Han Shuo was stunned. He was not entirely sure what Sophie was implying. He took a moment to think before saying, "You mean take you away from Kasi Empire?"
Sophie's bright eyes stared at Han Shuo, as glowing as she gazed at every minute detail of his face. She went on, "You're the Lord of Brettel City in the Lancelot Empire! You're powerful enough even to contend against the shrine of ice! Of all my friends, you're the only person I know who could possibly help me, or at least I'd hope you think me as a friend.”
Sophie had said all Han Shuo needed to know. He understood that his identity was no more a secret than the fact of his being any longer. After a moment of hesitation, he smirked and said, "Of course you and I are friends. Brettel City will very much welcome your arrival."
Hearing that, Sophie revealed a faint smile of relief. However, before she could say anything else, Sulo exclaimed, "What nonsense!"
He revealed himself before Han Shuo and Sophie. His expression said it all, he was not pleased. He glared at Sophie and lashed out, “Fifi, you are not a child anymore! You should know the consequences of your actions.”
Sophie was clearly quailing under her father's glare. However, she then remembered the suppressed frustration she had felt over her betrothal to Braque, and looked back at him with a stubborn gaze. "Father, you have no right to make decisions on matters that will affect the rest of my life, especially without my consent!"
When the furious Sulo looked at his unyielding daughter, a feeling of helpless dejection suddenly rose in his heart. He shook his head in helplessness and relented, "Daddy has indeed acted brashly on this matter. However, everyone knows how fond Braque is of you. Given just how powerful the Pillon family is, there never was even a sliver of hope for refusal. I may be a sacred knight, and possess a certain extent of fame and power in Kasi Empire, but when it comes to the Pillon royal family, my hands are tied."
Han Shuo had long known that Sulo would come over. As he listened to the dispute, Han Shuo looked to Sophie, then to Sulo, who appeared to have aged considerably all of a sudden. "Mister Sulo, if you don’t mind I actually do have a solution to your problem."
Sacred knight Sulo had briefly traded blows with Han Shuo a few days prior. After being informed of Han Shuo's identity and strength through his own channels, Sulo was rather intimidated by the youth even though the latter was far younger than he was. Upon hearing Han Shuo speak, Sulo quivered slightly, and he looked at Han Shuo as he exclaimed, "Youth breeds heroism, and that expression is most apt for one such as yourself. Sophie’s imprisonment was, on one hand, to prevent her from getting into trouble, while on the other hand, to wait for you to come here."
Han Shuo stared blankly. Unable to make head or tail of Sulo’s words, he asked, "What do you mean?"
“Bryan, I'll take the liberty of calling you Bryan, I more or less know of your relationship with Sophie. As far as I know, nobody really knows about this thing between you two. Given your status and strength, you are more than capable of keeping us safe.” To Han Shuo’s surprise, he could sense traces of a old fox-like cunningness coming from Sulo even through his relaxed expression.
Suddenly, and for no discernible reason, Sophie blushed. She seemed to know what Sulo was about to say next. Still red in the face, she quickly defended herself, "Dad, it's not what you think, we're…"
"It's fine, you don't have to say anything, I know what you mean," Sulo interrupted. With his usual self-assurance he said, "Daddy has thought about it for several days, and has decided to respect your decision. You and Bryan seem suitable enough. I've even made some arrangements for the reallocation of our family clan members. Now that Bryan is here, we can talk things over. Then we'll be able to get out of Kasi Empire as soon as possible, and begin our new lives in Brettel City."
Sophie turned even redder and frantically waved her hands, crying out, "No, no, that's not what this is, father, you have misunderstood."
"Hmph!" Sulo glared at Sophie, and said, "Why do you even bother trying to hide it at this point in time? Our House is on the brink of destruction because of you. Stop fooling around already!"
Then, Sulo turned to look at Han Shuo with the all the gaze of a father-in-law, and smiled slightly as though in great satisfaction. Sulo nodded and said, "Oh yeah, you certainly are much more pleasing to the eye than Braque in every aspect, that sly fellow. Fifi's indeed got decent taste." Taking a deep breath, his expression grew serious as he said, "Bryan, even though my Sophie can be rather self-willed at times, she's still very kind-hearted, you mustn't mistreat her under any circumstance."
Han Shuo was dumbstruck staring at Sulo, who had been completely indulging in his own assumptions. Han Shuo was simply at a loss for words.
It had to be said that this sacred knight Sulo was indeed quite an amazing character. His mistaking the relationship between Han Shuo and Sophie was nothing to write home about. After all, the two had been rather intimate in the last few days. Adding to the fact that Sophie had recently been responding to her betrothal to Braque with such vehement objection, it wasn’t unfounded for her father to have arrived at such a conclusion.
Sulo was, in spite of this, still a man of both amazing vigour and dastardly cunningness. By locking Sophie up, he had been able to prevent anyone from finding out about the relationship between her and Han Shuo, while also testing Han Shuo’s loyalty to Sophie. Without anyone noticing, he had also simultaneously been quietly moving around the forces within his clan, making preparations to leave for Brettel City at any moment.
Sulo might have mistaken the relationship between Han Shuo and Sophie for something else, but nevertheless, he was yet quite a remarkable character!
As a string of thoughts flushed through Han Shuo's mind, he observed Sulo with a sharp glint in his eyes. A sacred knight was no small power for any country to have. Even if Sulo left the Kasi Empire without relying on Han Shuo's help, he would have still been able to make a place for himself, Sophie, and the rest of his family in some other country.
A sacred knight! No empire would refuse someone like that, especially those who were at odds with the Kasi empire.
This old fellow was no simpleton, indeed, he was quite something, Han Shuo thought to himself. He had originally intended to clear things up, but a thought suddenly struck him. Revealing a modest smile, he said to Sulo, "How could I? I can't even spoil Fifi enough, how could I possibly wish to be mean?"
Sophie, scarlet-faced and impatient to explain the truth to her father, looked as though she had been stricken a deep blow by Han Shuo's words. She shot a fierce glare at Han Shuo, then said with even more panic than before, "Father, father, don't listen to the drivel spilling from his mouth, we're…"
With another wave of his hand, Sulo cut off her explanations yet again, and said, "This is not drivel. I believe he will take good care of you. Bryan isn't like Braque, he's a warrior and not a politician. I can trust the word of a warrior, especially one who is stronger than me!"
Sophie was quite beside herself with rage. All her attempts at explanations had been abruptly cut off by Sulo, only leading to even greater misunderstanding, and his blatant self-assurance was leaving her dumbfounded. What angered her more was Han Shuo, who was wholeheartedly playing the part of a dutiful son-in-law, nodding seriously over there as he vowed, "Yes, I will."
Sophie was both embarrassed and angry, feeling as though she'd been sold somehow without properly realising it, and her two traffickers carried on their merry discussion of the particulars right before her face. It was an indescribably strange feeling, but it seemed, somehow, that there was a slight feeling of joy. Only the tiny smidgeon of happiness was, in the face of all the rage and mortification, quickly overlooked by Sophie herself.
How could this be? How could this be?! Sophie screamed internally over and over again. After Sulo finally finished talking, she cast another furious glare at Han Shuo, schooled her expression, and got ready to properly explain the situation.
"Well, I’ll let the two of you chat. I'll go arrange the clan relocations right away, and get our forces transferred to Brettel City in the shortest time possible. Oh, when the time comes I shall have to trouble my dutiful son-in-law, since you are, after all, the Lord of Brettel City. We would be able to better depart Kasi Empire with your help." Before Sophie could string her words together, Sulo had dropped yet another bombshell.
"Certainly, certainly," Han Shuo said with a most amiable smile, pleased to have gotten a sacred knight on his side with no effort. As for what would come later, Han Shuo decided not to care for the time being, just so long as he could trick sacred knight Sulo to Brettel City first. Once he and his family had arrived there, even if the truth were to come out, Han Shuo was certain they would not be able to leave easily.
Sulo seemed very satisfied with Han Shuo, beaming broadly as he walked up to him. He patted him on the shoulder, and nodded as though a great weight had been taken off his back. He strode away, taking far lighter steps than when he had come in, looking as though he really was going to make arrangements to leave the Kasi empire.
Sophie had intended to stop Sulo and explain everything, but Han Shuo signalled her with his eyes not to do so. Once Sulo was gone, Sophie immediately placed both hands on her hips and, looking rather like a little hen about to pick a fight as she glared, she cried furiously, "Bryan, you jerk, what exactly did you mean by this?"
Han Shuo shrugged and smiled. "I'm doing this for your sake, and for the sake of your family. If I don't play along, would your father leave to Brettel City so easily?" Han Shuo made a great show of playing innocent, as though he had done all that for Sophie’s own good.
Sophie, who had intended to give him a good talking-to, stopped at those words. She was no fool. After thinking it over, she knew that what Han Shuo said made sense.
However, when Sophie thought about how Han Shuo had used such a matter as an excuse to her father, and saw his cheerful, punchable face, she remained infuriated. She ran at him in a fit of rage, scolding him, "That doesn't mean you can joke about that kind of thing, I swear I'm going to teach you a lesson!"