Welcome to a new chapter of Imperial Struggle, the story of the young Emperor Marco, and the struggles he has with his new imperial position. Imperial Struggle is my first web novel, so any feedback is welcomed. This is chapter 26, so if you want to read from the beginning please click here
Marco was sitting in with his eyes closed in the big pool from the Imperial bath. His hair regained his natural black color and his body was clean of blood. Now he just wanted to rest and relax after the fight and the warmth of the water was doing just that.
Around him the Seven Swords were doing the exact same thing. Everyone had a rough night and this was the reason why nobody was saying a word. All of them were meditating in silence at the things that just transpired.
On their bodies you could see the marks of the hardship that they went through in life. Scars and marks of the battle, each of them with their own stories, stories that would make even the bravest men frightened. Even the body of Marco had his own stories to tell, even though you wouldn't expect to see many scars on the body of a price.
Marco touched, unconsciously, one of the scars, the memory of a wound that almost took his life. The scar remained after an arrow hit his chest, a little bit below the collarbone and right above the heart. A few centimeters lower and the arrow would've killed him on the spot. It took him a few good months to recover from that wound. It always remembered him that it's so easy to die in battle. A stray arrow, a battery projectile, your own mistake. There are many ways to die, but only one to live. And this is why you have to cherish the moments and thank the gods that you survived this battle as well. Others, no matter allies or enemies, weren’t that lucky.
“What a day we had!” Marco suddenly broke the silence.”From all the things that we went through today, the big question is how you three managed to find out about the plans of the attackers and why you didn’t warn us?” he asked the three Swords that joined the tonight.
The other four swords that were at the side of Marco since the beginning looked at their companions with questions in their eyes as well.
“I guess I’ll have to start, ain’t I?” Enmanuel said while scratching his head.
He started to relate the story, from the beginning. He told them about the hunt of the Chaos God cult and the fight that happened in the cave.
“After I rescued the girls and saw the note about the assassination order on you I’ve hurried toward the meeting point. Because there was little time, I haven’t managed to send any word to either you or Arthur. After I met with the rest of the Chaos Cultists assassins, we headed toward the capital. There were 2 more assassins organizations that acted tonight, the Red Blades from the north and the Silver Tongues of the South.” Emmanuel took a sip of wine, his throat was dry after so much talking.
“I never managed to find out who the employer was. We never met him eye to eye. Instructions were left through middle men's and mercenaries. There was an argument about who should attack your chambers and take the honor of killing the Emperor. I’ve fought, I’ve won. The rest of the story you know it as well” Enmanuel finished his story with a smile.
“So it was them… I thought you got rid of the Chaos God cult a few years ago.” Marco said while in deep thought.
“I thought that as well. It seems that their organization is more complex than a simple cult. They are a bonafide assassin group that uses the cult as a means of recruiting.”
Silence stepped in for a few minutes once again. Marco spend some time thinking over the story he heard from Emmanuel. There were too many unknown movements into the darkness that he didn’t know about. Even if they fended off the attack of tonight, how will they act next time?
“Teacher, I know that sect matters are secret, but tell me just one thing. How did you know to arrive at the capital and how did you know what kingdom soldiers they were?
“I’ll tell you the story, there is no big secret regarding this.” Cien started his story.
“A few months ago, I’ve received an order from the Patriarch to return to the Sect. Because the Patriarch asked me, I’ve rushed to the Sect territory as soon as possible. The reason why the Patriarch issued the order was because another martial sect craved for our territory and was on the point to attack us. We had issues with them for a long time, but now they managed to summon a whole martial alliance against us. They managed to bring a whole army with them. We lost many friends in the past couple of weeks” a dark shadow crossed Cien face when he recalled the events.
“In the end we won. We managed to defeat them. The sects that helped our enemy will have to pay us tribute and swear allegiance to us, but the bastards that initiated the attack didn’t get any kind of mercy. We went into their territory and destroyed their sect. Into the documents that I found out a correspondence between their Patriarch and the Prime Minister of the Bluerrigard Kingdom. They were promised help against us if they would move their sect into the Kingdom and help them train the army. Reading those files I’ve read about the attack on the capital and your imminent death as well. And we know how that went” Cien ended his story with a laugh.
“The Prime Minister of the Bluerrigard Kingdom is quite a bold man. I wonder who he might be.” Marco fell deep in thought after he heard the stories. He dived his head under water, wanting to clear his mind of everything for a few seconds.
While Marco and the Seven Swords were sharing stories, the nobles were leaving the Grand Hall as well. After the events they witnessed tonight, everyone needed a little sleep.
In the mansion of Marquis de Sar, a large group of nobles was shouting and yelling.
“He’s a tyrant, a tyrant I say. He can’t make this kind of decisions without the say of the nobles. What will he do next?” angry voices could be heard in the big meeting room, hosted by the Marquis de Sar.
“Let’s settle down. After the affairs that happened tonight, many nobles are wary of the power of the Emperor. Even we should be careful on how to approach the him now. He has gathered a lot of support in the council with just one power move.” a voice of reason was heard.
“Count de Artor is right. The Emperor has the upper hand now. We can’t do many things at the moment. We just need for him to make a mistake. But it seems that this kid isn’t what we expected. Just look at the people he has around him. I don’t know how Darin and Armando managed to secure the position, but it is what it is. Now we will need to be satisfied with the seats of Minister of Left and Right. And then we can put other people in key positions. This way we can still have a say on how the things go into the Empire.” Marquis de Sar spoke, taking over the chaos that installed into this meeting.
“What intrigues me is the sudden attack of the Bluerrigard Empire” Gustavo opened his mouth. “From a strategy point of view, it doesn’t make sense. Do we know anything about this Prime Minister?
“Although he has been in that position for over a year, I didn’t manage to find too many things about him.” the Marquis answered. “He is a very strange fellow. He doesn’t leave the Palace, he always wears a mask and the king doesn’t do anything without his say so. Even with my resources, I can’t find anything about him or his background”.
Gustavo picked up grape from a nearby plate and throw it into his mouth.
“Whatever. We will deal with him, after we take the throne. We need to make Marco submit in one way or another.” he said while crushing that grape into his mouth.
“Let’s wait the dawn and see what it will bring. Now everyone, let’s get some sleep. It was a long night” Marquis de Sar ended the meeting.
Interesting time awaits ahead. The political battleground of the Grand Council intensifies as the faction of Marquis de Sar and Gustavo are about to clash with Marco for the seats of Minister of Left and Right. What kind of outcome this political battle will have? And also, who is this mysterious Prime Minister that seems the mastermind behind the attacks in the capital?
Imperial Struggle is an original story written directly on Steemit. Follow @sstefan for the next chapter.