By the time Shirley was busy ignoring the orders, the Central Army led by Count Ferrero was still in the defensive.
“Sire, we can’t keep this up!”
“The damage to the soldiers is severe! We need to move ahead and order the suppression!”
Officers and knights begged Count Ferrero. It was because the soldiers were falling down as well because of the constant stones coming at them.
In addition, the people were using stolen weapons and arrows at them.
The request of his men only irritated Ferrero further.
He thought that if the army didn’t act hostile toward the people, they would avoid the battle or forceful methods. However, that didn’t seem to happen.
The people, who had seen the blood and pain because of the Central Army and the Knights of Guards led by Viscount Dick, weren’t ready to calm themselves.
“Die, you Emperor’s dogs!”
“Show me how you’ll kill me! You burned my sister in there. Kill me like that if you can!”
As time passed, the emotions of the people only burned brighter, leading to many intensive attacks.
“We can’t let things go like that.”
“That is true, Sire. We need to go ahead and give order…”
When Count Ferrero abandoned his sword, the lieutenant’s eyes that didn’t understand what to think of it opened wide.
“Sire, what did you do?”
“Shut up. Hold on tight and see!”
Ferrero got off his horse and walked toward the people.
“Residents of Nemesis! I am the Count and Commander of the Central Army, Ferrero! Would you like to have a discussion to calm this havoc?”
“Shut up, you killers!”
“Just die, you crazed Emperor’s dogs!”
Along with the swearing, the stones were all diverted on Ferrero.
The knights, who saw that, were ready to attack the people. However, on the gesture of Count Ferrero, they stopped.
“I know the feelings that you have in your heart, but all this will only make things worse!”
Ferrero continued to move closer to the people to persuade them.
He took off his helmet and armor then he threw it to the ground.
Even in the midst of that, the stones continued to fall. However, Ferrero didn’t try to avoid or protect himself.
It was natural for that act to cause bruises all over his face and body. Blood began to come out of his scars.
It wasn’t long before an arrow struck the left side of his face.
Despite the anger and shock of his knights, Ferrero hadn’t ordered any of them to move.
He casually pulled out the arrow and continued to move forward with his arms wide open.
“If you want to release your anger, go ahead and release it all on me! This is my responsibility for misrepresenting His Majesty!”
The crowd was stunned and the stones began to fade.
The bloody appearance of Count Ferrero seemed to be like a holy figure; a reminiscent to a martyr who was trying to show his faith when being persecuted.
Sometime later, the stones stopped, and Ferrero stood right in front of the people.
As the people took a step back, Ferrero knelt down with both of his knees and bowed his head to them.
At that sight, the Central Army and all of the people were at a loss of words.
Count Ferrero. They knew about him. The best man in the Baroque Empire. Someone who would never even kneel in front of the Emperor himself.
If he wanted to, he could have killed all of the people there by himself, but why would such a man endure such humiliation and wounds?
As the silence went on for a long time, a young man yelled from the crowd.
“Just because you’re doing that, everything will be solved! My dead brother isn’t going to come back!”
“Your words are right. I haven’t saved innocent patients. Acting cowardly, I let it happen. And that insidious act let to today’s result.”
Ferrero raised his head.
Blood was flowing from the arrows which struck him a moment ago.
“However, I will not act cowardly from now on. I promise to run to His Majesty right away and unblock the streets to the north and release any remaining survivors, so trust me this once and hold onto your emotions. Preserve your comfort.”
Preserve one’s comfort.
In other words, he was asking people to stop the riots and go back.
If things go on at this rate, the patience in the people would reach its limit and the same for the knights too. Also, the ones at a disadvantage would be the people.
No one in the public was stupid enough to not realize what he meant.
And there was no one brave enough to ignore Count Ferrero’s personal request—a man who had abandoned his armor for them.
“Tch, I will believe the count and go back.”
“Please, save my family!”
One after the other, people began to put down the stones and voluntarily let go off their weapons.
The young man, who spoke out first, remained till the end and spoke with a voice full of hatred, “I believe the Count, but I will never get myself to believe that mad Emperor.”
“It would have been better if you could stand on our side and fight.”
The young man, who spoke his words, stepped back and left.
After hearing the young man’s grief, Ferrero felt bitter.
It wasn’t like the thought of fighting for the people hadn’t crossed his mind.
However, he didn’t want to be declared a traitor.
And since he had respect for the Emperor, the strongest knight in the continent, he wanted to bring the Emperor back to the right path.
‘Maybe I walked too far to change this back, but…’
He had already promised the people, and he planned to keep his promise.
Thinking so, Ferrero moved in the direction of the Imperial Palace.
“What is it, Count Ferrero?”
Emperor Rudolf had been receiving the reports for the messengers while staying in the Imperial Palace. He looked at Count Ferrero who had come to meet him.
He didn’t like meeting the commander of the Central Army, who was supposed to be subjugating the riots, but ended up getting beaten all over.
Whether the Emperor was pleased or not for seeing him there, Ferrero begged him.
“My Majesty, it’s not too late. Lift the blocked streets to the north and save those who survived.”
“That is impossible. You also know that there is no other way to get rid of the epidemic, right?”
“If we look hard enough, there will surely be another way, so ple…”
The Emperor pushed his sword into the marble floor to cut off Ferrero’s words.
With a fierce gaze, Rudolf sternly spoke to him, “You have been objecting to the spread of Vers from the beginning, right?”
“Yes. I thought that if anything went terribly wrong then…”
“So now you are dissatisfied and determined to stand on Reichard’s side?”
At the words of the Emperor, Ferrero couldn’t comprehend.
“W-what are you talking about?”
“Wasn’t it because of your feelings towards him that you sneaked Vers inside and used it on the capital… to destroy me and my army.”
Ferrero’s voice rose because of the height of misunderstandings that took place in a second.
“I never even had such thought, Your Majesty! I would never betray Your Majesty and this nation!”
“And such a person would kneel down in front of everyone!”
At Rudolf’s words, Ferrero realized that an Emperor’s man was keeping a watch on him.
If not, then did a messenger reached Rudolf before he even left the barracks?
“Your Majesty, it was to dismiss the people from…”
“I don’t want to hear any more of it! What are you doing? Get him out of here and lock him up in the prison!”
The knights around the Emperor surrounded Ferrero.
“Majesty, please listen to my words! Uh! Let go, you men!”
Ferrero tried to get rid of the knights, but all the knights, including Kurian, were Sword Masters.
Unlike Ferrero, who wouldn’t pull out his sword in the room, they pulled out their swords without a hitch and pointed at Ferrero’s limbs.
“Keuk! Your, Your Majesty! You must not abandon the people of the capital! If they lose their reasoning, the nation will… Auk!”
“Drag him out quickly!”
The knights dragged out Ferrero, whose limbs had been removed, out of the throne room.
At that time, Marquis Vanden, who was in the room, spoke to Rudolf to strengthen his ties, “Your Majesty, do you really think that Count Ferrero has released the Vers?”
It was right to sternly oppose.
However, Count Ferrero had no social network in the Imperial Palace.
In addition, since the Emperor himself had planned everything for the operation, the likelihood of Ferrero to intercept the disease and spread it was extremely low.
“I don’t think Ferrero did it.”
“Then why di…?”
The Emperor answered Vanden who was puzzled.
“In terms of being valiant, Ferrero is the best in the Empire. But as stubborn as he is, I too had the same level of stubbornness.”
Rudolf, who had already experienced rebellion from his nobles, thought that he should put his servants on a tight leash.
Of course, he did give them some opportunities to disagree. However, it was absolutely unacceptable to disregard those who didn’t care about the Emperor’s name.
“There is no way to know when such a man would betray our men. I had to use my hands in this opportunity that had presented itself.”
Rudolf answered Vanden with a sad expression.
“But Count Ferrero is a talented man. There are surely many talented knights below Your Majesty, but I think that it would be a huge loss to execute a Sword Master who is experienced in war.”
“You are right. With the Libiya Kingdom and Symphonia, it is a pity to get rid of thrilling fighters. However, Ferrero needs to be broken first.”
Whether in jail or in exile, Rudolf was planning to make Ferrero miserable.
He wanted to show who was the law and whose words were orders in his Empire.
“Marquis Vanden, keep this in mind. How you behave in the future will determine your life.”
At Rudolf’s warning, Vanden nodded his head.
He was anxious inside. It was because the Emperor knew that Vanden was a man who had already betrayed Butler in the past.
However, without letting his anxiousness take over, he wanted to follow the Emperor.
He wanted to go ahead and quickly destroy the Libiya Kingdom and restore the Emperor’s trust by slashing Butler’s throat.