Chapter 75 – Chaos at the Assembly
(Crown Prince’s Point of View)
“And then you ran away from her?” My younger brother asked.
“Yes, she’s too dangerous.” I answered.
“That’s too irresponsible! How could the commander run away first… And from a single woman to boot!” Marquis Verdi shouted.
My brother is too ambitious and insists that this is my fault so as to mine my reputation, and then the people in his faction follow his lead. Even though we have such a dangerous situation on our hands…
“The woman had more Chaos within her than anyone I had ever seen, she should not be underestimated.” I clarified.
“Aren’t you just trying to find excuses for your failure?” My brother said.
“That’s not it. The enemy is someone that could defeat not only Alexei, but also my whole battalion!” I explained.
My brother started laughing though, “Seems like you’re very scared of women… You should have just invited her to your carriage and shook her hips!” His comment made his followers burst into laughter.
It’s ridiculous, they can only laugh because they are not aware of the despair I felt when she emanated all that Chaos. And to think she is coming to the capital next…
“Your highness Jural. Even as the second prince, you cannot insult his highness, the crown prince, like that!” Marquis Gawain, one of my followers, said.
“That’s not an issue, for his highness Jural won’t be the second prince for long.” Marquis Verdi commented.
“… What are you implying?” Marquis Gawain asked.
“Isn’t it a given that a brave man is better suited to lead the nation than a coward who is afraid of one little girl?” Marquis Verdi said.
“You little…” Marquis Gawain was clearly angry, and so was the rest of my faction. They were obviously provoking us, and my followers were reaching their limits.
“Stop, both sides.” My father said, and the entire room, me and my brother included, bowed to him. “Both of you already made your points, to continue showing hostility towards the royal family will be considered an act of treason. It is a disgrace for anyone with a claim to the throne to show this kind of behavior.”
“But father!” My brother shouted.
“Jural, did I give you permission to speak?” My father stopped him.
“I apologize.” My brother said.
Having this ambitious younger brother is troublesome… I wish to hurry up and make amends for this failure in order to avoid further conflict, but I would have to be crazy to try facing that woman again… But how far will he go to take the throne if I don’t make it clear that it is mine…?
“We will have to take measures to handle this case, regardless of how truthful Gillian’s report is.” Father said. It seemed like he was about to wrap things up, but we were interrupted by the room’s door being flung open.
“Apologies for the interruption, but there is an urgent report!” The messenger who just arrived said.
“You have permission to speak.” Father said to the messenger.
“Sir! The survivors from the Frontier’s Expedition Force have returned!” The messenger reported.
“Survivors?” Someone said.
“That is…” Another person murmured.
I have a bad feeling about this. It’s a good thing that there were some survivors at least, but I can’t imagine what state they’ll be at now, not after facing that woman…
“Continue.” Father said, silencing the room once more.
“Sir! After the Crown Prince retreated, they engaged with the enemy. However, their chain of command was quickly destroyed and most of the soldiers were killed soon after. About 80% of the battalion was either killed or heavily injured!” The messenger reported.
“Absurd!” One person said.
“How could this be…!?” Another exclaimed.
“… Is there more?” Father said, silencing the room again.
“… The survivors seem to be traumatized and unable to function properly, sire.” The messenger said.
“Is that so…?” Father said and closed his eyes to think. I was leading a battalion of 3000 soldiers, to have them basically wiped out like this, it is no laughing matter…
“My brother’s failure becomes clearer and clearer with each passing moment! How could he possibly let such dangerous person escape and now threaten the royal capital!?” My brother exclaimed… It was hard to not sigh at it.
“The enemy seems to be aiming at the lives of the royal family! Shouldn’t one with a position as important as the Crown Prince prioritize his safety in this predicament!?” Marquis Gawain replied.
“That’s enough.” Father stopped them before the people at the assembly started fighting one another again. Then, he opened his eyes and spoke clearly, “We will investigate the details of this case later. For now, we’ll secure an escape route in case the capital is attacked, and members of the royal family should avoid going out as much as possible.” He looked at both me and my brother, “You two will now be always accompanied by an escort no matter where you go as well.
“That will be enough. You’re dismissed.” Father said, and closed the assembly.
“… What are your thoughts, your highness?” Marquis Gawain asked me after the meeting was over.
“I’m not sure. I did expect my brother to try sending someone after me eventually, but I doubt even he would deal with someone so strongly aligned with Chaos.” I answered.
“That might be true, though the second prince is not the only ambitious person in his faction. Maybe one of his followers sent that woman without his knowledge.” Gawain said. It’s not impossible, but I don’t think that’s it… It’s true that she was aiming for my life though, and I don’t think that she’d really aim for a Crown Prince just for fun, no matter how chaotic she is, it would be too dangerous…
Nonetheless, I do not think it was Jural. There must be some other reason… “Perhaps my unique skill was seen as troublesome for the Chaos faction?” I wondered out loud.
“The ability to notice that which is hidden… It’s possible.” Gawain replied.
I stayed silent for a bit while pondering over it, before saying, “… I can’t die just yet.” My death would create chaos in this country. My brother and sister would both enter a bloody succession war…
Normally it should be the second male child to have the rights to the throne if the crown prince dies, but my brother is the child of a concubine, while my sister is of a queen, so things are not so simple… And the nobles would probably be split in half in order to try controlling them, who are too young to have any achievements of their own, or the experience to properly govern a country.
“What a mess we’re in…” I said after we both stayed silent for a while.
“It’s essential to take preventive measures now in order to avoid a bleak future.” Gawain replied.
“I’m aware. For now, I got permission from father to put that woman as a wanted person, hopefully that should buy us some time.” I answered.
With this, we’ll get the aid of the migrants at the very least, but… Will it be enough?