Chapter 981 Cold War Part 1
Valeron, Capital of the Griffon Kingdom, Throne Room.
The Royal Court was in an uproar, torn between the reappearance of an old enemy and the never-ending strife between the ancient and the new magical households.
A conflict that was only getting worse as the Ernas\'s and the Deirus\'s factions clashed more furiously by the day.
Phloria taking a sabbatical despite the fact that the undead invasion was far from being resolved had added fuel to the fire.
She had disobeyed her commanding officer and abandoned her duty, an unprecedented act that made the matter of closing her trial even more urgent.
Lady Ernas needs to be dishonorably discharged and sentenced for her crimes.
Otherwise, all those who disagree with the laws of the Kingdom will follow her lead and ignore their orders out of petty grudges. Archmage Deirus called Phloria only by her family name, disregarding all of her achievements as both army officer and mage.
Petty grudges Jirni echoed the words with her voice filled with contempt.
Lord Deirus forgets to mention that the laws of our Kingdom guarantee Captain Ernas a speedy trial.
Yet first she was suspended for months before being forced to resume duty because her country needed her skill and talent.
Then she got stuck with the same workload as everyone else despite being treated as a traitor and kept in a limbo for over a year now.
Now that a new equilibrium with the Undead Courts has been reached and the conscription is no longer needed, Captain Ernas has simply asked to either get a sabbatical or an honorable discharge.
This Court can\'t demand her to keep risking her life while all her merits and promotions are frozen.
Not only does she deserve to be acquitted from all those ridiculous charges, but also a compensation for the service given and an apology for the unfair treatment she received.
Acquitted over my dead body! Archmage Onia, Headmistress of the Black Griffon said.
Six Archmages, each one a pillar of the magical community, died in Kulah because of her incompetence.
As the representative of the academies, I demand justice!
A pretentious claim since the Mefaal Household didn\'t press charges and neither did the White Griffon. Yondra\'s husband said.
He wasn\'t willing to let his late wife\'s name be used for political plays.
Enough! King Meron slammed his palm on the armrest of his golden throne.
Both parties have expressed their opinion many times and the only thing you agree on, is that the trial of Captain and Mage Phloria Ernas lasted too long.
The Queen and I agree as well.
We\'ll let you know our decision after carefully pondering all your arguments.
His face was stern and confident, yet reality couldn\'t differ more.
\'This is bad, dear.\' He said to the Queen via their mind link.
\'On the one hand, Jirni is right.
The army has no right over her daughter now that the crisis is over.
Forcing a mage to do anything without compensation sets a dangerous precedent that might lead to losing our best elements.
\'On the other hand, Headmistress Onia is also right.
The death of so many Archmages cannot go unpunished.
Someone has to take the blame for what happened and pay the price.\'
\'I know.\' Sylpha replied.
\'That\'s why I assigned to Phloria\'s unit only high-profile missions.
Not to punish her, but because I hoped that she would achieve something so great that it would make Kulah\'s incident pale in comparison.
\'Something like Lith\'s exposing the Bright Day\'s ploy or revealing the threat of the Golden Griffon.
We wouldn\'t have been able to make him an Archmage if not for such outstanding results.
\'Alas, she wasn\'t lucky enough and despite her accomplishments, she\'s not nearly in the clear.\'
Sylpha couldn\'t believe that if not for Kulah, Phloria would have already been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, if not even raised to the status of Great Mage as well.
Yet the reason you\'re here is to discuss the eventuality of Balkor\'s return. Meron said.
His telepathic conversation with his wife lasted barely the blink of an eye.
The King\'s words triggered an even bigger uproar that ended only when the Queen activated one of the arrays in the room, forcing everyone to kneel and shut up.
If you keep behaving like children, then I\'ll treat you as such. She said.
As you know, under the cover of the night, several youths from the most powerful magical bloodlines of the Kingdom have been crippled.
Their assailants maimed their bodies beyond what even tier five light magic can heal.
Not only were their injuries deliberately so cruel that the youths need a rejuvenator, but they were poisoned with an unknown substance that crippled their magical prowess.
According to our esteemed Royal Healer, it will take them months, if not years to recover.
Also, this card was left on the scene of every one of the attacks.
Sylpha showed a simple piece of paper, bearing a single word that struck fear in the hearts of all of those present.
It said: Future.
The Balkor department confirmed that this is his penmanship and that the venom employed is a variant of that he used during his previous attacks.
That\'s why we\'ve asked you to come here.
We\'re all survivors and if the god of death is really back, then we must stick together.
To prevent further chaos, I\'ll allow you to speak one at a time.
Several hands were raised and the King picked one per faction.
Your Majesty, with all due respect, I don\'t believe it\'s true. Archmage Deirus said.
Crippling instead of killing is not how Balkor operates.
On top of that, I find it suspiciously convenient that only the enemies of Archon Ernas have been targeted.
Given the seriousness of his allegations, Sylpha allowed Jirni to reply.
I understand better than anyone else the cruelty of seeing a talented youth\'s future destroyed for petty reasons, so I\'ll forgive Archmage Deirus for his cruel words. Her voice sounded pained but compassionate.
That said, I\'d like to remind you that my family has been the victim of several attempts performed by unknown assailants as well, and so happened to many of my friends. Many heads nodded at Jirni\'s words.
After she had captured Kaelan the Vampire and destroyed the branch of the Dawn Court in Othre, the undead had spared no effort to kill both her magicless sons, Gunyin and Tulion.
Their detail was composed of men of the Queen\'s corps and Orion\'s best students while their staff was actually composed of members of Jirni\'s Myrok household.
When the most stalwart defenders and the deadliest assassins in the Kingdom joined forces, only death awaited their enemies.
The only reason why we have suffered no casualty is that none of our heirs is so profligate that they need to ditch their detail in order to indulge in their vices.
Besides, the strategy you described is hardly a novelty.
It\'s what the undead have done for centuries when they want to forcefully recruit someone and bend their families to their will.
It\'s likely that Balkor is helping the Courts to strengthen their position inside the Kingdom.
The fact that the god of death isn\'t capable of fighting on his own anymore is well known, just like his undying hate for all of us.
The real question is why my esteemed colleagues seem more interested in pointing fingers rather than finding a cure for their heirs.
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