Ankh did not intend to disrupt Amon’s ‘fun’, so he told Dylan: “Do you know who is the one Lord Hardedef is hosting today? He is none other than Supreme General Amon! Make sure you serve him well, when he is done here, just let him know that I passed by here and took care of some trivial matters along the way.”
After capturing the men, Ankh was not done yet. Next, he headed straight to Sabaf’s residence and smashed through three gates before grabbing hold of Sabaf from his bed.
Sabaf was waiting for his cronies to bring back Hardedef, but unexpectedly, it was Ankh who came. Ankh did not touch his right leg which was fixed to a splinter, but broke his left leg instead. Sabaf fainted from the pain on the spot, and after Ankh woke him up, he said: “Do you know what crime you have committed? You dared to carry a weapon and cause trouble in front of Supreme General Amon!”
Ankh initially wanted to lock him up in the barracks as well, but after considering that it would be troublesome to handle him as both his legs were broken, Ankh left the place without doing anything else. After all, there was no way Sabaf could escape.
Why did Ankh do this? Actually, he hated Sabaf. Hardedef and Ankh had fought together at the frontlines and achieved honor and glory with their blood and sweat, but Hardedef got impeached unfairly by Ledaross with the help of Sabaf’s family. Ankh saw this as an attempt to discredit Amon and everything they had done, as well as an insult to the warriors’ honor.
When it came to getting into fights and causing trouble, Ankh was not much better than Hardedef during his younger days. With his background and influence in the army, he never needed to fear anyone. After becoming the chief supreme warrior of the Shrine of Isis and the Head of the Isis legion, he naturally did things more responsibly, but all along, he was always the one who offended others while nobody would dare to offend him. Now that he saw an opportunity, he decided to pay Sabaf back for what he did.
After all, it was just breaking a leg. Whatever Hardedef could do, he could as well. Besides, he had justification to do so, and there was nothing anyone else could do about it.
On this night, Memphis became very lively. The people which Ankh locked up naturally had friends and families as well, and many of them went to the governor’s residence to demand the release of these people. However, they weren’t locked up in the city’s jail, so the governor spent the whole night searching for Ankh before he could give him the order to release them.
On the surface, it was an order. In reality, the governor was begging Ankh to release them. No matter what it was, he could wait until the matter was properly investigated before handing down the punishment. Ankh reluctantly agreed to it, and said: “I can release them first, but this matter is far from over. These people carried weapons at night and attempted to assault Supreme General Amon, I will definitely get to the bottom of it!”
The next day, a bunch of people came to the governor’s residence to accuse Amon of allowing Hardedef to injure Sabaf as well as Ankh of capturing and locking up people for no reason. After what happened the previous night, they decided to push all the blame onto Amon. Governor Djehutihotep sent people to invite Amon to his residence to inquire about what happened, but Amon was nowhere to be found. According to rumors, the Supreme General had taken a liking to one of the girls in the brothel and had gone on an outing with her outside the city.
Why was Amon on an outing with Misphi at this moment? Amon actually had no idea what Ankh had done in Memphis the night before, and neither did he ever expect things to blow up. It all began last night…
After Hardedef gave a demonstration of his prowess and threw Sabaf and his cronies out of the brothel, he carried a large amount of weapons back to the room and dumped them in one corner. Next, he ordered the servants to remove the damaged screen and to bring in a new one. Only then did he leap over the pool and said with a bow: “I must apologize for inconveniencing the Supreme General.”
Amon replied with a smile: “How can a small fry inconvenience me? Come, let’s continue to drink.”
The girls in the brothel had seen their fair share of fights, but they had never seen anything like this. Hardedef was so “heroic”, and this young chap was too arrogant! If Lord Sabaf and his guests could only be considered small fry, what kind of background would the young chap have?
Even though moments ago the girls were frightened by what happened, right now they were all smiles again. They gathered around Hardedef once again, and some of them kept offering wine to Amon. Misphi stood up with a cup filled with wine and said to Hardedef: “General, I would like to offer a toast to your bravery and skill! Your name is Hardedef, may I ask which General Hardedef you are?”
Before Hardedef could reply, Dylan had ordered his men to bring in a new screen, and the broken door was also replaced with a new door. Dylan stood before the pool and said with a worried expression: “Supreme General Amon, I did not know it was you, please forgive my ignorance! A while ago, Lord Ankh passed by and captured everyone who offended you. He also asked me to tell you to enjoy yourself while you are back in Memphis!”
Several girls screamed in a high pitch and shouted: “Amon, the Supreme General of the Empire! Is it really you?”
Amon smiled. “That’s me. Is there really a need to be so shocked? This is my captain of guards, General Hardedef, who was once the commander of the An-Ra legion and fought alongside me in the battlefield. To think that a bunch of small fry would dare to assault me in public..”
Dylan was shocked by his words and hurriedly explained: “This is all a misunderstanding, a misunderstanding! Lord Sabaf did not know who Your Highness really was..”
Amon replied in a solemn tone: “Your Highness? …never mind, all of you leave this room right now, including the band behind the screen. I have something to discuss with Misphi.”
Hardedef thought that Amon had taken a liking to Misphi and wanted to spend the night with her in this place. He wanted to say something, but stopped short of saying it. Instead, he turned around and shouted: “Hear that? This is an order from the Supreme General, everyone get out of this room now!”
Dylan, the servants, the band, as well as the dozen girls were chased away. Hardedef walked behind the screen and was preparing to guard the door personally, but he heard Amon’s voice. “Hardedef, I did not tell you to leave. Come back.”
After closing the door, Hardedef turned back around and crossed the pool. There, he saw Misphi kneeling in front of Amon. She said: “So you are Supreme General Amon, I am truly ignorant!”
Hardedef asked with a laugh: “I have been calling him Supreme General, didn’t you hear it?”
Misphi explained with an embarrassed expression: “Many of the guests here love to boast after drinking. Even a low ranking leader in the city’s reserve army likes to be addressed as Supreme General by the girls. To think that the real Supreme General would be here today!”
Hardedef scratched his head and asked Amon: “Supreme General, if you wish to drink with Misphi alone, why did you tell me to come back?”
Amon pointed to the cup on the table. “Misphi made a toast to you earlier on but you haven’t drunk the wine yet!”
Hardedef laughed. “So that was it, the Supreme General always makes sure to finish whatever he started.” Picking up the cup, he finished the wine in one gulp, then said to Misphi: “Thanks for the compliment, I have finished the wine!” Misphi also drank the wine in her cup while kneeling.
Hardedef asked again: “Does the Supreme General have any further orders? If not…I will wait outside.”
Amon pointed to the chair opposite him. “Of course. Sit down, I have something to say.”
Hardedef did not know what Amon was up to, so he sat down again in confusion. Next, Amon asked Misphi kindly: “Girl, how long have you been working here? Hardedef is a regular here, but why hasn’t he seen you before?”
He did not tell her to get up, so Misphi replied while kneeling: “Come to think of it, it should be roughly half a year.”
Amon asked again: “You are a contract slave, is that correct?”
Misphi lowered her head and said: “Yes.”
A contract slave was different from a regular slave. They had become slaves due to some contract, which could be a punishment, debts or some other conditions. Such slaves could possibly lose their freedom forever and become regular slaves, but they could also regain their freedom by fulfilling some condition. The most commonly seen contract slaves were prisoners of war, where they could sometimes be used in an exchange or released after paying a ransom.
Amon continued his questions. “You are also an advanced warrior, am I right?”
Misphi lowered her head even further. “Yes, I am unable to hide the truth from Supreme General. I am indeed a fourth level advanced warrior.”
Amon’s next question seemed out of place. “You must have gone to the city of Thebes before?”
“Yes, I have been there some time ago.”
Amon smiled. “You can get up now, take a seat beside General Hardedef.”
Hardedef was even more puzzled, and he asked: “Supreme General, what do you mean by this? Why aren’t you going to let Misphi stay with you?”
Amon pointed at Misphi and said: “Hardedef, didn’t you want to know who murdered Ledaross? The murderer is here right now, you are looking at her!”
Hardedef stood up abruptly. “What! She is the one who murdered Ledaros? Supreme General, are you kidding right now?”
Misphi had just gotten up and was about to walk towards Hardedef when she heard what Amon said. Her face turned pale instantly and her body started trembling. Looking at her reaction, Amon was telling the truth indeed.
Amon took a sip from his cup and said: “Hardedef, you don’t have to be surprised. Girl, you don’t have to be afraid either. The reason why I made everyone else leave the room is to give you a chance to explain yourself. Why did you kill Ledaross, and why did you attempt to assassinate Lord Sabaf today? Even if you succeeded at killing him today in such a place, you will surely perish as well. Who is the one who gave you such courage to do this? Or are you doing this because someone forced you?”
Misphi kneeled down again. “Supreme General, nobody forced me. I did everything on my own accord, no matter the price I had to pay, and I am willing to bear all consequences.”
Hardedef was dumbfounded. How did Amon find out about it? All he did was to drink wine and encounter Sabaf and he could deduce that the girl was the murderer! What happened was complicated but also very simple. It was because Amon could sense the emotions in others’ hearts.
When Sabaf charged in, Misphi reached for her sword subconsciously. At that moment, Amon clearly sensed the great killing intent in her – she truly wanted to kill Sabaf! This situation was too surprising. A lady who had become an advanced warrior ended up working in a brothel, and upon seeing a particular noble, her killing intent shot through the roof. Obviously, there must have been a great enmity between the two.
Idu had seen the investigation files on the murder of Ledaross and told Amon the contents. Ledaross had died on his bed with his undergarments taken off halfway, and his expression was one of fear and surprise. As a mage, he was not defenseless, but when he was murdered, nobody had noticed anything from the outside. Apparently, the murder was carried out when he was completely off guard and at close quarters. The detail regarding his undergarments was especially intriguing.
Ledaros was from Memphis, and he often hung around his cousin Sabaf. The two of them often carried out evil deeds together, and Idu told Amon about this as well. So when he sensed how much Misphi wanted to kill Sabaf, as well as her great displeasure when she just entered the room, Amon understood that she had planned to assassinate Sabaf today. After asking her several seemingly unrelated questions, Amon was finally able to confirm his suspicions.
However, Misphi was not aware of all these and when Amon declared her as the murderer without the slightest hint of doubt, there was nothing she could do but admit it.
When Hardedef heard her confession, he asked: “Why? Why did you kill him?”
Misphi raised her head and said with a tearful face: “Supreme General, you returned with great honor and glory from the war. But what about those who died on the battlefield? They gave their lives silently and their families descended into misery and suffering. My elder brother’s name is Mahu, and he served in your army before he died in the war.”
Hardedef exclaimed: “What! You are Mahu’s sister? I remember him, he was one of the squad leaders in the An-Ra legion, and he was a courageous fighter. He died while providing cover to the Supreme General during the infiltration into the Hittite camp.”
Amon frowned slightly. “Mahu? I remember this name. It was on the list of names which I passed to the empire for compensation rewards. Girl, get up and take a seat. Hardedef, pour her some wine. I just don’t understand, what has this got to do with killing Ledaross?”
Misphi was still trembling when Hardedef helped her to the chair. Then he passed a cup of wine to her and started listening to her sad and miserable tale of the past.
Misphi did not come from a noble family, but her family was considered well-off. They owned a farm in the outskirts of Memphis and employed quite a number of farmers and servants. Her father Senior Mahu was a warrior who taught his son body arts since young, and due to their influence, Misphi also loved martial techniques and secretly pestered her elder brother to teach her. Mahu was very fond of his lively and beautiful sister, and everything she knew was taught by him.
There were many tributaries fanning out from the Nile River as it approached the sea, and all of them formed a large delta which was flooded by the river seasonally. After the floods subsided, it would be suitable for farming. The farm owned by Misphi’s family was situated at the eastern banks of the Nile River where one of these tributaries passed by. In order to protect the area from the seasonal floods, they spent great amounts of resources and manpower to build a dam which took them two generations to complete. After the dam was completed, they could grow crops in the area throughout the year and their harvest was twice as much as the other farms nearby.
At the lower reaches of this tributary was the territory owned by Sabaf’s family. He took a fancy to Old Mahu’s farm, and sent people to buy the farm. He offered a very low price and Old Mahu naturally refused to sell. Later, he sent someone to the farm to tell them that the dam they constructed upstream had polluted the water downstream. This was obviously nonsense, so Old Mahu paid no heed to it.
Sabaf organized a group of scoundrels to cause trouble at the farm frequently under this pretext. He wanted to make the farmers unable to work, so as to force old Mahu to sell the land at a low price. At that time, Mahu was still around and had a group of young disciples who practiced martial arts with him. Together, they taught these scoundrels a lesson and chased them off. Sabaf was infuriated, but there was nothing he could do about it for the time being.
Later on, Mahu and Sabaf’s cousin, Ledaross, were both recruited to serve in Amon’s legion. Mahu became a squad leader and his disciples became his soldiers. Ledaros was injured by Hardedef during training and so he returned to his hometown to recuperate. As a result, he stayed in Sabaf’s territory.
One day, when Ledaross was walking along the river, he saw a beautiful woman working in the field from afar and was mesmerized by her beauty. When he went back, he found out that the woman was Mahu’s wife, and since her husband was not to be trifled with, he could not do anything about it.
After a while, bad news arrived. Mahu was killed in battle and the whole family descended into unimaginable grief. But for Sabaf and Ledaros, it was good news! Sabaf wanted to deal with Mahu’s family for a long time and Ledaros was by his side suggesting all sorts of nasty ideas.
They hired a group of scoundrels to cause trouble in the farm again, and ran away whenever they saw someone coming. In the last instance, the scoundrels even ran to the riverbank and attempted to destroy the dam. If they succeeded, the years’ of efforts put in by Mahu’s family would go down the drain. Old Mahu was also a warrior, so he immediately armed himself and rushed over with dozens of farmers and servants.
Once again, the scoundrels ran away immediately. Old Mahu, who was completely enraged by their actions, led a group of men and started pursuing them. Unwittingly, they accidentally entered Sabaf’s territory and ran into Sabaf’s carriage. In the midst of the chaos, someone stabbed Sabaf’s horse and a scuffle ensued. What happened next was that a large number of armored guards appeared and arrested old Mahu and his men, and sent them to the city prison.