Book 9: Chapter 531: Prince Angus’s Final Compromise and the Unexpected End of the Civil War
The Northern Alliance had turned the Gabrideck City, which was in the marginal area of the Marz Plain at the lower reaches of the Claudine River that was flowing near the Gabriels City (Sword Capital) of the Gabriel Empire, into their base camp. Currently in this base camp, Bella just had walked out of the Las Vegas Royal Casino. After she had suppressed Prince Brad, she had gone after the younger brother of Emperor Alfred the Third, Prince Frauer, as well as the prince that he was supporting, Prince Glenard. All of these princes that she had defeated had withdrawn from the civil war between the Northern and Southern Alliance.
As the first person to witness the forces of the Darkness Sacred Region from Bella, Prince Frauer had received a huge blow. Bella did not even need to explicitly tell Prince Frauer regarding the relationship between her and Bella, also known as by her surrogate Princess Felia.
Prince Frauer had already formed his opinion regarding the relationship between the two. According to his astute judgment, this beautiful black-haired girl who claimed to be a God must have a very close relationship with Bella. Otherwise, she would not have come over to personally look for him.
With that opinion in mind, Prince Frauer reluctantly withdrew his participation from the war. After that, Bella had only one more prince left to deal with, and he was no other than the father-in-law of Emperor Alfred the Third, Prince Angus. Since the temporary residence of Prince Angus used to be the mansion of the Lord who governed the Gabrideck City, it was easily located on the city map.
Bella had decided to switch her form back to that of Princess Felia this time around. She went to the mansion that Prince Angus was residing in. Considering that two of the princes had been dealt with, Bella’s plan was nearly complete, so her mood was quite relaxed. It would be best if she could resolve the civil war as soon as possible. She would like to take advantage of the situation where the Imperial Union was still focusing all of its resources on helping the Aldridge Empire in the east to deal with the attack of the Red Sea Demonic Beast Army. While the Imperial Union was tied up, Bella had every intention to settle the matter in the Gabriel Empire as soon as she could.
It was crucial that the ruler of the Gabriel Empire could be decided before the Imperial Union could intervene. As she pondered about it, Bella had unknowingly reached her destination. Even though the mansion of the Lord who governed the Gabrideck City was considered to be quite huge, it was still not comparable to the temporary residence of Prince Brad, which was the Royal Opera House of St. Vanern or even the Las Vegas Royal Casino that Prince Frauer had chosen as his temporary residence. They were at completely different levels.
As expected by Bella, the guards who were guarding the mansion were the soldiers of Prince Angus. At the gate of this mansion, as with the guards of the previous two locations that she had visited, Bella took out the family tokens and showed them to the guards. The tokens belonged to the daughters of Prince Angus, Andanielle and her sister Andanetta.
“Aren’t you the leader of the Southern Alliance? How dare you come alone?!”
“Notify the prince that I have some matters to discuss with him. You should not be unfamiliar with these two tokens.”
“These are the family tokens that belong to Miss Andanielle and Miss Andanetta. What have you done to them?”
The guard at the gate could clearly recognize Bella at a glance because she did not use any disguise on herself and had walked over to them casually. Even though she came alone, there had been rumors that she possessed the strength of a Dragon Knight, and aside from that, she was also holding on to the family token of Prince Angus. As such, none of the guards stationed on the front of the gate to the mansion of the former Lord dared to block Bella’s path.
In the end, the guards silently complied and gave way to Bella and allowed her into the mansion. These guards had also concluded that the two daughters of the family themselves must have also fallen in the hands of Bella since the family tokens of Miss Andanielle and Miss Andanetta were in the hands of Bella. All they could do was to allow Bella to confront Prince Angus.
As opposed to the residence of the previous two princes, the mansion of the former Lord was very quiet. It is really rare for a prince to be as decent as Prince Angus. He wasn’t a philanderer, nor did he have any greedy desires. If he weren’t as stubborn and conservative in his political views with the constant insistence for Crown Prince Daniel to be the only one to inherit the throne, Bella might have let him retain his status as a prince.
It really was a pity because although Prince Angus himself was an upright person, the person he chose to support, Prince Daniel. was considered a wall of mud that could never support the burden of the empire. Not only was Prince Daniel not good in military warfare, but he too had problems when it came to his pleasureful habits. The only advantage that he had over the other princes was that the previous emperor, Emperor Alfred the Third, had personally appointed him as the Crown Prince.
Even after walking for quite some time in this mansion, she had yet to come in sight with any guards. Prince Angus must have been confident in his own strength because there were neither guards on patrol nor maids or even attendants inside his temporary residence. As someone who had made his name through the ranks of a soldier, Prince Angus was an honorable officer who held the title of the Chief General of the Empire. With such an honorable person, it came as no surprise that his style was very different from the previous two princes, who only knew how to lobby their support through political plays.
As Bella walked on ahead, the initial ambiance of the quiet mansion was finally disrupted by some discordant sounds. Although Prince Angus himself was not a flamboyant person, Crown Prince Daniel was obviously an unscrupulous person who only knew how to enjoy himself with food and entertainment. He might not have much of a flair in terms of warfare or even in politics, but he sure knew his way around the pleasure of life with multiple courses of indulging entertainment.
Walking past the banquet hall in this mansion of the former Lord, Bella noticed Prince Daniel feasting with his guest. It seemed that Prince Daniel had no sense of crisis at all as he was leisurely spending his time here with the other princes who also supported him. Even when he was in the area that was under the governance of Prince Angus, Prince Daniel did not even try to conceal his pleasurable habits.
In the banquet hall, the prince was also accompanied by wines and many beautiful maidens who were dressed gorgeously. The way they were lavishly decked out, Bella thought that they looked like princesses. Compared to the beauties that Bella had previously encountered in the temporary residence of Prince Brad and Prince Frauer, the ladies here definitely had better lives. At the very least, they were not shamefully stripped naked as these ladies could still retain a trace of their dignity.
Bella simply walked past the prince, not giving much thought to the prince that she would soon replace. She finally found the person she was looking for, Prince Angus, in the study room of this mansion. When Bella opened the door to the study and walked in, Prince Angus, who was still awake at this hour, was studying the map that was placed in front of him. It seemed that he was planning to launch an attack towards the Southern Alliance the very next day.
Since Bella’s arrival was unexpected, the prince did not even lift up his head to look at Bella when she pushed the door and entered his room as he didn’t expect her to disturb him at this hour. Bella, who had always received much attention regardless of where she was, felt a little troubled that he was neglecting her. Considering that she was regarded as a beauty herself, it was a little embarrassing that he didn’t even bother to look at her.
“You don’t have to come and invite me. I’m not interested in your banquet, Daniel. And… Eh, it’s you! How could it be…”
“Prince Angus, you don’t have to doubt it. I believe that no one would impersonate me.”
“What are you doing here? This is not a place that you should be at. Since you are a Duchess of the Empire, I would not give you any trouble. Just go!”
“No, no, no…. Prince Angus, you seem to be missing the point. It is you who should really not be here!”
While the expression on Prince Angus’s face reflected some doubt, Bella’s expression was confident and fearless, as if she already had the upper hand. Could it be that she no longer cared about the consequences? Just as Prince Angus was about to give the order for his guards to arrest Bella, she took out some items that managed to make the prince, who was well-versed in the battlefield, keep his mouth shut for a moment.
Among those items were the seals that belonged to two out of the three princes of the Gabriel Empire. These seals belonged to Prince Frauer and Prince Brad, respectively. She also had the seals of the Grand Duke of the Renald family and the patriarch of the Ignaz family. To complete the three major families of the empire, she presented the letter of credit written by the Johnston family. To add to the insult, she took out the portable sabers of several Sword Gods that belonged to the Hilikas family. Along with those, she also showed him the certificate of recognition by the current interim patriarch of the Hilikas family, Harry Verron.
Bella took pleasure in presenting these trophies, one after another, to Prince Angus. To some extent, Bella was still proceeding with a conscience. If she weren’t, she would have taken out the underwear worn by Andanielle and Andanetta, the daughters of Prince Angus, and shown it to him.
After showing him the underwear of his daughters, she should have told him with an evil grin that his two daughters were great! That would have been a bigger blow to Prince Angus as compared to what she was showing him now. However, Bella was not the one without any principles. In her opinion, the intimate wear that was worn by the ladies in her harem was for her eyes only and could not be shown to others, even if it were to a male relative of theirs.
“Duchess Bellina, what is the meaning of this? I don’t understand it. Please leave immediately!”
“No, Prince Angus, I believe that you are well aware of what I mean. Don’t you think that there is something missing from here? That item is still in your possession.”
It was only natural for Prince Angus to know the meaning behind Bella’s actions. The item that Bella was referring to was his very own seal as a prince of the empire. With his seal, Bella would have control over the two million Northern Alliance soldiers who were under his command, and with this final troop, she would have taken over the whole of the Northern Alliance. That itself would put an end to the civil war that seemed to have been going on forever.
Prince Angus couldn’t comprehend how Prince Frauer and Prince Brad could have so easily handed over their seals which they had regarded as their second lives. However, since Bella had personally come knocking at his door, it could only mean that the two princes had handed over their seal and surrendered to Bella. In addition to it, she also had the recognition of the Hilikas family. This meant that Bella had already grasped hold of all the political favors in the empire. Aside from the military forces, Bella had also gained the absolute advantage of the political arena of the empire.
After Bella had received recognition from the patriarch of the Hilikas family, Prince Angus understood that he was Bella’s last obstacle. In his current situation, he could no longer order for the arrest of Bella as she would have taken over the military forces of Prince Brad and Prince Frauer that amounted to more than three million soldiers, the three-fifth of the entire Northern Alliance army. Moreover, the Guardian of the Empires, the Hilikas family that Prince Angus had relied on, was already siding with Bella. This meant that she was already in control of the base camp of the Northern Alliance.
At this point, there wasn’t even a need for the Southern Alliance to intervene. All Bella had to do was take command of the armies under the two princes, and she could have easily plunged the Northern Alliance base camp into a civil war between themselves. For the first time ever, Prince Angus, who once served the empire on the battlefield itself and saved the empire from many crises, felt a deep sense of frustration as he was confronted by Bella. Though the beautiful blonde girl standing in front of him was petite, somehow, in his eyes, Bella was akin to an insurmountable mountain.
“Prince Angus, why do you look so troubled? It’s not the end of the world. I can assure you that the throne would be given to Princess Kriss instead of me. The throne would still be in the hands of the original royal family. I have no interest in the boring position of an emperor. If you could acknowledge Crown Prince Daniel as the heir to the throne, why can’t you acknowledge that Kriss, as a Princess, also has the same right to the throne?”
“No, Duchess Bellina… I mean, Princess Regnant Bellina. I don’t doubt your ability. I really don’t. It’s just that politics is a man’s game, and you and Kriss are women. The consequences would not be favorable if you decide to participate in it.”
When questioned by Bella, Prince Angus gave her his honest answer. This was the first time he was confronted by Bella, and she was not any ordinary person. This was the person who had rewritten the Gabriel Empire’s entire history in less than half a year. Duchess Bellina had managed to rise from a mere Duchess to a Princess Regnant and subsequently became the person that conquered the whole empire, all in less than half a year. She was definitely a legendary figure regardless of whichever empire in the human continent she came from.
Prince Angus was actually concerned about the fact that the throne might fall into the hands of a foreigner instead of staying with the original royal family of the Gabriel Empire. In his opinion, even though Kriss could inherit the throne and become the first Empress of the human continent, she was bound to marry someone one day.
Once Kriss got married, the imperial power might fall into the hands of her husband, which would be Prince Angus’ worst nightmare. One couldn’t really blame him for his ignorant view because that was the general view of the people living in this other world. If only he knew that the richest empire, the Manasvir Empire, was actually controlled for tens of thousands of years by Queen Manya Felan, an interdimensional traveler, he wouldn’t be so resistant to Kriss inheriting the throne.
“Prince Angus, I do understand where you are coming from, but I would still need you to hand over your seal. This is how I do things. I hope you are not offended!”
“Princess Regnant Bellina, I don’t know what your plans are but since we have come to this, it would be great if we can reduce the casualties of war and peacefully resolve this. If you can defeat me, I will let you have my seal.”
“Then, let’s lay out the terms. Prince Angus, as long as you are able to hurt me, I will consider it as your win and recognize Prince Daniel as the heir of the throne. I would even let him immediately succeed the throne. However, if it so happens to be my win, kindly hand me the seal and place the future of the empire in the hands of Kriss and me.”
No matter how capable Prince Angus was, he knew that the situation was not favorable to him. His suggestion to challenge Bella was merely a way for him to appease himself to step down gracefully because even from the start, he knew that he had a very slim chance of winning against her. Bella’s strength was well known to be that of a Dragon Knight, and even if she didn’t summon her flying dragon, based on her Dragon Knight strength alone, she should be able to easily take down a group of Sword Sages.
The fight between them didn’t require any elaborate actions. With just a few simple moves, one could easily tell the winner apart. On a battlefield, lives and deaths were often decided based on a single precise moment. The strength of Prince Angus was only at the level of a Quasi-Sword Sage. He couldn’t even be compared to the Sword Sage of the Hilikas family.
The result of the fight was as expected. Prince Angus’s strongest attack, “The Destruction of Mountains and Rivers,” was easily blocked by the aura that was surrounding Bella. A smile was carved on Bella’s lips as she stretched out her finger, and with a light flick, she managed to smash Prince Angus’s saber. Even though Prince Angus had given his all, he was still helpless when he was confronted by Bella, who was an existence that was out of his league.
Throughout the battle, Bella was actually holding herself back. Even though her power now could not be compared to the power that she could wield when she was in her Demon King form, she could still easily defeat Prince Angus. If she did not hold back her strength, Prince Angus would have already been lying on the floor as a cold corpse. Considering that he was the father of Andanielle and Andanetta, she had no intention to kill him.
“It seems that I am really getting old. Princess Regnant Bellina, you win.”
“Prince Angus, don’t be depressed. Let me share my plans with you that I haven’t even told the other two princes. You are the first to know.”
“Go ahead Princess Regnant Bellina. You are the one in control here.”
The content of the discussion between Prince Angus and Bella remained only between them. Once they walked out of the study, none of them had disclosed the content of their conversation to anyone at all. After that, Bella had spied on both Prince Frauer and Prince Brad separately, and it was confirmed that the secret discussion between them remained as the empire’s secret and had been completely sealed.
In the early morning of the next day, the Northern and Southern Alliance that had been warring against each other had suddenly announced a reconciliation, and both parties had reached a “consensus.” After some discussion, the ongoing battle between the Northern and Southern Alliance was finally declared to be over. In fact, both sides unitedly downplayed the event as they announced that the largest civil war that had ever been fought in the history of the human continent to be a simple military exercise.
All the Northern alliance soldiers who previously perished on the battlefield were written down as accidentally injured in a military exercise. It wasn’t hard for the Northern and Southern Alliance to downplay the numbers of the casualties from tens of thousands to only a few thousand. However, they did ensure that all the family members of the soldiers who had died in the battle would receive a generous amount as pensions. These pensions and subsequent annual maintenance costs would be borne by both the Northern and Southern Alliance.
The majority of the citizens in the Gabriel Empire had already become accustomed to the political transition of the empire that seemed to change faster than the weather during this particular period. The most shocking news to them was that the original heir to the throne, Prince Daniel, had announced to cede the throne to his sister, Princess Kriss.
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