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The Blue Mediterranean sea is like a supple silk, where countless stars dotted the sparkling water. The story is about to begin in Malta.
Ninteen year old Napoleon graduated from the Le Royal Bank of Paris (TN: A military academy.) on the left bank of the Seine river. Napoleon entered the Rafael Group 1st Battalion of the 5th Regiment as a second lieutenant of the artillery, but at this moment, he returned to his native land, Corsica, to deal with their own major economic crisis. In the future, unbeknownst to him, he will find himself an emperor among the French peoples.
The same nineteen year old Arthur Wellesley exhausted his finances to buy a lieutenant rank in order to enter the British Army services, Wellesley was not aware that in the future he will become a dignified duke.
The Grand Duke of Austria is also studying in the palace, two years from now he will become a real soldier. Unknown to him, there would be a tough and resilient opponent waiting for him in the near future.
Thirty year old Nelson found himself a bit unlucky, forced to leave the Navy because of the severe execution of the Maritime Act, which was exacerbated by England. Soon he would become a symbol of the Royal Navy.
And a forty three year old man Kutuzov was commanding troops with the Turks. He will not think of the future, he will be mixed in the future.
These futures leaders have begun or are ready to begin the peak of their life.
In the Malta island, an island within the Maltese archipelago, the scorching sun is at its peak, many of the island’s inhabitants opted to stay indoors under the humid and blistering heat while some elected to head to the beach side to cool themselves.
Under the shades of the coconut tree, eight year old Joshua had his eyes shut, his back leaning against the trunk, and face covered with a straw hat. The boy donned a silver-gray colored priest robe, the belt of the hemp rose loosely tied around his waist, and a pair of wooden slippers attached to his feet. The child looked like a dirty little mud monkey. Dirt and grime staining his body, but if looked carefully, the little monkey seemed to be a bit special. His nose not so prominent, the eye socket not so deep, cheekbones a bit higher than average, and the most significant aspect is his eyes, almond shaped with an epicanthic fold on the upper eyelids, an obvious difference with the other residents of the island. His looks seemed more oriental: black hair, dark chocolate eyes, and yellow pigmented skin.
Joshua’s appearance could be said to be unique on the island, he is neither the prominent knights, priests, mercenaries and inhabitants of the island, nor is he a Muslim with Turkic or Arab features. In his own way, Joshua is special.
Perhaps a hundred years from now, after the yellow race became a common occurrence on the island, inhabitants would not make too much of a fuss, but in the late 18th century, the yellow race are rarely found in the Maltese Islands and are even more scarce in London, Paris, Istanbul, and other well known cities at this time period .
So why is the little monkey residing in the Maltese Islands?
The reason is quite simple, he is an orphan. Eight years ago, an Armenian aristocrat, Clovis de Lubini, made an annual pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the Holy City, and carried a babe between his arms on the way back to Malta. The chief monks of Holy Sepulchre found the babe almost freezing to death at the front entrance of the building.
Eight years later, the babe became a naughty child who frequently caused mischief within the classroom causing the eyes of various teachers to blaze with anger. “The kid is undisciplined and ill mannered, he should be kicked off the island!” Said Boduand de la Rousseau, the headmaster of the school of the knights named Orchestra of the Knights, suffered in the hands of Joshua’s unruly and defiant behavior on a regular basis.
The headmaster’s dislike towards Joshua was crystal clear, and the same could be applied to Joshua who loathed the headmaster, not only because he was nicknamed a ‘a bad embryo’ but also of the phony moral principles he would utter.
Joshua called him a charlatan. When he entered the Orchestra of the Knights school at the age of six, the headmaster stated to the students to model themselves as good Samaritan, to follow the commandments of God, to evade the life of luxury that would cause one to sin, and most of all, to be a noble person.
But not long after, when Joshua returned to his home, he inadvertently witnessed the perverse look settled on his face as he entered the luxurious carriage of an alluring beauty. From that moment, Joshua knew that this headmaster was not a good man, nor a gentleman and his future actions confirmed Joshua’s judgement. (TN: A child’s view is so cute.)
When alone with the students, Joshua included, the charlatan frequently sent a cold and contemptuous look towards the students, his attitude condescending. When near those superior to his status, his personality took a drastic change, becoming a noble like man. Joshua loathed this two-faced charlatan and those whose colors were like the charlatan.
“Brother, grandfather is calling for you!” A pair of little hands grabbed the hem of Joshua’s clothing, wrinkling it in the process.
Joshua stretched his arms wide and looked at the pair of eyes gazing back at him, “Anna… I strictly asked not to look for me,” he yawned, “but why have you come?”
Anna de Lupine is the granddaughter of the former chief, Clovis. Her father died not too long ago in the hands of the Turks, and her mother, filled with grief, pierced her organs with a knife. And so she was sent to Malta and lived with her grandfather. She was the same as Joshua, lacking the presence of their parents. Although young, Anna’s future as a beauty would be boundless. One would lose themselves in the sea of her big blue eyes, the color of the Mediterranean saltwater. Coupled with her small cherry mouth and supple blonde hair, she is sure to cause a calamity in her coming of age.
“Mr. De la Rousseau came to the house again!”
Joshua shrugged, he was not particularly concerned about the matters of the charlatan who would frequent his residence twice a month to complain. Joshua knew his grandfather cared too little of his words, often disagreeing with it, but he would still listened to what the charlatan had to say. So, over the years, Joshua rarely troubled himself over the affairs of the charlatan, and at most, Clovis would reprimand him.
The only issue of concern is when every time he chose to ditch a lesson, he would be caught by his grandfather. Although Clovis differed from the charlatan’s incompetent methods of indoctrinating empty words repeatedly or his usage of authority to frighten children, Clovis’ ideology followed the biblical commandments of God to an extreme without question, and Joshua could never fully agree with his grandfather’s set of beliefs, he had his own analysis and judgement, differing from the views of the world. He found indoctrination intolerable and would much prefer to explore his own version of truth.
And truth be told, Joshua could be labeled a heretic, and if lived in the Middle Ages, the outcome would result in being tied to the stake and burned alive. Fortunately, nearing the end of the 18th century came the Enlightenment, the era of ideological emancipation. Although Clovis may be a devout Catholic, he kept an open mind, allowing Joshua to reign free with his own set of beliefs. Joshua’s grandfather once said, “When defeating an enemy that cannot be defeated, do not be narrow and stupid, have an open mind.”
Only Clovis whose wisdom was far beyond his time is able to tolerate Joshua’s unruly behavior. For example, he was driven out of the classroom for interrupting the Mass which the charlatan would routinely host, reading verses in the Old and New Testament, advising students to have no doubts. No students would be foolish enough to ask questions regardless of the the doubts which invaded their minds far too often as the headmaster was reading the Bible, they feared him.
In a way, the Maltese school of Knights was not a secular organization, those who wished to join the Knights must swear an oath of secrecy, abstinence, and full obedience without question. At the beginning, the establishment was an outreach religious organization, named St. John Knights of Jerusalem, the organization’s initial purpose were not to fight with infidels, but to save and care for their fellow brothers who fell sick as they journeyed to claim the Holy City of Jerusalem.
The religious atmosphere of the school of Knights in Malta were quite rich. The charlatan continued to read from the Bible. Many of the students unwilling to act out for fear of the consequences. After all, full obedience is expected, but unfortunately, Joshua has chosen to act out, questioning the contents of the Bible.
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