Chapter 198: Chapter 197: Rift between Brothers Part II
As soon as Baden saw Jayid in my arms, he sprinted over to us. I carefully passed over the weak boy to his father.
“Jayid! Oh my boy, Jayid…”
“I know, I know.”
It truly was a heartfelt reunion between father and son. Even I felt a tear well up, but I quickly blinked it away and steeled myself. A single man was glaring daggers at me from the crowd surrounding us. It was Khalid, the man who was supposed to become the guild master of Abu Dhabi, and he was furious at me.
“Lee Jiwon, you bastard!” I totally understood why he was mad. His plan was flawless, but it had fallen to ruins thanks to me. “You ruined everything! My plan that I spent months on is ruined because of you!” Khalid roared at me, but I ignored him. He was my enemy, and I was his.
“You call that perfect? Getting around it was child’s play.” I wanted to rush at him and attack him with the spear I still had in my right hand if it weren’t for Baden stepping between us after he left Jayid to his officers. I was only here for Amplification, which had actually escalated this fight between two brothers that had been dealt with quietly in the past. In other words, I wasn’t the main cast here, Baden and Khalid were!
“Khalid!” Baden shouted and Khalid turned his attention away from me to his older brother. “Did you really want to take my place that badly?”
“Yes, I did! I always have! I always hated that you had everything!”
“You fool. Is that why you gathered the six other emirates and decided to pull this crap? Did you really think that they would always follow you?”
“…” Khalid didn’t reply, but I was itching to cut in.
In the past, Khalid had led Abu Dhabi spectacularly. From what I remembered, I had not heard of Khalid getting kicked out, or any other guilds in the UAE forming, either. I held my tongue, however.
After a moment of silence, Khalid finally spoke up again, “Hmph. We can’t know about that for sure. That was why I wanted to see if I could lock you up and see how much better I could lead the guild than you.”
“Do you really think that will work out the way you want it to?”
“I do. The palace is already just about under my control. I just need you to disappear, and they’ll all have no choice but to follow me.”
“You look down on me too much, my brother. I’ve always been prepared for my own little brother to stab me in the back one day; you just didn’t know about it.”
“What?” At that moment, an officer that was standing off to the side walked up to Khalid and whispered something in his ear. It was Umaru, who had given me the tour of Jayid’s room. Khalid’s face drained of all color and he turned back to his brother. “Ha… so you never trusted me, even though you made me your vice-master?”
“My foolish brother, that’s what it means to be a guild master.”
“Five minutes. In five minutes, the full might of Abu Dhabi will arrive here. Will you be able to defeat me and my men in five minutes, before the army gets here?”
Khalid tried to remember how many members he had in Astes. He had members from all of the seven emirates, but it was impossible for many of them to infiltrate the main body of Abu Dhabi and the royal palace. Even with his influence as vice-master, it was difficult to keep records of guild members crossing the borders. Over time, he had managed to gather around 2,500 Astes members in Abu Dhabi. Those 2,500 members stayed around the royal palace at all times, with the order to always be ready to siege.
Those 2,500 members were fighting outside right now. That meant it was impossible for him and Astes to completely take over the palace in five minutes. There was no way they could face the entire Abu Dhabi army, as well. He had to come up with a plan, and fast!
“I, Khalid al Nayan of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family, challenge Baden al Nayan, current head of the Abu Dhabi Royal Family, to a duel for the throne!”
“My brother, you can’t just challenge the current head for the throne any time you want to, even though you have as much right to it.”
“I know that much. Did you think I didn’t?” Khalid said as he took something out of his pocket.
“That’s right. This is the declaration of Khalifa, the first ruler of Abu Dhabi. With this, I won’t need over half of the Senate’s vote to authorize the challenge.”
“I doubt that the entire Senate would have willingly handed it over to you. I see the head of Senate has grown senile.”
“Does that matter? What’s important is that I’m holding the declaration right now. I, Khalid al Nayan, challenge you for the right to the throne. Winner takes all!”
“But my dear brother, the words on the declaration were written during a time before Otadolon. What reason would I have to honor such an ancient custom?”
“I know you will, if you really do believe you’re the rightful ruler of Abu Dhabi.”
Khalid was nervous even after he made his little speech. The whole thing had some flair to it, but it was just a piece of old, yellow paper the first ruler had made to make sure no one ever challenged his rule while he was still alive. It was a relic from a time where Stat points didn’t exist. It obviously had no worth in a time and age where people could throw fire from their hands. But it was still a piece of Abu Dhabi’s history and tradition, so there was still a chance. If it didn’t work, Khalid was prepared to cut his losses and surrender. This was his last shot.
“Fine. I accept.”
Khalid breathed a sigh of relief when he finally heard his brother speak up. “I propose the battle for the guild to be held in one week. Winner takes all.”
“That’s fine by me. Before you go, brother, do come well-prepared, or else you’ll regret and lose everything.”
Khalid clenched his jaw in anger and briskly turned around. “Astes, listen up! We’re leaving this place as fast as possible. We leave for Dubai!”
Baden also turned around to address his men. “Let them pass!”
“We mustn’t, guild master. Our army will arrive in a few minutes. We can’t just let them walk!”
“He’s right, sir. We must quell this rebellion while we have the chance. We must not let them gather their strength.”
“It’s a declaration with my family’s honor on the line. It doesn’t matter how old it is; it’s my duty to uphold it.” Baden stood adamant despite his officers’ rejection. They had all been retainers of Baden al Nayan’s family since the old world, so they had no choice but to go along with Baden’s decision.
“Hmm…” I didn’t like how things were turning out. A stitch in time saves nine, but I had obviously missed my chance. I could just take Amplification for finding Jayid and leave, but that meant leaving an enemy alive. If Baden were to lose the upcoming challenge and Khalid took over Abu Dhabi, it would leave things awkward, to say the least. He wouldn’t be much of threat to me if that happened, but I had learned recently that it was never wise to leave an enemy alone.
That was how I dealt with all my enemies so far and to be honest, I was annoyed and frustrated at how Baden dealt with this situation concerning his brother. Now Khalid was my enemy, too, not just Baden’s. There was no way I could play nice with both sides now.
-Ha… should I have just ignored Baden and done away with Khalid?-
I was beginning to regret the decision to hold off attacking.
I watched as Khalid and his group quickly left the palace grounds, and as the others quickly returned to the palace to care for the half-dead Jayid and prepare for the coming battle. I decided to just take Amplification and get the hell out of dodge. Not being able to deal with Khalid left a bitter taste in my mouth, but I didn’t want to get caught up in their matters.
Just then, Baden walked up to me. “Thank you for finding my son, Mr. Lee.”
“It was nothing. I just got lucky,” I said respectfully, but curtly.
Baden wasn’t even fazed. “Could I ask you to wait here for a moment while I take care of things?”
“Of course,” I replied.
As Baden walked away to join his officers, I watched as the guild members moved around busily, addressing this issue and that.
“Huh?” I noticed something off. The officers had been split into two groups and Umaru was supposed to be on Khalid’s side. He was the one who whispered into Khalid’s ear, telling him that Abu Dhabi’s army was coming here in full force. But now, he was stuck to Baden’s side even though I had seen him leave with Khalid.
Umaru noticed me watching him and came over to me. “I imagine you’re quite surprised.”
“I suppose so.”
“I was acting on Master Baden’s orders and made it seem that I was on Master Khalid’s side.”
“I see that you didn’t approve of Master Baden’s decision to let Master Khalid go, but we had no choice.”
“The army that is headed here now won’t arrive for another thirty minutes. We lied about the five minutes part.”
I stared at Umaru in shock.
Umaru chuckled. “It’s exactly as I say. Master Baden had suspected Master Khalid all along. That was why he turned me into a double agent. Unfortunately, neither of us expected Master Khalid to bare his teeth so soon.”
So Baden had Khalid eating out of his hand all this time. He had kicked out his own brother by barely doing anything and even feigned shock when Khalid brought out the declaration.
“Khalid should have noticed the treachery by now and will be quite furious. We had just tricked him into releasing his greatest catch.”
“I see.” I sort of understood Baden’s actions, but not completely.
Either way, I had to wait the rest of the day while Abu Dhabi began to repair the palace grounds and went through an entire roster change of their security forces, thanks to Khalid.
The next day…
“Thank you, Mr. Lee.”
“Really, it’s quite alright. I think you’ve thanked me once already.”
“One or two thanks aren’t enough for what you’ve done for me and my son. Oh, and here’s the promised item.”
I took the item Baden handed to me. Finally, Amplification was in my hands.
==[Amplification (Rank 10)
This is a consumable item that will be disposed of upon use.
Use Amplification on another item to increase the targeted item’s power by at least 50% and at most 100%.
Can only be used on equippable items.]==
Now if only I could have dealt with Khalid when I had the chance, then this whole trip would have been perfect, but there was nothing I could do about it now. I was done with this place.
Dubai, three days later…
“Fuck! Umaru, that bastard! How dare he play me?” Khalid roared as he slammed the table in front of him.
Khalid had led his men out of the palace and quickly fled to Dubai to get away from the Abu Dhabi army that was about to arrive. On the way to Dubai, he had heard from one of his hidden scouts that he had been fooled. He realized that the report was true when he noticed that Umaru had secretly slipped away to return to Abu Dhabi. He had Baden in his grasp, but had let him go!
“He’s right. What’s done is done. Focus on the coming battle.”
Representatives of the six other emirates were gathered in the same room. Khalid knew he shouldn’t show them such a pitiful side, and quickly regained his composure.
“Out of the entire Abu Dhabi Guild’s forces, the six emirates make up half while Abu Dhabi makes up the other half. But now, you’ve taken about 10% of their forces over to our side.”
“Right. We outnumber them six to four.”
“But we can’t account for Lee Jiwon simply with numbers.”
“Lee Jiwon is an outsider. Do you really think Baden will have him join this battle when this is a matter of Abu Dhabi’s honor?”
“That also means the six other emirates have no right to join this battle.”
“But we are still a part of Abu Dhabi, are we not? Baden was the one who brought us together under his flag. Lee Jiwon is an outsider through and through.”
“Hmm… that is true…”
Khalid cut the representatives’ discussion off. “It doesn’t matter if Lee Jiwon joins or not. I already recruited someone who can deal with Lee Jiwon for us.”
“Lee Jiwon isn’t someone we can underestimate.”
“I’m well aware of that, but not even Lee Jiwon will be match for this person. The Grim Reaper himself wants Lee Jiwon’s head.”