Chapter 208 - Accusations
"Unlike the Raizel clan, I can provide you with farms, work in our numerous shops and if you are a talented cultivator, you may join our army. I can promise you all these and much more! Ask yourself this, besides Calron, what has the Raizel clan ever done for you? Without Calron, do you even need to join them? The decision lies with you, my people!"
Resir was on a roll, as he fed off the audience's energy and raised his voice louder and louder.
"Hey, is that young man really dead?"
"Why is the Raizel clan's Tower Lord not responding? Then, it must be true that Calron is dead as the noble claims..."
"I think I might join the nobles. If Calron is dead, I see no reason to go there."
"I don't know what to do..."
The crowd broke into a clamor of murmurs and whispering, each ex-slave considering where their future path lay ahead. Some of them were skeptic about Calron's death, some started to lean towards Resir's faction, a few still wanted to join Raizel clan, and a vast majority of them remained confused about what decision to take.
"Quen, is Resir speaking the truth? Calron is really dead?"
The King pressed the Patriarch for answers while the other Tower Lords observed in silence. They could feel the storm coming soon after the current gentle breeze.
The Patriarch finally broke his silence with a smile on his face.
"Annoying geezer." One of the Tower Lords cursed out loud.
"For the ones who are unsure, I will t-"
During the moment Resir was beginning his speech to convince the undecided voters, a lone young man calmly pushed the crowd aside as he slowly made his way to the podium. The people near him grumbled when they saw him cut the group, but when they saw his face, the audience let out a series of astonished gasps.
"Isn't that Calron!?"
A lady within the crowd yelled out, spurring the entire crowd into a frenzy.
"Just what is going on here?"
The King leaned forward in his seat, baffled by the sudden turn of events. It was all too suspicious to be merely coincidences.
Bren, Sela, and Helly exclaimed with relief at seeing their friend again. For the past few days, they had been miserable and stricken with worry at not seeing Calron return. Furthermore, it did not help when the Raizel clan completely shut them out.
"Why did you think I was dead, Resir?"
Calron questioned the Tower Lord without honorifics, instantly quieting the crowd to listen to their words.
This little bastard is not dead!? Then he must've killed the assassin. Good, I can use that against him now.
"Calron! I'm glad you are not dead! I heard the rumors and feared it was true, but I'm relieved to see that they were false."
Resir was momentarily taken aback with Calron's appearance. He was now forced to act in front of the audience before things went too awry.
"Rumors? Stop this façade, Resir."
Calron smirked, detecting the traces of nervousness in Resir's facial expressions.
The crowd whispered amongst themselves, sensing a violent air above the podium.
"What are you implying?"
Resir asked in a dangerous tone. Hearing the gossiping amongst the audience, Resir was beginning to lose control of the situation. He did not think Calron was stupid enough to accuse a Tower Lord in front of everyone, especially the King.
"You tried to kill me."
The entire crowd burst into an explosive cacophony of yells the moment Calron accused Resir. The other Tower Lords and the King all stood up from their thrones, and one of the Tower Lords roared at Calron.
"You are taking this joke too far, kid."
It was unheard of someone accusing a Tower Lord of murder openly in public. In truth, who would have the balls to make such claims?
Well, Calron did.
"This is not a joke. I was sent on a mission to infiltrate the darkling territory and to destroy their granaries and food storages. When we reached there, we discovered a massive Darkling army camping on site, and on a trajectory path heading towards our city. My three team mates departed quickly to inform the Elders of our clans about this information so the King could prepare. However, I stayed behind to gather more information from inside the enemy leaders' tents."
With each of Calron's sentence, the crowd's shouts only got louder.
A Darkling army was going to invade them soon? Why didn't the Royal court tell them about this war? What else were they hiding?
"The second I stepped out of the enemy camp, I was abruptly attacked and poisoned by an assassin. Thankfully, I didn't succumb to the poison and subdued the killer quickly. What shocked me was that the assassin was not there to kill me out of her own violation. She was a slave under orders."
Calron proceeded to look straight into Resir's eyes.
Uncle tried to kill Calron?
Bren was mortified by this thought and hoped that it was all a misunderstanding. He wanted to go up on stage and talk to his uncle, but things were escalating too swiftly.
"That's preposterous. All slaves have been freed long ago, and there are no more slaves within the city. I think you must be tired after the arduous journey, friend, you should take some rest."
Resir laughed off Calron's accusations and tried to pull the crowd back towards him.
"True, but that is only for the previously registered slaves on record. The illegally brought battle slaves were never recorded on the books, so technically they did not exist in the city. Many nobles are guilty to this despicable crime. Yelin, please come forward."
Calron glanced back to signal his companion.
The King rubbed his forehead, sensing an impending headache. As the King, he was well aware of certain nobles having off-record battle slaves, though it mostly for show. He did not imagine they would be using them as assassins.
"She is the assassin that tried to kill me under Resir's orders. Your Majesty, I request you to send a warrant to search all nobles' homes for any illegal slaves and have them arrested. I also want Tower Lord Resir held for trial for an attempted assassination on me."
Calron finished talking. Now was the critical moment, as it would decide the future of this city and the Raizel clan.
"You little bitch! How dare you accuse Lord Resir of murder and us for having illegal slaves!? Your Majesty, this brat goes too far!"
The nobles from Resir's faction shouted furiously.
"No, it's true! I used to have a friend with me on the slave caravan, but I never saw him again after they sold us to the same owner in the city."
An ex-slave from the crowd raised his fist in protest and confirming Calron's words.
"I know a girl who went missing right before we were sold off as well!"
Another man joined the yelling, giving weight and truth to Calron's accusations. The thousands upon thousands of ex-slaves shouted with anger, wrecking the crowd into a disarray.
Resir remained silent with a blank look on his face, but he was secretly seething on the inside.
He didn't kill that slave dog like I expected and even brought her in front of the King. I need to pick a moment to strike, or I will lose the ex-slaves forever.
"Calron, why don't we discuss this inside the palace? This speech event seems to have taken a drastic turn, and it's better to talk about these things in private."
The King started to walk over to Calron, trying to persuade the young man to discuss this matter more privately. The crowd was in a frenzy, and it would be hard to control the situation if it were to escalate any further.
"No, we do it here. What is your decision?"
Calron spoke bluntly, outright refusing the King's request. If the discussion moved to a more private setting, the nobles would be able to manipulate the King and force him to abandon this issue.
He needed the King to make his decision in public and not influenced by the nobles' machinations.
"How dare you talk to our King that way? It's one thing to make false accusations against a Tower Lord of the city, but to disregard your King in public? Guards, take that young man into custody!"
Resir found the perfect moment to strike and used Calron's disrespect to the King as his catalyst to get the young man out of public's eye.
The Talok clan's guards and the royal guards shuffled from backstage and were prepared to apprehend Calron when a loud booming voice reverberated in the sky.
"Any hand that touches the boy, I will slaughter the assailant and the one who ordered him. Nobility or otherwise."
A figure descended from the clouds, waves of dense essence surging in the vicinity and around the stranger's body.
It was like a God descending to the ground.