Titan Beneath the Heavens
Chapter 14: Second Episode: Chapter 5
Chapter 14: Second Episode: Chapter 5
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The whole week, people had been discussing about the prince. He seemed to have an endless source of charisma that only made people think about the incident ten years ago that exploded throughout Titan. Some people even think this child is a spawn of Devil himself.
Yes, only a Devil spawn himself would have such terrible heart and mesmerizing charisma. The youngster was just a chubby kid, but on his first day at Dublin, he already successfully captured the heart of the largest, sweetest honey peach in Dublin, or even the empire. The things he had done with Her Imperial Highness, Princess Alanis in the Sabac manor spread like wildfire in just a few days.
Royal scandals were always the hottest topic, especially when it happened between two Imperial family members who were both famous in their own right! Citizens of all walks of life were talking about it with vigor. The Perseus tea room that the prince and princess had used was in its own limelight among all the talks. Almost all the men fantasized being with the princess in that exotic room in the most obscene way possible, and by this point the raunchiest of penny dreadfuls have already published some filthy content about it.
The pressure brought on by scandals was always hard to manage. A few diplomats from some Westland countries had already demanded to have an audience with the King of Titan. They had requested for an explanation regarding the pure princess’ becoming of a tramp, as they were expecting her to be the best candidate to lead the country.
The princess’ father also required an explanation. He’d used to picking up after his good-for-nothing sons, but he would never have thought it would happen to his daughter, his crown jewel, the most well-behaved pearl of Titan! But now, The King was this close to having his head explode on him! He didn’t understand why the God of Light would punish him like this.
The King knew that the episode could not be covered up easily. The two soldiers who exposed their identities, the people who saw them coming out of the Sabac manor, the damned Minister of Justice who added his own spin to the story and claimed he wasn’t aware of their courtship. The King cursed all those people. Those damned sons of damnables, he swore to seek remuneration for the gray hair he’d sprouted for the last few days.
This father lamented out loud. Where has his noble daughter gone? This was right after she announced her plans to marry! An agent from the Ministry of Justice reported hearing a noise from inside the jail. The agent thought he had made it discreet by describing it as a womanly sound, and that it sounded painful but pleasurable. The King didn’t think too much before executing him. His description was accurate, but he was fated to be put down and become the first martyr of the scandal.
When his daughter was back from the Ministry of Justice, he had visited her. It was such a sight that his skin still crawl when he thought about it. What has that Andrew kid done to his daughter? Alanis had changed and had cleaned up her hair, but her puffy lips, the love bites on her neck and below her clavicle were so scary to look at! The King has had his share of leaving these ‘medals’ on women, but he still couldn’t bear seeing them on his beloved daughter. He suspected his daughter was no longer a virgin. Like any other fathers, he was furious at the rascal who violated his daughter!
His Majesty was not so mad to the point of looking for trouble with the young prince, he was only concerned about his daughter. Does she have to be so hurried in losing her virginity? She chose to have her first time in those rooms that were specially made for lovers, did she think, as a princess of the most powerful nation in the Westland, that she couldn’t marry?
The King must say, if she really thought so, she had succeeded in prophesying her future! The Imperial family wouldn’t tolerate this sort of scandal, almost all the noble houses as well as the foreigners were waiting to see the Imperial Morisette family making a fool of themselves. If Alanis didn’t plan to marry the kid, the Imperial family and her would be disgraced to high heavens!
The whole week, Alfa III spent most of his time blanking out at his sister Mica’s portrait. He realized his sister’s son was probably the ‘old friend’ his daughter was talking about. The princess he knew wouldn’t have invited any man otherwise. Goodness! He even agreed for them to meet, thinking she’s only visiting her cousin, who knew…
Ah well, The King couldn’t scold his daughter, he even think she made a right choice after some consideration. The choice fits his plan regarding the Andrew family. If this pair of cousins can sire a healthy boy, the Andrew family would be even closer to the Imperial family.
Another question came to The King as his sister’s portrait smiled at him. He shall not let the tragedy of his sister befall on his daughter. They need some kind of a trial, an ordeal to let this pair believe that they are truly in love.
Thank God of Light for true love! Looks like the love story between the prince and the princess wouldn’t be so smooth after all. This is not a fairy tale, fairy tales don’t have schemes and conspiracies. Both Oscar and Alanis are people at the top of the power pyramid, their union will impact a lot of people, so the path to their happiness will be a tough one.
31 Penelope Road had suffered through its worst days. The path toward the mansion was lined with flowers, mowed lawn and pruned trees. The butler had supervised the workers himself. He oversaw the polishing of the statues and stone decorations. Workers gave the fountain a new water source, its fancy water patterns glimmering under the sunlight. The whole mansion looked as if it was given a new life.
Similarly, the Young Lady of the Andrew family, Sasha was brimming with life. She’s like a joyful little pet, using her keen sense of smell to locate his brother. She wore a simple dress and a single dragonfly ornament. Young lady didn’t hate wearing the formal dresses, but those would get in the way of her running. If she misses her brother, she would dash out as soon as possible.
Sasha had already past the age of bedtime stories, the duchess had also advised against staying in her brother’s room at night. It was unfortunate, but Young Lady understood why it was necessary. In comparison, her brother’s lack thereof seemed preposterous, having a tryst with Her Imperial Highness at a place like Sabac. He was even summoned by the Ministry of Justice! Sasha’s good mood was utterly spoiled by the rumors. And her brother? He locked himself in the study for an unknown reason!
Sasha was impatient. She felt that her brother no longer cherish her like he used to. She swore to gods before she barge into the study, if big brother was writing love letter to that princess, she’d tear the letter to pieces.
"Big brother, can you tell me what masterpiece you’re writing, don’t avoid me, I know you prepared a lot of papers and ink." That was Sasha’s first sentence after she managed to muscle her way in.
Oscar was ecstatic about his sister’s arrival. This little creature had been peeping inside for a few days. She managed to wait until now before barging in, which shows her improvement in self-control.
"I’m writing a memoir." Oscar replied flatly, but his recent moods had been tremoring hard, like his quill.
Sasha couldn’t believe that was the answer. She pushed her big brother in front of a mirror.
"Look! Look at yourself! If I recall correctly Your Highness is only 15 years old! Gods! Memoir? Not even our dear father got started on that at his age!"
"Sasha, do you know? For the past few days I kept thinking about the past, with you, at the Ministry of Justice, in the prison at Damorga. Oh! Memory! It’s such a weird thing, sometimes it’s like fine wine with its sweet, rich flavor if people would stop and enjoy them. Other times it’s like poison, you drank a little by accident, and pain and sadness would drill into your bones." Oscar’s expression when he sank into his memories was so lonely.
A lot of thoughts came up to Young Lady after she heard her brother’s speech. Compared to what she cared about, the hellish experience her brother endured must be unforgettable. Her big brother may be 15 years old, but she believed that he was more mature than a lot of other people.
Sasha tucked herself in her brother’s lap. She didn’t know how to comfort him, she thought any word would sound pale if she said them. Big brother’s sacrifice isn’t something that can be remedied with a few simple sentences. Sasha held back the tears in her eyes, she knew they would only upset her big brother even more. She had to find something else to say.
"I… I thought you were writing love letters this whole time."
Oscar held his sister’s head, confused. Why would she think that?
"Oh, Sasha! Are you dreaming? It’s bright out there! I’ve never written something like that, besides, to whom am I writing them? You must be joking."
Sasha was still a little doubtful, "Aren’t you going to express your love to Her Imperial Highness? Haven’t you already courted her intimately in Sabac Manor?"
Oscar didn’t think he admired Her Imperial Highness that way. Yes, he had intensely savored her physically, but he thought that was an inevitable reaction after a week of lack of contact with women. He was very aware of the princess’ urge toward him, but he doesn’t know Alanis well, he only started being acquainted with her when they were intimate. The events when they was young was completely ignored by him.
"Oh, the princess? I don’t have that kind of feelings for her, even though she really is beautiful. However, I’m curious, how do you know I was with the princess at the Sabac Manor?"
Sasha felt slightly faint. Her silly big brother had not even understood the amount of trouble he was in.
"Gods have mercy! The whole Dublin already knew, in a few days the whole empire will know, and in a few days more the whole Westland will know! This is a Imperial Scandal, Scandal! Big brother, do you know what that means? Oh God of Light! Why is big brother so obtuse? Any unwed lady in Sabac Manor would provoke gossips, not to mention The Princess of Titan!"
Oscar couldn’t understand it. He didn’t do anything at the Sabac Manor, but maybe he had troubled Her Imperial Highness. He should apologize to her, even though she was the one who invited him, but things like these are probably better off if the man said it.
Oscar didn’t realize the magnitude of the problem. He thought it was a misunderstanding among the nobles, he thought The King could just appear personally and clarify things. The ‘accident’ that happened in the prison of the Ministry of Justice should have been a secret, and Alanis had already drove the guards away when she entered, so the boy shouldn’t need to worry about gossips like this anymore. Right now, all his energy was focused on writing his memoir. It was difficult to put into words even though he has had an education by the most renowned scholar of Westland, he felt he’s still lacking knowledge.
The boy dismissed his sister quickly with a small trinket. That little thing should be able to keep her happy for a while. He returned to his seat, staring at the paper in front of him. Words and sentences on it contained the ten years of Oscar’s prison life.
O’Neil Andrew Morisette once again dropped his gaze to the first sentence of his memoir.
"Some memories are like clouds in a sunny day, floating gently in the people’s mind palace. Some others are like a thunderstorm, pounding at hearts with intentions of malice."
Light Calendar Year 776 on the 17th day of the 10th month, Damorga Prison warden Lieutenant Moranzo Hanning checked in a noble inmate personally.
The kid was special. Lieutenant understood that the crime that was charged upon the kid was not something a child could do, but he did do it, and he didn’t think there was anything wrong with it.
This child had a special meaning to Lieutenant Hanning, his father agreed to personally donate ten thousand golden Tis* every year to the prison if he made sure the boy was given a treated well. Lieutenant Moranzo Hanning considered for a long while, but had already accepted the proposal when he saw the boy. It’s only helping him to look after his child.
O’Neil Andrew Morisette didn’t understand what had happened to him, he was only five. He knew he was persecuted, but he didn’t know why. The ministers in the Ministry of Justice kept spewing words he didn’t understand, and no one even bothered to explain to him.
The boy found himself locked in a room full of steel bars. His meals and his bed were terrible, but he didn’t whine about it at the guards outside, he didn’t plan to talk to those mean spirited people. It was dark and lonely, to the point that even seeing a fly could bring joy to him for a while. One day, he was brought to a hall. The boy found himself bathing in sunlight, as well as meeting with his Aunt Annie. Aunt Annie heard some unintelligible words from the ministers and fainted. Oscar felt in and out of his body at that point, he didn’t have the mental capability to think properly, and the sunlight pricked his eyes. He was searching for his sister in the crowd, bt gave up after looking for a while to no avail. Where is Sasha? Shouldn’t she be okay now? Why did she not come and visit me?
In his drowsiness, he was loaded onto the prison carriage. He didn’t notice the difference, he asked the soldiers around him, "Where are we going? Are we going home?
The only sound that answered him was the sound of steel bars closing.
The distance between Dublin and Damorga wasn’t far, it was only six days. The boy had travelled further than this. Having just moved to Dublin, to him, this road leads to his hometown.
There weren’t many guards escorting him, obviously, they’ve been given some benefits to not harm him. They’ve unlocked his shackles, sometimes they even let the Devil’s spawn walk around the camp.
Oscar knew he could no longer go home. He was shocked, but he was even more puzzled. He was puzzled how those people could take away his right to go home, he was puzzled why they won’t let him visit Sasha. Sasha must be crying, she must be really sad.
The boy was demoralized day after day. He didn’t know how long it’s been since he last smiled. When a fortress appeared amidst the morning mist, the guards told him they’re arriving at their destination, and the boy just nodded with his eyes staring into blankness.
Oscar wasn’t overwhelmed by the whole prison saga. He sank into his own imagination. Since there’s no one who could talk to him, Oscar talked to himself. He couldn’t see Sasha, so he prayed for her. Sasha liked fairy tales, so he weaved countless beautiful stories in his mind. This peculiar child, his optimism and fortitude had kept his innocence and imagination intact.
However, those soon fade away too. Oscar had heard the roars from the Devil of the deepest Hell, walking through the dark fortress had him mustering all his courage.
The boy knew he would stay in this place for a long time. He couldn’t accept that. When the deepest, darkest stone door in that depth of hell croaked open in front of him, he finally cried. He clutched at the door tightly, he didn’t want to go in, that boundless darkness would devour him whole, both body and soul. The doubts and the unwillingness he had harbored bursted out in the form of biting and kicking anyone who gets close to him. Little Oscar prayed for his ancestor’s forgiveness as the Andrew’s men would only bleed, not cry. He just couldn’t stop the tears and the fear from flooding him.
The heavy stone door finally closed behind the child. Darkness swarmed him like a hungry beast. Oscar didn’t give up, he pounded at the door with craze as he yelled until he’s all out of strength.
The dungeon returned to silence, Oscar sensed a sliver of light from behind him. Afraid it might be a beast’s glowing eyes, he slowly turned his head.
Candlelight! There’s a candle lamp in the dungeon! Oscar dashed at the shaky fire, worried that it might go out at any time.
The boy saw a tiny bed beside the lamp that might be his. He laid down on the bed. It was cold and wet. He handled the fire with care and muttered his mother’s and sister’s names. Even though they are far away from him, he still hoped to get courage from them.
When he woke up, the candle was still burning. He knew somebody had changed it for him, and there’s a tray of food on his bedside. Oscar wanted to wash his face, and of course, it’d be nice to also have some tooth-cleaning powder.
Something strange attracted Oscar’s attention. There’s another tray at the entrance to the dungeon, but it’s empty. Evidently, someone or something else had finished it. Oscar retreated to his faint light. He realized there’s some other thing in the dungeon. He was scared, because he didn’t hear a sound. He was scared of wherever the light couldn’t reach.
There was no way to tell time in the dungeon. Oscar had lost count of the duration he had been in there. As his scaredness turned into boredness, he started to become more curious about the thing that hid in the dark. He knew there was a pool in the dungeon, he had heard it being flushed out occasionally, only to be refilled not long after. There were times when he felt like he wanted to go near the pool, but there’s always this feeling of horror surrounding it, as if it’s a warning to him. Sometimes, Oscar even think the pressure would suffocate him if he got too close.
The chubby boy didn’t lose a lot of weight, his meals were specially designed, the warden had promised his father to take care of his health. However, he was only 5 years old. There’s only a candle lamp and several humongous rats as his neighbor. Many a time he would wake from his dreams in despair, his weeping kept the family of rats scrambling.
Oscar was woken up again. He dreamt that he was playing with his mother at the flowering shrubs when suddenly she was caught by the stems of the lily flowers. She asked him for help, but Oscar realized he was running further away from her. He yelled for her, but her face disappeared behind the shrubs.
It matters no more! Let the darkness take over me! Oscar got off the bed and walked toward the darkness decisively.
There was no resistance this time. He approached the edge of the pool and finally could see clearly. The stagnant pool was filled with thick, intertwining chains that was tightly locked onto the six pillars around the pool. In the center of it all, where the chains converged, was a man.
The process of making friends with the man was pretty ghastly. The first time Oscar saw him, he shrieked in surprise. The man had his hair let down to his waist, his lower body was wholly underwater, and the pool had a stench that would make a grown man retch. The boy didn’t know if he’s even alive.
Oscar eventually deduced he must be alive, because his meal tray would become empty every day. The boy was so curious about the mysterious prisoner, he went into the center of the pool to touch him. The result of that satisfied the boy, as the man never moved, just like if he was dead.
Getting to know someone is a long process. After several attempts, Oscar was certain his ‘roommate’ is as dangerous as a dove. What a relief! This is a living human! That’s rare these days! Finally having someone to talk to, the boy introduced himself politely and respectfully, as well as nicknaming the man ‘Mr. Undead".
The rest of their accompaniment was relatively simple. Mr. Undead had never replied to Oscar, but Oscar didn’t mind. He kept telling Mr. Undead his story, his family, mother, sister, his room, the rats which he nicknamed ‘the Woods family’, how he spent his free time bullying the Woods family, he even told his ‘roommate’ about his crime. The boy didn’t think it was a punishable offense, and he reckoned his roommate would agree.
Talking is too boring! O’Neil Andrew Morisette is an observant child, he asked the dungeon guards to send a message to the warden, asking him for more bathing water.
That’s how the warden is, he’s always responsive to the youngster’s request. He also started to become impressed by with kid, that’s definitely not what people call "the young do not understand despair*." This Andrew kid really does have a courage beyond his peers.
Oscar would help his roommate scrub his body every week. He could feel his roommate’s strength with his taut muscles and countless scars on his body. The youngster knew that he must be a powerful knight, just like those warriors protecting his family, they all deserve respect.
The boy really like his roommate’s long black hair, he had not known any hair as black and as shiny as his. But even more so, he admired Mr. Undead’s skin. It was of the most beautiful color, a faint yellow like the wheat field in the fall season, not even the scars could disrupt his skin’s luster. Oscar really liked helping his roommate scrub his body, he even started humming his mother’s songs when he does that.
Time must be flying by. Everyday, Oscar would find new topics to tell Mr. Undead. In response, his roommate’s face also had some minor changes. Oscar thought Mr. Undead had shown him some of his subtler expressions, although he was not too sure.
One day, the relationship between them changed fundamentally. Oscar was very thankful to the person who wanted to have him killed, because if it weren’t for him, Mr. Undead would never have entertained him.
Thirteen was slightly troubled recently. This little kid kept harassing him. He witnessed the change from the initial fearfulness to the current enjoyment, he’s got to admit, he was impressed with how easily the kid took it all. The kid was about five, at most six years old, but he kept trying to adapt to this horrific environment, and now he started looking for entertainment. At the thought, Thirteen felt slightly sad for him. The chubby kid’s biggest entertainment seemed to be the Woods family.
He’s the strongest assassin of the Westland, he had never missed his mark with his target, some of his assassination even got recorded in the history of some countries. Even though those record only revealed the smallest of details, the people who had read the descriptions were always shocked by the strength and meticulousness of the assassins.
Thirteen really wanted to ignore the chubby kid, especially when this silly boy compared Thirteen’s penis to his own. Thirteen had to admit, the Westlanders generally have bigger tools than his Eastlander’s heritage, but that doesn’t mean he could endure being teased by a kid.
The King of Assassins was so irritated, but now someone else is making him peeved. Dinner tonight is late by 10 whole minutes. It didn’t matter, he wasn’t hungry, what’s even more annoying was how crappy the meal delivery dude acted, his behavior was a disgrace to the assassin community.
"Can you bring the food to the pool? I don’t feel that well, I don’t wanna move."
Oscar’s gaze snapped toward Thirteen, shocked. He didn’t believe that was his voice. The boy was dumbfounded. Has it been a month? Or was it two months? This man who had never opened his eyes spoke!
The man in the guard uniform was also a little stunned. He didn’t know if the prisoner can request for that, but seeing the chains constricting Thirteen, it didn’t feel too much. He’s pretending to be the meal delivery guy, it should be the same whether he deliver it to the door or deliver it to the pool.
The guard set down the tray to the side of the pool, his gaze never left his target. The chubby boy stared at all this with a bewildered look. The guard slowly moved his hand to the dagger hidden in his sleeves, but right at that moment, something black flashed in front of his eyes.
It’s been awhile since Thirteen had killed. He looped the chain around the idiot assassin’s neck. As he felt his prey’s pulse through the steel chain, he dragged the ‘guard’ into the pool and crushed his esophagus before he could even scream.
The King of Assassins was very satisfied with the shock he caused to the boy. He’s still not rusty with his craft, the chains were close to soundless in his hands.
"Can you say something else? Please! You have a nice voice!" Oscar didn’t pay attention to the dead person in the pool, he’s more interested with the living one. He just wanted to make sure. If his roommate can speak, life would be so much more interesting in the future!
Thirteen was startled by the kid! What is he made of? He had just killed in front of the boy, but he didn’t even blink, the boy was only interested in whether he can still speak! Recalling his own past, he remembered needing a long time before he completely got used to blood and death. But this boy? He seemed to be immune to those naturally. Compiling his observation of the kid, Thirteen reckoned the boy would be an even better assassin than he is, his affinity was uncomparable.
The King of Assassins started conversing with the youngster. Obeying Thirteen, Oscar set his own dinner in front of the Woods family’s entrance. The ‘head of the family’, a huge rat leapt out of its lair, smelled the food and started nibbling on it. The other family members of the Woods family peered from inside the entrance, squeezing at the small hole. They had planned to wait until the head of the family had finished before they enjoy the food. However, the family head’s luck ran out, it was deceived by the chubby boy. Like other lab rats who were sacrificed elsewhere in experiments, it screeched after he was satiated, and rolled over dead.
The poor Woods family retreated and shrank into the depth of their lair, shivering.
Oscar finally understood and thanked Thirteen politely. He knew he was almost murdered. After the whole month of being tortured with silence, this boy’s mind had sharpened, opposite of Thirteen’s assumption.
Oscar sat beside the pool, his feet kicking the dirty water gleefully. The King of Assassins steeped himself casually in the pool. He had just killed someone, and the pudgy boy respects him, all these had made him ecstatic. The body of the idiot assassin floated in between the two.
The two freaks started their friendship under this strange environment.