Miorich smiled and tapped lightly on the table. He was trying to find a topic to start a natural and appropriate conversation. Just then, Urter knocked on the door. He walked into the room, and looked troubled.
"What is it?"
"There is someone who wants to see you, sir."
"Tell him I’m busy," Miorich said. He was a general, and could not meet everyone that wanted to meet him. After the war, there were a lot of people who tried to meet with him, and Miorich did not agree to see any of them.
"But he…" Before Urter could finish, the door was pushed open again. A man in his fifties and wearing black armor walked into the room. Behind him were two other men wearing armor. All three suits of armor were identical, and the three men seemed to be friendly. It appeared that the two soldiers were escorting the first man.
"General!" the first man called.
"Sneferu?" Miorich said, shocked. "What are you doing here? Didn’t you say you were going home?"
"Do you not want to see me, general?" Sneferu asked with a smile.
"Never," Miorich said with a smile. "What is it? Do you want to come back and work for me?"
"No, I can’t do that, general. I’m too old now. I should make way for the youngsters," Sneferu said, still smiling.
"Bring another chair over," Miorich ordered one of his men. "Why didn’t you go home?" he asked.
"The only thing I can do if I go back is farm," Sneferu said with a shrug. "Farm for the rest of my life, then waiting for my death in a small room. I don’t want that life." Sneferu leaned against the chair, but did not sit down. "I came here to visit an old friend and we were planning on going to the Country of Mercenaries together. But the Marquis had been very welcoming and he offered a position in his household. I didn’t want to be a farmer anyway, so I accepted his offer."
"So, right now you’re here because…" Miorich was frowning now.
"The Marquis had already set up a feast," Sneferu said. "He invited you, general. I've already talked to the men, and they are all excited for a feast."
Miorich slapped the table. The wood breaking under his fingers sent splinters flying across the room. Anfey had a fast reflex, but it didn’t matter. Everyone in the room, including Suzanna, Niya, and Christian, were covered in broken bits of wood. Anfey winced: where the splinters hit him stung. He glanced around and saw that Niya was frowning, clearly in pain.
Miorich stood up, towering over everyone else in the room. The atmosphere in the room was very heavy, and it was as if the temperature had dropped. Niya was only observing, and even she felt immense pressure. Sneferu was sitting on the ground and shaking, unable to speak a word.
Miorich was an outgoing and cheerful man, but everyone had secrets. Yolanthe was willing to let Miorich defend the eastern front, meaning that he trusted Miorich enough.
"His Majesty had once said that everyone changes, and I have to admit he is not wrong," Miorich said. "But don’t you think you’ve changed too fast? What do you take me for? A stepping stone to wealth and glory?"
"What?" Sneferu asked, his voice shaking.
"Get out," Miorich turned and ordered the two soldiers that accompanied Sneferu. Miorich was able to become the highest commander of the palace guards at twenty-six for a reason. He knew that sending the soldiers out would create rumors. Sneferu could not match him in reputation, and he knew that the soldiers were more likely to believe him. There would be rumors circulating among his men before the day was over.
The soldiers left the room quickly. Miorich walked over to Sneferu and crouched down in front of him. He saw there was confusion and fear in the man’s eyes. After a few minutes, Miorich sighed. "Do you know why I wanted you go home and become a farmer?" he asked quietly. He now knew that Sneferu did not know what he was doing, and did not know what the Marquis was planning when he made the offer.
"Yes. You want me to live a peaceful life, general," Sneferu said.
"That’s not the entire truth," Miorich said, shaking his head. "You are a good soldier and a good commander, but you have a lot of problems. You are too trusting and you tend to see the good in people. You know how to fight, your scars can make the new recruits speechless. Fighting is your strong suit, but politics is not." Miorich paused for a few moments before continuing, "That is why I wanted to you go home and become a farmer. If you did, even if someone tried to fool you, it won’t be some terrible betrayal that could cost you your life."
"My life is not that bad right now, general," Sneferu said slowly. "The Marquis respects me." Miorich had tried to make things very clear, but Sneferu did not have the mind for riddles. He was more of a follower when he was in the army, and did not think about his orders much.
Once, Yolanthe sent Miorich to the northern border to harden him. That was when he encountered Sneferu and recruited him.
Miorich had always placed Sneferu in charge of simply things, because he knew what kind of man Sneferu was. Sneferu had never experienced any stumbles in his life because of Miorich’s protection. If Miorich had let Sneferu experience more hardship, he would not be as naive in politics as he was.
"Sneferu, listen to me. Leave the Marquis, go home. This is my last warning."
"General, I have already pledged myself to the Marquis," Sneferu said, shaking his head. "I cannot abandon my post. You taught me this, don’t you remember?"
"Then we are done here. Sneferu, you should go now."
"Are you really not going to the feast, general?"
Miorich shook and his head and turned away.
Sneferu sighed and stood up. He glanced at Miorich and shook his head, then turned and left the study.
"Anfey," Miorich said, "I have a request."
"What is it?" Anfey asked.
"You are about to be the new city lord," Miorich said hesitantly. "Sneferu was in my army, and I know he is a good man. I’m hoping that you won’t hurt him."
"I will try the best I can," Anfey said. He did not know what the Marquis did to recruit Miorich’s man, and he did not know what he would do with Sneferu. If it really came down to it, Anfey knew he would not hesitate.