Highemperor is wed to Queen Diggleton in Pan Post 44, all part of his plan to take control of Discharding. Because the system works by male succession and Highemperor has no male heirs, he sees fit that he shall rule it forever. He takes his new bride aboard The Quantum Pantheon to the capital of the High Empire, Urbis Imperia. He pays a visit to his harem while six Powerplayers from the Stronghold of Powerplayers discuss events within the empire. They speak of tightening their control over Coaleashion and the supreme number with an arithmancer. It is then revealed that Highemperor has ressurected Harem Girl 84 who was killed in NeS1888 Post ?.
Bride of Discharding, Council of Powerplayers
This does not stop its adventurous nobility from going out on safari to all manner of exotic locales through various cosms, however. Their civilization's reality-warping steampunk Engines(TM) enable all sorts of abilities for them that allow such sojourns with ease.
In Discharding's capital city - a city of towering skyscrapers in Gothic[Ext 1] and Victorian architecture[Ext 2], with lots of steampunky doodads tacked on and all manner of fashionable zeppelins drifting lazily above on clouds of steam - even more pomp and circumstance than usual is now going on.
Ex-Marquis Rosslefot: I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.
Highemperor kisses his newest queen, the daughter of the Grand Duke Diggleton, and the crowd of assembled nobles cheers. Grand Duke Diggleton himself comes up and takes off the sash of his office, proffering it to Highemp, who takes it reverently.
Grand Duke Diggleton: I am past my titlespan, but due to our agnatic ways, I had no successor to pass my title onto - but you have proven worthy of my daughter's hand. Ladies and gentleman: the Highemperor of the High Empire, the new Grand Duke of House Diggleton, and my son-in-law!
The crowd erupts wildly in more cheers. Highemp dances with his newest wife and mingles before sweeping her away in his flagship, the Quantum Pantheon.
Queen Diggleton: My husband, your vessel is as magnificent on the inside as the outside!
Highemp: Thank you, my bride! Just watch the view as we depart!
The Quantum Pantheon zips through Discharding space towards the cosmic rim, and one of Highemp's underling powerplayers comes up.
Kim: Well done, your majesty! You've got nearly the majority of Discharding electoral votes now, in one fell swoop!
Queen Diggleton starts. Highemp facepalms.
Queen Diggleton: My lord! Do you mean to say that this is all a crafty plan to amass political influence in Discharding?
Highemp: Well, er, ahem, that is--
Queen Diggleton: That's bloody BRILLIANT!
Highemp: It is?
Kim: Of course it is! His Divine Majesty is the bestest!
Queen Diggleton: I see that!
She pats his cheek fondly. The vista outside changes to flaring light, then darkness as the Quantum Pantheon breaks out into the Deep Void between universes. Other universes are tiny specks of light and reality in the nothingness.
Queen Diggleton: But according to Discharding tradition, once you live out your natural lifespan, you must pass on the title and electoral votes to our son, despite our immortality. It's simply not fashionable to do otherwise, and if you're not fashionable, you will lose much influence.
Highemp: Well, it was fine for your father to hang onto it.
Queen Diggleton: Because he had no sons, and succession in Discharding is agnatic.
Highemp: Exactly. I'm... fixed... so I only have daughters.
Queen Diggleton: :O
Kim: Brilliant, eh?
Queen Diggleton: Indeed! So I see your clever plan enables you to be almost the sole determinant of our Sovereign every fifty years.
Highemp: Oh, that's only the beginning...
Queen Diggleton: Do tell? Perhaps in the bedroom, this talk of cleverness and scheming is making me rather... hot.
Highemp: Unfortunately, I prefer not to shag on this ship... QP is always watching.
Queen Diggleton: QP?
Highemp: This ship. The Quantum Pantheon. It's sentient.
Queen Diggleton blushes.
Queen Diggleton: Goodness me, that would be unseemly. Well, perhaps we should change topics for now, lest I become... undignified.
Highemp: Of course, my queen. What would you like to discuss?
Queen Diggleton: Where in the Deep Void is your capital?
She waves her arm at the viewport. Highemp grins.
Highemp: It's not.
Queen Diggleton: But everything is in the Deep Void!
Highemp: This is true.
Queen Diggleton: Then how...?
Highemp: There is more than merely 'everything'. More beyond the very concepts of 'all' that mere mortals can grasp. And even more beyond that level. Though universes are only islands in the dark sea of the Deep Void, the Deep Void itself is a mere mote in the incomprehensively vast ocean that is called 'Forever'. Well, the eggheads call it 'Anti-Existentessence', ever since the groundbreaking paper by Doctor Geb, the clone of a famous Storywielder.
He is idly conjuring images to illustrate his words, and Queen Diggleton watches in awe.
Queen Diggleton: You warp reality so easily, without the need for Engines(TM).
Highemp: I am a god, after all.
Queen Diggleton: Just so, my lord! But why ANTI-Existentessence?
Highemp: Well, it's due to the suprafluctual hyperstate of its metanatural paradigm.
His newest queen perks up with interest.
Queen Diggleton: You mean it's a metassociative magimatical ultracube that-- Oh dear me, I'm getting all hot again.
Kim just smiles and nods, having no idea what his emperor and his newest queen are talking about.
Highemp: Anyway, we powerplayers did the impossible, and created a demiplane that actually exists outside Forever, orbiting its rim. That is our capital, Urbis Imperia.
The Quantum Pantheon is hurtling at ever higher speeds, till it breaches the edge of the infinite Deep Void - a feat that by all rights should be impossible - and warps through a miasma that Queen Diggleton's mortal senses can only conceive of as bright colors. Shortly, the Quantum Pantheon arrives in the demiplanar city of Urbis Imperia, and the new queen gasps in awe.
Queen Diggleton: It is even more impressive than Discharding!
Six island mountains in a freshwater sea ring around a seventh, the tallest. Each is covered in marble and crystal spires, with gigantic arches and bridges connecting them.
Highemp: The six smaller mountains are topped with temples dedicated to my council, the High Pantheon of the Throne. The central one is topped with our Stronghold of Powerplayers, my grand cathedral, and your new home.
The Quantum Pantheon docks with the Stronghold, and Highemp carries his newest queen across the threshold, and begins whispering clever schemes seductively into her ear as he takes her to the odah.
Knightlord Thorn: I call this meeting to order.
Entity #1: Our illustrious majesty isn't here yet.
Entity #3: He's never here, always busy with his harem. If we waited for him all the time, we'd never get anything done.
Entity #4: As it is, our conquests are almost painfully slow without him to direct and authorize strategy.
Knightlord Thorn: Whoa, whoa, wait a second. Why are you all Entities now, instead of named?
Entity #5: My narrative is in flux again.
Entity #1: Honestly, I'm surprised you're not in flux yourself, Thorn.
Knightlord Thorn: I'm the Luminescence of a Thousand Dimensions, by definition I'm always in a sort of stable flux.
Entity #3: Clever.
Knightlord Thorn: I thought so.
The doors swing up, and Highemperor strides in triumphantly from the stairwell.
Highemp: By myself, that Discharding girl is a TIGRESS!
Entity #4: Another satisfactory conquest, then?
Highemp: Was there ever any doubt?
Entity #4: I suppose not.
Entity #5: I don't suppose you had any preliminary fun on QP.
Highemp fixes Entity #5 with a steely gaze.
Highemp: You are NOT getting any more porn of me.
Entity #5: Aw
Knightlord Thorn: If I may, we should look at our newly conquered areas, and which need consolidating.
Entity #6: Bah, just reinforce them with a strong Legions presence, they'll sort things out. I'd rather get on with conquering more.
Knightlord Thorn: It seems some of our appointed governors have been lax. Such as the one over Coaleeshion.
Highemp: That name sounds familiar...
Knightlord Thorn: It should. One of your nemeses comes from there. The imperial governor of that sector elevated the local nobility, gifting them with some of our crystal technology without sufficient training, and the result was a rebel godling who killed most of those nobility.
Highemp: It's a backwater, even if Lo came from there. Send a single cruiser, that should be enough to pacify it. And fire that governor.
Entity #1: Aw, can't we execute him?
Highemp: You know how I feel about arbitrary executions.
Entity #1: Yes, m'lord.
Knightlord Thorn: Ordinarily I would agree that a single cruiser would be far more than sufficient to pacify a backwater outlier, but Coaleeshion's unique leashes offer a number of hidden refuges and escape routes--
A crystal in a slot along the wall flashes brightly, with an accompanying beep.
Highemp: What is it, Kim?
The crystal projects a holographic image of the mentally challenged powerplayer, who speaks.
Kim: The Sixteen Sisters of Serleria request... audience, my lord. They say it's been months since they've had, er, a conjugal visit.
Highemp perks up eagerly, but Knightlord Thorn forestalls him with a raised hand.
Knightlord Thorn: If I may be so bold, perhaps we should finish this meeting first? At least the highlights.
Highemp: Oh very well.
Kim gulps, blushing.
Kim: Um, my lord, their message said to tell you they're ovulating.
Highemp rushes out of the room before Knightlord Thorn can react. Thorn facepalms.
Entity #5: The Sixteen Sisters of Serleria have a bit of an exhibitionist streak. Perhaps I can convince them to share some footage--
Entity #3: Let's get back to matters at hand. If a single cruiser isn't enough for Coaleeshion, it can always request backup.
Entity #4: Right, because no navitatex is too proud to admit it if he couldn't pacify a single backwater...
Entity #3: Whatever. What should we conquer next?
A few hours later, the council is deep into war strategy, when Highemp comes back in.
Entity #1: Welcome back, my lord. We've just conquered a galaxy in the Jiexez universe. Tech level 6, magic level 9.
Highemp: Awesomesauce! How big of a force did we need?
Entity #1: Three gamma-sized task forces.
Highemp: Bah, make it two next time.
Knightlord Thorn: Feasible, but would take much longer, particularly with a galaxy that advanced.
Highemp: Yeah, but we gotta prove how superior we are! Even a single cruiser can overwhelm an enemy fleet! And all that.
Knightlord Thorn: One task force is remaining in said galaxy for consolidation purposes. Where should we send the other two?
Highemp: I was thinking--
There is another flash and beep from the communications crystal, and Highemp looks at it.
Highemp: What is it, Kim?
Highemp: Send them in!
Several figures in mage robes and shaved heads shuffle in, bearing thick tomes and recording crystals. They bow and scrape obsequiously.
Highemp: Rise, my friends. Yours is a noble profession.
Arithmancer: Thank you, your most divine majesty! Though we have nearly completed our compilated mathemagical principles for the Codex Imperius, we are divided as to which is the most sacred and powerful of numerals, the one that takes precedence over all others as the most mystical.
Knightlord Thorn: Seven, obviously. Many universes, including Urbis Imperia, took seven periods of time to create, or consist of timelines divided into seven eras. It's also the number of this High Pantheon plus his divine majesty.
Entity #1: I disagree. Three is a great number of trinities and tribunals and triforces.
Entity #3: Duality is more essential than three. And one more essential than that!
Entity #6: One could argue that zero is the most essential of all, but I say twelve is the most mystical.
Entity #4: I say four.
Entity #1: Because you're totally not biased by your given Entity numbering.
Entity #5: You're all wrong! It's totally 69!
There is an awkward silence.
Entity #5: Er, I mean five. I heard Highemperor say he liked that number a while ago.
The arithmancer coughs delicately.
Arithmancer: Would his most divine majesty be willing to settle things?
Highemp: Of course! Those are all powerful numbers - except perhaps 69--
Everyone pointedly looks away from Entity #5.
Highemp: --but the greatest is 25!
The powerplayers look at him with interest.
Knightlord Thorn: Why 25? I've never heard of that having any mystical significance before, except to the gods of penguins and the concept of left.
Highemp: 25 is the ultimate synthesis of the greatest numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, and 12. Take the digits, 2 and 5. Those are two of the numbers right there. Then add and subtract them. Five minus two is 3, and five plus two is 7. Twenty-four (which is two 12s) plus one is 25. Twelve plus twelve plus one. And twelve itself is 4 times 3.
The other powerplayers are stunned by his genius. Although perhaps only powerplayers would consider that crazy logic to be genius.
Highemp: Shut up, Eternius!
Arithmancer: My lord! Truly we are in awe of your boundless wisdom! We shall enter it into the Codex!
The comm crystal beeps again. At Highemp's reply, Kim's image is projected again.
Kim: Your majesty, Harem Queen #87 requests a conjugal visit.
Highemp: I'm there! Did I say 25 was the best? I meant 87!
And then he is gone, leaving the arithmancers to shuffle out in some confusion, with a new debate over the merits of 25 versus 87.
Entity #5: Wow, he just raced to her. She didn't even have to say she was ovulating.
Knightlord Thorn: She is one of his favorites. Was the first love of his youth, before being tragically murdered by a terrible villain.
Entity #4: Oooh, nice narrative!
Knightlord Thorn: Happily, he resurrected her when he ascended to the throne of the Stronghold of Powerplayers. He was unshackled from his angst when his incarnate Potential was killed far away.
Entity #1: Little misogynist though. His first love, yet she has no name, only a number?
Entity #5: Less misogyny and more following a humorous pattern set down by the traditions of his narrative origin!
Knightlord Thorn: Regardless, it is somewhat misogynistic, but let's be real - he already has a harem of loyal loving wives who are devoted to him; just giving them all unique names isn't going to make it any less misogynistic.
Entity #3: And Captain Lo, from the pantheon of our adversaries, has a harem of devoted male lovers! So there!
Entity #1: Blatant misandry doesn't make blatant misogyny okay!
Entity #5: And yet you've shagged Highemp. Several times.
Entity #1: Well, I-- wait, how do you know that? Were you taping us???
Entity #5: Er... would it help if I said no?