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With a flick of Isaac’s chin, the mercenaries moved in between the members of the royal family.
“H, hick! Help me!”
“I have no desire to become the Emperor! Please spare me!”
“No! I can’t die like this!”
The royal families howled and cried in panic. Some begged with their hands clasped together, some simply trembled in their place, and some tried to stand up and resist. But with a simple clap from Isaac, the three mercenaries exploded at once.
With the mercenaries’ sacrifices, the royal families were left in tatters. The only survivors were those who had been at the periphery of the explosion, hanging on by the occasional twitch of a limb. But it was short-lived, as the mercenaries who had been on standby plunged their swords into the bodies, regardless of if it was breathing or not. All of this on live broadcast.
The people watching the broadcast quaked in fear. The nonchalance Isaac had demanding his compatriots be sacrificed for no reason. The cold, emotionless silence as his men followed his orders even as their friends died.
Meanwhile, Isaac left the judge’s bench and walked to where the Grand Council members, the Emperor, and Duke Pendleton kneeled.
“I’m sure you all have one thing on your mind. ‘Does he expect to live after all this?’ Why would I be doing this if I want to live? Living isn’t part of any of my plans anymore.”
As Isaac stepped closer to the Grand Council, one of the council members—a fox—burst forward and grabbed Isaac. In an instant, the fox positioned himself behind Isaac, his claw right on Isaac’s throat.
“Don’t move! If you want Isaac to live…”
Bolts rained down on the fox and Isaac even before the fox could finish its words. The mercenaries gave no signs of panic or hesitation. Isaac was safe thanks to his defensive coat, but that was not the case for the fox. It had not been wearing a defensive coat, owing to the radical faction’s despise of them.
“Would you look at that? Were you listening? I said I wasn’t planning on living on, right?”
Isaac dusted his shoulders as he scoffed. He looked at the fox, its life slowly fading away from the twitching body. He pulled out his shotgun, placed it on its head and fired.
The Grand Council members lost what little remained in their spirit to resist, seeing how Isaac’s capture had no influence on the actions of the mercenaries.
“This is why people shouldn’t try things they aren’t accustomed to. As they say, those who’ve tasted meat before know best how to savour its flavour. Same thing applies to hostage situations. Don’t you think so? Burn that f.u.c.ker.”
With that, sacs of oil were thrown onto the Druid, followed by a torch.
“Please! Put out the fire!”
All the non-humans shouted, their faces pale. But that didn’t stop them from piling sacs of oil on the Druid’s body, even as the Druid’s body melted on the floor.
“Hey now. Don’t forget that I have two more.”
Anger seemed to take hold of a few Grand Council members—but they stopped right before reaching Isaac. Isaac laughed with glee.
“Ahahaha! Hostages always work. Isn’t that right?”
“Humanity will pay for this!”
Taigon shouted, his eyes possessed by a frenzy. Isaac replied condescendingly.
“Why should I care, dumba.s.s? Have you ever seen a madman think about his actions?”
Taigon roared in frustration. Isaac snickered, then suddenly took off his defensive coat.
Flander shouted in panic, to which Isaac responded by throwing the coat at him. Isaac opened his arms wide toward the non-humans with a smile.
“Look. I don’t have the defensive coat. You can kill me now. How about it? Will you kill me? But if you do, these three races will be wiped off from this world with me. But who cares? It’s going to happen sooner or later, right?”
The non-humans could do nothing but stare as Isaac taunted them. This was the difference between humans and non-humans. Non-humans couldn’t grasp the concept of self justification.
Bored by the non-humans’ lack of a reaction, Isaac grumbled.
“Cut off their heads—every single one of them. You can choose to save yourself if you want to. The endangered races will take your place instead.”
The mercenaries drew their blades and approached the non-humans. The non-humans trembled in disgrace, knowing that they would perish at the hands of despicable humans. They could and would have fought them off with one arm tied behind their back, but that wasn’t the case here.
Every non-human accepted their deaths without so much as a moan. Taigon watched his friends die one by one before addressing Isaac.
“The world will turn its back on humanity.”
Isaac frowned in great displeasure.
“Hey now. I’m not sharing any of that animosity with other people. I’ll be taking it all in. I will become not just the enemy of the Empire, but the enemy of this world. The non-humans won’t attack humans immediately. I’m just showing the raw footage here, but the screens outside? That’s edited—everything that needs to be censored is being censored. Your deaths will be seen as a sacrifice to save those who were held hostage in the Department of Administration. All of humanity will mourn your deaths. A n.o.ble sacrifice. That’s worth dying for, right?”
“… What about them? Are they real?”
Taigon spoke with a glimmer of hope in his voice, hearing that footage was being edited. Isaac looked at Taigon momentarily before snickering.
“What, you want to try to kill me if it’s fake? I’m sorry to say it’s all real. Even I can’t make such bold adventures from fake footage. Can’t you understand why I only captured those three out of so many endangered races out there? They are the last survivors of the endangered races. They wanted to spend their final moments quietly, and you guys didn’t even visit them as a courtesy for their wish. Which made it so much easier. They had no clue what was happening in this world. I almost, almost felt bad when they followed me without a question when I said I came from the Empire.”
Isaac explained in laughter, when the mercenaries approached the two after finis.h.i.+ng off the rest of the Grand Council.
“I’m sorry but you understand that I can’t just give you a quick and easy death.”
With that, the mercenaries thrust their swords into Taigon’s body. They had severed his arms and legs from his body and continued to bury their swords into his back, their hilts protruding out like a tombstone.
Not a single groan escaped Taigon’s lips as tens of swords stabbed into his body. After watching this, he addressed the screen as he walked to the Emperor and Duke Pendleton.
“Now, viewers. You saw me kill the royal family and non-humans right? I’m sure there will be some of you out there who are thinking ‘Ah, I just have to do that,’ right now. We humans tend to be mischievous. Let me show you what happens when you let them loose.”
Isaac stood an arms distance away from the Emperor, his shotgun on the Emperor’s forehead.
“Now, dear Emperor, any last words? Please, think before you say your last words. Everyone’s watching, and I don’t want them to see you sully your image by begging for your life. Make it something that’ll last throughout the centuries.
The kneeling Emperor’s eyes had been closed tightly the entire time—but now they opened, and he stood up. Isaac stepped back. The Emperor looked at the bodies of the royal family and sighed.
“The next master of the royal throne is Marvelia Zelaion Lancast Hugh Gabelin. All citizens of the Empire are to follow him.”
Isaac asked, and the Emperor looked straight back into his eyes.
“I have dedicated my life to the Empire. I have no regrets.”
“… Wow. As expected of an Emperor. Mighty fine words you’re parting us with.”
Isaac grumbled and handed the shotgun to Flander, who handed him a pistol. Isaac loaded the pistol and rested it at the Emperor’s heart.
Bang bang bang!
With three gunshots, the Emperor’s body slumped forward. Isaac supported his body’s fall to the ground. As Isaac laid the Emperor on the ground, he whispered into his ears.
“Wait for me on the other side.”
Isaac straightened his back and looked down at the Emperor’s body, when Duke Pendleton stood up as if it was his turn.
“We all know what you’re going to say right?”
“Hmph! Pendletons don’t need to be told what needs to be done!”
Isaac shook his head at Duke Pendleton’s proclamation. Like before, Isaac placed his pistol at the Duke’s heart.
Another three gunshots, and Duke Pendleton fell forward to Isaac. Duke Pendleton whispered as quietly as he could to Isaac.
“… Thank you, and I’m sorry.”
“I’ll see you later.”
Isaac smiled bitterly, knowing Rivelia would be devastated after watching this. Isaac threw the pistol back to Flander and lit his cigarette, when Taigon asked.
“… You’ve just turned the entire world against you.”
Isaac burst out in laughter hearing this.
“What did you expect from a monster?”
“Why did you kill the Emperor and Duke Pendleton? Did you not scheme together?”
Isaac exhaled and approached Taigon. He whispered into Taigon’s ears.
“You can’t start a new game until all players die.”
Taigon looked back in confusion, when Isaac spoke.
“Finish off the rest.”
At Isaac’s orders, Isaac’s men cut down the man and woman with their swords. Taigon screamed, almost bursting free from the swords lodged in his back.
“Isaac, why! Why did you not keep your promise!”
Taigon shouted. Isaac raised his head and gloated.
“Of course I should keep my promises! But when did I promise I’ll let them live if all of you died? I didn’t.”
“Uaaack! Isaac! You accursed humans!”
“I’ve heard that so many times that it doesn’t even phase me anymore. With the entire world cursing me, I’ll end up immortal at this rate.”
More swords were pushed into Taigon as he trembled. Even as he was being cut and stabbed, Taigon crawled toward Isaac.
“Are you, who is trying to wipe off the human race, mad because you’ve just witnessed other races’ extinction? Dumba.s.s, know that you pulled them towards extinction. Understand? I hope you regret it.”
Isaac snickered as Flander handed the shotgun back to Isaac. Isaac placed the gun on Taigon’s head and fired. Even as his head burst open, Taigon’s eyes remained focused on Isaac. Isaac threw his burnt cigarette on Taigon’s body when Flander spoke.
“It is time to leave.”
Flander pointed at the outer gate. It seemed the citizens of the Empire were trying to break through, enraged by the Emperor’s death. Dust fell off the gates every time the gates rattled.
“I guess I should say my farewells before I leave.”
The screen focused on Isaac’s face. Isaac smiled sinisterly as he spoke.
“My name is Isaac. A name you won’t dare to speak out of fear and hatred from now on.”
Isaac pulled out a small piece of paper from his pocket.
“Remember the plague in Milros castle? This paper describes the cure—the only cure in this world.”
The paper instantly went up in flames. Isaac rubbed the ashes on his hands and presented it to the screen.
“Dear me, what happened? Now there’s no cure? But I’ve already unleashed the plague throughout the Empire. What do we do? I guess you guys better work hard if you want to live. You better find that cure soon. Or all of you will die.”
The broadcast ended.
Isaac pa.s.sed through the empty royal palace into the long corridor that was lit by lights placed at precise intervals.
Strange gimmicks stood on both sides of this secret pa.s.sage—all Central agents had to walk through here when they enlisted. At the end of the pa.s.sage, Isaac met Mazelan.
“Hey, dear Emperor.”Isaac approached Mazelan with a wave. Mazelan looked at Isaac emptily as he spoke.
“Let me hit you right this moment.”
Mazelan’s punch threw Isaac off his feet. Flander quickly came to aid Isaac, while the other mercenaries drew their weapons, ready to fight.
“Stand down, he is the Emperor.”
“… Was this the only way?”
“It was our final solution. Owowow. Why does it hurt?”
Isaac grumbled his answer to Mazelan’s sobbing question as he rubbed his chin. Flander hesitated to give his answer.
“You’re not wearing your coat.”
“Hm? Now that you say so, you’re right. Why didn’t you give it to me if you had it on you all this time? Ow. It’s been a while since I felt pain.”
“… Go. I don’t have the courage to see you again.”
Mazelan’s shoulders went limp as he spoke. Isaac snickered.
“That’s a given. It’ll be a mess if people see us together again.”
“… I’m sorry.”
Mazelan spoke to Isaac as he pa.s.sed by. Isaac shrugged as he continued onward.
“The rest is on you now, sunbaenim. It’ll be difficult.”