Clink. The luxurious wine glass shattered upon crashing to the floor, splashing burgundy wine onto the expensive carpet. The ashen Chairman fixated his gaze at the guest before him. His aged, vein-popping pair of hands trembled uncontrollably. "W-What did you say? Say that again!"
"Yes... Yes... Chairman. We have received news that the King's Party has sealed off the entire Strait of Light and stopped every ship from entering. Also, they have put a ban on fishing and forced the fishermen to return back to the ports."
"How is this possible?! How is this possible?!" The Chairman snarled and staggered forward to grab the orderly's collar. He panted for air like a wild animal trapped in a cage, pushed the other guard away, and paced up and down like an injured tiger. Then, he picked up the wine bottle on the desk and hurled it to the wall furiously, splattering the burgundy wine on the white wall like dark, fresh blood. The orderly held his breath and stood quietly at the side.
"What is the bloody Southern Fleet doing?! Why didn't I receive any news about it? Where did the damn Royal Fleet come from to seal off the Strait of Light!" the Chairman yelled.
"R-Reporting, Sir. T-They came from the sky..."
"The sky?!" The Chairman turned around abruptly and stared at the soldiers with his blood-shot, fearful eyes.
The guard standing nearest to him stepped back subconsciously. He was afraid that the senior would pounce on him and rip him apart like a crazy monster. He said with trepidation. "Y-Yes, Sir. I heard that the Royal Fleet has made use of the wind direction outside the Strait of Light and dispatched the Floating Magic Warships to seal off the entire sea. This was why the Southern Fleet didn't discover them and they have entirely broken up and are encircled by the Royal Fleet. They're waiting for your instructions..."
"Instructions my *ss!" The cultured and refined senior blurted out a rare vulgar remark. He bellowed deeply and paced back and forth in the room. Then, he raised his head abruptly and glared at his guard as though something cropped up in his mind. "Is there any news on Saville?! What's the situation with their fleet?"
"They..." the guard stuttered.
"Speak! Speak up!" the Chairman demanded.
The guard swallowed his saliva and looked around the room before lowering his head. "According to the information we received, Sir Saville's fleet was the first to be encircled. They tried to break through but eventually failed. All the warships except for the flagship have sunk to the enemies' attacks and Sir Saville died in the line of duty. As for the flagship... It has been seized by the Royal Fleet... The specific situation..."
The Chairman blanked out. His vision blurred and he fell back to the chair beside him. His furious eyes had turned empty, gazing at the ceiling in nothingness. The Strait of Light had been sealed off and the isolated Southern Fleet didn't have any backup. Although the Reformist Party had spent a lot of effort in investigating everything about the Royal Fleet before their declaration of independence, they received no successful results. The Royal Fleet belonged to a relatively independent military branch in the Munn Kingdom where even the Captains of the Southern Fleet and Northern Fleet had never seen the Royal Fleet's captain and crew members. Although the Reformist Party had dispatched men to monitor the various ports in order to prevent the King's Party from mobilizing the Royal Fleet, the Reformist Party never expected that this Royal Fleet was never a maritime fleet...
But what's the point of saying this now?
The Southern Fleet had been surrounded by the Royal Fleet. The Strait of Light had been blockaded completely and the fishermen of the Port region were slapped with a fishing ban. And most importantly, the wealth that they had accumulated with all their hearts and souls and for the purchase of foodstuff from the Country of Light's trade associations had fallen into the King's Party's hands.
In order for this plan to succeed, he had staked everything on one throw. Not only did he agree to the ridiculous foodstuff price of the Country of Light's merchants, but he had also forked out all his assets. Moreover, the Chairman had also convinced many nobles and merchants to put out a large sum of money to get through this crisis. It could almost be considered to be the patrimony of the Southern Parliament. But now, the King's Party actually intervened and snatched them away boldly like bandits!
What do we have left? There's no more foodstuff, money, nor manpower. We have nothing left. How can we get by these next three months? And how do we continue to fight against the King's Party?
The Chairman imagined the reactions of the parliament members when they heard this news. He could understand their feelings. There was only one choice for anyone who was met with such a situation. But he refused to accept that choice.
The Chairman let out a bitter laugh and sat straight up. He gazed at the guard before him and said. "This incident... has been widely spread, right?"
The guard revealed a worried expression. He hesitated for a moment from informing his Master about the truth. However, the imposing manner of the Chairman forced him to speak up. "Yes... Yes, Sir. The public is aware that the Royal Fleet has sealed off the surrounding channels outside the Port region. There are many people heading to the Parliament and protested. Not only that, but Sir Magath also..."
"Okay, okay. Stop. I understand now." The Chairman waved his hand helplessly and stood to his feet slowly. The frail Chairman looked as though he had just experienced another 20 years in an instant. He walked slowly to the window and gazed at the tranquil scenery silently. At this moment, the Chairman appeared exceptionally calm as though the cornered beast from before wasn't him at all. After a few moments, the Chairman let out a sigh and turned to the guard with a smile. "Inform the rest that I have something else to manage. Don't let them disturb me no matter what happens, understand?"
"Yes... Sir." The guard nodded slightly. However, he felt rather worried about the Chairman. "Sir... Are you going to be okay? Do you want me to..."
"That's not necessary. You can leave now," the Chairman said with a gentle smile. The guard gaped, but he eventually closed the room door and left quietly.
The depressing sound of the closing door resounded in the silent room. After a long while, the Chairman tottered to the seat before his desk and picked up a feather pen. He lowered his head and wrote at a rapid speed. Then, he laid the feather pen by the side and retrieved an exquisite small glass bottle from his pocket. The senior squinted at the bottle and muttered to himself. "I've given my all. I have no regrets. I have done everything that I can. I won't give up and I won't tolerate the humiliation of being a captive. We didn't do well enough. We have put in countless effort and energy into this. And this is the only thing that I can do. Don't be afraid of failure. Don't give up. We still have a future ahead of us. This failure doesn't mean that we will fail in the future. One day, we will reach our goal... I hope that day will come sooner. Royal Highness Lydia, I have to admit that I have underestimated you. But our determination for freedom will not break down that easily."
The senior opened the bottle cap and without any hesitation, he drank the entire bottle in a single gulp. Then, he laid down the bottle and closed his eyes with a smile on his wrinkled face.
The afternoon sun spilled through the window and shone on the Chairman as though he were taking an afternoon nap.
But he would never wake up again.