"I'm sure you all recognize the criminal you see kneeling on the execution grounds here," Alissanda said as he turned to Leguna, "He used to be someone I saw as a close friend. I had thought he would be fighting the southern war together… I even believed he was a legendary assassin like no other of our empire! But… he disappointed me."
"Your Highness, please control your emotions," Alfreid reminded as he took a step forward. Leguna saw Alissanda wipe a tear off the corner of his eye.
"You're really a natural-born actor," Leguna said with a cold laugh.
"Leguna is a traitor! Dark Requiem is the stain of the empire!"
The crowd burst out emotionally once more. They had finished throwing all the things they brought with them, but they still had more than enough spit. A few children had wormed to the front near the execution grounds. While they didn't dare to step onto the platform, their spit could still reach if they tried hard enough.
"That's my son! Look at how brave you are!" One middle-aged man clapped his hands upon witnessing his son's actions. While he himself didn't go to fight on the battlefield, his son dared to face Dark Requiem. Surely that was proof that courage flowed in the blood of his family?
"Children! Go make your parents proud!" cried another woman nearby.
The chaos lasted for ten full minutes before subsiding. Alissanda swept his gaze across the crowd. "That's right. He's a traitor to the empire. I would never believe that he was the one who actually created the Tide of Death. Not only that, but he also assassinated my father and brother during the heated battles in his attempt to overthrow the empire, the last bastion of humanity. Had I not been fighting at the frontlines, I might've died by his hand as well."
"Your Highness, don't feel bad for him! This trash isn't worth Your Highness's sympathy!" one commoner yelled, "Your Highness must stay strong and lead us! Don't abandon us!"
"Thank you for your support, my beloved subjects. Even though I don't want to believe that he's the traitor, I have to accept that fact with all the evidence before me. It has been a northerner tradition to take an eye for an eye. If anyone dares invade our homes and slaughter our families, is it not right for us to seek vengeance?"
"Yes! Seek vengeance!"
Alissanda raised both hands to silence them. "I am thankful I got the opportunity and power to exact revenge. Now, Leguna has been bound by me! He will face our judgment, the fair and just judgment of the light! My subjects, tell me how we should punish a devil of this caliber?"
"Put him to death!"
"Flay him with a thousand blades!"
"I have heard your cries. It's true that he deserves to die, but the way he dies reflects on our honor and dignity. Flaying is something the southern empire uses to punish severe crimes, but it is a southern practice only."
Everyone quieted down to hear what he had to say next.
"We northerners will always put criminals to death humanely, no matter how great the sin. Now, my subjects, let us show this devil what human benevolence is!" Alissanda opened his arms. "Even an unsalvageable demon deserves a proper death. My subjects, we are humans, not demons. We are different from him in that we have a pure and just heart. Is it not time for us to show him the our best side?"
"Your Highness sure is benevolent!"
"Praise be the Sacred Light!"
"Your Highness is the kindest ruler ever!"
"The late emperor is gone and now, Prince Geoffrey is no longer here too. Your Highness will be our new ruler! A benevolent, tolerant and fair ruler! An Emperor of Light! Long live the Emperor of Light!"
"Long live the Emperor of Light!"
"Long live the Emperor of Light!"
Even Leguna had to be impressed by Alissanda's acting skills and ability to move the masses. He looked at the cheering citizens and knew that he had truly lost this time. He had lost so completely and thoroughly.
"Former head of the bureau, Leguna Dark Requiem!" Alissanda said once the crowd simmered down, "I, the Emperor of Hocke, charge you with treason, regicide, fraud, and many other heavy crimes! The empire has judged you guilty and deserving of a death sentence! Executioner, do it!"
"I hope your soul burns in hell for eternity!" Usually, the executioner would pray for the soul of the deceased to be exorcised, but now, he gave a curse instead.
The well-muscled executioner raised his sharp and heavy blade and swung it towards Leguna's neck.
A beam of blue light flashed. Those looking at the executioner froze for a second, before noticing that the blade had gone completely missing. Leguna's head was still sitting on his body like usual. While it wasn't summer, snow was still some ways away, yet, feather-sized snow began to fall from the sky. The temperature also began to fall rapidly.
Annie… Leguna's relaxed heart tensed up once more upon realizing the only person who could cause something like this to happen. He looked around with great difficulty and cried, "Annie! Don't come out! Run! Abandon me! Don't come!"
Leguna had come to understand Alissanda's modus operandi. He was never one to let anything slip. Back then, he was willing to imprison Annelotte and the rest to prevent and surprises. How could he be without preparation now that they had escaped?
"Shut your mouth, idiot! The lousy traps the court magi association set can't stop me!" Annelotte's voice rang out, "Alissanda, it's about time to end this farce."
The crowd turned to the voice and they froze.
Beautiful, it was far too beautiful.
While most wouldn't believe that someone who looked that perfect could even exist, when they saw Annelotte descending from the skies like an angel with a staff in hand, they witnessed perfection. Naturally, she hadn't bothered to doll herself up before coming. However, she was wearing full gear. The divine robe, Bluestar of the Frozen Ocean looked just as beautiful as it was powerful and gave off an elegant and natural vibe. Annelotte's cold, beautiful looks were only further enhanced in combination by that robe.
She descended slowly like an angel, not caring about the shocked and startled looks of those present. All she cared to look at was the battered and hurt youth who would be facing death. She slowly flew towards the platform.
"I said I would come to save you," she said.
"You really shouldn't have come." He smiled in resignation, but for some reason, she instilled confidence in him. Perhaps, he would be able to escape his predicament this time? "Have you cracked the seal on me?"
"Not yet." Her reply almost made him despair. "But if you give me ten more minutes, I'll be able to finish the calculations. However, I couldn't delay it any longer, so I had to show up."Previous Chapter Next Chapter