Chapter 159 – Beacon of Revolt
159. Beacon of Revolt
The camp was in a frenzy.
Guards were running every which way, and sounds of destruction could be heard from the courtyard and halls.
Clara, who was in her private quarters, spoke. “Is it true that the OWL has appeared?”
The princess’s pink blond hair shook in the cold wind.
“It appears so, milady. For some time now, the guards have been shouting that they’d found this OWL.” said Guin standing at her side.
Meaning that OWL was in a bad situation.
While they usually opted on the side of caution, it might also be prudent to see this as an opportunity.
Clara had to make a decision now. For Oriana, and for the loyal retainers who had followed her all this time.
“What do you all think we should do?” She queried the people of the Royalist Faction surrounding her.
“We must save the OWL and escape together! We will surely be able to join back with the army!”
“We don’t yet know whether this OWL is enemy or ally! We should wait and see!”
“The guards are all busy outside! We have to make our move now or never!”
“We mustn’t make rash decisions! Think of the greater cause!”
Her retainers staunchly voiced their respective stances.
Guin said calmly, “We must have caution. We do not know if OWL is an ally. And even if we do save him, there is no guarantee we can escape the camp with his aid.”
Then, they all turned to Clara.
“Your highness, what do you wish to do?”
And demanded her decision.
Clara felt her chest tighten as if her heart was being squeezed.
She glanced around the room, looking at each of her people’s faces.
More of them favored the wait and see approach. It was a matter of course. They wouldn’t have a second chance. Failure most assuredly meant death.
And Clara understood that the chance of success was not favorable.
If they don’t act now, would they even get another chance so opportune?
As things stood, they were on the palm of Doem’s hand. Who knew if they’d all be sent for the guillotine tomorrow?
Was it really fine to let go of this chance in uncertain hopes for the next?
Had those who wanted to wait not realized that the chances of a similar event happening were exceedingly low?
Clara closed her eyes and contemplated. Her hands felt awful with sweat.
Perhaps it was that these people had gotten too accustomed to the camp? She was sure they had a stronger sense of danger during the time when they were first put here.
They no longer had the leisure of choosing their opportunity— was what Clara believed.
Clara once again looked at the faces of her people.
Yes, most did want to wait. They were older and better experienced, they were the majority.
Clara was but a lass of 15.
Weren’t their opinions more learned and wiser than her own?
Furthermore, were she to ignore the majority outright, wouldn’t they doubt her judgement as a liege?
And if that happened, the Royalist Faction would fracture.
Yes, Clara should just listen.
Yes, if she listens, then they won’t…
“I, I believe we should…”
“— Your Highness.” A man had spoken up, interrupting her.
He was a man in his middle years, a man with skin bronzed by years of work under the sun.
“Listening to everyone’s opinion is good. But you shouldn’t stare at their faces so much.”
His speech was hoarse and unrefined, yet had a certain nostalgic feeling for her.
“Batt…” Clara spoke his name.
He was the gardener that Clara had known since childhood. He knew neither politics, not war. What he could do, and do well, was make the royal gardens a stunning sight to see.
Yet it was his words that rang most true for her.
Recently, she’d developed a habit of checking everyone’s faces and expressions.
She wasn’t confident in herself.
She was scared.
She wanted to rely on something outside herself…
“Gardener! Milady didn’t ask your words!” Guin glared at Batt.
“Stop that! He too is one of us.”
“How so? He’s a mere gardener. What can he do?”
“He is because he’s here. A mere gardener had no reason to follow me here. And yet Batt did. Because he too believed in me.”
“So what if he did. It would be foolish to glean a gardener’s wisdom.”
“I said stop, Guin. Not another word about that.”
Clara and Guin locked eyes. Guin looked away first.
“… My apologies, milady.”
“It’s fine. I know you always mean the best for us.”
Saying that, Clara once again gathered her thoughts.
She went to the root of it, what was her goal, what did she want to accomplish.
For a single instant, she remembered her childhood, where she, batt and her sister played together in the beautiful royal gardens.
If it was her, she would…
“We will help OWL, and escape. This is our chance, we must give it everything.”
Glancing at Batt, she saw him smiling.
“Very well. Men, you’ve followed Princess Clara until now, what say you? Are you ready!?”
“Ready as can be!”
“We’ve been waiting patiently for this very day. Let us show those usurpers they can’t hold us down!”
The men all stood.
From a secret compartment in the wall, they picked up hidden weapons.
Even Clara received a sword of her own.
She couldn’t use it, of course. But just the act of her holding a blade had meaning in itself.
“Now, let us raise the beacon of revolt.”
The daily life in the camp ended at this moment.