Titan Beneath the Heavens
Chapter 155: Eighteenth Episode: Chapter 1
Chapter 155: Eighteenth Episode: Chapter 1
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
A grey sun hung in the sky. The forest was shrouded in ethereal white mist. The towering forest canopy was immensely dense. The closer the dry branches were to the ground, the sparser they became. The road started to rise from Burton Province's provincial boundary area towards the higher grounds. The mountains gradually buried the hills and valleys behind them. When one arrives at the geographical coordinate of Rylie Plateau, the sky appears to be within arm's reach and everything under the heavens appears to be magnified.
The great form of the mountains in the distance blocked the warm and moist current from the southern ocean. The cold current from the north would gather here and thick lumps of clouds clearly warned the people that countless snowstorms were brewing.
A winding road meandered from the valley of the dense forest towards the great precipitous mountains. A group of guards in disordered formation was hurrying along discreetly. Perhaps the soldiers were already used to the crazy Faran Princess. It was because of Her Great Royal Highness, who was overly paranoid, that the entire procession had to rest for the sixth, seventh, ninth and even the tenth time.
O'Neil Andrew Morisette was adamant in not explaining this matter to his soldiers and only told his men that there was a pregnant woman in the procession. At that moment, the special soldiers would ask, "Why should we bring a pregnant woman on this journey?" The Marshal shot a glare and said, "Forces commence patrol!" The soldiers would then disperse gloomily. However, they were not one to fuss over tiny matters. They left it after grumbling a little each day.
There was, however, a matter that couldn't be forgotten just like that! In a few out-of-the-way uninhabited regions in the northwestern part of the Rylie plateau, battle casualties emerged in the Military Intelligence Special Combat First Brigade.
This was a matter that occurred half a month ago. To be more precise, it was a military force patrol from half a month ago.
Military force patrol is a military term, which means an armed patrol conducted outside the area where the war is waged. The patrol unit could conduct a military intervention in response to the particular area. It was also like that this time. Two companies of special warriors embarked on their journey early in the morning. One of the units encountered an ambush in one of the extremely complicated valleys. The first wave of attack by the enemies on the special soldiers took the life of a man. This soldier was very unlucky because the soldiers only fired that one sinister arrow.
After the soldiers searched the entire valley, they at last intercepted three bandits. These bandits were a small reconnoiter team. When the three bandits resisted, two of them died. The last man, who was on the verge of death, was dragged behind a horse by the knights, all the way to the campgrounds. Thus, Marshal O'Neil only saw a lump of pulp in the end.
The Marshal said to his knights, "Not a bad job! But take note to strengthen the defense."
Hence, the knights have business to attend to! Every morning there would be four units that set out one after another. All of them were the elite of the scouts. They had to clear a safe passage for the larger units and were also in charge of capturing the resistance that may exist.
Marshal O'Neil's military patrol didn't reap many results, but peace ensued on the road for half the month. No one could complain about such matters. The special soldiers weren't lunatics. They also enjoyed the days where it was only slightly tense, without any sinister arrows, traps, and blood.
When the reorganized unit of the five thousand men First Special Combat Brigade directly under the Military Intelligence Bureau entered the undulating mountains, the garrison of the Seventh Imperial Army Group of Rylie Province appeared. Fifteen kilometers north of Shtebin City, at the right coast of the Moore River, one of the members the garrison division of the Guard's Seventh Army Group came to greet the prince's procession who have come far from the central part of the Empire.
Moore River was also referred to as River of Plateau by the Rylians. It traversed the entire Rylie Province from the north to south. At the southern foothills of The Alps, there were a few huge waterfalls that decreased the disparity between the river and the plains, until the waterway turned off to Italia and return to the ocean at one of the small ports called Fenta.
The commander of the garrison division said, "The great waterfalls of the southern foothills are all magnificent natural wonders, but the Titan soldiers have never seen them."
Marshal O'Neil was naturally dubious. "Why?"
"That is the territory of Italia," the Commander of the garrison division replied ruefully. "But the river is ours!"
The Marshal didn't say anything else. That night he and his Special Combat Brigade took wooden rafts to cross Moore River and went ashore at a ferry crossing used by the military called Slydon. After that, at the crack of dawn, they arrived at Steiermark that was on Schloss Mountain. In this little town that was half a fortress and half an ancient city, they rested and reorganized up to five days.
Steiermark was the most important stallion training ground of the Guard's Southern Army Group. Aside from breeding grey Lefiza horses with strong physiques, the place also has a Knight Academy. The history of the Knight Academy was as long as that of the ancient city, Steiermark. It dated all the way back to the time when the old Titan Dynasty just established the territory.
Apart from the convents distributed all over Schloss Mountain, Steiermark and its surrounding areas are Rylie Province's most important grape planting area. Gazing down from the watchtower of the fortress, the dark brown vineyards went along the precipitous hillside and divided into segments as it went downwards until the valley floor. The flat-roofed houses of the farmers were scattered everywhere. The elegant, disorderly poplars made people think about the cypresses, which were similar in shape, found everywhere in Vielonna.
On the city walls of Steiermark fortress, upon welcoming the rising sun and listening to the beautiful speech by the fortress commander, Marshal O'Neil Andrew Morisette saw only those aforementioned things. He loved this place and was moreover touched by the welcoming speech of the fortress commander.
The commander of the Southern Army Group's Eleventh Corps, Lieutenant General Vierda said, "Eight years ago, my children and I came to this fortress. We pushed open the windows and were overcome by a peculiar sensation. Beautiful and peaceful sceneries appeared before our eyes and we made an oath before the image of God to guard it. Now Marshal O'Neil has arrived. This land is now in his hands. We await the Marshal to bestow it with peace and prosperity."
And so, Oscar stayed in the fortress. Lieutenant General Vierda left an extremely deep impression on him. This commander was different from the other soldiers that the Marshal has met. Vierda not only enjoyed poems but also loved the work on the farmland. Looking at how the commander organized manpower to chop wood and burn charcoal, it was hard to believe that he was still just a Count.
When there was nothing to do, Oscar would sit at the bottom of the porch of the military command center with the fortress commander he has just gotten to know and gaze at the vegetable garden in the courtyard and stables that surrounded the few Lefiza purebred horses. Occasionally the commander of the Eleventh Corps would take out a precious bottle of Steiermark's vintage grape wine and those sitting on the porch would increase from two to many.
Soldiers were indeed a group of odd animals, particularly soldiers with a long history and fine traditions. When they gathered together, they wouldn't break into war like ferocious male beasts that have lost their way, but instead would assess the opponent with ambiguous eyes that held many expectations. Then, they would say politely, "Let's have a race, or... an exercise will be good!"
And thus, the armed men "tribe" would begin their exercise. From how Marshal O'Neil saw it, the teams under the Guards were like the tribes of ancient times where the men were specifically responsible for fighting, hunting and capturing! And he was undoubtedly the leader among the many tribe alliances. As long as he blew the horn, these barbarians armed with lethal weapons in hand would erupt with the most primitive of cries.
The exercise was launched in the dilapidated convent around Schloss Mountain. The convents on Schloss Mountain were very well known. Each has theological structures of notable reputation. However, this convent, whose name can no longer be verified, was different. It sat upon the hilltop, facing the sun on one of the cliffs. It gradually fell into decline, as the mountain road that led into and away from it was too arduous.
The barbarians of Marshal O'Neil had to conquer it! The men were clad in full armor and even dragged along a few medium-sized siege machines. After spending six hours, Military Intelligence Special Combat First Brigade successfully made it to the top. They abandoned the region's exceedingly familiar Eleventh Corps far behind them.
"Indeed 8431!" Lieutenant General Vierda exclaimed during the picnic at the precipice.
Marshal O'Neil nodded his head, feeling great. "If I move the First Artillery Soldiers Division up, then I fear we may not even have a place to picnic!"
"Yes indeed!" Commander of the Special Combat Brigade, Brigadier General Luke Citel lamented. "I've seen it for myself last time. Our Brigadier General of the artillery soldiers only used six rounds of artillery shells to turn a thirty over meters of a sailboat into dust."
Corps Commander Vierda widened his eyes in anticipation, "May I know the whereabouts of the First Artillery Soldiers Division? Why didn't they pay a visit to my fortress with you sir?"
Oscar waved his hand, "it's too dangerous to cross the river with the cannons. Brigadier General Tove Van Sukhoi's Artillery Soldiers Division and Major General Krapitch Drake's Infantry Division have chosen another route. We will assemble at Astonia."
Vierda broke into a laugh, "Sir, fog is rising among the mountains. Both your generals are about to miss out on the most miraculous natural phenomenon!"
The sea of clouds wasn't something one would see every day, especially in Westland!
The moist and warm surface air in the lowland valley of the northern foothills of The Alps coalesced to form the thick fog that covered the whole earth. Around the peak of Schloss Mountain, large and small peaks stood tall beneath the heavens. There was layer upon layer of mist in the valley, drifting away with no intention of clearing up. The setting sun again hid behind the layer of clouds at this time, setting a brilliant golden lining on the thick white mist. Soon after, the golden lining would transform into a rich light red shade.
The harsh laughter of men rang out in the mountains. In the fog, they had set out on the mountain road for the return trip. The mountain road was craggy and every now and then they'd lose their way, but the men's pleasure was in the tireless exploration.
Marshal O'Neil came to a halt halfway up the mountains. He saw that the fortress that stood within the valley was gradually lost in the thick fog. He then gazed downwards. The Marshal realized that it was as if he was floating in the sky. The tentacles of the fog quickly encircled him. Then a sudden burst of mountain breeze dispelled the fog around his legs.
"Thank the God of Light!" Oscar breathed a quiet prayer. After that, he turned towards the officers in front and behind him, saying, "Everyone take caution! We're not far off from heaven!"
The officers burst into laughter. The laughter reverberated within the valley ceaselessly, like the condensed fog, and until the ashes of the sunset have completely extinguished did it gradually subside.
When they arrived at the fortress, it was already very late. Lights were lit up in Steiermark and it spread out at the foot of the mountain and it went along the pavement, all the way to the steel portcullis of the fortress.
The city was situated on the hills. To enter the fortress, one had to go through the city district that was heaped up before them. The flat roofs built up by bricks were charming. The well-off peasant households even located watchtowers on the roofs.
"To invade the fortress, one has to level out Steiermark, but the citizens of the mountain would absolutely not let them do that!" the Commander of the Eleventh Corps said with pride.
Marshal O'Neil loved the peaceful small town that harbored a formidable air and also the sound of the horn of the Knight Academy that sounded in the morning and evening for drills.
"In the great revolt of year 791, didn't it affect your fortress?"
Lieutenant General Vierda took even more pride, "Yes, how can it not? You didn't see the scene. As far as the eye can see, there were all bandits! However, the people of Steiermark and my Eleventh Corps persevered for half a month and in the end, the bandits retreated!"
"Where did they come from?"
Vierda was a little evasive towards the Marshal of the Guards and in the end, he pointed towards the mountain range in the distance.
"There! It is all bandits there. I know that they have their eyes on me. When I have nothing to do, I will stand at a certain location, motionless, and watch them!"
"Hahahahaha!" Oscar again laughed.
Messier and Janin Sherman have waited at the watchtowers of the fortress for some time now. The Prince relied on them as his left and right arm, bringing them wherever he went. Aside from these two men, there were also Pail and Black Devil Shaw Curlink. Four of these men were always by the Prince's side and if one of them were to vanish, it meant that the person must have been seeing to some business for His Highness Prince. At the same time, it also signified that if there wasn't some unlucky soul, then someone would have met the devil.
Janin Sherman was in charge of the routines of the southern sub-bureau. He would first report about the general situation of the Military Intelligence to His Highness Prince. Actually, it wasn't anything much. He would only relay information about the enemy that hasn't been investigated all the while, if not it'd be the appointment or dismissal of operation staffs, lastly it would be about a dog less in the west, an extra cat in the east and similar trivial matters that the Prince didn't have to bother himself with.
Messier seemed to be brooding the entire day. Oscar noticed it at the dining table during the banquet but didn't say anything about it. He knew that Messier wouldn't hide anything and he would definitely speak out if it were something.
Sure enough, when His Highness Prince completed the segment describing the sea of clouds in his diary, the Division Head of the Military Intelligence knocked on his room door.
First Lieutenant Kirk Douglas carried a chair for the Baron while First Lieutenant Muktha Singh brought the Baron some coffee. Messier brows shot up, but when he started speaking, his expression again changed.
"On the 9th day of the 11th month, the day of your birthday, Her Majesty the Queen, Opareal Roulexberg the tenth held a grand crowning ceremony."
Oscar muttered to himself briefly, his eyes appeared very troubled, but finally, he instead said, "What does that have to do with me?"
"Yes, yes! This has nothing to do with us! But….." Messier fished out a document written in a secret code, "Deiss' sub-bureau has finally confirmed that this year, on the 10th day of the 10th month, Deiss' Majesty Queen Opareal Roulexberg gave birth to a healthy baby boy and the previous court rumors have also been proven to be true. The Deiss Queen has never shared a room with her husband..."
"Enough! What do you wish to say? Don't beat around the bush!" Oscar suddenly broke off the Division Head of the Military Intelligence. He wanted to ask the God of Light, just what is with all the women beneath the heavens? Why are those who are supposed to conceive show no signs of it while those who shouldn't get pregnant bear fruit?
Messier gave a few dry coughs. He found it difficult to voice his thoughts. Perhaps it was because this matter was of immense significance.
"I wish to know... whether it was you who gave the Deiss Royal Household this two-month-old legitimate heir."
"I don't know!" Oscar whipped his head away violently.
Messier persisted, "Your Highness, the Deiss Queen has indeed never shared a room with her husband. Moreover, the rumors in the Deiss court point to you as the father of the child! During the baptism ceremony of the child, the old Empress of the Roulexberg Family didn't even attend. All of this indicates that the baby boy..."
"Okay, let's assume so!" Oscar finally nodded.
"Ohh..." Messier heaved a long sigh of relief, "Then this means that I didn't take the wrong actions!"
"What did you do?"
"I've transferred the limited few people who know of this in the Deiss sub-bureau back into the country. I reckon... they can't leak this secret now!"
"You have them..."
Messier made a gesture of slitting his throat.
Without any reason, O'Neil Andrew Morisette also heaved a sigh but was still a little suspicious. "How did Opareal handle those rumors? She absolutely wouldn't sit still and let it be!"
The Division Head of the Military Intelligence gave a bitter laugh, "You don't have to worry about Deiss' Majesty Queen. She has cut off twenty over tongues and now there aren't any Deiss nobles who dare discuss this matter."
Oscar was suddenly crestfallen. The little Princess who has a pair of blue eyes that speaks was really a queen now.
"Mes, then can I understand it as….. this matter is closed?"
The Division Head of the Military Intelligence shook his head, "How can it be? That little child is the legal heir of the Deiss Royal Household. If no one can explain his origin..."
Oscar was a little skeptical, "This has nothing to do with Titan, right?"
Messier forced a smile, "He has nothing to do with Titan, but the fact is that he's the son of a Titan prince! The Deiss will stir up a war because of his roots."
Oscar brought the coded text onto the candle flame and soon, it was reduced to ashes. The Titan prince pursed his lips. Although his mind was in a turmoil, he still muttered a blessing to his flesh and blood in the faraway foreign country.
"I can only say, may he grow up into an adult safe and sound!"
Messier nodded, "Yes, may he grow up into an adult safe and sound. We can only think this way now. Who would know what the future may bring, right?"
Oscar fiddled with the fine cane as if he had nothing better to do. After a while, his chaotic mind returned to normal. He gestured at the other document in the hand of the Military Intelligence Division Head.
"And what is this?"
"Ohh... this is good news!" Messier hurriedly spread open the document, "The official notification document from Narcissus County's Military Command Bureau to the Imperial Secretariat and Imperial Army that the eastern crusade is underway!"
"Eastern crusade?" Oscar hurriedly snatched over the document and skimmed through it.
"Ola... the Traisen Front, Buchwald Front, Abbaniya Front, Birboehm Front, McCarran Front, Libero Front, Mistral Front! The old man of my house has mobilized all the main force of the Cavalry Corps. Just what does he intend to do?"
Messier shrugged, "Who knows? But this matter has a great impact on Dulin and the Roman Vatican! The attack launched by the great Army Group formed by 42 divisions of the Narcissus Knights on the pagans is something that has yet to ever take place in history! His Grand Eminence Pope's letter to His Majesty III states that this is the beginning of a new era. Seriously! Didn't Marshal Dortmund say that this is a one time display of military force?"
Oscar shook his head. He excitedly flipped through his atlas and later took out a concise topography map of the Persian Empire.
"Mes, you don't understand the knights of our family! If only a command of attacking the Persians is issued, these men would become red-eyed like heightened rabbits!"
"Ola! Look!" the Prince rushed towards the Baron, unfolding his map. He then indicated the region with a vast area.
"If I were Figg, I will lead this huge Cavalry Army Group to infiltrate Persian from the desert border area defended by the Buchwald Front. The march will be extremely arduous, but they will encounter the weakest resistance here. Once they have cleared the desert... Ola! The Great Plains of Anatolia, blessed by the true God, will completely acknowledge their allegiance at my feet! After that, command the army to go along the south of the Ufalarre River and storm the Holy City of the Pagans, Baghdad West..."
"Okay, okay sir!" Messier smiled while waving his hands. "I can already see that you're also a member of the Andrews. Just speaking about the matter of the Eastern crusade, you're also like... uhh..."
"A heightened rabbit?"
"More or less!"
Oscar and his Military Intelligence Division Head burst into laughter but they quickly fell silent.
"Any news about Aeolia?" Oscar suddenly asked.
Messier shook his head, "Lady Countess Antonia Horman's family is very influential locally. She won't encounter any problems, rest assured!"
"But... it's been more than two months already!" Oscar wrinkled his eyebrows. "Aeolia knows how to take care of herself, but Annie... to think of it, I have never been apart from Annie for so long! After my growing up, I have been busy with my own matters and Annie busy with household duties, but... there will always be that slight uneasiness."
Messier nodded his head in understanding. "Don't you worry, aren't we almost there? Moreover, the troops ahead won't let anything happen to both the countesses."
Oscar gave an Ola, "Yes, it indeed is that way! If Aeolia were to so much as lose a hair on her head, then I will let Mike really become a true gay."
Mike wasn't a gay and he has emphasized this point to many people. He was interested in women, the kind with enormous bottoms, gigantic breasts and those that swayed when they walked. Countess Aeolia and Lady Countess Antonia Horman weren't the types he liked. So all the while, this Lieutenant has only been cheap in his talk but didn't take any horrid moves.
One could tell that Aya and Annie still quite liked this big-sized, small-eyed Suziloan. They have to discuss everything with the Guerilla Commander before making a decision. Mike, in turn, has exceptional respect for the two women and even referred to them as "the angels bestowed by the Marshal"!
As compared to Steiermark, Astonia was more deserving of the address as a mountain city. This was the homeland of Lady Countess Antonia Horman in true sense, but it wasn't her birthplace, merely the home of the Horman Family. The Horman Family has a long history, through the numerous rise and fall of the mountain area that remains standing until this day.
Astonia was situated among the group of volcanoes in Westria Province and was surrounded by the volcanic lakes scattered everywhere. This was the Empire's most well-known tourist spot in the south. The big nobles who have time on their hands would set up villas that occupied a vast area and of bizarre designs.
Astonia produced an abundance of star fruits and lime. These were two completely different things, but they allowed the peasant households in the mountains to exchange them for rations. In each of the little farms scattered over the group of volcanic rocks, star-fruits would be left out to dry all year round and at the same time, each household would have a little stone house that burned lime.
During spring, the various volcanic lakes would transform into a gleaming, crystalline light blue shade. The farmers who resided at the edge of the water would at this time dump the hatchlings of the "Red Tailed Fish" into it. By the time summer arrives, also the time when the lake water turns into a sapphire blue, the harvest season would arrive The hatchlings have grown up and the people would call them "Golden Trout". The autumn of Astonia was the most beautiful season. The lake water became erratic. In the morning it would still be a deep green, but the heavy rain in the afternoon would turn the rich pool of colors into that of green grass. Although the group of volcanoes by the lakeside was always that bare over the past 100 million years, the Ivies and red maples that covered the whole valley would radiate a mesmerizing splendor. When there was a breeze, the orderly sound of rustles would drift throughout the mountains and valleys.
This was the homeland of Lady Countess Antonia Horman. Unfortunately, she returned to her homeland during the winter. There wasn't much to be said about the winter of Astonia. The hardworking farmers would hide in their stone houses where a fireplace was lighted. The nobles would also at this time slip back to the polluted metropolis. Astonia would instantly quiet down, with only the occasional earthquake and cries of the soldiers of the Guards during their drills.
Annie has already stayed at the ancient castle of the Horman Family for half a month. At the very beginning, she really enjoyed the tranquility here, but as the days dragged on, she couldn't bear it anymore. Oscar's excitable shouts weren't here and the Young Lady who kept holding on to her hand and prattled away, wasn't here, only a Countess who was missing the entire day.
What was Aeolia busy with? Annie never asked. She knew that she and Aeolia were two completely different people. Aeolia schemed discreetly, has keen eyes, was rigorous in attending to matters, and always made insinuations when she spoke. As for herself? As an old woman, aside from stitching and patching, what else could she do? Annie wasn't someone who was fond of pondering. After feeling sorry for herself a moment, she forgot about this matter.
Aeolia again went out. She brought with her the few most vigilant special soldiers from the guerrilla group. It seemed that the rascal Mike has also left, but it wasn't together with Aeolia. When Annie's imagination ran wild, she pricked herself with the silver needle. She stared momentarily at the drop of fresh blood and at the end cast aside the work on hand. That was supposed to be an undergarment. The Lady Countess was very skilled with her hands and has already completed the intricate lace lining.
"I really should do something else!" the Lady Countess muttered softly. She realized that she already couldn't stay away from Oscar's big family.
At that moment, the slap of the gangplank suddenly sounded in the Horman Family's ancient castle. The gangplank was an ancient doorbell system that was used to notify the castle to receive guests. The sound emitted by this thing was immensely chaotic. None of the nobles used this anymore, but the Hormans perhaps didn't like the stillness of the castle. They have always kept this four hundred year old doorbell system.
"Guests? This is indeed something new!" The old Count Horman stumbled and rushed towards the gatehouse of the ancient castle. He saw that the soldiers of the guards were drawing the windlass, raising the portcullis of the ancient castle.
"What a gorgeous carriage!" Count Horman sized up the vehicle stopped in front of the castle's main house with awe. "In this troubled world, there are still people who use carriages decorated in gold leaf? Aren't they afraid of being robbed by bandits on the road?" murmured the old Count as he staggered out of the gatehouse. Those of his age just loved saying these.
"Lady Countess Teresa Boustead is here to call on the ancient Horman Family. My mistress has brought an exquisite gift for them." A young man dressed as a valet saluted respectfully towards the household manager in front of the castle's main house.
The household manager accepted the gift, then only did the valet open the door of the carriage.
Count Horman again started mumbling, "Boustead? Boustead? What is the young lady of the Boustead Family doing here?"
"Welcome!" Antonia came out of the archaic entrance. The Lady Countess evaluated the Lady who had come without an invitation. She could tell at a glance that this Lady absolutely wasn't born of nobility. This was because although the accessories she wore were exceptionally elaborate, the earrings, necklace, and rings weren't of the same style. Noble ladies who went out to pay a decent call definitely wouldn't commit such a mistake.
Lady Countess Boustead has already presented her gift to the host as per ancient custom. The household manager of Count Horman tore open the colorful paper that was used to wrap the gift in the room. This was also an ancient custom. The household manager had to assess the extent of their generosity in receiving the guest according to the gift they brought.
"But... do you know what this is?" the household manager spread out his hands towards the old count.
Upon hearing that, Count Horman came forwards. The gift from the Boustead Family was a whole piece of... uhhh... a whole piece of red rock.
Having no choice, the old count could only present the gift that made no sense to his niece. Antonia stroked it and weighed it. The experienced Imperial household servant finally said, "This is a fine piece of bloodstone, produced in the far east. It can only be exchanged for with gold of the same weight!"
The old count immediately turned towards the household manager, "Tidy up the best guest room and prepare the best meal."
Lady Countess Boustead appreciated the volcano museum inside the castle. All the great nobles have at least one relatively strange hobby. The Horman Family's was known far and wide for collecting peculiar stones.
Antonia personally served Lady Boustead black tea and fresh milk and then invited her to sit in the living room that was filled with "craggy, bizarre rocks". Sizing up the daughter of Titan's great merchant from a woman's point of view, it was regrettable to say that Annie didn't find anything worth mentioning. The Lady, who was still in her early age, was as ordinary as her name. If one really insisted on flattering Lady Boustead, then we could say that the teenage girl has a very keen eye.
"I am here for the meeting with Countess Aeolia!" After finishing a cup of black tea, Lady Boustead stated the purpose of her coming.
"Oh, I apologize!" Antonia bowed slightly, "Aeolia went out early this morning!"
Teresa rolled her eyes and settled back slightly into the sofa, "if I may, I'm prepared to wait for her."
"Of course!" Antonia nodded repeatedly. Honestly speaking, she didn't quite like the look in Lady Boustead's eyes because she saw that it concealed too many much subtleties.
Just when both the women who didn't quite get along well arrived at the end of their patience, the gangplank of the castle's gatehouse again sounded.
Antonia finally expressed a genuine smile, "Aya must have returned!"
Indeed Aya had returned. Behind the Countess was a group of knights in full armor. Aya gazed at the carriage in the stables and shot a look at Lieutenant Colonel Mike by her side. The "gay" didn't say anything, but he intuitively grasped the situation.
"Thank heavens! You've returned at long last! Were you the one who invited the Lady?" Antonia greeted Aeolia in the lobby of the main house.
"Yes, I apologize that I didn't give you prior notice."
Antonia shook her head, "Hurry now! However, I must warn you in advance that the Lady's lifeless words are just simply outrageous!"
Aeolia laughed, "I'll manage. Besides, the members of the Boustead Family all have that half-dead look!"
Antonia took the fur from the young countess but immediately covered her nose. "Oh gosh, young Aya, did you just go to the abattoir?"
Aya was already sprinting up the stairs but suddenly came to a halt and flashed a mysterious smile to the Lady Countess. "You're about right!"
The hot tea was changed yet again. Teresa used the opportunity of the other person refilling tea to assess the military secret agent in the legends. From how she saw it, Countess Aeolia Siva Wimmester was more a pampered noble lady and had completely nothing to do with the Andrew's Military Investigation Bureau! But in reality? According to a few highly reliable sources, it was precisely this Lady before here that planned and later carried out the secret operation to rescue Prince O'Neil Andrew Morisette.
So in other words, when dealing with such a freak, she must raise all her vigilance, otherwise... Teresa spread out a paper map onto the table.
"My family has already received General Vangol Abberning Hagrid's message, and... we have made our choice!"
Aya nodded and didn't even take a glance at the map, "I am perfectly clear about your choice, but there aren't any marks on this map. Could it be that this is the choice of the Bousteads?"
Teresa shook her head. The mission entrusted to her by her family was to try her best in dealing with the influence that O'Neil Andrew Morisette represented.
"This map indeed isn't marked up, but please don't doubt the sincerity of my family in cooperating with His Highness Prince. I came here to designate that area. I will enter the mountainous area with His Highness Prince's combat unit."
Aya finally took the paper map and evaluated it dubiously.
"Is this really required?"
Teresa nodded, "It indeed is! The rebels in the mountains are very cautious. They have always covered the eyes of visitors and then move in circles around the mountains and lastly will they only lead us to the highly concealed base of operations."
"You've been?" Aya's eyes widened. She gazed with disbelief at the Lady before her eyes.
Teresa promptly denied it, "Naturally, I have never been there! But the followers I brought have all been to that place. However, they also can't tell the exact location of that place and can only tell when they're there."
Aya gave a light laugh. She knew that the little lady before her was exceptionally intelligent. If she were to follow the prince's intent to carry things out... then it was really such a pity!
"Your followers... are referring to them?" the Countess asked while beckoning towards the knight standing at the entrance.
The sound of military boots stamping on the ground rang out from the corridor. Countess Teresa Boustead twisted her head around, appalled.
Two knights dragged a huge sack in. The sack was flung towards Lady Boustead's legs. Teresa covered her nose because the sack was emitting a revolting smell that made one feel nauseous. It wasn't difficult for her to guess what the soldiers have done to her followers.
Aya again gestured towards the knight and he immediately undid the mouth of the sack. Teresa subconsciously shot a glance into the sack. Oh gosh! She started to retch violently because she has caught sight of many familiar faces, but only the faces, as they were merely heads.
"Now do you know why your elders sent you here?" Aya tossed her handkerchief to the poor teenage girl. "Because old Boustead must have foreseen this scene and only sent a minor character who can be sacrificed anytime."
Teresa panted heavily. She was still in a state of disbelief, or one could say that she absolutely couldn't comprehend what this was all about.
Aeolia pushed the knight but he didn't take the sack of heads away.
The countess lifted the young girl's chin and stared at her ordinary face.
"This world has one truth! No one can avoid a blood debt after violating the Andrews! Your grandfather understood this and so does your father. That General Hagrid knew this as well and so they have made full preparations.
"What... what... what preparations?" Teresa stuttered. She realized that she couldn't look away, her gaze kept staying on the sack of heads.
"Hehe!" Aya shook the map. "If my master really can disregard former enmities, then the Boustead Family will choose to cooperate. I believe that your followers can definitely point out the location for the Guards."
The countess said while using her nails to outline a circle.
Teresa's eyes widened, "How... how did you know?"
Aeolia shrugged, "There are nine heads here, there is bound to be one to tell me."
Lady Boustead was cowering back into the sofa, "What... what do you intend to do? Hasn't my family already decided to cooperate? What... what more do you want?"
"I've said that your family and the Hagrid Family have made full preparations!" Aya raised her teacup in satisfaction as if she took great pleasure in tormenting this weak little animal.
"According to reliable intelligence, the Boustead Family and General Hagrid have once again used the same old tricks of year 791; an Italia mercenary group and another elite unit of the Hagrid Family. They plan to ambush along the way. Of course, it's in the case where the negotiations have fallen through. If my master really cooperated, then I believe all these wouldn't have happened, but now the problem is... our negotiations have really fallen through!"
"Wait! Hold it! The negotiations haven't even started right? You didn't even name the terms of His Highness Prince O'Neil Andrew Morisette!"
"There isn't a need for it!" Aeolia sized up the young lady of the Boustead Family with amusement. How could she still not get it?
"Such a negotiation absolutely doesn't exist! If possible, my master will push all the members of your family onto the guillotine. The crucial point was that my master has not been able to determine the whereabouts of the Boustead Family all the while. As for you, little lamb, do you now know that this is all just a trap?"
Lady Boustead gazed at the countess incredulously, "No! It's not like this. I... General Vangol has guaranteed this meeting."
"General Vangol?" Aeolia sneered, "There will be someone who will deal with him, rest assured!"
"But... but didn't His Highness Prince reach an agreement with General Vangol in Vielonna?"
Aya was a little impatient. She didn't know what this young girl was fantasizing about.
"Vielonna is the Military Command Center of the Fifth Region, the headquarters of the Hagrid Family. Who would go against General Vangol, who possess several tens of thousands army there? My master isn't a madman!"
"Just what exactly... does your master want to do? Tell me! I beg of you! Perhaps... perhaps the situation can still be salvaged!"
Aya finally nodded, "Yes, perhaps the situation can still be salvaged. So you should first tell me where your family members are hiding. After that can I only tell you what my master plans to do!"
Teresa, at last, calmed down, "You're dreaming! I won't tell you until I die!"
"Hehe!" Aeolia grinned and turned towards the sack of heads, "These are all devoted warriors, but my knights still can find a way to make them tell me what I want to know. So I believe that you will too!"
The icy wind in the mountains suddenly whistled violently and the daisies in the vase withered in the blink of an eye.