Titan Beneath the Heavens
Chapter 168: Nineteenth Episode: Chapter 5
Chapter 168: Nineteenth Episode: Chapter 5
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
There was only one route to go from Dulin towards the east. From the east countryside of the Capital, the people had to pass through an unowned forest, via the highway. The first station was Fort Hanodt of the First Region of the Guards, the east gate of Dulin, but ever since the Narcissus Knights guarded the east, no enemy had attempted to attack Dulin from this direction.
Prince O'Neil Andrew Morisette and his Red Tiger Cavalry unit had an easy breakfast at Fort Hanodt. Then, they went into the route towards Narcissus County. From the strategy map, this route was almost a straight line. It was built with heavy investment of the Morisette Dynasty and was mainly used to transport supply to the Narcissus frontline. Other than that, it could allow the Prince to reach the eastern land of Andrew in a short 20-day journey.
Oscar had already forgotten how long he had stayed on the horse. His small Rayshure was already a sturdy kid, but going on such a long journey had already begun to tire it out. Little Oslu tried to carry on for two days and nights without sleep and rest, even crossing the icy river when it was full of sweat. Whenever little Oslu thought of the situation, it would shudder. It still remembered a comrade in the team that was immediately paralyzed in the icy river water.
"Quickly! You meat worms! Quickly!"
Marshal O'Neil's words were limited. Not many words came out of his mouth besides that. The Red Tiger Cavalry Unit was the unit best at going on long journeys. They were already on top of their speed. Moreover, being able to go home was a happy matter, but their Marshal's dark expression truly poured cold water on them.
Oscar did not let their knights know of the truth. He simply let them journey as fast as they possibly could.
If he told these kids that their Marshal of the Narcissus Knights was in danger! That would be a different story; they would have gotten a pair of wings for themselves and be gone in a blink of an eye.
Oscar did not want to say it. Not to anybody. He had a hallucination. He thought that things must not be this way!
Sasha E. knew definitely that something must have happened at home, or with her brother! Or else, her little Oscar would not drag her out of her bed and give her a horse. The Young Lady's journey, however, would be rife with hardship. She was afraid of cold, for one, and when the horse was sprinting, the cold wind tore into her skin like needles. She was afraid for the injury slowly developing on the inner side of her thigh. The long journey had already worn out her two pairs of thigh guards, and the chaffing from the saddle on her thigh were as painful as gashes from a knife.
However, Sasha did not complain. When she saw the terrible look of her brother, she knew any sort of questioning was useless. No one could make O'Neil Andrew Morisette tell you something he did not want to talk about. On 9th day of the 1st month in Church Calendar Year 800, the Prince and his cavalry unit had to stop to rest at a small village called Blancheke, just off the highway. It was not that Oscar did not want to continue; it was his sister, whom he neglected, that had a situation.
The injury on the inner thigh of Sasha E. was already inflamed. Blood and pus glued her injured skin to her pants, and as her brother tore them open to clean the injury, she let out an explosive shriek at the blood that poured out to form a small puddle on the army bed. Her brother was shocked to see this.
Oscar remained silent. He simply apologized to his sister, and patted her on the forehead. With a high fever afflicting her, Sasha E. fell into deep slumber. She replied this heartless man, one who only knew how to take care of her when she was in pain, with a smile.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Oscar glared at his sister, anxious. Originally, he had wanted to say that he must not delay his journey.
"I thought I could pull through," Sasha was still smiling, but what she really wanted to say was that her brother should have realized it himself, but was too adsorbed to listen and see.
"I can take care of my injury where I am. Quickly continue your journey!" Stubbornly, Sasha still wanted to be strong for her brother.
"Don't be foolish." Oscar hugged his sister's head close to his chest, filled with the lady's breath and smell, "I won't leave you. I won't let anything separate us anymore!"
"Really?" Sasha's eyes lit up like the stars above them. She liked hearing those words from her brother... She liked the promise he gave.
"Ola! I have never lied to you on this matter!" Oscar smiled at her.
"That is to say you have lied to me about other things?"
Oscar could only smile bitterly. He held his sister closer to stop her from overthinking.
The family letter reached Blancheke on the 12th day of 1st month. It was a cool and clear day, with only a slightly icy breeze from northeast. The faraway mountains stood alone at the edge of the plains, the horizon danced across the sky when mixed with the sunlight. It was such a day that nothing could possibly go wrong.. At least... Oscar could not foresee any bad signals.
The Marshal of Guards was washing his horse at the small pond in the village. He could see a string of smoke jumping around on the highway, far ahead. That was a messenger unit from the base in Andrew Haila's Shanvelor Palace. The captain of this messenger unit was actually a Major General of Narcissus. It was Colonel Loran Julier who welcomed them, which felt a little strange.
"What is this? Was there a funeral in the family? Colonel Loran looked in disbelief at the white Fierce Tiger Flag of Narcissus held by the messenger unit.
The Major General did not say anything. He jumped off his war horse and saluted the stunned Fourth Young Master. Then, he passed the family letter to him.
The letter was written by Figg. Oscar was not familiar with his brother's handwriting, but he could read it. He was completely stunned by the first sentence he saw.
At the middle of the letter, Figg Andrew Nedgabel wrote...
"The last time seeing father... was in his office in Shanvelor Palace. He was lying on an army bed. The white sheet was painted with blood. Father turned his head slightly to see me, and also the huge fish tank, in which he had quite a few goldfish. He opened his eyes slightly, and I saw in it the calmness before death, the trust towards his son. I did not know what to say. I had never been this panicked before."
"Father was pierced by a dagger to the rib. He knew he had no much time left. Still, he managed his beard and maybe had a mask. I lied down close to Father, right at his puddle of blood. I do not know why. After a few minutes, I almost fell asleep. It was father's calling that woke me up. He said, "Oscar"... "It's about time for Oscar to return." Then, Father left, leaving me alone..."
Oscar kept the family letter and got rid of the knights. His sister was still resting on the bed, and he held her tight, imagining how Figg had held his father. Thinking about it now, he had never had many happy memories with the man. In fact, he began to hate his father when he was young, because his mother would become unhappy whenever she saw him. It was because of this reason that Oscar began to avoid his father, but now, he hoped the God of Light could forgive his sins.
"You're crying?" Sasha touched his brother's face.
"Yes. I am crying!" Oscar said as he sobbed.
The news from Narcissus County reached the office of Imperial Secretariat on the 19th. The Palace Chief Marquis Laston Cambre then relayed the death of Marshal Andrew to all government departments, and the newspaper in the Capital published the Imperial news on the following day. Thus, Dulin city was drowned in sorrow. The people said that both Alfa III His Majesty and Duke Andrew had left the world. This was the indication that Titan's strong force was crumbling.
Alanis held the Imperial news tightly. Her feelings were complicated, because from what she saw, her father-in-law was a good man. But he was the Duke of Andrew. Moreover, his youngest son had already dealt with the main culprit for his father's death. What could she do, thinking about this? The Princess shrugged. There was again that intermittent pain in her stomach, and it was coming more often. She had no such awareness as a mother, but simply prayed for all of this to be over.
The funeral was done properly at eastern Andrew. The nobles in the Capital believed that there was still a capable second son, and a courageous youngest son in Andrew family. Dortmund Andrew Nedgabel did not hold much regret when he passed away. He was more at rest than Alfa III His Majesty.
Alfa III His Majesty also had two sons, but speaking of his two sons gave him headaches, especially the First Prince Lobble, who was the Crown Prince as well. It was enough that he played with men and beautiful teenagers, but yet he neglected his wife, even allowing her busy herself such lowly matters.
On 16th of the 1st month in Year 800, first snow arrived in Dulin City. The white snowflakes seemed to cover up all dirt in the world, but the people were getting anxious. The palace of House of Lords had begun their intense quarrel about the accusation against the wife of Crown Prince Her Highness Ashfin Kristen, by the Karl Arnorld family.
This accusation was not unfounded. The people who knew His Highness Lobble well knew that he stayed in a different room than his wife. The two bedrooms were few kilometers apart in the city! Just as the representative of Karl Arnold family had asked, if the distance between the couple was true, then where did the daughter of Her Highness Ashfin Kristen, Princess Phrenby Alfa Morisette come from?
A part of the officials thought that this accusation was a challenge to the Imperial family, a conspiracy to topple the politics in the country. Yet some others pointed that the accusation was simply stating the obvious. The matter against the Imperial Family was another part of a larger, national issue. They must at least get this clear. The remaining part of the officials who were in neither camp were in fact clearer with their opinions. They gathered openly and jointly sent a petition to the Imperial Secretariat to dismiss the Crown Prince.
The matter was, in fact, very simple. If there was no evidence to prove the birth of Princess Phrenby Alfa Morisette, then her mother and fake father would go down together with her! An Emperor must not have such dark spots in his life. The nobles of Titan would never accept such useless Emperor or such dirty Queen.
The Imperial Secretariat seemed to plan to continue to watch over the situation. After all, there was no Emperor in Titan currently. Everything was still uncertain. His Highness Prince Lobble's palace was quiet. Only those officials that determinedly supported the lineage were going about at this place, but the situation was not optimistic at all. The faces of these officials were always painted with panic, but Lobble did not seem to care that much about the accusation. He only thought that his wife was quite pitiable. Ashfin and the Princess were innocent.
In Wetberg Fort, the Crown Prince and his mother Queen Rolyn Kate had the most intense quarrel they'd ever had, especially considering Lobble had never fought back with her mother before. It was usually his mother that did the scolding and he did the listening.
This time was different. The Madame around the Queen in Westberg Forst all thought the same. They saw with their own eyes that the Crown Prince shouted at the Queen and kept throwing things in a tantrum. At last, the Prince even said, "Why not come at me when things happen?"
Rolyn Kate was strangely quiet. She did not speak a word from the beginning. Only until her eldest son calmed down that she ordered the guards to send him off.
"What do you make of this?" Old Duke Kachev looked at the Princess of the Empire with careful glances. Maybe the old man was still a little restless. He then looked at Rudolf, who was sitting at the opposite side of the long table.
Alanis took the dish in front of her away, then wiped her mouth with perfectly elegant movements, "Is there a need for explanation? My brother is finished! Completely ruined!"
Old Kachev nodded. He thought so too. Once the matter became clear, His Highness Prince Lobble might still have a chance to live if he gave up his rights to inherit on his own will. However, his wife would have to die with Alfa III His Majesty. The punishment against traitors and adulterers was stated clearly in the Titan law by the Imperial family. There was nothing more to discuss.
Rudolf Hoss glanced at the Cabinet Chancellor who wore a normal expression with disdain, "Sir Duke, you are the expert. How do you think the people at Westberg Fort would move?"
Kachev smiled. He treated the mockery of the head of agents as wind by his ear.
"From what I see... the Queen would have two choices. One, she will call for the expansion of the meetings in the House of Lords and discuss about the adultery done by Her Highness Ashfin Kristen openly. Second, she will directly intervene in this matter through the Religious Court and let a representative of God of Light to judge the sins of adultery."
"Hmm..." Alanis hummed coldly, "There is another possibility. And that is to do both at once! The whole world is waiting to see the Imperial family to make a fool out of ourselves. My mother will not miss such a chance to humiliate Morisette. She hates everything that has to do with the Golden Lion."
"Do you still need to wait?"" The Princess turned to Rudolf Hoss. The Head of the Secret Service then turned to the Cabinet Chancellor.
"Sir, do you think the time to fight back has come?"
Kachev stared at Rudolf. If Alanis was a cunning cat, then the Head of Secret Service was a cruel demonic beast. The first loyal hound Alfa III His Majesty passed to his younger daughter was not easy to deal with.
"Now, it's still not the time!" The Cabinet Chancellor said this at last.
Time did not wait for the people. The quarrel in the noble circle in Capital became more intense day after day. The people were sick of listening to the dark news of the Imperial family and even began to attack each other without a care. Hamilton Palace, in which Alfa III His Majesty had passed away in, was undoubtedly the best place to do so. The troublesome people in the noble circle shouted that 'they should take an eye for an eye'. Helper attacked their officer, the worker their boss. In short, the matter was becoming serious. The personal attack without careful consideration had led to four bloody duels.
The Chief of Staff of the Guards Marshal Robin Sparse announced a public letter when the dark news of the Palace and the government were increasing drastically. It was aimed at the commanders of nineteen Regions. In this public letter, Marshal Robin stated honestly the political instability in Titan and the dark news regarding the Imperial family that was able to create political crisis. He asked for the soldiers of the Guards to keep a clear head and to maintain strict discipline. They must not let the destructive people within the country and foreign opposing forces to take advantage of this situation.
Titan's Military Affairs Chancellor, Marshal Alan, emphasized that the Guards must not be involved in the political events in the Capital when he read the open letter of his old friend. Every official in each region and department must true to their duty.
At last, he said Marshal Robin's opinion was very neutral.
The head of Guards openly expressing his neutrality was undoubtedly a great help to Prince Lobble, who was struggling against the rumors. On the 21st, the House of Lords finally invited the Crown Prince to lay bare the accusation.
Lobble entered the meeting room of the House of Lords under the protection of a team of Paladins. The way the Lords looked at him was as if they were taking in the culprit that killed their father. But Lobb was not afraid. After so many things, it was about time for him to appear. About the accusation against his wife, the Crown Prince invited his palace chief to be his witness. This palace chief proved that before Princess Ashfin Kristen followed Prince O'Neil to the south, she indeed shared a bed with the Crown Prince. He even recorded the accurate time and venue. From the timeline, they could more or less predict the birth date of Princess Phrenby Alfa Morisette.
The House of Lords naturally did not believe in such explanation. They invited a witness that was as powerful in his words. Palace Chief Marquis Laston Cambre vowed before the God that he saw Alfa III His Majesty perform adultery with Princess Ashfin Kristen. Then, the venue fell into chaos.
Lobble calmly glanced at the Palace Chief under all sorts of curses and scoldings. He asked for evidence, or else he would not believe that his wife performed adultery with his father. Laston Cambre was unable to provide him with any. Alfa III His Majesty was very cautious. There would definitely not be another person around the scene when as he did what he did with his daughter-in-law.
The meeting was forced to a stop at this point. The Crown Prince was set in his opinion. He said that even if he did give up his position, he must recover the honor of his wife. Many were advising him that this was not worth it, but Lobble was too stubborn to listen. Maybe because the poor young Prince Phrenby moved him, he still thought that he should do something for Ashfin and her child. Moreover, it was not like he knew nothing of his Father's strategy. It was clear that he was a good one. His sister believed the latter was the main reason for his blind determination, but chose to stay quiet at this key moment.
Alanis obeyed the suggestion of the Cabinet Chancellor and Head of Secret Service Department. She quietly looked at the situation and even prepared to collect her brother's corpse. The strange thing was, there was no news at all from Westberg Fort, either. No one knew in what way Queen Rolyn Kate would join the matter, and even if the Queen's power was not active, the people believed that Rolyn Kate would not miss this chance. This Queen must be waiting for a special moment.
In the Church Calendar Year 800 24th day of 1st month, at the same time Prince O'Neil Andrew Morisette arrived at Andrew Haila, the representative of the Pope from Holy City of Rome arrived at Dulin Scott, and along with him was a judge from the Religious Court. Rolyn Kate was finally here. This judge was one who brought the order from His Grand Eminence the Pope Radriere VI. Since this matter involved a Faran Princess of high social status, the Religious Court must judge this matter openly and justly. Everything would have a conclusion from here.
Andrew Haila's situation was completely different from Dulin. The sorrowful northern wind blanketed the whole of Narcissus County, and the scenery looked even more deserted. The huge city had been strict and majestic just as a few hundred years ago. The houses by the roadside all held the totem of Andrew, and The Military Department had even hung a huge white banner. Around mid-afternoon, only the white banner and the Fierce Tiger Narcissus Flag were flying in the air. Not a human soul could be seen on the street.
"Are the people all dead?" Oscar cursed under his breath, but his father had truly left them. This made him speechless, so he mumbled again in a low voice.
The Prince and his Red Tiger Cavalry Unit passed by the whole of Andrew Haila and the forest at the outskirts of the city. They then stopped in front of the door of Shanvelor Palace.
Figg Andrew Nedgabel and his generals, such as the Chief of Staff of the Narcissus knights, welcomed this Marshal of the Guards. The brothers held each other tightly. Figg kept saying that, "You're back... It's good that you're back!" But his younger brother was not well at all. This young Prince threw a tantrum like a lunatic and cursed all knights present. He scolded them for not protecting his father properly.
"It's enough... All guards by father's side had committed suicide after the incident! Only this one is left!" Figg patted his younger brother's shoulder.
Oscar turned his head away. He felt uncomfortable. His father's guards were all Narcissus Knights that were hand-picked from a million others. This was a loss that was not supposed to be.
"Why is there one left?"
Figg sighed, "He said he needed to live and report the incident to the officer investigating the assassination. He saw the culprit but was not able to stop him."
"What do you mean?" Oscar stared at his second elder brother with gritted teeth.
"That knight could not describe the assassin's sword. It was too quick. So quick that father did not even know that he was heavily injured. He fell only after running away on the horse for a while."
Oscar looked at Paul, who was beside him. Snowstorm turned his head away. He did not know how to look at this incident. In the end, they could only blame everything on Alfa III! This old guy was too cunning. He definitely knew of the close relationship between Oscar and Thirteen. After all, they spent such long time in the underground cellar."
"You couldn't find the culprit?" Oscar was finally calm.
Figg shook his head, "The investigation is still ongoing. You should have seen it when you were coming back! The whole county is under martial law now. The war at the frontline has completely stopped as well. All main forces are at the stations on roads. Countess Aeolia was still filtering the spies of the Secret Service Department at the Military Personnel Bureau. Now she is organizing the operation and interrogation, but we still have not found any clues."
Oscar huffed outside impatiently, with the The Narcissus officials of Shanvelor Palace and Figg in tow. These officials were all gazing at the Prince with a strange look, as if he were a stranger from a foreign land.
The strategy room of the base had remained intact, but it had lost its master. The war strategists seemed to be discussing something in low murmurs in groups, and immediately retreated from the room as they saw the high-level generals entered the room, after which They closed the huge oak door behind them.
Oscar glanced at the arrangement of the strategy room. In it was an office desk, one that belonged only to his father. Behind the huge desk was a swivel chair, adorned with a made of tiger skin. It was the seat his father had sat on while he commanded the huge and numerable Narcissus Knights.
Oscar looked at his brother, who kept silent. He was the same as everyone else, only standing his ground quietly.
The young Prince touched the tiger's skin on the swivel chair. He loved the soft touch, and the cruel face of the tiger head. Without hesitation, O'Neil Andrew Morisette sat on his father's position.
"Say it! If you have anything to say, spill it! Don't keep anything from me!"
The Chief of Staff of Narcissus Knights, General Laurier Nedgabel Andrew broke the silence in the strategy room. He asked for all military officials to be seated. These officials surrounded this Marshal of Guards, but they were still staring at him. No one seemed to want to speak.
"Everyone, don't be this way! Look at me!" Oscar knocked on the table, "I am sitting right here. You did not stop me, and I'll take it as a sign of my acceptance. You have to say something. Do you think I am deaf or blind? I do not see nor hear anything!"
General Figg looked around and simply said to his younger brother, "Don't worry, there are only emotional barriers keeping up from accepting this.."
Oscar nodded. Just as what his father used to say. Still, Alfa III could not wait any longer. He ordered for the elimination of Duke Andrew. If Andrew was compromised, then the Prince would be the new Marshal of Narcissus; if Andrew was not, then Oscar must clean his family thoroughly. This way, the power could be safely transferred to Oscar.
"Alright! I'll say this… It is because of me that father is murdered. Does everyone want to bring justice upon me?"
"You can't say that!" The Chief of Staff said, "Everyone knew the inside news about this incident. The act that the Emperor took only proved that he guessed wrongly! He placed you in the center of power in the Capital and pushed you to be the leader of Andrew. This is what the family wants. What Dortmund did was only self-sacrifice."
A deep regret flooded Oscar's mind. If he hadn't walked out of Damorga, none of this would have happened.
"What should I do? What should I do?" Andrew's youngest master glanced at the Narcissus soldiers in the room. He had thought about this question for a long time, but he had not found an answer even until he was truly facing this situation."
"It is obvious!" Figg knocked on the table, "You will inherit father's status, the Marshal. At the same time, after our father's funeral, the representative of Family Senior's Group would announce you to be the new head of family. Then..."
"Wait! Wait!" Oscar interrupted, "How would things be so smooth? Does everyone in the family think the same?"
Figg and Chief of Staff Laurier exchanged a glance. At last, it was Laurier who spoke.
"The people in the family could reach one conclusion indeed. Just as some Seniors kept pressuring Figg to take up the position of Marshal..."
Oscar looked at the Chief of Staff who wanted to say something but did not, and then at his elder brother. After waiting for a while, he spoke.
"Actually... This arrangement is most logical!"
Figg widened his eyes, "What are you saying? Father has always hoped..."
"Enough!" Oscar waved his hands to interrupt his brother, "No matter what father hopes for, the truth is the four hundred thousand Narcissus knights will not swear loyalty to me easily. Ceremony is simply ceremony. It's hard to grasp their hearts! After all, father was assassinated because of me. Just as you said, they will not accept me emotionally."
Figg closed his mouth. He glanced at his younger brother with worry, even though he did not know what he was worried about.
"Let this be!" Oscar decided, "Figg, you will be the Marshal of Andrew, the Chief Commander of the eastern land. This way, you can calm the anger of the knights and you have no problem standing in that position! As for me... I will be the head of family! Everyone, know this is necessary!"
The soldiers exchanged glances. There had never been a situation in the family that a Marshal and a Head of Family existed at once before. Not only this was against tradition, it was also extremely dangerous.
Figg glanced at his brother. At last, he sighed, "Let's not be hasty. The funeral is not over yet. We will talk again after the funeral has finished!"
Oscar nodded. He was exhausted. If he could, he did not want to face his family ever again. All he brought to his family were hurt and pain.
Night befell and Oscar was home. The old house of Andrew appeared extremely lonely under the setting sun. The shadow of the castle was casted on the ground. Just like a burning fire pit, the people arrived here, however they did not come here for warmth, for it was all but absent.
Oscar's sister was already together with the women in the family. Three mothers were waiting by the door. Madame Celia led Rayshure for her youngest son, while Madame Pauline and Madame Freya helped their son down from the horse.
Oscar could only glance at the mothers through their black crapes that covered their whole body. It was if in one night, or maybe it was a few years, had aged to become terribly old. They hunched their backs. There were even tears in their eyes.
"You are back..." Celia rubbed the face of her youngest son. She lost her child, and now her husband. She was wan and sallow, as if only half a breath remained in her.
Oscar nodded lightly. He hugged each of his mothers. They did not wear any accessories, only mourning clothes. This scene almost made Oscar cry, but no tears came to him. He kept taking deep breaths as he consoled the women in the family.
Actually... There was nothing to be said. Everything here was strange and unfamiliar to Oscar. He even doubted that he was born in this place.
The people of Andrew all gathered at the old house. They came to the corridor with a loud noise. Everyone smiled at the Prince of the Empire, who came from far away. Some old Madame even cried. Oscar was not used to this situation. He took his sister and mother to run away from the scene quickly. Then, he found a room to lock himself in and covered his head with the blanket. Maybe he fell asleep or maybe he did not, because the blanket was shivering lightly all this while, and did not stop for a long time.
Until at night, Oscar changed into a black mourning clothes amended by Mam Freya using old military uniforms. Oscar walked up the stairs and took a look at his mother's bedroom. In the end, it was still the same. At this point, memories flooded into his mind. Oscar quickly scanned through his childhood memories without truly tasting them. It was meaningless to him now.
Dinner was served at the huge dining hall. It was the first dinner organized after the death of the Duke, prepared rather in a hurry, but the people did not have much of an appetite anyway. Oscar talked about Dulin and the matters in the south. The people were not interested. They only responded to the death of Alfa III, that old jerk with the claps and mockery. The Andrews said the Emperor deserved this. Oscar gave a cold smirk and agreed with the others.
Finally, there was someone who talked about the future of the family. Almost immediately, the long dining table quietened down. The person who spoke looked at the faces of his relatives. He seemed to understand how displeasing the topic he brought up was, so he pretended to be focused on the food. But the people did not dare to treat the situation as if he did not utter a single word.
"It's Oscar! Dortmund is clear in his will!" The chair of Andrew's Senior Meeting was the first to speak up.
Since Vedaan had started it, it was easier to follow up after that. The people of Andrew expressed their opinion eventually. They admitted that the will of the Family's Fourteenth Duke and expressed the welcome and protection of the coming position of O'Neil Andrew Morisette. But the people seemed to be not clear with what Oscar truly needed.
"Where is father? At the Hall of Heroes?" Oscar asked suddenly.
"Yes!" Vedaan the old guy sighed, "The people in the family take turns to stay there overnight. Do you want to see him?"
Oscar shook his head, "Whose turn is it tonight?"
A young family member raised his hand. Oscar then said to him, "Change with me!"
The young man immediately nodded. He respectfully saluted to the Fifteenth Head of Family. Oscar nodded and accepted it.
The Andrew family seemed to be calm. There was no sign of conflict, but Countess Aeolia came to her master after the dinner. She advised Oscar to not let his guard down. There were at least half of the people at the dining table that did not speak their true mind. They had all heard of the decision of the Prince at the base, but they did not plan to allow that as well. If Figg could be the Marshal of Narcissus Knights, then he could also be the Head of Family. The management of military and family could and should not be separated, in tradition.
Seeing that young master did not care much about her own warning, Aeolia felt that her actions were unnecessary.
However, this was at a serious time. She said to the Prince again that some family members were planning to rebel. Even though the people in the Senior Group kept warning these dangerous people, but they did not plan to let Imperial family to interfere with the inner affairs of Andrew.
"They still did not understand! This is necessary and the only way out for the family! If not..."
"Enough, Aya!" Oscar interrupted the Countess and held the furious Colonel of Military Personnel Bureau. He then kissed her, so Aya calmed down with her face burning red.
"These days... you have had a hard time!"
Aeolia shook her head, "This is nothing..."
Oscar let her go. There were many things that he did not want to listen to and know of, but Aeolia still told him that Figg appeared in those secret meetings of the opposing forces before. The young Prince could only smile bitterly. He knew things would become like this.
The candlelight painted the House of Heroes in red. There was cold wind out there, and the people in the room could only hear the whistling against the walls. The fireplace was at the east side of Andrew Church, where wood was burning wildly, yet the room was still extremely cold.
On the table was the coffin of the Fourteenth Duke of Andrew Family. Dortmund Andrew Nedgabel quietly lied inside. His face peaceful, bathing in the holy atmosphere created by lavender scent and holy oil.
Behind the statue of God were the memorial plates of Andrew family. These stone plates expanded just like the family book. Each plate represented a time in which the heroic incident of the God-chosen warrior was recorded. Along with the flow of time and the increasingly loud shouts outside of the Church, Andrew slowly walked towards the final station of victory. But now, another brand-new plate stood there. There were no words on it yet. Until the person it represented was buried, only the future generation could carve on it.
Oscar looked at his father's body. His face had many marks of a father. He compared them one by one. First, the eyebrow and eyes, then the bone and lastly the spirit! What did his father give him? He once thought the existence of his father was only a reality without choice, but he had no such thoughts since a long time ago. He clearly understood that his father gave him life and all the things that this life experienced.
The Prince wore his armor and fully armed. He stood in front of his father like a statue. This was a tradition of Andrew Family. Guarding the night was not a ceremony. Instead, it was a military salutation that was filled with respect and passion. As the Marshal of Narcissus Knights, Duke Andrew deserved everything the people did for him.
Some shadows flickered under the candlelight. Oscar's eyelashes shuddered. He did not care about it. Paul carefully closed the door of the Church, but his child did not even look at him.
"Something strange is going on outside!"
Snowsotrm sighed, "I reminded you!"
Paul got out and left the Prince alone in the room.
Oscar held his breath. Save for the wind, there were many light breaths and quiet footsteps around the Church. "Is it about to begin?" The young Andrew child held his knife. He did not want to let his father see what was about to happen, but he had no way to stop this from happening.
The door to the House of Heroes spread wide open all of a sudden. Oscar looked at his brother strangely.
Figg should not appear. Along with Figg, all sounds quietened down.
Oscar glanced at his messy brother. He wanted to smile, yet he looked as if he was crying.
"Brother... Are you moved by my suggestion? Or you just can't bear to have me killed?"
Figg rubbed his hands, "Why are you talking about this? Care for a drink?"
Oscar looked at the alcohol in the hands of his brother. He nodded.
Figg sat on the stair below the table. As if he were doing magic tricks, he took three cups out and a pot of beef stew. Then, he opened the bottle of liquor and filled the three cups. He placed one cup on their father's coffin.
"Alright! What do you want to ask?" Figg and his younger brother had their cups touched, then he downed the whole cup.
Oscar had a hard time saying it. He could only say, "Who are those guys outside?"
Figg shrugged, "The people loyal to the troublesome guy in the family. They do not know how to change. They are only familiar with hatred and vengeance."
Oscar looked at the cup. He did not dare to drink it.
"Rest assured!" Figg patted his brother's shoulder and snatched the cup over, "I am not going to do such thing in front of our father. I am not a lunatic!"
Oscar could only watch his brother downed his cup of liquor as well.
"You talked about your suggestion just now..." Figg lied on the ground. Two cups of strong liquor burnt his heart and lung, "How do I phrase this? I should say... I can accept it! But have you thought about it? What does the Marshal of the Narcissus Knights mean? It means you can do anything! Including building a country independently, fighting other countries and..."
"Will you do that?" Oscar was a little impatient. He snatched the bottle of liquor and took one mouthful, "Don't use that tone to scare me. I know you are a smart guy. You should know I will say this without even thinking."
Figg laughed, "What if I did? Can you even bite me?"
Oscar took hold of his elder brother's arm and bit on it without even thinking.
Figg screamed just like the pig that was about to be slaughtered. His body hunched over and he kept kicking his brother.
"This feels so good!" Oscar released his bite with satisfaction. He then spit the broken strips of cloth out and stared at his wailing brother with dumb eyes.
"You're lunatic! Lunatic! A human-biting wolf!"
"Say whatever you want! Say it louder. Let father hear that as well!" Oscar said as he spit harder.
"F*ck this! Why am I so unfortunate?" Figg kept patting the place where Oscar had bitten him, but he suddenly said, "You should get married to Sasha!"
"What?" Oscar turned his head.
"I said you should marry Sasha! Hear that!" Figg looked at his father in the coffin as he spoke.
"I... I don't understand. Is this important? Why are you saying this now? Father's funeral hasn't even..."
"It's fine after the funeral!" Figg was impatient, "Why don't you understand? It doesn't matter even if you are the Head of Family or not. Before Princess Alanis is crowned, you must marry Sasha E. This way, you can be Duke Andrew without worry because the world of the God of Light only recognizes the four legal wives of Andrew. Even if you are not the Marshal of Narcissus Knights, it basically does not make a difference to the outside world."
"Marry Sasha?" As expected, Oscar was looking forward to it, but there was more confusion.
"Is this you and the family's condition? To let Sasha bear the heir that completely belongs to Andrew and rejecting the infiltration of Imperial Family in terms of lineage and spirit?"
"This is not about that!" Figg smiled, "Why do you think only your children can be the heir to Andrew? Eldest brother's son is a good choice, so Morisette's intent towards the Andrew is too one-sided! There are many people in Andrew! No matter who is the Head of Family, it will still be Andrew for sure!"
Oscar suddenly understood, "Then... Why do you want me to take this position?"
Figg finally changed into his usual smirk, "My brother, it is about time for us to talk about conditions! To be specific... This is not my condition. It is the Persian's."
Oscar widened his eyes, "What did you say?"
Figg shook his head, "Once we separate from the west, no one can shake Andrew apart! Our aim is not in the west. That is your area. The family wants to go towards the east! The Persians lost terribly. There are many unowned lands in their country. Their people have already lost their homes! I need a chance to draft a ceasefire and to create a new ruler!"
"What do you want? How does this relate to me?"
"Do you still remember in Year 791, the sudden attack launched by the Persian's Mogadishu tribe? You kidnapped a beautiful Persian Princess!"
Oscar thought about it. It seemed that he did, "But how does this relate to her?"
Figg hit his forehead, "Are you an idiot or something? You are the Fifteenth Duke of Andrew. You can have four wives, so you must marry that Persian Princess! Or else, the Persian will still treat Andrew as their enemy! This is a joint marriage that overcomes race and religion. After four hundred years of killing, the family comes across a chance for both sides to compromise upon! If not... Do you want me to manage the pagans with the doctrine of God of light? That Persian Princess and you can create a new ruler for this land! A rule acceptable by Andrew and his enemy! Right... Her name is Arayna. Don't call the wrong name during the wedding!"
Oscar suddenly knocked on the coffin beside him.
"Father, wake up! Look at what your second son is doing!"