Chapter 1 (Meet You When the Night Ends)
After an all-out war with the Kingdom of Decant, the army of Levanstein, dressed in white and gold, were marching past the capital Brussels Square.
A march song played by the military band echoed along the streets while the patriotic citizens from the balconies and on both sides of the streets scattered the flowers from their baskets. At the front of the procession was the second prince with his fiery red hair, a characteristic of the Levanstein royal family. He animatedly waved his hands towards the crowd. It was a perfect spring afternoon with not a hint of a dark cloud in the sky. The heavens seemed to guarantee the glorious future of the Levanstein army.
Leticia Levanstein, who was leaning against the balcony of the clubhouse on the fifth floor of the penthouse, giggled as she lifted the morning paper which was still freshly inked and yet to dry.
“His Majesty must have spent quite a lot of money.”
On the front page of the newspaper was a black-and-white photograph of the second prince photographed while he was making a public address with his fists raised.
Those sitting around her in a circle were busy hiding the smirks on their faces.
“I don’t recall the prince having such a high bridged nose the last time I saw him.”
“Ah! Now that I think of it, were his eyes always that big?”
“To think that they would use a heavily altered photo for a newspaper that should only portray what is true and factual.”
Several opened bottles of wine already littered the table. Everyone was pleasantly flushed except Leticia, who was fully drunk. She emptied her innumerable shot in one go, leaned her chin on her hand as she looked down at the worn face of her brother marching beneath the club house.
The only reason Prince Linnsbern Levanstein was able to graduate from the Royal Military Academy of Wünterhausen was because of the tens of millions of decats the King had poured into the school.
She couldn’t believe the person, who she couldn’t even remember ever holding a gun, was appointed as the general commander of the Army straight after graduation.
“I assure you,” her crystal glass clanked loudly against the table as she slammed it down, “our glorious Landstein army will defeat the Decant empire.”
She wagged her finger in the air in front of her.
“Before that- before he returns with a glorious triumphant cry, my dear brother will at least for once make a big mess or at least once put himself in trouble!”
In her defense, her sister had a crush on the man who had been driven out of his position by the incompetent brother of hers. It enraged her that a deserving man had been booted because of her own brother. She consumed a little more alcohol than she usually did and practiced her right of freedom of speech.
“If my brother returns unharmed and victorious, I promise to allow you all to give me one punishment!”
As she slurred loudly, everyone present took out their pen and notebook with a glow in their eyes. Leticia, penned down her promise in a humorous way and even approved it with the tensile ring she was wearing. If her sister, who had taught her to be logical and not act on impulsive feelings for twenty-one years had seen her right now, she would have shed tears of blood.
As for Leticia who had held this rage drinking party for that very sister forgot completely about her drunken promise and forgot about it completely.
That is, until one year later on the day of the victory banquet.
The victory banquet was an unforgettable event that she wanted to erase from her life. Her good-for-nothing brother, who she had half-heartedly hoped would perish in battle, returned home healthier than she had expected.
The 1st Special Task Force, which he led himself, had nearly suffered destruction at the hands of their enemies, but turned the tables around by acting in disguise and almost wiped out the enemy’s main base, leaving the front line badly wounded.
Shortly after, the Lecon River froze and a severe cold spell enveloped the region, resulting in the two countries signing a temporary armistice. If the main force had not been wiped out, the Decant Kingdom would never have agreed to sit at the armistice table, so newspapers made headlines as the second prince was the winning contributor to the armistice agreement.
And Iskanta III, who was thoroughly impressed with the remarkable results his son achieved on his first expedition, scattered the medals to the surviving members of his son’s unit. The Order of Saint Mikatella, which used to be awarded once every five or ten years, was given to five people in one day. In many ways, the outcome of the war gave the heralds a whole list of things to write about.
Leticia who had secretly hoped for her brother’s failure had to tolerate his triumph and his inflated ego for almost an entire hour. He went on and on with praises towards himself with a big grin that hung from ear to ear. Eventually, his face muscles spasmed after being overused, giving her a chance to escape from the banquet hall to a quiet corner. There she found a table, sat down and rested her face on it.
“I wonder how brother Linsy can bear to see the mirror every morning. I bet his heart won’t be able to survive that narcissistic face of his.”
Young ladies from noble households gathered around the princess who looked at least five years older from being in the presence of her egotistical brother for just an hour. They giggled and spoke in a lowered voice.
“There are some people out there who find that side of him appealing. He is cute…kind of.”
“If they want to find something cute tell them to raise a dog. At least a dog will wag its tail at you.” Leticia said with a grudge.