《Apex Immortal: a LitRPG system rampage》Chapter 5: Master
The police chief had decided to remain. He is an older mortal, well past risk-free reproduction age but still healthy enough. His short years of life had not been kind to him, grief is etched deep into his face.
I indicate to Jana to stop filming. She nods. The police chief waits patiently while she moves her crew away.
“I will not call you Master,” he says when they are done. He says it casually without defiance or denial. He says it as a mortal who has accepted his death.
“What’s your name, police man?” I ask in response.
“So, Mike, what do you want?”
“I was going to ask you why you are doing this, what your plans are. But you’ve made it very clear now.”
“You know more than I do.”
The mortal considers my response, uncertain as to whether he should believe me or not.
“If you are telling the truth, if an entity of your power is reacting to each circumstance purely on whim, then my country is fucked.”
“It was already fucked, Michael Landulf, long before I got here.”
I hold up a hand before the man can respond.
“Is Premier Vilte popular? Do the people love him?”
“He is a visionary. He liberated the people from the tyranny of kings. The people of this country will die for him!”
There is no doubting his sincerity.
“Sounds like a great guy. Tell you what, this is my plan now: I’ll ask him if he’ll do the same for you.”
A movement in a holo-panel catches my eye. It is the channel that is showing the palace’s East Balcony. The camera zooms to close in on the balcony. A man has just stepped out on to it. It is the Premier, Vilte.
That’s where I am going next, I think, to the left of the mortal, just close enough to clasp him on the shoulder but not so close that anyone would think we are best friends.
And I am there.
>User parameter discovered: [OP Teleportation]
Remember those boring rules for teleportation such as can’t teleport to a place you haven’t been to, can’t teleport beyond a certain distance, can’t teleport in quick succession, can’t displace matter at destination, can’t teleport things you aren’t carrying or within a certain range, can’t teleport large things or many things, can’t teleport other people especially against their will, can’t teleport bits of other people - the rules just went on and on. Well good news - none of them apply to you!
>: Dominus, you are using the basic command-line text interface. Initialise avatar? [y/N]
The balcony is quite a lot more spacious than it appeared to be on holo-panel and Vilte is quite a lot shorter. This is partly because of the camera angle but mostly because he is standing on a wooden platform. And that’s on top of the concealed platforms in his shoes.
There are four guards, a couple of assistants, a high-level functionary decked out in robes and five very important members of his inner council. With the exception of the two assistants, they are all male. They are all standing in the depths of the balcony, out of the camera’s view.
I hold them still.
There is a trick to holding mortals with telekinesis. If you want them to live, you have to hold them within a mortal shaped invisible bubble and that bubble has to have enough give about the ribs so they can breathe. I have a strong feeling that I’d learnt it the hard way.
The crowd below falls silent as they collectively take a second to process my sudden appearance.
The Premier freezes. I can almost see a thought bubble above his head with the words “he is right next to me isn’t he?”.
“Are you here to kill me?” Without looking at me, the mortal asks quietly out of the side of his mouth.
“In that case, if I may have a moment first.”
Vilte smiles and makes reassuring gestures with both hands at the crowd who is rapidly working up to a mass panic. He leans slightly to the microphone and switches it on.
“My beloved people,” he says.
They settle down almost immediately, although a few start booing at me. A stern movement cuts that out too.
“My beloved people,” he says when he has the crowd's attention again, “as you can see, I have decided to intervene personally in the events that we have all witnessed in Liberty Square. While I would like to provide you with assurances, I cannot do so at this time. Our beloved country is at a cross-roads. Yes, yes, its undeniable and we have to face up to it. All I can say to all of you is this: Wait in peace. No matter what happens, your trust strengthens me as it has always.”
The mortal had not looked at me the whole way through his speech. Instead, he had scanned naturally from one side of the crowd to the other, connecting, pausing at the right times, always keeping his eyes to the level of the media cameras arrayed in a broad semi-circle below just behind the crowds. He stills for a moment after his speech. It is a moment that conveys strength and humility, an internal girding for what is about to come. Then he turns to me, smiles warmly and in the multiversal expression of trust, extends his right hand.
“Welcome to the Greater Republic of Liasval,” he says.
“Thank you,” I reply and clasp his hand gently between my thumb and forefinger.
There’s a media guide for how long political leaders should clasp hands. Too short and the cameras don’t get a chance to capture the moment or worse still you come across as thinking the other person is a dick, too long and it gets awkward and comedic. The line between one and the other is surprisingly thin. The mortal releases my thumb at exactly the right time.
“Shall we discuss the future of the Republic?” Vilte says companionably and gestures towards the palace.
Flexible, smart, popular, gutsy. Not just a tinpot narcissistic dictator. He can be useful. I begin to see a path forward that is not soaked in blood.
“Yes, Premier,” I reply, “sounds like a plan.”
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