A hush fell among the guests as they eagerly watched the confrontation between lady Titanna, Lord Taron, and Lord Deflin. Some of the guests started to form up behind Lord Taron and Lord Deflin, clearly showing their stance towards House Rothschild while others did the same for Lady Titanna.

Her female friends, Lady Sophia, Lady Grace, and the young Lady Rosette from House Iris quickly gathered around her, standing by her side to show their support.

Soon the Great Hall was divided into three groups, one group lead by Lady Titanna, another group by Lord Taron and Lord Deflin and the last group consisted of neutral parties.

"If there is any lapse in my manners, I apologized," Titanna gracefully gave a curtsy. "I hope this does not strain the relationship between our Houses."

"Hmph!" Veins could be seen popping up from Lord Taron's forehead. "You are too kind, my Lady!"

"We have some matters of great importance!" Lord Taron hissed. "We shall take our leave first!"

"In such a hurry to leave?" Lady Titanna purposely stood before him and blocked his way. "The party just barely started!"

"Enough!" Lord Deflin said from the side. "You are good... You have achieved your goals! We will not stay here any longer!"

With that Lord Deflin, leading his son, pushed through Titanna's supporters and left the Great Hall with Lord Taron and his son following behind. The rest of their supporters followed along, casting looks of disdain at the rest.

Lady Sophia next to Titanna asked in a low voice, "What happened that riled them up so badly?"

"Hehe," Titanna giggled. "I just dealt a big blow to their businesses!"

Lady Grace turned towards the window and whispered, "You meant those fires...?"

Titanna nodded, "Don't say a word of this to anyone, our fight has just begun!"


Mills slowly leaned back and placed his rifle on safe from the hidden alcove on the second floor as the other faction left the Great Hall as an angry mob. He left out a sigh of relief as he watched Titanna giggle away with her lady friends, admiring her looks.

"Damn it, Mills," Mills spoke to himself. "You are a Marine! She's some kind of noble on an alien planet!"

"Fuck... what should I do?"


Lord Taron sat in silence as he pondered on his options while his son watched the glowing city in the distance. "Did they really burn down our warehouses and businesses?" Daniel asked.

"It will appear so," Lord Taron growled. "Not only that, they attacked our Estate! Both the brothers were taken away!"

"What?" Daniel's eyes widened in shock. "How did they managed to do that? Our guards?"

"Bah! They are useless!" Lord Taron hissed. "No one even knew till the servants found the guards in the guest wing unconscious and everyone in the Rothschild brothers' room was knocked out!"

"How could it be?" Daniel sucked in a breathe. "Our household guards are almost on par with the Knights of Silver! Where did they get people more powerful than our guards?"

"This is an important matter!" Lord Taron said. "Go investigate it with all haste!"

"How about the matter of our properties?" Daniel asked. "What should we do?"

"Wait till we return to our Estate!" Lord Taron said. "I wonder why did no one come to inform us till... so late! They must have planned all these for quite some time ago!"

"And our men?" Daniel asked. "If they hit our stores, how will we feed our troops if we bring them into the city now? And where could we shelter them?"

"Put that off, for now, let the men continue to camp outside," Lord Taron said. "We find out what our losses are and also what losses did House Deflin suffered. Then we make new plans!"

"Yes, Father!"


Lord Deflin was in a similar state of mind as he rode in his own private carriage with his son. "That little upstart girl has played us well!"

"Father, why not we just kidnap her and force her into a marriage with me?" Steve Deflin said with a lustful look in his eyes. "Once she is married to our family, we can control the two Rothschild brothers with ease!"

"Impossible!" Lord Deflin brushed off his words. "She would rather take her life than be tied to our family!"

"If we do not try how will we know?" Steve said. "So what if she destroyed our warehouses and businesses?"

"If she is in our hands," Steve continued. "None of all these will matter! We don't even need to bring troops into the city! We can control everything if she is in our hands!"

"That is true..." Lord Deflin said. "But getting close to her is very hard, especially after that attempt on her life!"

"There are ways to lure her out," Steve smiled. "Don't she have her good friends?"

"You mean to take her friends as hostages" Lord Deflin's eyes narrowed in thought. "But... we will offend the Lesser Houses..."

"Ha, those low born Houses!" Steve waved his hand in a dismissal gesture. "What can they do to us once we hold all the power in the city?"

"Even the Emperor will ignore our schemes as long the tributes and slaves to the Capital continued without an issue!" Steve said. "And with the army in our pocket, what can the small time Houses do? We can easily crush them with a snap of our fingers!"

"Let us see what is the extent of the damage to our House before we decide on that!" Lord Deflin declared.

"Yes, Father!"


House Rothschild

Several black painted carriages pulled by angry land dragons rolled up into the side gate and stopped at the marshaling yard with a screech of wood and metal. Dozens of riders accompanying the carriages came to a halt as well and the men unmounted. The doors to the carriages were opened and hooded and tied men and women were dragged out from the carriages and dragged off into a dungeon.

The blind and gagged prisoners could only stumble and cry in their gags as they were roughly dragged into cells before their restraints were removed. Cries of injustice and declares of innocence echoed after the departing soldiers who slammed shut the thick wrought iron gates of the dimly lit dungeons.

Tyrier jerked his head at the two bodies dumped on the side of a stone guardhouse and said, "I got the two brothers. Both sleeping like babies."

Knight Captain Judis nodded tiredly as he rubbed his soot covered face. " Great work!"

"Put them in separate cells," He ordered his men who carried the two brothers away. "Keep them away from the rest of the prisoners!"

"Hard night?" Tyrier eyed Judis's appearance. "You look like shit!"

"Look like shit?" Judis looked down on himself and frowned at the phase. "You mean I look bad?"

"Yea, something like that... " Tyrier grinned. "Got everyone on the list?"

Judis nodded. "Some resisted and we kill them. Cost me two men and several others wounded... You?"

"Bah... Like taking candy from a baby!" Tyrier boasted. "We went in without a sound, knocked out the guards. Found them both in some kind of orgy... knocked everyone out and grabbed them both without alerting anyone."

"Very nice," Judis nodded in appreciation. "Say, do you want to work for me instead of this... United Nations Empire?"

"Haha, thanks for the offer," Tyrier smiled. "But no thank you. We are after still enemies, even your Lady is allied to us for now."

"Such a pity," Judis sighed. "Even if I offer all the power, gold, and even land if you join me?"

Tyrier shook his head. "There are somethings that I can't give in to, especially when it's your Empire which destroyed my home and made my family slaves."

"I see," Judis nodded in understanding. "Than we shall not speak of it anymore."

"Well, then, if that is all, I will leave with my men to rest," Tyrier said. "Good luck with your enemies! After what has been done tonight, I assure you, all bets are off!"

Judis watched the strange soldiers packed up their gear and walked off towards the guest wing and frowned wondering how long will they be House Rothschild's 'friends'.

"Judis!" Titanna suddenly appeared with several guards in tow. "How is everything?"

Judis smiled at the pretty sight of Titanna in her ballroom dress. "We managed to get almost everyone on the list. There were some deaths but we should have dealt a heavy blow to House Taron and House Deflin and their allies tonight!"

"Good!" Titanna's eyes glowed fiercely under the light of the lamps. "And my brothers?"

Judis gestured towards the dungeon entrance. "We placed them inside private cells. They are still knocked out."

Titanna nodded. "Inform me when they have woken up!"

"Yes my Lady!" Judis gave a bow.

"Good job," Titanna patted Judis's shoulder. "Thank you for your hard work!"


As the rising sun rays cast its light over the city, the night's destruction of several businesses and warehouses became more apparent in the morning. Charred structural skeletons stood out among other standing structures.

Dozens of figures could be seen poking around the ruins either trying to salvage or discover something useful or clues of how the fire started. Soldiers bearing House Taron and House Deflin crests stood grim faced as they shooed away any curious gawkers.

Lord Taron and Lord Deflin stood on the pier where they looked at the remains of one of their trade barges which laid half sunken on its moorings. "She is really vicious."

Lord Taron nodded at his counterpart's statement. "My House had six warehouses burnt down with four months of supply and fourteen thousand gold crowns worth of trade goods destroyed."

"That is not counting the buildings and compensations loses," Lord Taron said. "And also on the damages from your side and our allies! She even had both her brothers taken away under my nose!"

Lord Deflin's expression was ugly as he turned to Lord Taron. "We lost a couple of trade ships, two warehouses, and several businesses..."

"We have to delay the moving of our forces into the city," Lord Deflin declared. "Without adequate supplies to feed the men, our chances of success has dropped quite a lot."

"How did she know which warehouses and businesses to target?" Lord Taron said. "We underestimated her abilities."

"Yes, we did," Lord Deflin said. "Well, take it as a learning lesson. I suspect that it is due to the help of the Lesser Houses since most of them deal with food merchants."

"What is your plan now?" Lord Taron asked. "We can't let something like this go..."

"Hmmm... I propose we take care of the Lesser Houses that support her first, to weaken her powers," Lord Deflin said which an evil gleam in his eyes. "Scare the rest of the Lesser Houses. See if they still dare to stand against us!"

Lord Taron nodded, "Yes, we should have done that at the start."

"Especially target House Canda and House Westlake," Lord Deflin said. "I heard the daughters of Canda and Westlake are good friends with her. Take them hostage."

Lord Taron smiled. "Of course."

"Without the two Rothschild brothers... we lost our chess piece..." Lord Taron added. "We should find them and 'rescue' them from her tyranny!"

Lord Deflin smiled. "Well, my son has this idea, if we hold her friends and loved ones in hostage, we can force to into a marriage with my son. This way, we can control the Rothschilds!"

"Marriage?" Lord Taron frowned. "It will not be easy to make her accept such a proposal!"

"I know, that is why we must find her weakness," Lord Deflin said. "We start with her close friends and loved ones first!"

"That sounds like a plan too," Lord Taron nodded before giving a sly smile. "But does your son have to be the one to be married to her? My son can sacrifice himself to take the burden away from you..."

"Haha!" Lord Deflin laughed. "You old forgey! Don't you dare steal such a position from my son! Hahaha!"

"Well, it doesn't really matter who she marries! As long she marries into one of our Houses! Hahahaha!"

A note from neo Koh

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