Everybody went to the hall. Prince Memnon’s subordinates were arrogant, and without waiting for their master to speak, they drove away the other guests to clear a space. The other guests were people with status. When they saw the clothing of the people who were chasing them away, they knew that that was the Prince of the Great Moon Kingdom. As a result, they restrained their anger and left. The dancers that were originally in the middle of the hall screamed and retreated to the back.
Without waiting for everyone to sit, Zagreb pulled out a huge scimitar and stepped into the middle of the hall. He turned towards Rody and shouted, “Your Excellency the Duke of Tulip Family! You are a brave warrior of the Empire! I, Zagreb, challenge you according to the rules of the grasslands! If you are afraid, admit defeat!”
Randt roared, jumped out and said, “Who do you think you are to challenge our Duke? I am the Duke’s guard, Randt! I will teach you a lesson!”
Randt took out his broadsword and walked towards Zagreb.
Both of them were robust men and looked like two towers standing in the middle of the hall. They glared at each other.
Rody was aware of Randt’s strength. Randt was stronger than most of the other commanders and possibly Rody himself. Feeling assured, he sneered and looked at Prince Memnon.
Prince Memnon was a big shot of the grasslands and had a straightforward behavior. He loudly shouted, “Zagreb! Don’t let me lose face! If you lose, I will make you raise horses for three years!”
The two warriors stepped back, holding on to their weapons. Suddenly, Randt roared and stepped forward. He raised his sword above his head and slashed downwards.
Zagreb held his scimitar above his head, and soon, the sound of their weapons clashing was heard. The two warriors used all of their strength until their muscles bulged. The carpet on the floor also started to tear.
After some time, the two warriors separated a few steps away from each other. Randt did not wait for his opponent to catch his breath and once again threw himself forward. Zagreb was unwilling to be outshined, so he quickly raised his scimitar.
For a time, there were the endless sounds of sword clashing. Both of them were powerhouses. When encountering another strong enemy, both of them flaunted their superiority and confronted each other head on. They both refused to lag behind.
The two large figures continued to fight each other. Suddenly, Randt groaned and took a few steps back. There was a long cut on his chest and a small amount of blood was oozing out from the wound. If he had not dodged quickly, he would have been seriously injured.
Prince Memnon smiled proudly and asked, “Your Excellency the Duke, what do you think of my warrior?”
Rody smiled and looked at Randt. Then he lightly said, “Randt, do not forget that you are fighting under the name of the Tulip Family!”
Randt’s body suddenly shook as he gave a violent roar. The roar was like a thunder from mid-air. As he roared, he tore off his shirt, revealing his steel-like muscles. A faint gray brilliance appeared on his body, and his sword emitted some bluster.
“Fighting energy!” Rody’s heart stirred. When he had fought with Randt during the test, Randt had only just comprehended fighting energy. Less than three months later, Randt could already use it. It would seem that Randt had trained very hard during his time in the Imperial Capital.
Randt’s eyes were like fire. He roared and rushed forward with a gray aura.
Zagreb looked serious. When he felt the sinister energy hitting his face, he held his sword horizontally.
He then heard the sound of metal breaking. Zagreb was knocked back a few steps away and severely crashed against the wall. Only half of his scimitar remained. His dark face turned red as if he was drunk.
Randt stood at the center of the hall and coldly looked at Zagreb as he said, “You lose!” He then eliminated his fighting energy and put away his broadsword. He walked in front of Rody and bowed. “Your Excellency! I did not disgrace the glory of the Tulip Family!”
Rody nodded and offered Randt the cup as he said, “Good! They said only strong warriors can drink this! Now you can drink this! Let us see who else dares to say that the Empire has no strong warriors!”
Randt looked exhilarated as he knelt down. He then took the golden cup and drank the wine.
Prince Memnon looked gloomy. He slowly stood up and nodded to Rody and Merlow as he said, “Your Excellency the Duke, Your Excellency the Earl, let us meet tomorrow at the negotiating table!”
After that, he walked out without looking at Zagreb. He took his subordinates with him. That Zagreb felt ashamed and followed behind, with his head low.
Merlow then smiled and said, “Your Excellency the Duke. Today, we have destroyed the spirit of the Great Moon Kingdom. I had endured a lot of frustration from them when I dealt with them in the past few days.”
Both of them no longer drank any wine and left the brothel. Merlow then took Rody back to the Tulip Family’s mansion before he left smiling.
Nicole saw Rody came back looking gloomy and could not help but ask. Rody then sighed and told her about what happened in the brothel.
Nicole frowned. “Randt had won. Why are you not happy?”
Rody shook his head and replied, “What is the purpose of winning a private match like this? There is no use even if we were to win a hundred of such matches. If we have the ability to win on the battlefield, then this is the real glory!”
As for the words Earl Merlow had said, Nicole could only ponder and could not think of what to say.
The next day, Earl Merlow came to pick up Rody to meet Prince Memnon. When both parties met, the peace negotiations started.
The Great Moon Kingdom had an unyielding attitude. From the start of the discussion, they asked for the Empire to surrender Watt Fortress and a million gold coins as compensation.
Both Rody and Earl Merlow did not get angry. They denied those terms and cajoled the other party. After a day of negotiating, Prince Memnon became impatient. However, when he looked at Rody, he did not burst out in anger. Finally, they parted without reaching any favorable term.
Earl Merlow then privately told Rody that their attitude for that day was considered good. When both sides argued during the time Rody was not around, the Great Moon Kingdom had a very aggressive attitude. They would constantly shout a torrent of abusive words and pulled out their swords in irritation.
On the second day of negotiations, Rody told Merlow not to speak. He raised his own voice and requested for the other party to return the captured fortresses and to leave the Empire’s territory. However, he did not mention anything about paying for reparations. Seeing Rody’s unyielding attitude, one of the Great Moon Kingdom’s officers took out his scimitar. Rody then rudely kicked that officer out of the window before turning around and coldly looked at the angry Prince Memnon. After that, he continued, “Your Highness the Prince! I might as well tell you that I am opposed to peace! If you insist on threatening us with the continuation of the war, I will be very happy to oblige and meet you on the battlefield! But…” After that, Rody turned around and sneered before he continued, “I don’t think Prince Sultan will want Reuenthal to be in charge of the soldiers again. By the way, how is your King’s health? Has Prince Sultan become the crown prince?”
After saying all that, Rody left the depressed Prince Memnon, without looking back.
On the third day, the negotiations were more harmonious and both sides argued about the ownership of Trier Fortress.
The Empire had requested for the return of the stronghold nearest to the Watt Fortress which was the Trier Fortress. This was Rody’s final objective. He clearly understood that while the other party acted tough, they did not want war. Sultan and Reuenthal were too busy competing for the throne and they had no ability to start a war against the Empire. Besides that, when Mouse returned to the Sauron Kingdom in the Roland Continent, the Temple would start finding troubles and would no longer secretly support the Great Moon Kingdom.
Rody had asked for the return of Trier Fortress because the Trier Fortress was nearest to the Watt Fortress. As long as the Empire had both of those fortresses, the two fortresses would be able to complement each other and stabilize the defense situation at the Northwest Region.
Finally, Merlow eloquently suggested that the Empire would pay 500,000 gold coins to redeem Trier Fortress. With the two fortresses as the dividing line, both sides ceased their hard bargaining.
After the negotiations, originally, Rody and Merlow should have immediately reported back to the Emperor in the palace. However, Rody felt depressed and did not want to go. In the end, Earl Merlow went by himself. Rody then dismissed his bodyguards and strolled alone on a horse around the Imperial Capital.
He unknowingly went into the middle of the public square. Rody looked at the huge statue situated in the square. It was about 10 meters tall.
It was the statue of Abbas the Great, the greatest Emperor of the Empire. It was crafted by a famous sculptor and was lifelike. The Emperor was wearing an armor while holding a long sword. The hilt of the sword also looked majestic. Although it was just a statue, it gave off an air that made people afraid to look at it directly.
Rody recalled that when Abbas the Great was still alive, it was the Golden Age of the Empire. Millions of elite soldiers were under his command and the undefeated banner of the Tulip Family was fluttering. The ‘Lightning God’s Whip’ had swept across the world. The entire continent was conquered by the Empire. The people of the grasslands had surrendered and even the Roland Continent bowed. That was a real glory.
Rody’s heart boiled as he walked towards the statue.
While he was in a trance, he did not notice a carriage slowly stop behind him. After that, he suddenly heard, “Your Excellency the Duke!”
Rody turned around and saw a youngster in a servant attire standing in front of him, with his head bowed.
“Your Excellency the Duke, my master wishes to see you,” The youngster spoke as he pointed at the magnificent carriage behind him.
Rody frowned, thinking that it was another noble that wanted to curry favor with him and lightly said, “I still have things to do. If your master wants to see me, tell him to go to the Duke’s mansion.”
As soon as Rody finished saying that, the servant suddenly smiled and whispered, “Your Excellency the Duke, my master said that she is Rody’s friend.”
The last sentence slowly entered Rody’s ears and gave him such a shock that he almost fell off his horse.