The dark clouds were like a layer of frost, Marquis Yoakam breathed out white mist as he held onto the railings on the manor, his pale white face seemed to smile.
“This weather is surely terrible, My Lord,” the servant behind him grumbled.
His master was wearing a leopard coat, and he just rubbed his arms, “Although it may be cold now in the winter, it will not stop our burning passion.”
“Do you mean your ambition?”
Marquis Yoakam just laughed and put his hands on the railing. He was looking at the two horse-driven carriages that were traversing through the forest before stopping in front of the manor’s front gate.
In the building’s hall now, there were many beautifully dressed nobles. Although they were people with a fair amount of influence around these places, but the meeting going on tonight was one that decided the fate of the Kingdom, so they were merely side characters around the place.
And the true players of this game were the people in those carriages-
When the carriage stopped before the gates of the hall, the discussions become silent whispers. Everyone could see through the windows that, the carriages had the emblem of a shield, a crescent moon, a set of crossed staves, a crown and also the winged snake on it.
And they all knew the identity of the people in the carriages just too well.
They were the last remaining descendant of House Covardo, Princess Gryphine, and her brother.
But even when compared to the carriage of the Royal Family, the other carriage only had a simple design: a fierce-looking eagle and nothing else. The emblem itself signified the pressure upon everyone’s hearts.
If someone were to rank the influence of the six strongest Dukes in Aouine, the answer would definitely be the owner of this carriage-
The knights opened the door for the princess. Her mauve gown was like a colored cloud that sprung out of nowhere. Princess Gryphine slowly walked down her carriage and she raised her head. Her silvery round eyes reflected the glow in her eyes, and on her slender shoulders was a thin fur shawl, revealing her weak self.
A weak but brave and valorous princess.
And everyone on the scene held their breath. They had heard, from rumors, that the jewel on her crown was the most shining gem in all of Aouine. But it was until they had seen it that they truly believed in it.
That sly fox Arreck, was what most of them thought as well at the time. Most...except Marquis Yoakam who revealed a wide grin. He lowered his head to sniff the musk perfume on his coat. He is truly a sly bastard. Is this meeting a foothold for him to get closer to the Princess? But I’m truly curious as to how well the Princess would retaliate. He...he...he…
As the doors of the second carriage opened, everyone sucked in a breath of cold air once more. Even Marquis Yoakam found it odd. The Duke Arreck that stepped out of it was no old man like everyone thought. His glowing white eyebrows amplified that eagle-like eyes of his, and his stern look was one that was filled with dignity. His thin lips and his neat mustache made him look so tidy that it can be said he looked more formal than any of the other nobles that attended the meeting.
He wore a large black panther robe, and under it, a silver chest plate could be seen shining. But it probably had no protective purposes... was what everyone thought. It’s probably just there to flaunt his wealth and power.
But it was not just him. It had become a common sight in these events for the nobles to wear armor or bring some weaponry.
Under the robe, even Marquis Yoakam could see that he had a heavy blade tied there. It was not some weapon just any nobles would have. It was a sword that Arreck had used to cut down hundreds of enemies.
But Marquis Yoakam just scoffed with a hint of envy. A normal person would not have brought that weapon into the place, but Arreck was no normal person. Only a Duke like him would have that power.
However, even if that’s the case, in that place, he was no more than one of the better-ranked ones and not the best one there.
Duke Arreck held his staff and slowly walked down, his eyes scanning the vicinity. It was only until he saw the princess that he softened. He tugged at his robe and walked towards the young woman. With a gentlemen demeanor, he extended his hand at Princess Gryphine, “Today, you’re the most beautiful princess in all of Vaunte.”
However, the princess just stayed adamant, and extended hers for him to kiss it, “Thank you.”
“It’s my honor to marry such a beautiful princess like you.”
“According to the pact, if Haruz could get the throne, I would naturally be your bride, Duke Arreck,” the half-elf princess said plainly.
Duke Arreck just laughed in response.
Behind them, Arreck’s closer subordinates greeted the people from the Royal Faction as if they were friends. But it was clear that they merely did it for the sake of etiquette.
Amongst them was Devard. His arm was still wrapped in bandages and that was probably the reason why he was the most eye-catching person amongst Arreck’s subordinates. Who would have expected one of the strongest swordsmen in Aouine to be injured to the point that he could not be recovered in a short period of time.
The whole hall was once filled with whispers once more. News of Devard losing in Anderla Cathedral had spread amongst them and it was obviously the hottest topic in the hall at the moment. But unfortunately, it was a shameful thing for Devard and his face was red with embarrassment.
Marquis Yoakam personally witnessed the fight, and he waved at Arreck from the patio above to thank Arreck for letting Devard be his bodyguard and to apologize for his reckless mistake. And he could not help but think about the incident once more.
Just who is that young boy? Why wouldn’t the Holy Cathedral leak information about him? It seems like besides Archbishop Wood, no one is affiliated with him. It was like he appeared out of thin air. But is that possible? I would say that I’m fairly familiar with Aouine itself, but seems like there’s still much that I don’t know.
He rubbed his forehead. Wood was from Kirrlutz, and their members were deeply rooted in Aouine itself. But as to their plans for the future, I really do have some questions. Or is Wood a pawn of them himself? Anyway, it is not my problem, he thought. And then a person flashed across his mind.
At that point, the strongest powerhouses had already arrived in the manor. One by one, the luxurious carriages stopped in front of the woods. At first, it was the Seifer family. Being the brother of the queen, and the uncle of the future King of Aouine, Duke Seifer naturally came himself. After that was the Balta family. They had come from the Sword Fortress and had helped House Covardo managed the White Lion Squad for a long time.
White Lion Squad’s main enemies were the Kirrlutz, but as to who this family’s enemies are, it would be hard to say. Marquis Yoakam’s blissful demeanor suddenly turned stale as the next carriage arrived. The obsidian carriage was like a ghoul that slipped into the scene and the emblem on it was also really unfamiliar. Within the crimson-colored sides was a broken sword that seems to remind people of its unique design. Marquis Yoakam took a few moments to recognize it.
The Yanbao family. The heretic family of Aouine has finally arrived.
Marquis Yoakam flashed a look of shock.
The entire atmosphere fell into a serious mood once more. Many had the belief that this family was one of the most mysterious families amongst the nobles of Aouine. The last time the family had an audience with the King of Aouine was thirty years ago. However, it seems like the Kingdom has some sort of a relationship with the old family and did not question their existence on their lands.
And there is a reason for it. One that even Brendel did not know of. One that was lost when Aouine fell in the other timeline where it was a game. But that did not affect Brendel’s mood as he sat with the mysterious Count Yanbao -Or Countess, who never had the company of a man in the same carriage before.
Normally, her companion would be Niya. But this time around, Brendel was needed to disguise himself as her subordinate, so it was normal for them to be in the same carriage.
When the vehicle stopped, Brendel looked out. He immediately saw the most eye-catching carriage of the Royal Family and House Arreck, as well as Freya and Maynild. Looking at how she was snoring, Brendel smiled. But there was a sense of warmth inside of him. As he looked at the familiar sight and realized that Aouine had not fallen to ruin yet, he felt like everything was still alright. There were even times that he worried if everything was just a dream.
But that was because she still had the face of an innocent girl. If she had donned on the stern look of the war goddess, there was no doubt everything would feel real, as if it was approachable.
He retracted his gaze. This time, the knight outside opened the carriage door. It was Niya, who looked Brendel in disgust. Brendel paid no attention to it, walked down the carriage and extended a hand to the count. She hesitated for a while and took his hand to get down.
Everyone’s gaze was onto them as they stepped down. Brendel did not seem to think that those gazes were directed at him, but in reality, he was correct. The people were looking at Dilferi, amazed by her age. And also at her robe, with the three silver linings that proved her identity as the new successor of the Yanbao family.
But amongst everyone, there was at least one who was looking at Brendel.
“It’s you!” Devard who had been silent all along suddenly roared, his voice was so loud it seemed to make people feel like he was using some sort of skill. It reverberated across the hall, and it seems like the floorboards were shaking in response to his rage.
Everyone jumped in shock.
Dilferi was no exception. She had expected Brendel to cause some trouble here, but she did not think that just as they reached. The trouble would have begun. It seems like the promise is broken, she looked at Brendel with a curious look.
Feeling her gaze on himself, Brendel felt a little embarrassed. He shifted his shoulders, Ahh, shit. I didn’t expect him to be here.