saw another thing that sparked my curiousity. "Mister soldier, what is that black hollow metal thingy on the bastide walls? I saw them on the ramparts while entering here and now I see the same things here." I pointed on the fortress wall. "See? There they are!"
The soldier, without turning, spoke in a cold voice. "Princess, I am of no liberty to speak to a peace ambassador about such things. If you have questions, direct them to His Highness or Lord Paimon."
"Lord Paimon?" I asked.
"Yes. She is the great general of His Highness and commander of His Highness' army. Now, If you are done questioning me, I suggest we speed up." He said with a stern voice and walked faster.
Seeing that, I hurried my steps with Ser Edward and Carmine following after me. When we arrived at the stables, we were made to wait outside and the soldier went inside. When he returned, on his tow were 3 black-colored hippogryphs. He then gave us the reins and spoke.
"This hippogryphs will deliver you straight to Castle Chernobog."
"Castle Chernobog?" I asked.
"His Highness' castle in the capital. Now..." he then stepped back and said. "I bid you farewell. Your mounts doesn't need stirring. They will deliver you within the next few hours."
Before I could even reply to his words, my mount began to run and fly. Behind me, my knight and handmaiden were having complicated expressions in their faces. My mount then suddenly sped up and I was made to hold unto its neck. Such majestic creatures... Prince Beale is really something. But what is more suprising is the apparent power he wields. Even King Hector doesn't have this kind of capability. Prince Beale... Just what are you...
I am now sitting in my study looking at the personage in front of me, Grand Shaman Myriim Nabal Mornaug. She arrived just a minute ago and before I could even say something to the messenger who delivered me the report, she suddenly materialized in front of me which by instinct, I quickly made the shadows entangle her and left only her head visible. Around her, black fireballs surrounded her. On her neck was Paimon's sword and Gremory's axe while behind her were the spears of the guards.
"So, Grand Shaman. What is the meaning of your sudden intrusion without prior notice?"
"I just wanted to see you and gauge your abilities but it seems like... it wasn't necessary." She said with a smile.
"I don't think this is a situation where you can be nonchalant... you see..." I then gathered magicka in my hands then clamped it close, clenching my hand into a fist. The action made the shadow tendrils surrounding her tighten to the maximum, crushing her.
"AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" She yelled as I crushed all bones in her body. Her organs ruptured and now, the seven orifices on her face began to spew out blood.
"This is what happens to those wannabes who dare try to test me. Isn't that right..." I looked at the curtains. "Grand Shaman, why don't you join us?"
A shadow then kneeled in front of me and spoke. "I apologize on behalf of my student, milord. She insisted on testing Milord's abilities. Before I could even voice my complaint, she assumed my form and assaulted you." She then knocked her head on the floor. "She is still young and naive but she is a prodigy in spirit arts. Please pardon her."
"Is that right? Though..." Releasing my shadow grip on the lady I just crushed. "She might be crippled for life."
The Grand Shaman turned around and was horrified with what she saw. She then jumped into the fallen lady. "QUIRIN!" Holding the crippled lady in front of her, she turned to me with eyes full of fury. "HOW COULD YOU?! YOU KNOW! YOU KNOW SHE CAN'T EVEN INFLICT YOU WITH A SINGLE SCRATCH! HOW COULD YOU BE SO CRUEL?!"
"Cruel? She's already lucky I didn't kill her." I replied plainly.
"YOU! YOU'RE NO HERALD OF GOD! YOU'RE-"
Activating 'Dominion', I released my bloodlust and killing intent directly to the shaman. "CAREFUL WITH YOUR WORDS, LIZARD. YOU CAME HERE UNDER MY GOOD GRACES AND I WAS EVEN WILLING TO USE MY TIME TO ENTERTAIN YOU AND YOUR PEOPLE. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO POINT FINGERS AT ME. IT WAS YOUR STUDENT WHO INTRUDED AND IT WAS YOUR STUDENT WHO CREATED A BLUNDER. BESIDES, YOU SHOULD BE THANKING ME. IF NOT FOR ME, YOUR STUDENT COULD HAVE DIED EITHER FROM PAIMON'S BLADE OR GREMORY'S AXE. SO..." I walked to the now shaking shaman and spoke. "YOU ARE NO LONGER WELCOME IN AGMANAC. GET OUT OF MY SIGHT." I then flicked my hand and shadows converged around the shaman and her student.
"P-please, King Belial! Please! One mistake, milord! Just one mistake and you are willing to forsake us?" Aryz who were with us with this fiasco, pleaded.
"It's not that I am forsaking you and your kind, Aryz. But if even your leader can't see what is right and wrong in front of her, how can I even trust you?" I asked while looking at the bowing Aryz. I eased the pressure since I saw the shaman making an almost fainting face.
"But... But, milord-"
"Look at my perspective, Aryz. If I were to make something like that to your Grand Shaman, would I gain your trust or your wariness? Even if it wasn't an attack but a test, would you trust someone who thinks he or she is better than you and because she thinks she is better than you, will undermine your authority and if chances are given, usurp your power? I know this Aryz because I had been through many of those scenarios. Lies, deceit and betrayal. I had enough experience on those that I know how the mind of that crippled woman works. So don't make me as the villain on this situation. It was you people who made me distrust you and your people: your shaman who didn't stop her student from testing my mettle. For the student who thinks just because she is a prodigy, she can do whatever she wants. And to the elites who arrived with you who are now trying to snoop around for information about me, my retainers and the extent of my powers and influence." Looking at the pale-faced shaman. "You thought I didn't know? All of my retainers, knights, guards, soldiers and servants are loyal to me and only to me. Whatever ill intentions are directed to me, they immediately report. If it doesn't need my attention or confirmation, they themselves will eliminate the threat. So... Grand Shaman of the Dragon Newt Race, does my explanation satisfy you?"
Shocked by what I revealed to her, the shaman carefully laid her student down on the floor and kneeled in front of me, again knocking her head on the floor. "Please forgive us on our transgressions, Prince Beale. I will withraw. But please... Don't annihilate our race... It was my idea! All of it was my idea. Please, punish me and me alone... My people only followed my orders as I am their leader. Please... They are-"
"Enough of your grovelling. I feel nothing on your incessant begging. Being a leader doesn't mean that you have absolute power. There are many instances that will never coincide with your plans. This is one of it. Just because you are kneeling and begging, you can be forgiven, scot-free? Naive. But rejoice. Due to Aryz's pleas plus the worth of your people, I will forgive you and your transgressions. I will even have that woman healed. But I need something from you in return." I said while I returned to my seat.
Surprised by my proposition, Grand Shaman Myriim spoke. "Anything Milord wants, I will provide."
"I want you and your people to swear fealty to me. I also want you to be replaced by Aryz as the Grand Shaman. You will remain here in Agmanac and will work as Aryz's assistant. You will teach her everything you know and you will turn over your mantle to her. I also want you to gather those dogs of your snooping around so that I may have them soulbinded. They might be useful in some things. Lastly, I will have your armies ready in case I need them."
Shocked further by my conditions, Myriim spoke. "Mi-milord, your conditions-"
"I am not finished. In return to your abdication and fealty, your country will now be under my protection. I will also share some of my technology and teachings to further develop your country's defence, security and economy. You will also hand over your mantle to Aryz after you have taught her everything she needs to know. For the meantime, you are still the grand shaman. Would that suffice?" I asked with a strict tone.
"Ye-yes Milord. Thank you, milord." She bowed multiple times.
"Enough." I looked to Liliana who is present this time around. "Have someone call the healers and have this... woman healed."
"At once, Your Highness." She bowed and went out of the conference room.
"Now that the fiasco is over, let's go to the Grand Colloqium. I need to meet with my 'Lord Father'." I said with a mark of sarcasm.
I walked out of my study with Paimon, Gremory, Liliana who returned earlier and Malek. Following us are Anuriel the elven queen, Thormund the dwarven high king, Aryz the dragon newt high priestess and Myriim the shaman. Before I could even walk far, another messenger came to me.
"Your Highness, Princess Gabrielle from the Luxum Empire have arrived and wants to have an audience with you."
Another one. "Escort her to the Grand Colloqium."
"Yes Sire." the messenger bowed and went away.
When I arrived on the meeting place, I saw King Hector and his entourage looked at me. When I neared them, I saw the face of the king showing a bewildered expression. I looked behind him and saw the faces of his entourage having mixed expressions. Some with awe, others with confusion and the rest are anger. I stood in front of the king and bowed a little.
"It's been a while, King Hector. I pray you've been well."
"Such cold and distant words... Are those words you give your father whom you never contacted for six months?"
"You are a monarch before you are a father, King Hector. As such, do act as one. Even without your prior notice, this is an official visit and meeting. Why I didn't contact you? Because I was busy strengthening Agmanac's defenses and boosting its economy. I made commerce and trade thrive here while the other human countries are in a brink of recession. See the personages on my back?" I looked at those who were following me then back to the king. "I have been busy making them agree to trade and do business in Agmanac. Right now, we are finalizing our agreements."
"Yo-you were dealing with demi-"
"Do stop that statement, King Hector. Demihuman. That representation of the intelligent races that are not human is an insult to the races behind me. I am not a believer of human supremacy. Thus I believe that that word is disparaging to their species. Don't use a 'human' to describe them. They are their own kind, not of humanity. If you can understand me then please show some respect." I berated the king.
The knight behind the king roared. "SUCH BLATANT DISRESPECT TO THE KING! I HAVE ENDURED THE RECEPTION YOU HAVE GIVEN US, PRINCE BUT THERE IS A LIMIT TO EVERTHING! HIS MAJESTY IS YOU FATHER! YOU CAME FROM HIM! YOU ARE A PRINCE BECAUSE OF HIM! YOU-"
"Is that so? Sir Knight, do you know how many times Agmanac was attacked from the last 6 months?"
"THAT IS NOT-"
"It's 37. 14 times from the Empire, 10 times from remnant and families of the traitorous nobles and bureaucrats, 5 sea raids and 8 times from major bandit raids. Did you know that the northern border of Agmanac before I came was pushed back with the Empire claiming it? Did you know how much the sea trade suffered due to pirate raids? Do you know how much gold remained on the coffers of Agmanac by the time I assumed the position as ruler? Do you know how much into poverty this place is before I came?" I walked towards the knight and spoke. "Do you know how many women were kidnapped, molested, raped and killed over the past 12 years here in Agmanac? Do you know how many gold coins were embezzled from the coffers of this principality over the span of 12 years? How many lives were lost due to the famine, corruption and false debts?" I stopped 3 steps in front of the knight, enough so that I wouldn't raise my head. "You know nothing of what I had done to strengthen the kingdom, sir knight. Did you know that when I was still in the capital, the strategies I gave to those generals won them their battles. If I didn't give them those strategies, what would have happaned? We would have lost the Battle on Aclair Plains and the viscounty of Elgerger which is one of the major iron supplier of the kingdom. We also would have lost the Battle on Le Marche and lose the greatest wheat supplier this kingdom had. And so much more. What did King Hector do while sitting in his marble throne? He made Ignace command a total of 7 brigades of soldiers to represent him in the 7 different instances and what happened? Less than a hundred soldiers remained. More then 26 thousand lives, wasted. But let us focus on Agmanac." I turned around and walked towards the chair at the head of the huge table used in this kind of conferences. I then sat down and spoke. "How do you think I made Agmanac to what it is now? Was it due to the King? Or to his council and his scholars? Through the Royal Bank? From the allowance a royal prince gets from the country?" I then gestured my hand and 10 male servants went in with large chests. They then opened the chest which revealed to be filled with gold coins. "This are the Royal Allowance I was suppose to use in the last six months. I didn't touch a single piece. So tell me, sir knight, did I become a prince because of my lineage? You didn't like my reception? Each territory has its own rules to follow or was that changed and this kingdom became one where only the king's rule is applied to all territories? Were you maltreated? Mistreated? No, sir knight. It just wounded your pride so you are reacting. Agmanac's rise was not due to Royal Intervention or support. It became what it is now because of me. Besides..." I then stared coldly on the king and his entourage. "We were in an agreement, King Hector, to give Agmanac full autonomy and that I will govern it on the way I see fit. Do you remember your reply?"
"Yes Beale. I remember. But that isn't why I went here." He said while sitting down on a chair near him.
"Ohh." I then looked at the non-human delegates. "Sit down as well. We might proceed faster with the King of Valois here."
"""Yes, Prince Beale.""" They bowed and proceeded to sit on the chairs near mine.
When the king was going to speak, I gestured him to stop. "Before that, we have a guest If I am right."
The door then opened and revealed a lady in white dress. She had a silver coronet on top of her long blonde hair. She then walked towards the table and spoke. "I seem to be late since you are already starting your discussions."
I stood up and walked towards the lady. When I arrived in front of her, she was half a head taller than me but it didn't matter. I took her left hand and kissed it. "A pleasure to meet you, Princess Gabrielle."
Gabrielle smiled and replied. "And I to you, Prince Beale."
I then escorted her to a seat. When she seated herself, she spoke. "i never imagined that the infamous ruler of Agmanac was really a young boy."
I returned to my seat and replied. "It is not a matter of age that defines a person, Princess. By the way..." Waving my hand towards the King, I spoke again. "Princess, this is my father, King Hector of Valois. He is supposed to be the one greeting you since he is the highest ranking person here... Anyway, I know you already know since you were 'dropping some eaves', weren't we, Princess?"
"Please dear Prince. I may have heard some things but those were all accidental and were not intentional." she said while looking a bit worried and apologetic.
"Let bygones be bygones. So now that everyone is here... Let's start."
Bio: Just an ordinary guy with a voracious appetite for novels. I may not be an index for novels but I have read a lot since it is one of my most defining trait: reading. Do give me some pokes if new novels are published or give me any recommendations you have. I will gratefully accept them all!