Minister Sky was a simple man. He had little ambition and was very comfortable with his life. Having a position in the imperial court, one could even say he was high ranking. Well at least compared to most.
Amongst his colleagues, he was quite pitiful. He was usually mocked and scorned. Due to his low rank and his simple way of doing things, he did not mind. He was quite happy with living out his days the way they were.
This was Coiling Dragon City. A monolith that controlled countless lands. It was run by the imperial court, which was composed of Ministers.
These Ministers each had a role to play in the running of the city. Minister Sky’s role was sanitation. It was his role to make sure that the city was clean.
The citizens of the city were not ordinary beings. They were all special, and were naturally clean. In other words Minister Sky and his department had little to do. Which is why no faction desired him to be replaced even though he is lazy and simple minded.
The court was split into two factions. Each faction led by a powerful and important Minister. These two factions constantly fought each other for control over the court. The Emperor was a very relaxed and lazy ruler. He did not even care about what was happening in the court.
Rebellion, due to certain circumstances, was completely out of the question. So the Emperor had no need to monitor his court.
Nonetheless, someone had to run the city. Due to the Emperors inactivity, if one ran the court, one would then also run the city and all its lands.
The two great factions were usually even in terms of power but at this particular time, one faction had taken the lead. It was the faction led by Minister Titus. He was a ruthless and spiteful man, but he was also powerful and very clever. The other faction was led by Minister Candreva. She was a wise and reserved woman, and she had a lot of backers to support her, though unfortunately for her, a certain event had tipped the scales in Titus’ favour.
Not every Minister was part of a faction, some Ministers like Sky were not wanted by either faction.
Sky actually preferred it that way, because it meant less hassles. Odds were, things were going to continue that way, until one day a messenger came to his office to deliver some news.
The news was that a meeting of investors had been convened.
This was welcome news to his normally mundane day. These meetings were not mandatory, so only a few Ministers would attend them. Usually, it was those Ministers like Sky who were bored or those who wanted to try their luck and catch the eye of a faction.
Sky dressed up for the meeting and got into his carriage, heading straight to the highest level of the city. The level that housed the palace.
Due to the unique structure of the city, a need to move vertically led to winged creatures pulling the carriages.
Sky was not that rich, so he could only afford a wyvern to pull his carriage. On the Sovereign Continent, any creature with the bloodline of a dragon would strike fear into the hearts of many but in this city, such creatures were powerless as ants.
After landing his carriage on the highest level, Sky got of his carriage and headed straight for the doors to the palace.
Looking to his side, he saw carriages that were far more impressive than his, some being so large that they needed to be pulled by a team of golden clawed dragons.
After licking his lips in envy at the sight, Sky entered the palace and rushed straight to the meeting room. Besides guards and servants, no one bothered to stop and greet him. Sky on the other hand, had to stop quite a few times to greet figures far more powerful than himself. Even if they did not greet back, he still did so, fearing what would happen if he did not.
Nobles and members of the court highly valued face, even going as far as to kill for it. This one thing Sky knew very well and never forgot to be wary of.
Those below Sky would think that being a member of the court, involved incredible honor and glorious duties but Sky had figured out that the most important skill in the court was knowing which ass to kiss and when to do it.
It was in this manner that Sky had floated through his political career without a hitch.
As Sky approached the large double doors leading to the meeting room, he heard what seemed to be noises. Noises created from hundreds of voices mixing together.
Did I come to the wrong room?
These meetings were important but not to the point where the whole court would take interest. Most factions would just send their lower ranking members to be their eyes and ears.
On the rare occasions when quite a few members of the court appeared, it would be due to the fact that an important event was about to occur.
Sky knew that it was highly unlikely that any important event would occur on this particular day, as such events usually occurred immediately after a batch of Mark Bearers had been chosen.
It had been a few months since the last batch had been chosen, and none of the chosen were impressive enough to convene a meeting for.
What could be the cause then?
Sky’s curiosity piqued as he opened the large double doors, only to be met with an incredible situation.
The meeting room was composed of three things: A large board with names written on them. The chair on which the Emperor sat on if he chose to show up, which had only been used twice, and the carpet on the floor which led to the Emperor’s seat, effectively splitting the room into two parts.
The board was on the wall right above the seat. The room itself was simple and without many decorations on the wall. Which was a rare sight in a city where lavishness was popular.
Usually the rare few who did gather would stand in front of the chair, observing the board and the matter at hand. There would be no particular arrangement. Anyone could stand where they wanted but this particular day was different.
On this day, the Ministers involved in the meeting where standing on either side of the carpet. There was no one standing in front of the seat. Even on the carpet itself.
One look at the two groups and Sky knew what he was seeing.
Its the two factions!
The two factions had effectively grouped themselves together and taken up a side.
One reason for doing so was to force the neutral Ministers to decide. In such an important event, where one stood was very important, as face was involved.
At that moment in time, the middle was not an option. And the reason for that was simple. The Emperor was present.
Covered in his Royal garb, the Emperor looked straight ahead, a light flashing in his eyes. Ambevilius was always an intimidating man, but that day he was not restraining his cultivation, to the extent that it was hard to even breathe in the room. Let alone look him straight in the eye.
The complex political undercurrents of the court made it clear that on that day, whoever entered would have to choose a side. And Ambevilius’ condition made it impossible for anyone to stand in the middle.
So Sky was left with a difficult choice. Ambevilius was looking straight forward, and everyone in the room was curious as to what decision this man would make.
Everyone here had a near perfect memory, so naturally they knew who he was. Although he was somewhat insignificant, on that day every little detail counted.
Sky would have preferred to go to Candreva’s faction. It was much more liberal and suited his character. On the other hand, Titus’ side was more powerful at the moment, and there were no signs to show otherwise.
Titus was a spiteful man. Sky did not like the idea of working for him but he hated the idea of being his enemy even more.
Sky was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Why did things turn out like this? Wait, who could make almost every Minister come to the meeting?
It was at that point, when Sky was thinking about the cause of what was before him, that he felt a hand touch his shoulder.
“Haha! Hello friend! I’m happy to see that there is at least one more brave soul beside me!”
The moment he heard that voice, Sky almost shuddered. He knew that voice very well.
It can’t be! It can’t be!
Hoping he was wrong, Sky turned his head slowly, only to see his worst nightmare come true. The man he did not want to be seen with most in this world had just talked to him in front of the whole court! Before he had chosen sides! He had even called him friend.
Despairing at the unfortunate turn of events, Sky could only hang his had and greet him back, “Hello Minister Li.”