The sound of music resound in the throne room as ministers and war officials are sitting on their seat enjoying the performance by the dancers.
Some were drinking boisterously with woman in each of their arms. Today there is a feast of celebration in the Palace of Veva
A man wearing a loose white robe with a green coronet on his head looked at the performance with calm eyes. He sits there looking as handsome as ever.
His face could be considered elegant and refined and his movement is unhurried and graceful.
This man is Eric, one of Zeus good friend. Looking at the feast, he sighed.
'To rejoice when threats are many….'he muttered before sighing again. Eric then look toward the throne.
Eric was looking at Zeus sitting on the throne, smiling and looking proud. Zeus sits on the throne like a true king, like the throne was perfected the moment he sits on it.
His majesty could not be hidden and valiant air radiated from him. But Eric fears that Zeus would forget.
'The throne should make one remembers, that one misstep could make everything crumbles down'
The throne is made with the bones of his enemies. The carpenter that had to make the throne was trembling when he realized what he needs to build.
Zeus is sometimes full with weird ideas. When asked, he said it is to show his dominance against his enemies and instill fear.
'It is better to be feared than to be loved' he once remarked to Eric.
After Zeus won the war, the clan held a feast unlike any other. The conquering of a nation by a player.
It was a feat no one has ever done in Brave World before. Of course the clan was happy by the glory and of course the loot taken after the battle.
Many of them were made nobles after the battle
In his moment of glory, Eric reminded his friend once again, not to declare his desire to be King too early, but as always his friend is stubborn.
Zeus declared himself King on the battlefield, and all of his retainer kneel and chanted Hail the King.
The rest is history. The feast continued late into the night.
After the feast Zeus gave titles to his friend Eric and Bart. Both were appointed Duke and were given large territory to govern.
Eric is now Duke of Vartli.
Bart is Duke of Voln, an area rich with metal mine.
Then the other states are also given to his generals, each one was partitioned to reduce the risk of a powerful rebellion.
The others were rewarded with gold and treasures. Bart was dancing in the large hall after the ceremony ended and the festivities began again the next day.
Everyone was happy but only Eric is looking gloomy. Then Bart noticing his friend is acting strange approached him.
Eric is the one who is most committed to Zeus's cause and help him navigate the political part of his campaign.
It is thanks to his maneuvering that the King has never discover Zeus intention to rebel. And why does Eric expend this much effort?
Zeus is stubborn and bullheaded, but Eric was patient with him
It was because, the three of them were friends since they were kids and shares many memories together.
He will always protect Zeus, like Zeus protected him.
"What is wrong with you? Everyone is having fun, so why the sour face?" Bart asked trying to drag his friend to enjoy the feast
Eric heaved a sigh, his eyebrows creasing and his elegant face turns moody. Then he said looking at Zeus on the throne and shakes his head
'If a ruler is obsessed with womanizing and hunting, drinking fine wine, singing and dancing, living in lofty mansions with intricate wall paintings and carvings; any one of these will surely bring forth the ruin of his country' He shakes his head and sighed
Then looking at Bart he said
"Do you know what the people are talking about Zeus in other Kingdoms?" Eric asked.
"What? That he is a mighty warrior?"
Bart chuckled. Zeus was known in brave World as a great and might warrior so this praise is nothing new.
Eric face darkened. Then he said to Bart
"People in other Kingdoms write plays and created poems of him. The Unloyal Dragon they called it" And Eric face was ugly to see
Eric heard this after sending scouts to other Kingdoms for information and to see the reactions of the other Kingdoms of Zeus rebellion.
Even though Zeus's reception as King in this Kingdom is good, but not in other Kingdoms. This is precisely because in Veva, he is the War God of the Veva Kingdom
On the rest of the kingdom however, his image took a dive and condemned by the scholars, by wise men and nobles.
The scholars said that Zeus as the minister and God of War has already gained great prestige and honour yet still scheme against his benefactor
Zeus works behind the scenes and stirs up trouble and unrest. Such a person is a vicious minister and should be condemned by the world.
He is regarded as someone who treats loyalty as unimportant. A dog that bites the hand that feeds him.
This kind of reputation is heavy to bear and stain the reputation of him as the sovereign of Veva
'To the Vilajeri continent Zeus is a traitor and a disloyal minister.' Eric silently thought to himself.
"And what's the play about?" asked Bart sensing nothing good will come out of the answer.
His face is already showing sign of getting mad.
Eric told Bart
"In the play, he is portrayed as a nearly unchallenged warrior undefeated and all conquering in battles that is also ruthless and impulsive person bereft of morals and ethics. To repay kindness with ingratitude, a shameless monarch"
Bart looked incredulous. His expression was clearly reflecting his anger.
"I will kill them with my hands!"
His tone was full of rage. Nobody insults his friend. Eric only shakes his head
"And what would that prove? It will only fan new rumors. Maybe next time they will say that even Zeus subordinates are devoid of morals and act like demons."
"Pah, who cares what they think" Bart snorted in disdain
Bart spitted at the floor. Eric shook his head.
"That is where you're wrong. What they think became a reputation for Zeus. And if anything else, reputation matters."
Then Eric continued, this time his face is once again calm.
"Heard of Aero?" Eric asked
"Of course. The man that is likened to Zeus. There's even a poem about him and Zeus. I think it went like this"
Then Bart recited the poem
Regarded as the strongest,
Zeus of the North,
Undefeated and Unchallenged,
None stand his way,
"Then what is the next line?"
Bart was scratching his head. Eric helped Bart finishing the other two lines
"If Aero of the East does not come forth,
Who can be his match?"
"Yes, that's it. Though why you're mentioning him?"
Bart said puzzled why Eric suddenly is mentioning Aero name.
"His reputation and Zeus reputation is very different. If Zeus is known as an impulsive warrior, than Aero is known as a benevolent and wise commander, loved by his people, admired by his friends, feared by his enemies."
The true reason why Eric felt this Aero will be an obstacle is because he provide contrast. When people could compare, of course people would choose a person who is better
Eric wanted to explain to Bart how important it is to have a good reputation
"You seem to praise him highly"
This is the first time he heard Eric praise someone. Eric is a warrior like Zeus.
But he also serves as Zeus strategist. Providing him with many strategies in court and in the battlefield.
Though, sometimes Zeus just charges ahead without listening to Eric.
Eric always felt that Zeus is too stubborn for his own good and too hardheaded, hardly listening to the advice of others.
"Yes, I do. I heard the reports and seen the battle. He is smart and won the war with the least possible casualties for his side. In one battle he weakened Vetten enough to conquer it. And if you heard what happened two days ago, where King George released the prisoners because of Aero pleading even the Vettenian praise him for his benevolence. To gain such great reputation without doing nothing much, this Aero used his head more than he used his might of arms"
Then he continued to praise him
"His rejection of the title in the victory ceremony only gave him more fame and renown. The people of Vanheim say that he is an unselfish person that does not care about titles and glory and that he fought for the Kingdom as doing his duty"
"What is your point, Eric?" Bart could not be exactly happy when Eric so enthusiastically praise Zeus possible rivals
Bart starting to get annoyed of all this praise heaped at Aero. Eric then explains
"The point is if Zeus really intends to do what he said; Aero will be a thorn in his side. And this thorn if not removed early will fester and turn into a large wound"
"You mean that?" Bart whispered while looking around
"One man couldn't possibly be that much threat to Zeus" he said like he could not believe how such a man could rival their friend
People always like to exaggerate things. Bart didn't even believe the poems. How could a strategist that rarely fight be equal to his friend prowess?
Maybe in one slash that Aero would be slashed into two
'How could that Aero stand in the way of Zeus plans?'
Bart knows what Eric is talking about. Zeus plans to conquer the entire continent. Not just Veva.
But he thinks Eric overestimates Aero capabilities.
"I daresay, that if we want to win the continent Zeus either have to kill Aero or make him join us"
Bart doesn't understand. He shakes his head and gives up in asking Eric to join the feast. He walk away leaving Eric alone to his thoughts
But Eric knows. And he understand more than others. Then Eric looked at Zeus in the middle of the Throne room still drinking and rejoicing.
He shakes his head and sighed
'Your path will be a hard one, Zeus .If you wanted to rule there will be only one who can stand against you. The poem is an apt description.
"If Aero of the East does not come forth,
Who can be your match?"
We are moving a way for a moment to Zeus in Veva. Anyway, at least there are some people recognizing how Aero could be the obstacle for Zeus.