Titan Beneath the Heavens
Chapter 248: Twenty-sixth Episode: Chapter 9-2
Chapter 248: Twenty-sixth Episode: Chapter 9-2
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
"Your Majesty! According to my speculations, one of the suspects is among internal Andrew, while the other is among the upper class of the southern nobility circle! Only two types of people wish for the relationship between Your Majesty and His Highness to break down. They are desperate for a decision, and they have to be extremely brutal for that to happen! They're forcing His Highness to make a move against you!"
Alanis ridiculed. "Will my husband be fooled?"
"Maybe not! But he will always have doubts!" the Head of Secret Service lowered his voice, "Sometimes... doubts alone are enough to destroy everything."
Alanis nodded subconsciously. It was indeed the case. She dared not guess how much Oscar trusted her, or maybe it was safer to say… would Oscar consider this matter with a clear head? Would he just hastily believe that this was done by the Imperial Family?
"What about our preparations?" The Empress sighed as she turned her head away in annoyance as even her felt rather awkward. On one hand, she was hoping for her husband to have faith in her, while on the other hand, she was preparing to destroy her lover. This was ridiculous! However, taking the whole picture into consideration, she thought that it was also reasonable.
"The Capital Security Division and Imperial Family Guards are in full control!" Duke Rashel Titus, the Cabinet Chancellor, smiled confidently when talking about this matter. "As long as Prince O'Neil is only planning to bring with him into Dulin a group of soldiers and not a front, we shall have the confidence to handle any unexpected events and have the situation in capital completely under our control."
The Head of Secret Service nodded eagerly. "The Cabinet Chancellor is right! The Capital Security Division and the Imperial Family Guards can be trusted! Moreover, I have thoroughly reorganized the secret service agents in the capital to eliminate those with swaying positions or related to the military intelligence system. The remaining ones can be categorized into four major operational battalions to respectively control the official residence of Prince O'Neil, the Military Intelligence Bureau headquarters, and the Swan Hill Castle. One of the battalions is to be remain stationed in the general headquarters of Secret Service Departments, under Your Majesty's direct order."
Alanis was a little out of breath. She did not believe the Imperial Guards would be obedient to the capital noble circle. "What does the Chief of Staff, Marshal Robin, mention in his letter?" the Empress shifted her attention to the palace chief who had not uttered a word.
Marquis Jevonah Wesarcia shook his head slowly. "I've no high expectations on Marshal Robin! He refused to return to Dulin, neither is he willing to exchange his views with the Cabinet, as if he has nothing to do with all this!"
"Besides..." the Head of Secret Service suddenly changed the subject of conversation. "Your Majesty! The secret agents within the Western Army Group headquarters recently wrote to us that… Marshal Robin met with the real powers of the Southern Army Group and Steinberger House respectively, as well as the father of General Krasius, Chief of Staff of the Northern Army Group. All these are signs that show Marshal Robin may ruin our plans at the last moment. It's only natural for him to assist his favorite pupil."
Alanis dismissed the thought with her hand. "Marshal Alan is gravely ill, and we have no choice but to depend on Marshal Robin to manage the operation of Imperial Guards. It's not like we're after the life of Oscar, I believe Marshal Robin will not be too bothered. He is not the Marshal of the Andrew House, he should know this better than anyone else!"
"I can only further energize control on the Western Army Group..."
"Let's set this aside first!" Empress of the Empire sighed miserably. "The local soldiers can do as they wish as long as they don't affect the situation in the capital! To shoo Oscar back to his hometown and hold peace talks with the Anti-Titan Alliance are the two priorities that must be done quickly and can't delay any longer!"
"But, there's still hidden danger in Dulin!" the Cabinet Chancellor put on a worried face. "First of all, the Capital Security Division! The artillerymen commanded by General Tove Van Sukhoi are mostly veterans in the Sukhoi's House. Those who came out of Saijo Mountain alive behind Prince O'Neil have been promoted as officers in the artillery; their faith in the empire and the Imperial Family is not very reliable!"
"I have ways to control Torry!" The Head of Secret Service suddenly clapped his hands, "He's just a very lucky playboy! It's not difficult to deal with him!"
The Cabinet Chancellor ignored the boasting Viscount Federick and shifted his attention to the enraged Imperial Empress.
"Apart of the Capital Security Division, the Secret Service Department is the second biggest hidden danger--"
"I must say--"
"Shut your mouth!" Alanis yelled at the Head of Secret Service that was all defensive. She was still rather worried about this nephew of hers.
Old Duke Rashel Titus smiled slightly toward the rather irritated Head of the Imperial Secret Service and bowed to him, as though he was not being at all malicious.
"The outflow of the secret service operational personnel, investigative officers, and secret agents is extremely significant since the loss of the former Head of Secret Service Department Count Rudolf Hoss! The best from these areas of expertise either joined the thriving Military Intelligence Bureau or found their way out! Whether if Federick likes to admit it or not, the truth is… the current Secret Service Department is not the secret special agency that would make people tremble with fear."
The Head of Secret Service bared his teeth in rage. Indeed, he did not want to admit this, but he was not a monster like Rudolf Hoss, neither was he as witty as that old Rashel Titus. He could not effectively defend the current situation. "Your Majesty! I advise you to immediately mobilize the Imperial Paladin to station in the capital!"
"Yes!" echoed the palace chief, "The Imperial Paladin is the most reliable! Even if Prince O'Neil gathers his soldiers against the court order, it'll end with a destruction if they encounter the Imperial Paladins!"
"Can the Imperial Paladin fight against cannons?" Alanis doubted, "What should I do if the artillerymen of the Capital Security Division do not follow the orders? I should've deployed Torry to the battlefront way before this!"
The Cabinet Chancellor suddenly laughed. "Your Majesty! How can you forget? Apart from the Imperial Paladin, the dynasty has another team that is loyal, brave, and powerful enough to determine our success or failure!"
Her Majesty Alanis I raised her beautiful eyebrows. "Is there? How can I not remember?"
"How can you forget the Imperial title of your reigning dynasty? The Sacred Titan lives up to its name!"
The Imperial Empress suddenly slapped her forehead, "Oh God! I really have forgotten! How could I? Great Titania! I can mobilize the elite forces of the Titania House to the City of Dulin to cooperate with the Imperial Paladin in defending the capital!"
"You shall mean the First Grenadier Division of Great Titania!" Duke Rashel Titus grinned as he lit up a cigar. It appeared to him that this was already a foregone decision. "As the only experimental force in the five-year national defense plan of the Imperial Guards, Great Titania has already replaced the most advanced gunpowder weapons in the world into an integrated infantry corps, in addition to five divisional artillery companies!"
The Head of Secret Service nodded at the side, which was unusual for him to do. "Last 11th month, when Great Titania First Grenadier Division has just been gathered… my secret agents have witnessed once when they were doing live ammunition maneuvers. Oh God! Glory of God! The grenadiers can easily deal with the armored knights as easily and effortlessly like a farmer reaping his wheat!"
Alanis rubbed her hands together in excitement. "Where're my husband's whereabouts? Do we have time for the Great Titanic Grenadier Division to enter Dulin?"
"Prince O'Neil is still lingering around in the accommodation nearby Dulin!" informed the cabinet chancellor as he shrugged his shoulders. "Who knows what's on his mind? Some petitioning students and military agencies have been sent away by him, making this group of young people rather unpleasant!"
The Head of Secret Service shook his head, "I feel that Prince O'Neil is still preparing for the final arrangements. He will not return to Dulin if he's unsure about this battle!"
The Imperial Empress fidgeted her body impatiently, as the seat of the imperial throne seemed to be sizzling with hot air. This atmosphere made Alanis helpless, but she had to stabilize her stance and use all her will and perseverance to defend her position as an empress.
"Hand me the glass!" Baron Ogeiro held out his hand to his apprentice.
"Is this appropriate?" The young historian was hesitant. He knew what his tutor wanted to do with the glass, but to eavesdrop on the Imperial secret? This was taboo and as serious as serious as betraying the country! His tutor definitely knew about this.
Baron Ogeiro tried to avoid the boy's worried eyes. He fetched for himself a glass with a flat bottom and gently put the bottom of the cup against the oak door of the tea room, then placed his ear to the cup. The noise in the guest room sounded extremely dull and came intermittently. The chief historian of Morisette's dynasty was still able to hear what he was concerned about. In fact, Bernadot Ogeiro could roughly guess what that was about. He was just desperate to confirm his own assertions.
Just as the chief historian expected! The Imperial Paladin, Capital Security Division, Secret Service Department, and the Great Titania! The Morisette dynasty mobilized all the power it could trust to challenge Prince O'Neil who would return to the capital to demand justice on behalf of the army. Wait a minute! Who was talking about what?
Baron Ogeiro glued his ear against the cup! Someone talked about something that really piqued his interest! The imperial historian wanted to see what kind of charge the politicians of Dulin could cook up for a national hero like Prince O'Neil! But… what did Her Majesty say? What did she say about Prince O'Neil's crime?
The conversation on the other side of the door entered the ears of the Imperial historian word for word! Bernadot Ogeiro's eyes widened in disbelief. He suddenly moved back from the oak door, as if there was a blazing fire in the door that relentlessly burned his hearing and flamed his thinking!
The glass fell to the ground and shattered into pieces instantly! The chief historian of Morisette dynasty was completely awakened by the shattering glass. He was rather quick to react. Baron Ogeiro whispered into the ears of his apprentice, whose face was as white as a sheet, before sending this terrified little boy out of the tearoom to the little side gate leading to the palace garden.
The oak door was suddenly opened! Bernadot was seen sitting in a high-backed chair. The Empress and several other lords in the guest room were gone. A team of heavily armed court knights surrounded the unarmed imperial chief historian who was holding a quill. The paladin of the highest rank among them looked at the broken glass on the ground, and then saluted the Baron who looked as if nothing had happened.
"Sir! The Head of Secret Service would like to invite you for dinner in the Westberg Fort!"
Bernadot stood up from his chair. He could not bring himself to compliment the Head of Secret Service for the dinner, but at this point, it was no use arguing.
"Your apprentice is also invited." The soldier grabbed the imperial historian.
Bernadot looked at the other person strangely. "My apprentice? He left this place an hour ago. Perhaps you have to get him from his house!"
The senior military officer gestured to his staff, and immediately one knight rushed to the door!
When he was leaving Hamilton Palace, Bernadot could not help but glance back at the palace where he had worked for many years. When his eyes fell on the top of the palace, the gold lion dancing slightly under the northwest wind appeared weary. The court knight suddenly pressed down on the head of the historian. These people were trying to put him in the carriage of the secret service. Baron Ogeiro suddenly became angry and struggled away from the knight's hand.
The Imperial historian finally glanced upward to the sky… The vast sky stretched into infinity, the stars were hanging low, the faint shadow of the moon, and the turbulence of the clouds - Dulin was going to go through a massive change!
The Baron was covered with binders by a special agent who was sitting next to him. Darkness! It was the last color he saw on the land... No one had seen Bernadot Ogeiro since then. The name of the chief historian at the end of Morisette's dynasty was also rarely mentioned by the people. His historical mission ended with the end of this dynasty.
Church's Year 802, the 12th day of the 2nd month. Dulin's Plain ushered in the last cold wave of the year's winter. The temperature dropped steeply and rain fell at night. Roof tiles and windows made monotonous squeaks as hails dropped from the Heaven. When this distracting noise gradually ceased, the Imperial Marshal, Prince O'Neil Andrew Morisette shifted his attention away from the window.
He kept wondering, what kind of a person was Alanis? It was rather weird, was it not? For a husband to think about his wife like that. Prince O'Neil laughed in a self-deprecating sense. His hand was holding a shining white-gold pendant carved into a statue of God of Light. This was the gift that his Italian wife gave him before leaving home. It has become his habit to fiddle with the pendant after he learned that his son was definitely not going to make it to the world alive. Those who had no idea would think the father who has lost his child was praying for God's blessing. However, those familiar with O'Neil Andrew Morisette should know he was cursing the God... Sometimes even greeted the great creator with dirty words. He thought that God of Light has taken his son away from him.
"It's the southerners!"
"It's the anxious people of Andrew!"
"It's the Imperial Empress sitting on the throne waiting for the polar bear to fall into the trap!"
The followers of Prince O'Neil were divided into three factions; hence they naturally came up with three explanations for this matter. Oscar consulted Viscount Lukas Diyabaker regarding this issue. The university student, who had just been formally appointed as the Division Head of Military Intelligence, gathered and arranged the ideas in sequence.
The first suspect was the Imperial Empress sitting on the throne waiting for the polar bear to fall into the trap... Everyone thought this way. The second suspect was the anxious people of Andrew... Everyone was afraid they would cause disputes in the dark. The third suspect was the southerners... Everyone knew that the Southerners wanted to set the Empress of Empire to death, as the Empress went so far as to discuss the surrender of Burton Province with Faran! Was this an issue needed exploring?
There was nothing wrong with returning the two provinces to Deiss, neither was it important to let go of the Riel territory to the Hoillander. However, if the Burton Province was given to Faran? What would happen to the Titan nationals who have lived on this land for centuries? Not many people could take foes for parents. Southerners could only hope that Andrew leader's trip to the capital was able to completely change the situation. It would be best if the military tribunal sent Her Majesty the Empress who had betrayed the entire Titan nation to the guillotine! But everyone knew... that Prince O'Neil would not do that!
"Therefore! The southerners are the most likely suspect!" the young university student went near to the ear of His Highness the Prince.; "They want to lead you to the point of no return – to kill your wife in order to win the title!"
"Point of no return?" Prince O'Neil was slightly dismayed.
"Didn't you realize?" Viscount Diyabaker's eyes widened. He was also surprised at his owner's insensitivity to the matter.
Oscar shook his head slowly. "I've lost my son..." This meant that he did not have the energy to think about this matter.
The Division Head of Military Intelligence again lowered his voice. Even if there were only Paul, Black Devil and Sandinand present in the room, he still hoped that the following conversation would not be heard by the third person.
"Andrew mistress suffered a miscarriage, you will naturally not care how many people would be buried alive for Sinelli. However, I remember clearly, there are 231 people in the pit! If someone tells you that Her Majesty is the mastermind behind this and provides you with the concrete evidence... What would you do?"
Oscar clenched his fists. "If she is right next to the grave... I may also push her down subconsciously... Who knows?"
The Division Head of Military Intelligence shook his head. "Let me guess! If any mishaps shall befall Her Majesty the Empress, the Southerners will quickly come forward to pick up the pieces after you. Either through the House of Lords or the military, in short, you will be crowned the Regent Prince of the Empire. The news will spread to all corners in less than a week. By then, one after another the Anti-Titan Alliance will launch their attacks, the Imperial Guards and Narcissus Knights will be fully mobilized to defeat the rivals under your bright leadership. And you will be crowned Emperor amongst the cheers of entire Titan nation! The Great Sacred Andrew... What do you think of this title?"
"But, you said earlier this is a point of no return?" Oscar turned his head away, trying to steer clear from the crucial point. The temptation of being the Great Sacred Andrew was indeed too great.
"This is indeed a point of no return!" Lukas replied in affirmation, "Regardless of whatever high-sounding reasons you use to dispose of the Imperial Empress, the nobles and local lords who support the Morisette dynasty faithfully will always be dissatisfied! You can accept the people's congratulations, but you cannot change the loyalty of these famous and influential families! They will resist and create troubles! Even betray the country to the enemies! Even if you win the Second Anti-Titan War, the third, the fourth and the fifth would come eventually... until Andrew is finally ousted! Those who remained loyal to the dynasty will help an insignificant role of the Morisette bloodline to get into power again. If you are familiar the with history, you should know that each unusual replacement of imperial powers will produce stubborn, loyal factions as such! You will have to fight with them until the end, even if it means involving your future generations!"
Oscar shifted his attention at the dark rainy night. He tried to imagine how cold it would be outside the window.
"My Lord Prince..." Viscount Diyabaker was still speaking in the low voice, "If everything that I said turns into reality, what will the future Great Sacred Andrew depend on to maintain his ruling? The Narcissus Knights? The Imperial Guards? The military cannot rule the country for you. You have no choice but to rely on the southern nobles, while you continue to cleanse the families that support the Morisette Imperial Family! The southerners will replace the capital nobles and become the new real power class, and eventually reach their ultimate goal of helping you to ascend to the throne!"
O'Neil Andrew Morisette suddenly patted the shoulder of the Division Head of Military Intelligence. "Sorry! Your fantasies will not become reality after all, because I never thought of putting my wife to death!"
"It's inevitable!" Lukas sighed and shook his head after verifying this extremely important thing to the Imperial Prince. "If you return to Dulin and execute your plan as planned… it would be a miracle if Her Majesty the Empress remains alive!"
"That plan doesn't include killing my Alanis!" Oscar glared in anger.
The Division Head of Military Intelligence shook his head again. "Your Alanis will become just an ordinary woman after losing the emperor's crown! A poisonous drink, a dagger… too many things can put her to death. You can't protect her from everything!"
Oscar could no longer say a word. Even his precious youngest son was murdered inexplicably, not to mention Alanis, who had been ripped off of her power and was being placed under house arrest in the palace...
The sounds of hooves in the distant gradually became louder. The violent noises alerted the Red Tigers which stationed near the post station.
The dark rainy night was ignited by the storm lanterns in a blink of an eye. The horses' breathing noises and the soldiers' shouting blended into one. The weapons reflected flickers of light under the curtain of rain.
The Imperial Prince leaned in the doorway as he inspected the woman who had suddenly visited.
"Rolanda? What a surprise!"
Baroness Rolanda Getha Ogeiro rolled her eyes at his old lover. "You will be arrested as soon as you step into Dulin! Then you will be put on trial! And you're still laughing?"
Oscar scratched his head with indifference. "I've heard of that too, except I have no idea what crime will I be charged off!"
The travel-worn Baroness Ogeiro nudged her elbow hardly at the attendant beside her, and the apprentice of imperial historian immediately took off his hat to the Prince of Empire.
"Your Highness! You... you've committed regicide!"
This time around, Oscar really had nothing to say.