I have done some good, speaking with those who currently rule Khoten. However, they're not just going to turn over the rule of Khoten to me. The first obstacle is a group of priests who have what are called in Khoten, the demon swords.
I manage to get some information about the demon swords. Apparently, they're legendary swords from way back in the past of Khoten. The wielder of the demon swords can't be defeated in a fight, but suffers some sort of problem after the fight and usually dies within a short time. I think thing over and come to the conclusion that the wielder of the demon swords is probably put into hysterical strength. He can use his incredible strength to win a duel, but then he dies. It night be that the wielder is left in hysterical strength and his body consumes all of his resources and he then dies. It might also be that the process of putting the wielder into hysterical strength triggers some other process, within his body, and that's what kills him.
I continue to run my other Kingdoms and I also continue to work out, each night. I now add the Crown of Kho to my sword workout and I discover some new things. My sword workouts improve a bit and then I make a breakthrough in evaluating the matter of the demon swords.
The Crown of Kho is a paranormal thing. It's obviously not of Corin and I begin to suspect where it came from. However, the history of the Crown of Kho is for later, The need for me to survive the coming fight against the demon swords is now.
I begin to mine the Crown of Kho for paranormal information. I discover that the information was there all along, I just needed to try to seek that particular thing.
However, the work with my swords is difficult and the only time that I seem to make progress in learning paranormal information from the Crown of Kho is during the most difficult parts of my sword workouts. However, work I do and learn I do.
If all that the demon swords do is to put the wielder into hysterical strength, I can handle that. In fact I have fought and killed men who were put into hysterical strength by shamans, in the New World, South Continent. A bear has incredible strength, but I can kill a bear, with my swords. A bison is even larger and stronger than a bear, but I can kill a bison, by going up and over the bison and thrusting down with my sword.
If the demon swords allow the wielder to project paranormal force, what sort of paranormal force would best aid the wielder? The wielder is in a hysterical strength rage, so the type of paranormal force would be basic and not sophisticated. The paranormal force might be fear, but I'm a warrior and I have fought too many times for fear to seriously affect me. My chain of reasoning has led me to the only paranormal force that might realistically be used against me. I then work to prepare a counter against what the wielder of the demon swords might try to use against me. I also prepare to use the kind of counter that I used in my mind battle against The Dwarf, in Ifrequeh.
While I await the challenge of the demon swords, I have my technical people in Averon and Zaya prepare and send through the Gate, the basis for a nuclear power plant and a water pumping facility. The nuclear power plant will replace a smoke belching, coal fired power plant. The Gate will also allow the entrance of dry land farming experts from Zaya and Averon, plus weather experts from Zaya. The weather experts then want some other specialized skill people brought through the Gate.
While my people work on a long range solution to the problem of making me Emperor of Khoten, I continue to work on the shorter range problem of me surviving against the demon swords.
I develop a plan to use in my fight against the wielder of the demon swords. The wielder will most likely be put into hysterical strength and then immediately unleashed on me, since hysterical strength eats bodily resources at a great rate. I'm large, strong and very probably technically better at sword fighting than the wielder of the demon swords will be. However, trying to match my strength against one who has little but strength to offer isn't a good strategy.
My plan will be to bypass what should be an initial rush by my opponent. I'll then defend against what I assume will be a paranormal attack against me. I'll also plan to use a paranormal counter attack. The specific counter attack that I plan to use is one that I have never before used, so I have to do some research first. The wielder of the demon swords will very probably want to keep me directly in front of his rage fueled strength. Thus, my plan is to move, move, move to my left, to my right, in a random direction, to force my opponent to continually redirect his energies. I'll defend whatever my opponent tries, but my responses will be at all levels from high to low, in a shifting, random pattern. When I'm not busy warding off my opponent's slashes, I'll try to work in some thrust riposts.
As I develop my strategy, my swords weigh in with some useful suggestions. In addition to useful suggestions, my swords provide me with shadow opponents, using what we assume will be my opponent's style of fighting. My swords also throw in some total surprise tactics, so that I'm ready for almost anything.
I then nose about a bit and discover that the most likely venue for a fight against a wielder of the demon swords will be a courtyard in a temple, where the demon swords are thought to be kept. The courtyard is surfaced with a fancy stone pattern. The stone pattern is an old one and is used in several other courtyards in the area. I rent a couple of the courtyards, in order to practice on the surface that I will use in the fight against the demon swords. Nice mog that I am, I arrange for the courtyard to be washed down, after my practice. (Actually, the courtyard is washed down twice, for reasons that will become abundantly clear.)
The day of the demon sword challenge arrives.
I arrive at the appointed courtyard, escorted by a bevy of blonde ladies, dressed in a manner that might be described as, 'Whore On Fire!' (Hon ladies may be very attractive, however, they usually dress in a more modest manner. Also, Hon ladies have mostly blue black hair. The witnesses for the fight closely examine my ladies, who are obviously my concubines, and certainly not paranormal talents. Certainly not!)
The Priests of the temple walk into the courtyard, accompanied by a man who's almost as tall as I am. (Most of the men of Khoten tend to be on the shorter side, as there are frequent food shortages in the country and the staple food is polished white rice. However, there are those Khoten men who are taller than average.)
What appears to be the Head Priest then asks me if I am ready.
I reply that I am ready. (Actually, I'm not quite ready, but I will be ready, before my opponent can get to me.)
The Priest then withdraws two swords, from a largish, perhaps metal case. He then speaks some words to the tall man and then hands the tall man the demon swords.
About this time, a drone aircraft flies overhead and dispenses water all over the courtyard.
I step forward, with my rubber soled and cleated shoes and politely tell my opponent that he's a sexual deviate and that we should get this matter over as soon as possible, since it's beneath my dignity to face such an opponent.
For some, unknown reason, my opponent is enraged and he tries to charge at me, slashing with his demon swords. Actually, his charge is more like slip and slide on the wet stones of the courtyard, as I find solid footing with the shoes with which I have trained for the fight.
I step aside and parry the slashes of the demon swords. The force of the slashes is well beyond what I expected and that from a swordsman who's standing on unsure footing. However, I do parry the slashes and move out of the direct line of the swordsman's attack. (In the background, I'm dimly aware of a major paranormal battle going on, presumably between my ladies and the Priests of the temple. I'm not affected, so I continue to fight.)
The force and frenzy if my demon sword attacker is such that I'm hard pressed to just defend myself. In addition to the sword attack, I'm also being attacked, on a paranormal level, by hate from my demon sword opponent. (Trying to attack the Glarney Fered that I was and am, with hate is like trying to attack a bonfire with a burning match.) I'm kept busy defending myself from the dual attacks. However, the slipping and sliding that my opponent does on the wet stone allows me enough time to use a paranormal attack of my own. (In Ifrequeh I had to fight a mind battle against a very strong mental power, called the Dwarf. I managed to defeat the Dwarf, partly by using my own mental power to cramp the Dwarf''s arm. Trying to cramp the demon sword wielder's arm would be a bit chancy. The demon sword wielder's arms are what he's using to try to kill me and his arms might not respond. However, I have made a few late night trips through the city and, experimenting on local men, found the linkages that allow me to cramp the leg of the demon sword wielder. The wielder's leg does cramp. But his attack has already begun to slow down.)
I can feel the reduced force of the demon sword wielder's slashes. In order to learn what I night, I carry my opponent for a while.
My opponent is not really a skilled fencer. He was to overwhelm me with his strength and quickness. Now that we get into a longer fight, he has no real ability to defend himself against me. His strength is ebbing and his sword work is not sufficient to cause me any real problem.
However, the flow of hate, if anything, is increasing. I wonder how a man on the verge of physical collapse can maintain the flow of hate. Suddenly, my opponent screams and would have died, perhaps of exhaustion, save that I run one of my swords through him.
(I eat life force!)
I wipe my swords off, sheath them and then pick up the demon swords from the stones of the courtyard. I can feel a very high level of hate and rage coming from the demon swords. However, my own internal hate and rage, from my Glarney Fered days is apparently at a level that even the demon swords decide is sufficient.
I turn to face the Priests. I speak in the old language, “These demon swords are not for the use of a commoner. Only such as an Emperor may tame them. I will take the demon swords with me. If there are those who would stop me, have them step up and bring their souls with them.”
No one steps up.
I then lead my bevy of ladies out into the street and down the street, toward my quarters. I have my Rangers posted along the way, but I brandish my sword, as we walk and the people bow to me and say something, in a language that I don't speak. However, their minds say, “The Emperor!”
(I ask my ladies, in Averonian, “Are you okay?”
One of the ladies says, “I think so, hooooooo!”
We walk, until we get back to my quarters.
I make sure that the ladies are attended to.