Chapter 45 Conspiracy (Part 1)
During the night of the new moon, the silhouette of Gerald Wimbledon could be seen near the walls of the City of Graycastle.
After his few months of stationing at Hermes came to an end, he was now finally back, he thought. The long journey left him totally exhausted, but he was still vigilant of his surroundings. He reined his horse to stop and motioned his deputy to go and inquire about the situation.
If everything went as planned, the Scholar Ansger should have had all of the guards replaced with guards loyal to Gerald. When his deputy gave the signal, the replaced guards would let down the side door of the drawbridge.
Gerald was wide-eyed, and was staring forward, out of fear that the guards would overlook the signal.
The truth was that he hadn’t waited very long, but for Gerald it felt like time froze and he had to wait forever. When his eyes had already ached to their breaking point, he finally saw a short flicker in the distance – two short flickers at the bottom of the wall, and then three times above the wall as the answer, signaling that everything was going as planned. Gerald had to take a deep breath before giving his troops the signal to march forward.
Seeing this, he already believed himself to be only a step away from the throne.
Gerald rode shoulder to shoulder with his deputies through the side door in the wall.
Behind him were more than twenty men of his cavalry following him. No one spoke a word, the only sound which could be heard was the pulling of the reins to move the horses slowly forward.
The walls of the City were built out of stones from the Fallen Dragon Mountain. Under the illumination of the torches, the brown and dark-red stones made the wall look like it was overflowing with blood. The entire wall was twenty feet wide, and during the construction of the biggest wall in the world at that time, more than a thousand hard laborers, masons and slaves had to die.
In the minds of the people this city was known as an impregnable fortress, but now Gerald and his men were easily crossing the walls, conquering the city with units from within. Somehow, he had to think of the Church’s new Holy City; would their more ambitious and absolutely impregnable walls also fall due treachery from within?
“Your Highness, I have already waited a long time for you here.” Gerald could hear Ansger’s voice through the gates. There, the scholar was already waiting for him with a small troop. Seeing Gerald appear, Ansger quickly dismounted and bent down to bow.
Gerald pushed his distracting thoughts aside. He was probably too excited, making it impossible for him to restrain his emotions, but he let his imagination run wild, “You have done well! Did you also replaced all the palace guards?”
“I was going to, but then an unexpected problem appeared in the plan. Your Silver Knight who had already agreed to help was unexpectedly transferred to the south exit three days ago. Until now, we haven’t had time to switch the new guards with our guards.”
Gerald frowned, this meant that he could not take twenty soldiers with him into the palace. Gerald himself wouldn’t be stopped, but the guards would never let this many armed people into the Royal Palace.
“Let it pass, split the team into two parts and come with me to the Palace door. Keep the door under good guard and don’t let any outsiders hinder me on my way,” he hesitated for a moment to make up his mind. Although the plan had changed, the situation was still under his control. Naturally at night guards would stand outside his father’s chamber, but as long as someone could distract them for a moment, he was sure to cut them down with his sword.
Inside the city.
Everything looked the same as it had been when he left. Although he was now walking through the city at night, he was still able to recognize every street. This was his territory, there existed no doubt. Everyone jumped off their horses and marched rapidly forward in the direction of the palace. When they arrived at the door, his more than twenty soldiers spread out according to the new plan, lurking outside the palace. It was just like Ansger had said, except the guards were surprised as to why the Prince wanted to speak with the King so late at night. However, after hearing Gerald’s bluff about having to discuss important matters, they directly opened the door and let him enter.
After all, he was the eldest son of the King and the first heir to the throne.
Ansger and Gerald went together through the garden and the halls of the Palace. In front of the Palace was the residence of Wimbledon III. Ansger raised his torch and waved side-to-side with it. Immediately after that, a guard appeared out of the shadows and knelt on one knee, pleading, “Your Highness, please come with me.”
Gerald became irritated, he smelled blood.
Didn’t Ansger say that they had replaced all the palace guards? He looked through the shadows of the flames and took a good view at the man, he was indeed a familiar person – a knight who supported Gerald in the fight for the throne. This gave him a little peace of mind.
“What happened, had someone entered the castle?”
“It happened earlier this evening, Your Royal Highness. His Majesty had summoned a maid for this evening, but she came exactly at the moment of the changing of the guards.” the other replied, “Please be assured that we have handled the situation well.”
He summoned a maid? His father had not touched a woman for a long time – since the death of his mother. Gerald was a little surprised, but now he had not the time to entangle himself in such a trivial matter. So, he nodded and said nothing more about it, and instead went into the castle, followed by his guards.
Even with his eyes closed, Gerald could find his way through the castle. He had lived here for more than twenty years. Where there was a secret passage, where there was a secret door… everything was crystal clear for him. However, the purpose of this trip was to persuade his father to path the throne to him without bloodshed. So surreptitiously sneaking into the palace was meaningless, he had to get rid of the guards stationed outside of his father’s chamber. Then, he could let his father fully understand his situation, so that they could sit down and talk seriously about the ownership of the right to inheritance.
If he could not convince him …
Gerald Wimbledon took a deep breath and gave a hand signal for his followers to stop, then pulled out his large sword and took it in his hands.
At the end of the corridor was a bronze door, which was the only entrance into the Palace. The door to the bedroom was at the end of the corridor behind the bronze door. Usually two or three guards would be stationed here, but this would be the first time in the history of the Palace that the entrance to the King’s bedchamber would be unprotected.
Gerald first opened the door enough only for small slit, then he slid in with the side of his shoulder, quickly entering the room and taking a battle-ready position with his sword – but inside the room it was totally quiet, and there was nobody speaking. At the same time, an intense smell of blood entered his nose.
The thought of premonition flashed through his mind. Then, he directly ran towards his father’s chambers.
There, Gerald saw a staggering scene.
His father Wimbledon III was sitting in his bed only wearing his nightgown, and his upper body was leaning on a pillow. His robe was open, and in in his chest stuck the hilt of a sword. Blood trickled down his belly and soaked the quilt.
Standing beside his father was actually his brother, Timothy Wimbledon.
“How …… how is this possible?” Gerald stood in place, totally startled.
“Just like you, brother,” Timothy sighed, “I really didn’t want to do it.”
He clapped his hands, and a large number of armored soldiers rapidly entered the room, surrounding Gerald, “This was a chess game and I wanted to finish it in accordance with the rules. Brother, do you know why I couldn’t? If you have to blame someone, blame Third Sister; from the beginning she didn’t intend to follow the rules, but of course … you did. Otherwise, why would you rush back to the King’s City after hearing Scholar Ansger’s prediction? Seriously, if you didn’t come, I really would have been helpless.”
Gerald grit his teeth and looked at Ansger, enraged. Out of fear, Scholar Ansger stepped backwards. While raising his hands he said, “I didn’t lie to you when I said ‘The Star of Apocalypse has begun its arrival. It metaphorically hunts everyone who has stepped away from the right path, but it also has the meaning of downfall.”
Gerald now fully understood. From the beginning, he had fallen into a well-designed trap. The smell of blood in front of the castle was probably not left by a maid, but instead it was his Silver Knight who was removed instead of transferred like they had said. However, his biggest point of despair was that Scholar Ansger, who had taken care of him for longer than a decade and had taught him how to read and write, had chosen the second prince in the end – just like his father.
“Timothy Wimbledon,” He was a son like Gerald himself, but Timothy alone got all the attention of their father. He got the best territory allocated to him, so it was totally unexpected that he would be the one to strike first! “You’re the devil from hell! “
For a short moment, anger flashed within Timothy’s eyes, but it soon disappeared “Do you really think so? Dear brother, if you were unable to change our father’s choice, did you really intend to stop there and go back? Do not cheat yourself.”
TN: I changed Astrologer Ansger into Scholar Ansger