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Ethereal Paradigm: A Canvas of Black
Author :ICARUS
© Webnovel

88 La Promenade

"The poor, I am told, are kind to each other but that is because they have nothing to lose,' he said. 'The rich cannot afford to be."

-M.R.C. Kasasian, The Mangle Street Murders

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The night slowly started to dissipate the moment we arrived at our destination and it was only a matter of an hour before the sun will shine fully in its unworldly radiance...

In our way here, there was none that's worthy of discussion... The trail that we took was seemingly alike to the Earth's plains before it received blemishes by the treacherous acts of its own denizens... It's just as if we have turned back time, to our mother nature's glorious days... Refreshing and reinvigorating... Yet I also can't explain why, but the more we move closer to their Kingdom, the more gloomy the atmosphere becomes... And hence, here we find ourselves approaching the appointed place...

The wooden gate, carved with these depictions of mythical creatures in it was fashioned well to look antique, together with its high fortresses to protect the Kingdom from its invaders... but just today, it's an exemption. It's a sturdy-looking border that would be ignored.

Two armored skinny Tarragons standing side by side of the gate opened it for us as if they know what has been happening, and seeing their King unconscious and caged like some animal, lifted their somewhat indigent countenance as if their eyes have sparked some hope, but they did not even bother to ask as to what happened or say any words in regards to their despicable King... An act of defiance to their loyalty which is a good thing.

"Welcome to the Kingdom of Aurelius..." They said in sync...Opening the wooden gates.

And thus, our first glimpse of the so-called 'Sovereign Kingdom'... that is not how I envisaged it to be and one, that does not live to the King's expectations and grandiose delusions. It's 'expectation vs reality' at its best. And here I am, with only two humans with me, now subject to take a promenade within this dominion of a proud and shrewd oppressor.

What first welcomed us was not this cheerful visage of a Kingdom. It was these ragged slums lining themselves without order, giving us these piercing glares, wondering as to why a human, the same race that they have recently captured, being treated like an alternative King... yet, we continued anyway.

It was the first for me seeing a social structure like this...Why? From the first impression alone, it's very different. While countries back on Earth try their hardest to hide the poor, this here has this risque boldness to present it first to its visitors.

What can I say?

The interior is also somewhat unprecedented... There's this luxurious palace standing tall in the centermost circle, while these slums here are treated as the first line of defense in case a breach of the fortress has been made. The atmosphere also, it's tainted with overt poverty and with the depressed illiterate populace. While I don't know what grandeur lies within that castle at the center, it's very clear... That the Kingdom as an overall, is poor.

The vast armies that were with us moments ago have begun to disperse to be one with the crowd, and the group who stayed together with me, however, was the Senior Warlock who has carried the cage where there King is, Celes, Amadea, the currently-hibernating Shiro and 30 others...of which I perceive to be somewhat elite judging by how different their armor looks.

"Sir, the humans are imprisoned this way." An army came up, offering me guidance towards the said slaughterhouse.

"Ok..." I answered.

"Sir Senior Warlock. Please make sure that the King is in your supervision. The rest of you, please gather everyone in the midst of your kingdom, wherever your public executions are held." I requested like I'm a foreign Ambassador or something, here to overthrow the leader and reclaim my captive people without proper cause... Except, they're really not my people.

"YES, SIR!" Replied the armies... The warlock, however, was somewhat established in his belief that me calling him 'Sir' is somewhat unrighteous."

"Just call me Gallahad, Feudal Overlord." He replied.

Well, from afar, I could see Celes somewhat still holding out her laughter for the sobriquet that I received, which I can fully comprehend.

Feudal Overlord. It is indeed 'cool' to hear, but it always portrayed to be some fat old maggot from the renaissance period, corrupting land tenants. And having a title now would somewhat be detrimental. So, I should probably impend that emblazonment. It's for the best.

"That would be a little hard to do Sir Gallahad... But please, I am no Feudal Overlord... You can just call me Jaiden."

"Roger that... Young Sir Jaiden. Now, you might want to reconcile with your fellow humans, so I'm not holding you back... We, on the other hand, however, will prepare the great assembly to give the King his due judgment... We expect you and your fellow race to partake. You were also victims of the same autocrat."

"R-right... Please do. Oh and uh thank you..."

"For what Young sir?"

"For stepping out to tell me the truth earlier."

"Hehe... No need for that young sir. I'm just being honest. There's also nothing I would lose, so please understand my comrades who are still partly under the King's propaganda hypnotism."

"I understand... I'll trust the preparations to your hand sir Gallahad. I have humans to free."

"Roger." With a little sip of his cigarette, he then dragged the caged King towards a place where all of the denizens can gather.

And then, together with the tour guide soldier, we reached the luxurious castle which is unexpectedly surrounded by these grand mansions that are very different from what we saw the moment we first entered. The High class, so to say... It's as if your distance from the palace determines your social status. The closer you are, the better life gets and vice versa: the further you are, the more cannon fodder you'd be.

"This way, sir."

They then permitted us to enter the exterior premise of the castle still escorted by the same army tour guide. It was very discrepant from what I saw outside. The castle's gate has this golden door. Positioned outside were these Golden carriages with well-breed Pegasus as its means of force. And in the midst, is this large maintained garden and in it, is a fountain, mingling with clean waters, while there's some Tarragon kid that I saw outside drinking this brownish liquid ... Just thinking about how these Tarragons were unable to carry out a reform for this unscrupulous and apparent corruption makes my stomach hurts... It's very disgusting. It makes me wonder as to what kind of brainwashing technique did this 'Camp of Bravery' incorporate to stay them silenced in all of this.

Then, at the back of the castle, there's this underground pathway... The guide, taking with him, a lightened torch entered.

"Follow me, sir." He said...

"Yes..." I replied. But first, I have no intention of letting Shiro enter such a putrid-looking underground chamber.

"Celes... Could you wait here together with Shiro and Amadea?"

"Sure. That would be no problem..." Celes replied, but Amadea, however, was not willing to give up in her endeavor to ask for forgiveness to those that she had lured which is currently inside the place.

"L-let me go with you!" She exclaimed, still with the stressed-out face.

"Do whatever you like... Just don't force yourself too much."

Having said that, I, together with the guide, and Amadea entered the caliginous den.

And inside, is this depressing and dark walk, almost like along the corridors of death. It's the kingdom's torture chamber... No, it really is a slaughterhouse. There was this suite of several doors of metals and while I have the capability to do it, I don't have any interest in seeing what lies beneath. Well, it's not good to be too intrusive anyway.

There's even this canal connected to every room, following the pathway, and in it was not just any disparaging liquid... Its blood constantly flowing in streams giving off this unsettling stench that is very rancid...

"Here we are, sir"

Reaching the innermost part of the unlit chamber, we found ourselves facing this callous high door with a scary-carved figure of a demon.

The guide then opened the very entry and inside the disparaging and poignant premise are almost a hundred men chained to the walls, together with these decaying bodies of unknown creatures and several skulls on the dark background The incarcerated had their clothes torn palpably because of the abominable torments that they endured... but examining them deeply, they were without wounds... Probably from Shiro and Kurenai's distant and eloquent healing.

But, there were also youngsters my age across that chamber, and some of them, especially girls, are in a state of psychological trauma .

About a ten or so, who maintained their avid consciousness were in disbelief as they saw me walk upon that room...

"Sir Guide, please do free them from this appalling place" I requested the guide, who was a little stunned seeing that the abused captives were without wounds, but acting professionally, he does what I request, bringing out these heavy-looking keys from his waist...

"Wh-who are you?" Asked a middle-aged man as his chains are being removed.

"There's no need to explain anything in here sir. And please don't even consider this an act of benevolence. " I exclaimed...


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