The glass window shattered, scattering in the air like butterflies. The Evil Cultists swamped the room. Some of them were wearing monks’ habits while others sported uniforms of the nobles’ soldiers. However, one could tell their allegiance by the stony unmoving expression on their faces and the blades in their hands that gleamed with a frosty light. Two hundred years ago, the nobles of Aouine who often followed King Erik into battle would have had no problem dealing with these cultists; however most of them now only cared for drinking and enjoying the pleasures of life, against the forces of the Evil Cultists they could only cower in a corner, screaming and stumbling in panic.
Amongst the nobles, only one person stood firm. The princess was unmoving, like a boulder against the tides. The nobles remembered how fearsome the members of the Royal Family were, and they slowly backed away from Princess Gryphine. Arreck and the other Dukes were also in a pinch, but that was precisely why they were on full alert. The Cultists were like tigers going through a herd of sheep, waving their swords around, leaving a trail of bodies and blood as screams of pain filled the room.
The half-elf wore an expressionless mask, but her heart was burning with fury. How dare these inhumane creatures to harm my father’s subjects! She was furious at the Holy Cathedral for not doing anything. She held the arm of the wolf knight beside her. “Baron Oberwei.”
“Your Highness, I know what your wish is, but please hold your order and get to safety immediately. This area is under the jurisdiction of the Holy Cathedral, you need not interfere.”
“The people of the kingdom are being killed right now. Since when Aouine listen to outsiders from Kirrlutz like you?” Princess Gryphine replied angrily. At that moment, her aura was like a sword unsheathed, freezing Makarov in place just as he was about to speak. The sly fox paused, thinking that the princess truly lived up to her reputation, and he was nearly fooled by her regal appearance.
“Baron Oberwei, make way!” Gryphine’s expression moved not once. She took a blade from one of her guard’s hands, her movements graceful and precise.
The nobles immediately moved out of the way, revealing the horde of Evil Cultists. Makarov could not suppress his yelp. He had just realized that most of the cultists were already at peak Silver Rank, with some of them already in Gold Rank.
However, retreating now was not a realistic option. Thus, the sly fox yelled out, “Oberwei, get the princess out of here, we’ll handle this place!”
Before he could finish his sentence, the shadow of a broadsword blotted his eyes.
“Oh, where did you get that blade from?” Everyone was shocked when they saw Brendel pull out a sword from under his cape. No one was allowed to bring weapons, so Fleetwood, Oberwei, Makarov and the others were unarmed. Yet, this person was able to pull out this massive weapon from nowhere, causing the nobles to wonder if the guards of the Holy Cathedral were even doing their job at all.
What they did not know was that Brendel possessed the Dimension Space that he had inherited from Amman. With such an artifact, he could even fit a gigantic crossbow into it, needless to say, the Halran Gaia would have fitted into it.
Brendel paid them no attention, and rightfully so as he felt a presence in the air before him. He stepped in front of the princess and swung his sword. Everyone else was confused at his actions until they heard his sword strike steel. The air distorted and the assassin appeared, wearing grey clothes and wielding a sword.
The assassin was also shocked, surprised that he had been exposed.
“Invisibility magic!” Makarov’s eyes widened.
Fleetwood remained silent. He could tell that it was no magic, but it was some other power at work. As a person who had stepped into the realm of Elemental Awakening, he had a plethora of detection magic, a simple invisibility spell would not be able to hide from his eyes. Somehow, the assassin that had managed to elude his detection was exposed by Brendel. How did this person manage to do so? Fleetwood eyed Brendel, a deep sense of distrust welling up in his heart.
Brendel had actually encountered these assassins before. What bothered him was that the assassin was a member of the Assassins of the Cross, who were not affiliated with the Evil Cultists in any way. Rather, they were special soldiers produced by another duchy in Kirrlutz. They’re probably sent by the Holy Cathedral of Fire.
As his mind worked, Brendel did not let his hands rest either. After parrying the assassin’s blade, he immediately followed up with a downward slash. This style of swordplay deviated greatly from the norm. The assassin’s mistake was not realizing Brendel’s ability. The assassin failed to raise his blade in time and was cut in half by a stroke of Brendel’s sword.
Blood and guts splattered everywhere, and the Evil Cultists dropped their swords in fear. Oberwei stared at Brendel with awe, while Makarov and Fleetwood sucked in a rattling breath. They had more or less been exposed to the fighting style of the rebels thanks to Maynild and Freya, but it was the first time they saw such an honest style of swordsmanship.
“You’re Brendel, Brendel of Trentheim aren’t you?!” The insightful princess already had her suspicions when she saw the Halran Gaia, now that she had seen his swordsmanship, she had no doubt that he was Brendel.
A startled Brendel turned around to look at the future ruler of Aouine. Gryphine’s soft features held a glimmer of hope, when he thought of her future, his heart softened and nodded his head. The half-elf was silent for a while. The knight on her letters had once joked about coming to Ampere Seale just to protect her. At first, she thought it was just a joke, never could she have imagined that her unknown knight would have actually come.
“You’re here.. You’re actually here…”
“Of course I am. I take my word seriously.” Brendel replied as he turned to face the approaching cultists.
“Did you come for me?” Gryphine asked softly. It was nothing to be ashamed of. The knight riding into battle for the sake of a beautiful princess, such went the romantic tale. This plot was well-known throughout the world in fairytales, furthermore, Gryphine was confident of her appearance. However, Makarov and Fleetwood frowned.
“Perhaps there is such a reason.” Brendel hesitated for a moment before deciding to tell the truth. “But this time, I came for Aouine.”
“For Aouine?” confusion was evident on the princess’s face.
“I do not believe that anyone else can raise the flag of King Erik once more,” Brendel replied while raising his sword. “The flag represents glory, how can I let the hands of the filthy and corrupted taint it?”
The half-elf let out a small smile and nodded her head, her eyes gleaming with hope.
“We’ll talk later.” Brendel looked towards the approaching Evil Cultists with a serious gaze. At that moment, Brendel realized what was happening. There were much lesser cultists attacking Arreck and Seifer compared to the ones who were coming straight for him. Brendel sneered internally. If he were not present, then the princess might have been in real danger.
In this situation, the court mages were no better than foot soldiers without their preparations, and Makarov and Fleetwood were no match for these ‘assassins’ while unarmed. Brendel concluded that the enemy must have predicted that the princess would stay behind and planned to strike at that moment. This was not the work of Evil Cultists, this was a coup d’etat that had been planned. The gears in Brendel’s head started turning, trying to figure who was the mastermind. He even started to suspect Archbishop Wood.
According to Brendel’s knowledge of history, such an event had never happened during the meeting in Ampere Seale. History had been altered, and Brendel had absolutely no idea why. However, he kept his calm demeanor. The cultists thought that victory was their because they had the numbers, what they did not know was that Brendel excelled at dealing with large groups of enemies. He looked at Duke Arreck and Duke Seifer from the corner of his eyes. Even though he did not know the full truth of this matter, he knew that the two dukes must have been behind this plan among others. He let out a grin. If that’s how you want to play, then I’ll gladly reciprocate.
At that moment, there were already eight cultists who were of Gold Rank, which was very impressive in Aouine. It was equivalent to half the total strength of all the candidates to the throne. No one believed that they could win, including Brendel and Oberwei, after all there were only three Gold Rankers on the princess’s side.
"Brendel, can you buy me some time? I can summon the… the thing from that night,” Dilferi grabbed Brendel's sleeve and whispered.
Brendel felt a wave of sympathy as he looked at Dilferi's pale complexion. "If you summon that thing, the Holy Cathedral will come looking for you."
"Don't worry about me, I still can summon other beings," replied Dilferi. "If I don't summon them now, we will all die here."
"It's too bad I don't have my staff." Fleetwood couldn't suppress the frustration in his voice. "If I had it, dealing with these people would be no problem at all. But since this is our situation, if you can buy this old man a few minutes, I can get rid of them easily." The old man silently cursed the Holy Cathedral of Fire. If it weren't for the oath the Holy Cathedral forced him to take, he would only need minimal preparation even if he did not have his staff.
"Even a few minutes is impossible," Makarov shook his head. "However, we might stand a chance if we had weapons." He gave Brendel a look. Just as Brendel thought that the sly old fox was going to sell him out, he merely sighed and changed the topic. "Brendel, how is Scarlet?"
Brendel was taken aback for a moment. "She's doing well. She's also here in the city this time."
"You shouldn't have brought her here," Makarov shook his head. "Ah well, I'm in no position to preach to others. We may have only met once, but please help the princess this time. Get the princess and countess out of here, and you can leave this place to me."
Brendel was momentarily stunned before he realized the old man's plan. Makarov must have realized his talent. Brendel had a good relationship with the Royal Family, furthermore he was a genius who had already attained Gold Rank before the age of 20. The sly fox knew that Brendel still had the potential to grow and that he would be a great ally to the princess, so he was willing to sacrifice himself to help Brendel escape. Brendel had the feeling that if he weren't a prodigy, Makarov would not hesitate in sacrificing him.
Even so, the old fox's actions moved him. Brendel felt that anyone who had perseverance was worthy of his respect. The members of the Royal Faction did not have any cowards. Brendel felt a wave of nostalgia, bringing him back to when he was fighting with his friends for the sake of Aouine.
Brendel felt his blood start to boil. He smiled, "There is no need to do so, Mr Fox."
"Oh?" Makarov was stunned. He turned around just in time to see Brendel open two doors of light.
"Andrea, Morpheus, kill them!"
Brendel brandished his Halran Gaia, and Elemental Energy manifested in the form of invisible waves in the air. Everyone else gasped in surprise. Reaching Gold Rank was a completely different matter from overcoming the barrier of becoming an Elemental Awakener. Only the most talented people could become one, while the others were stuck at the peak of Gold Rank, not being able to understand the core to become one. Brendel was obviously part of the former
From the doors of light walked out two silver silhouettes, and the tables of the battlefield were turned.