"Those pests...!!!"

Claudius slammed his fist on the table. He was inside the war room with Royal advisor Mason, Princess Sindral, Duke Alfredo, Duchess Isabelle, lord commander Armstrong, the two lord marshals, Emris and Meryl, and several other officials.

They had convened for an emergency meeting due to the sudden provocation by the outworlders outside the capital.

"We should have eradicated all of them when we have the chance!" Claudius exclaimed. "Therribus was right! Sooner or later, the outworlders will rebel, just like they do now!"

"They aren't rebelling. They just want to talk," Duchess Isabelle said.

"Bringing an army to our doorstep? Is that what you called a talk?" Claudius returned. "Give me the command of the army. I will go out and give them a talk!"

"Whatever it is. It will not be good for both sides if a battle occurred," Duke Alfredo said.

"What is there to fear? They are outworlders. We can easily crush them!"

"In the past! Now, most of them are slightly above our average soldiers already."

"We have many officers who are still higher level than them."

"Yes. But at the moment, in this capital, they outnumber us," Alfredo said. "We have lost plenty of troops during the orc invasion. Many of the troops originally garrisoned in the cities are now transferred to the border stations, including the troops in this city. The troops we have available here didn't reach 20,000 soldiers. The outworlders outside our three city gates number more than that."

"Don't forget that if a battle happens, they can also summon their guild soldiers," Armstrong reminded. "I've seen their numbers. Each of the guilds with headquarters can summon roughly 15,000 soldiers. Their numbers have surely reduced after the war, but if they all summon their soldiers, it will still be significant."

"They won't win with numbers. We have more higher-level officers. Don't forget also that our two lord marshalls are here," Claudius said. "What can they do against mythical-grade combatants?"

"Although their levels were lower, the Everlasting Heavenly Legends also have Mythical-grade combatants. Their guild hero and guild guardian," Duke Alfredo said.

"We have three of them!" Claudius said, looking at Duchess Isabelle.

"They also have three. One of their members has a mythical-grade companion. A champion from the destroyed Council of Virtus. He is not someone to be underestimated despite his lower level."

"It is as you said! All of their mythical combatants are lower level than ours, they won't win!" Claudius exclaimed.

"They won't. But with their numbers, they will still be able to cause damage to our capital. If we battle them out in the open, we won't be able to stop their number from breaching into the capital."

"So what? We just cower inside the capital like we are afraid of them? I can't accept that!"

"We won't. We will make a show of force," Duke Alfredo said. "We will head out there and give them what they want. A talk. But we will do so with a full showcase of our battle power, which means all the available high-level combatants. We will remind them that trying to go against us by force will not end well for them."

"Okay," Claudius said. "But what if the talk goes south? I mean, what are we even want to talk to them about? They want that Storm Wind boy, don't they? Don't tell me you are going to negotiate with them about releasing that murderer. The court has already decided on his death sentence. We will lose face if we are not going through with it!"

"We will of course respect the court's verdict," Alfredo said. "The point of us going out to intimidate and talk with them is just to buy time. They want to prevent us from executing the boy. We simply delay them by talking while we carry out the execution early. They shouldn't expect this as noon is still three hours away. Once the boy is back to level 1 and loses everything. We just show him to them. The outworlders value strength. If they saw him as a powerless person, they will have no more reason to fight us."

"I'm surprised," Emris said. "I thought you are the one who objects to his execution the most."

"Do not insult me, lord marshall," Alfredo said. "Although I still don't believe that he is the one who murdered Prince Alonzo, I still belong to this kingdom. I won't tolerate the outworlders' rebelling act. They have themselves to blame for pushing us into hastening Storm Wind's execution."

"Please accept my apology then, my duke," Emris said with a slight bow.

Mason took a deep breath before asking everyone, "Does anyone have any other proposal? If not, I'm keen to agree with the duke. All of you will head out to meet those outworlders. Princess Sindral and I will stay behind with a few soldiers to carry out the execution."

When no one say anything, Mason told them to dismiss and start organizing the soldiers inside the capital to head out.

When all of them left, Duke Alfredo stayed behind.

"Is there anything else?" Mason asked the duke.

"Royal advisor, I'm sorry. I know that the verdict has been given. But can you please give the boy another chance?" Duke Alfredo said.

Mason knew the boy the duke referred to was Jack. He said, "Duke Alfredo, I know your friendship with that boy is deep. To be honest, I myself am as surprised as you. But we cannot ignore the evidence. Everything points to him as the murderer."

"I understand. But can you at least listen to him one last time before his execution? We have never listened to his side of the story. Just you and Princess Sindral. That's all I asked. I will head out and fight those outworlders if I have to, but I hope you give him at least this one chance. Even if it is just to honor his accomplishments from the invasion war."

Mason breathed a long sigh and said, "Fine. I will give him a chance to talk before his execution."

"Then we have to do the execution indoors," Princess Sindral said. "His words will be for us to judge. We can't let the others hear what he said. Just in case he spouts something that might cause doubts to the kingdom."

"I don't think that will happen, but as long as you two are willing to talk to him. I'm happy about it," Duke Alfredo said. "I will have my people arrange the execution device inside a closed room in this palace right now. I will also arrange for people to carry Storm Wind to that room bound with runic rope. He won't be able to do anything."

Mason nodded. "We will trouble you then," he said.

Duke Alfredo excused himself and left the room to make the arrangement.


The room that was prepared as the execution room was a large circular hall at the upper part of the palace. It had a door to a balcony outside. Mason and Princess Sindral came to this room after Duke Alfredo's people informed them that the execution device had been set there.

The execution device was a large crystal that was attached to the ceiling. It had rune diagrams all over its surface. It emitted a field that caused anyone who died within its vicinity to die a wilderness death despite they were in a city. It also caused players who died inside its field of effect to come back to life here instead of at the usual rebirth point.

Upon activation, the crystal would shoot a continuous beam of energy onto the user's target, delivering magical damage. The target was usually bound so it was just a matter of time until the crystal depleted the target's HP.

The soldiers who set up the device informed Mason that the device had been set to follow the royal advisor's command.

Mason and Sindral were now on the balcony looking outside while they waited for Jack to be delivered to them. They watched the kingdom troops gathered at the palace's courtyard below before marching out to meet the outworlders outside the city gate.

"Do you think the outworlders will truly go against us for Storm Wind?" Princess Sindral asked.

Mason sighed. "I guess it is difficult for two different living beings to live together, just as the seven main races in this world live apart from each other. Probably these outworlders will just move to another land and create an eighth main country."

"That might probably be the best," Sindral said.

They heard the door open then. They turned back and saw Jack walk into the hall. He was bound by a runic rope and was flanked by two soldiers.

Mason and Sindral went back into the hall and closed the door to the balcony. The two soldiers that brought Jack excused themselves and shut the door when they exited. In the hall were now only Jack, royal advisor Mason, and Princess Sindral.

"I hear you want to talk," Mason said to Jack. "In honor of your past accomplishments, I will give you one last chance to speak before we carry out your execution."

Jack replied with a smile, which confused the two. "How about I tell you the real culprit behind Prince Alonzo's assassination?"