Falo Credere Etincelle, who was requested by Empress Matin to find her lost brother, had got an very important clue from an information seller in the city of Falune.
It was said that there was a boy who looked the same to Empress Matin in Panan Jungle, and he was leading a secret legion there.
Thinking it's believable, Falo went to the jungle, and he finally found a small village which was never marked on the map.
But we just can't call it a "village". They just cut the mangrove around and casually build some camp there. The villagers were all clothed in ragged wear,and they had hardly anything to eat. There was a whale of a difference between here and Novarista, the capital city of The Holy Kingdom. Let's just call it a slum or a rogue camp.
After looking carefully, Falo found that there were a lot of eastern people in this camp. They were called "Asem", the principal ethnic group of Azuelgatt. But The kingdom Of Azuelgatt had already doomed, and those people have nowhere to go, but to be tramps. But there were also many civilian people of The Holy Kingdom there.
When Falo entered the camp, all the people threw there sharp eyes to Falo immediately. Several young people had even drawn their sword and seemed to be attacking him. The atmosphere was charged with tension.
At that time,a boy came out of the blue, broke the atmosphere.
The boy was in gorgeous suit. Not only the suit, but also himself showed a noble air. He looked so beautiful, not a single one would believe that he belonged to this kind of place.
"Who are you? Why did you come here?"
The boy walked to Falo, asked imperturbably.
After seeing his face, Falo was shocked. Platinum blond long hair, big clear eyes, the boy was not only as beautiful as his Empress Matin, but just the same face as her.
"Why so similar? Did I just see a mirror? It can't be. He must be the very brother of Empress Matin."
Falo could not be in any doubt about it. He had never seen two people who looked the same.
"Why are you so confused? Answer my questions."
The boy was still young, but his voice was dignified enough.
"The domination of The Holy Kingdom repels me a lot. I had left the kingdom and wanted to be a free traveller. But after hearing you and your legion, I camed here to join you."
Of course, that was not Falo's true heart. The information seller told him to say that to the boy, or he might be in danger.
"Well, you said that you wanted to join our force? It looks like you are such a swordsman,but you'd better not let me know you are a knight of the kingdom. Are you?"
In a flash, the boy drawn his sword, put it on Falo's neck.
"Things look nasty...they really are the rebellion, and the boy...he must be the leader of them."
Falo thought for a while. He decided to change the subject, confirm that whether the boy is surely the brother of Empress Matin.
"Well...do you have any brother or sister?"
"What are you talking about? Why would you ask such a question while there's a sword on your neck? Queer guy."
The boy was surprised.But after a while, he answered Falo seriously.
"People here are all brothers and sisters. Of course, I am one of them too. I used to have one more sister before. She brought me up, just like a mother. But now...she's gone. That's all the fault of the kingdom! And after that, I'm here with my new family. We share the same heart of hatred. How about my answer? Are you satisfied with it?"
Why was he sent away from Matin? Why did he lead a rebellion force? Falo didn't know anything about the boy before. But now, he knew two things. The boy did not know the existence of his real sister, and he hated The Holy Kingdom very much because of the death of his step sister.
"Why it must be this way? The brother of my empress is not anyone, but the leader of the rebellion force! How could I tell such a cruel fact to her..."
Falo almost had his heart broken. He loved his empress, and never wanted to see her being hurt. He could hardly imagine what would happen after he told her everything, because that would make his heart bleed.
"Why are you so sad? You are really a queer guy."
The boy sheathed his strange looking sword. He was so confused by Falo's action.
"Maybe you are not a danger guy. Well,the sun is going to set. You are allowed to sleep over."
"Hey,wait. I don't want to sleep over. Now listen to me. Actually..."
Suddenly, a strong man came out from the dark mangrove, with a fat boar on his back.
"Hey,Nox! We can have a good dinner tonight. Look, I beat such a big boar!"
"Welcome back, father."
Falo was shocked again. He knew the strong man very well. That's the previous leader of "Noi De Ragnia"(the royal guards), his dearest master, Adhuc. He effaced himself from public more than 10 years, no one knew what happend to him. Why would he appear in such a place?
Before Falo opened his mouth, Adhuc quickly grasped Falo's body ,took him to the deep dark jungle.
"Falo! What are you doing here! If your answer can not satisfy me, your life is gone."
"I wanted to ask you, master! Where have you gone these years? You are with the rebellion's force? Why? You were always called 'the only man' in the royal guards, right?"
"That's...all for the sake of Nox. If you are loyal to your empress, then you will understand me."
"Nox? That boy? Is he the brother of my empress? My empress wanted to meet him so badly. She was always worried about him. To repay the loving heart of my empress, I must take Lord Nox to her if he really is her brother."
"Falo...I won't say anything more. Leave here immediately. I know you are clever enough to know how much they hated the kingdom. You see, Nox is the one who hated the kingdom most. He was abandoned by the kingdom, and even more, he had his loved step sister and almost all his friends killed by the kingdom. Now, no one could ever free his heart from hatred. Undoubtedly, that's all the fault of the kingdom. The kingdom has corrupted throughout for hundreds of years, you know that, right?"
"But a royal knight must be loyal to his lord until his death. My life for my empress. If you are still a knight, you will understand."
"But you don't understand Nox's grief. If your justice is to stick to that puppet empress, then my justice is to stick to Nox. He had lost too many things,but no matter what happens, he will never lose me."
"You forgot the rule of 'Trisagionid'! You can't be my respected master. You are not even a knight anymore. My master must have died many years ago..."
The boy named Nox came to them, with a lot of people following him.
"What are you doing, father? Who is this guy exactly?"
"He is...a royal guard. He was sent here to investigate us. I was about to kill him with my sword, but...he happens to be one of my apprentice's. I have changed my mind. Let him pass,that's for my sake. Will you?"
"What!? You really are a royal guard!?"
After hearing that, Nox lost all his grace in one second. He turned into a demon of hatred.
"Damn you!...only if my father requests it, I will let you go this time. But if you dare to come into my sight one more time, you die! Go and tell your puppet empress that her corrupted kingdom will soon be doomed by the judgement of justice! Then, get out of my sight immediately!"
Falo was shocked for the third time by Nox's distorted face. He could not say one single word but leave there.
Nox's beautiful clear eyes,which were intended to be the same as Matin's, were turing to a bloody red.
The winter of Noigllado.
The cold air from Chantoll Ice Forest came with the north wind, made the winter much colder.
The Iced Lake Saintris looked like a big mirror shining brightly.
The citizens of Novarista were busy preparing the coming Celios Festival.
In the palace, the Archbishop Eleonora was summoning other bishops for the yearly holy ritual of Trisagion.
Seated on her throne, Empress Matin was listening to the administrative report with her mind absent. She looked a little anxious.
"Falo...What are you doing? I heard nothing from you these days... Did something happened to you?"
It had been 3 months since Matin ordered Falo to find out her brother, but not even a single message came to her.
"...That's all. But Lord Matin,is there something wrong?"
Matin got a little surprised. She returned her face to Theo.
Theo, the Minister Of Interior and Matin's teacher, was a kind old man over 70 years old.
"Lord Matin, I understand how worried you are about Falo. But everything will just be fine,please don't worry. I'm sure that he will come back soon."
"I know. I trust him... But I'm still worried. The rebellion..."
The public peace in Noigllado was getting worse and worse at that time.
At Madura, due to the contradiction between the lower class and the judges, a riot broke out in the town. The Court and the Trisagionid Church were all occupied by rebellion. Finally,the royal knights were sent to solve the issue,and that made one of the biggest incidents in the history of this country.
The execution of the previous king, the doom of Azuelgatt, the coronation of Empress Matin...
Too many incidents these years. Something began to get crazy.
"Theo, I can't understand it...why would they go against Trisagionid?"
Matin asked with her childlike eyes.
"Trisagionid brought us everything we have. It's the foundation of eternal peace. How could they refuse to accept peace?"
"Well...I don't know.Maybe because that they are 'evil'."
This 14 year old lovely girl was too kind and too naive to understand the word "evil".
She put all her faith in Trisagionid. She believed that everyone loves each other and lives a peaceful life under the rule of Trisagionid. She didn't know anything about the underworld .Why would someone violate the rule? No matter how hard she tried to understand it, she could not.
Seeing the collapsing kingdom, she had just become a cat on a hot tin roof.
"Excuse me, my empress."
A man with piercing eyes entered the throne room.
"Theo, what were you doing? Look at this report. Shall we call this your political achievements?"
He pointed to Theo with the report paper. The name is Mathias,an agent of Agiona.
"Guess what happened at Falune? They even dare to oppose our holy knightage! This is outrageous!"
Theo was not shocked. Though he tried his best governing, things were not getting better. He knew that something like that would happen.
"Mathias, barking like a dog will not help. Don't you think that the most important thing is to find out the cause and get rid of it?"
"The cause? What are you talking about. Don't you think it's all because of your incapability and foolishness? That's the conclusion of Agiona headed by Lord Sariely. If you can't make it better before the coming H4 Conference, you better prepare to be accused of treason!"
He turned on his heel and swaggered off before Matin could opened her mouth.
All real power in the Holy Kingdom lay in the hands of the chief of Agiona.
"The H4 Conference" is the name of the highest parliament which only the four highest holy classes (Ministers,Royal Guards,Archbishops and Agiona) are permitted to attend.But now, it had been ruled by the voice of Agiona.
The special agency Agiona had an emblem of Ouroboros.
It seemed that the whole kingdom was coiled by that Ouroboros.
"How will it be in the future if things keep going on like this..."
Theo can't stand imagining what will happen in future days.
"Theo, are you all right?"
Matin showed her compassion.
"Oh, Lord Matin, I'm really sorry for letting you see me like this. But please forgive forgive his impoliteness. I don't think he's a bad guy. Maybe he was just too anxious about the situation. I believe that we all love this country and don't want to see it in trouble."
Theo could not say anything but that. This lovely girl didn't even know how to doubt other people.
Maybe that's why she was chosen by Sariely.
"Lord Rheinland...the previous king was manipulated by them too. He was forced to start a war against Azuelgatt and finally executed for that. Now,what is going to happen to Lord Matin?"
Theo felt pity for this little girl.
"Oh Santa Ristaccia...I don't want to see something like that happens again, especially to such a little girl. But what could I do? I'm really too old to fight against that Ouroboros..."
"Lord Matin,I think..."
Theo wanted to say something, but at that time, a knight made his appearance in the throne room.
"My empress, I beg your pardon for keeping you waiting."
That was the the most faithful knight.
(To be continued)