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Chapter 790: Meeting Commodus For The First Time
Before the departure, Zhang Heng received some information provided by Mark Reuss. Among them, the opponent he needed to pay attention to was a man named Sartonilos.
The latter was a gladiator of the same age as Sethnets. When he began gaining fame, Sethnets happened to be at the peak of his career. Hence, Sartonilos’s name was entirely overshadowed by Sethnets. Displeased by such injustice, he decided to challenge Sethnets.
However, the two belonged to different gladiator schools. In other words, they could not meet up to fight with each other. If Sartonilos wanted to challenge Sethnets, both gladiator schools needed to agree.
But at that time, Sethnets was already going downhill. Hence, Mark Reuss did not want him to lose his hard-earned reputation to other gladiators from different schools. Because of that, Sartonilos’s school doubted if he was powerful enough to defeat their Sethnets. Besides, since they had already heard the rumor about Sethnets’ impending retirement, they would let him do that first. By that time, Sartonilos would be able to claim the throne. It was the safest approach.
On the contrary, if the two fought against each other, and Sartonilos defeated Sethnets, his reputation would skyrocket. However, if he lost to Sethnets, who was about to go on retirement, it would significantly affect Sartonilos’s reputation since he was in his prime. Besides, his school still expected that he would earn them a lot of money in the coming years.
Considering that the risks and returns were unproportional, the gladiator school did not agree to the battle in the end.
But it was undeniable that Sartonilos was indeed the most powerful gladiator after Sethnets. After Sethnets’ retirement, some people thought that he was the greatest gladiator in Rome. Recently, however, some negative rumors revolvrf around Sartonilos. It seemed he had sprouted a new addiction to alcohol and had not partic.i.p.ated in any gladiatorial performance for a month.
When the rest saw him today, it turned out that the rumor was true.
That said, his glorious battle record was something that would remain unchanged. Many gladiators in Rome were still very jealous of him. As for those hillbillies from the gladiator schools outside of Rome, they knew nothing about Sartonilos, which was why they dared to provoke him so recklessly.
The unfortunate gladiator that Sartonilos killed served as a lesson for everyone that they should not mess with him. Not only was his face destroyed, but it also seemed like he could no longer partic.i.p.ate in the subsequent gladiatorial performances. This was something that his gladiator school had to worry about.
After Sartonilos turned around and sat back on the steps, a slave immediately carried the dead gladiator on the ground out of the door. When the other gladiators looked at Sartonilos again, they were awe-inspired.
Because of this episode, the noisy front hall had become quieter, and the gladiators had become more cautious of him. After all, the grand gladiatorial performance was about to begin and it was only logical that one should avoid all possible conflicts at this time. n.o.body wanted to be disqualified by the organizer before the battle began.
Not long after that, a servant walked out of the back room and walked directly to the place where all the gladiator school’s owners were. After hearing what he said, Mark Reuss and the others put on their best look and immediately summoned their respective gladiators to stand in the front hall.
They had been waiting for quite some time tonight, and were growing impatient. After all, they were like emperors in their respective gladiator schools and waiting for others was uncommon for them. However, when they saw a group of men and women coming out of the dining hall, they had to try their best to squeeze out a smile.
As Mark Reuss said, the people who came here tonight represented the most powerful individuals in the entire Rome. Every single one of them was powerful to cause an impact on the political situation in Rome. For gladiator school owners like Mark Reuss, those were the people that they did not dare to offend.
And at the center of all those influential people were a young man and a middle-aged man.
Among them, the middle-aged man was the host of this dinner—Dior. The Senate was composed of more than six hundred people, and he controlled fifty seats. The other one-hundred seats had to show him great respect as well. In other words, before carrying out any proposal in the Senate, one had to seek his approval first. For those proposals that he objected to, they would never get to see the light again.
Such a well-respected and powerful figure was now treating a young man with respect.
Without the introduction by others, Zhang Heng already knew who the young man was.
Other than the emperor of the Ancient Roman Empire, no one could make Dior lower himself. Although the others were quite powerful, they could only humble themselves in front of the two of them.
“Your Majesty, this is the warrior I have found for tomorrow’s gladiatorial show,” Dior said.
A group of n.o.bles walked down the steps, looking curiously at the gladiators in the front hall as if they were picking goods in a shop. From time to time, some of them would pat the gladiators’ shoulders and pinch their chests.
“They all look very strong. There should be a good show tomorrow.” A strange look flashed through the young emperor’s eyes, especially when he saw the gladiator that looked like a giant. He reached out and wanted to touch his skin but before he could complete his action, something seemed to cross his mind. So, he retracted his hand. He then coughed twice and put on a serious expression, “You have done well. The people will thank you, Dior.”
“Thank you for your compliment, Your Majesty. What I have done here is nothing compared to your great achievements. You have solved the troubles caused by the barbarians at the border. You brought back the long-lost peace to Rome again. This is something that your father could not complete when he was still ruling. It is an honor for the Senate and me to complete these trivial matters for you. Rest a.s.sured, everything will be executed perfectly. Nothing will go wrong in the performance later. The people of the entire city of Rome will be grateful that they are able to enjoy such a high-quality gladiatorial performance.”
“If that is the case, it’s great then,” said the young emperor. “I know that I still have a long way to go to become as good as my father. I’m just following his teachings and his example. My father always said that being with a wise man will also increase my wisdom. I think you and all the members in the Senate are the wise men that he talked about.”
“You really flatter me.” Dior bowed slightly, but seemed a little hesitant to speak.
“What’s wrong?” the young emperor asked.
“I hope you don’t get me wrong, Your Majesty. Your father is undoubtedly a great emperor. Losing him is the loss of the entire Rome. But, fortunately, we still have you here with us. Since you call me a wise man, then maybe I can also give you a small suggestion.”
“I’m all ears.”
“I heard that some people in the military do not support the truce that you made with the Germanic tribe. They think it goes against your father’s will, but I hope you know that the Senate will always be on your side. You made the right choice. As I said, your father is great, but maybe it’s time for us to look forward. You are the emperor of Rome. Sometimes you don’t have to keep thinking about what your father will do in such a situation or what he expects you to do. You have done a good job about the armistice. The people of Rome are happy with the decision you’ve made. So, try to give yourself a break sometimes,” said Dior.
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