Jake returned to his mansion half an hour before the World Congress to do some last-second preparations. He already had a talk with Miranda using her communication skill and agreed on a few minor things.

Contrary to the first time where Jake barely made it, he didn’t rush this time. He took a shower after the party and sobered up as he smiled at remembering it. Draskil and he had been drinking until Jake had to leave, at which point Draskil also couldn’t be arsed to stay any longer.

Meira was at a lesson still, so Jake just sat in the living room in meditation until the system notification appeared. He accepted it instantly as his vision went black, and he was teleported to who-knows-where – the location of the Congress.

Jake opened his eyes as he found himself in a familiar room. At least somewhat familiar as it had now expanded significantly. People teleported in all around him, and in only a few seconds, it was clear that far more than the hundred or so cities would be present this time around.

Miranda popped in right next to Jake, with Lillian and Neil following soon after.

“Hey guys and gals,” Jake greeted them with a smile. Not that they could see it, Jake would be mask-on for this Congress, just like the last one.

“New outfit?” Miranda asked, looking him over.

Jake was still wearing the party clothes as it seemed more fitting for this kind of event than his combat-getup. “Yep, what do you think?”

“Looks good, even if the snake motif is a bit on the nose and really advertising you are related to the Order of the Malefic Viper. Not that doing so is a bad thing,” she answered with a smile. “And good to see you again. I gather it goes well at the Order?”

“Eh, it’s a bit so-and-so. Lots of annoying political stuff, same as everywhere, but I made some new friends and am learning a lot. You should come by at some time,” Jake said.

“I honestly have no need to. I am being taught using my Dreams of the Verdant Lagoon skill every chance I get, which I would argue is more effective in many ways due to the time dilation,” Miranda explained. “Even if I can’t do anything there besides talk, at my current level of knowledge, that is what I need most. I don’t doubt I will go in the future, but the time isn’t right yet.”

Jake nodded in understanding, and before he could check in with Lillian and Neil, the system notification appeared.

Welcome to the Second World Congress of Earth.

The World Congress is an opportunity for the newly integrated denizens of Earth to establish political connections and an arena for discussion, voting, and international politics that can impact the planet as a whole. Note that no fighting will be allowed during the World Congress. Each booth has an aura that will offer privacy to each city.

During the Second World Congress, two votes will be held with one four-hour intermission between each to discuss the proposal, after which a vote will be held. The total length of the World Congress will be six hours.

The first vote will be held in one hour and pertain to the election of a World Leader. The World Leader will automatically have their noble rank advance one stage (Up to the limit of King). Becoming a World Leader requires more than 60% of the total votes.

For a moment, Jake thought it was identical to the message they got during the First World Congress, but he quickly noted three small differences. The first was the number of total votes only being two, which also decreased the duration of the event, and the disclaimer of sorts about those with the nobility rank of King not getting it upgraded.

Jake wondered why this was relevant for a moment as he looked across the room. He saw Jacob, Caleb, Casper, Priscilla, the Sword Saint, Carmen, Eron, and everyone else he knew appear on their respective platforms. He even saw Arthur appear on a lower-ranked platform.

Overall, Jake counted perhaps three thousand total booths, which meant three thousand claimed Pylons. Their planet had truly expanded in this time, and it was entirely possible many Pylons had been claimed with the owners not participating. However, one thing was off. Jake was not the only one to notice it either, as Jacob also looked confused when he saw the layout of the room.

The elevation of the platforms was decided based on who was on it, based on their nobility rank. Jake himself stood higher than everyone else, even if he did see some had managed to upgrade their nobility ranks above that of Lord in the lower rungs.

However… there was one platform that was above all others. Larger than all others. All attention was gathered on it as suddenly an aura appeared on top of it. A golden wave swept through the entire hall as Jake felt himself subtly be suppressed in power.

A figure rose as Jake felt his mask faintly resonate with the being that had appeared. Jake was surprised and instantly used Identify at willow figure of the former King of the Forest, who had somehow shown up in the World Congress.

[Fallen King – lvl 191]

Jake’s eyes opened wide, and he instantly felt the mood of the room shift. If during the First World Congress, it had been Jake who suppressed all others and set the mood, then it was clear the King would do that this time.

He instantly also got another thought as he checked the voting rules of the World Congress.

Voting rules of the World Congress:

The number of available votes is based on the nobility rank of the attending members. The number of votes per nobility rank is as follows:

King: 1000

Prince: 250

Duke: 100

Marquiss: 25

Earl: 10

Viscount: 5

Baron: 3

Lord: 1

The noble in question may distribute their votes as they choose if there are multiple options. The noble may abstain from voting. Votes are final and cannot be appealed. Any agreements will come into effect until the next World Congress or if all included parties choose to revoke it. All tie-breakers will be decided by the highest-ranking noble present at the World Congress.

Well, fuck, Jake thought as he saw the massive number of votes the King had available. It was honestly insane, and Jake felt like something was entirely wrong and unbalanced. Jake had talked to the King and knew he had the nobility title, but this wasn’t what he had expected.

The entire hall was silent, just staring up at the King. He guessed many were faster than him at checking the voting rules and seeing that the situation truly wasn’t what anyone had expected. The carefully laid plans of all factions, including the ones he and Miranda had made, were instantly made null due to the appearance of one Unique Lifeform.

”Introductions are in order,” the voice of the King echoed out in Jake’s mind, and no doubt everyone else’s too. ”I am known as the Fallen King, a Unique Lifeform born in another world, brought here by certain circumstances. I believe this saying would be considered cliche, but I come in peace.”

Jake was a bit surprised at the King not instantly proclaiming himself the superior being and telling them all to bow in reverence, but instead acting… reasonable? What the hell was he planning?

”Fallen King…” Jacob muttered aloud. ”You being here should not be possible.”

”Augur, what else but the impossible is expected of a being such as I?” the King answered, making Jake feel a bit more at ease, seeing the King still had an ego the size of the sun. ”I am a born King, my nobility more rightful than anyone else present.”

Jacob frowned at the response. Everyone else was silent before the Sword Saint stepped forward and spoke. ”Fallen King, I can’t help but notice you do not come alone?”

That is when Jake actually paid attention to the two people the King had brought along. A man and a woman, both clearly human. The King actually stood a step back as the two introduced themselves.

”I am the local mayor of a yet-to-be-named city under the control of the Fallen King, and this is the representative of our newly established crafting guild,” the woman said. ”We were all wanderers in an especially dangerous part of the planet, quite a bit away from any larger settlement, but were eventually recruited by the King to inhabit his lands. Currently, we are rapidly constructing our territory, but we already have tens of thousands who have sought refuge under our banner.”

”A bit convenient, isn’t it?” Carmen said. ”A monster appears out of nothing and is suddenly all friendly to humans without anyone knowing before now. Excuse me if I find it a little suspicious.”

The King turned to her as his voice echoed again.

”Do not think me foolish enough to believe I am almighty. I have learned that humans are not a race to ever underestimate, and I do not plan to do such. In fact, I want humanity to prosper on this planet more than ever before, and I believe I can make that possible,” the King answered.

”How so?” the Sword Saint asked.

”Through power and my existence as neither beast nor human. I have observed the antagonistic relationship and believe this conflict will only escalate. Beasts desire the resources of humans, while humans desire the resources provided by slaying beasts. It is an unavoidable circle of slaughter, but one I believe can be managed. Sapient beasts are plentiful, and many of them do not desire conflict, and as long as humanity and the sapients work together, the feral can be controlled. But to make this happen, an entity needs to function as a mediator. One that cares not for humans, beasts, elementals, or monsters, but at the same time cares for all of them equally. Something… Unique,” the Fallen King explained himself, and Jake finally understood what was going on.

The Fallen King was actually throwing his hat in the ring to become World Leader. The vote would take place in an hour, and he was had already taken the opportunity to voice his stance and make a proposal to humanity.

”Which naturally begs the question… if you don’t care for any party, what is in it for you to act as this mediator?” Jacob asked. He seemed oddly thrown off, and Jake could feel his old boss really struggling internally as he tried to grasp the situation.

”A silly question you should have realized already. I am a King. I am a ruler. To rule is my Path, simple as that. A world that is not wrought by unnecessary war will reward me more, and I am not blind to the benefits humanity can bring. I even chose to harbor humans and defend them out of purely selfish ambition. I desire what humans can create. Their minds and their ingenuity. I will have to look far to find beasts worth a proper conversation, while in any human settlement, I can find plenty of minds worth sparring with.”

He really had all the answers. Jake was surprised to see this side of the King. He knew the King wasn’t stupid from their talks after he had awakened the Unique Lifeform, but he did not expect a being such as the King to understand things such as diplomacy and acting with moderation. The King was still overbearing, sure, but not to the point of putting everyone off. Jake also felt a very subtle aura, making it clear the King had actual leadership skills and skills most city leaders possessed.

”You are aiming for World Leader?” a man from the back suddenly asked. Jake turned and saw it was Jacob’s father, Arthur, who had finally decided to join the conversation.

”None is more qualified. While you here may believe you are here to elect a leader of humanity, you are selecting the leader of the entire world. Unless you plan to suppress or annihilate all other races but your own, you will need to compromise. I am a being in the middle that can serve as that compromise,” the King explained again.

”In other words, you want us to subjugate ourselves to an unknown lifeform that has suddenly appeared?”

”An oversimplified interpretation I do not fully agree with. What is the difference between subjugating yourself to another human or I? Unless you insist on trying to claim racial superiority, in which case I must disappoint. None are superior to I,” the King said, allowing some of that good old arrogance to shine through.

Not that anyone who knew anything about Unique Lifeforms could object. It was a statement one could argue was objective as Unique Lifeforms were peak creatures of the multiverse.

”No, I believe you oversimplify. No one said a monarchal structure is the only valid one. We are gathered here today as a congress. Why should a single being be granted power over all others? In our old world, we had democracy. Each individual held power, and everyone could vote equally. This ideology was tried and tested as superior to any individual leader for more reasons than any of us have time to hear,” Arthur argued.

”An interesting idea. However, it relies on assumptions no longer applicable. Equality is nothing but a dream and an ideology that can only exist if the strong permit it. Power rules all in this world if you like it or not. Even if you try to change such a system, you need the power to do so.”

It was a conversation Jake was pretty sure he had heard before, and one where he honestly didn’t bother picking a side. However, he had to admit that organizations with singular leaders were the norm in the multiverse, even if exceptions did exist. For those exceptions, it was only that way because everyone was equal in power or because the strongest member allowed it to be so.

”But it should be obvious that any World Leader elected will not deal with every issue or even have an opinion. I am not rejecting the concept of voting or having representations. I am merely saying to have one being act as the backing and facilitator of these decisions. This individual will only have the interests of the people in mind, as ruling through tyranny is simply inefficient. Unless, of course, that individual belongs to a faction with an ideology they wish to enact upon the world. Such as the will of a god,” the King said, clearly calling out nearly all of the major forces on Earth.

This led to some discussion as the conversation was officially derailed. Like before, the independent factions weren’t a big fan of organizations like the Holy Church coming in and ruling the planet for some new god. This was a conflict that had been ongoing since Earth was integrated and one Jake doubted would end anytime soon.

Jake and everyone from Haven had been silent so far, but the three of them had looked at him a bit weirdly ever since the King appeared. The reason was obvious, and soon enough, the question also came as one of the leaders of a religious faction tried to refocus the talks.

”I just have one burning question,” Jacob asked as he finally mentioned the elephant in the room. One most had been waiting to ask but had held their tongue on as the flow of conversation was led elsewhere.

”Why do you wear the same mask as Lord Thayne? What is your relationship?”

A note from Zogarth

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