Book 7, Chapter 26

Heir To The Throne

After a night of turmoil, the sun rose as ever; the City of Miracles basked in the golden rays of the morning. The nobles and powerhouses of the city were unaware of the tragedy within the Church of the Eternal Dragon, their afternoon tea parties and playful courting all held up by one worry; the election of the next Emperor was today.

There were a total of thirteen families eligible to vote, a total of four candidates. It didn’t seem like much, but there were infinite possibilities that could each elevate or devastate millions of people. The night of assassinations had been inundated by countless pacts old and new, but even now nobody knew just how things would turn out.

The election was to be held in the assembly building, with the bigger nobles of the country allowed to witness for the fairness of the entire process. In fact, both Neil and Nyris had made their names known long ago with their achievements, while Ryan was known to most of Faust’s nobility as well. Princess Apeiron was the biggest variable; ever since Julian had announced her candidacy, there had been no more news. Some people were starting to feel it was all a ploy by someone to strike fear into their hearts.

As the clock approached ten, most of the assembly building was filled up. Royal soldiers were patrolling the entire venue, ensuring that everyone was sitting in their seats. Each chair was marked for its intended owner, and those not on the list were simply not allowed entry. There were no exceptions to the strict hierarchy; only those families with expansive networks, forming the backbone of the entire Sacred Alliance, qualified to be present.

By the time Richard entered the venue, half of his peers had already taken their seats. Looking solemn himself, he walked to his own and sat down. There were some hushed discussions about the Archerons not having the right to vote, but talk of the conspiracy never turned to ridicule. Even if he wasn’t a duke yet, he had true power that had decimated many other hegemons who had their own floating islands.

A high platform was set up for the candidates, with four chairs in total. Although Princess Apeiron had declared her candidacy herself without Emperor Philip’s nomination, the royal family was clearly admitting that she was eligible to participate. Richard clenched his fists at the sight, confirming once more that the rule of law was only applicable to those who could be restrained. Had he entered the legendary realm or become a true saint runemaster already, Canaan’s ploy would have ended in a completely different way. Apeiron had only sent a follower of hers and gotten herself into the race for the throne.

A few minutes before ten, the three princes entered the venue on time and occupied their places as per procedure. It was law that any candidate not present by ten would be disqualified automatically, and they respected those bounds. However, even when the bell rang, Apeiron was nowhere to be seen.

Neil still looked as kind and harmless as ever, smiling at those below. Ryan was a very beautiful young boy, but the childishness was still evident on his face. The traces of nervousness were clear, as could only be expected in such a situation.

However, Nyris was completely different. For some reason, the Fourth Prince had worn a neutral dress with numerous lacy frills that looked far too frivolous on men. The bright blue of the fabric was eye-catching, giving him indescribable charm; it had clearly been designed for him and him alone. If one could ignore what they knew, he looked like a peerless beauty with short, soft hair.

Philip had already mentioned Nyris’s problems with orientation when adding him in as a candidate; he should have been doing his best to show his masculinity right now, but the Fourth Prince actually leaned into the situation even further. He was making things very clear; this dress was no different from women’s wear.

Unlike other nobles, the emperor was someone who represented the entire Sacred Alliance. If he were sitting on the throne, this growing ambiguity would cause countless criticisms. Philip himself had staved off the criticism for his gluttony and sloth purely because he had defeated Apeiron for the throne, but Nyris was no Philip; as a mere saint, he didn’t yet have such dominating strength. In fact, Nyris couldn’t even claim to be invincible under the legendary realm like Richard did; most nobles would rather choose Ryan who had a similar level of talent. Ten years was a lot, but if they weathered the storm that would be the end to the troubles.

Richard looked at this friend of his strangely as well. For Nyris to wear this dress right under the eyes of envoys from both the Sacred Tree Empire and Millennial Empire, he was declaring to everyone that he didn’t want to be voted for. Just why was he doing that? Despite those doubts, however, he had to admit that the attire really suited the prince. If not careful, even he would find his heart fluttering a little.

The time for the election to begin came and went, but the host of the ceremony still didn’t ring the golden bell for them to begin. He should have announced that the candidates present would be voted for now, but he seemed to be in a daze as he continued to let time pass by. The only explanation was also a simple one: Apeiron still wasn’t here.

The assembly hall fell into a strange silence, all eyes on the empty chair. With none of the voting members objecting, the lesser nobles watched on as well. Only the oldest of everyone who still had some memory of decades past were showing faint worry.

“One moment,” Julian suddenly waked in, quickly heading to the centre of the hall and bowing, “Forgive me, Her Highness received the news and departed from the Outlands an hour ago, but there were some minor problems on the road. I’m afraid she will take a few more minutes to arrive.”

This announcement caused a minor uproar. Everyone who knew about the Outlands understood that one couldn’t just take portals in and out; travel between the two places required dozens of stops on transitional planes, with some of the locations being quite dangerous. Even legendary beings sometimes took years to make the trip, only able to hope for no serious injuries, but now Apeiron was returning in just over an hour.

Anyone’s first reaction would be disbelief, but as he saw the cold, stunned eyes of the Ironblood Duke he quickly realised that it was likely to be true. At the very least, some of the older nobles here seemed to believe in the possibility.

As a round of hushed whispers rang through the assembly and Julian excused himself from the centre, Thor walked in and took his place. He looked around and spoke in a low voice, “Before we elect the next emperor, please allow me to announce some tragic news from the royal family. Our current Emperor, His Majesty Philip who singlehandedly recovered the Fort of Dawn, left our midst forever last night. His body was left in the Church of the Eternal Dragon, and will not be available for any funerals or ceremonies.”

Bloodthirsty Philip was dead? This immediately caused an uproar, shocking all of the nobles from their seats. Even Richard stood up; although the Emperor had mentioned that he wouldn’t even be a saint anymore soon, many of them had actually held out hope. The man had only accomplished two big things in twenty years, but both of them were truly enormous. The first was to exile Princess Apeiron, and the second was to take and hold the Fort of Dawn by defeating two epic beings of Daxdus. Both were miracles that no one else could achieve, so the highest echelons of Faust were hoping he would showcase another.

In fact, even without any power at all, Philip’s mere presence would have made people quite confident. The Alliance still had its Emperor, that was all they would care about. But now, even before his successor could take the throne, he had departed this life. The noise went away as soon as it came. Many nobles were stuttering in shock, feeling like the sky had fallen down.

In the midst of all this, Earl Kimbaye stood up and nodded towards Thor, “To express our respect for Emperor Philip, the Millennial Empire shall immediately withdraw half of its conditions for assistance.”

The youth’s words immediately stabilised a few of the nobles; it was an indication that the Millennial Empire wasn’t about to turn on them in their hour of need. However, their grateful gazes stood in stark contrast to that of Marquess Miranes, who bit his lip a few times before standing up reluctantly as well, “The Sacred Tree Empire will also give up half of its benefits as a tribute.”

This was more than a million square kilometres of territory between the two empires. Earl Kimbaye hadn’t cared, seriously making his claim out of respect for Philip’s greatness, but Miranes felt his heart bleeding. He didn’t want to follow up, but knew that staying quiet would have made the Sacred Tree Empire a target for the other two.

However, his voice hadn’t even faded away before a strange chuckle rang through the hall, “Half of what benefits? Did you even get my permission?”

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OMA's Thoughts

Translated By: OMA

Edited By: Theo

TLC'ed By: OMA