「 There was no grace in the way he fell down slipping on the blood flowing from his own throne. Jacques de Asper was about to die and all he could do was beg - not for forgiveness, not for mercy from pain, but for his own cursed existence.
The sword sank into his chest. And all this evil incarnated could think of was this: “I’m not a monster. Why would such sword be able to kill me? I did nothing wrong!”
That’s how the Seventh Lord was killed and the Saov was once again free from his tyranny. 」
With these words, the novel Seventh Lord of Mindsna officially ended. I can’t say I was happy everything concluded like that. I gave this book multiple hours over the past week, sometimes even forgoing sleep, and now I felt… Unsatisfied would be the best to describe how I felt.
Over the 300 chapters I followed Jacques de Asper’s rise to power, every single immoral deed he has done, every scheme he came up with, and it ended like that? A group of conspirators getting a lucky jump on him right at the moment he was about to succeed with his grandiose plan? The Conspirators saved many lives, of course, the country of Saov would be otherwise dommed with Jacques de Asper as its ultimate ruler. But the finale… It was all almost too convenient for the Conspirators.
The only person from the group opposing the evil lord that actually pulled some weight was Reyc - the plotter who was the closest to Jacques de Asper and who stabbed him with the cursed dagger that suppressed some of Jacques de Asper’s powers. If not for that it would be impossible for the Conspirators to achieve anything - Jacques de Asper was already aware of their plans. But he was also blind in a way.
He knew to be wary of Reyc, but still couldn’t bring himself to cast him away or kill him off. It was hard to read the scenes playing between the two - Reyc was such an obvious liar. But Jacques de Asper was unfortunately fascinated by him and was ready to turn a blind eye to everything. Well, he was blind - he didn’t notice the dagger aimed at his back until the very end.
Thankfully, once betrayed Jacques de Asper turned into a real beast and the most annoying side character was quickly dispossessed.
The pacing of the last chapters was so fast and immersive that I really couldn’t put the book down. However, then I read that last passage and all of the excitement evaporated from me.
Jacques de Asper. The most powerful of vampires, the lord of Mindsna, the Mage Eater, the Potential Ascendant, the Devourer of Sun… This legend, evil incarnated walking among mortals, just died. Was killed easily and without any effort by a group of unnamed Conspirators - as if he was some unworthy side character and not the actual protagonist of the whole book?!
I closed the book.
The cover was without any adornments, a simple brown color, and the actual title and name of the author were printed inside, on the very first page. Seventh Lord of Mindsna by What’s Left of The Night. Pompous monicker for someone who clearly didn’t know how to deliver a satisfying ending to a story.
I wouldn’t mind if it ended up being a moralistic tale even if it wasn’t something I would normally read. In fact, I half expected the book to fully condemn the protagonist and force him to face the evil he committed. But again, none of that happened and Jacques de Asper just died, and everyone else lived happily ever after without any problems.
During his rise to power, Jacques de Asper on multiple occasions pointed up the unfairness of the systems and society of Saov. Sometimes even bettering the fates of people to some degree. Other times… Well, he created more problems without any regrets, problems that wouldn’t be easily solved by his sudden death.
It felt like the plot of Seventh Lord of Mindsna ended prematurely, not caring to resolve some of the plotlines.
It felt like a waste of time.
Being a regular I knew many of the staff that worked in the library in Birka and some of the very often would leave me a copy of the newest additions to the collection that I might be interested in reading. Knowing what I tend to borrow out on my own, there rarely were misses as massive as this one.
In my mind, I cursed the library worker who left this book for me.
It was already well past midnight but nonetheless, I opened the online chat. The frustration and anger we just too big and I felt like I need to rant out to someone about the amateur author.
*LibraryCat is offline*
*D’monaVoice is offline*
*x&x.str is offline*
*ArcanistA is offline*
As expected, everyone was either asleep or doing something far more interesting in the city…
*sleeplessinbirka is online*
I blinked a couple of times seeing the last notification. I didn’t remember this handle and couldn’t connect it to any of the known me faces.
I didn’t have time to ponder it for too long because soon there appeared dots indicating that this sleeplessinbirka was about to send me some message.
*sleeplessinbirka: It is pretty late. Have you been reading the whole night again?*
They seemed to know me well enough to correctly assume why I was up some late. It seemed rude to now ask who they were. However, with enough context clues, I might simply guess it without embarrassing myself that I forgot them.
*sleeplessinbirka: Was the book that bad?*
*hubert.r: It was good until the very end. Not that the ending was bad, it just lacked something. I supposed one more chapter would change a lot.*
*sleeplessinbirka: The bad ones were not punished? The innocent were not saved?*
I grimace a bit. It was technically true, but explaining exactly why it still wasn’t a great ending would require me to spoil the story…
But sleeplessinbirka was typing again.
*sleeplessinbirka: What is the title of this story?*
Hastily I typed out the title and author, and sent another message asking if they read it.
*sleeplessinbirka: No, I did not. I did however hear about this story before. I can see why you do not find the ending good enough*
I wanted to agree, they seemed to understand my point of view perfectly…
*sleeplessinbirka: Can I ask you something, Hubert?*
*sleeplessinbirka: If you had the power to change the story… What would you do differently?*
*sleeplessinbirka: What ending would satisfy you?*
I looked at the message in thought. What ending would satisfy me? I haven’t thought about it that way before, I just felt that the way the book ended was wrong. Even though I knew that it was the right ending - the evil was punished. But it also wouldn’t feel good if the punishment was greater than just swift death.
In a way, despite knowing from the very beginning that the protagonist is not a good person I was cheering this whole time for Jacques de Asper’s success. Book didn’t sugarcoat his actions and didn’t lie to the reader, but still, the charisma pouring out of that character made me wish he would ultimately win. Like the main character of any other book he was going through highs and downs, not everything was coming to him immediately and easily, and he too had his own past that clung to his shadows. Jacques de Asper was a well-developed character, that just happened to also be evil and do evil.
Would the ending in which he survives, kills all of the Conspirators, and finishes his last ritual could be considered good? No, it wasn’t right. Jacques de Asper’s win meant death for everyone in Saov.
But after watching him for so long, hearing his thought and dreams? It would be satisfactory.
When I looked back to the screen ready to type out my response, my conversation partner already sent another message.
*sleeplessinbirka: I should not keep you so late at night. I am sorry*
*sleeplessinbirka: But think about it a bit*
*sleeplessinbirka: I am looking forward to hearing your response*
*sleeplessinbirka is offline*
I still had no idea who sleeplessinbirka was. Neither the monicker nor the way they typed told me anything about them. But I wasn’t too worried about it. Somehow I had a feeling that sooner or later I would figure it out.
Instead, I turned to my bed and slipped under the covers, ready to finally go to sleep.
The only thought still lingering in my mind was a bit silly. I knew, logically, that the fiction didn’t translate to reality. The fact that I might wish for a bad guy in some novel to win, didn’t automatically mean I was a bad person myself.
But if I was one of the characters in the book?
Many side characters in Seventh Lord of Mindsna were charmed by Jacques de Asper, willing to do truly horrific things for him, just because he deemed them worthy of his attention. Many of them were evil from the start, but some only got corrupted in the process. And even the smaller handful of characters managed to snap out of this spell during the finale and help the Conspiracy.
Wondering these senseless things I eventually fell asleep.
The slamming on the door woke me up. I did not expect any guests in the morning, let alone in the middle of the night. When I looked out of the window by my bed it was still pitch black outside…
The view outside of the window looked nothing like the one from my room. There was a cobblestone street, short wooden houses, and two moons hanging in the dark sky. Even the room around me looked nothing like my own apartment.
And the slamming continued.
“It’s me! Just open the damn door.” The male voice was coming from downstairs.
I jumped out of the bed and ran to the front door, without thinking twice about why I'm even doing it. As soon as I opened the door a handsome face greeted me.
A small notification window appeared in the corner of my vision.
「 Character Name: Stanislaus Gael
Status: Human 」
I knew this name. Gael was one of the minor characters in Seventh Lord of Mindsna.