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Chapter 25: The Man Who Would Be King Jhanis Gharvhan was just about the only person outside of the Privy Council who could demand an audience with the Emperor and get it on short notice.

However, today he did not bother to demand. He was angry as hell and therefore decided that his emotional state allowed him to barge into the Imperial Chamber unannounced.

The guards raised their rifles to block him and he pushed them aside. They recognized him so they didn’t make further attempts to restrain the Chancellor.

The Emperor was behind his desk. His lion, Sherekorja, jumped to his feet and snarled at the irate man. The big cat gave Gharvhan pause.

Relax, fellow, the Emperor radioed to the cat. The big animal sat on its haunches but continued to stare at the Chancellor.

“I need to speak with you, Your Grace,” said the Chancellor forcing his eyes away from the saber cat and toward the head of state.

“Apparently you do, Jhanis,” the Emperor smiled.

“My sources inform me that your son, the Crown Prince, has been sighted in Arcadopolis. Were you aware of this?”

Toreus the Elder knew he had to lie about this to the Chancellor. The difficult decision was how much of a lie.

“The Crown Prince was visiting cousins of ours in Arcadopolis when the troubles intensified.”

“Really,” said Gharvin sarcastically. “And why was I not informed of this.”

“Because neither Prince Toreus nor any other member of my family need inform you of their travels or their whereabouts. We’re not a fascist police state like Arcadia.”

That was akin to a slap in the Chancellor’s face. Everyone knew that despite his demands for democracy at home he really strongly approved of the one man rule of the Wallaces in Arcadia.

You’re move Gharvin, thought the Emperor.

“I don’t think that you are being straightforward with me, Your Grace. It is known all across the Sphere that your eldest son is also your agent for provocation. I think that you are attempting to interfere in the internal affairs of another nation in direct contravention of the Great Guild Treaty.”

The Emperor stood up and leaned on his desk with two big fists. “That’s a serious accusation, Jhanis. To accuse the Emperor of such an action is akin to treason. I would hope that you have some proof. Otherwise I could remove you from office and have you jailed with but the stroke of a stylus.”

The Chancellor turned red and averted his eyes from the fierce gaze of the Emperor. His tendency to forget the rules of his relationship with the sovereign and over estimate the Emperor’s tolerance of nonsense had once again worked against him.

“You need to be reeducated in the rules of our relationship, Mr. Chancellor. Yes, you are the head of the government and were elected by the Parliament but that election was affirmed by me—for political reasons that I shall not go into now. I could just as easily un-affirm you and have the Parliament call a vote of no confidence. But I won’t, because I feel you have made a simple mistake of decorum. You forgot the rules that we live by here in the Court of Pangea and got carried away with your enthusiasm for the Republican form of government.”

Like hell, thought the Emperor. This man pays lip service to Republicanism but under it all he is just disappointed that he is not Emperor and never will be.

“I would still like to know what your son is doing in Arcadia,” hissed Gharvhan.

“If you would like to know that then I suggest that you ask him when he returns. I do not keep my son on a leash and much of what he does he does because he feels it is the correct thing to do.

“someday he will be the Emperor and I, for one, wish him to be able to make his own decisions.”

“If he makes such unwise decisions in future then we shall have problems,” said the Chancellor and turned away.

“Things change, Jhanis,” called the Emperor as the Chancellor strode away. “There will be a chance that those problems will not be yours at all.”

Gharvhan slammed the door behind him.

The Emperor sat back in his chair and shook his head.

The Chancellor was a fool but that did not mean that he could not cause trouble. Quite the contrary.

It was at that moment that his Guider alerted him.

What is it, old friend?

Kothar Khonn wishes me to inform you that the rescue party is assembled at the staging area.

Very good. Tell him to await my command.

Yes, Warrior Emperor.

Well, at least the more important issues are going my way, thought Toreus I. But once this happens there will be hell to pay on the political front at home.

***

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