Chapter #102 – The Envoys Arrive
As the first rays of the sun dawned on the Kingdom of Lanthanor, there were already signs that this day would be like no other.
Usually, at this time, people would be waking up from their slumber and going about their daily activities. Yet, on this day, most of the houses in the Kingdom were already empty.
The typically empty streets were bustling with gleeful citizens walking around holding crimson and gold banners in their hands, decorating each and every inch of the city resulting in a jovial atmosphere that made even the most grumpy of people smile as they saw the pride and joy in almost each and everyone’s faces.
Among these people, many wore simple clothes and often became lost as if they were new to the city. Yet, the residents were happy to help each time, knowing that these were the ones invited by the King to stay for the coronation ceremony.
Indeed, it was the day when King Daneel would officially be crowned in the presence of all to take the rightful place which he had already claimed in the people’s hearts.
On the day Daneel went to the treasury, he understood just how much the King had been wringing out of the people in the name of taxes. The thing was that Ker Gems were a rarity in themselves, and although the exchange rate of 100,000 Gold Lans per gem did exist, it was hard to find a supplier. Thus, the King had been stockpiling Gold in order to use it all when he found one.
The total amount of money that the Kingdom’s treasury currently held was 50 million Gold Lans. This was the amount in reserve, not counting the money required to keep the Kingdom running. How the system worked was that the treasury held all the money that was not needed to be in circulation. There was a separate treasury in which the money required for paying salaries, buying materials, funding the army, etc. was kept. Unlike the Royal Treasury which only the King could access, oath-bound financial managers could access this other treasury to facilitate the day to day activities of the Kingdom.
The tax rates of the previous King had simply been atrocious. Each and every citizen was required to pay 40% of everything they earned to the Kingdom. Additionally, the government also took a cut of the services and goods sold in the Kingdom.
In the recent years, tax collectors were the second most dreaded people to see walking towards one’s home other than corrupt constables or nobles who might directly engage in murderous actions.
Thus, Daneel had decided to spare no expense in the festivities. The food, wine and cloth stocks of the palace were distributed throughout the capital to the citizens’ delight and joy.
This was not just an impulsive decision on Daneel’s part. He had reasoned that an opulent festival was the best way to decisively ascend the throne in front of the watching dignitaries’ eyes. It would serve both as a means to raise the general happiness of the citizens and also to put on a show for the people who would arrive from far and wide to see just who this new King was.
Thus, Daneel also proceeded to make some secret plans with the commanders, the Domination Corps and Kellor.
The main goal was to impress on the minds of those coming that Lanthanor was in good hands, and that there was none of the unrest involved in a transfer of leadership.
The coronation would take place on a podium recently erected in front of the Palace Gates.
As the clock neared 10 am, people started flooding to the inner city just like before when the Church of Rectitude had led the attack.
Only, this time, there was none of the anger and scorn present in almost all of the faces before.
The enormous passageway which led from the Palace Gates to the Outer City was completely filled, with people milling even outside the Inner City Gates in hopes of getting a glimpse.
Daneel had already had this in mind. Just like before, the Domination Corps were ordered to permeate the city and use open areas like marketplaces to set up the Panel Trinkets to broadcast a live feed of the ceremony.
Those who couldn’t enter the Inner City Gates before the passageway became completely filled reluctantly reached these centers which had already been advertised using loudspeaker trinkets throughout the city.
Meanwhile, at the borders, four people appeared from different directions at the gates that led into the Kingdom.
Stepping out of the air, each of them had different expressions on their faces as they looked at the soldiers staring at them from the walls.
The first wore a grey coat with a large life-like raven emblazoned on his chest. The soldiers watching him shivered as if they were gazing into an abyss of darkness that could swallow them whole without even breaking a sweat.
The second stood at least 12 foot tall with lanky arms that almost reached the ground. His palms were huge when compared to his body, and he had an eye patch on his scarred face. Wearing red robes, this giant of a man had a lady’s image on his chest.
The third elicited gasps from those watching. Instead of a human, it was a snake-like being similar to the one that had appeared in the air above the palace. Its scaled skin glistened in the sunlight while it had a joyous look on its face, while waiting for the soldiers to give permission for it to enter.
As for the last, it was a female elf who looked at the gates with a mocking expression on her face. She indeed had huge eyes that almost took up a third of her face, and her earlobes looked like blades made of skin. Her small, sharp nose sniffed the air, making her face wrinkle with disgust as she cast a spell which cleared the odor of sweat which she seemed to find so nauseating.
These were the envoys who had already notified the Palace that they would arrive. The soldiers who had orders to let them in hastened to open the gates, following which the four entered the borders and proceeded to teleport again to get to the capital city.
Meanwhile, Daneel was rummaging through the piles of Royal Robes present in the Palace. His mother was beside him, picking out robe after robe while his father looked on with a smile on his face.
“Mom, you are too picky! Just choose one of them, it doesn’t really matter if it looks good enough.”
Maria had an exasperated expression on her face while she continued throwing one robe after another to the side. After all, her son was going to be crowned King!
“Daneel, you must look your best! Don’t you want your parents to have grandchildren to play with when you are busy managing the Kingdom? Now is the chance to make the maidens in the Kingdom become infatuated with you!”
A slight blush appeared on Daneel’s face as he heard these words. This wasn’t the first time he was hearing them; his mother had started saying things like these on the night in the throne room. It seemed that seeing all of their difficulties sorted out had changed the priorities in his mother’s head.
“Mom, I’m only 16! No one marries this young! And you guys will be in the palace, I’ll be close by and you will have something to do together after I manage to heal dad’s body….”
Indeed, the spell which crippled his father had been found in the memoirs in the secret library. Daneel had already instructed the Palace Infirmary to make preparations to heal his father. Although he could develop a counterspell himself, Daneel decided that he would only do it as a last resort in order to not draw more amazement towards himself and his mysterious ‘master’. This was because the spell used to cripple his father had been one at the Exalted Human Mage level, and it would require at least a Warrior Mage to develop a counterspell. Thankfully, the counterspell was already detailed in the memoirs.
In this way, while the King bickered lovingly with his parents, the envoys and the people slowly gathered in front of the panels or in the passageway inside the inner city and waited for the coronation to start.
A few minutes later, Daneel found himself staring at his image in the mirror as he wondered just where his mother had found this dress. The theme of crimson and gold looked magnificent in the form of a dragon much like the one sculpted on the throne entwining around the robe with its head resting on his shoulders. The gold of the robe clashed with the crimson of the dragon to give a dazzling effect which Daneel liked quite a bit.
While the whole Kingdom awaited with bated breath, Daneel sighed with relief seeing the smile on his mother’s face which meant that she was finally happy with the dress he was wearing.