Breaking the Paradigm | Chapter 11 | Names, Games, and Sacrifices
Names, Games, and Sacrifices

Breaking the Paradigm

Chapter 11

Names, Games, and Sacrifices

Chapter 11

Names, Games, and Sacrifices

"What kind of guests?" I asked in surprise.

“We realized the blood seal alone wouldn't guarantee your safety. We turned to the law of the Second Republic. Your father, among other things, bequeathed his name to you. In short, my dear Ace, you're now Publius Cornelius Validus. Had your father not altered everything..." His Holiness hesitated, then decided against finishing that thought. With a dismissive gesture, he continued, "Moreover, you're now automatically a senator and must take a public oath. Even Demetrius wouldn’t dare cross you, at least not for a while. I hope we have the time we need to bring him down."

His Holiness sighed, weariness evident. "I feel your anger, young one. It's true the Senate shelters the corrupt. But sometimes, to change a system, you must infiltrate it. Understand its mechanisms to truly dismantle it."

I was boiling inside, "You want me to join their circus? To be another pawn in their game?"

His Holiness met my gaze intently, "I want you to be their unforeseen storm. The change agent from within. Your father protected you with his legacy. The rest is up to you."

I choked back tears, "I can't forgive them."

"You shouldn't," he murmured. "But channel that rage. True power lies not in strength alone but in influence."

Clio, furious, interjected, “Father! Enough of leveraging Uncle Val’s sacrifice! It's beneath you.”

"Apologies, my child. You too, Ace.” His Holiness said, his voice now carrying a softer, more fatherly tone. "I know it's much to ask. But remember, by being in the Senate, Ace can work to ensure justice is served. Outside, he might be vulnerable, but inside, he holds power. But if you are against it, then tell me what should we do? Tell me how to keep all three of you alive and not compromise your principles.”

“What is the point of saving my life if I betray my principles?” Clio began very quietly. Almost in a whisper, but her every word echoed throughout the room, like the explosion of a nuclear shell. “What is the point of my life if I lose myself. No, father. I do not agree to such a life and not accepting any sacrifice if this sacrifice makes me betray myself. You've already tried your way. ...Not only have you tried this path, but so many people before you. You, my dear father, chose the path of conformity and as a result received the death of your friends. If you think you are not responsible for the explosion of Poco's plane, you are very mistaken. All of you who have collaborated, are cooperating or will cooperate with the system are responsible for all the horrors that the system commits.”

“And now you are too cruel, my fairy,” the weakened Max barely said.

“No, father, I’m not cruel! I just speak my truth! Many terrible diseases are destroying our society from the inside, but the main and most dangerous one is conformism. There are endless reasons why it is necessary to “temporarily” cooperate with the system. The reason could be hungry children, a mortgage, hope for change, helping those in need, patriotism or, as in your case, the desire to save the lives of loved ones. I don't think there's any reason why you should go to bed with a monster." Clio did not raise her voice, her cheeks did not turn red, as they always did when she was nervous, and she did not curl her hair on her fingers, as she always did when she was angry with her father, despite all this, I physically felt her tiredness, nervousness, anger, but couldn't do anything about it. In fact, I was one hundred percent sure that anyone who dared to get involved in the “beating” of His Holiness would pay with his life. Still, I decided to wait for the right moment and move the conversation in a less destructive direction. Meanwhile, Clio continued, “and this reason cannot be neither life nor death, and certainly not love. I do not have the right to tell anyone how to behave, but I have the right to my own opinion about such behavior. I have the right not to agree and not accept the person who made this kind of decision, even if one is the most important person in my life.”

"I hope you won't have to 'disapprove' or 'not accept' my decision," I figured this was the best time to soften the situation. Although Clio frowned and muttered her favorite “idiot,” she didn’t throw anything at me, and that was already very good. In short, I regained the initiative, at the same time I survived and therefore boldly continued - under no circumstances am I going to enter the Senate. To be honest, I can’t say that the prospect of imminent and immediate death appeals to me immensely. I think I have found a solution, but the details are up to you, Your Holiness.”

“I am listening carefully,” His Holiness said, but the room was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop, making it clear that my words had attracted everyone’s attention.

“This is my idea: today I will receive a name, position, and everything that belongs to me according to my father’s will,” the girls could not hide their disappointment, and His Holiness seemed pleased, but I continued, "and then the magic will begin. My oath will be taken not by the consul of the republic or the speaker of the senate, as required by law, but by the head of the academy. We'll, or rather you, Your Holiness, explain this as a tribute to a friend or something like that."

“But this is illegal! In our republic, the Church does not interfere in the affairs of the state.” The head of the academy interpreted the content of Clio’s furious look accurately and immediately added: “At least on paper. And because of this formality, your position in the Senate will be in constant danger."

“That’s the whole point,” chimed in a pleased Fia.

“Yes, the whole point is that the fact that I took the post of senator would be declared invalid. Consequently,..."

“And we all know very well who will blow up this story,” Fia interrupted me. She thought for a while, then an evil spark flashed in her eyes and she continued with satisfaction, “The Cardinal will definitely take advantage of this opportunity. He will try to hit Ace and finish what he started. The elite of the republic will not allow encroachment on the life sealed by blood under any circumstances. Very interesting events await us ahead," Fia added and joyfully rubbed her hands together.

His Holiness smiled bitterly and shook his head heavily. Most likely, Clio’s favorite expression flashed through his head: “Idiots.” But aloud he said:

“It’s great that Fia is so positive. I'm just interested in that 'Consequently' thing Ace started and didn't finish."

“Oh yes, Your Holiness,” I remembered the interrupted thought, “Consequently, I will not upset the establishment with my refusal, I will not enter the Senate, and as a bonus, Demetrius will appear as a person who disdains traditions.”

“Excellent, everything is clear,” His Holiness began in a tone and expression that led me to expect a devastating assessment of the plan, but he continued: “I want you to know that I do not agree with this plan in any way. I am completely against it, I don't like it, I don't think it's justified, and so on and so forth. But I will still participate. Moreover, I'll add a little spice. So, everything is decided. You go get ready, and I'll go to the guests and settle everything."

“Dad, wait, what kind of spice are you talking about?” asked a clearly frightened Clio.

“My dear, I am the head of the most powerful, dangerous, and depraved organization in this world. Leave me the right to a little intrigue, a little improvisation. I promise I won’t disappoint you. Now go get ready; we can’t keep the most important people of the republic waiting for so long.”

His Holiness gulped down the remaining whiskey in his glass, smiled warmly at the three of us, straightened his shoulders, and headed towards the courtyard.

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