Ventluc and von Baden first talked about the Heidelberg murders when they lived together for about five years. It was a warm spring day in April, just in time for the comfortable and pleasant start of spring, and the two of them were walking along the large yard, as usual in good weather. The sky above is a hopeful blue, and the first buds of spring are already clustered on the branches.
”It’s a beautiful spring in Germany,” Ventlucker sighed that morning.
”Spring is always good,” von Baden said. “There is only one bad spring in my memory, and that was in 1945. When spring came that year, it meant that the anti-fascist alliance was about to start its final campaign along the western front. that spring, when the birds sang in the trees, I yelled at them; the flowers were blooming, and I wished I could put them back together by hand. But the snow melted, and then the tanks rumbled. Come in.”
”They’ll come anyway,” Ventlucker said, “Hitler’s gone, we’re all gone.” He stared at the trees in the distance for a moment. “It’s like a Shakespearean tragedy, although I guess the Allies don’t think so.”
Von Baden nodded his bald head, the sun shining on the curved scar on the left side of his face. “Maybe Hitler is a bit like Hamlet, at least in our eyes. Maybe his life should have been ended by a poisonous sword.”
Ventluc still stared at the tree, “reminds me of the Heidelberg incident, you still Remember?”
”How could I not remember? I was there.”
”Kassan was a bit like Hamlet, and was killed by a poisonous sword.”
But von Baden shook his head, “borrowing from our old enemy, the British. In other words, he is actually more like the Fried Neck Dragon (the evil dragon in “Alice in Wonderland”, only the Buddha Panjian can kill it. – Annotation), was killed by the Buddha Panjian.”
”How come back . What? I’ve never heard of the details of this,” Ventluc asked.
”Few people know. When the murder–if it could be called a murder–was the young Kassan who was the most hated and feared person in the whole of Heidelberg, and no one wanted to see someone kill Kassan because And be punished. In those days, it was easy to cover up the past, and Kassan was neither the first nor the last to die in the Heidelberg Dueling Society.”
”But some people say he was murdered, yes Poisoned by a poisoned sword. At least there were rumors at the time.”
”Well, the rumors say so.” Von Baden’s eyes widened, as if trying to remember exactly how he felt that day. “It’s been a long time, it seems like a lifetime. The world has been through so much blood since then, and I suspect it may have been trivial by then.”
”But it was important to Kassan, it was his life. The end.”
”Yes, yes,” von Baden agreed, scratching the smooth skin of his aging head, “of course it was important to Cassan.”
* * * *
At that time, Germany was just recovering from the First World War, and only the guards at Landsberg Prison and a handful of Hitler’s followers knew about Adolf Hitler. Heidelberg is also a university town, where students sing, drink and laugh. In 1921, at the age of 24, Josef Goebbels received his doctorate, and von Baden began his university life. Baden didn’t know Goebbels until much later.
Heidelberg University was nothing less than a dream come true for von Baden. The first time he escaped strict tutoring, he rushed impatiently into daily life at the university, joining almost immediately at the center of the university’s social life at the time, one of the school’s five dueling clubs. At the beginning, even for the first year, he didn’t think much about what a duel was, that is, why the dueling club existed. He has seen scarred faces in schools and classrooms, and he often goes to the white-gray room on the second floor of the tavern to watch the twice-weekly games live. But to him, duels are still something that has little to do with him, not even as important as the dueling club electing a beer king every year.
None of the first-year members of the five dueling clubs were forced to take part in duels, so it wasn’t until the following year that he felt the growing pressure to participate in such gory scenes. Von Baden was in the White Legion, and the president at the time, Kassan, was a ferocious guy who always proudly wore the ribbon he won after winning three duels. In the previous year alone, he participated in thirty duels, the most in the school, and for this reason, he was elected as the president of the White Legion amid cheers. A prodigy in fencing, he once chipped off the tip of his opponent’s nose in an unusually intense duel. Many people hated Rudolf Cassan, but many more feared him.
But the situation has developed to the point where it cannot be resolved, or because of the sexy waitress Eva of the Three Crown Tavern. Usually, the people of the White Legion don’t take the other four dueling clubs seriously, and when they go out for drinks, they are on their own. Even if only the Red Legion in the red hat had a vacant table in the tavern, they would rather find another open-air bar or a speakeasy than sit with them.
But that night, Cassan of the White Legion happened to enter the Three Crown Tavern just in time when Eva was about to get off work. Kassan has been dating her a lot over the past few months, and even spent a weekend with her on a raft down the Neckar River. Everyone knows that Eva is slutty by nature, but it’s odd that she’s the only one who can make Cassan soft and human. Cassan was almost a different person when she was with her. That night, Cassan walked into the cramped, smoky tavern, and saw Eva sitting at a table with the Red Legion, drinking and laughing, with her arms around Gunnar Mark’s waist. Mark is a top athlete, proficient in fencing, and has had a bad relationship with Cassan.
When Cassan walked into the Three Crown Tavern, von Baden was with him, and Cassan, the president, was just talking to Baden about the responsibilities of second-year members, “You have to fight, boy, that’s our only purpose. . We let you join the dueling club, not to let you only know how to drink and have fun, find flowers and ask willows.”
”I will meet.” Von Baden replied with difficulty. He hated Kassan’s domineering attitude as he roamed the crowded small tables, “But I’ll have to wait until I’m ready.”
Kassan turned his head and smiled. “You’ll have it next week, boy. Get ready, it’s time to taste blood, maybe your own blood.”
”It’s too sudden!”
”I’m your president. If I let you go, you have to go, or I’ll kick you out.” Before he could finish speaking, he saw Eva and Mark sitting at a table. He left von Baden standing there, squeezed himself into the crowd and walked to the Red Legion.
Mark raised his head, glanced at him with a contemptuous smirk, and put his hand on Eva’s chest deliberately. “Kassan, you’re a little late tonight!”
Kassan stood there, blushing to the base of his neck. “What’s the matter, Eva?” he asked.
The girl was embarrassed, she pushed Mark’s hand away and stood up. “Nothing, nothing. Rudolph, I was waiting for you just now.” At the
table, Mark snorted contemptuously. “Whichever man in pants comes first, she’ll be waiting. It’s the same for her anyway.”