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"First Mountain Corps of First Army, District Seven of the Imperial Guards! All reporting to you, Sir! Your Royal highness Prince!"
Lieutenant Colonel of the Guards, Hyatt Brandy immediately went on his knees the moment he saw the Prince. Under normal circumstances, he could simply bow, but the current situation did not allow him to do that. At least, he must act like a sinner in front of the Prince.
Lieutenant Colonel Hyatt did not think he could be forgiven by the Prince and the Princess. Of course, he could not imagine that the military court or the royal family would spare him of his offences. Why? Hyatt lowered his prideful head. The Prince's group looked like they have just went through an extremely unfortunate event, but at least they were safe now! Who could be more unfortunate than himself?
Hyatt knelt on the floor on one knee. His front chest was held close to his thigh. This Lieutenant Colonel did not even dare to more. Even though this action was extremely humiliating for a soldier, this Lieutenant Colonel knew clearly of his own errors. What thing could be worse than having a foreign armed force appear in his defense area? Oh! Of course there was! The Lieutenant Colonel scolded himself. The worse thing was that this bunch of criminals who came out of nowhere publicly attacked the great royal family of Titan.
Her Royal Highness Princess Alanis, terrified, looked at the little Prince standing beside her with a pursed lip. She felt a little torn. This Lieutenant Colonel undoubtedly deserved to receive strict punishment. When she knew that it was an Italia mercenary group that attacked her, she was in rage like never before. Could it be that her country's border line was completely undefended?
The gaze of the Princess lingered between Lieutenant Colonel Hyatt and His Royal Highness Prince O'Neil. She hoped that the Prince could say something at this moment. She was afraid that her furious self would make some unwise decision. After all, no one knew what would happen when the commander of the whole squad of army was punished in front of all of them. The Princess pursed her lip. Even though she greatly wished for this Lieutenant Colonel of the Guards be punished right here at this moment, she could not risk the danger of the soldiers turning against them.
Out of her expectations, His Royal Highness Prince O'Neil clumsily helped the Lieutenant Colonel up from his knee. This young lad even got rid of the dirt on Hyatt who committed a heavy offense of neglecting his duty.
"Your Highness..." Hyatt could not even speak a word. He did not know what came to himself, nor did he understand whether the action of the Prince indicated the pardon of his crime.
"First Army, District Seven, Sir Lieutenant Colonel, I have read "War History of the Alps" before. First, the First Army is the infamous hero squadron of Titan! I still recall that your mountain corps was the only army that successfully overcame the Alps in this world. That was... That was Light Year 667, right?" The Prince chatted with this army about war history unexpectedly.
Hyatt was a little excited. If there was a thing in this world that could make him forget himself, then this thing must be his mountain corps.
"Yes! Your Highness, it was Light Year 667 7th day of 4th month. In order to cooperate with the spring attack of the Empire army of the south towards the Faran Kingdom, our First Mountain Corps of First Army, District Seven successfully overcame the frozen St. Croat Peak of the Alps. Even though that was not the highest peak of the Alps, we were still the only humans who have ever reached that place! After that, by using the word of the war history, the First Mountain Corps rushed down from the snow mountain as if it was a God's miracle. They began a tough guerilla warfare with the Faran from behind and was able to hang on for nearly two months under the situation where there was a 70 percent loss of soldiers from the war. This situation continued until the Faran officially signed a ceasefire during the Third War between Faran and Titan."
Oscar truly respected this Lieutenant Colonel of the Guards. Actually this understanding definitely came from the young lad's admiration towards the 'War History of the Alps'. The author of the 'War History of the Alps' was undoubtedly an unconventional one. He did not fill the whole war history book with the data of both the enemy and our country like the others usually did. Instead, he wrote this officially published reading material of the history in a way of a heroic legend.
"Yes! Yes! The First Army was definitely just as you have said. And you, Sir Lieutenant Colonel Hyatt, I believe that you are more than capable because District Seven would not allow a rubbish to lead such a heroic army. So do not let this event get to you. Neglecting your duty and making mistakes are two different things! Even though it is difficult for you to get rid of the offense of neglecting your duty, but as a soldier, you did not make any mistake! Moreover, your rescue team was very timely. If the military court acted on this case, I will defend you."
Hyatt once again went on one knee. He wanted to praise the Prince, but he felt all words paled in front of the kindness of the little Prince.
"Get up! Let me see what you have brought for me!" The Prince simply brought the Princess and left. The young lad ignored the Lieutenant Colonel who was still on his knee. He found that Alanis's expression was still very dark.
The camp became busy once again. The warriors of the First Mountain Corps have joined the rescue team. Even though it was the same hero army, they respected the Narcissus Knight more. Looking at these injured companions was extremely upsetting.
All kinds of cheers could be heard from the forest. The time was Year 791 31st day of 6th month midnight. The Baggage Corps of the First Army have finally caught up to the to the battle front. They seemed to have brought the whole army to this unknown mountain. The army doctor, army judge, tool officer and even the army Priest of the Light were there.The Narcissus Knights passionately welcomed the mountain warriors who lent a helping hand during such a crucial moment. They clearly saw the fatigue on the faces of those mountain warriors after a long march without stopping.
His Royal Highness Prince and a few honorable ladies returned to the camp under the protection of the mountain warriors of the main army. Now there was nothing that could threaten them anymore! The mountain corps who came to support them were the ones with the highest combat ability in Titan. This army once fought with enemies that were ten times more in numbers than them in these mountains for a few months. Even though that was more than a hundred years ago, until now there is none who would dare to challenge the pride of the First Army in this mountainous area.
The whole army protected the Prince and the others down the hill. Oscar could see the Captain of his Knights scolding a small soldier terribly beside the fire from afar. For some reason, the seemingly-friendly Colonel Rayen's voice was extremely loud.
When the Colonel intended to hit the head of the soldier with his sword hilt, Oscar stopped him just in time.
"Hey! Kamille! Isn't it over? What are you doing?"
Kamille bowed to the few Sir and Ladies who have just returned, then he took the soldier by the collar. This poor knight already did not have a large build, but he looked exactly like a chick who could not find its home when he was pulled by the Colonel.
"Your Highness! It was this guy. As a scout, he actually could not differentiate the army of our own, he even... even released enemy alert before making sure of the situation!"
Oscar could not help but think of that scene when he ran away in fright just now. So it was all thanks to this knight. The young lad saw that this tall knight seemed to have cried just now. Apparently Kamille scolded him pretty badly.
"Alright! It was not that much of a deal! What would we do if it was really the enemy? I should say he is a qualified scout!" Oscar reined his horse and walked off. He was in need of a camp and an army bed currently. He could no longer take more of this exhaustion.
"Did you hear that? The Prince has pardoned you!" The yell of the Paladin could be heard from behind of Oscar.
"But I can't forgive you! Go and report yourself to Captain Arden! You will spend the rest of your army journey among the potatoes and onions."
5th day of 7th month, the Prince and the others could see the station of the First Army.
Dopter, a city in the mountains. It was situated at the west side of the largest lake in the southern mountainous area, Rillson Drake Lake. The citizens of this small city mainly sustain their life by hunting and fishing. At the same time, a small part of their homemade crafts also brought them income for a better life.
Dopter does not have any famous products, and the scenery near it could not be compared to others in this southern mountainous area that was famous for its scenery. But the Dopters have their own pride. As the station of the First Mountain Corps of the First Army, District Seven of the Empire, having an army that was called 'Snowlion' was enough for Dopter, this small town that did not have over ten thousand in population, to leave its name in the history of Titan.
The army of the Titan Empire was divided rather clearly. Nineteen Army Districts completely cover the whole land of the Empire. Only the East area was controlled by the largest military force in Titan, and that was the Andrew family. After years of developing, each and every army district has perfected its function and the division of the army force. This was the fundamental reason that Titan could remain undefeatable in the face of challenges from many countries in these few centuries. This was not all the contribution of a single General in the army. Instead it was the ultimate function that was produced when the military forces of Titan carry out their respective duties. These functions were not produced in just one day and night!
The superior knowledge of the Morisette royal family, the most perfect military system in the Westland, the world's most effective military recruitment system, the military tax imposed on every noble family, the military supply zones found all around the country -- all these created the Westland's most intricate military machine, and the exceptional power of this machine terrorized every nation who looked up to the holy Titan.
Just take the current Military District Seven as an example. When the Narcissus Knights who suffered a lot crashed into Dopter, the military components on the small land of the Titan Empire began churning at high speed once again after years of silence.
Light Year 791 28th day of the 6th month early in the morning, the captain of the 'Snowlion', Lieutenant Colonel Hyatt Brandy, spent forty minutes to confirm the identity of this Narcissus Knight and the letter of request for assistance that was stamped by the royal family and the Andrew family. Immediately after this, which was actually two seconds after he put down the letter, he followed the instructions from the Morisette royal family to declare a state of emergency in the First Army's territory and the city of Dopter. The areas were to be under the command of the military.
The ninth second after he put down the letter, the Lieutenant Colonel had already given orders to his own troops, and ordered for the ringing of the alert bell that hung by the church in the city.
By the first minute and seventeenth second, the second-in-command of the Lieutenant Colonel brought a knight scout sub-unit and departed. Their destination was the main station of the Military District Seven, the capital of Rylie Province, Fort Stanson. Their mission was to report to the commander of the Military District Seven.
By the first hour Lieutenant Colonel Hyatt put down the letter requesting for assistance, the infamous First Army 'Snowlion' completed the gathering and war preparation of the troops. The Lieutenant Colonel immediately advanced his troops to the place of the incident after making sure of the units that would stay behind.
On the same day 11p.m., the investigation sub-unit of the First Army who changed three horses reached Fort Stanson. They finished the journey that normally took two days to finish. The sub-unit of the second-in-command lost three knights because of this. They all dropped off the cliff due to their carelessness at night.
At 11.28p.m., the communication officer at the Command Department of Military District Seven of the Titan Empire announced the cancellation of the rest day and working day and called to gather all soldiers at hand. 11.39p.m., the Commander of the Military District Seven who came from the base gave orders for the initiation of the emergency protocol for all units in the district. According to protocol, all units of District Seven would go into battle mode the first moment they receive the order. The border and the city must be closed off and all transport should be frozen. They could arrest and attack anyone who showed enmity towards the Titan army. 11.40p.m., the Director of Justice of the Rylie Province who was invited here and the officer of the Secret Service Department based in Rylie sent out a messenger to the highest officials in each capital. 11.46p.m., the governmental leader of the Rylie Province and the Military High Officer of the Military District Seven signed an urgent encrypted document together that was sent to the Royal Secretariat.
29th day of the 6th month 4a.m., the First Army from District Seven of the Titan Empire's remaining two army troops left the station almost at the same time. They sped as fast as possible towards Dopter.
1st day of the 7th month morning, the striker troops of the First Army who just reached Dopter City received the news that the Princess and the Prince were safe. At the same time, the whole area governed by Military District Seven eventually began the alert for war.
4th day of 7th month, the First Army of Military District Seven reunited with the First Mountain Corps. The rescue mission truly come to an end at this point.
The twist and turns of the mountain road seemed to become wider after the cleansing of the rain, but it still caused a lot of trouble for the marching people. The dark places were full of dirt while the sunny ridge was full of wrinkles that looked like the marks left behind after the flood water dried up. The Prince and the Princess were determined to walk with the injured knights. This obviously reduced the marching speed of the whole army.
For both the Prince and the Princess, it was their very first time following the march of the whole army. The troops on the mountain road spread for five miles. They brought all of their light-weight tools according to the rules. The tools consisted of large crossbow machines that needed to be controlled by four people and small daggers for the situation of close combat.
The mountain warriors showed off their simple and hardworking aspects. They used all sorts of tools to eliminate the obstacles in the journey. They used their hands to solve any challenges in the mountains. For them, it was nothing more infuriating than seeing Her Royal Highness Princess of the royal family being attacked, especially within their defense area. The most difficult fact to accept was that the Italians who would not even dare to raise their heads when they saw the Titan dared to initiate such a plot that has no difference than a declaration of war.
Yes! The mountain warriors clenched their fists. Once the Ministry of Justice and the officers of the Secret Service Department confirmed the identity of those mercenaries, then the Italia Kingdom would receive the counter attack from more than ten mountain corps at the border of the Titan. On top of that, these attacks were lawfully right! The armed organization of Italia dared to attack the member of the royal family. This action was the same as challenging the right of the whole Titan nation.
Sir Commander of the First Army, District Seven ordered the three paladins under him and the whole 'Snowlion' assault team to protect the carriage of the Princess and the Prince. This Commander had the same thought as Lieutenant Colonel Hyatt. The offense of neglecting his duty could not be pardoned! Now all he could do was to ensure to his best ability that nothing happened to the Princess and the Prince in their journey. What came after that? The Commander wiped his cold sweat off. There would not be anything after that! Just wait for the letter from the Army Division and the Royal Secretariat to fire him off with strict words! He suspected that the managerial level of the Military District Seven would be completely cleansed by His Majesty the Emperor after this event no matter what. Maybe the punishment would spread to the whole administration and military department in three provinces in the mountainous area.
Upon looking at the mountain warriors all over the hills, Sir Commander took off his dark brown leather hat. This could be his last time commanding this troop! This sudden catastrophe would bring avalanche-like consequences. He could not believe the scaredy-cat Italia royal family would dare to participate in the conspiracy of endangering the member of Titan royal family. He also did not want to believe that there were Guards who dared to bear the risk of elimination of their family and opened up the borders for the mercenaries. Looking from outside and within Titan, who was this god-damned guy that would dare to do plan such a thing?
"Kachev Drakas Ferdinand!" When Her Royal Highness Princess Alanis Alfa Morisette said this name, she looked exactly like the fierce bobcat she held in her arm right now.
As expected, as if detecting the unfriendly aura of its master, the small bobcat LeFou immediately scratched the little Prince who was teasing it!
Oscar stared at the bloody scratches on his hand. The young lad's expression also became really unfriendly. The Princess ignored him. Instead, she carefully patted and consoled LeFou as she sent a warning glare to the little Prince who was about to make a move.
Even though the young lad was furious, he still acted as if nothing had happened. His gaze fell on the scene outside of the window of carriage. He could see the small city not far away in front. Currently, his enormous group was considered not far away from that place.
"Did you say Kachev Drakas Ferdinand? That slick fox. You should go back and ask your father. It was afraid that Alfa III His Majesty hates the old Kachev more than you did, you know? His Majesty once mentioned this to me: the movement of the old Kachev had always been closely monitored by the Secret Service Department. Do you think that old fox is smart enough to plan such a conspiracy without getting found out by the secret agents?"
Oscar did not continue his talk. He knew the members of the royal family seemed to harbor great hatred towards the old Duke. Even though he was attacked, he was still unclear on what set-up needed to be done to realize such attacks.
"Alanis, we must admit that this guy who initiated this must have an enormous force. Think about this. He was able to arrange assassins in the army without anyone knowing and contact the mercenary through the military organization of Italia. Then, he allowed the traitor by the border to infiltrate Titan and utilize the inner spy to accurately initiate the final attack!" Oscar used his fingers to count. "I used four sentences to explain this event, but do you know how much human resources, substances and wealth our enemy must have in order to realize these four sentences?"
The Princess finally spoke. "Yes! I clearly understand what you're going at, and what you said must be the truth! But except for that old fox, I truly could not think of anybody else pulling a scheme like this off. You once doubted General Alan, but that was proven to be theory without basis. And that is to say, in the current Titan, there is only the old Duke who has high power in both the military and politics and has the ability to initiate such an attack."
Oscar knitted his eyebrows. Actually, Kachev Drakas Ferdinand was also his first target to doubt, but he could not convince himself from the aspect of the motive of the crime. He never had any sort of arguments with this old Duke. What about the Princess? It seemed that the Princess's situation in Dulin was pretty much the same as himself. They both have the beautiful coat on them that resembles the top-class members of the royal family. Other than this, they have neither status nor power.
"Alanis, your method of eliminating potential suspects cannot truly find out the true criminal behind this. If it was not Alan, then it must be old Kachev? How can things be so simple? I believe this must be a person who stays very deep in the water. He quietly stays in the dark to create every opportunity that benefits him."
The Princess sighed. She believed the news of her being attacked was already on the way to Dulin! According to the character of her father, he would stubbornly investigate matters that endangered his family. Then with a little imagination, the army would bear an offense of having an inefficient and lazy management. The Military District Seven would be finished! There would be a large change in the local government in the three provinces in the southern mountain area!
Then... The Princess's eyes suddenly brightened up.
"I got this, Oscar! Even though this matter became obscured after this assassination event, at least there will be some things that could help us find some hints." Alanis excitedly held the young lad's arm.
"What kind of things? What kind of hints?" The Prince was a little confused. He could not think of where the answers to the questions could be.
"Didn't you say this?" The Princess jewel-like blue eyes blinked a bright light that was just like a fountain. "Didn't you say our death would not change much of the current situation? Then what about District Seven? What about the three southern provinces? We were not injured at the moment, but my father would definitely not pardon the people related to this incident. Then it is not that hard to guess! The person behind this must have thought of the consequences. Maybe he is just waiting for the Empire's readjustment of power towards the southern land. And we are simply two unfortunate people in this conspiracy!"
"Alanis!" The Prince groaned. He suddenly became wide-eyed! "Yes! My dear Princess! You are a genius! It is definitely this way! Why attack us at this place? Why were the ones who attacked us not some assassins of incredible skills? Instead, he used a whole mercenary group in a large-scale attack? If it was an assassination, then the method should be as careful as possible, like poisoning and sniping. Why did he use a whole mercenary to increase the indeterminacy of the whole action?"
Oscar was a little excited as well. He thought that Alanis was absolutely an analyst. At least this young lady's brain was smarter than his was. The young lad continued. "So you are exactly on point! A wrong timing, a wrong location and wrong executors! This is illogical! If I was to kill someone, I will use the wicked way to let my target die in his dream. I won't even leave any traces behind. But I have no reason at all to send an army to destroy the house of my target. If I was to really send out an army, then I will face the same situation as now. The house is half destroyed, but I miss my target. In the end, I am completely buried by the enemy who came rushing to assist my target. What is all of this for then? I totally have a better plan!"
"Yes! Yes! Yes!" Alanis kept nodding her head. She felt proud of the one quick thought that ran through her head! "There was no need to create so much hassle over a single assassination. Moreover, attacking the capable Narcissus Knight itself was already a wrong decision. Now, great! Everyone has their attention diverted by this daring assassination move! We are still trying our best to find the enemy. The generals of the Military District Seven should pray that they can keep their roles in the army. The local government servants in the three southern provinces may not know about this matter just yet, I believe. But maybe there would be evidence appearing that is against them. And all of these would completely end when my father's rage burns the southern sky! After the cleansing, the people with rising influence in the south would be the primary suspects!"
Oscar did not reply the Princess. And Alanis eventually became silent after the initial excitement. The framework of the conspiracy seemed to have found, but they felt a sudden chill in their bodies.
Most of the mountain warriors sent the carriage of the Prince and the Princess off into Dopter City. They have just received the new orders from their military commander. Surrounding Dopter, the First Army was to form four defense lines that closed off every road that led to the city. Among the blockade area included the whole west coast of Rillson Drake Lake. Since it was a blockade, then it literally meant that no one was allowed to leave or enter.
Maybe such an order to strictly guard the place was not reliable, the commander of the First Army added another statement to that order. It said that every family in the Dopter area including the city must have a guard to ensure that there was no possibility of any spies in the city. As for the gangsters and homeless who hung around the street, the commander added another statement: since the Princess of the Empire and the Prince have visited the city, soldiers were ordered to initiate 'final cleaning' of all kinds of rubbish in order to ensure a good image of the city!
The citizens of the city did not even know what happened! The strong First Mountain Corp 'Snowlion' rang the alarm that signaled war in the middle of the night. Some innocent young lads even thought that the National Day or the celebration of the God of Light came early! After being frightened, the people only realized that the 'Snowlion' has departed. Even though this was a prideful moment, the people living a peaceful life was scared out of their life from the sudden enemy! Italians? It might be the Faran! In general, the city has been drowned in fright and confusion since the First Mountain Corps left.
This situation continued until the First Army returned. Even though the people resumed their daily activities, the countless busy soldiers in the city increased the fear and anxiety of the citizens. On top of that, this time was even weirder! These soldiers in the mountain did not even tell the citizens about what truly happened! Not only they were not asked to evacuate like the previous war, but no one explained to them why they could not go out to the streets. Apparently, even the Sir Mayor could not get any information out of the officers. This was truly odd!
Oscar looked at the scenery outside of the window in boredom. There was nothing in this city that interested him. There were no fresh flowers, no welcoming crowd, not even a single shadow of the citizens! There was only the sharp noise of the carriage pushing on the bluestone pavement. And also the neat and dull enormous sound when the Guards marched forward.
The Prince's team passed the whole city. The station of the First Mountain Corps was at the other side of the city. The remaining unit of the troop already received the notice beforehand. They prepared a few spacious and clean camps for the injured Narcissus Knights and also invited doctors and nurses from within and outside of the mountain. They prepared a suitable mansion for these guests of high social status. This mansion used to be the museum where the First Mountain Corps displayed their war medal, but the objects on display for the purpose of bragging and remembrance inside have already been cleaned out. The soldiers rearranged the tables and beds in the mansion. Even though it was a bit messy, it still seemed to be a rather well-furnished place to stay.
For safety purposes, the Guards did not arrange any marching event. The carriage of the big shots quietly stopped in front of the door of the museum at the site. A few soldiers quickly tidied up the few luggages of these big shots. In this process, Annie almost shed tears for a few times. She was rather too fixated on her preference for the luggage.
A Captain of the First Army performed a Knight's greetings to the Princess outside of the carriage. But when he planned to open the door for the Princess, his face burned up in embarrassment. The door knob did not move a bit. It seemed the two Sir and Lady have locked themselves in it!
Oscar pulled open the lock on the carriage door from inside. He suddenly turned back and stared at Alanis. The Princess and he kept silent after they ended their conversation half an hour ago. He knew the Princess would think of the question he thought of just now, but he could not help but remind the Princess!
"Dear Alanis, if that person truly has such spirit, such spirit to intentionally murder a member of the royal family for his own benefit, then I must say that the Morisette Kingdom has already lost the power of the royal family loved by the God! Moreover, once the Emperor's rage truly burns in the south, then that person would undoubtedly get his way. Think about it. Why would that person hope the Emperor would cleanse the military system in the three southern provinces? I have enough reasons to suspect that this person has the ability to attain the actual control of the three southern provinces after this incident. If it is that way... then... The Morisette Kingdom is only one step away from destruction!" The young lad pulled the Princess' cold hands. "You are smarter than I am. If the royal family of an Empire loses the power to control its people, then it will lose the ruling foundation that its survival is based on. And that is the actual right to control its land and people!"
The Prince pushed the door open. The Princess was behind him. Both of them looked a bit exhausted, but the young lad's expression still appeared normal. But the Princess of Morisette completely lost all blood on her face. She looked like a lone goose that has lost its way. Her eyes were empty and she appeared fairly exhausted. She let the Prince hold her hand as they walked among the formation of the soldiers like a sea of humans.
"You are smarted than I am, Alanis. You know that I am not spouting rubbish." Oscar held the Princess and paused at the doorway leading to the hall.
"We love this country... Those citizens who are supposed to be loyal to us... have already created a huge problem!"
That was what the young lad said in the end.
The initiation of military control in Dopter has already gone on for a whole week! The citizens were starting to get impatient. Until some naughty gangsters were dead hanging on a tree that the people truly realized the exact definition of military control.
Any behavior that could cause misunderstanding would receive strict punishment. As compared to the citizens who began doubting the event, the officers of the First Army were not any better! The political intuition of the soldiers were never that sensitive to begin with, but the official news that came from Dulin clearly told them that the royal family was planning to reinforce the discipline of the army. The officers could not say any more until this point! It was right at this moment when the royal family planned to make a move that the Princess and Prince of the Empire were attacked by a foreign armed force in District Seven!
No matter if it was a high-ranked officer or a low-ranked officer, they were all clear that this was not a normal incident of treason. They even knew that this would cause a war and cause a new cycle of cleansing.