Chapter 192: Twenty-second Episode: Chapter 2
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation

The Capitol Honorary Soldiers Nursing Home was located at the south of Dunreel Hill, surrounded by fresh flowers and apple trees. One could enter the mountainous area and valley after going towards the south of the highway which connected Damorga Province with the Capital, turning west at the road sign of Dunreel Hill and walking for two hours.

Dunreel Hill was considered a touristic place but the people who visited it was few. From the beacon tower at the main peak towards both the north and the south was the restricted area of the military. Only Capitol Honorary Soldiers Nursing Home was considered a half-private public area. However, every three years, the nursing home would be under Martial Law for some time. Damorga military area and Capital's Home Defense would send a huge amount of army to ensure the safety of this nursing home.

As understood by the name, the Guard's Corps Meeting was the Guard's most important decision-making event with the highest rank and largest influence. Along with the expansion of the Guards, the Army Division of the Capital needed a more effective way to control the Imperial Army and every matter related to the army. The motive of this meeting was a way to enhance the control over the soldiers. It already had a history of more than a century.

During the 20th day of the 9th month in Church Calendar Year 800, the highest meeting of the Empire that had been delayed for two months from its traditional meeting date finally began. All gathered at Dunreel Hill and the security at the Capitol Honorary Soldiers Nursing Home was strict. All major people-in-responsible and the officers of the army from all departments of all regions of the Guards was at the nursing home a week ago. The representatives had utilized the free time before the meeting to carry out preparation for the meeting. Actually, their "preparation" was simply ranting. Most people only had the right to compromise with the decision of the highest Army Division of the Empire.

What we meant by most people, we naturally meant those who came from the local army division. Those were the people who fought for supply, salary and budget seriously. Those people mostly came from the middle-east region of the northern army group. They were not as rich as the southern five-province army or as victorious as the western army group.

The Military Intelligence Bureau led by Prince O'Neil Andrew Morisette was the consultant of this meeting. Few most important chiefs and department heads of the Prince came to the nursing home from their respective posts. They organized a meeting with the Prince first. The head of the Military Intelligence Bureau standardized the words of all bureaus and departments. They requested that all participants must not express any personal opinion during the meeting. They only had one purpose when they participate in this meeting – to have fun watching these people!

Oscar had long heard of Marshal Alan. He knew that the issues brought up in the meeting were not flattering to avoid strange change of people or anything unfavorable happening to his Military Intelligence Bureau.

He had already destroyed the prepared speech and changed to some useless words that did not matter in the least. Maybe Alan would complain about Oscar's perfunctory, but it had been the ugly habit of the Guards for a long time. Meetings, documents and speeches – the ones who really worked on those were few. Moreover, discussing the same few things during the highest military meeting for a century was truly boring.

On the first day of the meeting, to be specific in the morning of the 20th day, Marshal of Guards Vann Hewitt Alan hit the copper bell according to traditional practices. The officers and representatives of the soldiers rushed to the central square of the nursing home as if it was an emergency gathering. Then, Marshal Alan chaired the flag-raising ceremony and met with exceptional representatives of soldiers who came from all regions.

The venue of the meeting was at the round-roof theatre of Capitol Honorary Soldier Nursing Home. The history of this building dated back to the time of this highest military meeting. The stage of this theatre was the main stage for the high-ranked generals while the lowers seats were meant for the representatives. At 9.00 in the morning, the theatre was already filled with people in the same ocean-blue uniforms. The large chandelier made their military medals gleamed in the light and dispersed throughout the seats just like a starry sky.

The victory of the defense war had more or less affected this meeting. Until the very last moment before the meeting began, the theatre still had a large number of seats unfilled. Those were the seats for the western army group who fought a victorious anti-invasion war for the Empire.

The trumpeter team by the side blew three sounds of trumpet and all the soldiers on and off the stage stood straight. Led by the war hero General Bencil Donnis, the soldiers from the west entered the venue.

Along with loud cheers, sharp whistling and deafening applause, the general walked up to the main stage. The high-ranked generals of the Capital's Army Division and the local government officers hugged the old General passionately. Even though General Bencil was not as excited as the soldiers had imagined, he still wiped his moist eyes when he kissed the army flag.

At 10.15 in the morning, Chief of Staff Marshal Robin Sparse who chaired the meeting announced the start of the Ninth Guard's Corps Meeting. After a round of applause, the meeting entered its first program. The Highest Marshal of the Titan Armed Forces Vann Hewitt Alan gave his opening speech.

Unexpectedly, Marshal Alan's speech was extremely short. Silverfox first expressed his grief for the soldiers who sacrificed themselves during the defense war in Year 800. Then, he praised Her Majesty Empress Alanis who was just crowned with a tone of pride and Alan spoke of some useless stuff such as short of time, important mission, worrying future and difficult situation. Following that, he ended his speech with some encouraging words.

Marshal Robin walked to the stage once again after saluting Marshal Alan. According to traditional practices, the second program of the meeting was the finalization report of the Chief of Staff. That was the report that would be given to all departments by the Army Division after the meeting.

Marshal Robin's report mainly discussed issues related to four main directions – first was the final result of the criminal arrest at the southern Empire, second was the background analysis of the beginning, development, ending and all related matter of the defense war. The content of the second issue was large. The Chief of Staff discussed it from the start until lunchtime. Half of the content would be delivered after the meal.

The temporary canteen of the Capitol Honorary Soldier Nursing Home was an ancient-looking church. The soldiers had to put all the long chairs in the church in the storeroom, then they had to prepare a lavish buffet spread. Oscar and the rest of the high-ranked generals did not go to the true restaurant for meals. Instead, they were all mixed with the representatives, discussing as they ate. The topics were none other than foreign defense and army expansion. Almost everyone would not believe that the Westland Kingdom Alliance would give up the offense. Moreover, Marshal Robin had already confirmed this point during the report this morning. The Chief of Staff had defined the "4th month attack" of the Anti-Titan Alliance as a "tentative" attack to examine the will and mobility of the Titan soldiers. Oscar agreed with his mentor and surely the soldiers could see this clearly as well.

After the meal, it was the time for afternoon tea. The local officers of the local army region finally had the chance to sit with the generals from the Capital in a comfortable room. It was Oscar's first time seeing the scene of the commanders of nineteen regions of the Empire sitting with the generals of four army groups. He only knew a few old friends among the people. The rest was unfamiliar to him.

This small tea party was more of a welcome party prepared for the Head of Military Intelligence Bureau. Oscar met the youngest Chief of Staff of northern army group Lieutenant General Krasius Porasph. He also met the head of the military family in Great Titania Province which was right beside the Narcissus County.

It could be seen that the high-ranked generals present were extremely respectful towards the Prince of high social status. General Krasius expressed that he was greatly impressed with the past result of the Prince. He thought that Oscar was the most excellent war commander amongst the young generals of the new generation. The Prince seemed happy to hear that. He exchanged gifts with General Krasius. The Chief of Staff from the Northern Army gave him a short blade with a unique design. In exchange, he gave Krasius a powder-filling mini hand cannon which was in the private collection of the Hoilland King.

In the afternoon at 2.15, the meeting was continuing the program from the morning. Marshal Robin's report used up an hour to end the statement related to the second issue. In the following third issue, the Chief of Staff introduced the current military situation of the main countries in the west and the country's strategy. There was an urgent problem that had to be mentioned here, from army expansion to preparation of war information, food supply and all matters related to the military because the western people had not paused their footsteps all this while. Titan's victory was temporary. If the kings of the western country carried out the "Anti-Titan action" completely, the Guard had no advantage at all facing army forces from three directions that will end up reaching more than millions of people.

If the third issue was about foreign affairs, then the fourth was about internal affairs. In a nutshell, even though Titan had attained victory and the internal political situation had stabilized after the crowning, there was still a lot of issues which inhibited the advancement of the Guards. The very main trouble was the rising of the military budget.

"One hundred and ninety million Golden Ti!" the Chief of Staff mentioned. This was the number which came up between the expenses clearing meeting from last year and right before the Guard's Corps Meeting. It represented the expenses of the Guards in three and a half seasons.

"This number is five times the average number of the same time in the past years. Also, it is three times of average expense of the year in past years!" Marshal Robin followed up, "That is to say, once we engage in war, the finances of the country could hardly pay the large number of expenses in the army. We have exhausted the budget of a year. In Year 801 or even 802, I believe that this situation will not change a lot."

Looking at the mumbling crowds, the Chief of Staff sighed. Managing a household was not an easy job, especially when you faced a shortage of bread. At 5.00 in the afternoon, the schedule of the first day was close to an end. Utilizing the last available time, Marshal Robin Sparse concluded a few other aspects in the country. One was the serious deterioration of war resources, second was the urgent repairs of military infrastructures. Third was the gradual escalating issue on the lack of training of army types at the local army division. The fourth was about the lack of the number of talents sent to the frontline by all military academies. Fifth was about how large and complicated the current ranking system of Guards had become. The sixth was...

In the end, short of time, important mission, worrying future and difficult situation…

After a whole day, during dinner and the army ball which followed, Oscar finally understood something. The highest meeting was truly a good way of mending decisions and pushing for the expansion of army forces and infrastructures. At the same time, it was also a place for the leaders in army division to express their dissatisfaction and rant to the local representatives.

Just as in Robin's report, when a region was praised in some aspects, their other aspects would be greatly criticized. Nineteen army regions and four army groups. None of the generals was excluded. Even the war hero General Bencil Donnis with great influence was criticized that he was "too slow in rebuilding military infrastructure".

The fortunate thing was that Oscar's Military Intelligence Bureau was the only military department which was not criticized. This was not due to the mentor relationship between the Chief of Staff and the head of Military Intelligence Bureau. It was mainly that the jobs of Military Intelligence Bureau were done privately.

At the ball, Oscar did not know when the army was able to invite so many madams and ladies. He was bothered by this that he was afraid he had to dance with a man. Thankfully, he did not have to. The soldiers who came mostly brought their mates. Some trouble-loving noble ladies even came from Dulin. Because of this, the soldiers were able to do their shows. The ladies were mesmerized by the gleaming medals and handsome uniforms. They were rather unembarrassed during the dance.

Oscar's dance partner was one of the shyest ladies in the crowd. This lady would blush when a man took her hand. She rejected everyone's invitation. This attracted Oscar's attention. The Prince thought he met a trouble one who was neither hard nor soft. He did not expect that the lady would say yes as soon as he asked.

The confident Prince O'Neil thought that it must be his identity or his charisma which had attracted this shy beauty. Therefore, when the beauty asked for his help, O'Neil Andrew Morisette, as a man, agreed to it without thinking.

"General Murat proposed to me. I...I don't know what to do."

"What?" Oscar widened his eyes. He did not expect that this lady would be Murat's...

"I still don't know your name," the Prince stopped his step and brought the lady to a quiet corner.

"Ainienne. My name is Ainienne!"

"Did I hear it wrong?" Oscar widened his eyes, "That is the name of the Goddess of Victory!"

The lady smiled sweetly, "Murat said the same thing."

Oscar noted the face of Ainienne carefully. The expression of this lady was so lively when he spoke of that cavalry corps commander. This could only mean that...

"You love him. I can see that." Ainienne shook her head, "You can say that! But Murat has never said such thing. When I ask him why me, what do you think that he reply?"

Oscar frowned. Murat was not a fool. He should know how to console a pure lady like Ainienne.

"Murat said because I am called Ainienne, the Goddess of Victory!"

"Ola..." Oscar sighed. He pressed his forehead with his palm, "Maybe I was wrong, Murat is a complete idiot!"

Ainienne shrugged. She blinked her gleaming eyes, "Maybe he is. Maybe he is not good at expressing his emotions but if he doesn't say he loves me, I don't think I will accept his proposal."

Oscar glared his eyes. What sort of reasoning was this? Not saying meant that he did not love her? The Prince looked around. He laughed strangely suddenly, "Lady Ainienne, then it's easy!"

Just when the "Goddess of Victory" widened her eyes, the Prince kissed her. Ainienne was shocked. She pushed the man's shoulder blindly and forgot to breathe and screamed. Soon, the Prince's lip left her. She looked into the man's eyes and saw playful glances in it.

Ainienne was furious. If it was under normal circumstances, she would use her slap to deal with such flirty pervert but the one before her was the Prince of the Empire. She could not get on his bad side, so she sent cold daggers in her eyes to him.

"Your Highness, is this sexual harassment? You do things that are more fitted to your position--"

Before she could finish her sentence, Lady Ainienne was dragged into the embrace of a man by a pair of strong hands.

"What did that d*mn fatso do to you?" Murat Bedoya stared at his lover with a dangerous look.

Even though the general's voice was low and urgent, Oscar frowned, "Hey, Murat. Saying this is unreasonable!"

Murat glared at Oscar who acted as if nothing had happened. If he was not the head of the family and his marshal, Murat would have stabbed him a few times and punished his Goddess of Victory.

"He... He... He..." Ainienne did not say something useful other than stuttering. Murat was impatient and turned to the Prince. Even if the person was his Marshal and head of the family, he still had to be fair to his goddess.

"Your Highness, my master, get your machete. We need a duel to explain this matter!"

Oscar seemed to not hear anything. He blinked at Lady Ainienne who was in the embrace of Murat, "Look at this! You said Murat may not love you. For your sake, he doesn't even care about the time and location to duel with his marshal and master!"

Ainienne looked at the man who hugged her tightly. He must be observing her nearby, so he could rush to her in time. Just as the Prince had said, a duel was enough to prove that he was crazy over her!

"But, he still has not said anything!" Ainienne was still holding on to that strange thought.

"Ola, you are so stubborn just like Murat!" Oscar sighed loudly. He turned to the Red Tiger Corps Commander who did not understand what was going on, "You idiot, did you hear that? Tell Lady Ainienne why you want to duel with me."

"You violated her!" Murat said through gritted teeth.

"Why are you protecting her?" Oscar tried to guide his beloved general.

"Because..." Murat was a little hesitant, "I once swore that I will not let anyone hurt her."

Oscar sighed again. Something seemed to be off in Murat's brain. "Alright! Tell me. On what basis did you swear? What gives you the right to do so?"

"I love her! Isn't that obvious?" Murat almost howled.

Oscar showed a "thank God" expression. This idiot had finally said it. He performed the hand sign that prayed to God in front of his chest. Then, he said to the man and woman in a tight embrace as he smiled, "God of Light praised love. Remember to tell me your wedding date."

Looking at the Prince who approached the crowd, Murat still had not loosened his palm on the sword. He was still confused.

Ainienne planted a light kiss on the cheek of the Cavalry Corps Commander, "Do you still want me to be your goddess of victory?"

Oscar thought, "Who knows what that idiot Murat will say? But I guess there is no problem now."

He had already seen General Eugene Mir Bradley waving to him at the other side of the ballroom. It seemed that it was time to do some serious work.

Just when he was walking past the crowd, the major general of cannon pulled at Oscar. Torry looked at his old friend in worry, "Hey! I saw that. What is wrong with you and Murat?"

Oscar shrugged, "Nothing much. Murat is getting married and he asks me to be a witness to that."

"You are kidding!" Torry widened his eyes.

Oscar glanced at his old friend mockingly, "Why am I joking about such things? You should go and take a look. Murat's fiancé is a nice lady. You will like her."

Torry quickly waved his hands, "I already have a girl that I like. Who knows, she may be my marriage partner as well!"

This time, it was Oscar's turn to widen his eyes, "What is with this world? Are all single men organizing a mass wedding?"

Torry laughed, "It's not what you think. I still need to observe for a while. After some time, let me introduce my lover to you!"

Oscar could only nod, but he was a little curious. Since this lady was able to let "Walking Stick Torry" who flirted around for so many years fell so deeply over her, he guessed it must be a very beautiful lady!

Before the ball entered its climax, the Prince left quietly. He greeted General Eugene briefly by the door, then followed the Chief Commander of the Southern Army Group into a dark alley in the nursing home. Even though the people noticed the Prince leaving with a high-ranked general, they did not think otherwise. Only Marshal Alan and Marshal Robin took a seemingly unintentional glance at each other. Their glances separated as soon as they met.

The Prince was brought to a huge mansion in the nursing home. After passing through the living room and dining room, they entered the meeting room of the master of the house. The soldiers who had been waiting for some time here quickly stood up as the Prince entered. Oscar did not even bother with the military greetings. He quickly got everyone to be seated and said, "This is not the main venue."

The generals of the southern army who came to Dulin included their Chief Commander, Chief of Staff, a few generals Oscar knew before and the main people-in-charge of Southern Military Intelligence Bureau including the head Major General Janin Sherman and a few members.

"Tatan, my old friend, my classmate! How have you been?" Oscar hugged Lieutenant General Tantalus Piche who was the Chief of Staff of the Southern Army.

Mad Tatan was full of smile. He kissed Oscar's cheeks, "Everything is fine. Only that I miss you!"

Oscar laughed, "Enough! Your way of saying it disgusts me."

The people present all roared with laughter especially Janin Sherman. It seemed that he was on good terms with Tatan. After laughing for a while, Oscar turned to the quiet Commander of Fifth Region General Gondol Abbasia. This single-arm hero was still quiet as usual. Only when he felt the person's strong hug that he gave a sincere smile.

"How was Vielonna?"

Gondol stared at the Prince, "Isn't it better to just ask how Madam Sasha E. has been?"

Oscar touched his nose, "Hehe. You saw through me huh!"

General Abbasia patted the young man's shoulder, "Rest assured. Everything is alright at Vielonna. Madam Sasha E. is doing fine as well. She just...miss you as much as Tantalus!"

The men laughed again. This time louder.

Oscar clapped his hands. He was sitting in the main seat of the roundtable.

"Glad that everyone is doing well. Now, let's talk about our problems. Who first?"

The meeting immediately plummeted into silence. The soldiers stopped their smile and straightened up. The Chief of Staff Tantalus was the first to hit his glass.

"Let me first brief the situation in the south!"

Oscar nodded. He had already seen the southern Empire as his land. No matter what others thought or how his Empress wife arranged, no one could affect his status and influence in the south. At least not in a short amount of time.

After years of war, the south's production economy had resumed to slightly more than half of the level before the war. This was mainly thanks to the constantly perfected market system and the effort of every large business association. The southern army had set up a large batch of stations lately. These stations were all set up at the route that the business team must pass through. Other than that, according to the standardized arrangement of the Army Division, the enlistment for the new year had begun from the moment the country announced the enlistment until now. The southern army group had sent 19833 veterans away and enlisted 47749 soldiers. There were still 14008 part-time soldiers in the reserve unit.

"Not enough! This is not enough!" Oscar shook his head greatly towards this number.

"We still have three months until the enlistment is over!" Tantalus could only explain this way.

Oscar did not say anything further. He knew that this was not something that could be achieved in a short time. To complete the preparation to invade the Slovenian Empire according to Lighthouse Strategy, he needed a huge combat group that had total forces of around forty hundred thousand people. Even if this was something unrealistic, Oscar had a hunch and the determination that Titan's war against Slovenian would start from him.

The southern noble had learned their lesson. After the war, they no longer looked down upon the new nobles who attained their wealth from the business. Instead, they learned from these people about managing business wholeheartedly. Some nobles even managed their own wine farm and art workshops in their lands. This was almost impossible in the past, but the smart southern people were willing to accept new things. They brought in tea leaves from Engels, arts from Italia and ship-building technique from West Percy. It seemed that every citizen in the Southern Five Provinces planned to do something well. No matter in the city or village, the place that the eyes could fall upon were scenes of busy work.

"Then, what sort of things are hidden behind the development?" Oscar scanned the military officers present here.

The first to speak was Commander of the Eighth Region, General Stuagate. This general had omitted the useless praise and courtesy and went straight to the point. From his point of view, only one thing would threaten the southern Empire. That was the Farans at the border. From the revengeful attack of the Titan Empire towards the Riel Kingdom, the Farans had been increasing their army forces at the border. Today was a group, tomorrow a division. Such actions had persisted until the Anti-Titan Alliance finally lost the war. However, until this moment, the Farans had managed a defense line of twenty thousand people at the border of southern Titan. Of course, it could be a line of assault.

Except for the military pressure from the Faran, Major General Janin Sherman who was promoted to the person-in-charge of Southern Military Intelligence Bureau before the war also mentioned another worrying matter. The bureau solved an agent case which involved a lot of people in a large-scale cleaning activity during the war. Even if the main culprit of this case did not mention his buyer, the investigation of the bureau all pointed to the Faran Kingdom Court Investigation Council – the "Aragon".

Aragon's agent activities at southern Titan were out of control. This case alone had involved more than ten local government officers.

Towards such situation, the Southern Bureau had created a strict strategy to defend and investigate. All action units had entered the frontline of the anti-agent. They were diving into all sorts of professions, especially Faran's embassy, sensitive governmental departments and military department. They investigated all suspicious people and matter according to groups carefully. Specific records showed that the bureau had interrogated more than ten thousand people during the war and had filtered few foreign agents amongst them.

"So, Head of bureau! I strongly suggest that the Military Intelligence System to build a special military jail which is not restricted by the common law and moral and is completely separated from the outside world!" Janin Sherman spoke carefully. He was afraid that his companion and this high-status officer in front of him would think of him as being smart of himself.

"Yes!" General Eugene finally spoke, "General Janin's subordinates have turned a few jails in southern army worse. I don't want to undermine the effort your subordinates did for the safety of the Empire, but their way is simply too extreme. Moreover, until now, there have been a few bishops complaining about this matter to me. Obviously, they have heard the news!"

Oscar remained silent. The Military Intelligence Bureau had their own jail, but it was still restricted by the law and rules of the local military region. Janin's suggestion was very attractive.

"Your Highness!" the head of southern bureau spoke again, "This is extremely urgent. The Church must be instigated by someone with ill intentions. If this matter is heard in Dulin or Roman Church, the next Pope who is from Faran will pressure Alanis. If we could not explain the source of our prisoners at that time, then all our effort will be in vain!"

Oscar nodded finally, "Do as you say! Have you chosen the location?"

Janin was a little awkward but still happy. This showed that the head of Bureau acknowledged his abilities.

"Your Highness, I have chosen a good place for you. There is an old castle called Picatix near Vielonna. Of course, it is still your judgment in the end--"

"Since it is an urgent matter, there's no need to wait for my decision!" Oscar interrupted the head of the Southern Military Intelligence Bureau, "I still don't know when I will be returning to the south. Moreover, Janin, I believe in your judgment and your working capabilities!"

"Thank you, Sir!"

Oscar waved his hands, "Build a jail and put the dangerous ones in there!"

Janin nodded. It seemed that there was nothing more the southern bureau could do.

After that, O'Neil Andrew Morisette conveyed some of his thoughts and decision to the southern army. Actually, it was simply about increasing control from within and strengthening the defense. The action of the southern bureau had given him some inspirations and made him feel that the current southern was not peaceful. It was exactly because O'Neil Andrew Morisette had taken such careful considerations when he managed the south that the southern army group and he did not fall into a disadvantaged position in the future Anti-Titan activities.

However, speaking of that, if one gained something, one must lose as well! The ill-famous Picatix Castle was meant to be the special military jail that was meant for agents when it was first built. But after some time, the people who were kept there had changed. They were mostly those who stood against O'Neil Andrew Morisette. In the end, Picatix Jail was used as the symbol of totalitarian of the Andrew Dynasty and the pronoun of living hell by those fighters that believed in freedom and independent activities.

Until the 20th day of the 9th month, the meeting had entered its actual stage. Marshal Alan was stating the duty focus and arrangement of the Guards in the next three years. The old Marshal had spoken for a whole day without stopping that his pharyngitis hit him at night. But Alan's spirit of the meeting had been conveyed to others, the generals present all listened to the marshal with the thinking that "the war was coming".

Actually, Alan's view on the foreign and internal affairs was extremely simple but full of insights. He thought that the Guards' future focus should be on perfecting defense at the frontline of the west, north and south, especially military infrastructures such as the fortress, castle and army bases. As for internal affairs, peace was a must. The Guards must maintain the traditional spirit and never get involved in local government and civilian matter.

Never involve in a local matter? This seemed a bit odd but true soldiers would definitely understand its underlying meaning. The fall of the local government did not only manifest itself in the "ever-changing" tax policy but also the heavy burden imparted on the country and people from the expanding ranking system.

Alan suggested the idea of Guards never participating in local government affairs and that meant that the soldiers should carry out their duties and stay clear of the local groups. As to not meddle in a civilian matter, to be honest, this was the smartest move of the cunning Silverfox Alan! Under normal circumstances, the beginning and development of riots and large-scaled rebellions all came from one place. Those who were familiar with history should know that it was the result of cruel oppression by the nobles. This matter was catalyzed by the use of special rights and violence by the local governments.

Marshal Alan's idea of soldiers not meddling with civilian affairs served simply as a reminder of the force Guards put forward to control the citizens. During the time they should not meddle with, they should be alerted to their surroundings. When they should deal with it, only then they could use violence to exert their rights.

However, the representatives who came from the south did not care too much about the words of the Marshal of Guards. The large-scaled violent war that sprang from civilian affairs could not be avoided no matter what. Alan's actions might relieve the conflict on the surface but, if done badly, it could cause serious rebellion.

From O'Neil Andrew Morisette's point of view, he had no idea at all about such civilian affairs. Thus, when the Marshal of Guards was stating related problems regarding that, Oscar nodded off.

It could be seen that the Prince did not rest well. He was worried about the future of the joint government of the Southern Five Provinces because his wife had publicly announced that the time to establish a joint government in the southern Empire was not matured yet. But when would count as mature? Oscar knew that this was totally unrealistic. Oscar's opinion would be taken as splitting the Empire apart. He could not have this sin on him. He was still trying to convince his wife.

On other problems, the meeting only involved a few situations on the surface. For example, some military regions had lied about the budget or expenses of some unit was over the average. Alan had allocated effective solutions to each special situation. There was only one that the Marshal of Guards was bothered about. That was Prince O'Neil Andrew Morisette's Military Intelligence Bureau.

One day, Alan suddenly found himself totally unfamiliar with the current Imperial Military Intelligence Bureau. Such understanding was odd to him. He established the Military Intelligence Bureau all by himself but when the Marshal visited the main branch of Military Intelligence Bureau at the Capital, all he saw was unfamiliar faces. He only understood after asking about it. The military analysts who he was fond of had been placed on the frontline of actions.

During the meeting, Alan pointed that the Military Intelligence Bureau's actions in some aspects had completely gone out of the control of the Army Division and the Guards. Only then, Oscar opened his sleepy eyes. If it was a fox, it would surely show its tail! Describing Alan with this was perfect. The young Prince, no matter how naïve he was, knew that this was Silverfox's warning to him not to do too much.

But O'Neil Andrew Morisette naturally did not care about Alan's words. He still managed his Military Intelligence Bureau and placed a large number of agents to Slovenia at the eastern border as usual. He believed Alan had heard of the Lighthouse Strategy because that "map of the traditional border between Titan and Slovenia" was already in the market and sold for a huge amount in an underground auction.

If one way did not work, Alan would naturally try another way. At the end of the meeting, after Chief of Staff Marshal Robin Sparse had introduced the Empire's "Summary of Five-year War Resources", a topic which the Marshal of Guards had prepared since before. It was about the actual control over the "First Cannon Division of the Guards". He involved all soldiers in discussion and said, "We can't just let the only modernized fire cannon units running around."

Oscar smiled coldly. He knew what "running around" meant so he slammed the table with great force in front of all representatives. After saying "Ola", he shouted to the Marshal!

"Don't ever think about the First Cannon Division! No! No!"

Alan naturally did not expect the Prince's fierce reaction and Oscar had already prepared for this. Instead of letting Torry being sent to some strange place, it was better to let Alanis knew that her husband fought greatly with the Marshal of Guards.

As expected, when the discussion got heated up, an Imperial messenger from Hamilton Palace arrived.

"From the order of Her Majesty Empress Alanis! Due to the glorious result of the First Cannon Division and the strategic value of large fire weapons, the Imperial family bestowed the Commander of First Cannon Division Viscount Tove Van Sukhoi the title of Lieutenant General. Lieutenant General Tove Van Sukhoi and his Cannon Division will serve under the Capital's defense department and under the control of Home Base Command."

Oscar applauded in his heart. His Alanis was still understanding as ever, and accurate in her guesswork.

Next, the "fiercest" auction began. "Summary of Five-year War Resources" was in need of an elite division to be the trial unit to use fire weapons. This topic had caused a huge stir-up since the beginning. Almost all commanders of military regions and army groups had stood up. They compared their strong points with others without shame. They acted as if they were entering a duel right away.

Since the venue was getting out of order, Marshal Robin could only stop the meeting. Alan and he invited Oscar and said that this was something that could only be decided after their discussion.

Oscar said that he did not care about it. Since it was a trial unit, it would be the same for any unit in any region.

At last, Alan and Robin made a decision. Both the Marshals had chosen Great Titania Province. Not only there was a rich resource of iron ores and better foundation of the metallurgical industry, the Great Titania was located at the inner part of the Empire, surrounded by three army groups and Narcissus Knights. There should be less risk at that place.

When the news reached Prince O'Neil, he was already in a carriage, heading back to Dulin. General Eugene who shared the carriage with Oscar said as he recalled, "The expression of the Prince is not clear at that time. He was simply smiling coldly."



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