Raphael Sorel's seven years war

The last act part 2

After the duke left the table, Hilde briefly tried to convince him but he didn't want to listen to her anymore; he said he was tired and gallantly kissed her hand before he left for his bedroom, which was Raphael's previous bedroom. Hilde stayed in the gallery, disheartened to have failed but Dampierre came toward her and told her:

-You have done well, Votre Altesse! You and Amy have got a victory over him! He fled before you!

-In what may this be good? He does not want to listen to us!

-But he got moved. He didn't flee for nothing… Now we just have to continue and he will succumb to it!

-But if he doesn't want to speak about it anymore?

-He can't prevent you to speak… You will still see him… Just put some words about it in your next conversation… Don't bother him with it too much…

-I think I shall go rest too…

This plan stressed Hilde very much as she feared to ruin her good relations with the duke while not even succeeding in freeing Raphael. She could not bother the duke eternally… Should she think about something else to free Raphael? But this something must not compromise her kingdom… As she was thinking, Dampierre told her:

-Do not despair Votre Altesse, you were fantastique! I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your gracious collaboration!

-It is the least I can do… answered Hilde before she left.


Dampierre then went to see Amy in her room. He knocked and Amy told him he could come. She was eager to know how it went.

-Amy, like I said, you were merveilleuse! Extrêmement talentueuse! Bravo! You father would be so proud!

-It was not talent but sincerity. But you really think it had some effect on the duke?

-Absolutely! A great effect!

-How did it go after?

-Well, the duke didn't stay much longer, but he was moved by you! By your sincere sadness!

-But then, why doesn't he free my father if he is moved?

-Political reasons… also some pride… But he will change his mind, you'll see…

-I do not want to look like a pitiful girl for pleasing the duke… What if he only made fun of our sufferings?

Dampierre stared at Amy with a surprised look.

-Non. He is not making fun of your sufferings… He would not have told you some things he told you if he didn't care…

Amy looked at Dampierre with some doubt in her eyes.

-Then again, still the same question: Why doesn't he free my father?

-The same reasons I told you: politic and pride… and the fact that he is moved by you, not by your father.

-But I'm not the one facing execution… If he could do something for my father…! It's him who needs help!

Amy began to have teary eyes. Dampierre put a hand on her shoulder.

-Amy… Do not worry…

But Dampierre suddenly felt not so certain of his plan. What if he was wrong? How can he tell this young girl everything will be alright if it's not alright? But he must not show his doubts; everything will be alright. As he smiled to her, Amy tried to calm her growing despair then changed the subject.

-So you learned my father was a monster when you met him in Norway? How did you react when you first find out? What did you thought?

Dampierre was happy to talk about something else than the success chances of his plan for a while.

-Well, we were in a fight against extremely dangerous demons when Le Bello saw his strange black blood for the first time…

-Who is Le Bello?

-Well… Moi.

-Why do you call yourself like that?

-It's a nickname I appreciate… That I gained in the salons of Venice… I like this nickname, it means I am handsome… 'Le beau' in Italian…

-Ah. Very well… It's great…

Amy thought that he may be handsome for some women but he was not her style at all. He was not ugly but like her father said, he dressed like a clown and had a ridiculous moustache. Dampierre continued to explain.

-I was very popular among the ladies… Extremely popular…

Dampierre remembered with some nostalgia the time he had success in the rich salons of Venice. Venice was a so beautiful city… He should go back there one day… Soon… To continue his scams… Maybe with Raphael if he succeeded to free him…

-Ahh… Venice… Have you ever been there, Amy?

-Non. I have only been in France, Walachia and Germany.

-Well, you should go one day. It's beautiful… Now, where were we? Ah yes, about when I saw your father… So when I saw his black blood, since I was very busy, I didn't really dwell on this… I had more important things to worry about. And since I already knew him before, I didn't see why it would bother me now… He was on my side, so I didn't care. I did wonder why he had this kind of blood but since he was searching for Soul Edge, I thought it may have something to do with it.

-My father really appreciated the way you behaved toward him… He told me… To be looked like a monster by anyone was really painful to him but he said you reacted well toward him… He felt different from you but not rejected… At first, he was ashamed but you made him feel more at ease…

Dampierre felt some pity for Raphael because it must have been hard to be looked like a monster by everybody and feel like a monster… Raphael and Amy must really have had a hard year… But he also thought that if he had known Raphael was a vampire from the start, he would probably not have approached him… Only for the danger Raphael could have been for him… But the fact Raphael had black blood really didn't bother him. He told Amy with a smile.

-Le Bello really appreciate your father. We were getting along very well. We talked a lot together; our conversation was very pleasant though it was only for some hours… And he talked a lot about you…

Amy smiled; she wasn't surprised… Dampierre continued to speak:

-We didn't venture together for very long but the time we spent together was enjoyable and enough to now consider him my friend.

-My father also said that, that it was pleasant with you…

Dampierre smiled then continued on a more serious tone.

-I really want to free him… But now your father should also participate in the plan…

-How? He can't get out…

-Non, but he still can do something… Maybe he must move the duke…


The next day, Amy came to visit her father with Siegfried. After the usual greetings saying they were happy to see each other, Amy told Raphael.

-Papa, Monsieur Dampierre said you should look sick in front of the guards. The duke will probably learn about your health state and he may be moved. You know medicine, you should know how to fake some real looking symptoms…

Raphael was surprised at the suggestion.

-What? You are telling me to look sick in front of the guards to kindle their pity? Or the duke's pity? I do not want to look pitiful! Each time the guards come, I try to look proud and not down. Now you want me to do just the opposite?

Amy outlined a smile.

-You react as I did, papa… But yes, I would like you to pretend to be sick. It's part of monsieur Dampierre's plan: To get their pity and touch the duke.

Raphael's face changed. He suddenly lost all hope he had in Dampierre.

-That's his plan? …To be honest, I do not think the guards will feel pity for a sick prisoner. If they were to free every prisoner who falls sick in prison, there would be not one person left in prison anymore.

-Well, I tried this with the duke… He saw my tears and he looked moved… before he quickly left the table. But monsieur Dampierre told me it was a good sign…

Raphael thought that Amy was a young girl; it was easier for her to kindle pity. He really didn't think the duke would be moved by him being sick.

-The duke wants to execute me, what would he care if I was to die of sickness? He will just accelerate the public execution so that I do not die in private before. I think it is a ridiculous plan.

-Yes, maybe, I do think that also… but try it, please, papa… Ridiculous as it may sound, it may work…

That was indeed the most ridiculous plan Raphael had heard in his life, he even wondered how Amy accepted to participate in this. Amy continued to speak:

-Do not worry papa, your role is not the most difficult one… You don't have to always pretend…as long as they know you are sick, it's okay…

But Raphael was now outraged at the idea.

-Fine! Let them know that I am sick! Let them rejoice over my sickness! I love it when my enemies see me suffer! It is my deepest dream!

Standing a little behind Amy, Siegfried lowered his head and muttered:

-That's a stupid idea indeed…

Amy wondered too about the plan but she thought that they had to hold on to it until the end to see if it worked. Somehow, even with her pessimistic nature, Dampierre convinced her this plan could have some chances of success. Raphael continued to express his indignation.

-That Dampierre is crazy! Non! Non! I will die proudly!

-…But papa… Just do this… for me… Please?

Raphael looked back at Amy. She was right; it was not only about him, he had to think about her… And seeing her imploring gaze… He could not refuse her anything. Maybe if he looked sick, the duke may be moved for Amy's sadness over it… maybe… but probably not. He really didn't believe in this idea, but if Amy asked him to do it, he would. What would he really have to lose? What did he care about his enemies' opinion? All that mattered was Amy…

And Raphael was indeed beginning to feel sick since some time. But he didn't tell Amy to worry her even more. Yet like her, he had lost his appetite and didn't eat anymore; he had also begun to cough, had an irritated throat and have some other symptoms like fever, tiredness and pain in the chest, all tuberculosis symptoms, looking like he may begin to be sick like many prisoners often became in humid cells. Yet he hasn't been in the cell for very long but it was indeed very humid and grimy… But he hasn't cough blood yet, the most evident symptom of this illness, so it may not be that and it may only be some flu caused by the insalubrity and coldness of the prison combined with worry and stress. But he could pretend to have it to look sicker… But this sickness was contagious… Would the duke let him go then? He should have to think about another illness… Whatever, just looking sick should do… if something could do… He sighed.

-Very well, I shall try to look sick and…

He rolled his eyes.

-… get their pity… Alright Amy, if you believe in it, I shall do it. For you. But what must I do? Just lie down and cough? Not moan and groan to annoy the guards! That would be ridiculous!

At least he would not have to stand up and look proud each time he heard someone coming now.

-You must act as you deem fit to the occasion…

Raphael made a confused expression. He really didn't know how to act pitiful without looking annoying…

After a while Amy and Siegfried left and Raphael tried to break down the prison door again before he climbed the wall once more to test the window one more time. He believed more in this way than in Dampierre's idea. It seemed now that he would have to get out of here by himself.

-To look sick… What a ridiculous plan… Humpf! If I die, I shall have humiliated myself before…

The window was still too solid to break and disheartened, Raphael jumped down. When a guard passed, he noticed Raphael looking very depressed in the corner of the cell and thought that the prisoner didn't look very well…


Meanwhile, Hilde met the duke again. They walked in the flower garden together as the sun was shining. Hilde picked a rose.

-This is Amy's garden… It seems she likes the same kind of roses as I… said Hilde trying to look feminine and sweet in front of the duke. She continued to speak.

-In a way, Amy and I have many things in common… We both have lost our father to Soul Edge… Mine became… ill with it… and hers… I can feel her pain…

Hilde tried to look sad, remembering her sadness seeing her father locked away in a tower since his madness. Hilde thought about what Dampierre told her to do: to cry to get the duke's sympathy. But she could not. It was sad for Amy indeed but Hilde didn't cry very often and could not cry on command, she trained herself not to cry all those years so it was now very hard to do it. She felt sad but no tears came from her eyes. The duke nodded as he understood Hilde's pain.

-Yes… So your father is not better? I do sympathise with you, Hildegard… said duke Stefan with a kind tone.

Hilde didn't say that she had now the remedy for her father's illness: Dampierre brought it to her when he came here after he visited Ivy. With the Wandering Grudge and the other ingredient Dampierre had already collected, some 1000 years old beard's hair, Ivy finally had all the ingredients she needed since the others were already found and brought to her by Cassandra or Hilde. So, despite her weak state, Ivy quickly made the potion for Hilde's father and entrusted the potion to Dampierre. That was the reason Dampierre came to see the princess here; he wanted to hand her the potion personally. Hilde didn't consider the fact that she was keeping silence on this as lying since her father was still not cured yet… So she shook her head sadly.

-But… I still hope he will be cured one day… And seeing this young girl's father waste away saddens me so much as I think about mine too… I would not like for this young girl to lose her father too… In his cold and humid cell, it seems that he is becoming sick…

-I can understand your reasons for wanting to free him Hildegard, but unlike your father, who is a noble king, this young girl's father is a criminal… an important criminal… Not just some petty thief… He is a mass murderer…

-He was… and not willingly… Still added Hilde before she continued.

-… If you condemn Raphael Sorel who is no longer a threat to people, you would only make a new orphan now… An orphan who may not outlive her father for very long… As you saw, Amy is also becoming sick with worry and sadness in her room…

-I cannot free every criminals because they have family. Even if they are wasting away.

The duke suddenly saw Amy a little farther get out of the prisons quarter with Siegfried and sadly walk back to her room. Hilde had chosen this time of the day to walk in the garden so that he could see Amy looking sad as she visited her father. The duke muttered:

-But it is sad for this young girl indeed…

He didn't add anything more for a while. Suddenly he told Hilde:

-My dear Hildegard, I would not like to keep you from your duty in Wolfkrone…

Indeed Hilde was eager to go back to her kingdom; she wanted to save Raphael but she also had affairs to attend to: Like the usual political affairs and mostly seeing her own father again and give him the medicine he needed. She had not planned to stay here forever and didn't think saving Raphael would take so much time. She hoped the duke would soon decide to free Raphael but his statement was a shock for her: The duke was sending her away!

She told the duke on a resigned tone.

-I shall soon depart with my army, Your Highness…

She could not invite herself here forever… and with her army… It may be considered an invasion… She had to leave… But she could not state a day already… She would try to extend the moment as much as she could…


Later, Hilde told Dampierre about what the duke said to her. Dampierre didn't seem too alarmed.

-Raphael will have to pretend to be even sicker…

-What?

Hilde asked Dampierre what was his plan exactly. Like Raphael, she also didn't believe very much that Raphael's sickness could move the duke. Dampierre answered her with conviction in his voice.

-It's not to move the duke that Raphael must pretend to be sick, but to accelerate the plan.

Hilde looked at Dampierre, wishing for him to give more explanations.

-If Raphael is sick and looks like he may die soon, the duke will fear to lose his prisoner before time. He'll have to make a quick decision. It will accelerate things one way or another. Since you have to go, you won't be the only one rushed by time.

-One way or… another? Asked Hilde. She was eager to go see her father but not to the point of sacrificing Raphael like that.

-Yes. But we will have to make sure it's the good way… He is still moved by Amy's tears and your pleas… We won't give him any chance to recover. Now is the time to talk about money… Since time will be running out even for him, the duke may accept more easily the ransom solution… Money is often the best bait…

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