Masked Knight - Chapter 144
Chapter 144: Shadows of Vampires
’’Are you saying that... Bayan wants to be the Crown Prince?’’ Rody frowned and asked in a soft voice, ’’This does not seem too possible. Although the Emperor has no son, he is not that old!’’
Myka showed a profound expression and shook her head. She slowly said, ’’Rody, you are too simple minded. Since the Emperor has no son, then Bayan is the only suitable candidate. Very few people could resist the temptation of Imperial power. The Emperor does not have an offspring now. They might even make sure it stays that way in the future.’’
Rody was shocked. ’’What do you mean?’’
Myka looked at Rody, with a worried expression and softly said, ’’Rody, right now, you are in a high position. Your actions are the center of everybody's attention. There are a lot of people that treat you with ulterior motives. You cannot face the world with such simple thinking.’’
She sighed, and her face bore a frightened expression. ’’In the history of the Empire, whenever there was a struggle for the throne, there would be an enormous confusion and reign of terror. When Abbas the Great rose to the throne two hundred years ago, the entire palace was stained red with blood. People would do anything for the throne!’’
’’Do they want to attack the Emperor?’’
Myka faintly replied, ’’In the past few years, Bayan had gathered the support of the nobles in the Imperial Capital. Think for a moment. If there were no conspiracies, why would he need to win the support of these young aristocrats? Even Didi, the son of the Finance Minister, is following by his side. There is also the Imperial Capital's Garrison General's son, Dardaniel. Have you already forgotten? They were originally Seth's friend, but now they are Bayan's supporters. He has won the support of the young nobles, and through these young nobles, he has gained the support of the rest of their families. Rody, have you never thought of this?’’
Rody sighed and gave a wry smile. ’’I am an impostor. Only God knows when I could stop pretending. The fights among all these people have nothing to do with me. I naturally never bothered thinking about these things.’’
Myka shook her head and whispered, ’’Others may not know it, but I know. It was something Seth told me when he was drunk, a long time ago. I know that the Emperor does not like the Tulip Family. He had always thought that the influence of the Tulip Family in the Empire is too big and might overshadow the Royal Family. The Emperor does not know that you are an impostor and had deliberately sent you to the Northwest Region. His idea was to let the playboy get killed by Reuenthal. Even if he did not die, he would bring shame to the Tulip Family. However, you performed outstandingly in the Northwest. The result was that the Tulip Family's prestige became even stronger. He then sent you to the South so that the rebellion of the mountain people would trap you there and keep the Tulip Family's banner thousands of miles away, forever. His Majesty wants to remove the Tulip Family. However, have you ever thought why he suddenly changed his attitude and why he proposed to Miss Nicole?’’
Rody frowned and said, ’’Is it not because the Imperial Family pressured him to do so? He originally wanted to marry Jojo and then later...’’
Myka sighed and gently pulled Rody's hand. She showed concern and asked, ’’Rody, do you think so?’’ She bit her lips and whispered, ’’This concerns the descendants of the Royal Family. Do you think this would be so simple? Would the Emperor just listen to those insignificant people as to whom he should marry? The Emperor's sisters and uncles may be respected people, but they do not have any influence! Do you think His Majesty would listen to them and propose to Seth's sister? If it was because of pressure, why did the Emperor not give up after Nicole turned down the proposal? If he does not sincerely want to marry Nicole, why did he not take this chance to cancel the marriage proposal? Why has he not given up?’’
Rody showed a thoughtful expression and said, ’’You mean... the Emperor has changed his attitude. He wants to win over the Tulip Family?’’
Myka showed some doubts in her eyes and replied, ’’His attitude has certainly changed. However, I do not know the reason.’’ Myka suddenly laughed and showed a strange expression. ’’All the smart people of the Empire know that His Majesty is a real bungling oaf. Hmph. Abbas XI does not even have one tenth of Abbas the Great's talent. If it were the other Emperors, they would be extremely happy about having the loyalty of a powerful subordinate like the Tulip Family defending the Empire. No matter what, they would try and provide the best treatment so that the Tulip Family would forever remain the pillars that support the Empire. However, I really do not know what Abbas XI is thinking. He is persistently trying to make things worse for himself.’’
Rody was silent for a moment, and suddenly, he laughed. ’’Alright. Let's stop talking about these things.’’ He laughed reluctantly. Although it was laughter, there was no pleasure in it.
Myka gently sighed. ’’I know... You are still thinking of Nicole. Are you worried about her? Are you more worried when I said that the Emperor sincerely wants to marry Nicole to win support through the Tulip Family?’’
Rody looked into Myka's deep gaze. For some reason, he felt an ache in his chest. He then slowly nodded his head.
Myka was startled for a while, and then she smiled. ’’It is unfortunate that you came here secretly. The last time you were here, I said I would sing you the new song that I have been practicing. However, it looks like this is not possible today.’’
Rody also smiled and shook his head. ’’Don't worry about the singing. Make sure you leave and go to that place tomorrow. There will be many more opportunities to listen to you sing.’’
Myka turned red and whispered, ’’I know.’’
Rody looked at Myka. He suddenly flushed and whispered, ’’Myka, on my way back, I felt anxious and angry. I felt dizzy as if I was a headless housefly. However, I have calmed down a lot after seeing you. Really... really thank you.’’
After saying that, Rody glanced at Myka and then turned around to leave. Myka followed him to the door. She then opened the door to make sure that was nobody outside. After that, she let Rody out.
When Myka was once again alone in her room, she leaned on the door and showed a complicated expression. After that, she sighed and whispered, ’’Fool!’’
Rody kept his head low as he quickly walked through the corridor. Other than two drunks, nobody else noticed him. However, just as he reached the stairs, he saw Madam Sophie looking up. Rody was shocked and immediately turned towards another corridor. Unexpectedly, there were two guards in front of a closed door at the end of the corridor. They were looking around and became wary when they saw someone approaching.
In front of Rody were the two guards, and behind him was Madam Sophie who had already started climbing the stairs. Rody gritted his teeth and immediately saw a door next to him. He desperately walked over and firmly pushed it open.
When the door opened, Rody immediately exclaimed in his heart. Lucky! Rody then entered the room and closed the door.
The guards at the end of the corridor saw the person entering another door and thought he was just another guest. They then stopped paying attention to that person. After that, they saw Madam Sophie arrive and immediately moved out of the way for her to enter.
Rody smelled a fragrance the moment he walked into the room. There were no lights, and he could only vaguely see that this was a side hall. It was similar to the room he was in, where they used to greet important guests. Rody knew that there should be a window behind the room and immediately rushed towards the back. He then opened the window and climbed out of it.
Outside the building and below the window, there was a narrow ledge. Rody stood on the ledge and moved his body a little. Fortunately, it was night time, and he was in the backyard of the brothel. Nobody from inside would come here. Occasionally, there were one or two servants, but they would also not look up.
Rody saw an iron pipe about ten meters in front of him. It was probably used for ventilation. He immediately tried to move towards the pipe with the intention of sliding down it.
As Rody carefully moved past a few windows, he could hear laughter and music coming from the room. Rody did not dare breathe heavily as he got closer to the iron pipe.
His current health was far from before. He felt his whole body ache, and his breathing had gradually become more rapid. Rody sighed in the cold night. He seemed like a useless person. Not to mention his superb force in the past, the 'seed of power' given to him by Master Autumn and his fighting energy. He felt weak after making the slightest movement. He could not help but curse Andy.
Finally, he was relieved when he reached the iron pipe. He was about to slide down when he saw two servants walk by. Rody immediately turned stiff and did not dare to move. However, the two servants stopped and stood below Rody. They started joking with each other. It looked like they were goofing off.
Rody felt anxious. He suddenly heard a familiar voice.
’’Your Excellency the Earl, goodbye!1’’
Rody's mind went blank for a moment and then immediately recovered. The voice came from the closed window that he was leaning on.
Rody was startled. However, he pressed his ear to the window. From what he could hear, he guessed that there were a lot of people in there.
’’Young Master Bayan, please send my regards to the Prince. Thank you for your hospitality today. I will return the favor some other day.’’ The man laughed. Rody felt that his voice sounded familiar. He then realized it was the Empire's Finance Minister, Didi's father, Earl Merlow.
He realized that the reason Bayan got close to Didi naturally was to win the support of the Finance Minister. Obviously, it was not surprising for them to be here.
The room was noisy as Didi and Merlow chatted and laughed. They seemed to be saying goodbyes to one another.
After a while, the room slowly quieted down. Suddenly, Bayan said, ’’Send two people to follow them. Today, that scoundrel is acting dumb. I don't feel at ease with them.’’
’’Hmph... These two fellows... If you are worried, I will get rid of both of them tonight. Killing two mere humans is no big deal. That young man seemed to be in good health. I wonder what his blood would taste like...’’ A man laughed after that.
Rody shook violently.
It's him! It's that vampire!
’’Shut up!’’ Bayan suddenly sounded harsh. After that, Rody heard footsteps approach the window. Rody was shocked. He immediately grabbed the iron pipe with his left hand and squatted down.
As soon as Rody squatted down, the window was immediately pushed open. Bayan stood there and looked around before closing the window.
’’Be careful when you speak! After all, this is a public place! There will trouble if someone hears what you just said!’’ Bayan voiced his dissatisfaction. He was displeased at the vampire for saying 'mere human'. Bayan snorted coldly and continued, ’’Our relationship is, after all, a secret. When you are outside, do not speak like a 'vampire'. Are you trying to attract the attention of the priests?’’
The vampire was unhappy and rebutted, ’’Why are you worried about those religious trash?’’
Bayan gave a weird tone and replied, ’’Trash? I asked you to get rid of Seth, but only a few of you managed to return. Let us see how Simao would punish you when he returns from the South.’’
The vampire no longer spoke.
Bayan then realised that his words were too harsh and gently said, ’’My father was also disappointed that this was not well managed. However, it seemed like there was somebody powerful protecting Seth. The Tulip Family has been a powerful family for hundreds of years. Naturally, they would have connections. This was our miscalculation. We cannot blame you entirely. However, you must still be careful not to reveal your identity as a vampire. If it were known that our family and the vampires are cooperating with each other, we would all die together.
The vampire was still a little bit angry and said, ’’Hmph... You humans... should be honored for being allied to the noble vampires!’’
Bayan smiled without minding the vampire's words and lightly asked, ’’How is your injury? Is it serious? Simao would still need two days before he can return. This means that I can only rely on you in the Imperial Capital. The Emperor seemed to have been alerted of our actions. He is starting to gather the support of the Tulip Family... and that court warrior beside him, Master Autumn, is not an easy opponent!’’
The vampire grunted coldly but did not speak. Obviously, he was fearful of Master Autumn's strength.
The more Rody heard, the more afraid he became.
Bayan sent the vampires to assassinate me.!
Rody then remembered Myka's words. These people would do anything for the Imperial power!
Bayan and his father, Prince Baron in order to compete for the Imperial power, they actually allied with the vampires. How come they are so daring?
The Empire was a kingdom that worshiped God. The whole Empire, regardless whether nobles or civilians, were all believers of God. Even the Emperor was schooled in the teachings of God.
The Pope was the spiritual leader of the Empire. Not only was he a high ranked person, at times, he was even superior to the Emperor. He also had two hundred thousand knights that had sworn allegiance to him.
After the God and Devil War, the Radiant continent and the Roland continent were divided into two groups. However, the situation in both continents was similar. The divine teachings, no matter which continent, were extremely noble. To ensure stability of the Imperial power, the people must be firmly connected with the teachings of God.
In fact, for centuries, the Emperor of the Radiant Empire had a close relationship with the church. Of course, it was also because the Empire had united the continent under a strong central rule. On the other hand, in the Roland continent, the numerous small kingdoms were very much in the shadow of the temple. Monarchy power was weak, but divine power was strong.
The strong central power protected the monarchy from the church. The influence the church had was undeniable for thousands of years. The religious authority and the Imperial power had existed side by side, neither imposing on the other. The Emperor symbolized the monarchy, and the Pope represented the divine right. That was the present unique situation of the Radiant Empire.
The close relationship of the Empire and the Church could be explained. The religion needed the Empire's strong administrative capabilities to promote their doctrine;the Empire, on the other hand, needed the religion to consolidate their rule.
However, because of the power struggle, Baran's whole family actually dared collude with the 'evil monsters' such as the vampires. The religious warriors had always been killing the vampires. Both sides had forged a deep hatred over hundreds of years. Whenever the vampires were caught, they would immediately be burned at a stake. Likewise, numerous priests who were bitten to death by the vampires.
Those who allied with the vampires were considered 'heathens' or 'evil'. These actions were considered the worst offense. If this secret was exposed, Bayan would immediately be regarded as a heretic and would antagonize the priests in the country.
Do they have to recklessly increase their power while competing for the throne?
Rody's heart raced crazily, making him miss out the subsequent conversation. When he finally calmed down, he was again able to catch the almost inaudible conversation.
The vampire then said, ’’Why do you even bother trying to kill that Duke? If you don't want His Majesty to marry the Duke's sister, then you can just kill the girl. She is in the Imperial Capital. Why do you need to go so far?’’
Bayan gave a cold smile and replied, ’’Do you really think I do not want to do that? However, this is the Imperial Capital! The Emperor has also noticed us and placed guards to monitor the Tulip Family's mansion! How could I act? Just charge right in? This is the Imperial Capital. Right now, we should stay away from public view. If it is like you said, the soldiers would not be able to stop you. However, after using such a big maneuver, it would become a coup d'etat.’’ Bayan replied agitatedly and seemed dissatisfied with the vampires. ’’Anyway, this is not the right time!’’
’’But what?’’ Bayan was in a bad mood. ’’Kill, kill, kill! Do you vampires only know how to use your claws and teeth? By your argument, you might as well just go straight to the palace and kill the Emperor! Wouldn't that be simpler?’’
’’Bastard! You dare to insult me!’’ The vampire's voice became much louder, and the air turned cold.
Bayan was not afraid and coldly replied, ’’Don't forget, Simao has ordered you to listen to me when he is not around! Do you dare to go against Simao?’’
The room became silent again. After a while, the vampire spoke softly, ’’Hmph, fine! However, if you were to insult me again, even if I cannot kill you now, the same cannot be guaranteed in the future!’’
After finishing his words, the vampire left angrily.
Bayan was alone in the room. Rody heard Bayan lightly tap the table and mutter to himself, ’’That Seth really has a long life... However, if he does not die, how can we stop His Majesty from marrying Nicole? Sigh... Originally, if Seth had died, the situation would be disrupted. By then, it would not matter whether the Emperor married Miss Nicole or not. A Tulip Family without men is not threatening! Even if the Emperor were to marry Nicole then, it would be nothing remarkable. However, it seems that now there is a problem. Luckily, the Emperor is an idiot. The Tulip Family could have been a strong ally, but he does not know how to win them over. His reasoning was that he needed to protect his dignity and desperately suppressed the Tulip Family. Now, it may be too late to win them over. Otherwise, Miss Nicole might not have rejected His Majesty's proposal.’’
He seemed to be thinking carefully and then suddenly whispered, ’’What do you think? What should we do now? Compared to that idiot, you seem to be a rare genius among the vampires.’’
Rody was surprised. There is still another person in the room?
Sure enough, there was a charming laughter. ’’Young Master Bayan, I do not know what to say about this. I suggest you go back and discuss it with your father. As for that fool, I will teach him a lesson. However, you better advise Simao properly when he comes back. Sigh. He is old, yet he is bent on finding trouble with the Pope. However, this is not the time to take revenge on the Pope. First, we have to wait for you to become the Emperor and gradually weaken the religion influences in the Empire. When the church loses its power, then it will be easy to kill a few of them!’’
When Rody heard what was said, he almost exclaimed out loud.
She is also a vampire?
In his surprise, he slipped a little and then there was a crash. Rody had stepped on something, and an old piece of the wall outside ended up crashing down.
The two servants below immediately became wary and looked up. In the dark, they saw Rody squatting near a window. One of them shouted, ’’Who is that up there?’’
The other one reacted faster and shouted in a louder voice, ’’Thief!’’
The two men shouted so loudly that Rody was immediately shocked. He knew that he was in trouble.
Sure enough, someone shouted from inside the room. ’’Someone is there!’’ After that, the window crashed open and a pair of white hands stretched out to pull Rody's shirt.
Madam Sophie no longer had the seductive eyes of the manager of the brothel. At that moment, her eyes were blood red, similar to the eyes of those vampires that Rody had met.
Her smiling face had turned pale. When she opened her mouth, she revealed two sharp fangs. She roared as she looked at the person she had seized. In the dark, she could not see Rody's face clearly and shouted, ’’Who are you?’’
Rody's reacted quickly. He brandished his left fist at Madam Sophie's face but could not land a hit. Although Madam Sophie managed to dodge the attack, Rody's clothes tore and he fell.
The two people below were still shouting and did not take precautions against the person above, who suddenly fell. Both of them were unable to react, and before they could move out of the way, Rody had crash landed on them.
The two men shouted miserably as the three of them rolled on the ground. Rody endured the pain and quickly got up. He then turned toward the entrance of the brothel and ran towards it.
The two servants continued to shout in pain on the ground. Fortunately, Rody had only fallen from the first floor. Otherwise, if he were to fall from a greater height and landed on them, they would have been seriously injured and would not even be able to shout.
There was a sharp whistle from above, as a black figure scuttled out of the window. The black shadow completely unfolded in the night and seemed to have a pair of black wings.
Before the two servants could see clearly, the black shadow had already scuttled to the ground.
The two of them were about to cry out in alarm but Madam Sophie had already grabbed them by their necks and snapped them.
’’Grab that man! He must have heard our conversation!’’ Bayan shouted from the window.
Madam Sophie nodded and started chasing after Rody.
1慢走, 'walk slowly' is a literal translation. It is mostly used as a polite expression when someone leaves like wishing someone to 'drive safely'. In this case, it is something like 'Take your time, don't rush' or just 'goodbye'.