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Masked Knight - Chapter 99


Chapter 99: Drawing an Alliance

On their way into the Imperial Capital, the guards in front cleared a way for the two highranking

officials'carriage. That was the power of prestige. Rody was young and impatient. All

along the way in the carriage, he kept on inquiring about Merlow's strategy at the coming

negotiation. However, the Finance Minister was a crafty person and was good with his words.

No matter how Rody asked, Merlow would only say that his purpose was to 'assist the Duke'

and refused to divulge his strategy. It was obvious that he was a wise man and knew that the

peace talks were just a humiliating treaty. Whatever it was, he would avoid becoming the


After the carriage stopped, Rody was shocked the minute he got out of the carriage. He found

himself standing in front of a tall building. From the inside of the building, the sound of people

singing and merrymaking could be heard and pretty ladies could be seen dancing. They had

arrived at the most celebrated brothel in the Imperial Capital.

Rody looked at the leisurely Earl Merlow. He had never expected the Earl to bring him here. The

first time Rody came here, it was together with the Earl's son, Didi. This time, he was here with

Didi's father and had a strange feeling.

Earl Merlow smiled and led Rody in. Madam Sophie, who had not seen Rody for a while,

immediately rushed out. She uttered all kinds of compliments as she took them into a chamber.

The chamber was located along the hall, on the second floor. The chamber had a view of the

middle of the hall. A roller screen was slowly lowered. Looking through the screen, they could

watch all the dances and performances.

Two beautiful women, from both sides, served them red wine in golden cups. Merlow was

relaxed, and he continuously drank three cups of wine. After that, he felt high and slowly lay

down on the leather skin on the floor, lazily watching the performance downstairs.

Rody was bewildered and asked, ’’Your Excellency Merlow, what did we come here for?’’

Merlow grinned and replied. ’’Your Excellency the Duke, don't you think that this is an

exceptionally good place to have a discussion?’’

Rody frowned as he looked at the two beautiful women next to him and said, ’’I did not expect

the Earl to be lecherous, but I am worried about the peace negotiations.’’

Merlow laughed as he glanced at Rody and said, ’’Take it easy. You and Didi came here many

times in the past. Besides that, I have a reason to invite you here. You will find out in a while.’’

The Earl paused for a while before giving a strange smile. ’’I heard that Miss Myka is your

exclusive partner, and others could not get to see her. I heard from Didi that the others can have

the chance to see her only if you are around.’’

Rody's face turned slightly red as he remembered his agreement with Myka, but he did not say


Merlow changed the topic and made small talk. After a while, they heard a commotion

downstairs. Immediately, a dozen people wearing the leather clothes of the grassland walked in

and were greeted by Miss Sophie. The person that stood at the back was a slender old man. The

old man wore a magnificent fur clothing and had a golden sword on his waist. His face was

rosy, and he squinted his eyes.

’’Look, this is Prince Memnon whom the Great Moon Kingdom has dispatched here to negotiate.

He is the King's younger brother and also Reuenthal's uncle.’’ Merlow smiled proudly.

Rody's heart stirred as he looked at those people walking up the stairs. He then whispered,

’’Reuenthal's uncle? Does this Prince support Reuenthal or Prince Sultan? I heard that the

competition at Dragon Plateau is quite intense.’’

Merlow's expression changed when he heard Rody's words. He gave a strange glare and said, ’’I

did not expect Your Excellency to be able to see things so clearly. I heard that this Prince is

extremely loyal to their King, but we still do not know which of the Princes he supports. If we

can obtain some information here, then our negotiation will be more advantageous.’’


Merlow smiled and said, ’’This time, you have stirred up trouble at the Northwest grasslands

and have even shocked the people at Dragon Plateau. The tribal leaders all blamed Reuenthal

for not putting in enough effort. Now, Prince Sultan is gathering support to challenge

Reuenthal. The king of the Great Moon Kingdom is old. Both his sons, Reuenthal and Sultan

know that the one with more military power will be the future king. The barbarians of the

grasslands are different from us in the Empire. The position of Crown Prince is given to the one

who has more power. Right now, Reuenthal is an advocate of war. As for Sultan, although we do

not know his real intentions, but since he wants to oppose his older brother, he is likely to be an

advocate of peace. However, their kingdom is unstable right now with a lot of internal

problems, and the Empire is not prepared for war. Both parties want peace. It is just that

Reuenthal has put up a tough front while Sultan is more gentle. If we know which side this

Prince is taking, then we will at least know where our limit for the negotiation is.’’

Rody could not believe that Merlow would say something like that. He could not help but say, ’’I

did not expect Your Excellency to already have an idea. I asked so many questions earlier on our

way here. Looks like it was pointless for me to have worried so much.’’

Merlow stopped smiling. He looked at Rody for a long time before he slowly said, ’’Seth, the

undercurrents in the Empire are strong. You and I must be careful.’’

’’Hm?’’ Rody was surprised when Merlow stopped calling him 'Your Excellency the Duke' but

instead called him 'Seth'. Hearing those words, Rody did not know how to respond.

Merlow gave a meaningful smile and continued, ’’This peace negotiation, no matter what the

outcome is, will certainly attract a lot of condemnation. His Majesty will naturally refuse to take

the bad name. Who will be willing to take the blame? I am also not willing, but His Majesty

ordered me to deal with the peace negotiations. I have no choice but to obey.’’

Rody was startled as he asked. ’’Your Excellency, Merlow, do you mean...’’

Merlow gave a wry smile and said, ’’The peace negotiation between the two countries is of great

importance. I am just a small Finance Minister and an Earl. I cannot carry this burden. Now, the

person whom His Majesty relies on the most is definitely you, the Duke. However, you are still

young and inexperienced. There is also the Marquis Garoline. However, Marquis Garoline is

busy and cannot personally preside over the peace negotiations. This is why the Marquis

proposed to His Majesty to give me this assignment. I am reluctant to undertake this heavy

assignment. Fortunately, I have Your Excellency the Duke to share this burden...’’

After he finished speaking, he looked at Rody with bright eyes.

Rody did not know how to answer. Suddenly, he heard Andy's voice. ’’Boy, do you still not

understand? He is hinting to you that he is also being framed by that Marquis to handle this

negotiation. How could you not understand this? This peace negotiation is like dog sh*t by the

roadside. Anyone who sees it will get out of the away. For him to be targeted by Garoline to

handle this negotiation means that he and that old bastard are not from the same camp.’’

’’Then what should I do?’’

Andy replied calmly, ’’Do not trust him so easily. Test him first.’’

Hearing that, Rody's mind was cleared. He cleared his throat and replied, ’’Your Excellency

Merlow, Marquis Garoline is probably busy with the military tasks. He also has a heavy


Merlow looked at Rody and then, he suddenly laughed out loud. His expression was full of

ridicule. ’’Seth, you have just entered officialdom, and you have already learned how to say one

thing and mean another.’’

Rody's face turned red and he replied softly, ’’Your Excellency Merlow, what are you talking

about? I do not understand!’’

Merlow snorted and continued, ’’I do not blame you. However, I brought you here to tell you

that we do not have to hide anything from each other. Otherwise, I would have just brought you

elsewhere. Honestly, being a Military Minister is also an important task. But now, His Majesty

only listens to Garoline for everything. Garoline has gone too far. Ultimately, he is just a

Military Minister and not a Prime Minister!’’

After Earl Merlow said those words, his face showed an expression of anger. However, he looked

meaningfully at Rody.

Rody did not expect Merlow to be so blunt. He stayed silent for a moment and then he asked,

’’Your Excellency Merlow, why did you say all this to me?’’

’’Garoline, that old man, is just a Military Minister. His intentions are to make the Lionheart

Family rise above the Tulip Family and to become the Empire's most prominent family. Seth,

are you not going to do anything about this?’’

Rody nodded and looked at Merlow. Then he spoke in a heavy voice, ’’Earl Merlow, I am just a

Duke without any real power. There is no point telling me all these as I am just an outsider...’’

’’Outsider? Seth! I know about what happened at the Westwood Province! Since many years ago,

everyone had called you a playboy but I did not believe them! That was why I allowed Didi to be

close to you. I clearly know that my son will not be able to inherit the title for his entire life.

Now that I look at it again, I was right in believing in you. You were able to force Reuenthal to

withdraw and you were able to use your wrath to suppress the rebellion at the Westwood

Province! Your Excellency the Duke, why are you so careful? I have already spoken all my

innermost thoughts to you. Why do you still not trust me?’’

Rody was silent. He had many complex thoughts in his mind. He was at a loss with all these

intricacies in bureaucracy. He sighed and slowly said, ’’Your Excellency Merlow, do you mean

that you want to overthrow Marquis Garoline? I am afraid it will not be so easy.’’

’’Hmph!’’ Merlow gave a cold smile. ’’So what? He is just a member of the Lionheart Family! A

few years ago, they still needed to tread carefully around the Tulip Family. However, he took

advantage of the time when you were still young to persuade His Majesty and placed his

nephew as a Regiment Commander. In the past two years, he had already gained control of the

entire Northwest Army. Seth, if you do not act now, in a few years, I am afraid...’’

Rody knitted his brow as he gave a cold smile and asked, ’’Earl Merlow, what do you hope to

accomplish by winning me over and dealing with Marquis Garoline?’’

Merlow gave a light smile and replied, ’’Me? I am the Empire's Finance Minister and have

already obtained the title of Earl. I do not expect to become a Prime Minister. I only hoped for

my son to have a good future. Hehe, I am in charge of the Empire's finances. Naturally, I will

know the Lionheart Family's inner dealings in the army. He sees me as a thorn in his side but he

still cannot do anything to me. However, in the future... I am afraid he will not tolerate not only

my son but also the existence of my entire family!’’

With that, he had already said everything he had wanted to. Merlow then looked at Rody who

was in deep thoughts. He laughed and woke Rody up from deep thoughts. He lazily said, ’’Prince

Memnon of the Great Moon Kingdom is probably next door. We should go and meet him.’’ After

that, he pulled Rody up and walked through the corridor. They walked towards a hall on the left.

In front of the hall, there were a few grassland warriors. They were dressed in leather clothes

and looked fierce and aggressive. Before the two men could approach, a grassland warrior

immediately shouted, ’’Go away! Go away! You are not allowed to come near!’’

Rody felt angry and coldly asked, ’’Are the people of the Great Moon Kingdom so arrogant even

in the Imperial Capital?’’

Merlow replied without changing his expression, ’’They were not defeated in the Northwest

Region. They also did not suffer heavy casualties or lose any territory. Naturally, they are very


The Imperial bodyguards rushed in front to glare at the grassland barbarians. One of Rody's

bodyguard, Randt, who was the tallest, stood firmly in front of Rody.

Merlow merely smiled and said, ’’Tell your master that the Duke of the Tulip Family and Earl

Merlow are here to see him.’’

Before the guards could reply, a gentle voice sounded out from inside the hall, ’’Your Excellency

the Duke, Your Excellency the Earl, please come in.’’

Rody ignored several of those warriors whose hands were at the hilts of their swords. He

walked in with big strides.

Prince Memnon was lying lazily on top of an animal skin. When he saw the two of them

entering the hall, he just smiled lightly and said, ’’My subordinates were rude. The two nobles of

the Empire, please do not be offended.’’ He then gave an eye signal and immediately, two of his

subordinates served them two gold cups filled with wine.

’’Earl Merlow. This must be the Duke of the Tulip Family. Your Excellency the Duke have made a

name for yourself in the Northwest. I did not expect to see you here in the Imperial Capital.’’

Prince Memnon smiled as he slowly sat up. He raised the gold cup and said, ’’This is the wine

from the Great Moon Kingdom. It is not available in the Empire. If Your Excellencies don't

mind, please try it.’’

Before Rody could speak, a large and robust figure, that was standing behind Memnon, coldly

asked, ’’Your Majesty! In the Great Moon Kingdom, this wine is only given to the strong

warriors! Does the Empire have any such warriors?’’

Rody's guards became angry and even Merlow frowned slightly.

Prince Memnon just gave a light smile and said, ’’This is our Great Moon Kingdom's Regiment

Commander of the Royal Cavalry, General Zagreb.’’

One of Rody's bodyguards from the Wolf Fang could not help but coldly say, ’’Regiment

Commander of the Cavalry? Our Excellency the Duke have already killed two commanders in

one battle at Watt Fortress. So what, if he is a Regiment Commander...’’

Prince Memnon's gaze turned cold as General Zagreb replied, ’’Good! I have heard that the Duke

of the Tulip Family was the Empire's strongest warrior. I am not convinced! Hehe, Reuenthal's

commanders were not worth mentioning. They were all useless!’’

The moment those words came out, Merlow eyes gleamed as he gave a meaningful smile.

Prince Memnon deliberately sank his face and said, ’’General Zagreb. We are guests. Do not be

too presumptuous.’’

Zagreb grunted heavily and then kept quiet. However, he could not help but look at Rody with

cold eyes. In his heart, he could not believe that that handsome kid was powerful.

Merlow laughed and then slowly said, ’’Your Royal Highness. Today, His Majesty the Emperor

has given the order for the Duke to also attend the peace negotiations. Just now, when I saw

Your Royal Highness' arrival and knew that we will be dealing with each other a lot in the near

future, I thought we should have a drink and become friends first.’’

Zagreb saw Rody hold the golden cup. He said in a low voice, ’’Make friends! The Empire was too

weak to defeat us on the battlefield and now they say they want to be friends...’’

Rody gave a cold smile as he slowly put down the golden cup and looked at Zagreb. Merlow's

heart stirred and thought of taking that opportunity to destroy the spirit of the Great Moon

Kingdom, to teach that strength may not benefit them for future peace negotiation. He also

smiled, put down his golden cup and lightly said, ’’General Zagreb. What do you mean?’’

Zagreb saw that his master did not say anything, so replied loudly, ’’The people of the Empire

are weak. They do not deserve to drink the wine of our Great Moon Kingdom! This is a special

wine used by the Royal Family, and only the brave and strong warriors are allowed partake of


Rody was not angry and he merely smiled. He had killed so many people in the Northwest

Region that even though he was smiling, his eyes gave a murderous glare.

Merlow slowly said, ’’General Zagreb. You keep saying strong and brave warriors. Is the Duke of

Tulip Family not worthy as 'warrior'?’’

’’Hmph! He must be tested first!’’ Zagreb saw that his master still did not speak and became

more daring.

Randt who stood behind Rody spoke coldly, ’’Test? Our Duke is the Empire military's number

one! Who are you to dare strike out against our Duke? Where do you stand when compared with

your own people of the Great Moon Kingdom?’’

That Zagreb was immediately unable to say anything, and his face turned red. He was a reckless

person but he understood that no matter how arrogant he was, he would not dare call himself

the Great Moon Kingdom's strongest warrior.

Merlow gave a faint smile and said, ’’I heard that Your Royal Highness is also of a warrior origin

in the Great Moon Kingdom. Our Duke is also a Commander-in-chief. It is quite boring to just

drink wine here. How about we go to the hall downstairs and let our subordinates have a

competition? We can learn some warrior qualities from one another!’’

Prince Memnon smiled and showed his arrogance as he slowly said, ’’Since the Earl has

proposed this, how can we refuse? We, the people of the grassland, are straightforward people!

Let's go down now!’’


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