Chapter 690 Records
Xiotov was similar to the Harbor in many ways. The planet as a whole was off-limits to foreigners. Still, a small city did have open borders, turning it into an embassy-like structure that Ambassadors from different species could visit.
That embassy handled all kinds of tasks, and only a small portion of its offices involved the Global Army since Lord Exr's domain was mainly in charge of that. Yet, interesting areas that had nothing to do with politics existed, and Khan believed Raymond wanted him to see them.
After a week spent studying and preparing, Khan received official approval from the Global Army and the Empire, clearing him for a trip to Xiotov. The Harbor's forces immediately moved afterward, fulfilling all the remaining requirements.
Khan barely kept track of his surroundings. He had gotten so used to those long trips that his eyes rarely focused on the escorts and vehicles. He mostly kept studying until his destination got close enough or the environment required his input.
From the Thilku ship's scanners, Xiotov was similar to Earth, at least part of it. The day and night cycle was alike, and massive cities and structures expanded on almost the entirety of its surface. The illumination was mostly red, but Khan still saw a species heavily reliant on technology.
Khan obviously couldn't tell much about the population from his position, but his knowledge filled the gaps. The Empire had a shortage of citizens and soldiers due to its immense domain, so Khan guessed that most of the planet was empty. A few cities had to buzz with people, but the others probably only had automated machinery to fuel the Empire's constant expansion.
One of the planet's biggest cities had an immense rectangular structure that seemed to hold hundreds of floors, and the ship headed straight for its roof. The place had no gazebos due to the absence of high-profile figures, but Khan's welcoming party managed to feature a familiar face.
"[Amox]!" Khan exclaimed, approaching the familiar figure among the few soldiers waiting for him on the roof.
The Thilku soldiers performed traditional bows, and Khan responded accordingly. Yet, he and Amox quickly straightened their backs to exchange a handshake.
"[Ah]!" Amox cried. "[Captain Khan, or Blue Shaman, which one do you prefer]?"
"[It's always Khan for you]," Khan laughed.
"[I'm not sure I can anymore]," Amox teased.
"[You can because I say so]," Khan almost ordered, but a smile never left his face.
Amox looked a bit in a pickle, but a grin soon broadened on his face. The sight of his sharp canines told Khan they could have a friendly relationship devoid of politics, and he couldn't hope for anything better.
"[Lord Exr cleared me for this detail]," Amox explained, letting go of Khan's arm. "[My Lord thought you would have liked a friendly face here]."
"[That was generous of him]," Khan commented. "[Is Xiotov really that different]?"
"[Yes and no]," Amox exclaimed. "[I can't share details with a human Ambassador]."
"[Understandable]," Khan chuckled, and Amox promptly patted his shoulder when the soldiers opened a path for them.
Truth be told, Lord Exr's gesture was quite meaningful, especially after the awkward meeting with Lord Rsi. It almost seemed that Lord Exr wanted to go against his superior's will and side with Khan.
Of course, Khan didn't mention the topic to Amox nor consider the possibility of Lord Exr's disloyalty. The Empire had plenty of ambitious Thilku, but he would never second-guess their pride, and that came from openly serving their species.
Amox led the way while soldiers followed from behind. The small group used a circular platform at the roof's center to descend into the immense building, and Khan couldn't see anything until the lift's door opened.
An immense open space broadened in Khan's view once the elevator let him out. He found himself in a vast corridor connected to multiple balconies. A pleasant, soft breeze also blew through it, moving the many capes and banners hanging from the ceiling.
The fluttering of the capes and banners didn't distract Khan from the main event. He knew what that place was. The Empire liked to show off, especially to allies, and the lack of visible offices confirmed Khan's hunch.
'This should be the museum,' Khan thought.
Xiotov's embassy had a big museum showcasing items that could convey the Empire's superiority and pride. It was meant to instill fear and awe into foreign allies and acquaintances, so Ambassadors and similar figures could easily get a tour of the area.
The tour began immediately, with Amox leading the small group inside the first balcony. The pleasant breeze intensified, but the single wall quickly attracted Khan's attention. Strange weapons, armor, and even a few oddly shaped skulls stood inside transparent containers, which Amox didn't hesitate to describe.
Truth be told, Khan only half-listened to the explanation. Amox's story was interesting, and many would feel honored to hear it inside the embassy, but Khan didn't come there for that. He would have considered Xiotov without Raymond otherwise.
Actually, a trip to Xiotov was part of Ambassador Abores' notes, but Khan had yet to get there. Moreover, the gesture merely had political value, which was why Khan had crossed it off after obtaining Mister Cirvags' file. He would have eventually done it, but only after discovering more about the Nak.
Those reasons made Khan pensive during the tour. He inspected every balcony, absorbing information about the Empire's achievements across the centuries. However, his eyes constantly searched for something beyond mere interspecies politics.
The search wasn't as fruitful as Khan had hoped. He didn't only rely on his sight either. His senses were working overtime to find something connected to his goals, but the symphony always returned empty-handed.
Khan didn't believe Raymond would mention the planet randomly, so disappointment never arrived. His awareness remained high while long explanations reached his ears. Something had to come, and Amox made the wait easier to endure.
"[The meeting with Lord Rsi was something else]," Amox commented as he usually did whenever the group stepped back in the corridor. "[You have gotten stronger]."
"[Not strong enough to earn the Thilku's trust]," Khan responded.
"[I won't meddle with Lord's stuff]," Amox exclaimed. "[However, I know the Empire's soldiers, and they respect strength. You have already earned their trust for the most part]."
"[Can the troops push for favors]?" Khan wondered.
"[We don't care much for public opinion]," Amox explained. "[Still, the Empire has its pride, and even the Lords won't go against it]."
Amox was basically telling Khan that his approach was working. Yet, an opportunity like Cegnore wouldn't come around for a long time, leaving Khan no option but to focus on politics. He would gladly prove his value on the battlefield again, but the Empire had no reason to deploy him.
Actually, Khan guessed that the Empire would do anything in its power to keep him out of the battlefield. As much as Khan had helped on Cegnore, his achievements were still insulting. Relying on him too much would tell everyone that the Thilku couldn't handle their problems.
Sadly for Khan, the political environment didn't have monumental opportunities either. He could only play the slow game and hope to get acknowledged.
"[When are you marrying your woman]?" Amox asked, changing the topic after crossing another balcony.
"[That hasn't been decided yet]," Khan revealed. "[The shortest I can think of is one or two years]."
"[I truly don't get the human customs]," Amox shook his head. "[Even one week would be too much for me]."
"[It's better like this]," Khan said. "[We are very busy, and there are other problems]."
"[Problems the Blue Shaman can't handle]?" Amox questioned.
"[Problems that have yet to show their face]," Khan replied.
Amox didn't mind Khan keeping things vague. They weren't alone, and those topics were quite personal. It was only normal for Khan to hide details.
"[Ah]!" Amox eventually exclaimed when the group approached another balcony. "[You should find this more interesting]."
Khan was ready to hear another long explanation about one of the Empire's battles, but the showcased items made his head go blank. A familiar blue color filled his view, and his eyes widened in anger.
One of the transparent containers held a big, three-eyed figure that Khan couldn't simply forget. A Nak stood on the balcony, but something felt off, and a frown soon filled Khan's face.
Khan inspected the Nak from head to toe, going as far as placing his hand on the transparent surface. Yet, his senses remained quiet, and the same went for his mana core. The symphony also added details, eventually leading to a conclusion.
"[It's a replica]," Khan announced.
"[Correct]," Amox confirmed, slamming his huge hand on Khan's shoulder. "[It's ancient too, and the scientists mostly created it from notes. It's hard to say how accurate it is]."
"[It's accurate]," Khan promptly commented, "[But why would the Empire place it here]?"
"[There was a time when the Empire chased after the Nak]," Amox revealed. "[We eventually lost them, but a victory is a victory]."
"[Wait]," Khan exclaimed as an idea popped into his mind. "[Does the Empire have records of that chase]?"