Titan Beneath the Heavens
Chapter 172: Nineteenth Episode: Chapter 9
Chapter 172: Nineteenth Episode: Chapter 9
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
When the temperature of Narcissus County had risen once again, it was already the middle of the second month of Church's year 800 even though spring had yet to come. The Narcissus Corolla in the greenhouse had bloomed with pristine and grace, while the knight of the Andrew family was focusing on the flow of events in the headquarters of Shanvelor Palace with a devoted demeanor.
Sunlight penetrated through the fish tank, of which several Italian blue whales were swimming about leisurely. Through the lens of the tank, everything in the room looked spherical. Being the only source of entertainment in the office of Andrew's fourteenth Duke, the fish tank had been placed at the most obvious location. The fish lens of the Italian blue whales could present every single event which had occurred in the office.
Standing opposite each other, Figg Andrew Tibotty and O'Neil Andrew Morisette were sizing each other up. After a short while, Oscar seemed to have admitted defeat from the meaningless contest of gazes. He lowered his head and retrieved a golden small item from a wooden box with the volume of one cubic foot.
It was the cap insignia of the Commander of Narcissus, with a golden name tag carved with the symbols of a shield, sword, tiger, Narcissus, fire torch, religion and the golden lion of the Morisettes. As Oscar placed the symbolic insignia onto his brother's military cap, the fifteenth Commander in the history of Andrews had come into existence. When the parent of the fifteenth generation had respectively handed his brother the title tag and position of Marshal, the men and Narcissus Officers in the room all stood up and applauded generously until Figg had straightened his stature.
Footsteps of military boots sounded consecutively in the Marshal's office, and all the soldiers saluted at the newly promoted Marshal with their best posture.
"Alright! Everyone, have a seat!" Figg waved while smiling. He was the first to be seated on his Marshal seat.
Oscar sized up the Marshal uniform on his brother. Although this set of uniform was completely the same as the one his father had worn to death, it did not give off a vibe as stern when it was being worn by his brother. Oscar guessed that it might be associated to his brother's personality as it was hard to believe that the second brother of Oscar, who had been one of mischiefs and rebels, could inherit the position of a Commander.
The young Andrew parent was seated at the front as the elder of the family, followed by the Chairman of the Elder's Meeting and the fellow chiefs of each military department. With all the Andrews of the highest status being gathered in the office, the room suddenly seemed too crowded.
Countess Aeolia did not put on her Major General uniform as she was confident that she was perfectly capable of replacing Berkley who had betrayed the family. Although the internal members of the Elder's Meeting would still hold back on their honest opinions of the outsider's position, their parents had not left any room for discussion regarding this matter.
Other than Aya, there was another female among the group of Narcissus Officers – Lieutenant General Laura Croft, the Chief of Narcissus Military Command Bureau who was in charge of the bureau's affairs of education, wasteland reclamation, promotion and females. This strong independent female soldier had been idolized by all the Narcissus girls, and all her actions and ways of dressing were followed by the girls.
"There are some changes to the strategies of the Military Personnel Bureau but it's still not a major difference with the previous years," Lieutenant General Laura Croft was the first to voice out. "Our wasteland reclamation has progressed to our territories within the Persian borders. However, the interferences of the Guerrilla forces and the resistance of the locals has slowed down our progress. But there's something rather positive. The people of the bureau have yet to demonstrate objections regarding the two upcoming weddings. Maybe the people prefer to see the family head and the Young Lady to be together hence they can still understand the rationale of the compromise between the family and the Mogadishu King."
Oscar raised his eyebrows, "No! One thing should be clarified in our promotions – this is not our compromise, but our victory! We're the victors! That's why the Persians have to hand over their most treasured wealth to the Andrews."
Laura Croft shook her head, "Your Highness, you must understand! The people of Narcissus are a difficult bunch to deal with. They will never allow the Persians to step into Andrew's lands, and this is a similar matter where we're not welcomed by Baghdad West. We simply can't free ourselves from the psychological traumas caused by the constant fights for four hundred years."
"Hatred is so annoying." Oscar turned to his brother, "Don't you have any other good ideas? I don't wish for anyone to mess with my wedding."
Figg nodded in affirmation, "Rest assured, your wedding ceremony with Princess Arayna Mogadishu will be held within the borders of Persia, and our territories won't be opened to the civilians, so they can't do much. Furthermore, King Mogadishu has given his word regarding the financial and security matters of the wedding. His people don't want the Princess to get married to you either, so…"
Oscar turned his head away in annoyance, "Which is why this matter is just a trouble to both sides! But still, we have to proceed, right? Right?"
"That's not it…" Figg whined, "It may be a hassle, but I do not see how it will be troubling! As Laura has explained just now, the people of Narcissus hasn't shown any extreme reactions, and they seem to comment only during their occasional discussions. But they all know that the marriage signifies peace and it means that their fathers and brothers can all survive from the Persian battlefield. As for the major obstacle I've previously deduced, it's the Vatican! I'm still unsure of the Vatican's final stand as it's still in the middle of the negotiations, we…"
"What's there to be concerned of the attitude about the Vatican?" Oscar grunted in disdain, "We can always have the Coran Front and Neruda Front to travel to Italia again! I don't trust those Vatican conmen who've been using the name of religion, they'll definitely cause trouble again."
"It seems like it…" the Chairman of the Elder's Meeting had finally spoken up, and he did not have a positive outlook of the marriage. "It's never logical for a warrior and lady of a different religion to get married! It's impossible to resolve all the hatred of a 400-year-long accumulation with a single marriage."
"Which is why we must respect the Vatican's stand," Figg was still firm on his belief.
"The key is just like what Oscar has said, we should persuade the Vatican to see that it's a victory of the God-chosen warriors against the pagans and not a tactical compromise."
"Will they believe it?" Oscar furrowed his eyebrows.
Figg had sunken into a confused demeanor, "Of course they will! I've brought hundreds of kilograms of gold to the Holy City of Rome all the way from Persia. Why won't they believe us?"
Oscar nodded softly, "Now this is still convincing! His Grand Eminence the Pope Radriere VI and his followers love those golden shining things! Only by getting Vatican's agreement, we can legalize this marriage and the citizens of Narcissus will approve the decision as well."
"That's right!" Figg nodded his head continuously, "So…let's put this matter aside in the meantime. However, the wedding must be done. It won't be too late for us to only proceed with the execution after the Vatican has made their stand."
"Aeolia!" Oscar ordered softly, "Now tell me about the events in Dulin…"
Being the last snow of winter in Year 800, Dulin was snowing heavily, presenting the Titan Empire with countless snow sculptures. The people had only begun their outdoor activities at noon. They cleared the heap of snow in front of their houses, whereas others with a heightened sense of responsibility had gone to greater lengths to clean the roads while being greeted by the patrolling soldiers.
The societal system of Titan Empire had yet to cease its functions in the consecutive events. In contrary, a lively passion was being presented to the government with the snow-white lands and newly crowned young prince. Similar to past years, the Ministry of Finance had been busy preparing the budgets for the new year and the Tax Bureau had been auditing the past income statements. On the other hand, the army had been occupied with the preparations for the war. As for the rest, the cabinet for instance, the departure of the Cabinet Chancellor had yet to cause any havoc. It was either victory or defeat.
These matters were as clear as day to the officers, and no further discussion was needed.
At this time, it was worth mentioning the Titan's News Management System and Publication Institution, which were closely related. The News Institution would report interesting news like the daily lives of the new prince, while the Publication Institution would attach the image of a sinful bandit onto the defeated parties of the royal power struggles.
The royal family of Andrews had only realized the importance of public media half a century ago. At that time, newspapers had transgressed from the state of new existence to the resources of casual discussions among all societal ranks. As the pioneer state of newspapers, Italia would naturally be ahead of others in this field. Nevertheless, Titan's Publication Institution had a slightly wider coverage than that of Italia. The crimes committed by Archbishop Karl Arnold had become a common knowledge within a month, and every societal rank of Titan from the lowly civilians to the royalties had been cursing the follower of God. The people had said that it was by far the most pleasant event after Titan's battle at Sajio Mountain.
However, there would always be two sides to a coin. In Italia, Vatican's publications had been questioning the legitimacy of the matter. Even if the verdict had been passed down by the judge of the Highest Inquisition of Religion, the Vatican would never dare to openly admit the crimes of its member of divine status.
In contrary to the situation in Italia, Faran's newspapers had been bombarding the scandals of Titan Empire's royalties. Faran had not been targeting the scandal itself, but it had been emphasizing on the facets of truth encompassed in the scandal. From the perspectives of Faran's citizens, they had sent their princess of such divinity to the Titan's Morisette royalty, only for the princess to be stripped of her status by her husband after failing to become the Empress. Thus, the Faran royalties had publicly voiced their fury toward the absurdities of the Titan royalties on their governmental publications and had reserved their rights to question the matter further.
This was definitely an alert of impending danger! Faran would naturally not wish for their princess to be the sacrificial subject of the scandal, neither would they want the cruel and competitive wife of O'Neil Andrew Morisette to be the new Empress.
Alanis had interviewed Faran before. At that time, the Faran people had addressed her as the Pearl of Titan, but now, the princess had been described by the publications as a mentally imbalanced, lusty and uncourteous monster. This was the epitome of the importance of public media, and the people of Faran truly believed that it was this monster who had ripped off the powers and shine of Princess Ashfin Kristen.
When the opposition and resentment of the public had been accumulated to a certain point, the government had finally intervened. In Church's year 800, the twenty-seventh day of the first month, the royalties of Faran had invited the Westland Alliance to an emergency meeting in the City of Riel and had convened a debate regarding the crisis of Titan's royalties.
Other than the neutral stands of the Kingdom of Italia, West Percy and Weden, the three Kingdoms of Hoillland, Leblese and Deiss had stood alongside Faran – to launch their attacks onto Titan should Titan failed to explain the scandal.
The news had reached the Hamilton Palace. Her Highness Crown Princess Alanis Alfa Morisette only had one comment regarding the matter – any party intending to interfere with Titan's internal affairs or invade its lands would be dealt with the deadliest measures. The Imperial Guards of Titan had been on standby for a battle to the death with any intruder!
Regardless of how firm Alanis' resolve was, Marshal Robin thought that the armies of the Westland Kingdom Alliance had commenced their preparations for a major advance toward Titan in the third month of year 800 but the Imperial Guards would still not be sufficiently prepared. It had been a constant debate between the Combat Department and the Staff Department on whether the main forces of the Western Army Group in Riel should voluntarily retreat or continue defending the territory. Even the internals of the two departments could not align their strategies.
In terms of the general outlook of Titan's battle, there would be a low possibility for Titan to be ambushed from three directions as the military forces of Westland Kingdom were limited. They would focus their men on the West front of the empire, reach the Great Plains of Dulin after breaking through the ranks of the elite armies from Valencia Fortress to Jebron Fortress, and then the center of the plains would be the capital of Titan, essentially the heart of Morisette's ruling.
Therefore, there was still room for improvement of the manpower of the traditional defensive fronts. This would take at least two to three months' time.
Although Marshal Robin's calculations were reserved, this was still a preview of traditional military tactics. Titan's prowess lay in its defenses. In fact, many clauses of Titan's Emergency Act had been drafted with these defensive theories in mind.
At the very least, Alanis had still not been too worried about the potential inter-kingdom wars in Church's year 800, the middle of the second month. What she had been concerned about was the series of betrayals.
The snow-dressed Swan Hill Castle was an imaginary cloak. The serene valley embraced the secluded icy lakes, and the woods crept up the mountains along the snowy outline in the direction of the mist. Wide and needle-shaped leaves bloomed at the side of the castle, and the green pine woods were disguised by the red Wisterias as if the troops of knights were being scattered in the mountains.
The snowy mist transformed the outline of the castle into an illusion. Mixed with dim daylight, the white icy realm appeared like an imaginary space, nurturing waves of events silently amidst the trees and leaves.
The wave hit fast, and it left Alanis Alfa Morisette with no time to respond.
She did not understand if the Secret Service Department was simply too brilliant or too dumb.
"Explain!" the empire's Crown Princess sized up Count Rudolf Hoss with ill intentions.
The Head of Secret Service Department was still plastered with a casual demeanor. He had been surveying the room for some time, especially the portrait of Princess Mica, which had invoked the memories of his earlier days. He still recalled himself courting Princess Mica, which had come to a stop after he had been warned by Alfa III His Majesty to not pine for the impossible.
"Hey!" Alanis was beginning to lose her patience.
Rudolf Hoss shrugged nonchalantly. He did not think that there was anything peculiar regarding the matter.
"You know, there's nothing we can do. Duke Kachev is the empire's Cabinet Chancellor after all. If he deliberately hides, we've no way to locate him within such a short period of time."
Alanis furrowed her eyebrows, "No way to locate him? Are you telling me that you're not continuing the search anymore? Hasn't Marshal Robin given his word? I remember that he has said that nobody can leave Dulin as they wish! But look at us now, we've been looking for him in the entire Dulin. Have we found him?"
"Your Highness, we've tried our best!"
Alanis pondered and knew that her reasons for lecturing the Head of Secret Service Department were unjustified. It would be impossible for Kachev to not have any contacts, but she was now greatly concerned with the final destination of this escape route arranged by the empire's Cabinet Chancellor. Nevertheless, there was one thing that Alanis was sure of – Kachev would definitely betray the empire, and he could request for protection from Faran or even Engels.
"No! I can't allow this!" the Crown Princess shook her head violently. "There're no secrets between us and Kachev, and if he happens to align himself with the anti-Titan military of the Westland Kingdom Alliance, it'll wreak disaster! Our enemies will get hold of our confidential information, and we'll no longer have an upper hand once the war begins."
The head of Secret Service became silent and had other views on the possible courses of actions of Kachev.
"Your Highness, I thought Kachev has already given up. He actually knows how little hope there's left for him, and that's why he has arranged his escape plans without any information leak."
"What exactly are you trying to say?" Alanis held her chin. She did not understand his words entirely.
Rudolf looked as if he was recalling something, "If I'm not mistaken, Duke Kachev is already 71 years old. Moreover, there's no significant feud between him and the royalties. If he's still an intelligent person, he won't have himself tagged as the empire's betrayer in his late days."
"So, this is how you see it," Alanis whined. Kachev had vanished into thin air after the incident at the House of Lords. After a month, he would already be out of the kingdom if it was possible.
"Won't there be any danger? He can come up with any logical reason for the intervention by Westland's anti-Titan Alliance, for example, the internal secrets of the scandal. Once Faran is aware of this, they will mobilize their troops immediately."
The Head of Secret Service Department shook his head, "Your Highness, it's not like this! The truth is, it was the Faran Princess' lack of chastity which has led to the scandal in the first place while we're bounded by our restrictions to reveal the truth to the public. How can we possibly inform the people of the relationship between Princess Ashfin Kristen and Alfa III His Majesty? Which is why Faran will also remain silent even if they know the details. It's already embarrassing enough, and even if they wish to invoke war, they won't have to resort to using this matter as their material."
"What will happen?"
The Head of Secret Service Department let out hints of concerns, "Your mother, also her Majesty the Empress Rolyn Kate, has disappeared last night!"
"What did you say?" Alanis jumped up from her seat, surprising even Poison Doctor Percy who rushed over.
"How can this be? Are all the guards of the monastery mere decorations?"
Rudolf Hoss lowered his head in shame under the questioning of the Crown Princess, "Your Highness, please forgive my mistake. That insane woman certainly had not been placed under sufficient supervision. "
"You still think that she's crazy?" Alanis slumped further into the sofa with fury. She had begun to dislike the beautiful Snow Hill Castle as things would go wrong every single time she had been here.
Rudolf Hoss was not concerned about the abrupt disappearance of Empress Rolyn Kate. Instead, he was worried about the potential consequences of this matter.
"Her Majesty the Empress is one of the core members of the royalty, I'm afraid that this will serve as a blackmailing material for the Anti-Titan Alliance!"
Alanis got even angrier, "Rudolf! What use is there to only be scared? Go and find her! Before she poses any threats, get…her…"
The Princess could barely continue speaking. She had never been able to kill at the blink of an eye, let alone Rolyn Kate who was her mother.
The Head of Secret Service Department nodded, "Your Highness, I know what you're trying to say, but the information secured by the Secret Service Department is limited, as well as my capabilities. For Empress Rolyn Kate and Duke Kachev to just vanish into thin air suddenly, it's possible for these to be the doings of foreigners or even the troublemakers of our very own empire. But, I can't find any solid trace of evidence. All of these are just my guesses."
"Tell me about these guesses of yours," Alanis furrowed her eyebrows. She was aware of the consequences following the disappearance of the Empress.
"I think…there are two outcomes!" Rudollf Hoss lifted two fingers, "One is Hoilland, and the other will be Leblese! What can you think of these two kingdoms?"
Alanis whined, it seemed that she could not think of anything!
The Head of Secret Service Department whimpered, "My master! Have you really forgotten? You still have two sisters! One is the queen of Hoilland, and the other is the wife of Leblese's chief consul!"
"Afney and Yodal? What of them?"
Rudolf Hoss started panting in exasperation, "Ugh…ahh…my master! Have you not heard of it? If the empire's royalties really can't come up with a legitimate ruler, the royalties and the House of Lords will be empowered to bring a foreigner into Titan. However, there's a condition – this foreigner must be an in-law of the princesses or princes of Morisette, or someone closely related like a nephew or niece!"
"What do you mean? What foreigner? What nephew or niece? What on earth are you trying to say?" Alanis glared at the man before her with anger. She would not allow her crown to be snatched away out of nowhere.
Rudolf could only laugh bitterly, "I'm sorry your Highness, it's because I don't really care about these things that I've not explained these matters to you. You know, every royalty of the Westland Kingdom Alliance is considered as a relative if one is directly judged from the family line of the clan! It's the accumulated marriages for hundreds of years which have led to the situation today. As the royalties of each kingdom are restricted to marriage only within this small circle formed by the highest ruler, you're my uncle, she's my daughter, I marry my daughter to my uncle, and my uncle marries my niece to me! All in all, everything's a mess!"
"State your words more clearly!" it was almost as if Alanis had spoken while clenching her teeth.
Rudolf sipped one mouthful of coffee. He moved closer to the princess' ear, "Your Highness, I'm saying, if the Anti-Titan Alliance is to invoke a war and emerges victorious, it means that you'll have to step down. After that, your two sisters will show themselves during the crisis, and proceed to aid their husbands in getting the throne!"
Alanis' irises had contracted to a shockingly tiny point, "Will it be Hoilland or Leblese?"
The Head of Secret Service Department shrugged nonchalantly, "If the Alliance wins…what meaning is there for us to be having this discussion? It'll be either the King of Hoilland or the chief governor or Leblese, as they do have the rights to inherit the throne due to them being a part of the Morisette royalties. When that time comes, I believe that the unification of the empire will come to an end, and our lands will be split by the Westland Alliance. The Southern Westlands will belong to Faran and Italia, whereas those of Northern West will belong to Deiss and Weden. After that…"
"Shut up! Say one more word and I'll strangle you to death!" Alanis waved about violently. It was as if Rudolf's teacup responded to the shrieks; the intricate porcelain flew and clashed against the pigskin wallpaper, leaving coffee-colored trails and broken pieces of clay. The two Paladins who had been guarding the room looked inside and had only gotten rid of their impulse to barge into the room once they had confirmed that the princess was safe and sound.
Alanis panted with large breathes, her tummy more visible than ever. She simply would not accept this kind of arrangement! Now, she despised the crazy woman even more! How she wished that she had been firmer with her stand and executed things much cleaner! If so, her two sisters would never have an opportunity of intervening in the internal affairs of the kingdom!
"Is there no more chance for mediation?" the Crown Princess directed her gaze toward Rudolf Hoss questioningly. If it was not that the Head of Secret Service Department had no other options, he would never raise the matter.
"Well, there are some ways! But…" the Head of Secret Service Department sized up the princess with hesitation. He simply could not bring himself to speak of these matters so casually.
"Speak your mind! Do you not know the circumstances we're being put in right now?"
Rudolf lowered his head immediately, "Your Highness, I've been thinking to have His Grand Eminence the Pope Radriere VI to arrive at Dulin as soon as possible to crown you! But the problem now is that the Vatican of Rome has responded that His Grand Eminence the Pope has already agreed to host the wedding ceremony of the Andrews!"
"Andrew? Wedding?" Alanis' eyes widened in shock and sized up Rudolf in disbelief. Nevertheless, she was still trying to have a final confirmation, "Whose…whose wedding is that?"
Rudolf had been scratching his ears for more than half the day, "It's…it's the marriage between Prince O'Neil and Young Lady Andrew. I've heard that he will be marrying yet another Persian princess and that the two weddings will be held separately."
Alanis' eyebrows shivered momentarily, and her shoulders shook slightly. Finally! This elegant princess cried out in an insane manner. She pulled on her hair barbarically with her fingernails and swept all the things on the study table onto the floor violently. Along with the sharp sounds, the princess had destroyed her husband's study completely!
Poison Doctor Percy hurried toward them awkwardly. He had no words to describe the situation either, and he had witnessed all of Alanis' sufferings for the past few months. On the other hand, Oscar was merrily preparing for his wedding ceremony in Narcissus County. How was this fair? Moreover, Alanis was four months through her pregnancy.
"Get out! Don't you feign kindness here! Your master wishes for my death…" the princess swatted away the doctor's arm violently. She did not need anyone's help, nor did she require anybody's sympathy.
Percy went silent for a few moments. In the end, he could not help but glanced at the head of Secret Service, asking for help internally.
Rudolf Hoss stood up, and nodded softly at the Poison Doctor, "You can leave first. Don't worry, if anything happens, I'm here!"
Percy sighed and walked out of the room, leaving behind a pregnant lady who was behaving like a maniacal dragon.
"Your Highness…you have to think for the good of the system as well as your child you are bearing, you…"
"Who will care for me then?" Alanis lashed out again. Her baby was absolutely tenacious as she could feel the pain caused by her baby grasping hard onto her placenta. Think about the child and think about the father! Alanis, who had always been tough and strong, had eventually broken down. Even if her tears were flowing uncontrollably, it did no justice to express the extent of her sorrows completely.
So, what if he had killed his own father? Alfa III His Majesty was at fault for the death of Duke Andrew! This was already pretty fair, but why is her husband no longer hers alone?
It had never been accepted by the people and the Gods alike for two, or even a few women to be sharing the same man. However, Alanis understood that she had no choice but to accept the truth.
Duke Andrew's status had enabled things to happen, and the hypocritical laws of religion had eased things for him further.
Alanis struggled to wipe away her salty tears. This was close to the most depressing and miserable event she had ever experienced in her entire life.
"Am…am I embarrassing?"
Rudolf kneeled down on one knee, "Absolutely not! You're already perfectly qualified to be an Empress!"
"Haha…" Alanis' demeanor changed to one with weak smiles, "Fitting as an Empress? Is there any Empress out there as miserable as me? Look at me! Not only am I bearing a huge tummy, my makeup is now a mess!"
Rudolf spared a glance at Alanis; her face was really in a mess with the various gouache colors. Tears were evident, which were the symbols of weakness. The head of Secret Service handed over a piece of snow-white handkerchief to Alanis, of which she had accepted after a brief glance.
Rudolf did not speak anymore and stood in the room silently. He was waiting for his female master to touch up her makeup, and for his king to proceed with the next order.
"Go and discuss with the Andrews!" Alanis said suddenly.
Rudolf was puzzled, "Discuss what with the Andrews?"
Alanis twirled in front of the mirror, her facial features had recovered their previous shine and sternness.
"Just inform the Andrews that the Morisettes are glad to give the marriage their blessings, but they must retract their idea to invite His Grand Eminence the Pope to host the wedding ceremony."
Rudolf responded to her orders immediately, but it seemed that the princess still had some lingering questions, "What did you say earlier…what about the Persian princess? Is Prince O'Neil still planning to marry another pagan?"
The Head of Secret Service nodded in affirmation, "It seems like it. This princess comes from an extremely powerful royal family of the Persian Empire. This royal family had already ceased warring against the Andrews, so all that's left is for both parties to come to a mutual understanding."
"What are your views regarding this matter?" Alanis was alert all of a sudden. If the Andrews and the Persians came to an agreement, what would happen next?
Rudolf laughed coldly, "The Andrews are just getting themselves into more troubles! The hatred between them and the Persians have been accumulated to a psychological castle! Thus, any agreement will only be temporary. It'll be either one of the Andrews of Persians to make their move first."
Alanis nodded, "How about this? Regarding the marriage between Prince O'Neil and the Persian princess, just say that the royalties will wish for them to think through it in detail!"
Rudolf accepted the orders again. However, he still had some questions this time around.
"Your Highness, shall I proceed according to the formal documental procedures of the royalties, or your informal letter methods?"
"Formal documental procedures!" Alanis stood up abruptly, she was losing her patience and did not want to continue discussing the matter.
"Your Highness!" Rudolf followed the princess out of the study, "What about the incident of Empress Rolyn Kate? If she's really been utilized by foreign forces to stand with either Hoilland or Leblese, it'll provide an excuse to the Anti-Titan Alliance to mobilize their men. As they have our Empress in their hands, our Empress will have the rights to mobilize the men."
Suddenly, Alanis stopped in her tracks and the Paladins in the hallway all saluted at her. The Crown Princess then turned to look at the dazed head of Secret Service.
"Justice? Does justice even exist in this world?" the beautiful lady waved her sleeves, "Go and get your men! Mobilize anything that is available to you to look for her! But, you don't need to notify me if you've found her. You finish the job. If you couldn't manage to locate her, inform Marshal Robin for him to issue a formal notice to prepare his men for battle. Since when had my empire feared anyone? If they want to wage war, let them take the hit! Let them kill! And we'll see who'll be the one to fall first!"
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" Rudolf Hoss was still facing the princess with a hunched back. He suddenly felt that though it might be an illusion, he thought that his master had just transformed into a mature ruler.
It seemed that it was the same for Dulin!
Aeolia swept her gaze across the crowd of soldiers and men. Finally, her gaze landed on the family head and the Commander.
"Judging from the current conditions, the crowning of Her Highness Princess Alanis Alfa Morisette will eventually be a fact as there's no longer any voice of opposition against her in Dulin City. Marshal Robin will be commanding the general outlook of the battle in the central army, while Marshal Alan will be analyzing the progress and adjusting the troops accordingly in the Northern armies as well as holding down the Karl Arnold family. Then, Rudolf Hoss…"
Aya scratched her head awkwardly. If someone were to assign her to deal with the head of Secret Service of the Morisette royalties, she would have zero confidence.
"Rudolf Hoss is just too scary! I don't even know if his statements against the Karl Arnold Archbishop and the Cabinet Chancellor are true or false."
Oscar waved his arms nonchalantly, "Regardless of the legitimacy of those statements, Rudolf Hoss had done well! Alfa III His Majesty had been right! Although the neutral factions, bastards and conspirators are capable of invoking temporary commotions, they will eventually be eliminated by history!"
"Aren't you exaggerating?" Marshal Figg flipped through the materials in his hands. "It won't be a good thing for Rudolf Hoss to unify the entire Dulin with just a few tricks."
Oscar nodded in agreement, "But I've said this before! Anyone who underestimates Rudolf and the Secret Service Department will pay the price, and the same applies to whoever who underestimates me with the Military Intelligence Bureau or Aya with the Military Personnel Bureau."
Figg put down the documents, and began sizing up his brother with a complicated look, "What…what do you mean?"
Oscar looked at the fellow soldiers and family elders, "Everyone, if you've no more questions, please leave!"
Led by Vedaan, the Chairman of the Elder's Meeting, the people left their seats one after another. However, Aya had stayed and brewed another pot of tea for the family head and Marshal.
"Hey, what on earth do you want to say? Hurry up! I still have a date!"
Oscar handed a piece of paper to Figg with an address written on it. With just a single glance, Figg's demeanor had changed. He stared at the Chief of Military Investigation Bureau and looked at his younger brother who seemed unbothered.
"Alright, Oscar. I admit it. I'm going to meet up with those people who have the intentions of opposing you. But still, you shouldn't suspect me for anything because I'm only going to make it clear that their lives will not be easy if they continue to mess with you!"
Oscar nodded, "Second brother, you're absolutely right! They won't be living a carefree life! So, it's best for you to not go as I've prepared some presents for them."
Figg was beginning to lose his patience. He was not fond of his brother's attitude, "You knew that I was the one who had gathered those people, right? For you to kill them right now, you intend to force me into breaking up with those guys, am I right?"
Figg abruptly gripped his brother's collar, and he already had a dagger in his other hand on Oscar's neck. The Narcissus Commander whose face had darkened seemed to be ignoring the Delin Mini Cannon in the hands of Aeolia. He simply swept his dagger along his younger brother's throat and swayed his body in front of Oscar.
"I'm warning you! Although those people might have targeted you before, they're not idiots. Once you've married Sasha, you'll then become the family head of the Andrews. Thus, they'll never do anything to harm the family head! Every single one of them is the most loyal warriors, and also the most courageous fighters on the battlefield!"
Oscar shook his head softly. The blinding light was reflected from his brother's dagger.
"Figg, what will father think of you if he sees you pointing your dagger at me?" Oscar gripped onto the edge of the dagger with his fingers and moved the weapon away from him.
Aya stepped forward, the safety of her gun had already been unlocked. "Throw your weapon to the side!" the countess commanded with a low voice, but it was only responded with Oscar's lectures.
"Have you gone mad? He's my elder brother, also your Commander! Put away your gun this instant!"
Aeolia looked back and forth between the two men and eventually decided to keep her gun. Oscar nodded in agreement, and Figg was relieved. Their impression of the countess had once again been renewed, how did this newly promoted Chief of the Military Personnel Bureau manage to bring any firearm into the Commander's office?
Oscar knocked on the table with his knuckles and had successfully gotten Figg's attention.
"Alright my brother, I know that you're angry with me acting on my own. But don't you think that the things you've told me just now were all full of lies and deceit? I'm also well aware of the agendas of your future discussions with them, and I know that those people will never go easy on me. Well then, here's the question! Will you rather continue to protect them while sacrificing your own family head and younger brother, or give up on the so-called unification and voice out more regarding the internal affairs of the family?"
Figg crossed his hands and shut his mouth tight. He did not know how to answer his brother's inquiry. Brother Racheff's death had dealt him a huge blow, he did not want to lose another brother!
With these concerns in mind, he had started to attempt negotiations with those people of the opposition. However, it now seemed that the situation was no longer within his control. He did not wish for his brother to be harmed in any way, nor did he want to commence a large-scale cleansing of the family's mentality. Before the issues had accumulated to the point of explosion, he had no choice but to face the problem which he had been avoiding all the time.
"I can assign all of them to the frontlines, they…"
"It's meaningless, Figg," Oscar cut off his brother's words impatiently. "Are you still the firm and decisive Figg? Are you still the Figg who has led three thousand men to deal with West Baghdad? You've been so wise and courageous on the battlefield. How can you be so indecisive when handling family affairs?"
Figg rubbed his nose. Looking at how his younger brother was lecturing him, he thought that Oscar was an exact duplicate of their father.
Oscar knocked his knuckles against the table once again, and he was beginning to be angry at his brother's confusion.
"I thought that the advance toward the East will neutralize the internal conflicts of our family and I believed that the marriage with Sasha will reduce the degree of opposition, but I was wrong! Hadn't you agreed that father's views were right? Although negotiations and soft approaches are needed to tackle with the family's internal conflicts, more aggressive elimination is also required for the key target! Do I even have to shed my armor when they're pointing knives at me?"
Figg avoided the furious gaze of his younger brother. He thought of his father who had negligible military achievements, while he himself was still naïve when it came to family affairs.
"Do I really have to resort to that?"
Oscar extended his arms, "I'm just giving you suggestions and not restricting you to stay here. If you really want to attend your date, you can leave anytime."
Figg stood up gradually and retrieved his wolf-skinned cloak. However, after he had put on the cloak, he went back to his seat as the Commander of four hundred thousand Narcissus knights.
"Aya, please fill up our tea!"
"Yes, Marshal!" the countess bowed at Figg.
All of a sudden, Oscar waved his arm, "Aya, bring me some alcohol! The strongest!"
Aya smiled. She believed wholeheartedly that the Andrews would continue to grow more powerful and formidable in the hands of the brothers.