Breaking the Paradigm | Chapter 8 | Blood and Redemption
Blood and Redemption

Breaking the Paradigm

Chapter 8

Blood and Redemption

Chapter 8

Blood and Redemption

Later, the extended council convened. Though I was absent, the regime's pervasive surveillance ensured that every moment was meticulously chronicled. This is why I can relay the following events as if I'd seen them firsthand.

The council chamber was awash with the Seventh Republic's nervous and outraged elite. On the dot of eight, His Holiness pronounced the session open, ushering in a palpable hush.

"Who summoned this august assembly?" Clio's father demanded, his voice dripping with haughty gravitas.

"It was I, Your Holiness," Cardinal Demetrius rose from his seat.

"Share your concerns, my son," His Holiness beckoned.

"Your Holiness, esteemed fathers, senators, and generals. Our cherished republic is grappling with an unparalleled challenge. The progeny of our esteemed households have aimed to malign the revered academy and, by extension, the very essence of our scientific education," Cardinal Demetrius articulated to those gathered.

The anticipated uproar erupted in the chamber. While the chaos ensuing from the cardinal's revelation was entirely expected, it felt to me like there were two puppet masters pulling strings behind the scenes. The cardinal confidently relayed directives to his confidants, while my father subtly bolstered his allies. At first, the two factions seemed nearly on par, though my father's side held a marginal upper hand.

The din grew increasingly cacophonous. Those in the Cardinal’s faction clamored for specifics, their voices rising as they shouted, “Who dares?” and “Name them!” Meanwhile, my father’s allies demanded tangible proof, their cries echoing “Show the facts!” and “Where are the documents?” The atmosphere was thick with tension, and it felt like a powder keg ready to explode, threatening to tip the two factions into outright physical conflict.

For a time, it appeared as though the session was absent a leader. His Holiness observed the unfolding chaos with detached indifference, not uttering a single word. But just as tensions teetered on the brink of devolving into physical skirmishes, the head of the academy assertively slammed his hand down on the table, intoning, "Silence in the hall." Beyond his vast personal gravitas, there was a commanding undertone in His Holiness’s voice that compelled immediate obedience from every corner of the room.

His Holiness, sensing the room's palpable submission, overstepped. Abandoning his neutral stance as a mediator, he echoed the sentiments of my father's faction. "If you possess any tangible evidence, Your Eminence, present it forthwith. Otherwise, I will be compelled to adjourn this assembly," he said haughtily, gripping the chairman's gavel. His posture exuded triumph. But, in the very instant when the gavel's sound was anticipated to signify the session's end, Cardinal Demetrius rose and declared:

"Facts? Is my word no longer sufficient?" Demetrius said with mock offense. He might have paused for effect, but catching a glimpse of His Holiness's impatient demeanor, he pressed on, “Very well, if you insist, I shall present the evidence."

Demetrius signaled, and a recording of our discussion with him projected onto the large screen. It was captured in impeccable quality, leaving no room for doubt. It vividly showcased me recounting to him about Poko's research, my discoveries, my forays into the covert archive, and crucially, my deductions.

The commotion resumed in the hall, but this time, my father’s supporters were clearly outnumbered. The uproar intensified, and even those who had quietly sided with the senator mere minutes before now clamored for my swift and stern punishment. Mustering his remaining strength, the head of the academy rose to his feet.

“Silence!” he said, and the hall was reluctantly silent, “that's enough! All clear!”

"Your Holiness, the perpetrator did not act alone,” Demetrius said.

His Holiness replied with a steely gaze, “You dare to interrupt the head of the academy. It seems the betrayal has spread much further than we all thought."

Demetrius fell silent in fear. But after a moment, His Holiness continued, "And now, I, Marcus Valerius Maxi..."

"Your Holiness, may I interrupt you?" my father stood up, not waiting for permission. "I, Publius Cornelius Validus, a member of the most noble Senate of the Seventh Republic, seal Lucius Cornelius Perturbator's life with my blood. I hereby bequeath my family's wealth, prestige, and the illustrious name of Publius Cornelius Validus to my only son. May he carry the weight of our honored lineage and ascend as a Senator, upholding our noble heritage with unwavering dedication."

Everyone watched in astonishment as my father retrieved our family sword and plunged it into his heart with serene determination. Unfortunately, his strength was too great, and the sword too sharp. There was no chance for his chest to withstand the fatal blow. Not a voice was raised, nor a movement made. The shocking execution of this nearly forgotten tradition left everyone paralyzed. The aged head of the academy sank into his seat and wept quietly, muttering, "Son of a bitch, you've fooled me once again, just like a little boy."

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