Chapter 3

Sybil Park

 “G-general . . .” His Lordship’s voice was trembling. He desperately approached the general and bowed countless times while still kneeling in front of him. “Forgive me, General, forgive me! I was reckless, I’m sorry! Forgive me, please!”

“If you apologize, you must be really sorry and sincere. People nowadays always apologize, asking for forgiveness, but they will do the same thing next time and will apologize again. Do you know that I’m already exhausted with that cycle of lies?” The general sighed. “Return the money to them and repair the house you burned down earlier.”

“Y-yes, General,” he said while trembling. If the baron was scared, his servants were probably scared too. And with fear, they simultaneously stood up and went to their horses to leave. Then, the general approached my crying comrade.

I wasted no more time and approached Maze, which was the center of attraction. She was trembling and afraid of their eyes even though people were praising her. So I grabbed and embraced her in our yard. In that way, she would be relieved. Then, I made her enter the house so I was left alone outside.

She made me worried. Maze, why were you so courageous earlier?

With a gust of wind, the surroundings suddenly changed. All I saw was light and a splash of a liquid, then everything came back to normal. It took my breath away. Am I hallucinating?

Someone suddenly grabbed my arm. I almost jumped because of it. "Sybil, thank heavens and I saw you again." I realized that it was the general. He smiled at me.

My forehead furrowed. His face was familiar, but I couldn’t remember him.

"General, what can I serve?" Instead of answering, the general ushered me inside our hall. My jaw literally dropped and my eyes widened because of his action.

"General, what can I do—" He immediately interrupted me by placing his finger in front of my mouth.

“You don't have to call me general anymore because I am . . . your friend, Cladius Won.'' I was dumbfounded and speechless. He was—what?

Claudius was a close friend of Vishton and mine. He was a nobleman from a family of wealthy warriors of Normous. Even though he’s a noble, we shared a great bond that lasted for years, but he needed to leave us behind to focus on his studies and responsibilities. It’s been years since he left and now that we met again, I can say that he changed a lot. I’m just sad because he can’t reunite with Vishton anymore.

"Are you already a general?" I asked. I can’t just believe it. I thought he wanted to be an engineer. I’m not belittling him, but when we were kids, he was weak because he got used to his luxurious lifestyle in his family’s manor.

“Yes, Sybil. Why don't you believe it? This is no longer the weak sidekick Cladius you know. I assure you that I am the best general in our region.”

I laughed. After taking the path that his ancestors took, he’s still arrogant.

The region he said is the nation we live in. In this world called Gaia there are four regions: Defrecia, Normous, Bandalia Cifalia, and Shadow Isle.

In this nation there are different types of levels, and we, slaves, are part of the lowest level in this civilization. Those at the highest levels were usually governors, ministers, or part of the Imperial Family.

I giggled. "Claudius, what are you doing here in our barrio?" I asked.

"I am looking for a child. I saw her in Xida Palace but I heard that she lives here in your barrio." He scratched his neck.

"What's wrong with that child and why are you looking for him—I mean her?"

“I heard that the child had intelligence. She’s also polite and a bit soft-hearted. So I want to look after her and give her an offer.” He smiled.

“That child is amazing! Who is that and I want to know.” Whoever her parents are, they should be proud of their child. Nice people are rare, and I admire them for raising their children the right way.

"You already know her." My forehead furrowed. In our barrio, I don’t know very many children. I am busy with household chores and looking after my child. Maze doesn't have many friends.

“Uhuh? Who is she, Cladius?” I smiled. I really had no idea what he was referring to.

"Your child." I could not imagine that the child he was referring to as intelligent, polite, and a bit soft-hearted was my daughter. Although he had already said the character of the child I still could not believe his statement. What kind of offer is he saying?

"Your reaction was funny, Sybil." He laughed.

Am I that obvious? I looked at my daughter who was quietly sitting on a chair. Was Maximaze being possessed by a demon?

“At first, I did not know that she was your daughter so I continued to follow her here and saw you. I think that was yesterday. I did not approach you immediately yesterday because I have to run an errand. Earlier, I went here again and saw the Baron about to whip your child,” he explained.

I nodded. ”I see . . . But what kind offer will you give to Maximaze? ” I raised an eyebrow at him.

“Oh, so Maximaze is her name?” I nodded. “Let’s sit down, first?” he invited me to sit down. His proposal must be crucial.

“I really admire your daughter's talent. I also saw her courage earlier when she rescued the child inside the burning house. She is a strong child, Sybil.” I just nodded at him, but inside, I’m really curious on what is his offer to Maximaze. I’m hoping that the  offer wasn’t ridiculous.

"Cladius, what is your real purpose with my son?" I asked him.

“The Emperor is weakening. You know that he can’t handle such responsibilities now that he’s ill. The high society is requesting for a Death Judge in Normous, and I agree because we really need a judge. ” He lowered his gaze and I took deep breaths.

Death Judge is one of the highest positions a person can hold in a region. Every region had a Death Judge except Normous because no one had passed the requirements or the ability to do so. Since no one did, the emperor claimed the position, which made his responsibility much heavier than before.

A Death Judge can do a lot. Sometimes, when the judge was more intelligent than expected, he could be more powerful than the emperor. The power it has cannot be described by words, but the steps toward that position will never be easy. Many died, many gave up, so others wasted no more time to reach that goal. However, someone could fall if that power wasn’t used wisely and correctly. A river of blood might flow and tyrants will rise. It will be a nightmare that no one wants to experience.

I don’t want to get to the point where my child almost dies at such a young age. I knew the general would give her enough training before the journey but I don’t think Maximaze can handle such pain. She was fragile and still young.

"G-general, does that mean—"

“Yes, Sybil. I want her to be a candidate.”

My heart started to beat rapidly. I don't think I can bear to see Maximaze’s fall . . . if ever.

“B-but I can't agree to that, Cladius! W-what if she dies while she's on the journey?! How can I live without her, Cladius—how ?!” I couldn’t help but to shout at him. I was overwhelmed because of my thoughts. She was just a kid, she might die.

“Sybil, calm down! Just trust your child. I'll take care of it,” Cladius said.

Maze handed me some water, then she went back to her seat and remained silent.

“Before I taught her about fighting to protect herself . . .” The general sighed. “. . . I plan to teach her how to read and write— ”

“R-really, General? You will teach me how to read and right?!” My daughter came to life immediately after hearing what Cladius said. Perhaps she was back to reality, she had been thinking too deeply earlier.

Cladius chuckled. “Sure, Maze. I will teach you until you master the basic skills.” He approached Maze and ruffled her hair.

I am happy that she will learn to read and write and I can't wait for her dreams to come true. On the other hand, I don’t know if I will agree because in exchange for her free education is suffering or perhaps an endless nightmare. I just wanted to give her a chance to study because I was not given a chance before.

To be continued. . .

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