Chaos' Heir - Chapter 686
"Effortless" was the only word the Thilku on the roof could find to describe the event. The exchange didn't even fall into the category of battles. Imtd never stood a chance.
The roof had many experienced warriors, including the two Lords, so everyone reviewed the exchange while Khan floated before the gazebo, but the outcome never changed. Khan had overcome Imtd on every field, even those his species couldn't theoretically touch.
Of course, Khan wasn't stronger than Imtd on every level. Even after the transformation, his physical strength failed to match the Thilku's. His species lacked the right muscles to achieve such a feat.
However, a battle involved more than raw strength. Balance, speed, experience, precision, and control were all key features that could lead to victory, and Khan was unbeatable in those.
Moreover, Khan's senses allowed him to find fatal flaws in Imtd's technique. The Thilku's gale was powerful but frail. It couldn't survive Khan's silent orders, and dispersing it created a deadly window he didn't hesitate to exploit.
Most Thilku on the roof ignored the specifics of the battle, but the more experienced warriors noticed many details, which left them speechless. Lord Rsi, in particular, had a hard time accepting that outcome but looking at Khan appeased his irritation.
Imtd fell into the category of geniuses, but Khan was above that, and inspecting his floating figure led to a precise guess. Lord Rsi didn't doubt for a single second that Khan was a monster, and his species had nothing to do with that. The entire universe wouldn't produce a similar talent for another millennia.
"[I told you, My Lord]," Lord Exr announced. "[He is good]."
Everyone understood that Lord Exr had held back on the compliments, especially Lord Rsi. The latter struggled to accept that someone like Khan could exist. He was witnessing something incredible, but decisions were in order.
Lord Rsi could ignore Khan's species. Humankind had no merit in Khan's power. No one could claim that. Still, accepting him could cause problems. After all, the Global Army greatly valued the Empire's alliance, so granting Khan proper status would inevitably improve his position among humans.
Having someone so strong in a high position of power inside a foreign organization wasn't ideal. Lord Rsi couldn't predict what Khan would become in terms of politics, and the possibility of him turning into an opponent was scary. A single man couldn't topple empires, but Khan was bound to earn enough relevance and influence to get close to that required power level.
"[Do you have more tests, My Lord]?" Khan questioned. "[I'd rather get them over with quickly]."
Khan's brazen statement fueled Lord Rsi's hesitation. That reckless, careless, and fearless gall was dangerous, and the confidence backing it up intensified that scary sensation. Khan was only a third-level warrior, but political incidents might happen if he behaved like that once he grew stronger.
The Empire and the Global Army were allies, so Khan's strength theoretically worked in the Thilku's favor, especially in his current position. Having a strong Ambassador on the Thilku's side would ensure that any trade, deal, or promise would go well.
Yet, at the same time, the Empire couldn't spoil Khan to retain his favor. That would show weakness toward the Global Army, which no Lord would ever endorse.
Truth be told, Lord Rsi had more tests in store. He could put Khan against a fourth-level warrior, delay his achievements among the Thilku by overwhelming him with superficial tasks, and much more. Lord Rsi could buy his time in many ways, but his mind couldn't find a worthy reason.
"[Sit with me]," Lord Rsi eventually ordered, pointing at the pillow on the other side of the table. "[Let's talk]."
The audience didn't miss that sign of acceptance, but Khan's uncaring expression didn't waver. He gracefully stepped forward, walking on the air above Imtd to enter the gazebo, and the pillow barely moved when his butt landed on it.
That position was far different from the previous one. Before, Khan was merely a guest sitting at Lord Exr's side. Instead, facing Lord Rsi granted him an important role. The following conversation would be about him, stealing the spotlight from the festival.
"[The Empire doesn't forget debts]," Lord Rsi announced, "[Especially those as shameful as these]."
"[I wouldn't bring the Empire any shame if I wore its colors]," Khan stated, hinting at the capes.
"[A mere mercenary can't wear them]," Lord Rsi commented. "[Only loyalty can earn them]."
"[You can't get my loyalty]," Khan responded, "[But I can give you my strength]."
That answer wasn't surprising or insulting. Khan belonged to a different species and organization. Even Lord Rsi couldn't demand loyalty toward the Empire. Still, the problems were far from over.
"[For how long]?" Lord Rsi wondered. "[Our friendship would improve your position, which can be turned against the Empire]."
"[The Empire will never fear a single Ambassador]," Khan claimed, knowing that his role among the Thilku would eventually grant him that title.
"[The Empire won't underestimate shamans either]," Lord Rsi explained, "[Especially those worthy of its respect]."
"[You don't have to underestimate me]," Khan announced. "[You only have to trust me]."
"[Trust is earned]," Lord Rsi pointed out.
"[I did earn it]," Khan uttered, nodding at Onp. "[It's the reason I'm here]."
"[One good deed isn't enough]," Lord Rsi commented.
"[My word is all you need]," Khan declared.
"[That would be shortsighted]," Lord Rsi stated. "[What if you are biding your time to seize something more valuable from the Empire]?"
That was a serious concern. The alliance between the Global Army and the Empire wasn't without issues, especially after the bomb incident. It was reasonable to think that humankind wanted to strike back, one way or another.
Khan also was the perfect man for the job. His strength alone ensured a successful political journey, and his many abilities made him an exceptional tool in every environment. Any organization would feel lucky to have him and open multiple doors for him, which could create a good opportunity for betrayal.
Of course, the Empire had security measures to avoid that, but the issue remained. Khan's talent was also his greatest dangerous trait. He was the kind of man who could find a way around those problems and stab the Empire deeply.
"[Such a betrayal would leave me headless]," Khan said, "[Or lead to wars. I enjoy where my head is and loathe seeing people's lives go to waste, so your fears are groundless]."
"[I do not fear you]," Lord Rsi declared. "[The Empire doesn't either. I'm merely concerned about wasting my time with you]."
"[My point stands]," Khan uttered. "[Working for the Empire isn't only ideal for me. I also enjoy it]."
"[These could be empty words]," Lord Rsi exclaimed.
"[I do not lie]," Khan said. "[I do not pretend, and I do not betray. If I wanted to be a spy, you wouldn't have seen me coming at all]."
Khan's presence naturally intensified during the statement, adding a layer of honesty to his words. Everyone on the roof instinctively felt able to believe him, but the concern remained. After all, that could have been another shaman's ability.
"[That's not enough to sway me]," Lord Rsi commented.
"[I don't have to sway anyone]," Khan announced. "[I'm here because you were forced to respect your debt with me]."
Everyone could see the bickering wasn't going anywhere. Lord Rsi's concerns couldn't be solved over a simple talk, and Khan wasn't even doing his best to reassure him. The two were merely showing their firm and domineering stances without trying to find a solution.
Yet, a solution had to arrive, and Lord Rsi even had to admit that Khan was right. Khan was there because Lord Exr had invited him. He had earned a spot at the festival after his feats on Cegnore. In theory, he didn't owe the Empire anything else.
replace Ambassador Abores. His reasons had nothing to do with Cegnore. The Thilku simply wanted someone easier to control and with fewer roots in the Global Army, but the test's outcome attempted to alter his judgment. Still, changing his mind now would only create problems.
The Empire usually had the upper hand in interspecies politics, but the Global Army was no weakling. Lord Exr's request to change the Ambassador had caused problems, and going back on it would only insult humankind. It would basically say that the Thilku could do as they wished without repercussions.
"[You won't wear our colors]," Lord Rsi stated, "[Yet. I'll see whether you can change my mind in the future]."
"[You have already changed it]," Khan scoffed. "[You simply can't give them to me yet]."
Lord Rsi ignored the remark and only addressed the brazenness it conveyed. "[Exr seems to have taken a liking to your gall. The Empire doesn't condemn it either, but you'll answer for it once your performance falls short]."
"[I've lived my whole life like that]," Khan revealed. "[My Lord, give me the next task already]."