A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE MEEETING AT THE INN
Aero look around him and all he could see was dried leaves and tall and large trees. He took his breath and perk up his ears to hear any movement.
He closes his eyes and after a few seconds he opens it back up
'I guess they did not catch up to me yet' he muttered to himself. He sheathes back his Heaven Sword and stand up as he thinks about what he should do now.
He was on the forest around the Fort that separates the border between Karak and Greater Veranis.
He had to cancel his plan to ride straight to Vanheim because of what happens today.
'Shit, I should have foreseen this. someone plotted against me. I guess I had managed to draw all my enemies out.'
When he woke up this morning in the Vlad castle someone try to kill him. If not for his senses that was sensitive, he might not notice it and let himself being stabbed
Of course, even if he was stabbed. Unless it was his ankle, he would not die.
He notices the assassin entering his room and fight the invaders, killing a few of them.
The Vlad family also helps him battles this assassins activating their guards.
After that knowing that he had managed to convince to some people that he was not directly rushing to Vanheim, he decided to rush to Vanheim.
That is his plan since the beginning
He could not let others think he is rushing straight to Vanheim. Appearances that he must keep for appearance sake and the politics he had to play could seem cumbersome to some, but he found enjoyment in it
There are many reason why he did this kind of thing but the main reason was because he wants to keep appearance to that one person.
What would the world thinks if he quickly rush to Vanheim?
He doesn't care what the people of the court thinks, since he controls the court. He rushing to Vanheim to take control of the court is only expected.
But that is the mindset of the native of this world. Aero enemies who he acknowledged only come from the same place he is
He cares about that Black Robed person in Veva thinks. In the Vilajeri Continent who would be his match?
But why then would he rushed too fast to go to Vanheim like he is a prey being hunted. There are many things that he doesn't want that Black Robed Prime Minster to understand.
If he knows his weakness that is not good. If he knows that his true relationship with the Emperor and King James is not at all what they portrayed it to be, that is also not good.
Many people know that the relationship between the Emperor and him was not good. But that itself is also could be considered a trick.
Eric….is someone who overthinks too much. And it is precisely because it is him that he thinks too much
And Aero used that against him. Aero does appear to be not close with the Emperor. But that might not what it seems like to Eric mind.
Eric had lost against him many times. And such fact weighed heavily on his mind. It is like a psychological trauma.
Thus he would be overcautious of him more than he would be if it was any other person and each and every move that Aero made, Eric would think it over and over.
If its anyone else, Eric might not have such a reaction. And there lays the traps. Other people would just accept the fact that his relationship is not good with the Emperor.
But if it is Eric, he might be thinking that the true relationship between Aero and the Emperor is not as bad as the rumors says it to be.
If its Eric, he might think that it is Aero scheme to think that the Emperor and him is in a bad relation.
That is why Aero is not worried about that.
He had maintained appearance of sometimes appearing to care about the Emperor in secret and rebuking him harshly in the public, thus giving Eric just enough hesitation and uncertainty.
This is a silent battle between them as they try to deceive each other. And Aero had to admit he likes playing the game like this
He likes fighting but nothing beats the feeling of defeating a person without lifting a single hand, using only his mind to subdue them
Anyway, Aero after being attacked by assassins he knows that this is good enough. Now, that he fulfilled his goals, he decided to rush to Vanheim as fast as possible.
Now, his return is justified in the eyes of Eric.
He had let those spies knows where he is going not only because he wants to inform the Emperor but also to draw out some other enemies.
It served as a reminder and a warning to know that he had returned.
This is their chance. Aero is in foreign lands right now. If someone wanted to make a move, this is the right moment.
Once he gone back to Vanheim, those people could not even have a chance to kill him. He is the bait and he hoped that there are some fishes that get caught.
The killers that tried to kill him doesn't seem to come from the Blood Brotherhood. When he thinks of the Blood Brotherhood he is reminded of Tatiana.
After having quite, the breakfast and taking with the people of Vlad family members about something, he quickly rushes out from the residence.
What he didn't expect was that a few hours later, he was being pursued by many people.
It was then that he finds out the death of the entire family of House of Vlad, their House is wiped out from the lineage of nobility just like that since they have no surviving heir.
Whoever it is they are efficient and ruthless enough
At this time, Aero had no other choice other than to stop his journey.
He could guess what would happen if he went to the border now. That area must have hundreds of checkpoints.
He could disguise himself, but he is not sure if his disguise could fool some of the magicians. This time the entire Karak government is searching for him and they surely would not use some third rate magicians and wizard.
They would surely hire the best and his Disguise skill is not that refined. They might even hire an Archmage. If there is one thing Karak didn't lack, it is gold
He could use his skill points to rank up disguise skill but he felt that it would be too wasteful.
There is another way which is to force his way out. With his strength it was not an impossibility. No matter how many forces they laid out in the fortress, they still couldn't defeat him.
But Aero also knows, the moment he did that the accusation against him would look credible.
And it is not like he is desperate to go to Vanheim.
And he is more interested in this enemy.
Those three nobles house of Karak might think that this has something to do with the two Imperial brothers in the Capital of Vanheim, but Aero is certain that they are not involved in this matter.
That is because this scheme had no benefit for them.
Aero knows the Emperor. And he knows what the Emperor needs right now.
There is a reason why he chose the Vlad as the place of his residence. Vlad is a scholar family, the most knowledgeable family there is in the Vilajeri Continent
When he was in the Castle of the House of Vlad, he had asked the Patriarch of the Vlad family all about what was happenings since he was gone.
He could see that the Emperor made a mistake by bestowing the title King to Prince James. If he were in the Imperial Court, he would smack the back of that idiot Emperor head
Now he is no longer Prince James but King James. Emperor Edward might not see the scheme that James had done, but how could it escape his eyes?
He could have deduced of how it all happens from what the Vlad had told him.
James never had any military power in the court.
And he was the one that made it so.
Since he had removed the fangs from James mouth, how could he bit the Emperor. A toothless tiger is not something anyone should be worried about.
And James was a smart person. He relented and did not protest too much of the decision. He protested of course but that was all for show for him.
If James did not even protest even he would be suspicious. The fact that he tries to protests actually made his submission more believable.
And while Edward gloated in temporary victory, Aero see James for what he is. A very formidable opponent for the Emperor.
But in the time span he is not in Vanheim, provoked by base emotions, blinded by the desire to persecute his own brother, Edward send James to Niovar, a place where he had put Archduke Bradheim.
That is the most unwise decision the Emperor had ever done. All of that balancing he had done in the Imperial Court had been broken because of the order of the Emperor.
Isn't sending James back to Niovar basically giving not only James his fangs back but also attached wings for him?
With that power, even though James is far from the Central authority, he could build his force and slowly covers his strength far away from the eye of the Emperor.
There is a reason he kept James by his side even though he could send him far away.
Out of sight, out of mind.
And it is out of mind that James wanted to accomplish. He wanted to make Edward forget that he was ever there and when Edward had forgotten, that is when he strikes.
And that is why he always kept that Prince close to him. And it also has to do with Aero balancing the courts.
The Emperor does not like him very much and while he fended off James attacks, he also had to defend against the Emperor trying to encroach into the Six Councils in his hand.
So, James had a use. When he had to diminish the Emperor power, he would increase James influence and when he wanted to suppress James, he would use the Emperor
The distrust and desires between those two imperial lions acted as a balance with him in the middle, determining the force and power that distributed between them
But right now, as he had been briefed by the Vlad, he knows the Emperor needs him right now. It is clear he is losing support in the Imperial Courts and he needed his Chancellor back.
Edward at least is not truly an incompetent Emperor. Aero had sent letter to him that night he arrived in the Vlad castle.
It turns out his intuition was right and wrong at the same time. The House of Vlad was interested in the status quo but that was only the appearance in the surface.
In secret, they already pledged allegiance to the Emperor. And it is not surprising considering their political views.
The rightful heir to the throne of Vanheim is the Emperor and as such his claim is more appealing than any other reason to old scholar's family like the House of Vlad.
It seems the Emperor had also been cultivating secret alliances behind his back. Though he was not surprised, he was also not entirely pleased.
As such when he arrived at the Vlad residence, message was already sent to the Imperial Palace and the Emperor immediately sent correspondence through the use of postal stations that is established all across the lands of Vanheim and Karak.
In the morning, he got the news from the Patriarch of the Vlad family
After hearing the news from the Vlad Patriarch, and after hearing about the massacre of the Vlad family he knows that the one ally he could trust right now is the Emperor
Because the Emperor needs him right now. It is clear that while he is not there, James is slowly diminishing Imperial Authority on the conquered regions in Niovar.
If Aero could not guess what James wanted to do, why would he be called a Divine Strategist? But James was also not the one that had send those assassins.
Because it doesn't benefit him either way.
James priority right now is not to bring attention to him that much.
He is gathering his strength, conserving his forces and making sure that his plan is not found out by the Emperor.
Niovar did not have many eyes of the imperial court mostly because Bradheim guards there.
Bradheim might have always supported James but he is also very loyal.
Even though he disagreed in making Edward the Emperor, he had respected the will of the previous King and he had remained loyal to the Imperial court so even Aero did not put much intelligence there.
It is a show of trust and gratitude. Aero respected that old lion and the War God of Vanheim
At that time, he thought to let that old hero of the Empire to die peacefully. He had never thought of a situation where James could be send back to Niovar.
Either way, it is not James. He had too much to lose and too little to gain.
For now, he had no clue who it is that planned against him. All he knows is that who is not plotting against him.
He needs to gather more information and gather more allies.
He is too vulnerable now. He thought of some of his ally and he frowned even deeper
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