Titan Beneath the Heavens
Chapter 189: Twenty-first Episode: Chapter 8
Chapter 189: Twenty-first Episode: Chapter 8
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Count Philip Goolean had been residing in the huge residence all alone, situated at the depths of the Penelope Avenue and surrounded by huge houses and massive courtyards which were similar to it. The area was unusually quiet.
The Imperial Confidential… or rather, the 'former' Imperial Confidential Secretary, was guarding the big empty courtyard all by himself. Frankly, it was not like this when Alfa III His Majesty had still been alive. Back in those times, Count Goolean had possessed the liveliest living room and entertainment room in the entire upper society of the capital. However, although he understood that there was nothing for him to complain about at this moment, the apparent differences before and after had still disappointed him.
He had long picked up the habit of smoking. However, it was only after the death of Alfa III His Majesty that he had started drinking, and this habit had stuck with him until this day! Right now, he had been drinking in big gulps, bottle by bottle. Alcohol was indeed something capable of providing comfort to people, not only because it was delicious, but also due to the fact that it could allow the pathetic Count Goolean to forget his various experiences. Alcohol could grant him the chance of indulgence and preserve his self-esteem; it made him believe that he was still the energetic, capable palace officer he was before. Apart from the effects of alcohol, it would be difficult for him to boost his confidence under normal circumstances.
At three or four in the afternoon, a guest had arrived at the Count's residence. It was a messenger of the cabinet. When he saw Count Goolean, who had just woke up, he did not say anything and placed a letter entailing the orders signed off by the Cabinet Chancellor.
"Your service to the empire has been terminated!"
"What do you mean?"
The messenger then placed the letter before the Count, "This is an order from the Cabinet Chancellor. You've been discharged from your official duties in the country's government!"
The messenger rolled his eyes, "To my knowledge… it might be due to the fact that you've not shown up in the palace for more than a week!"
Philip laughed aloud, mocking his own stupidity. He thought that he had only missed work for a day, but the matter had been going on for a week.
"Fine! Fine..." the Count stuck his hand beneath the bed and searched around. After searching for half a day, he still failed to find a bottle of liquor. In the end, he could only say, "Thank you for coming all the way here just for this matter… If you've nothing else to add, please take your leave. I know the Dulin people now are all very busy, all except for me."
With that, the messenger exited the residence. Nevertheless, he still bade farewell to the Count with his most standard bow of a gentleman.
After this, Philip had gotten up from his bed. He had simply picked a long coat from the wardrobe in his bedroom, and removed every single tiny ornament which emphasized his status as a Count from his tuxedo. These ornaments included the Goolean family's golden buttons, diamond sleeve buttons imprinted with the graphics of the royalties, and the Empire Eternal Contribution Medal which had never left his side.
When the sun was hanging in the West, Philip had gone outdoors, disguised as a pathetic royalty. In fact, he had always been extremely pathetic and unfortunate. Nevertheless, he did not think so whenever he was drinking.
Mistress Kitanova's brothel was very popular in Dulin, as this was the only place in Titan's capital where people could have romantic affairs with tall, fair Ollier ladies. Compared to the Dog Biting Club which had surged in fame at one point, the brothel run by Mistress Kitanova, which the people had normally addressed as the 'Ollier Commerce Chamber', was much higher in ranking than the other services at the red light district.
The chamber was a massive villa with only one gate and one courtyard. The construction style was also of the Ollier's traditional methods which the Titan people had rarely seen. With red roofs and green bricks, the towering castle was just like any other ordinary building.
Count Philip Goolean's carriage had stopped right in front of the gate. Although he had disguised himself as a pathetic royalty, the servants here all knew who he was. The Chamber Manager, who was donned in a butler uniform with great red and gold linings, opened the car door for the Count. Upon seeing the person's white wig, Philip suddenly had the impulse of vomiting. However, he held himself down and only said to the Manager with a low voice, "Has Kitanova gone outdoors?"
The Manager immediately presented his professional genuine smile, "If it's Sir Goolean, Kitanova will naturally be at home; if it's any other people… well then, the lady will, of course, be out!"
"Hehe … you sure have a way with words!" said Philip while he played around with the insides of his tuxedo. He then flung over a Silver Ti.
The Chamber Manager caught the Silver Ti in his hand smoothly and then shouted like a hen which had consumed fake alcohol.
"Open the door for Sir Goolean, and ask the girls to welcome our guest."
Philip entered the big living room after the gate. The ladies of the Ollier Commerce Chamber were already seated inside, looking rather lazy. Some did not even spare a glance at the Count. This was the rule of the brothel as well as the tradition of the prostitutes opening the door and welcoming their guests. Men who had come here to look for joy would have one or two lovers, and they would only pair up with these lovers of theirs. As for the others, they were mere tools to demonstrate the scale of the brothel.
Just like Count Goolean who had visited, the women all knew that this person was a great source of wealth for them. However, this wealthy man was Kitanova's lover, and none of them could lay their finger on him. This was also one of the rules in the industry of prostitution, especially among these Ollier people who had put much emphasis on respecting traditions. If anyone of the shameful sluts happened to seduce others' lovers, a war would no doubt ensue within the brothel.
The Titan Codex had a clause forbidding prostitutes from entering a church. However, to these ladies who were making a living by going against the rules of religion, fighting was the most delighting pastime, followed by washing up, spraying perfumes onto their bodies and hair, trying on those colorful clothes, drawing their brows, eating snacks, and counting the tips received from men. If the situation permitted, the ladies would gather their resources and purchase some marijuana from the servants with wide connections… among all of these pastimes, there would always be trouble caused: they would compete for the tap when washing up, steal other's perfumes, competing for the newly-arrived clothes, and comparing the tips from their lovers… Fights would follow after all of this.
Count Goolean walked toward his lover, Kitanova, who had sitting in the innermost position in the main hall. The pale Ollier lady was still very young. There would always be traces of sorrow in her eyes, and Philip would always feel pity for her whenever he saw her eyes.
"My baby … have you been obedient today?"
"Obedient! She's been absolutely good!" a girl next to Kitanova had answered the question on her behalf. "She has been washing up since afternoon until three o'clock in the evening. I'm sure that our Count can apply your saliva on her entire body!"
"I'll tear your mouth apart!" the embarrassed Kitanova abruptly extended her pale arm toward her sister beside her. However, her lover had held her hand soon enough.
"Let's go in!"
"Alright…" once again, the lady had shielded her iris with the layer of sorrowful light in her eyes. She stood up from her seat and clung to the Count's arm.
"Are you planning to come straight to my room, or have a drink first at the salon?"
Philip pinched a handful of the Ollier lady's butt, "My dear, why don't you accompany me to have a drink."
They had passed by numerous small rooms along the walkway, and the rough pants and various noises, which were too embarrassing to hear, were audible through the rooms. Philip and his lover walked into the chamber's salon. It was yet another big open living room, decorated with sofas and an array of intricate Ollier handicrafts.
The sky had yet to darken, yet the room had been covered with thick cotton curtains. Philip had come a little too early, and half of the seats were left unoccupied in the salon. He greeted the female owner of the brothel. Mistress Kitanova. Then, he summoned a servant to open a bottle of Hennessy. To the current Count Goolean, vintage cognac was nothing more than appetizers before the main course.
Once it was past seven, the guests had entered the salon in a continuous stream. After that, it would be the music, dances, candies, drinks, smoking as well as obscene acts with various men; young, middle-aged, old, married, divorced, single, businessmen, civil officers, Farans, Ollier people, Deiss people, people outside of the province, locals, wealthy, poor, healthy, ill, drunk, conscious, gentle, brute, soldiers, royalties, civilians, undergraduates… These men of various statuses, various ages, and various personalities each embraced their own women, extending their hands to the women's chest and lower body. They studied the parts in detail and explored repeatedly. Subsequently, it was still the music, dances, candies, drinking, smoking, adulteries regardless of time and location, until the next daylight.
Philip had fallen in love with this lifestyle just a month ago. He hated the hypocrites in the palace. He also despised the face of Princess Alanis, which was neither cold nor friendly. Thus, he had fallen in love with this place within a single night. The people here were just so cheerful, so genuine. They would drink if they were thirsty, lie down when they were exhausted, fight whenever they were unhappy, and commit adulteries with a woman the entire night if they were in a good mood. How happy was this!
"Philip, I've heard that you've been sacked by our Cabinet Chancellor?"
Philip rolled his eyes, this was Dulin! News like this spread much faster than the crowing of the princess!
"That's right that's right! I've been fired by Sir Duke Rashel Titus!"
The men in the house all showed caring expressions. They shouted aloud to open a bottle of fine wine for Count Goolean, and that the Count would not have to pay the bill tonight.
"Thank you, everyone! Thank you, my friends!" Philip opened the bottle himself and then poured full glasses for the men around him.
"Why did Sir Duke Rashel Titus do so? What rights does he have?" A nosy fellow suddenly barked. "I recall that he's nothing more than the brother-in-law of Princess Alanis' uncle's wife, the Cabinet Chancellor of the empire… since when did it become his turn?"
"But he's really the Cabinet Chancellor right now!" A foreigner who looked like a businessman corrected the words of the nosy individual.
"Go away…" Philip finished drinking the delicious drink in the glass in one shot and hugged tightly the young lady in his arms who tended to take on everything without any complaints. "In terms of wisdom, Rashel is no match for my Kitanova; in terms of looks, the terrible old man simply makes me vomit whenever I see him, and again, he's no match for my Kitanova; as for performances on bed…"
"What do you mean… You and Duke Rashel Titus…"
Philip flung a cushion at the person who had interrupted him, "I've not had sex with the terrible old man, but I know that that thing on his lower body is pathetically tiny – it's exactly what his wife had told me herself!"
"Hahahahahahaha!" Waves of laughter erupted from the men in the house one after another. Some had even spurted a mouthful of alcohol they had just drank onto themselves.
"I must say... Philip, you're a great man!"
"That's right! That's right! We shall cheer for the departure of our old friend Philip! This is definitely something worthy of a celebration!"
The men and women there had all voiced their agreement. Philip had naturally drunk another glass, and he was now feeling a little floaty. The Cabinet Chancellor, empire's Crown Princess, palace affairs officers, and the lazy and scheming royalties of the capital; let all of those be gone!
As he was thinking, Count Goolean picked up the young prostitute by his side and placed her on his knee. Then, he freed the buttons of his pants, and completely liberated the strong male genital of his. Like an anxious stray cat, soft moans sounded from Kitanova's throat, and her hands were not unoccupied either. She picked her dress up with one hand while grasping the male genital with high fighting spirits with another hand. "Oh!" Both of them had simultaneously let out a sigh full of desires and did it so boldly in public. On the other hand, the men and women who were sitting beside them had just resumed their entertainment as if nothing had happened.
"I just don't understand what on earth Her Majesty the Crown Princess is doing." An officer commented with a troubled demeanor. "The finances of the empire are already strained, and the war compensations which Marshal Alan had fought for can't resolve the problematic situations of the Finance Department and Tax Department either. But do you know? Tomorrow! It's tomorrow! The crowning ceremony tomorrow will be spending sixty million Golden Ti. And this figure has yet to include the expenditures as appreciation to the Vatican!"
"Why are you talking about this?" Someone was displeased!
"That's right! that's right! Let's not discuss this. Let's redirect the topic to the Cabinet Chancellor, that old fellow is just too interesting!" Someone suggested.
"There's nothing much to talk about that guy, let's talk about the ministers working under him! They're just like a Christmas clown, making faces and feigning actions in front of Her Majesty the Princess, why don't they just go on sell off their butts."
"Her Majesty the Princess doesn't like butts! She likes this…" Count Goolean who had taken over the discussion suddenly knocked further into Kitanova who was in his embrace. Kitanova immediately scrunched her brows, opened her mouth wide, and let out a series of hasty shouts. She felt that the tip of the man had knocked into the deepest part of the soft meat in her body.
It was quite difficult for the men to associate the kinky postures of the prostitute with the empire's Crown Princess, but they were men after all. When an extremely noble lady was being brought into such a filthy picture, it would always arouse extreme delight in them.
"Our Highness the Princess has either gone deaf or blind!" A hilarious fellow who was slightly more conscious than the others said through clenched teeth. "Look at those people who have turned wealthy overnight! Do I still need to say more about the previous dynasty's Marquis Godzilla? If the Finance Ministry is still under his control, there'll no longer be any hope! Now, let's have a look at the former Taxation Minister. Marquis Nikola Veden had been my coursemate when I was studying at Dulin University, I swear to everyone that he's only capable of single-digit calculations."
"Hahahahahahaha…" The men here let out a series of laughter again. To think that the empire's Taxation Minister only knew calculation of the first digit, what a ridiculous joke!
"Now look at the Supreme Prosecutor!" The guest who had talked a lot folded one of his fingers as if he was intending to count every single influential figure at the time. "You won't believe it, our Supreme Prosecutor has in fact been charged with a serious crime, that fellow has been imprisoned before!"
"What charges?" The person who loved to get to the end of every matter could no longer control himself.
Another laughter exploded once more. At this moment, the guest had also folded his third finger, "Marquis Antonio who's in charge of the daily operations of the State Council must rely on soda water and tranquilizers to be seated calmly in his office! Everyone knows his assistant, who has been a regular customer here. Now, that guy is doing great, I've heard that he now has his own firm in the State Council!"
His fingers were being folded continuously, and the influential figures mentioned by him were increasing. There were, among others, the Patrol Chief who was greedy for money, the cheapskate Welfare Bureau Chief, the archbishop who loved guys, and the Diplomatic Officer who aligned himself with whichever party that had the upper hand and deliberately pleased people everywhere he went.
"Now listen! Look! Who had Her Majesty the Empress of the future appointed?"
Philip buttoned his pants as his romantic affair with his lover had come to an end. The former Imperial Confidential Secretary had widened his disdainful eyes only when he had heard the previous conversation.
"We can only say that Her Majesty the Empress is just too rash! She's in a hurry to obtain control of every single aspect of the empire. Therefore, she has appointed her family for those positions, blindly sticking to loyalty and flattery! While those brown-nosed speculators may have been able to satisfy her sense of superiority of holding a high-up position, Dulin has already been messed up by them into a foul atmosphere!"
The salon had suddenly fallen quiet. The drunk just snored, while those who were not drunk simply stared at the ceiling or looked at the women next to them.
"It's the end for Dulin! It's completely rotten!" Philip said in the end.
"Enough, Count Goolean!" A young undergraduate abruptly raised his wine glass, "These matters are none of our concerns! Why did we come here? It's for the people and matters outside to go to hell!"
"That's right! Let's drink!'
Ear-piercing cheers sounded from the men again. The liquor bottle was being passed to and fro among the pair of hands which were stained with the female's body liquids and various cheap perfumes. A lady dancer who had been undressed was rolling on the table surface formed by the men's knees, while an old band of musicians was playing out-of-tune music. The cigarettes and marijuana were as cheap as ashes in the royalties' golden ashtray. Drink to your fullest! Dance as you wish! Mingle with the women in your embraces however you like!
All of a sudden, Philip pushed away his lover. The former Imperial Confidential Secretary applauded with all his might, "Mistress Kitanova, Mistress Kitanova! My little heifer, you must think of a way. Everyone is about to fall asleep! Now, this won't do. You have to arrange some exciting activities! The more exciting, the better it is!"
Kitanova, with a plump physique and wide waist, struggled as she rose from her seat. The two bunch of flesh at her chest were like mountains that could hold a primary school student in place, whereas the fats on her abdomen were perfectly sufficient of manufacturing a few hundred pieces of soaps. As for her butt… Oh heavens! That was no butt! That was a stove, and inside it was a brazier!
The stove was occupied with dry feces.
"Tomorrow we'll be the crowning ceremony of Titan's Crown Princess, we should be celebrating!" the female owner of the Ollier Commerce Chamber let out a humph noise.
"How?" the men turned boisterous again, but they did not think that such matter was worth celebrating.
The female owner, who was like a female pig, swayed to the center of the guest room, "Gentlemen! Ladies! Why can't we elect a new empress? Since everyone hates the empire's Crown Princess so much, we'll pick one among our girls, and have her crowned…"
"Then? And then?" the men had their attention captured by this suggestion.
"After that?" The female pig showed a menacing grin. "After that, let her become our bride! Everyone's bride!"
"Listen to this! Listen to this!" An old man jumped up. "Such a great suggestion…"
Soon enough, the crowning ceremony planned by the men was about to begin. An elderly professor who looked solemn played the role of His Grand Eminence the Pope, while a smooth-talking gentleman acted as the emcee. As for the Empress… the men were begging Count Goolean, they all said that the beautiful and easy-going Kitanova was the best candidate. Philip could not resist the constant bugging and started to beg his lover. It was not a big deal to be everyone's bride for just once as she had always been in this line of profession.
Kitanova seemed to be reluctant to the idea. She was not the empire's empress, but she had still been pushed to the center of the salon by the men. His Grand Eminence the Pope acted by the old professor sprayed holy water onto her which was, in fact, wine, and then sang the holy song while circling her like a mentally-unsound patient; as for the emcee, it was painfully obvious that he had no idea about the traditions of a crowning ceremony, and has asked the men there to worship the Ollier prostitute.
"Well then… who can tell me? What role can I play in the ceremony?" O'Neil Andrew Morisette sized up the hilarious scenes before him.
The room had quieted down. The people all turned to look at the Marshal of the Guards, also the Imperial Prince who had just appeared out of thin air. Philip Goolean was the first to respond. He plopped down and kneeled on the ground, and his thought processes were no longer working. What on earth was this comedy? If the news happened to be spread to Princess Alanis' ears… Would this be considered as betraying the country or humiliating the royalties? According to the Titan Codex, anyone who had been involved in the ridiculous matter would have to spend the remainder of their lives in prison.
"O'N… Prince O'Neil ..." Finally, there was someone capable of recognizing the figure who had appeared all of a sudden. One after another… or to be more precise, instantly, anyone who understood the situation had all kneeled on one knee. The joyful occasion and festive activities had all come to an end. The mighty figure before them was the husband of the Crown Princess, and they had yet to know how he would see everything that had happened here!
Oscar stepped foot into the room. He did not bother paying attention to Philip whose entire body was shivering. Instead, he had pulled the chamber owner up from the ground.
"Yes… your Highness," Kitanova regretted; she was well aware of what was about to come.
"As colleagues, don't you want to greet me?" Oscar sized up the mountain of meat. He discovered that the mistress was actually a natural match with the Sea Creature, Almodovar Godzilla.
"Colleague?" the lady owner of the Ollier Commerce Chamber shook and stared at the Titan prince in disbelief. "I… how can I be of equal standing with you, I… I'm just a…"
"It doesn't matter what you are!" Oscar waved his arm in dismissal, "Right now, I only want to know how you're planning to explain this matter to me."
Kitanova sucked on her lips. She felt that her mouth was dry, and that scorching flames were burning in the depths of her throat.
"Or… shall I send my regards to the Titan's Highest Commanding Officer who has been dispatched to Kegiber?" Oscar chuckled with menace.
Kitanova blinked. Suddenly, enlightenment seemed to have dawned upon her, and she kneeled down like the female dogs who had been splashed with water. She rubbed the thighs of His Imperial Highness the Prince with her large bosoms which she had used to feed the bastards and faked cries which sounded too real could be heard from her mouth.
"Oh heavens! Please pardon me, God of Light … I'm a lowly being even lower than the pigs and dogs… I'm…"
Oscar moved his thighs away. It seemed that he had enough of the amusement, "Philip, do you still plan on staying here?"
Count Goolean recovered from his daze immediately, "Yes… yes! Your Highness!"
Oscar and the former Imperial Confidential Secretary walked out of the salon together. The women of the Ollier Commerce Chamber were all gone, and fully-armored guards now stood on each and every walkway, both inside and outside. Philip sized up the faces of these soldiers. If it was not for His Imperial Highness the Prince who walked in front of him, he would probably still be unable to move his legs.
The grand carriage hanging with the symbols of the Andrews had stopped at the gates. There were the pagan warriors, who had worn blue bandanas, in front and behind the carriage. They had all placed their skinny hand on the handles of their machetes respectively.
Oscar stopped at the gate of the brothel and turned toward Count Goolean, who had been standing next to him in utter silence. Philip wanted to provide some explanation regarding his crimes but had received a huge fist to his mouth even before he had the chance to open his mouth.
Oscar shot a cold glance the palace officer who had fallen to the ground, now with a bleeding nose and mouth. He had not expected for the brilliant and capable Imperial Confidential Secretary to become such despicable and pathetic person within the short span of six months.
"This is not about Alanis, because the events today will eventually reach her ears. Even if I don't investigate, someone else will naturally look into the matter." Oscar lifted the Count's collar, "I've hit you just for the sake of the deceased Alfa III His Majesty, Alfa III His Majesty had been blind. How could he pick such coward like you to be his close servant?"
Philip crawled up from the ground while swaying. His teeth were slightly loose, and his mouth was overwhelmed with the metallic and sweet taste of fresh blood. If he could have a look of himself in the mirror, he would discover that his left face had already been distorted.
"Get on" Oscar pointed at the carriage door. Philip seemed as if he still wanted to say something, but he just let out a sigh in the end and proceeded to enter the carriage.
Oscar followed suit, and ordered the carriage man, "Hamilton Palace!"
Hamilton Palace? Philip pictured the massive palace in his imagination, he was just too familiar with the palace! Has it been ten or eleven years? He did not remember! He had worked so hard for so many years in this palace which symbolized the highest authorities of Titan, but what had he gotten in return? A document officializing his termination! He knew that he should not be complaining about this matter as he had seen too many examples of this since long ago. However, he had never expected for this to fall on himself as well. He had sacrificed his loveliest years of youth in his life to the country, royalties, and his king... But what happened now? Even if it was just dismissing a mere dog, could it not have been done on better and friendlier terms?
There was not a single person on the capital's streets. The Guards had announced the lockdown, and would only open the cities to the civilians once the crowning ceremony had been completed the next day.
Lights of the Vanity Fair illuminated brightly. Every house and family were celebrating as if it was Christmas.
The new emperor signified the new era. Even though the faces at the Vanity Fair were constantly changing, every changed represented a hope and it was similar to the stations on a journey to exploit for more gold. The people gathered here and communicated with each other with vague languages and story-telling gestures. Some were looking to secure their meals, some were looking to improve the quality of their lives, while others were doing it for the sake of the positions and ranks which would be changing soon.
"You… when did you return?" asked Philip while receiving a handkerchief from His Imperial Highness the Prince.
"Just a while ago… but I couldn't find you!" Oscar said coldly and directed a glare at the Count. "Don't think that I've forgiven you, you and those bug-like people had been humiliating my wife!"
Philip could only smile bitterly, he no longer wished to explain anything to His Imperial Highness the Prince.
"Those people … are not bugs!" After some time, Philip spoke. "Or rather... They have not been!"
"If they're not bugs, then what are they?"
The Count sighed, "Among those people, there's the best accountant of the Finance Ministry, the leading figure in academics on the international stage, and…"
"I don't want to listen to all this!" Oscar interrupted. "I had not seen these people just now. Instead, what I've seen were just a bunch of ignorant and corrupted whoremongers."
Philip said no more, he was also one of them. The former Imperial Confidential Secretary was now an alcohol addict, whoremonger, and a pathetic fellow who relied on his savings to have fun with women.
"If you have any dissatisfactions toward the empire, you just have to say it out loud! Only hypocrites and cowards will hide from reality by drinking and trampling over their lives." Oscar knocked Count Goolean with his words which were spoken with an extremely disdainful tone. "The best accountant of the Finance Ministry? The leading figure in academics on the international stage? Enough! In my eyes, there won't be any good person among those men who bared their fangs and claws. Before you rant, you must visit your conscience. What have you done for the empire! And then, have a look at what the empire has done for you!"
"Are the efforts I've poured for the empire and royalties still considered little?" Philip shouted maniacally all of a sudden. "After I've graduated from university, I've entered the ranks of Alfa III His Majesty's Department of Staff. From every detail and aspect of an ordinary office worker, I've done all my work with honesty and diligence. Others have gotten off work at five, but I've worked until nine. While others have been dancing and enjoying their leisure time, I've been reviewing my work for the day. Then, I've become His Majesty's Confidential Secretary. Is this considered lucky? It's what I've gotten in exchange for my blood, sweat and hard work like a monk!"
Philip panted vigorously, and pointed at the street outside the window with shaking fingers, "Look at Dulin! Look at the capital's royalties! They relied on the statuses of their ancestors to undermine the foundation, poach connections, smuggle the empire's taxes, and fish the empire's incomes! What about me? There's nothing I can do but I've been able to adhere to my ethics as an officer and a civilian! I've never received any bribes, and I've never laid my fingers on the empire's belongings! Alfa III His Majesty has mocked my silliness, but I'm not! I knew all along that he had been seducing my wife. Nevertheless, I had still stayed loyal to him. I did this neither for the title nor to glorify my ancestors! I just think that… I just think that it's a kind of honor for me to be able to contribute some of my efforts to the empire. A single smile of His Majesty will be my greatest return! I don't ask for anything else…"
Count Goolean retracted his shivering fingers, and leaned toward the inside of the carriage seat, "Your Majesty, you've always been out, you have no idea what drastic state the capital's palace and the royalties here have become!"
Oscar gazed at the young Count deeply, "Can you give me an example?"
"Hehe…" Philip chuckled, "A few days ago, my father has written me a letter. He said that an officer has made his price known, bought and sold governmental positions in the South. My father asked if this is real! Take a guess, how did I reply his letter?"
Oscar opened his arms wide. Philip turned his head to the side, "I feel sad for the empire. So, I told my father that this is all just a rumor! However, my father said that the minister had really returned to Dulin while transporting several cars of golden coins and a few newly-appointed officers!"
Oscar's lips tightened. He heard some of the news regarding Dulin's absurdities, but he was a soldier. He only knew that the situation of the Guards seemed to be slightly cleaner.
"And then…" Philip pointed at the Taxation Ministry Tower as if he had come to some new discoveries. "Have you heard of the City Population Growth Tax?"
Oscar shook his head.
Philip chuckled in delight, "I'm afraid you won't believe it if I were to tell you. After some time, you will have to pay taxes if you wish to stay in the same room and bed with Her Highness Princess Alanis!"
"Oh my God! Whose idea is this?" Oscar's eyes widened in disbelief.
"The newly-appointed Taxation Minister!" Count Goolean grunted in disdain, "He doesn't know how to calculate, but he was a genius in terms of designing these wonderful tricks, there's no other Taxation Minister in the history of Titan who could be his match! Other than the City Population Growth Tax, there's the Urination and Excretion Tax, the Winter Coal Combustion Tax, the Summer Shade Tax, the Wedding Tax, the Funeral Tax... Not to mention, the pregnant ladies have a Giving Birth Tax, the widows have a Being-Single Tax, the single people had Marriage-Seeking Tax, and oh! Those beggars… those beggars!"
The former Imperial Confidential Secretary exclaimed while pointing at the street outside the window, "Have you heard that the beggars and homeless are required to pay taxes as well?"
"Not at all!" Oscar shook his head almost blankly.
"Now there's this!" Count Goolean grunted frivolously. "the Personal Income Tax! These are all the newly-implemented taxes along with the crowning of the empress!"
"Philip, let's be frank now! What is it that you really want to say?"
Staring at the Imperial Prince's face with intensity, Philip Goolean's aura and volume had lowered, "I just want to say that… if Her Highness Princess Alanis can't overturn this situation… I don't know how I should describe this, I only know that if the future Her Majesty the Empress isn't going to adopt an effective measure to overturn the current situation of the empire, the holy Titan will become a rotten lion, first the country's government, followed by the military, then… it'll be the end!"
Oscar shook his head softly and turned his face toward the outside of the window. There was the Dulin Scott Cathedral. Under the illumination of the night lights, the towering palace with sharp features seemed to be engulfed in red. Other than that, countless people who were dressed as servants were bustling in and out. Even the slightest mistakes and carelessness would not be tolerated as the crowning ceremony of the new empress was about to take place here.
The carriage passed by the cathedral. The soldiers of the Guards who were stationed near the cathedral saluted at the Imperial Prince respectively. Oscar thought of his Alanis, and she was still so beautiful, so confident. However... her eyes had been sheathed by a layer of misty shadow. Oscar wanted to look deep into the real thoughts of his wife, but he had realized that he had trouble figuring her out.
When he had just arrived at Dulin, it was naturally his wife's embrace which had welcomed the Imperial Prince. However, the Prince realized that it was all faces he had never seen before around his wife. He no longer saw the smart and brilliant Paul Jawock and Philip Goolean who had served the royalties with unwavering loyalty… Oscar did not like such a situation. He felt that his wife was isolating him, and opined that his wife was pursuing some unrealistic things. Despite his thoughts, he could not tell clearly what those things were.
"I've been puzzled all this while …" Oscar turned toward the Count at his side. "In the South, why did you assist me? You should've been able to guess my plans in the South!"
Philip looked at His Imperial Highness the Prince with alertness, "You… why are you asking this all of a sudden?"
Oscar shrugged, "Because… if you're really that loyal to the Morisette royalties, you should've reminded Alfa III His Majesty to look out for my actions in the South, and not be providing me your assistance."
"I don't know why I've helped you either! Really!" Philip shook his head in denial while smiling bitterly.
"Alfa III His Majesty had not paid much attention to the South's politics, what he had cared about all the time was his Dulin, or in other words, the entire empire! From the 'winter attack' and 'Riel invasion' in the very beginning and all the way to the 'tax inspections' and 'disbanding of the House of Lords' later on, it now seems that… Everything had only been Alfa III His Majesty's struggles in the face of impending death! He had come to his senses a little too late!"
"Why is that so?" Oscar did not think that Alfa III His Majesty had done anything wrong. Especially his hand of assassinating the Andrew Duke, the Imperial Prince had even thought that Alfa III His Majesty was ridiculously brilliant.
Philip let out a sigh, "The empire's government's evils have been deeply rooted, and the nobles' drives and motivations have long been destroyed in Dulin's Vanity Fair! Alfa III His Majesty no longer puts his hopes in his subordinates to have any wonderful accomplishment. Thus, he has invoked a huge fight with the House of Lords and some noble families as he thought that he can at least eliminate some unnecessary troubles for the empire's heir by doing so... But tomorrow, Her Majesty the Empress will be crowned. Not only have these conducts of corruption not being curbed, they have even worsened! Our Princess Alanis… won't be a good ruler!"
"Who said so?" Oscar scrunched his eyebrow. "Alfa III His Majesty and Marshal Alan have been holding high opinions of her! Otherwise, how would she be the person she is today?"
Philip shook his head consecutively, "The deceased emperor had high opinions of Princess Alanis only due to his psychological factors as a loving father. It was because, in some areas, the wisdom and courses of actions Alanis have displayed resembled the younger Alfa III His Majesty a lot. As for Marshal Alan… I can only say that he views the ruler of the country from his perspective as a soldier. Not only Alanis's appearance and personality fit the soldiers' role model standard perfectly, Her Highness the Princess, who knows nothing about military affairs, will listen blindly to Silver Fox just like this war! You weren't there to witness the scene, but the Princess had not even spared a glance at the things sent by Alan before imprinting her stamp."
Oscar had fallen silent. All of these did not mean anything good, but he had no idea where the dangers were lurking.
Count Goolean suddenly waved his hands as if he had some regrets, "What I want to say is… I shouldn't be saying this… but the empress' situation isn't positive at all. The deceased emperor had spent thirty years' time to clean up the accumulated hatred of the empire. As for Alanis… while she may be a good ruler, she doesn't have the time anymore. If the internal and external matters of the empire fail to improve in the shortest amount of time, then…"
"I've said it… it's over! There's nothing else!"
Oscar turned his head away, "You still haven't answered my question. In the South… why did you help me?"
Philip smiled bitterly again, "I know what you want to prove, but I just wished that you'll be able to overturn the political scene of the South and calm down the chaotic South. As for the others… I'm really not clear."
Oscar nodded in understanding, he seemed to have stopped looking into the matter deeper.
"Philip, are you still planning on heading to that place?"
Count Goolean quickly waved, "Relax, and don't worry! I was almost scared to death when I saw you just now, I thought that you were about to rush forward to kill every single person there!"
"Oh…" Oscar laughed, "Indeed, I had planned to do so, but once I saw you, I've changed my mind!"
Philip also chuckled, "What is it, my Imperial Highness the Prince, are you about to assign me a task?"
Oscar nodded, "We must offer our assistance to the very end. Since there is a vacancy of the position of a Governmental Affairs Chancellor of the unified government of the Five Provinces of the South, the only candidate in my mind who's fitting of handling governmental affairs is you!"
"But I'm just a secretary!" Philip stared with round and big eyes. However, his heart was beating fast, the Governmental Affairs Chancellor of the Five Provinces of the South? This meant that this career would be expanding from the secretarial matters to which he had been accustomed to the genuine governmental affairs. This would be a great leap for him, which would…
"Don't blink!" Oscar waved his hand impatiently, "You're the emperor's secretary, and the capabilities of a single emperor's secretary can match those of five Provincial Governors, there's nothing to worry about! Furthermore, the South is your hometown, you'll be even clearer than me as to what you should do!"
"Oh!" Oscar let out an exclamation. "But what? Are you saying that all that you've been ranting about the empire's accumulated grudges and evil practices are fake? Are you telling me that all this while you've only been shouting aloud and tearing your throat apart, but you've never considered the solutions to remedy the situation?"
"I… I've thought of some!"
"This is enough!" Oscar patted Count Goolean on the shoulder, "But… there's one more matter!"
"What is it?"
"Your concerns are definitely reasonable!" Oscar's eyebrows drooped low
and he fell silent.
"What are you referring to?"
"The Ollier Commerce Chamber!"
"What of the Ollier Commerce Chamber?" Philip was puzzled.
The person in charge of Titan's Military Intelligence Bureau glared at him, "You people have been speaking as you like over there, but no one has been aware that the Ollier Intelligence Officer had documented everything! Every single country on the mainland has been bearing ill intentions toward the holy Titan, which may seem powerful, but is in fact as vulnerable as you've just pointed out."
"The Ollier people?"
"Yes! Kegiber. Abbreviated as "KGB", that is one of the external bases of this Intelligence Department."
"This is simply unbelievable!" Philip's mouth widened.
Oscar gave a bitter laugh, "My friend, what you've said is still insufficient to describe the internal and external situation of the empire. If I were you, I would say… Titan's current situation is 'fairly' drastic!"<script>chaptererror();</script>