The cold late September wind blew through the long corridor.
The Duke of Buckingham passed by the gorgeous oil paintings on both sides of the corridor alone. He remembered the content of every oil painting here, because he and his brother spent a long childhood in this palace.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
This was the Metzl Castle, but as the royal palace situated in the capital of Legrand, it had another name:
The Rose Palace.
In Legrand, the King owned many territories and castles. Many of these castles were used as temporary royal residences. But this castle was different. It was given the name “Rose” and was the heart of the entire Legrand Empire. Its owner and master could only be the King of Legrand.
When he went to the Moon River Fortress for negotiation, the King had handed over the Rose Palace to the Duke of Buckingham, which meant that he had once again granted the power of regency to his uncle.
The Duke of Buckingham did not disappoint this trust. Aside from holding an imperial conference in the Bright Room of the Rose Palace to deal with political affairs, he did not set foot in any part of the castle that belonged to the King. He didn’t even live in the quarters the King arranged for him in the palace.
But today was different.
The place where the Duke of Buckingham was walking towards today was the Bright Room of the Rose Palace——the place where urgent and important meetings were held.
“Good day, Lord Duke.”
Another group of people came face to face with the Duke of Buckingham, the two sides facing each other in a standstill in the large and stately corridor. The leader, dressed in dark black brocade with a white rose pinned on his chest, smiled and greeted the Duke of Buckingham. The people behind him were also all dressed in black, wearing white roses to express their condolences.
“I’m so happy, you are as robust as ever.”
He was Grand Duke Grice.
To some extent, he could also be considered the King’s uncle, because he was the half-brother of the Duke of Buckingham——he was also the son of the mother of William III and the Duke of Buckingham, the deceased Queen Isabel who had remarried.
Unlike the Duke of Buckingham and the former King, Grand Duke Grice did not inherit the iconic silver-hair and ice blue eyes of the Rose family. Instead, he had brilliant blonde hair and light green eyes that were always smiling.
He looked at the Duke of Buckingham in faked surprise: “Could it be you have forgotten something?”
“The King does not need that thing.”
The Duke of Buckingham said coldly, his eyes sweeping across the faces of those wearing white roses.
Those people subconsciously bowed their heads and avoided the old Duke’s gaze. This had Grand Duke Grice faintly annoyed.
“Please don’t say that, Lord Duke.” Grand Duke Grice expressed a very measured and suitable amount of sadness, “This is for my poor nephew.”
“I truly regret.”
The Duke of Buckingham was tall and thin. The cold wind had his cloak flutter and flap, causing him to look like he was surrounded by scarlet blood. At such a close distance, those who faced him could almost smell the metallic scent of blood.
“That my sword was stopped by William back then at the port of Beitna.”
Grand Duke Grice’s face changed suddenly, his smile disappearing from his face.
With a dark expression, he stared at the expressionless Duke of Buckingham with a cold face.
Few people knew that an armed conflict broke out between the Duke of Buckingham and Grand Duke Grice when they were young. The Duke of Buckingham, who was still a young man, threw his half-brother over the ship and then immediately jumped down with his sword in hand. In mid-jump, the Duke had drew his sword out, piercing straight towards the Grand Duke.
After many years, the murderous intent from that sword could still be recalled in detail.
Grand Duke Grice stepped away subconsciously, and the people in black robes behind him also scattered, allowing the lone and proud old Duke to sweep straight by.
“I want to know.”
Grand Duke Grice suddenly laughed coldly.
“After so many years, whose sword will be faster in the end?”
The Duke of Buckingham didn’t answer, his scarlet robe billowing in his wake. From a distance, it looked like a battle flag that was furiously snapping in the wind.
The bell of Metzl Cathedral rang.
Reverberating and deep, the solemn sound of the bell echoed over the entire Rose Palace for a long time. Everyone in the heart of this empire could feel that agitated, volatile tension in the air.
The conference was convened.
Every wall of this room was gorgeously decorated with murals that told stories from the scriptures. The angels which represented judgment and justice looked down on the people from the dome. This had a special political significance because it required everyone participating in the conference to be responsible for all the decisions they made, otherwise God would punish them.
The members of the Imperial Council, the judges, the nobles of the upper house of the council, the archbishops……these important political figures under the King all gathered here today. At their sides were countless lit candles, looking like a sea of lights as they sat in rows in the cold megalithic building.
Except for the Duke, everyone was wearing dark robes and white roses of mourning on their chests.
The debate soon began.
Pureland I was very young and unmarried without any descendants. Therefore, the heir to the throne could only be selected from the King’s relatives.
Grand Duke Grice had prepared for this for a long time, but the most important part of his plan went wrong some time ago——the King saving the Duke of Buckingham in time. This was the last thing he wished to see. But since it happened, Grand Duke Grice could only find ways to reverse this defeat.
He advanced by retreating.
At the subtle hinting of Grand Duke Grice, the Lord Justice Wallingham turned the focus of the dispute to the silent Duke of Buckingham.
He asked sharply, what is your opinion on this matter as the first in line in the succession to the throne? Do you feel you should take over the throne after your nephew?
The torture of the heart surmounted all physical sufferings that come from directly killing the man.
In the entire Legrand Empire, who didn’t know that the only one who would not covet that crown was the Duke of Buckingham? This kind of questioning was simply the greatest insult to the Duke.
Everyone tacitly did not include the Duke of Buckingham among the nobles vying for the throne, but at the same time, everyone was also unable to bypass the existence of the Duke of Buckingham.
As soon as these words came out, the loud debates in the meeting room quieted down.
The Duke of Buckingham slowly raised his head, and everyone startled.
The old Duke’s eyes were so cold and sharp, like the ice covering the river in winter.
The Lord Justice Wallingham was a young man. When he was born, the Duke of Buckingham had already curtailed his sharper side. He had never seen the old Duke standing in a sea of blood on the battlefield. He was so arrogant and ignorant that he thought he could provoke a lion!
But soon, he knew just how foolish he was.
This old lion could willingly retract his claws and bow his head to receive the butcher knife from his King or show his bloody fangs for the defense of his King.
The lion might be aging but it was still fierce!
The scarlet cloak suddenly snapped, and the two rows of candles lit in the conference room flickered in an instant. The sound of the sword leaving its sheath was as cold and sharp as an eagle suddenly spreading its wings and soaring into the sky. It echoed in everyone’s ears as the long sword pierced the hard rock long table with such force sparks of fire could be seen.
Under the candlelight, half of the sword had embedded right through the table and the half that was still exposed was as white and gleaming as snow!
At that moment, everyone felt an icy coldness on their scalps, feeling as if the sword was not driven into the long table but rather through their own skulls! No one knew when the old Duke drew his sword, and no one had considered that the old Duke who had been silent for so many years would suddenly display a violent burst one day.
The old Duke of Buckingham put his hands on the hilt of the sword and slowly raised his head, his eyes sweeping the room coldly: “This is my opinion.”
Penetrating cold, murderous intent, and reeking of blood.
Some people were frightened by this sword and sat trembling in their seats while others showed complicated expressions. As for Grand Duke Grice, his face was extremely ugly.
The Duke of Buckingham was a lunatic.
He wore a fancy cloak, but under the cloak, he carried the sharpest sword.
He hadn’t come with any intention of participating in the conference but to announce war on everyone instead.
Perhaps in the turbulent era two hundred years ago, the nobles at that time would be ready to splash the ground with blood, wearing breastplates and swords under their cloaks. But times had changed and now was not like 200 years ago. None of them had considered that the old Duke would be so crazy.
No one dared to speak out.
The sword of the Duke of Buckingham just now had shown that in this conference room, he could draw his sword to kill anyone at any time——he was fully capable of doing it. No one wanted to use his own flesh to test that sword.
“This is how you keep your pledge of allegiance?”
In the huge conference room, only the voice of the old Duke, which was low and deep, could be heard.
Grand Duke Grice knew that he had to stand up, and he confronted the Duke of Buckingham from a distance: “But the King is dead.”
“Did you see the King’s corpse?” The Duke’s gaze instantly swept over to him.
“He died in the forest. Who can be sure that the King’s bones are still there. Shall Legrand have no King the whole time we have yet to find it?” Grand Duke Grice sneered, “Why, do you want to cut off all the heads of everyone here to accompany the King? Do you dare?”
“The King is still alive, and I swear this on my life and honor.”
The Duke of Buckingham stated loudly and decisively.
Some of the people shifted.
They had already accepted the fact that “the King was dead”, but the Duke of Buckingham’s reputation in the Legrand Empire over these many decades lent weight and power to his words, and some people had begun to waver.
“You want everyone to join in your madness?” Grand Duke Grice looked around. “Do you all want to join in his madness? Gentlemen! The Bressi expeditionary army has not yet left! We need a King! The thirty-six states may rebel at any time. Do you all want to watch Legrand fall apart?”
The slight shifting turned into whispers.
“Everyone, with my life, my honor, and my wealth, I guarantee that the King is still living in this world, healthy and sound, and he will return soon.” The Duke of Buckingham’s words were majestic and cold, “Back then, my brother had divided and conferred the lands to you all, and you all offered him your pledge of loyalty.”
“Now is the time for you to make a decision.”
The Duke of Buckingham clapped his hands together.
Instantly, more than a dozen knights entered in file, holding exquisitely crafted trays in their hands. On those trays were placed with iron rose badges. Everyone fell silent.
The Duke of Buckingham put his hands on the hilt of the sword again, and he calmly looked at everyone.
“Either wear the glory of the Rose and guard your promise.” He raised his eyebrows, “Or, betray your oath and be an enemy of the Rose family!”
“You may decide, gentlemen!”
The knights also dressed in blood red cloaks scattered among the crowd with the trays, silent as iron. The nobles recognized them——they were the surviving veteran knights who had accompanied William III on the battlefield. Now they once again donned the scarlet cloak for the son of William III.
There was dead silence, terrible silence.
Finally, someone took off the white rose on his chest and picked up the iron rose badge.
One flower, one flower, another flower.
Then the people wearing the iron rose stood up automatically, joining the side of the long table where the Duke of Buckingham was standing. And the people wearing the white rose got up and sat down on the side of Grand Duke Grice. Within a short period of time, a decision and division took place in the conference room.
In the end, the white rose and the iron rose were clearly demarcated, the atmosphere between the two sides antagonistic.
In terms of the number of people, the side wearing iron roses was very clearly less than that of the white roses. However, each of them was as silent as a steel knife——most of them were people who had followed William III and the Duke of Buckingham on the battlefield. Now, they chose to put their trust once again in their former general, the Duke of Buckingham.
The two sides confronted each other.
The aura of death shrouded them, as if the neighing of war horses and the clanging of iron weapons were echoing in everyone’s ears.
Grand Duke Grice’s face was dark with anger.
It took him nearly ten years to plan the current situation, but the Duke of Buckingham used his own power to turn it into a stalemate between the two sides.
The dream of easily winning the throne popped like a bubble.
Grand Duke Grice gritted his teeth and sneered.
“We shall see!”
He got up angrily and left with the people who chose him.
The Duke of Buckingham did not bother to look at the other, his gaze on his sword.
He had killed many people in order to put his nephew safely on the throne. Now, in order to keep the throne for his nephew, he did not mind killing more people!
“Now, everyone, do you smell the blood from the throne?”
He spoke softly to himself.
1432, winter was approaching.
Following the assassination attempt on the King, a long-simmering turmoil broke out. The Duke of Buckingham had put his life and honor on the gambling table, while the Grand Duke Grice used wealth and future glory as his stake in the gamble. In the stalemate, both sides dispatched their own personnel to search for the King. The difference was that one party was to welcome the King back, and the other was to bring the King’s corpse back.
With the “Iron Rose” and “White Rose” as signs, the Royalist Party and the New Royalist Party split into two factions. One party swore to guard the throne, and one party swore to take the throne.
You c an fi nd t he la te st cha pte rs at ( th e ir on tr ee bl oo ms. c o m )
At this time, the King himself, whether he was alive or dead, had become a sword.
A sword that could determine the entire situation.
Countless people had a question: Where was the King?
In fact, the King was also on the battlefield.
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