Governor Djehutihotep’s legs went weak and he nearly sat back down on his chair upon hearing the news. Mastermind of an assassination attempt? Amon was really being serious this time. The nobles were shocked and angry, but they looked towards the Adoratrice with pleading eyes, hoping that she would help them out.
Maria stood up with a sombre expression. “The governor is in charge of the city’s security matters, handle the matter according to the laws! The blessing ceremony of Isis is about to commence, we cannot afford any delays, so everyone please go back and resume your duties. However, the Shrine of Isis has the responsibility of supervision, so Gabriel and Burke, the two of you will represent the shrine and supervise the trial. There is no need to interfere with the proceeding of the trial, just make sure everything is done according to the law!”
As soon as she finished talking, she retreated to the rear chambers. The meaning was clear, this matter did not concern her, but she would send representatives to supervise the process. Also, Governor Djehutihotep should see to it that the matter was settled as soon as possible, and any delay caused to the blessing ceremony would be viewed as a great sin.
Governor Djehutihotep rushed back to his office with the nobles and his men, where Amon sat in the main hall with a sword in his hand. In front of him was a smashed table, and the things originally on the table were scattered all over the floor. For a moment, Governor Djehutihotep did not dare to go forward. Instead, high priest Burke frowned and bellowed: “Amon, as the Supreme General of the Empire, you should be well aware of the laws. Why did you barge into the governor’s office with a weapon in your hands?”
Among the three high priests of the shrine, Idu’s relationship with Amon was the best. On the other hand, Burke did not participate in the recent wars, and he was also the representative of the faction opposing the Adoratrice, so he was the most difficult to handle for Amon. Maria had sent both Gabriel and Burke as an expression of impartiality.
Amon smiled coldly. “Carrying a weapon wherever I go is a privilege bestowed by the Pharaoh himself. Even when accompanying the Pharaoh in his carriage, I can carry a weapon, not to mention this governor’s office.”
Everyone was taken aback, but it was indeed the truth. As part of the rewards for Amon’s contributions, the Pharaoh had given Amon the privilege of carrying his weapon wherever he went, so Burke’s question was meaningless. Hardedef stifled his laughter and said: “Supreme General, since you are here to press charges, shouldn’t you return the seat to Governor Djehutihotep first?”
Amon got up and sheathed his sword. “Thanks for the reminder, I was being rude! Just because I was angry, I even destroyed Governor Djehutihotep’s table. I will definitely compensate you for the table after this, please take a seat, Governor Djehutihotep.”
After everyone was seated, the trial began. The matter had already blown out of proportions, and most of the nobles harboured thoughts of retreating, especially Governor Djehutihotep, who just wanted the whole thing to be over and done with.
Governor Djehutihotep pleaded: “Supreme General, this was all just a misunderstanding which happened in the brothel, things couldn’t be clearer after all the investigation. The whole matter has gotten out of hand, and those who offended you have already been punished in one way or another, please be appeased. Furthermore, the blessing ceremony is about to commence, why don’t you just stop pursuing the matter? After this, I will get all those nobles who offended you to compensate you and give you an official apology.”
Amon shook his head. “You can’t say that. If word of this gets out, it won’t be nice. The Supreme General of the Empire injured someone over a girl in a brothel and arrested so many people over the matter, that’s ridiculous. How can we end it like this? I do not want to abuse my authority, I just want you to handle this according to the laws of the country. First of all, pass the verdict for everyone involved!”
Governor Djehutihotep asked with a bitter expression: “How should I pass the verdict?”
Gabriel, who had been watching from the side, rebuked coldly: “Just do it as you should! If the Supreme General is guilty of a crime, then pronounce him guilty, same for Sabaf and the rest!”
Governor Djehutihotep turned towards Gabriel and asked: “Do you think that the Supreme General is guilty of any crime?”
Gabriel replied: “Governor Djehutihotep should not ask me, I am only here to supervise the trial.”
Amon then took over the conversation and said: “Since that’s the case, let’s start from me. May I ask Governor Djehutihotep, am I allowed to go to the brothel to drink and watch dances?”
Governor Djehutihotep replied: “You can do that.”
Amon: “I’m just sitting there enjoying myself while giving more tips than usual instead of less, did I offend anyone by doing that?”
Governor Djehutihotep: “You did not.”
Amon: “Unless on a mission and permission has been obtained beforehand, is one allowed to carry weapons in the city during the night? Even though I have the privilege granted by the Pharaoh, I did not carry a weapon to the brothel.”
Governor Djehutihotep: “It is indeed not allowed.”
Amon: “I was drinking my wine when someone broke into my room while carrying weapons, is that correct?”
Governor Djehutihotep: “That is correct. Everything was just a misunderstanding, the Supreme General is not the one at fault. Lord Sabaf was the one who offended the Supreme General over a girl!”
Amon: “I don’t wish to talk about any misunderstanding, if Governor Djehutihotep was the one sitting there drinking wine and someone broke in while carrying weapons, would you say that he is not an assassin? Was there anything wrong with Hardedef taking down the attackers? Or with Ankh arresting the perpetrators?”
Governor Djehutihotep: “Of course there isn’t anything wrong. Lord Sabaf should not have done what he did, but you also can’t simply conclude that he was trying to assassinate you.”
Amon: “You can’t say that. I did not invite him in, and the witnesses clearly said that he pointed at me with his sword and asked whether I was looking for death. What the word “death” means, I’m sure Governor Djehutihotep is well aware of it! If this is not considered an assassination, what else do you need for it to be considered one? Do I need to be killed off for real before you are willing to consider it an assassination?”
Governor Djehutihotep: “Please calm down, Supreme General. I have investigated thoroughly and it turns out that Lord Sabaf did not recognize who you were. This is truly a misunderstanding!”
Amon snorted coldly. “In the past, I have publicly attended various official events and ceremonies in Memphis. As the Vice-Head of the Treasury, he actually says that he did not recognize me? Do you really believe that? Even if he really did not recognize me, is that my fault? Is there any reason that it couldn’t be an assassination attempt?”
Governor Djehutihotep: “But why would Lord Sabaf want to assassinate you? It doesn’t make sense.”
Amon smiled. “Governor Djehutihotep has already found out the reason from the investigation. It was all because of a girl in the brothel.”
Governor Djehutihotep sighed in relief while wiping his sweat. “It was just a trivial matter of jealousy over a girl in a brothel, why does Lord Amon want to blow the matter out of proportion?”
Amon’s expression turned dark again. “Trivial matter? While the root cause was indeed jealousy, the evidence pointing towards an assassination is also clear as day! For just a trivial reason, someone dared to assassinate the Supreme General of the Empire, how can you not severely punish this person? If he had a bigger reason than mere jealousy, who knows how he would harm the country and its people!”
Hardedef, who had been silent all this while, finally said: “Governor Djehutihotep, you should have finished asking your questions. The evidence is clear. The Vice-Head of the Treasury, Lord Sabaf, dared to assassinate the Supreme General of the Empire due to jealousy over a girl in the brothel. He is the main culprit, while the rest of his companions who also carried weapons with them are accomplices. What is your reason for refusing to pass the verdict? Could it be that Lord Sabaf had planned this from a long time ago, or could it be that one of the nobles present here is the true mastermind?”
Governor Djehutihotep looked around with pleading eyes, but all the nobles kept silent now even though they were so enthusiastic earlier on. Cursing them in their heart, he could only walk to Amon’s side and whisper into his ear: “Supreme General, if you insist on doing it like this, it will put everyone in a difficult position. Actually, we all know that this is just a misunderstanding. It’s fine if you desire to make them pay for their mistake, but there should be a limit. Without mentioning others, Lord Sabaf is the nephew of the Vizier …”
Amon suddenly raised his voice and said: “What? Vizier Anhotep! Is this matter related to the Vizier? Could you please speak louder, I can’t hear you clearly!”
Governor Djehutihotep was shocked out of his wits and his face went red. Backing away, he waved his hands and said: “Please don’t put words into my mouth, I did not say that the Vizier was related to this matter. However, the fact that Lord Sabaf is the nephew of the Vizier, everyone here should be well aware of it. I was simply reminding you of that fact.”
Pointing at Hardedef, Amon stood up and said: “Many thanks to Governor Djehutihotep’s goodwill! However, what has that got to do with whether Sabaf is trying to assassinate me? Look at this general, he went through battles of life and death on the battlefield for the sake of the Empire, but he was still penalized with a demotion just because he said the wrong things. Does having an uncle as the Vizier mean more than Lord Hardedef’s contributions in war?”
It was indeed difficult to deal with Lord Sabaf as he was the nephew of the Vizier, but such a fact could only be discussed in private. Thus, Amon went ahead and pointed it out openly. Who would dare to say that Lord Sabaf was exempt from the laws? Even Vizier Anhotep could not say that publicly.
Having forced Governor Djehutihotep to a corner, Amon looked at the nobles and said with a laugh: “So all of you are aware that Lord Sabaf is the nephew of the Vizier. Since that’s the case, I shall not put everyone in a difficult spot. Let’s close the case and send a report regarding the matter to the Pharaoh, the Vizier and the military department for further instructions.”
Having said that, Amon took out a document and handed it to Governor Djehutihotep. Before he came, he already had it all written down, and the contents were as follows:
Supreme General, beloved of Horus, guardian of the two lands, protector of Cape, chosen by An-Ra, great in victories known by all the states, Allaha Mon Su Messiah Hovah An-ra Je Montmen, has currently left his territory for the city of Memphis in order to participate in the blessing ceremony of Goddess Isis. When he was enjoying dinner one night, armed assassins broke into his room.
After investigation, it has been determined that the main culprit was the Vice-Head of the Treasury, Lord Sabaf, and there were several dozen accomplices. The statements of the witnesses have been recorded accurately without mistake and the evidence is conclusive. As Lord Sabaf is the nephew of Vizier Anhotep, there is speculation that the Vizier is connected to this incident. As the role model for all government officials, how could Vizier Anhotep be related to this matter? As such, I humbly seek advice on how Lord Sabaf should be handled.
Ever since returning to the Empire from the war, I seldom had the opportunity to enjoy myself, but some people are jealous of what the Empire and the Pharaoh has bestowed upon me for my contributions and stir up trouble for no reason. An assassination was attempted during my dinner, is it the case that I should not pursue the matter? My captain of the guards apprehended the assassins, but a group of nobles took the opportunity to accuse me of indulging my subordinate in inflicting harm upon others. What kind of logic is this? I pray that the Pharaoh instruct us on how to proceed.
From Memphis to Thebes took nearly a month if one sailed on the Nile River upstream. Going along the riverbanks by horse would take five or six days minimum, and this was usually the method used for urgent documents. The fastest way was obviously to use a flying shuttle, and if one used the assistance of a flying scroll and flew without rest, it would take slightly more than a day.
Since it was a request from the Supreme General and the blessing ceremony would take place in five days, meaning that this matter had to be settled before then, the fastest method was used. Along with Amon’s document, a sword engraved with a family crest, investigation records as well as a list of names of the culprit, accomplices and all the nobles who tried to lodge a complaint against Amon were all sent to the capital.
The sword belonged to Sabaf, and it was the most important piece of evidence.
Amon’s document was not a private letter but a public document, so everyone knew what would happen once it was delivered. Nobody would stand up for Sabaf anymore, and he would definitely receive a heavy punishment. Those who were implicated would also be punished in one way or another, and the severity of the punishment would depend on Amon. Since Amon had made it known to the public, the Pharaoh would definitely give him the power to do so.
One copy was sent to the Pharaoh, one was sent to Vizier Anhotep, and one was sent to the military department. In this way, all the government officials would hear about the matter. The Vizier flew into a rage, but there was nothing he could say about Amon. Instead, he condemned his nephew publicly and made his stand clear: Sabaf was the disgrace of the family.
Before the Pharaoh had said anything, the Vizier took the initiative to request that the Pharaoh punish Sabaf and the rest heavily, stating that such behavior coming from nobles was unforgivable. No matter what kind of deeds the Vizier had done himself in secret, he had no choice but to act in such a manner since the whole matter was now out in the open.
Many people secretly admired what Amon did, thinking that the Vizier had offended the wrong person this time.
There were also quite a few who felt that Amon’s way of handling Sabaf was his way of taking revenge against the Vizier, because the Vizier had encouraged the impeachment of Hardedef.
The Vizier put on a pained expression in front of the ministers, but after the Pharaoh looked at Amon’s document, he smiled and said to the Vizier: “You don’t have to be so upset, a family as big as yours is bound to have one or two bad eggs. I am gratified by your attitude towards this matter, and there is definitely a need to mete out punishment accordingly. As the main culprit, Sabaf shall be handled according to the law. As for the others, I’m sure it was just a misunderstanding. However, I can understand the Supreme General’s anger towards them, so there is a need to penalize them in some way as well.
Sabaf will be stripped of his noble status and become a commoner that is no longer related to the Vizier’s family in any way. If Supreme General Amon wishes to add any additional punishment, he may do so as long as it does not violate any laws. As for those who are accomplices, they will be demoted one rank or fined accordingly. The nobles who tried to accuse the Supreme General falsely will pay compensation and apologize to him. The exact amount of compensation will depend on the Supreme General. The city of Memphis will be in charge of executing the verdict.”
In short, the Pharaoh would punish Sabaf severely and let the rest off with a lighter sentence. Looking at Amon’s document, the Pharaoh had more or less deduced what really happened. By carrying weapons during the night, Sabaf’s companions had broken the law, but thanks to the timely intervention by Ankh, the matter did not escalate further.
As for the nobles who caused a din in the governor’s office and the shrine, the Pharaoh’s sentence was interesting as well. By making them pay compensation to Amon, it would cost the Pharaoh nothing and at the same time, he would satisfy Amon’s ego.
The Pharaoh also gave praise to Hardedef and Ankh for faithfully performing their duty. By doing so, he was affirming what they had done.
The messenger returned to Memphis with the Pharaoh’s edict in just three days. Governor Djehutihotep did not dare to delay the matter any further and immediately handed out the punishments in the presence of Amon and all those implicated in the governor’s office.
Under normal circumstances, unless a noble committed treason, he would be able to atone for his crime by getting demoted an appropriate number of ranks. Sabaf was stripped of his noble status and demoted to a commoner status, this was actually a pretty severe punishment. In reality, all he did was to draw his weapon in a moment of anger, and probably never imagined such a thing would happen to him as a result.
As for the additional punishment which the Pharaoh mentioned, when Governor Djehutihotep asked Amon about it, he replied: “Since he is now a mere commoner, I wish to give him an opportunity to make amends for his crime. Send him to the borders where the An-Ra legion is guarding and place him in a squad according to his birthplace. Doing so does not violate any laws, am I right, Governor Djehutihotep?”
Governor Djehutihotep nodded. “Of course, I think he might even be thankful to Supreme General Amon!”
By doing so, Amon wanted Sabaf to be placed in the squad which Mahu once led. The soldiers in the squad were mostly Mahu’s disciples who had worked in Old Mahu’s farm and practised body arts together with Mahu. Amon was well aware of what would happen to Sabaf if he went there.