THE ATTAINER

7. THE HUNT

Liz was a northern realm ringed by three other provinces and the hinterland. The provinces were namely Tretsh, Southern Mirpurt and the already fallen Solice. In the concrete, in terms of military strength and political advancement, these provinces were inferior to Liz. As a matter of fact, Liz was a suzerain state to the existing vassal states who paid tributes.

It was the 175th year of the Freydor dynasty, and the 37th year of the reign of King Elead Freydor, the sovereign prince of Liz. Liz had been ruled previously by up to five dynasties culminating in the intense political vie among the royalties. The Freydors had structures like House of Berath and the Dragon Corsairs which constituted their sovereignty as a challenge to the ambitious royal members.

In Ripplesky palace, the privy councilors and other chief officers assisted the king in running the government of the nation.

In the royal court, the king was sitting majestically on his throne with a golden crown adorned on his head. The privy councilors and the princes were present while a seer prophesied in front of the king. The seer eyes were sharp like a kid who descried a monster. He gazed skyward as he narrated what he saw.

”On the north hill stood a beautiful house that was glittering with glory. Sadly, there came a vigorous east wind that tottered the beautiful house and eventually toppled it in ruins. The doom of Liz is around the corner. ”

When he finished speaking, an unrest ensued in the royal court. The councilors were murmuring among themselves.

”Be at ease everyone. ” The domineering voice of the king rang through the disturbed ambience. Instantly, a deafening silence ruled the royal court.

”You may dismiss yourself. ” The king released the seer. After the seer left the hall, the king presented a question to his subordinates.

”Who recommended that man here? ” He voiced with authority but his eyes could tell that he was worried. The lieutenant governor bowed and responded.

”The archmage. ” King Elead sighed in his heart as he tried to phantom the specific direction which the said doom would come from.

”Raincut is the metropolis of Eastern Liz. Could this doom be coming from there? ” A councilor bowed respectfully before airing his view.

”Your Majesty, the archmage is old and paranoid. Liz has been unprecedentedly established under your reign. We don have to depend on soothsaying to

draw a conclusion concerning the future of Liz. Its possible that that doomsayer may have been arranged by one of those power hungry men in order to cause chaos and seize the throne. ”

Once he finished speaking, another councilor paid his respects and voiced out.

”Your Majesty, I do not agree with my colleague. The archmage is instrumental to the prosperity of Liz. There is no way he could fool you. ” He snapped his head to the councilor who spoke first. ”The seer was recommended by the archmage. Are you saying that the archmage has betrayed the king and is now in cahoots with our adversaries? ”

The latter roused in alarm.

”I didn say so. I was only insinuating. ” He said to purge himself. Yet another councilor stood on ceremony and related his view.

”Your Majesty, I concur with my colleague. Since the seer was recommended by the archmage, the prophecy should not be overlooked. The castle of Everdusk in Raincut is the property of the Dawcane dynasty. Right from time, the princes have been clamoring for its acquisition. Our line of action should start from there. ”

King Elead was pleased to hear this. He nodded repeatedly to side with his subordinates view.

”What do you think we should do? ” He asked the councilor.

”A suitable person should be appointed to protect the castle. ”

Excluding Prince Mo, the other two princes began to get the jitters. Who could their father possibly pick? Since the king had not yet chosen a crown prince, this was the best opportunity for them to prove how capable they were. Meanwhile, the king had a potential candidate hidden in his heart. He never revealed it so as to avoid internal strife.

”Mo, you have been away for a long time. Don you think you are old enough to focus on national affairs? ” The kings statement generated a mien of resentment on the two princes. Prince Mo pretended not to understand the kings intention. Never was he interested in the throne. Business and exploration were his preferred interests. He grinned and scratched his head.

”Father, Im old enough to do so but… ”

”Good. I hereby appoint you as the protector of Everdusk. ” The king briskly interrupted him. It was getting out of hand, so one of the princes had to unleash his resentment.

”Your Majesty, Prince Mo have been away for a long time. How can he know the density of the situation? Protecting Everdusk is a herculean task. Whats more, his swordsmanship is mediocre. It will be unwise to give him military power. ” The king set his eyes slyly on him.

”Really. Do you mean to say that this herculean task should be given to you? Why? Because your swordsmanship is much better. ” The king chuckled and shook his head. ”With such a shallow mentality, how can I entrust you with this vital task? In the face of military strength, strategy comes before violence. ”

Prince Karick was abashedly quiet. This opportunity had flown past him like a kite. Prince Bergwain persisted to try his luck. He was a shrewd fellow who usually had tricks up his sleeves.

”Father is indeed correct. Strategy is the prime factor

that precedes violence. My brother spent a long time away from national affairs which is to say that he lacks military experience. Therefore, I am willing to assist him for the betterment and success of this task. ” He said with inward resentment but outward honesty.

Prince Mo was trouble free. Though he was aware that his brothers were competing to be the crown prince, he couldn care less. There was no point in being selfish. He sided with his brother.

”Father, Bergwain is correct. I have no military experience which will tell heavily on my strategy. Im willing to accept his assistance. ”

The king agreed to his idea and the session was dismissed. Some councilors were chatting heartily while some were just mumbling words with their colleagues. Prince Karick left the court in a rage. Prince Bergwain walked up to greet his brother.

”Mo. ” He called with a triumphant smile that was difficult to notice. He knew that he may be nominally an assistant but in actuality he was the boss because his bringing the military strategy will make Prince Mo a figurehead, and his puppet in addition.

”Ive been hoping for your return. When did you return? ” He asked. Prince Mo, not minding, returned his smile.

”You
e usually well informed. How could you not know I returned the day before yesterday? ” The truth was that Bergwain was aware of Prince Mos return. He only asked to dissimulate his ill intentions.

”Your return was all of a sudden. How could I know? ” He said with a lopsided smirk. Prince Mo diverted the conversation to prevent his brother from suspecting him unnecessarily.

”Thanks for offering to assist me today during the session. ” He appreciated. Still, with his innocent smile. Bergwain raised his hand to turn down the gratitude.

”You don have thank me. What are brothers for? Everything we do is for the sustainment of the Freydor dynasty. ” He downplayed his cunning approach. The brothers conversed for some time before parting ways.

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