Second World - Chapter 1002
"You can read our messages?" Jack asked in surprise.
"I can't. I know through Peniel," Serenity said into Jack's mind. "She can read your messages. At this range, I can talk with her via our minds."
"I see… Great! Then it saves me time from explaining," Jack said to her while sending messages to John and Jeanny at the same time, informing them that Serenity knew their talks.
"Mister Storm Wind, I have interfered in this matter more than I'm willing to. To announce my support to you…"
"You said to me before you have investigated the outworlder group who are meddling with Liguritudum's situation, right? Then you know how Fear's cult is actively supporting them. They will soon come for the rest of the world. We need another country backed by a God or Goddess if we are to stand a chance. I believe Hope and the others value balance, don't they? This is how we have a balance against their forces. With this explanation, they won't blame you."
Serenity didn't say anything. Her face looked serene, but Jack could see in her eyes that the Goddess was contemplating.
So, he continued to persuade, "If we leave things as it is, Themisphere will fall apart. There will be civil wars by various groups looking to take the throne. It will be endless fighting. The ones who will suffer are the civilians, there will be no peace for them for a very long time. The only ones who can stop all this, are the Gods and Goddesses. Are you truly going to stay impartial even with all this?"
She was the representation of peace. If only everyone is willing to strive for peace, there will be no conflict. But sometimes, she knew peace needed a strong hand in enforcement before it could be achieved. She disliked this kind of peace effort but she also understood its necessity during extreme situations.
The situation they were currently in could be called the periphery of an extreme situation. If she didn't act, it would be as Jack said. Everything would devolve into chaos and wars.
She did another sigh.
She then stood up. As she did, her aura washed over the room. Everyone involuntarily stopped their debates and sat down.
"I can see that this is going nowhere. I don't have the time to accompany you, people, here indefinitely. For that, I'm going to decide for all of you," she announced.
As she was speaking, brilliant green light emitted from her body. The room seemed to enlarge. Serenity's figure also appeared larger than usual even when everyone was sure she was still the same as before.
None of those in the room was aware that her image appeared in the sky above the capital. In fact, not only the capital. Everyone who was inside Themisphere territory could see her image. Then her voice boomed throughout the kingdom. It was not too loud, but her voice permeated all corners so that everyone within the kingdom could listen clearly, even those inside their houses or under the basements.
"Citizens of Themisphere! I am the Goddess of Serenity. I have an announcement to make. Due to unfortunate circumstances, your king has passed away, and so are all his heirs. Currently, the kingdom of Themisphere is without a sovereign.
"As you know, about one year ago, outworlders appeared in our world. This is preordained by our great creator, and the edict that we have passed on to you is to aid these outworlders and welcome them into your midst. There will be incoming struggles and outworlders will play a pivotal point in those struggles.
"Considering these points, I am using my autocratic power and issuing you a decree. I install the outworlder, Storm Wind, as the next king of Themisphere. He will now be in charge of this kingdom and you will obey his orders. Believe me that I know he is a person who will take into account the interest of natives and outworlders at equal measure. Anyone, who rebels against him is rebelling against me! In return, this kingdom will receive my blessing for one year!"
The image of Serenity in the sky dispersed into countless green dust. It filled the entire sky and rain started falling. Those who were outside felt extremely refreshed when this rain fell on them. All their fatigue, wariness, and worry evaporated as if it was never there. They felt at peace.
Back inside the palace's meeting room. The natives in the room were especially speechless by the Goddess' declaration. One of Mason's aides in the room, named Thaergood, finally gathered enough courage to speak up, "Goddess Serenity. With all due respect, even with your sanctification, there will be some who are unwilling to follow this decision…"
"Are you one of those people?" Serenity asked.
"I… No, my Goddess. I obey your decree," Thaergood answered.
Serenity nodded. "I've spoken. Those who disagree with Storm Wind's rule mean they disagree with me. I hope none within this room is one such person."
Serenity stopped and observed everyone. None expressed objection anymore, not even Claudius. He had been especially quiet after the truth about Themos was revealed. He was even silent when everyone was heatedly debating a while ago.
"Please make your preparation. I want the coronation to be carried out tomorrow morning," Serenity demanded. "I will be here myself to crown the new king."
After those words, the Goddess vanished softly like fine sand being blown away by a gust.
After the Goddess was gone, the room was back into silence. Everyone was just looking at one another, unsure of what to do.
Jack decided to stand up. "My friends! I understand that I am the last person in your mind you think of to lead you. I also know that I am not an ideal leader. But know this, as its king, I will work myself for the betterment of this kingdom and its citizen. I ask that you lend me your strength! I know for sure I won't be able to do this on my own. But if you want to leave, I won't hold it against you. I, however, strongly hope that we can keep this kingdom as one, undivided. For this is how we can keep Themisphere strong. The Goddess is right, a struggle is coming. Some of us outworlders know about this, and we will have to prepare ourselves for it."
Claudius stood up abruptly. Everyone was startled by his action. Jack was especially wary. This man had always been hostile to him.
Claudius walked around the table and came to where Jack was. He suddenly pulled out his spear.
Jack was startled, he almost pulled out his weapon as well. But then he saw Claudius plant his spear on the floor and knelt before him.
"I pledge my life to King Storm Wind," he said.
This was all so unexpected that Jack didn't know what to do. Jeanny nudged him to wake him from his stupor. Jack immediately said to Claudius, "St–stand up, good Lord Commander! I will need your support from now on."
Claudius stood up and nodded, "You shall have it, Your Majesty!"
Duke Alfredo, Duchess Isabelle, and Lord Commander Armstrong also stood up and bowed. "Your Majesty," they said.
Jack felt weird with these people giving him all these respects. It felt not long ago that these people were individuals that he couldn't afford to offend. Now they were all bowing to him. He couldn't help but feel surreal about all this.
Emris and Thaergood were next to pay their respects. Soon, everyone in the room followed.
"All right, I'll organize the coronation ceremony," Thaergood said. "Luckily, it was not long ago since our planned coronation for Prince Alonzo. All the high officials from other cities are still here. So, it will be possible to carry out the coronation ceremony by tomorrow as the Goddess demanded."
"Wait!" John uttered. Everyone looked at this other outworlder.
"There is one other thing. The matter of Themos' death. We can't let the public know about the truth," John told them. "There will be much unrest if the people know that they have been betrayed by their own king. It will hurt the people's faith in the kingdom. It will undermine the new government."
"What do you suggest?" Thaergood asked.
"Announce the news that Themos' death had been the work of a foreign force. The same as Prince Alonzo's, and it was Storm Wind who unraveled this foreign agent's nefarious deed. Assure the people that the agent has been caught and killed. The identity of this agent is still being investigated to know which foreign force this agent came from."
Thaergood turned to Jack. "Does Your Majesty agree?" He asked.
"Say yes!" John sent Jack a message.
"I don't know, man… I don't like to lie. I think telling the truth is important," Jack replied.
"F*ck the truth! People losing faith is one of the reasons, the real thing is we don't have the time to deal with the hassle of the mass demanding justice for the vampire that has turned King Themos. This will put us on a collision course with the Sangrod Empire. We don't have the time for that. This kingdom is still in a shamble after Verremor's invasion. If we are now clashing with Sangrod, we won't have the strength to deal with Liguritudum when they arrive."
Jeanny chimed in, "I disagree with you, John. I think the truth is important, no matter how bitter it is. You should have more faith in the people."
"Individual is smart, but people or the mass, they are stupid! They just follow the flow. There will be people with bad intentions aiming to rile up the crowd to challenge your rule. By telling them the truth, you will give them ammunition for that. I've given my counsel. You decide what you think is best," John said.
Jack was dismayed. He was not even crowned king yet, and he had already had to make a difficult choice. But then he thought about the time when he was in Thesylvania. When he counseled Arlcard to hide the truth about Aubelard. It was easy then when he was not the one who had to decide.
"Do what he said," Jack finally said to Thaergood.
"As you wish, Your Majesty," Thaergood bowed.