Titan Beneath the Heavens
Chapter 7: First Episode: Chapter 7
Chapter 7: First Episode: Chapter 7
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
No one had ever seen O’Neil Andrew Morisette wield the machete. Most of the time, people just thought the black machete as an adornment. Sometimes, Oscar does treat it like one, he had spent a lot of money on the legendary blade in the black market.
The only time Oscar would use the machete was when he’s in grave danger. It’s true Oscar was able to hurt enemies with any sort of weapon, but only the machete could save his life, after all, slaughtering enemies and self-preservation were entirely two different things.
Brandishing his machete, Oscar needed to save himself, this enemy is too strong! Oscar didn’t know where he is, he couldn’t even focus, this is a symptom after being targeted by a really strong enemy’s animus. His own animus couldn’t hold against the enemy’s ice cold one, instinctively, he wanted to flee.
In the darkness, the enemy still didn’t make a move. Oscar is an expert, he can counter attack, the boy can counter incoming attacks with ferocity! Oscar’s fighting spirit slowly melted away under the overwhelming pressure, but he have yet to give up. His brain was still racing to find a breakthrough spot. The words of the King of Assassins echoed as if he’s right beside, "A true assassin will never appear in front of you, they will only strike at the weakness of your heart."
Weakness of the heart, weakness of the heart! This phrase looped wildly in Oscar’s brain. A sudden wave of inspiration washed over him! Annie! Annie’s sleeping breath was calm and even, but there were two sets of heartbeats! The assassin could mask his breathing with Annie’s but he couldn’t synchronize his heartbeat to Annie’s.
The machete reflected a rainbow as it slashed through the air. Behind Annie, a rapier ripped a hole into the veil. Both the machete and the rapier had a similar objective and moved without extra movements. The machete slashed at a throat, while the rapier stabbed at the other’s heart. None of them seemed to have remembered to evade.
Oscar’s silhouette shifted and stacked upon the assassin’s before suddenly moving away. There were blood on both the machete and the rapier. Not a lot, just a single drop.
Both the attackers turned around. Oscar used his machete to shield his chest, while the assassin pointed his rapier to the ground. The duel was still going on, what’s different is that Oscar had his confidence refilled. He felt a power surge through his body, his machete vibrating slightly, his eyes could even see through his opponent’s veins.
Annie’s screams didn’t startle either of the two; they were too focused in the duel. Heavy footfalls congregated toward the main tent.
Boom! The main tent was torn apart by the knights from all directions. Oscar and the assassin charged at each other simultaneously. A shroud of blackness collided with a deep blue lightning.
As the air-cutting gust settled, both of them stumbled a few steps backward, their weapons drooping on their side. The wounds on both their bodies bloomed like red flowers.
The knights’ sabers and spears slashed and pierced through the air respectively.
"Stop!" Oscar couldn’t believe his voice sounding so weak.
The weapons halted at each vital points on the assassin. If it weren’t for Oscar, the assassin would have been torn into pieces in an instant.
Oscar held himself up with his machete. His body had almost been stabbed full of holes, luckily none of his vital points were hit.
The assassin was not faring much better. His right chest and his waist had slash wounds about 20 centimeters long each. As he panted, blood rushed out of his wounds, which fortunately wasn’t deep.
Annie was stunned silent! Percy rushed over with his first aid kit, but he was stopped by the knights! Ricky had no idea what happened! The Paladin-to-be was that close to fury! Out of all the people, only Wozakad didn’t think too much of it, he was very clear the assassin wasn’t going to succeed in his assassination attempt, especially when the chubby teen was wielding his machete.
Oscar laughed, the movement tugged against the wounds. His laughter turned slightly sour, and he sounded like he was more grunting. "Do you really have to take so much risk?"
The assassin laughed as well, which sped up his bleeding. His grin also turned to a grimace, but his voice is less strained than Oscar’s. "Sorry! I got too excited for a moment there!"
After that exchange, both of them let out a relieved sigh and stumbled to the ground simultaneously. The whole camp plunged into chaos at the sight of that.
When Oscar came to, it was already the afternoon of the next day. Annie slept beside him with her red, puffy eyes, an obvious sign that she had been crying.
Oscar lifted his head with difficulty and looked at himself. He looked as if he was just stomped on by an elephant. Oscar thought he’s really piteous being in such a bad shape in his second day of entering the free world. What luck.
Annie’s sleep wasn’t deep. She roused as soon as she felt movement. As soon as she caught Oscar’s gaze toward her, she cried again. Oscar rolled his eyes, comforting Annie had always been difficult.
People outside the tent heard the crying and entered. Poison Doctor Percy, Ricky, Kamille Rayen, as well as the assassin, who currently has Oscar’s driver’s hand on his throat,
Percy examined Oscar’s wounds very carefully; it had been a few years since he dealt with wounds this serious. Eventually, the Poison Doctor nodded with satisfaction, "Oh my dear Oscar! Congratulations! All the wounds have also closed and scabbed, it’ll only be a few days that you’ll be back to the rambunctious fatty that you were!"
Oscar’s grin still look more like a frown. "Thanks for your wishes!"
"Young master, do introduce us to this wet boy! Otherwise, I can’t guarantee my subordinates won’t hurt him!" Colonel Kamille Rayen had always despised assassins who strike in the dark. Furthermore, this bastard knocked out all sixteen knights who were keeping watch with some kind of technique! This is a humiliation toward the Narcissus Knights! Even worse than having killed them! All of the knights were trying very hard not to stab him.
"Oh! Can you guys leave us for a bit? I’m okay now, just leave Mr. Assassin with me!"
"Definitely not! You’re being unreasonable! This man tried to assassinate you!" Colonel Rayen immediately rejected the request.
"Ola! Don’t worry, Mr. Colonel! Snowstorm wouldn’t assassinate the same person twice." Oscar waved it off.
The air in the tent went thin with the collective gasp of all the other people. "Snowstorm!" The strongest assassin in the underworld for the past ten years. Colonel scrutinized the tall, skinny middle-aged man with a pale face. He sighed and walked out of the tent.
After the others had left, Snowstorm rubbed his nearly-headless neck. "Your driver has a really strong grip!"
"He taught me my machete skills!"
"Oh?" Snowstorm’s eyes lit up. "He’s the Persian general who’d been held a prisoner of war, no wonder!"
"Would you like to fight him?" Oscar asked with a grin.
Snowstorm thought for a bit, "Nope!" His answer was almost forced, "Fighting him face-to-face, I have no chance."
"Then don’t just blabber about him! He’s not a prisoner of war!"
"Oh! Okay then! How’s Thirteen?" Snowstorm asked about his former partner.
"Mm, he’s alright, what about you? I mean, how do you find me so quickly?" Oscar was curious.
"It’s too lonely! Thirteen may have mentioned, but a solo assassin is such a lame job! Also, business is not good lately, so when Thirteen asked me to look after you, I came immediately."
"Ola! Thanks to your ‘taking care’, I will be bedridden for the next week, it doesn’t get better than this!" Oscar didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
"Oh, so sorry! I only meant to scare you for a bit, but… never mind that! I told you, I got too excited. Plus, I wasn’t in a better shape than you, you almost pulled out my intestines."
"Is it? But why do you look like you were not hurt at all?"
"I’m also curious, my wounds didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would, maybe your doctor did a wonderful job. Who’s that guy anyway? He doesn’t look like a good guy."
"Ola! Your wounds don’t hurt? Haha! Indeed, he isn’t a good guy. He’s the Poison Doctor Percy, Haha! You better get back to your bed right now, he may have used a painkiller called dolantin, it’s very strong, but you’re not supposed to take too much of it, it’s just like opium, haha! Once the effect is over, you’ll know how he got his title! Hahaha! That’s Percy for you!" Oscar looked really entertained.
Snowstorm’s face was in a shade of darkness, there were not many who roams the underworld but not heard of the Poison Doctor’s name. If he had known he was the one who treated him, he might have committed suicide.
"Oh! So that’s why! Poison Doctor certainly lived up to his name." Aside from a wry smile, what else can Snowstorm do? "Call me Paul, It’s good to finally meet you. There weren’t many people who could match me in Westland, you’re indeed the bigshot from Damorga!"
"Well met, Paul! Nice meeting you too, you can call me Oscar, Thirteen is my friend, and you’re his partner, hence you’re my friend from now on, let’s look after each other! Speaking of which, I think you really should go have a serious talk with Poison Doctor, or else I might lose a friend I just made."
Snowstorm started to panic! Even though the people he had to assassinate were relatively high ranking, the ones who died under the doctor’s poison were also pretty well-known. They were all leading people in their respective areas.
Seeing Paul being alarmed was funny to Oscar. This man used to be a ignoble knight who had helped Thirteen generously when he first arrived Titan. To repay him, Thirteen taught him numerous skills.
As a result, this former knight who still kept his naivete automatically became the strongest assassin in Westland after Thirteen’s ‘disappearance’, and proved it in countless competitions between him and his rivals.
Oscar recalled Thirteen’s words. "A true assassin may not be lonely, but a lone assassin would always be the easiest to defeat. If an assassin can have one or two faithful partners of similar caliber, he will never be defeated." Snowstorm was Thirteen’s partner, he had his hands in quite a few of Thirteen’s infamous operations.
Paul was a scary person, but at the same time, he had a sad story. He’s a kind-hearted person, and saved a super-assassin by accident. The super-assassin reckoned the best way to reimburse Paul was to make him another super-assassin, so Paul became Snowstorm. During his partnership with Thirteen, he’d seen perfect assassination techniques. Paul, due to his ability to learn, traced Thirteen’s footsteps to become a master assassin in his own right.
Paul didn’t think he was a sad person. He had asked his conscience countless times, but he had never regretted, he’s proud to have a friend like Thirteen, and the truth was that this friend had never forgotten about him. His friend had given him a chance to return to the sunlight. Oscar is definitely a good choice, no one would suspect a bodyguard of an upper class teenager to be Snowstorm, the only other assassin whose name rivalled Thirteen in the whole of Westland.
For two whole days, Annie made the kind-hearted assassin run multiple errands; Paul who had never met a noblewoman had fallen for the countess. Annie was Oscar’s lover, he knew that, but that didn’t dispel his determination to court the countess. Snowstorm had always been like that, quick and direct, in whatever he’s trying to achieve.
Oscar could finally get out of bed, so Annie finally loosened up against Paul, who spent a whole night being exhilarated. To that, Oscar stifled his imagination of Paul utilizing nepotistic relationship for his ascension to King of Assassins.
The whole procession of knights continued their mission escorting Oscar. Because of their two-day delay, Oscar was slightly shocked when they arrived at the Heathertown between the province of Damorel and the Capital district; a whole division of army was welcoming them. Dulin had confirmed the news about the massacre of the investigation group, including the Marquis. Even though Damorga Prison had confirmed Oscar had left before the incident, the King was worried when the two-days delay happened, and sent his cavalrymen out to investigate before Oscar met up with them.
What came next was pretty easy to sort out. O’neil Andrew Morisette who was almost assassinated declined visitors in his sickbed, everything that needs to be done was passed to his trusted minister, Baron Erbe in his name, the impostering baron tied up all loose ends of the story, even pointed cryptically at a minister in Dulin to be responsible for the attempted assassination. The lieutenant thought for a moment before leaving alone to report to the King while Oscar’s procession marched slowly toward Dulin.
Dulin, the capital city of the Titan Empire; its history was even older than the Church’s calendar. Since Morisette Dynasty’s first King settled in Dulin as its capital city, the long-running peace and the centralization of authority sped up the development of Dulin. In over 400 years, all of Titan’s wisdom and glory was concentrated in the city.
Dulin is famed for its status of being the ‘Museum of Architectures’, iconic Weslandic buildings of all styles could be found here; it’s the western end of the well-known Far Eastern Road, all of the Westland’s royals and noblepeople would purchase luxury items from the far East; it is also the divine city that the God of Light shed his blessings upon, the Pope His Grad Eminence would hold a Sacrament at the Dulin Scott Cathedral each year; it is also artists’ congregation place, the most celebrated of scholars, poets, painters, and musicians of Westland all treat Dulin as their second home.
Someone described Morisette Dynasty as such: The Narcissus Knights are his shields, the cavalrymen are his spears, the Church of Light is his regalia, and Dulin is his crown.
Oscar’s procession was attention-grabbing, to say the least. It’s true, a parade of horsemen and carriages would have instant spotlight wherever they go. The citizens of the capital city take their turns at guessing the owner of the carriage while news-savvy people had already spread the news about O’neil Andrew Morisette’s arrival. In the upper class society, it had caused an uproar, the boy who created the biggest scandal in imperial court 10 years ago had returned!
The cavalrymen accompanied Oscar to a relay point about 20 miles away from the city gate before returning to their station while Oscar and the Narcissus Knights freshened up. Oscar met one of his cousin brothers from the province of Qurel.
Cousin Tich was older than him by eight years. He was tasked by Oscar’s father to take care of his cousin Oscar. Viscount Tich Nedgabel Andrew Golbagd was dressed smart, even though he was slightly unnerved by Oscar’s lack of grace, he still taught his younger cousin earnestly.
Viscount Golbagd brought three new carriages, one of which was so exquisite, Oscar sighed in admiration. Oscar wasn’t too familiar with horses, but he knew the four which were pulling the carriages were definitely not normal horses, what he didn’t know was all four of them were pure-bred Raytheon stallions, each one of them was as rare as a diamond on top of the King’s crown.
Oscar was obsessed with the beautiful creatures. Their extraordinary intrepidity, their developed limbs, their hair as dark as night, completed with the uniquely white hooves. Oscar thought of the mythical unicorns, these horses do look like the imaginary mythical creatures! Oscar finally understood what ‘love at first sight’ meant.
Stallions can only be saddled with equally matched saddles! The valiant stallions were dragging a carriage as magnificent as a palace! According to the imperial laws, the House of Andrew can have carriages as large as 3.4 meters by 2.7 meters. The one right in front of him was a carriage of the highest standard.
The carriage was also painted black, its edges were lined with a circle of silver narcissuses, Oscar tried counting and felt stupid, fortunately Tich told him that it’s 572 flowers, a representation of the House of Andrew’s glorious years. Oscar nodded and turned his attention back to the work of art.
The roof, the doors on both sides, as well as the posterior were decorated with emblems of Andrew. The emblem was a round, golden shield etched with a single blooming narcissus flower in the mouth of a roaring tiger. A driver’s seat was installed in front of the carriage with a crystal lamp hanging on both sides. The crystal lamps can provide light for a radius of twenty to thirty meters after being filled with gasoline.
Oscar held the handle and jumped into the carriage. As the door closed, sounds from outside was filtered out, apparently the woods and the glass the carriage were made with were chosen for that specific reason. The comfort on the interior was as expected by Oscar, the fluffy seats were like divan, the pillow and cushion from Persian satisfied the teenager’s enjoyment. Oscar even found the hidden drawer that has a bookshelf and a wine cabinet.
"Ola! Dear friends! Let’s go!"
According to the imperial laws, a direct member of the head of the nobles, House of Andrew shall not lead more than 50 soldiers into the capital, so Colonel Kamille Rayen chose exactly 50 Narcissus Knights for this procession.
As soon as the gorgeous procession and the gallant Narcissus Knights appeared on the streets of the capital city, crowds gathered to spectate the parade. The size of the carriage clearly declared the respected identity of the owner, the Narcissus Knights’ appearance also attracted excitements and squeals from the crowd, especially the ladies.
Even before they reach the gate, the procession was stalled by the crowd. Oscar’s driver Wozakad was anxious. With his understanding of horses, the front left Raytheon stallion had been on the edge of fury ever since a fearless kid patted him.
Luckily, a horn blasted just in time from the Capital defenders on the front. A cavalry squadron joined the Knights in protecting the carriage. As they do so, all the citizens automatically went beneath their houses.
Once they’ve passed the Titan Gate of Light, they’ll truly be in the city. The inhabitants of the city all gathered in excitement once they found out it was the heroes of the Narcissus county. They flocked to the streets, squeezing their way to the Victory Square in front of of the Titan Gate of Light and screaming "Tiger of Andrew!" and "God of Light’s Shield!"
Oscar smiled wryly. It was about 10 years ago that he was greeted like this on his way to Dulin. He had even rolled down the window to blow air kisses to the spectators.
Once again, Oscar was delighted with the city’s enthusiastic welcome. The citizens recognized the emblem of House of Andrew and knew their knights.
CItizens collected flowers to spread over the whole of Victory Square. Titan inhabitants had never been stingy when it comes to welcoming heroes. As the knights marched past the Tower of Heroes, they raised their swords to pay their respects, winning them another bout of cheers.
The procession squirmed their way out of the Victory Square. With the lead of the capital defenders, they continued north toward the Road of Kings. This road that could fit 15 carriages side-by-side is the central axis of the whole Dulin City, leading from Victory Square toward the symbol of the Imperial authority, Hamilton Palace.
Everyday, the Road of Kings were only open to the public from 2 o’clock to 6 o’clock. At other times, the citizens either take a detour or go through the several other roads behind the Hamilton Palace. Of course, this restriction only applies to the citizens who don’t have transportations, Oscar could see other carriages of different shapes and sizes on the road.
The buildings lining the road were mostly masterpieces during the first King Morisette’s time. They were tall, majestic and stately, statues decorated almost every wall. None of the buildings were lower than four stories, their thick pillars and granite reliefs announcing the verve of a capital.
The pattern on the stone tiles were still in their original colors, leaving on them a multitude of footprints of various great people. Titan’s history stretches out just as this road does. If anyone stopped and looked, they would’ve found the peak of power right in front of them.
Oscar was slightly curious, the carriage wasn’t going toward the palace anymore, the capital cavalrymen looked as if they’d just received a new order and turned into another street. Oscar glanced at the stone slab indicating the street’s name, and found the name, Penelope.
Oscar had heard of Penelope street. If the Road of Kings was the staircase to the palace, Penelope street would be the flower bed beside the staircase. The sides of the street were all mansions of the officials, more than half of the Empire’s ministers reside on this street alone, including Titan Empire’s Governor of the East Border, General Dortmund Andrew Nedgabel.
31 Penelope Street. Miss Sasha E. Nedgabel Andrew paced in front of the porch. The Young Lady was only fourteen years old, but her wittiness and beauty had already earned her the title of ‘Andrew’s Narcissus Corolla’. As if going to a ball, she wore a formal dress with a long silk skirt hemmed with tiny narcissuses. Under the tailoring of the Koch Tailor Shop, the Eastern crystal silk engraving on the skirt made Young Lady look like she was standing in an patch of narcissus flowers. The lace on the collar was an elegant design popular during Alfa I’s period, and the design on the bust and waist were the current Koch trend, popular because of its ability to accentuate a female’s beautiful curves.
Lady Sasha’s face was filled with worry, her eyes wild. She almost couldn’t contain the urge to run outside to welcome her big brother Oscar.
"Good grief Sasha! Can’t you stay still just for a while! Go sit in your seat like a Lady should! Your pacing is giving me a headache!" Beside her, a beautiful noblewoman could no longer stand the circle-walking.
"Oh, Mother Celia! You would understand my feelings! I was waiting for this day since forever! Oh, bloody hell! Ferry spoiled my carriage in Bodega! The mob in Sabartimo destroyed the main road! Bragg is flooding! Just what in the hell- It’s spring, for god’s sake! Everything is messed up! I should be able to see Brother Oscar sooner, not wait here like a fool!"
Lady Duchess Andrew’s eyes widened. "Sasha! Language! Cursing is not what a Lady should do!"
Sasha sank into her seat, "I just wanted to see Brother Oscar as soon as possible…"
Celia felt sad for Sasha, in the ten years, Young Lady Sasha’s catchphrase was, "What is Brother Oscar doing now?" Celia brushed Sasha’s hair aside, "My dear Sasha, my little princess! Just be a little more patient, can’t you see the flowers all the citizens have sent us? They are already in the city, they might even be here sooner than you think!"
Exactly that moment, Ferry with his big stature rushed onto the porch, forgetting his manners. "Yes! Milady, Young Master Oscar is almost here! I saw their carriage!"
Squealing, Sasha charged out of the porch, not forgetting to kick Ferry aside as she left.
Lady Duchess Andrew snapped her fan close. She couldn’t believe her eyes, that wasn’t ‘Andrew’s Narcissus Corolla’, more like some wild girl from a knight’s household.
Lady Duchess stood up and arranged her dress. She pitied the boy who is finally home, her husband had already sworn not to let this child be hurt. For the sake of the child’s freedom, he even openly denounced the Secretary of State. Oh whatever! Those were the issues of men, but the minister had really overstepped his boundary, seeking trouble with a child. Celia Andrew Nedgabel thought the Secretary of State to be disgraceful, as when she heard the minister trying to plot for the boy’s death many years ago, she lost her temper despite herself. She even considered hiring ‘professionals’ to solve the issue permanently, which was turned down by her husband.
Lady Duchess loves every single descendant of the House of Andrew. Even though she only gave birth to one, that didn’t hold back her love to any one of the kids. Only Oscar, the one who was birthed by the Princess for the Duke, he was most similar to his father out of the four boys. Persistent, intense, precocious, at an age where he needed the most care from other people, he was already looking out for his little sister! Just like the two other Ladies, she felt guilty toward this youngest boy.
Oscar’s procession stopped orderly in front of 31 Penelope Street, while the defender knights drove away the crowd.
Oscar alighted the carriage, followed by Countess Antonia Horman, Baron Erbe’s impersonator, Poison Doctor who changed his name to Parker, Paul, and lastly the maids who entered a city the first time.
Oscar looked curiously at the building in front of him, having forgotten how home looks like. The main door was opened wide, with two rows of servants lined up and greeted him. They definitely didn’t expect Young Master to have so much luggage. They spread out and surrounded the carriages, not knowing which one to clear first. Oscar looked at them, entertained, and decided to let Antonia worry about that herself.
Something was happening inside the mansion, Oscar heard a feminine squeal right before he saw a cloud of whiteness charging out of the door.
The Narcissus Knights dismounted their rides and genuflected at the ‘cloud’. Tich lowered his head as Ricky/Baron Erbe, Poison Doctor, Snowstorm, and the maids following suit. The ‘cloud’ stopped in front of Oscar, whose face was a mess. For the past year, Oscar had been fantasizing reuniting with his sister, his beautiful little princess, he had prepared countless phrases to entertain her, but at that moment, he realized he couldn’t utter a single word.
Oscar saw Sasha’s tears, he wanted to cry too! However, his tear ducts had already collapsed in a treatment with the Poison Doctor. Oscar was crying, even though no one saw his tears. Oscar didn’t realize how painful it was to have a reunion that he was looking forward to so much. He missed his sister so much, it was the only thing that kept him going in the depth of the dungeon.
Sasha was crying too! She wept and sobbed and bawled! No one would miss her brother more than she did. Her brother’s eventual return was her only pillar that made her smile in front of people. Ten years ago, when her brother was taken away, she cried worse than she is now. However, she remembered her brother’s words. He said, "Don’t be naughty anymore! Take care of yourself when I’m gone! If anyone bully you in the future, make sure to note down their names in my book, I’ll avenge you!"
His words lingered beside her ears, but Sasha felt guilty for the whole ten years. If it wasn’t for her, big brother wouldn’t be imprisoned, she needed to be stronger! She wanted to let Brother Oscar see her as someone who’s not always crying! Sasha was slightly irritated at herself. She wanted to show her Brother Oscar her beautiful smile, but her tears kept flowing out. Sasha’s sight was blurred out by her tears, but she tried very hard to not blink, she wanted to see Brother Oscar!
Oscar hugged Sasha at long last! He hugged her as soon as he saw her, but this process feels drawn-out, it’s as if forever had passed. His short arms wrapped around the girl even though he wasn’t completely sure it’s his sister, he didn’t know how her looks had changed for the past 10 years, but instinctively, he wanted to hug her! Sasha calmed down in her brother’s arms. The hug that came 10 years too late was still warm, still full of kindness.
The girl lifted her head, and with wavering voice, said something Oscar almost fainted to.
Lady Sasha E. Nedgabel Andrew said, "Big brother! You’ve slimmed down!"<script>chaptererror();</script>