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Saturday, January 05, 2008

3.2.12.3. Between Love and Peace (Part 1)


Wandering around the palace all day, doing practically nothing is definitely not the Prince of Arcadia, Cristophe Deveraux’s favorite pastime.

Neither summoned nor present in daily audiences, he regards his mission to track down and find clues about the Heir and the recent murders in Lourdes Palace in Myrcalia as his only source of excitement.

But, as he finds no clue whatsoever on that case, Chris sulks in a dreary boredom day by day. Iris and Carolyn are investigating outside the palace with Father Andreas, while Father Bernides is busy with records, documents and evidences he got from the victims’ bodies.

Cristophe has examined the crime scenes in the palace many times, but no blood stain, no suspicious item, no murder weapon, and no sign whatsoever, as though no murder ever took place there.

What a drag. I don’t know where else to go from here. Hope my friends get more luck out there. Hmm... Maybe I’ll find Father Bernides and help him out.

==oOo==

The Infirmary in Lourdes Palace is the busiest place around the clock. It serves as a hospital, also a laboratory for research of medicine and cure for sickness. Ever since the Dark Plague in the Age of Darkness, this place has been the place to search for hope, and the final defense against Vordac, the Dark Overlord at the same time. Herbs and medicines from Aurelia and the Far Eastern lands such as Wushu, Shima, Ashura and Ubanga are tested and mixed into new medicines and potions to fight natural diseases as well as magical ailments.

A room in the infirmary is used for autopsies and detection for causes of death (a practice which will develop into forensics in the modern ages).

For the past few months that room became full of activities, and one of the busiest person (or morbit) there is Father Bernides. He is now performing an autopsy on a murder victim, a rogue that was just found dead, floating on the river about eight days ago. The body has been naturally preserved, and now Bernides is scanning it with magic and writing down the results.

Then a knock on the door breaks his magic scan.

‘Who is it?’ says Bernides, trying not to get angry. ‘Don’t you read the sign “Don’t Disturb?” on the door? I’m working in here!’

‘Sorry, Father, it’s me, Chris. I just want to help you out and exchange information.’

‘Do come in, My Prince,’ says Bernides apologetically. And as Chris is inside, he continues. ‘Honestly, there’s nothing you can do to help me in this kind of work, and I’m about done anyway. So, is there anything you want to share with me?’

‘Honestly, Father, there’s none. I’ve tried observing every inch of the crime scene for weeks, and there’s not clue at all there! No blood stain, no fallen object, no crack or abnormality, nothing! Like nothing ever happened at all!’ Chris talks with a desperate yet hushed-up voice.

‘None, you say? On the contrary, you DID find a clue. And a very important one, too. Every crime scene MUST have a mark, and it must not be cleaned up until an official report comes out. If it’s cleaned, then we can assume that the criminal has erased all traces of his crime. Congratulations, Your Highness.’

Chris smiles, saying, ‘Thank you, Father. Well, did you find any piece of evidence?’

‘I did find clues, but I don’t know whether they can be called evidence. Of the ten murders, only seven bodies are still preserved, the rest are rotten to their bones. I’ve examined five bodies and two skeletons. Five male, two female, and it seems they were killed with different poisons, weapons, by different people. From their wounds, the killers are obviously professional assassins. The wounds are clean and the poisons were administered carefully.

If the assassins were hired by one person, that person must be very rich and powerful. A noble, to be exact. The three rotten ones are unusual, though. They must’ve been killed by one person, one weapon. I’d say it was the work of the best assassin alive today: Kyflynn or MacLair. But with these rotten bones, we can’t know for sure.’

‘Is there a chance that the Heir is behind these murders?’

‘Yes. Most probably so. Five victims were killed in this palace. An attendant, two guards, a maid and an officer. Now we’ll just wait for Father Andreas, Iris and Carolyn, and we’ll have full details on the others and make a link between them all.’

Chris nods, ‘So, let’s wait for them then.’ He looks around and winces on the sight of seven dead bodies in this room.

Then suddenly, there’s another knock on the door.

‘Message from His Royal Majesty for Father Bernides.’

Bernides whispers to Chris, ‘Good thing I’m done now. If that was your father, I will lose my head. I really don’t like people interfering when I’m working, but in this case I need to make adjustments.’

Chris opens the door and finds the errand boy, the message bearer there. The errand boy reacts, ‘Oh, Your Highness is here too. This message is for you too, Your Highness.’

‘Proceed,’ says Chris.

‘The Emperor wants Your Highness and Father Bernides to go to the front gate and greet the Envoys from Lore. They should arrive in half an hour or so.’

‘What are their names, so we can address them?’ Chris asks.

‘Counselor Rael’charon, the Chief Royal Advisor and his escorts, Sir Robert Chandler and Dame Ney’varíth.’

‘Robert Chandler, you say?’ Chris’ face looks surprised. ‘Well... All right then, we shall do the Emperor’s bidding. You may go now.’

‘By your leave, Your Highness.’

Robert Chandler... Just as I heard. A Knight of Lore you are now. His King has pardoned him. Now he’s coming here with Rael’charon. To speak up and stand for us, maybe? To clear our names? I hope so, Rob. I hope so. Because if you don’t, you will have to answer to Wyrthal. Chris pats his hereditary sword hanging gloriously on his waist belt.


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