The news of Isaac’s arrest—the most nefarious of villains in history—quickly spread throughout the continent. News of Isaac fleeing for his life, hitting a dead end, and eventually attempting a suicidal attack before finally being arrested aroused a flurry of curses from every citizen.
But thanks to a righteous citizen’s report, Isaac’s scheme was stopped before it could begin. Gabelin’s police force quickly moved beforehand and stopped the disaster in its tracks.
Isaac resisted the arrest furiously until all of his minions were killed. And after a long, lonely struggle, Isaac was finally arrested. Everyone praised the police force, who managed to arrest Isaac without any casualties, although some were wounded.
The Empire’s Department of Law issued a statement, saying that although Isaac was a notorious villain, as a citizen of the Empire, he still deserved a court hearing instead of an immediate execution. But because of how special this occasion was, they announced that it would be a public trial. People eagerly waited for seats at Isaac’s public court trial, creating a line with no end in sight.
With the date of the emissary’s arrival fast approaching, damning evidence against Isaac flooding in abundance, and his recent violent clash at the train station’s plaza, Isaac’s court date was held much sooner than anyone expected. The only speed bump was finding a lawyer who would defend Isaac.
“Hey! It’s been a while, hero of the Empire.”
Mazelan grimaced as he watched Isaac snicker to himself on the other side.
“What are you scheming?”
Mazelan knew better than anyone in the Empire that their “truth” was just a mountain of lies. Yet he couldn’t speak of it anywhere. Because it was the truth.
“I just decided to have my last stand. I was so eager when I started, but look where I ended up—and I didn’t even achieve a single thing.”
Isaac spoke nonchalantly and shrugged. Mazelan sighed deeply.
“Why now? The Grand Council plans to kill you before Rivelia and Kunette get here.”
“Because now was the only time. I can’t believe you guys are so timid that you’d waste six months investigating the ecology of the other world. The Directorate of Surveillance has been persistent in chasing us, despite technically being disbanded. Running away was difficult, to say the least. There were too many close encounters to count.”
Mazelan, who listened to Isaac’s complaints, spoke with a heavy voice.
“I’ve volunteered to be your defence lawyer. I’ll do my best to get you something other than death row.”
“Tsk tsk, sunbaenim, how do you plan on surviving with such altruism?”
“Who’s worried about who here?!”
Mazelan shouted, infuriated by Isaac’s mocking pity. Even if all defendants had the right to a lawyer for their defence, no one would volunteer to defend an enemy of the Empire. So Mazelan, despite heavy counselling against it, volunteered.
“It’s not like they’ll let me live anyway.”
“So you’re just going to give up? We should at least try!”
“Mr. Isaac must have a scheme in mind, considering we caught him so easily. Do you all have preparations for that?”
-Ha! He would have been caught long ago if the Directorate of Surveillance didn’t dissolve itself. Our tribe’s warriors have been chasing after him all this time, and we’ve already eliminated most of his Dark Royale followers. He only made a last stand because he knows he’s at a dead end. He probably wanted to commit acts of terrorism just as the emissaries arrived.
The Queen folded her arms and buried herself into the sofa, listening to the tiger. The very beings trying to erase humanity from this world, fearful of their sanguine civilization, continued to belittle humanity.
Her regret of not throwing caution to the wind and killing Isaac the moment he opened the gate crossed her mind. She had thought Security’s agents would be more than enough, but she hadn’t even considered the possibility of the mercenaries being devout followers of Isaac.
The remnants of the angel that fled New Port City. She was aware of them, but their existence was so miniscule that it did not warrant her time.
Considering the nonetheless pitiful remainders still working to foil her plans, they should have been even more on guard when Isaac willingly let himself be arrested. Yet that brawn-for-brains believed that all was said and done now that Isaac was arrested.
The Queen had considered delaying the emissary’s visit, but she immediately rejected the idea. Interdimensional trade was supposed to begin on the day of the Gate’s opening when she handed over the key to the other world after killing Isaac.
But the Queen knew better than anyone how crazy Isaac was. And she refrained from starting trade until Isaac was caught. So to buy time, she told the public that they needed to investigate the ecology of the other world as a precaution, which had already been done long ago.
On the other world’s side, those in power agreed with the Queen’s decision. Organisations locked out of the inner circle were putting up a violent struggle.
The worst were the religious groups. They branded the other side of the Gate hell and pointed out that Satan’s seduction always sounded sweet, calling for everyone to be on guard. To them, the Queen was the spawn of Satan who would bring hell on Earth.
The Queen was convinced by their argument, as they were completely right. But to others, it was ludicrous. However, many in those religious sects agreed with the charges.
The Queen had to buy time against the powerful, who wanted to begin trade immediately. And these organisations, who served no other use to her, were the perfect excuses.
So in the past six months, she had been giving the capitalist world a tour of magic—power production using mana crystals, scientific development through magic circles and arcane technology, treatments for disabilities and formerly incurable diseases using magic, the removal of pollution and radiation through magic, and much more. Realising just how much money was possible in exchanging these alone, most religious sects quietly retreated from the podium, and the few that didn’t soon imploded.
But that was the tour’s limit. Those in power eagerly pursuing the scent of money was one thing, but those accursed reporters who’d sell their souls for an article were the bigger problem.
It was only a few days ago when a reporter infiltrated the base guarding the Gate and tried to throw himself into the other side.
Most fateful was the Queen bringing her guards. If Reisha was just a long-eared beauty, the guards the Queen brought this time were living, breathing animals walking on two feet.
If Reisha received thunderous applause, these guards were like movie stars. But they were radicals, and they detested humans. For them, being surrounded by humans was almost traumatic. A cameraman decided to change his target from the Queen to these guards and snuck himself into one of the hotels where these guards resided. He was found literally shredded to pieces.
Those in power quickly buried the incident, claiming that the cameraman was an assassin sent by a radical religious sect. But these guards had now tasted blood; they were bombs with fuses that only shortened as long as they remained in a world surrounded by humans. If they were to explode, all Gate-related activities would come to a halt, so the Queen had to allow the emissary’s visit.
And with Isaac arrested after six months of cunning escapes and the emissary’s date of arrival settled, the radicals no longer had much enthusiasm for sending Isaac to a quick death. They now walked a path different from the Queen’s.
“Why don’t you just kill him quietly?”
The Queen offered, but the tigerhead shook his head, troubled.
-Though she disbanded her Directorate, the Director of Surveillance’s influence remains the same. And this media is both useful and a hindrance. There isn’t a single person who doesn’t know of his arrest. Hmph! I bet he exposed himself knowing this fact. He probably thinks that the Director of Surveillance might bail his life out.
Was that really the case? The Queen would never have lost any sleep if Isaac was the kind of person who’d rely on someone else.
“So when is the public court session starting?”
-On the day the emissaries pass through the Gate. His court trial and verdict will be broadcasted to the entire continent.
The Queen frowned. Airing the court trial was a good decision. But she was troubled by its date.
“Why are you having the trial on that day?”
-Precisely because it’s that day. It’s the day humans from another world will finally arrive. We know exactly where the humans’ attention will focus on, even if the court is released to the public. And the Director of Surveillance and Pendleton’s successor have been tasked with receiving the emissaries in New Port City as the Empire’s representatives. I can’t wait to see the face of Isaac when he realises his last hope is in New Port City.
The Queen frowned, watching the tiger laugh boldly. Despite their power, Rivelia and Kunette could do nothing to rescue Isaac while they were in New Port City.
If they abandoned New Port City, they would forfeit their position in Central for deserting their mission. It was a win-win situation for the radicals no matter what decision the two made.
That’s why it irked the Queen. It was all going too smoothly. The tiger seemed happy that everything was over. But the Queen couldn’t shake away her suspicion; Isaac’s show in Gabelin and his lacking efforts in resisting and hiding had to have an objective.
No, she did have an idea. That’s why the tiger was so confident in himself. But was it really that simple? When Isaac—the crazy terrorist who’d do anything to achieve his goal—joined forces with Dark Royale—who’d go any lengths for their mission?
The Queen pondered deeply, then shook her head and smirked. She told herself that she was overthinking it—that she was too obsessed over his old reputation.
No matter how hard Isaac struggled, he had no escape. Rivelia and Kunette’s presence in New Port City instead of aiding his escape was the proof. If he had another method, they’d never have come to see her here.
“Die, you bastard!”
“My family was in Milros, murderer!”
“I hope you never rest in death, you impotent mutt!”
“Wow, now that was harsh. Hang on though. He is right, since I never got to use it. Ah! Maybe I should have gotten laid at least once.”
The police force escorting Isaac looked at him, unsettled. Here they were, terrified for their lives standing between a criminal and the chaos of an vengeful, angry mob. Yet Isaac was so relaxed he may as well have been on a picnic.
Between the filth and miscellaneous garbage, the crowd chanted insults as the carriage made its way through. The police force had to force open a path through the massive crowd for the carriage.
After wading through the massive crowd, they arrived at Gabelin’s main plaza, situated in front of the Royal Palace’s front gate. It was a massive plaza that could accommodate up to a hundred thousand people during the Empire’s most important ceremonies.
The massive crowd roared unanimously at Isaac’s arrival. Even Isaac was taken aback by its force and whistled, while the guards were dripping in cold sweat.
“Have they all come here to see me? Kukuku. This popularity of mine…”
They weren’t. The crowd had gathered here to watch the emissaries instead. Their arrival through the Gate would be televised on the screen, and they were scheduled to arrive at Gabelin in front of the crowds today on an airship. They weren’t here solely for Isaac’s court. His trial was a mere appetiser to excite the crowd.
The crowd continued to hurl insults at Isaac as his carriage entered the plaza, but they stopped throwing filth and garbage, as they couldn’t possibly dirty the plaza.
The Royal Palace’s front gate was designed with an outer and inner gate. Considering that the Royal Palace barred everyone except for royalty from entering, all of the Empire’s crowning ceremonies and other important events took place here.
The Royal Palace’s guards took over Isaac from the police force. They placed handcuffs on Isaac, and forced him to kneel in the centre of the plaza.
Isaac looked around him. In the front was a table and chairs placed above him. To the side were stepped seats like in an auditorium.
As Isaac’s court trial was just a minor bit of amusement, the plaza had been prepared with the meeting with the emissaries in mind instead. The Royal Palace’s guards stood tall, spread out equally from each other as they held their swords pointed downward with its tip on the ground.
Leaving the Royal Palace with their tail in between their legs, the police force still took the time to gawk at the inner plaza’s magnificence and the Royal Guards. And just as they left, the heavy gates of the Royal Palace closed with a thud.