Masked Knight – Chapter 51

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Entrusted with an Important Task

 

Rody slowly raised his head and again felt the other party’s sharp gaze. He did not know why but that gaze made Rody’s hairs stand.

 

“Seth, come here!”

 

Rody swallowed his saliva and slowly stood up. He then walked a few steps forward.

The person in front of him was the Empire’s Emperor, Abbas XI! Rody frowned in his heart. Why does he not look very spirited?

 

Based on Rody’s impression, the Emperor, as a descendent of Abbas the Great, should be wearing golden armor. The Emperor should be stalwart and give a majestic impression. However, the middle-aged man in front of him looked pale and his thin body was hidden under the white robe. He gave a deep, eerie impression.

 

Hmph! Looks like being an Emperor is not necessarily a joyous affair. Look at his appearance. His forehead is full of wrinkles. He must be frowning constantly.

 

Rody stood in front of the Emperor, about ten steps away. He did not dare go any nearer but just stood there, his hands by his side.

 

Abbas XI finally looked away and lightly sighed.

 

“Seth. How long has it been since I last saw you? Hmm… It has been a good few years? It was when your father passed away. At that time you were still a child,” Abbas XI spoke in a somewhat sad tone.

 

Rody kept his mouth shut and lowered his head.

 

“In just a few years, you have become robust. Much better than your father during those years,” Abbas XI spoke as he walked slowly towards Rody. He extended his hand to pat Rody’s shoulder.  “I know your sense of unease. Today’s incident has already been reported to me.”

 

Rody thought for a moment and was finding the right words to say when the Emperor stopped him with a gesture.

 

“I know what you want to say. Bayan already told me about it. However, I know that his stories are filled with exaggerations. Hmph. I am not yet old and confused but this incident had actually happened. You actually injured the guy and so you must also understand the consequences.”

 

Rody nodded. Nicole had reminded him earlier not to say too much. The more he said the more mistakes he might make.

 

Abbas XI looked at Rody’s eyes with some interest. He gave a cold smile and slowly asked, “Why do you not speak? I heard that your temperament is not like this. You are well known as an extremely audacious person.”

 

Rody took a deep breath and slowly raised his head. He looked directly at the Emperor’s eyes and solemnly said, “Your Majesty, I do not know what to say. For Your Majesty to summon me, a decision must have already been made.”

 

Abbas XI showed a moment of surprise before he slightly frowned and pondered. He asked slowly, “Do you know about the war between the Empire and the Great Moon Kingdom?”

 

Rody thought to himself. Although the news of war had been concealed, it could not be concealed from those in the upper strata. Otherwise, Nicole would not have found out about it. For his Majesty to ask Rody this question, it meant that he was aware that Rody knew. That would mean that it is useless for him to pretend. As a result, it would be better for him to gracefully acknowledge. He nodded his head.

 

“Very good,” Abbas XI said, “You are pretty smart to know that you cannot lie to me.” His tone was awe-inspiring. Soon, he changed his tone and asked again, “In this case, you as the heir to the Tulip Family, what do you think of the Imperial Army?”

 

Rody thought for a moment and loudly proclaimed, “The Tulip Family is willing to go to war and risk their lives to defend the dignity of the Empire!”

 

Those words were also taught to him by Nicole. Whatever it was, those words would definitely not offend His Majesty.

 

Sure enough, a trace of a satisfactory smile appeared on Abbas XI’s pale face. “Unfortunately, you are still young and have not inherited the title. Otherwise, I really hope you can be of service to me. I also hope that the unbeatable history of the Tulip Family would continue through you! Great Moon Kingdom! Hmph! Merely a group of uncivilized foreign barbarians!” His Majesty exposed his resentment from his last few words.

 

Rody sneered in his heart. Barbarians? A group of barbarians fought to the extent that your personally appointed commander of the Northwest Legion was so badly defeated?

 

Of course, Rody did not say those words out loud. He swallowed his saliva and softly said, “Your Majesty is brilliant!” Rody kept his criticisms to himself.

 

Abbas XI also sighed as if he was aware of his own outburst. He lowered his voice and spoke, “The Empire has just been defeated and morale is low. I summoned you here so that you can help me with one thing.”

 

Rody immediately remembered Nicole’s words and hurriedly proclaimed his boundless loyalty. He knelt with one knee and earnestly looked up at His Majesty while cursing in his heart. This preposterous heir of the Empire’s first family is really stifling!

 

Abbas XI stared at Rody seemingly satisfied and spoke. “I have decided to bring forward your succession ceremony. Three days from now, I will personally host your succession ceremony. If you can pass the Imperial Examination, I will officially announce you inheriting the Tulip Family’s title and you will become the new Duke Rudolph. After that, I will have a more important mission for you!”

 

Rody did not say anything but he gave the Emperor a dignified look. He knew that at this moment, he must definitely not look surprised.

 

As expected, Abbas XI nodded when he saw Rody maintaining his calm and loudly proclaimed, “If you successfully inherit the title, I will appoint you as the Northwest Inspection Special Envoy and I will order you to immediately go to the Northwest war zone to aid General Ruben of the Northwest Legion to take charge of the military affairs.”

 

“Ah?” Even though Rody tried to maintain his calm, when he heard those words, he was unable to conceal it.

 

Go to the frontlines? Northwest Inspection Special Envoy? That is the title of the Imperial Envoy. Although Rody had never been a government official, he had been to the Imperial Academy and knew the meaning of being a special envoy.

 

It meant that, at exceptional moments, he would have full control of military affairs in the Northwest Region. During critical moments, he could even override the orders of the First Commander of the Northwest Legion.

 

Abbas XI sighed.

 

“I know that you are still too young and you should not bear this burden. However, this is now a difficult time for the Empire. The Tulip Family is the ‘God of War’ and the flagship of the Empire. This is now the time where the Empire needs the Tulip Family the most.” The Emperor’s dignified gaze softened and his voice also lowered. “However, even though I want you to go to the Northwest, I do not really expect you to change the situation immediately. After all, you are still young and do not have much experience. What I need are your banners! The soldiers are defeated. I want your family banners to come up and stabilize the morale of the army. Seth! I do not need you to do too many things! I just need you to go to the front lines! As long as your family banners are up, the morale of the soldiers will stabilize. Do you understand my intentions?”

 

“Understand!” Rody breathed a sigh of relief.

 

He was not afraid of fighting on the frontlines. As a warrior, he already had planned to join the military and become a soldier. However, at his tender age, he was inevitably apprehensive to be suddenly entrusted with an important task. However, the Emperor was clear in his commands and did not expect him to actually command the army. He just wanted Rody to go out and show himself to the soldiers. The fact was that the legend of the undefeated Tulip Family was a good way to stabilize the morale of the army.

 

When the Abbas XI saw Rody’s nervousness, he smiled and said, “I believe that the Tulip Family would not disappoint me. That is why I hope that you can live up to my expectations.”

 

Rody took a deep breath, slowly knelt down and said, “Yes.”

 

Since all words had been said, the Emperor nodded, indicating that Rody could now leave. Rody slowly stood up and showed his respect before leaving.

 

When he reached the entrance, the Emperor suddenly spoke again.

 

“Seth. I heard that you are very close with Jojo recently … I hope that you will not be distracted by anything else at this time.”

 

Rody turned stiff as he secretly sneered. He slowly turned and said, “I understand.”    

 

Hmph! To fight with the Emperor for a woman? I am not interested!

 

When he left the audience hall, Rody first looked for Gordon to retrieve the lightsaber. After that, he got on the carriage without a word.

 

When Rody got home, Nicole was surprised that he returned so early. By the time Rody had related about his meeting with the Emperor, Nicole’s face had a solemn expression.

 

”His Majesty did not blame you?”

 

Rody sighed. “I also felt strange. His Majesty lightly spoke about it before he changed the subject.”

 

Nicole facial expression became even more solemn. After a while, she softly asked, “Are you confident about the examination in three days’ time?”

 

Rody nodded. “There should be no problem.”

 

“But …  But now the situation at the Northwest is tense. His Majesty wants to send you to the frontlines.” Nicole’s face had a sad expression.

 

Rody’s heart stirred and he reached forward to hold Nicole’s hands. “Nicole. Are you worried about me?”

 

Nicole blushed and quickly withdrew her hand. She stepped back and looked to the side. Fortunately, there were no other servants around at the moment. Those around them had already been sent away.

 

When Rody saw Nicole avoiding his hands, he smiled sadly and said, “Nicole. I am sorry.”

 

Nicole knew Rody was unhappy. Knowing that he was about to leave for the frontlines in a few days, her heart turned tender. She spoke gently with red eyes, “Rody. I beg of you. Please do not force me. Right now, our identities are different …”

 

Rody showed an expression of self-deprecation and sighed. He gave Nicole a long look before leaving.

 

“Wait!” Nicole, hurriedly said, as she felt anxious. She rushed in front and held Rody’s clothes. Then she said, “Rody! Do not misunderstand! I… I mean… right now, you are acting as my little brother! Wait … wait until after everything is over, I will arrange for you to be in the army … As long as you work hard … In future… In future, I will wait for you!” The last few words were almost inaudible but luckily, Rody, as a warrior, had good hearing. Otherwise, those words would not be heard.

 

Rody felt surprised and stared at Nicole. He was overjoyed. “Really? Nicole… are you speaking the truth? Really?”

 

Nicole’s face turned red and said, “You…. What do you want me to do? You already twice … rude … who do you think …” She mumbled until she looked like she was about to cry.

 

Rody felt so happy that he grabbed Nicole’s hands. This time he would not let go no matter what was said. “So … You … you do not mind my real identity? I am just a civilian … you … you …”

 

Nicole was displeased. “What do you think we, the Tulip Family, are? Do you think that I, Nicole, was that kind of …that kind of …”

 

At that moment, a hundred flowers bloomed in Rody’s heart. The immeasurable joy! His past few days of depression was immediately swept away. He no longer cared about the Emperor’s commands or titles or examinations. He did not even care about being on the front lines. Even if he had to risk his life fighting the foreign barbarians right now, he would not frown.

 

“Nicole! Do not worry! I will work hard! I will be successful and not disgrace the name of the Tulip Family!” Rody shouted in excitement.

 

“Shut up!” Nicole’s face was still red but she quickly stomped in front and covered Rody’s mouth. “You shut up! Do you know where you are? Do not shout!”

 

Rody immediately shuts up but excitedly reached out his hands to hold Nicole. Nicole’s face turned red. She quickly avoided his grasp and, in a panic, opened the door before running out.        

 

Unexpectedly, Rody watched Nicole escape. He felt that all the troubles he went through, for so many days, was now worth it. He was so excited that he felt like shouting.

 

“You are a real idiot!” Suddenly a sarcastic voice sounded in his head.

 

“Andy! You shut up!” Rody was so happy that he did not want to bicker with Andy.

 

“Hmph! I said you are an idiot!” Andy’s voice was cold. “The man being an idiot is bad enough. The woman, who was initially clever, has also become an idiot, after falling in love! The preposterous Emperor just told you to go and court death. It is such an obvious plot to get you killed by others yet you two fools are still so calm. I think, that at this moment, the Emperor is the one really happy.  Looks like, soon there will be fireworks display at the palace! Idiot!”

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