Chapter 85 Thorny Road
It took a moment before the old man showed a reaction, he slowly lifted up his quilt, moved it to the bedside and looked in the direction of the Archbishop.
Then he opened his mouth and asked: “If it were you who was locked up in this damnable place, do you think you would be able to eat?” His voice wasn’t easy to understand, it sounded like his throat had been blocked by something, “Half a year, I’m already trapped here for six months, without any news… Tell me how are my sons and daughters doing?”
When taking a closer look at the cell, Mayne noticed, that it seemed like one wall was scored with a nail. Is the old man using this method to calculate the date?
He moved to a chair facing the King and then asked in return: “Why ask about things that will only make you unhappy?”
“…” The King kept his silence for a long while, but eventually spoke, “It doesn’t matter to me, after all, you will kill me anyway, right?”
Mayne only answered with one word, “Yes.”
“Then as a dying man, what does pleasure mean to me, before I die, I just want to know their situation!” The longer Wimbledon spoke the more his voice resembled a growl.
In the end, what else should I expect? Mayne thought, after all, as a king, he had learned to have a strong spirit and demeanor. When the King had been kidnappted and replaced by a devout, on the road to Hermes, he had repeatedly tried to break free. Then when he was imprisoned, he wasn’t corrupted by madness, instead, he had always tried to negotiate his freedom. Even during all the abuse, he never released a scream, which was very rare in this jail. If it wasn’t impossible to change the plan, Mayne really wouldn’t want to waste such a person whose only bad point was being on the wrong side of their conspiracy.
Perhaps since I have already personally come, I should just inform him about the status quo, the Archbishop thought, otherwise, I could just voice the command, and the next moment one of the Judges can come and end his life.
So Mayne finally slowly said, “Your eldest son, Gerald is already dead. He was beheaded by your second son, Timothy, on charges of treason. Your third daughter Garcia has declared the independence of the southern border region, conferring herself as the Queen of Clearwater, so a war between her and Timothy is inevitable. As for your fourth son and your fifth daughter, we do not get much information about them. Well… they are still alive.
“What are you talking about, rebellion? Independence? What did you do?” asked the King enraged.
“We let them fight out who would become the next king,” explained Mayne with pleasure, “we spread your children through the whole kingdom, and declared whoever governed their territory the best would become the next king.”
Hearing this, Wimbledon closed his eyes in pain, trying to shut out the world. After a long time, he finally whispered, “Why do you do all this? You took advantage of the prayer day, brought me into the compartment to pray in isolation, there you stripped me of my clothes… and also took my God’s Stone of Retaliation. Then you used the ability of a witch to replace me with another person. So with this replacement, you could have obviously slowly taken over the country, let the Church gain control of every town. So why did you need to give out the order for the Battle of the Throne?! I, I cannot… Keke”, because he got more and more enraged, he began to cough severely, shaking throughout his whole body.
“We just couldn’t issue the command which would lead to massacring your children one after another!” Mayne continued his verbal attack to finish off the former King. “Maybe you wouldn’t have worked against us, but your children mostly wouldn’t act the way you want them to. They would grow up, develop, and have their own thoughts. Just like you see from your third daughter, Garcia. She already started her project to take over the Port of Clearwater five years ago, so even without the Battle of the Throne, at the point when you would naturally die, do you think she would just stand at the side and look how Gerald would ascend the throne? But the most important reason for us to act, was that we don’t have the time to wait for the natural cause to get rid of you, you should have already noted that the power of the witch isn’t permanent.”
“Damn you, what would the Church get from the fight between my children? The Church will also sink into a sea of fire, many of their believers will get killed during the war, and the kingdom will become a total mess…” talking until here, Wimbledon suddenly got a distracted look, not believing his upcoming thought “Do you want to –” another burst of severe coughs interrupted the king’s speech once more. When he was finally able to speak again, his voice became as thin as a gossamer, as if that array of coughing had consumed all his remaining energy, “You… want to destroy the royal family!”
“Exactly, but it would be more accurately to speak about the royal power.” Mayne couldn’t help himself from praising the king within his heart for his keen judgment. Even after staying for six months in the completely dark dungeon, by not losing his consciousness he could already be regarded as strong willed, but he has even managed to keep his intelligence. The only other people who would be able to do this can be counted on one hand,
“The monarchy will always be a hinderance to the development of the Church, no matter how weak it becomes, it will always rise again just like weed. So only by completely eradicating it, will the Church be able to ‘genuinely’ control the Kingdom.”
“…” suddenly Wimbledon looked a lot more aged, previously only his outer appearance seemed to be old, but now it seemed that his spirit had left him and his eyes dimmed.
“The Kingdom of Graycastle is the kingdom with the largest territory in the mainland, it has also the largest number of soldiers, so in the case of a full-frontal war, my church can only be at a disadvantage. We had already planned all this for a long time now. During a civil war, your kingdom will lose a lot of soldiers and mercenaries, after waiting for only two to three years, our God’s Punishment Army will be able to easily take over the whole territory of your Kingdom. But you don’t need to be sad, your kingdom isn’t the only one we are subjugating. The other three kingdoms are all facing the same situation. Soon the mainland will no longer have the four kingdoms. Instead of the “Wolfsheart Kingdom“, the “Kingdom of Eternal Winter”, “Kingdom of Dawn” and the “Kingdom of Graycastle“, there will be only one regime, “the Church”, ruling over all the countries.”
Wimbledon turned completely silent, the man who had won the throne from his brother by force of arms was now like a man who had lost his life, even for Mayne it was hard to bare, but in his mind, he hadn’t the slightest thought of regret. The Church had also invested a lot into this plan – a large number of outstanding believers had been willingly used as pawns, regardless of the danger to themselves.
For example, the man who had played Wimbledon III was a devoted member of the Judges. He was a strong believer and absolutely loyal to the Church, and would have originally received the transformation ceremony, becoming a member of the God’s Punishment Army. However, in order to complete the mission, he got his appearance changed by a witch into that of you. So when he died in the castle he didn’t receive any honor. Before the mission, he could have carved his name on top of the Church’s monument on Hermes, but now the Church could only bury his name forever.
When Mayne came to the conclusion that Wimbledon wouldn’t speak any further, he took a small porcelain bottle out of a pocket and gave it to him to drink.
When Wimbledon had collected himself and drank the potion, he spoke ist final words, “Curse…”
“Yes?” asked Mayne, waiting for the King to continue.
“I curse you… I’ll be waiting for you in the depths of hell.” Wimbledon’s voice grew fainter with every word, in the end, Mayne had even to concentrate if he wanted to understand what was said.
“It’s a pity that there is no hell in this world. Even if there is one, it isn’t a place where I belong to. Everything we are doing is for the continuing of humanity. Only by unifying the four Kingdoms, are we able to get enough power to confront the true enemy, or else… ” The Archbishop stopped his speech when he saw that Wimbledon’s hand had lost all of its strength and had fallen to the ground, his head twisted to one side, and his chest stopped to move.
This was the end of a king, but it’s our beginning, he thought.
Mayne took up the bottle and put it back into his pocket. Then he opened the door and stepped into the quiet corridor, which gave the feeling like there had never been any cries. He only explained to the member of the Judges how to deal with the aftermath, and then he left the castle without looking back even once.
TN: Please no spoilers! I will delete every comment which contains spoilers!