Titan Beneath the Heavens
Chapter 125: Fourteenth Episode: Chapter 7
Chapter 125: Fourteenth Episode: Chapter 7
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The sunshine after the storm wasn't as bright as imagined, it was chilly, and the ground was still wet. A stream glimmered with a golden glow meandered through the marshy land which turned at an angle as it reaches a slope.
"One, two, three… six…" six dairy cows stood beside the stream, lapping at the cold water, their tails swishing.
Raindrops were still dripping off of the eave of a farmhouse into the manger, emitting a monotonous pitter-patter sound. A ray of sunshine squeezed through the cracks on the farmhouse gate and landed on a sleeping young man. He was snoring softly, the corner of his mouth curled slightly upward, as if having a sweet dream.
Staring at the empty horsebarn, Paul and Shaw shared a glance before they simultaneously sighed.
"Is there any difference if we'd left her here or if we'd killed her?" it was Black Devil's first experience of feeling melancholy.
"Don't look at me like that!" Paul turned away impatiently, "you were awake too, and you didn't stop her! Besides, Aya couldn't make it anyway! She needs medication and rest, none of which we were able to provide. Her diverting the pursuers was really the best option she could've done, there's nothing else to say!"
"Then… then…" Shaw hesitated a little, "How do we explain this to His Highness?"
The King of Sins kicked a stone away furiously, "Do you know something? That kid inside!" Paul pointed at the farmhouse behind him, "Sometimes, he could be such an absolute heartless jackass he could stab the God of Light even if he was standing in front of him! But other times, he places friendship more important than anything else in the world! That's why… we should NEVER let him find out about this!"
"But Aya had already disappeared! He's not blind, there's no way he wouldn't notice!"
"Are you an idiot or are you something else?" Paul was somehow more disgusted now, "I was talking about us finding out Aya's motive but not stopping her!"
"Oh…" Black Devil nodded in understanding. He had to admit, he's an expert in killing people, but he's like a newborn when it comes to social affinity.
"What… what if he finds out?"
"I already found out!" Oscar replied as he pushed out the gate, "I wanted to sleep a little more, but you two bulls were just yapping away."
"You… you look scary!" Paul stumbled his words, not out of fear, but he was worried this little guys would do something rash.
"I took two arrows and three sword slices, just a week ago my injury still hadn't form scabs! Would you look happy if you were me?" Oscar didn't even look at Paul when he said that.
The young Prince stared at an undetermined location at a distance. The sunlight projected a golden shine on the side of his face, making his high nose and eyebrow ridges more prominent.
"Let's get on the road then!" Oscar said suddenly, "if we have time for idle chatters here, we might as well make it through this danger zone, I don't want to waste this window of time Aya bought for us!"
Paul lowered his head, but Shaw replied, confused.
"Your Highness! Don't you… don't you want to know where she went?"
Oscar's eyes snapped back, both Paul and Shaw was surprised by his chilly glare.
"Haven't you killed her? Why do you ask?"
With an unspeakable silence and a stomach full of guilt, the three men continued their journey. Oscar kept urging the two assassins on, but he himself stood at the foot of the hill where Aeolia left the three horses for quite a while.
When they finally moved, it was almost noon, Oscar didn't need to walk far before they arrived at a small manor. Black Devil finally saw what Paul described, O'Neil Andrew Morisette was like a crazy but silent mental patient, he killed everyone in the manor, no matter they were men, women, old people, or children. There were more than a dozen of them! These people fell like flies in the dancing flicker of the sword. Seeing their faces, it doesn't seem they noticed anything happening at all.
That's a first! The first time the Imperial Assassin had the urge to throw up after witnessing a bloodbath. He looked toward the King of Assassins for help, but Paul didn't seem like he wanted to stop the Prince.
Bodies of the mistress and the chef maid laid in a pool of crimson blood sloshed across the kitchen floor, creeping past the dining table, and finally stopped spreading.
Oscar sat alone at the dining table, the mistress located by his side, immobile. He was enjoying the food freshly prepared by this body. The meat broth could use a little more time on the fire, but it was still delicious with the beet sauce and freshly baked bread. Paul and Shaw entered, Shaw didn't want to entertain Oscar who was almost psychopathic, he gathered the corpses up, planning to move them to the wine cellar.
Paul approached Oscar, he detected a scent of grilled meat. The super assassin had wanted to enliven the environment, he finally found a topic to do so!
"Hoho! How could you enjoy these alone? let me see what other choices I have!" Paul opened up the oven, filling the kitchen with a meaty fragrance, but it smelled weird! The King of Assassin slammed the oven shut before he could completely make out what it was. He turned around and glared at the Prince, his eyes burning with vehemence and frenzy.
The King of Assassins was trembling, he saw it, even though he opened it only for a split second, he saw it! There was a baby on the baking tray, one that kept its shape but visibly scorched alive!
"The God of Light will punish you! All that you've done will be…"
"Enough!" Oscar interrupted the King of Assassins, "Think about Aeolia, it's still okay if she died, but what if she was caught by the Deiss? Did you think about what she would experience as a woman?"
Words left Paul as he was looking for a response, "But… but you still should do that! They are all innocent! And that baby, what has it done to you!"
Oscar stood up from the dining table. He wiped his mouth with the napkin, as well as his hand, "Paul, it's not as if you have not seen this, no one is innocent!"
Watching as Oscar sauntered out of the dining room, Paul swiped all the utensils onto the ground in a furious rage. Black Devil rushed in as he heard the noise, but Oscar just walked past him, like a lost soul wandering around.
"What happened?" Shaw took in the smashed utensils on the ground, then turned to Paul, who looked defeated.
"There's one more in the oven! Take care of it!" Paul left without pausing. He couldn't stand staying in the room much longer. He had a feeling that Aeolia's leave had took something precious to O'Neil Andrew Morisette.
"One more in the... oven?" Black Devil walked over, confused.
A brief moment after, the sound of retching filled the hall from the kitchen.
The manor fell into silence, the killers of the family moved the corpses into the cellar, they even cleaned up the floors. Lastly, Oscar found a book in the master study named A Taste of Deiss. He referenced the maps included in it and continued his journey with his two silent companions.
Following the red lines on the map, an area was marked out within the borders of Deiss Kingdom. The military occupation zone! The term had eluded the Kingdom's soldiers for so long! Maybe that was why they were so ruthless in their invasion of their neighbors! But now? Things have changed, the Titan soldiers, or what the Deiss soldiers used to call them, the boy scouts, had invaded the southern plains of the Kingdom, pushing toward the final barrier of the southern plains, Alborto.
Lubeaulos Castle, Supreme High Command of the Royal Army, 17, Seraph Avenue, Borensberg, Deiss Kingdom. In the domed hall, all manners of officers stood in front of a map that was carved on the marble floor. They avoided standing on the red zone, instead settled for eyeing it once in a while.
These high-ranking officers stood on both sides of the hall, standing in a neat formation. One side was the Royal Army with their livid-colored uniforms, the other was the newly-inducted National Defense with their black.
There was only a high-backed chair in the center of the hall. The Deiss Regent, Princess Opareal Roulexberg sat on the chair that represented where the capital city was located, and not far in front of her was where the Titan vanguard was headed.
Opareal's brows were tightly knitted together, she couldn't think of any good idea to diffuse the situation, in fact, the red that seeped into her eyes made her so dizzy, she had to turn her eyes away from the ground.
"Let's talk about this."
Getting the cue, General Stanbein stepped forward to address Opareal.
"Your Highness, as shown, the Titans had not stopped their advancement, they seemed to be really intent on occupying the fort at Alborto. The largest Titan cluster is heading toward the fort without stopping, they…"
"I saw that!" Opareal interrupted, "if every single arrow on this map indicates an army, then… Titans would have had six armies sent toward Alborto as one army group."
"That's right!" General Stanbein nodded and pointed at the red arrows, "we're guessing it's their Northern Army Group, specifically their First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth Armies and an Independent Cavalry Brigade of House Steinberger."
Stanbein pointed at the sides of the large troop, "Their Second and Ninth Armies were stationed at Nisos Fortress and Cangaree City respectively, fortifying the west side of the central battlefield, their Seventh Army is still besieging Laneum and fortifying the east side. I have to say, Silver Fox's plan was still flawless at this point."
Opareal already knew all this, she wasn't confident with her plans yet, but she still wanted to try.
"What if… we fight the Titans at the outskirts of the Albortonian Plains, how probable are we to win?"
None of the officers in the hall answered. It wasn't that they didn't know, but they didn't dare to come to a conclusion so easily.
As an old rival of Stanbein, General Rondraisse stood forward, "Your Highness, I wanted to say this… is now really the time to ask that question?"
"Oh?" Opareal turned to General Rondraisse.
"Your Highness, no matter what the outcome of the battle will be, we must stop the Titans at Alborto! Look, there's no more barriers between Alborto and the capital, and we only have three infantry armies, a cavalry army, and two independent cavalry brigades in Alborto. The Titans have the upper hand in number, and their commander is Silver Fox Alan, so…"
"So what?" Opareal saw the hesitation in his eyes.
"So I suggest to have an army of Teutonic Knights support them on the battlefield, that way not only we will have similar amount of military power with the Titans, our cavalry will also outnumber and outperform the Titans."
Rondraisse had just finished his sentence as the officers started whispering among themselves. Some reckoned it was a good idea, others thought it would decrease the defense in the capital, some even thought it would be a catastrophe.
"Stop!" Opareal had had enough. She had thought about it, of course, but the information from the battlefield wasn't enough. As General Rondraisse said, their enemy is Silver Fox Alan, not anyone else, and the cunningness of the old Marshal was infamous throughout the land, who knows what the old fox would do this time?
"Why is our information relay so slow?" Opareal finally caught onto the issue, "I don't understand! Why is the battle happening in our kingdom but we can't get immediate warzone information? Aside from information on the enemy's army that's on our central battlefield right now, we knew nothing about them within our borders!"
"Your Highness!" Duke Einsenstein stepped forward from the National Defense formation in his black uniform adorned with his military badges.
"I think… those slaughterer from Horfansted had a hand in that!" Einsenstein pointed at the military occupation zone.
"Major General Silvio Berrick, his mountain army was transferred from the southern mountains of Titan to the northern battlefield. The army was exceptionally active, sweeping every town on their way here, as well as driving away the fugitives in an organized fashion."
Einsenstein produced a report, "Also, according to this report we've just received, the mountain army is remarkable, the assault operation the Ninth SS Independent Cavalry Brigade launched last night resulted in total failure. The command center had lost communication with the First Brigade that carried out the operation, they were thought to have been wiped out!"
"Ah…" Opareal's hand covered her forehead, she's running out of ideas, but she still held her back straight. The highest ranking officials in the Kingdom were watching her, so she couldn't express anything that betrays her vulnerability. She needed the soldiers to believe in her, to believe that her Kingdom will never falter!
"General Rondraisse!" Opareal called out.
"Yes, Your Highness!"
"Lead the Teutonic Knights First Army. You will be the commander of the southern battlefield, and will be in charge of the whole operations and the logistics of it!"
General Rondraisse almost leapt in front of the regent kneeling, this was the opportunity he had been waiting for a long time.
"Your Highness, I will not disappoint you!"
Opareal nodded lightly. Lightly touching the shoulders of the old general with the King's scepter, she officiated the order, the only thing left to do was the paperwork.
Looking at his old rival, Stanbein shook his head slightly. If he already knew his enemy would be Alan, why would he want to take him head on? What is Rondraisse thinking? Would Alan plan an attack he had no confidence in winning? Stanbein reckoned, all the possible countermeasures Deiss Kingdom would take had been taken into account by the Silver Fox. Maybe he even prepared something huge for the hastily assembled Teutonic Knights assistance.
Stanbein let out a little sneer, but his crafty expression didn't escape Einsenstein's eyes. Normally he wouldn't want to be involved in the intrigue between the Generals, but not this time. With the Titans at their doorstep, he wouldn't allow them to sabotage each other.
"Your Highness!" the former high constable, current commander of the National Defense stepped forward again, "Due to the disappearance of the Ninth SS Independent Cavalry Brigade, I think… we can mobilize the Fifth SS Independent Cavalry Brigade from the west."
"That's even better!" Opareal nodded again.
"Hmph!" Stanbein wasn't impressed. War is not a matter of quantity! It's not about having more people in a war!
"In that case, our vanguard will turn into this." Opareal stood up from her chair, pointing at the outskirts of Alborto Fortress, "Three infantries, two cavalries, three independent cavalry brigades. We'll fight against the 54,000 Titan soldiers with 60,000 of our own…"
"That's right!" General Rondraisse stepped onto the region marked with the Titans, "Out cavalry would definitely outnumber them, their infantry would be flanked by our armies, and I believe our Teutonic Knights can definitely suppress their wolfriders!"
"Don't forget!" General Stanbein interrupted suddenly, "There's a reason why Marshal Alan would wantonly wipe out the military occupation zone! Even though our tactic of utilizing the walls and clearing the fields was effective against the Titan, it seems now, that Marshal Alan might have hidden things in the empty spaces near the border."
Rondraisse still wanted to argue, but Opareal had appeared between him and Stanbein.
"That's it for today!" Opareal glanced at the two reliable generals, then strode out of the hall without casting another look into the domed hall.
Black uniforms left after the Princess. As the leaders of the National Defense, they are loyal fighters assembled to fight for the Roulexberg Royalty. These officers who came from nobility, as well as their soldiers, only had one purpose, that is to act in the best interest of the royals even if they die. Because of that, they became one powerful force outside the jurisdiction of the High Command.
It was only after they took off in their carriage that Einsenstein dared to hold his wife's hands, but this almost-king couldn't shake the feeling of slight depression.
"I can tell… you're concerned. Are you still worrying about last night?"
Opareal nodded. She tried to pull away from her husband's grip in discomfort to his showcase of affection.
"Don't." Einsenstein held a little firmer, he didn't want his wife to avoid him forever, "Reela, look at me! I know… I know you're fond of O'Neil Andrew Morisette, stop giving yourself an excuse!"
Princess Opareal sat down, unable to refute that claim. In that moment, when her eyes met her husband's, Opareal lost her will to come up with a denial, she knew it wasn't fair to Einsenstein.
"Reela, I understand you, you desire love, you desire affection!" Einsenstein sighed, caressing the face of the woman he loves, "but please, wake up! I know you're hesitating, you're worried, you're suffering, but look around you! The Titan army had burst through our front door, and they are bullying your civilians! O'Neil Andrew Morisette had also betrayed you, turning your wedding night into a slaughterhouse! The roads on which he escaped laid the bodies of your loyal knights, he had chosen his path, and you… you should walk on your own correct path!"
Opareal exhaled silently, "Still… no news of him?"
Eisenstein gripped his wife's hands tightly, trying very hard to contain his jealousy and lamentation, "I will send for you the first thing after I receive the news of his death!"
As if surprised, both pair of hands parted really quickly. Sasha stepped back in awkward silence, putting some space between her and the handsome young man in front of her.
Duke Dortmund Andrew Nedgabel stared in amazement, not expecting the scene to have happened. It was apparent his daughter had just cried, and her behavior suggested that she was close with the young man!
"Did I come at a bad time?" Duke Andrew entered the hall, giving the young man a size-up. He seemed to remember seeing the young man somewhere, but he couldn't place a finger on it.
"Duke Andrew, Sir, good afternoon to you!" Viscount Ferdinand greeted him with a formal gesture, "Let me introduce myself, I am Minsk Drakas Ferdinand, my grandfather Duke Kachev Drakas Ferdinand asked me to bring you and your family his sincerest regards."
"Ah! It's a pleasure!" Dortmund nodded, "Sit, young man, and thank you for the greetings. How is your grandfather doing?"
Minsk waited until Duke Andrew had taken his seat before sitting, "He is well, thank you for asking. He was better before becoming the Cabinet Chancellor."
"Why did you say so?" Dortmund pretended to be interested, but in reality? Nothing good comes from dealing with Kachev Drakas Ferdinand!
"Oh, my grandfather's body had not been the greatest, and the massive workload did a number on him, so…" Minsk shrugged in helplessness.
"Duke Kachev is a role model for the ministers of the empire. You should be proud of him, young man."
"Yes, I am proud of my family!"
Dortmund smiled slightly, "What about your mother? Is she well?"
Immediately, the young man's face darkened. His mother is the Emperor's lover, everyone in the Titan Empire knew that. He only felt shame toward her.
"My mother… is still the same." Minsk Drakas Ferdinand was uneasy at this point. He realized Duke Andrew wasn't really interested in him.
"So… My lord, I shall take my leave. My visit here today was to extend the invitation to you in place of my grandfather to a private feast. Here is the invitation letter."
"Ah, thank you for the trip!" Dortmund took the invitation letter lined with golden embellishments.
Minsk turned toward Young Lady Sasha, but he realized Sasha was a little far away, stopping him from speaking more.
"Sir, Young Lady, House Ferdinand will be looking forward for your attendance." Minsk gave his superior a bow, and left led by an officer of Narcissus Knights.
Looking at the back of Viscount Ferdinand, Dortmund sighed, "Sasha, come here." He opened his arms at his young daughter.
Sasha's tears burst out in her father's broad chest, "Brother Oscar… Is he no longer coming back?"
Dortmund smiled, "Did the viscount tell you this?"
Sasha looked into his father eyes, "How did you know?"
Duke Andrew winked at his daughter, "it's not difficult to guess. I can see that young man likes you, so naturally he wouldn't want Oscar to come back to you."
Sasha had a sudden air of seriousness, "Father, Viscount Ferdinand is not that kind of person!"
"Thank God of Light!" Dortmund led his daughter to the chairs, "My girl! Thank goodness! You call him Viscount Ferdinand, that means you two are just normal friends."
"What are… I don't understand what you mean, father."
"What I mean is, my corolla! It would be in your best interest to keep a distance from him! Better yet… You have to leave Dulin today!" Duke Andrew was serious.
"Father! I don't understand! Why do I have to leave Dulin?" Sasha was shocked.
Dortmund held his daughter's shoulder, this lady is the treasure of the whole family!
"Sasha, you've always been an obedient child, listen to me! In a little while, Ferry will bring you and Countess Antonia away from here to a safe place. Major General Reynold will receive you then, and he will arrange for everything you need."
Sasha kept shaking her head, "Father, of course I will obey you, but I am no longer a child! Could you not at least tell me why I have to leave Dulin? Besides, who's Major General Reynold?"
"Reynold Hewitt Preston!" Duke Andrew released his knitted brows, "Have you forgotten? He's the grandson of Marshal Alan, and has a position in the ranks of our knights."
"Father!" Sasha objected, "That's not what I meant, I don't care who Reynold is! I only wanted to know why you are sending-"
"Sasha!" Dortmund stopped her, "Look at me, and tell me the truth! What else did the Viscount Minsk Drakas Ferdinand say to you?"
Sasha turned away, "Why do you ask?"
"Answer me!" Dortmund shook her shoulders,utilizing his parental authority.
"He… he said he didn't want to see me being sad, and that he would protect me forever… something like that!"
"As expected!" Dortmund sneered, his cold expression caused his daughter to shrink away in surprised.
"Is… is there a problem, father?" Sasha asked timidly. She didn't want to bring up Viscount Ferdinand, she had already said she wasn't interested in him, but the viscount didn't seem to know what rejections mean.
"Yes, there is. And it's a serious issue!" Duke Andrew let go of his daughter and sat on the side, "Just as I thought, someone, or some people in our house, would rather see you together with that viscount."
"Father! Are you teasing me?" Sasha was visibly shaken, "You have got to tell me what happened!"
"Promise me, Sasha, do not bring this up with anyone else!" Dortmund nodded seeing his daughter's response, "Alright, listen. Before this, when the house was discussing about Oscar's abduction, I realized those conservative geezers and troublemaking delinquents kept silence, coupled with the flaws that appeared in the military system in Dulin and the appearance of people who shouldn't have! All this indicated someone in our House was involved in something dangerous, like betrayal and conspiracy!"
Sasha's mouth dropped wide open. She couldn't believe what was being told to her, but it was the leader of the House who was telling her this.
"So... what you mean is that... the failure of the rescue operation... is because of one of our own?"
Duke Andrew nodded lightly.
"They should go to hell!" Sasha jumped up from the sofa, "What are they thinking? Father, you should look for this person as soon as possible, and then..."
"My child!" Duke Andrew hugged his disconcerted daughter in his arms, "Don't think about these things, your brother Oscar is still fighting to survive, and I am too in Dulin, what you need to do is to leave here as soon as possible! Not only that, you should only trust me, Lady Antonia, Ferry, and Major General Reynold Hewitt Preston right now. Aside from the few of us, don't listen to anybody else, and don't think about anything else."
"No! No!" Sasha struggled to get away from her father's grip, "I don't want to leave you! What will you do if I left? If none of those people were trustworthy, wouldn't you be left alone in Dulin?"
"Listen to me Sasha!" Duke Andrew roared, but his daughter only shook her head violently.
"Alright, fine! You stubborn girl, when did you turn into little Oscar?" Dortmund closed his distance with Sasha and whispered in her ears.
"Figg?" Young Lady Sasha had already squealed in joy.
"My God, Sasha!" Dortmund covered his daughter's mouth, "You're still so careless! Be quiet! Shush!"
Sasha giggled embarrassedly, and settled into her father's arms.
"Okay, now, you should feel better!" Dortmund looked at the entrance as he said, where Ferry was already waiting, "Okay Sasha, go now! The next time we meet will be when the whole family come together again!"
"Would brother Oscar be there?" Sasha asked hopefully, her blood seemingly frozen in anticipation.
"I promise! Oscar would appear in front of you like an effervescent piglet!"
Sasha jumped in joy, and kissed her father's face. However, her face turned sour almost immediately, who could possibly give a guarantee like that? "Father, please be careful!"
"Of course, haha!" Duke Andrew kissed his beloved daughter goodbye and saw her take leave through the secret path.
Colonel Peter entered the hall and looked at his commander, slightly spaced out. As Duke Andrew's Confidential Secretary, Peter knew this perfectly. If Marshal needed to keep something a secret even from one of his closest officers, a catastrophic event may soon befall them.
"What is the matter, Peter?" Dortmund finally noticed his right hand man standing beside him.
"I have the result!" Colonel Peter opened his document folder, "Narcissus County Front confirmed Lord Berkley from Military Investigation Bureau had passed his daily commitments to assistant in the Eighth Month, and the bureau had not had communication with him since. There is something else..."
"Is it hard to say?" Dortmund smiled.
"Um... yes. It's about Count Racheff Andrew Nedgabel."
"Tell me!" The commander of Narcissus's face fell. If his analysis is correct, he will be met with a threat from one of his bloodline.
"Lord Racheff Andrew Nedgabel had already lost touch with the bureau for half a month, but his department had never reported this to higher authority. It was only discovered when Lady Celia asked about Racheff's whereabout!"
"Peter, tell me, what do you think of those self-proclaimed progressive and conservative in our House?" Dortmund asked suddenly.
"The progressive..." Colonel Peter gave the question a long thought, this question involves the deep-rooted conflicts within House Andrew, "I think the ideas of the progressives would be more realistic. As the economic developments of the people and the war stabilizes, people would of course want a wider, better living space, so the expansion the progressive suggested would attract young people who wanted these. After all, to those young people, armed family would sound too rigid for their ideals no matter what."
"What about the conservative?" Duke Andrew nodded as he spoke.
Colonel Peter had let go of his reservations, his thought pattern was also under the influence of both parties, "The conservative are even easier to understand! There will always be a group of people who are afraid of changes. Some older people and the devout believers of the church's teachings would definitely not wish Andrew to defy the God's will, so they only want the Persians and the Morisette Dynasty to maintain the status quo!"
"It basically boils down to one thing." Colonel Peter didn't mind concluding his thoughts, "The difference between the conservative and the progressive lies in their attitude toward the imperial household. The former think it should stay as it is now, and the latter think it is imperative to escape from the control. That's all!"
"That's exactly right! Very concise!" Dortmund almost wanted to applaud his Confidential Secretary. He pulled his secretary to his side, "Peter, do you know why the representatives of both the progressive and conservative sides, Berkley Andrew Nedgabel and my son would disappear at the same time?"
"They... they must have reached some sort of agreement!" Colonel Peter dared not say too much, he was trying to avoid using the word 'betrayal'.
"No, no! Their ideals and wants were fundamentally different, so it's impossible they reached an understanding and agreement!" Duke Andrew kept shaking his head, and as he finishes his face turned into something that can only be described as vicious.
"Do you know something? I am very sure, both representatives are working together, and this collaboration is only to ensure their survival, because there is someone who could turn the whole chessboard around. He would be able to break the current relationship between the imperial family and ours, and at the same time strengthen the hold the imperial family has on us! The benefits to both parties were threatened because of him, so they will definitely work together! I should've realized sooner!"
Dortmund held his head in his hands. He lamented slightly about pushing Oscar onto the front end of the intrigue as someone with such a special identity. Obviously, most people in the House was not ready for his youngest son's double identity!
"Marshal!" Peter's voice caught Dortmund's attention, "I have followed your instruction, and summoned the guards from Swan Hill Castle and Kenshin Palace. They have already been placed in all corners of the manor. Unless it was the Emperor himself who wanted your life, no one would be able to even threaten your safety."
"I'm not worried about this!" Dortmund waved his hand dismissively, "My life is worth nothing. Even if I die, the power in the house would still be passed down according to my will. I'm only concerned about my young son, my little Oscar! He is in the center of the power struggle. If he could return safely, none of those plotting would work out!"
"So... what can we do now?" Peter was lost, unlike he had ever experienced before.
"We wait!" Duke Andrew squeezed out the words with difficulty.
"W-w-wait?" The little stammerer stumbled on the words with even more difficulty, "How, how, how long more should we, should we wait?
Ricky rolled his eyes, it was a chore talking to this pretty lady, "What else can we do? The water level of the streams is high right now, if we just choose one waterway to stop, what if the water ebbs and we get stranded?"
"I-I-I'm only, only asking!" The little stammerer felt a little misunderstood. The ship was full of injured people, and the past few days, there were only her and Mr. Edward the Scissorhands taking care of everyone. She wanted only to get rid of their pursuers, and get as far away from Deiss as she could.
"Hey! Little girl!" Ricky propped himself up onto a sitting position, the stammerer supported him hastily, "Don't worry, alright? The Deiss ships could never catch up to us, and they could never stop us! Besides, the upstream of Laufenkamen River is wide, it's even harder for land troops to get close to us. We need to only stake out for a few days before we'll arrive at the jurisdiction of the Olliers Kingdom. From Olliers, we'll sail into the sea and we'll be able to go home through Don River!"
"Oh!" The stammerer nodded, her eyes pinkish. That was for a sailor who didn't make it. These few days, she had seen too many deaths.
"Bring me to the deck, I wanna walk around a bit." Ricky caressed the girl's head, as if he was her father.
She blinked a few times before supporting the liar extraordinaire out of his cabin. The two stayed very close to each other, the man's breath circling her neck, it's as if his musky smell and the ticklish feeling it brings were trying to drill into her heart.
Laufenkamen River showed its charm in the silence of the night, its indigo-colored waves flowing soundlessly as the night draft breezed, bringing the fresh scents of aquatic plants and muddy riverbank. The night sky was reflected in the quiet water, shining luminously like diamonds. The river wore the star lights on its back, forming a mesmerizing strip of light on the surface of the river. The first quarter moon shone its brilliance, its projection on the water as sharp as a knife.
"Such beautiful stars!"
Ricky felt a little weird. This was her first sentence that is not choppy…
"Ow! Ssss..." The liar extraordinaire's wound was hit!
"You, you-you're laughing at, at me!"
"I did not!" Ricky explained.
Ricky looked at the girl's timid eyes. He didn't know what she was trying to avoid, or what she looked forward to. He only remembered the girl's silhouette, she was busy on the ship, yet she still tried to entertain the discouraged men with smiles and her funny accent. She seemed to have been by his side for several days! So then... Ricky realized the beautiful girl had closed her eyes, her lips luscious. He leaned in, anticipating the pressing of their lips.
"Deiss army! They're here!" The barrelman on top of the mast yelled.
The immobile ship immediately leapt into action, even the lips parted before they get a chance to meet.
Sailors poured out of each walkway, pulling the ropes hung on the mast, raising the damaged sail. The ship shot forward as archers and javelin throwers fall into their formation in the violent swaying of the ship. They stared vehemently into the distance, the starry skies had broke into shades of red and purple, those are the pursuers in Deiss warships propelled by sails and oars.
Ricky smiled bitterly and brushed aside the hair of the girl in his arms.
"These Deiss hyenas just won't give up!"
The girl responded to the older man with her sweet smile.
Dark clouds spreaded all over the sky as the moon corona traced bright silver outlines on them.
Birds soared through the sky as the tree branches quivered, sending the leaves into a cacophony of swishing. In this muted night, all the sounds and sceneries were colored with a layer of sadness, as if it was the only scenery suitable to end this tragic story.
The Deiss caught up, they closed into the woods carefully. The army dogs barked, and the Deiss Warriors lunged out of their hiding place.
The grayback wolfdog circled the body. It was a little disappointed, there was no resistance, nor was there biting that it hoped for, this target was just lying there without a sound.
The Deiss Warriors got to the site, and flipped the body with their shoes.
Aeolia opened her eyes slowly. She saw the sky, it was so, so magnificent!
"Where's the medic? I need a medic here!" Harriens yelled into the woods. The commanding officer lifted Aeolia's chin, smiling dirtily, "Don't die on me, you're my savior after all."