Chapter 65: Lyanna Tabark
"Nay!" Koshder shouted loudly, "Those who want to see an utterly chaotic Constellation, feel free to vote 'aye'!"
Both Sorel of the Land of Cliffs Region and Count Dagestan followed.
Val Arunde furrowed his brows and said, "I do not know what this will bring to the war ahead…"
Koshder solemnly said, "Sir Val, the entire Land of Cliffs' military will step forward, and the promise to support the Northern Territory is still in effect. The Land of Cliffs adjoins the Northern Territory, it would never stand by helplessly and let its friends succumb to the flames of war. You know, we are the closest and we are more effective than the royal family in providing military forces to help.
"But I am very worried that the future of Constellation could be ruined in the hands of this illegitimate child whom all of the vassals are wary of, and is also wary of all the vassals himself."
Koshder's single eye stared intently at Val, his expression was serious.
Val fell into silence for a very long time before he finally sighed.
This warrior suzerain who seemed to be made out of iron, desolately said, "This is for the Northern Territory and for Arunde."
Unnoticed by the others, Kessel the Fifth grasped his scepter even tighter than before.
"Nay," the Duke of the Northern Territory voiced despondently.
Count Zemunto and Count Friess also deeply sighed.
"Six people have opposed," Duke Cullen said expressionlessly.
Jines stared in disbelief at the Duke of the Northern Territory.
Thales, on the other hand, weakly shut his eyes.
Koshder faintly said to the Five-Pointed Star's Count Bern Talon, who was among the sixteen people there. "I know your dominion is just near the Central Territory and you have a good relationship with the royal family, us dukes are indeed unsuited to succeed the throne.
"But you are different! The Five-Pointed Star is the branch of the Nine-Pointed Star." Koshder raised his hand, his speech was bewitching. "If the king does not have an appointed heir, I believe you would be on the list of candidates."
Everyone's gaze turned towards Count Talon.
Bern Talon was drenched in cold sweat. He looked towards Kessel the Fifth, but the latter just stared coldly back at him.
"Of course, as a powerful competitor for the throne, could this child think that you are a part of those evil schemes as well?" Koshder asked with a smile.
Thales started to feel anxious. He was just about to speak up before the king held him back.
Kessel the Fifth closed his eyes and spoke with a dignified voice, "Bern, just follow your heart. After all, the Five-Pointed Star is not a Nine-Pointed Star."
Bern Talon was hesitant. He took a deep breath before he finally hung his head dispiritedly and said, "The Talon Family… will forfeit!"
Many of the suzerains furrowed their brows again.
Koshder smiled without saying another word.
The Talon of the Five-Pointed Star was the only one out of the Thirteen Distinguished Families who was conferred the title of count, and was not located around the Six Great Clans' territory. They were neighbors to the Royal Family's Central Territory, and they had always been Jadestar's biggest and strongest supporter.
But now, they…
At this very moment, a voice could be heard.
Everyone turned in astonishment, only to find the person who voiced up to be Zayen Covendier. He had remained silent for a very long time.
He was the first one to endorse Thales.
They found that Zayen, the Duke of Iris Flowers, who governed the South Coast Hill was staring coldly at Koshder, whose expression was initially stunned, but later turned bitter and frosty.
Thales was stunned as he stared at Zayen, but Zayen did not seem like he was about to meet Thales' gaze.
Count Karabeyan and Count Lascia nodded. They walked forwards at the same time.
Gilbert whispered to Thales. "It seems like your strategy is still working. Under this circumstance, we are still able to win over valuable support."
Duke Fakenhaz of Western Desert Hill suddenly let out a sharp laugh.
"Haha, I vote 'yes'!"
Both Kroma and Bozdorf also voiced up.
Under many people's puzzlement, Koshder angrily yelled, "Old bones! Why—"
Fakenhaz cut Koshder off and laughed. "Why did I vote differently than Count Kroma and Count Bozdorf? Oh my, my, I am not their conferred ruler. I cannot govern them. Is that not very normal?"
He stared cynically at the other few dukes. "After all, the Thirteen Distinguished Families are not the 'guard dogs' for us Six Great Clans!"
Many of the suzerains turned their heads around, their faces red.
However, many of the king's partisan sighed and lowered their heads after counting the votes.
"Eight people opposed, four people agreed, and one person forfeited."
With a trembling voice, Duke Cullen said, "Out of the sixteen people here, more than half have already objected. It seems like we do not need to proceed any further."
Gilbert lightly sighed.
After Thales listened to the results, he could only give a bitter smile.
'Am I still too naïve?'
For some unknown reason, Kessel the Fifth was able to remain expressionless even at this moment. People could only sigh and think that, after all, he was the supreme king, and this was the reason why he was able to remain this calm.
At a corner some distance away, Morat let loose a faint laugh. The Chief of the Secret Intelligence Department whispered, "Even though the child gave a brilliant performance, it still seems like we have to use the back-up plan now. Are you ready for it?"
Raphael tightened his gloves as he replied joyfully, "Despite being a little taken by surprise, we can have nothing go wrong at this stage."
"Since the results are final, everyone, please not feel guilty anymore!" Koshder smiled as he looked at the suzerains, each one of them wearing a different expression on their faces. He then said, "If you need a personal reason, this is for your own family. If you need an official reason..." Koshder looked scornfully at Jines, who gritted her teeth in anger, and at Thales, who looked defeated.
"Constellation cannot be governed by an ignorant woman and a child!"
Right at this moment, a crisp but rich young, female voice was heard from a distance.
"Ignorant woman and child?"
The crowd burst into a commotion!
All the nobles on the balcony turned their heads and started to exchange whispers with one another after seeing the person who came.
"But I am ignorant too."
The crisp and cold female voice seemed to have its own magical power, making its way through the crowd.
"I am also young and immature."
Thales stretched his neck forward in bewilderment.
"Furthermore, I am a woman!"
The crowd was seen to separate under the royal guards' reprimand.
A teenage girl of fourteen or fifteen years of age walked out from the crowd. Her chestnut-colored hair was draped over her shoulder and her pretty face was still visibly young as well as tender.
However, at that moment, the teenage girl's expression was icy cold and stern as she stared at everyone standing on the balcony with a fierce gaze.
She was wearing a pitch-black cape and leather boots with spurs on them. Her hunter's attire, which consisted of purple and black shades weaving between each other, dazzled the people who gazed at her.
She wore a brooch on her left shoulder, and the pattern on the brooch looked like a blood red, new moon.
Without knowing why, Thales felt like this teenage girl with chestnut hair was trying her best to look cold and stern.
The sounds of discussion from the crowd became increasingly louder.
Many of the suzerains exchanged whispers in each other's ears after seeing the blood red new moon, whilst all the dukes furrowed their brows.
There were two nobles following the teenage girl with chestnut-colored hair. One of them was a smiling, strong man with pale blond hair. He was in his prime years and his clothing had a gold sunflower woven onto it. Another noble was a middle-aged man with long hair and gloomy eyes. A three-tailed big fish was woven onto his sleeve. The mouth of the fish was sinisterly wide, exposing densely packed, sharp teeth on the inside.
"I am precisely the one who is claimed to be an ignorant woman and a child."
The teenage girl walked towards Koshder. He was astonished. She lifted her head in arrogance, staring menacingly at the one-eyed man, who was a head taller than her.
"I am the one who governs the Blade Edge Hill of Constellation!"
The chestnut-haired girl's voice became icy cold. "Do you have anything to say, Duke Nanchester, whom I am meeting for the first time today?"
Koshder stared at her in disbelief. his only eye reflected his emotional turmoil. "You are… Blood Moon, the Tabark Family. Duchess of Blade Edge Hill?"
The teenage girl with chestnut hair ignored him. She walked straight towards the king and kneeled down on one knee in front of him.
"Lyanna Tabark." Kessel sighed as he reached his right hand out with a nostalgic look on his face.
"The last time I saw you should be around twelve years ago. You were only three years old at that time. I remember Sonia bringing John's body back to Eternal Star. She was holding you in her arms as tears were streaming down her face. She told me that you would be the next Duchess of Tabark."
Duchess Lyanna Tabark, the serious-looking teenage girl lightly kissed the king's ring, and solemnly said, "Your Majesty, I would never forget the kindness shown by you, Her Excellency Fortress Flower and the late Duke of Star Lake!"
"Is this the only remaining orphan in Tabark Family who was rescued by the Duke of Star Lake from the rebel army during the Bloody Year?" Duke Val sighed and stared at the strong teenage girl, who was even younger than his own daughter. "The Southwest Territory is a long distance away, and the journey here is extremely difficult. I thought you are not able to make it here."
'Is this teenage girl really the remaining orphan of Tabark Family, who was entirely murdered by the rebel army of the Six southwestern cities during the Bloody Year?'
Val glanced at Kessel and sighed. 'This is similar to the Jadestar Family.'
"It took some time for me to gather the vassals and also recruit soldiers." Lyanna bowed before the Iron Eagle with great respect. "Please be at ease. Since the kingdom is in trouble, Tabark must give all we can, regardless of any sacrifices, reciprocation, gains, and failures!"
After listening to her speech, some counts snuck a look at Koshder. Meanwhile, the latter snorted and turned his head away.
"The vow is everlasting. Even if we are attacked by knives and swords, even if blood spills all over the ground, the Blood Moon will always stand by the side of the Nine-Pointed Star Family!"
Kessel the Fifth stared at this teenage girl, who looked firm and resolute. He slowly nodded his head, and noticed the two nobles behind her walking forward to kneel down and kiss his ring.
Kessel earnestly said, "Seucader, and also Kisen, I hope both of you are working closely together and helping one another. I hope the tragedy of the Bloody Year will never happen again."
"Of course, Your Majesty." Bruce Seucader, who was in his prime, gave a prudent smile. "Even though the Sunflower is located abroad by itself, it will always be related to Constellation."
Gunther Kisen swept over the entire place with his cold eyes. "The Piranhas will swallow everything that harms the Blood Moon and those enemies who harm the Nine-Pointed Star, regardless whether the harm is from within or outside the country."
"Oh my, my, as expected of the General Edict of Constellation!" Fakenhaz guffawed with his horrible and cynical laugh as he applauded. He then spoke again at the perfect moment, "All of the Six Great Clans and the Thirteen Distinguished Families are gathered here in the Royal Capital!
"It is a scene which has not been seen since twelve years ago!"
Cyril kept on laughing sharply while he continued, "If there is no war with Eckstedt, it would be even better… of course, if there is no war, all of us would not need to be here too!"
Nobody paid him any attention. Everyone was speculating how things would be affected with the sudden arrival of the Three Great Clans from Southwest Blade Edge Hill and how their standpoints would also influence the situation.
Koshder's expression immediately changed. He looked at Duke Cullen. His eyes were filled with urgency.
But the old Guardian Duke of the Eastern Sea did not spare him a glance. He spoke with his trembling voice, "Just right, this… Duchess Lyanna—"
However, he was immediately cut off by the cold-looking teenage girl.
"Enough with your nonsense! I am afraid that if you continue, you are going to have an asthma attack, old man whom I am meeting for the first time."
Duke Cullen choked for a moment as he gaped in shock, not knowing how to react.
The mayor of Blade City, the Duchess of the Blade Edge Hill, Lyanna Tabark agilely turned towards Thales!
Thales promptly coughed and gave her an affable smile.
Lyanna's sharp gaze sized Thales up, and he found that Lyanna had a pair of green eyes.
He involuntarily stuck his chest out and stood a little more upright. As he was prepared to salute…
"Not bad, you do not look too ugly." Lyanna nodded and snorted coldly.
"Just that you are a little too skinny and short, and your expression is a little too uncultured."
'Expression… a little too uncultured?
'And also… this…'
Thales was stunned as he stood there. He pulled back his hand from the air, in which he was preparing to perform a salute.
He exchanged a glance with Duke Cullen, who was in front of him. Both saw the empathy and understanding in each other's eyes.
Lyanna turned around and stared firmly at all the nobles. Then, she proclaimed loudly, "With regard to the possibility of him becoming the prince… I, Duchess Tabark, vote 'yes'!"
Before everyone could react to the statement, both Count Seucader and Count Kisen stepped forward from behind Lyanna, with one of them faintly smiling and the other glaring at the crowd fiercely. Both of them voiced up.
Gilbert unconsciously tightened the hand he placed on Thales's shoulder in excitement.
But Thales was too preoccupied to care.
His heart was beating rhythmically once more.
The hall burst into an uproar again.
The earth-shattering noise rose up within Star Plaza once more.
Duke Cullen sighed.
"In that case, eight people objected, seven people agreed and one person forfeited.
"And because Tabark Family, Seucader Family and Kisen Family have arrived, all nineteen people of the Higher Parliament are here. Right now, neither one of the opposition's or affirmative's vote is more than half."
"Therefore, only Javea of the Eastern Sea, Count Almond and I are left."
Koshder clenched his fist tight as his heart sank.
'That little b*tch who governed Tabark, Seucader the upstart, and Kisen, who behaved like a mad dog.
'Were they the long-prepared, hidden forces of the king?
'Impossible, not within such a short amount of time…
'Luckily, Cullen and the two families of Eastern Sea, who are under Cullen's influence, are still on New Star's side… They voted against the boy. The boy will not have the authority to succeed the throne, and we can take our time in making decisions…'
Just as Koshder was being immersed in his own thoughts, Duke Cullen decided to vote.