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Brendel did not reveal his second and third plan. Those words were not meant to be spoken in front of the Royal Faction. He knew from the start that the fates of the Royal Faction and Princess Gryphine were different. As he turned to leave, he felt that the entire country was shaking, its foundations destroyed by the greedy and deluded nobles. Even though the Royal Faction was composed of the brightest talents, the minds of Makarov, Fleetwood and Oberwei were restricted by their traditional mindset. In other words, they were afraid of change.
The situation was similar to the original history, only by compromising was victory possible. The Royal Faction had a good chance of turning the tables. However, this was not exactly good news for the princess. Brendel had seen her true desire, which unfortunately was one that could not be granted by the nobles of Aouine.
In Brendel’s eyes, the only way was to raze everything to the ground, only then can new life prosper. If those nobles won’t do it, then I will.
Brendel knew that there was no need to repeat his words, and he felt that these people were not worth saving. Freya and him then arrived at Rokshbe Hall.
“Sue!” Freya cried out with glee.
A young lady with almond skin and braided hair stood outside the palace, wearing expensive-looking clothing and a smile on her face. “Miss Freya, you’ve grown taller,” she replied warmly.
“Sue, I need you to deliver this letter to the Naga tribe.” Brendel took out a letter and handed it to Sue. He knew that he could rely on Sue to complete the task successfully.
“Naga?” Freya turned around, her expression one of shock. “ Brendel, I heard that the Naga tribes are pirates that roam the Shining Sea. So you are acquainted with them as well?”
Brendel let out a hearty laugh. “I know all kinds of people, but I’m afraid you wouldn’t know half of them.”
“Hmph, damn noble.” Freya said through gritted teeth.
Sue looked at the both of them, shaking her head in mild exasperation. She stashed the letter away safely. As a lowly bartender’s daughter, she did not care about the country’s future. However, while she was apathetic to the situation, the same could not be said for Freya. Freya raised her head and asked, “Brendel, what is your plan now?”
“I’ve done all that I could. Now I plan to return to Trentheim. Once the princess has allied with Arreck---”
He felt Freya’s suspicious gaze land on him, prompting him to halt his tongue. Am I really that untrustworthy? A bead of sweat trickled down his forehead.
“The truth, Brendel,” Freya said sternly. She knew that he and Romaine were the same type of liars, so she knew he would not let the truth out so easily.
Brendel had the strength to accomplish whatever he wanted to, and he had the determination to see it through. Freya knew all that, and that was probably the reason why he held an irreplaceable place in her heart. Furthermore, she also didn’t want the princess to ally with Arreck.
As a commoner who received a noble’s education, she did not trust most of the nobles.
“Annihilation,” Brendel replied with a single word, but it spoke volumes.
Freya was taken aback, raising her head to look at Brendel.
Brendel did not elaborate any further. The Royal Faction had already given him an answer, and now it was his turn to give his. He loathed trying to argue with the likes of Fleetwood and Makarov, for he knew that they would only listen to the hum of his sword. Once Brendel had found out that the Royal Faction was still bent on continuing on their path, he had already decided to execute the second plan.
He had it all planned out from the start.
He would instigate a war by forcing the subject of military power into the peace talks, which would then lead to the peace talks crumbling, eventually leading to war. Flames would burn the whole city to ashes, and only the truly strong ones would survive. Brendel had participated in this battle before, otherwise known as the Aouine Civil War.
The melodious toll of the bell rang through the city, signaling the start of the meeting. Throughout history, the meeting has always lasted seven days. Within those seven days, nobles would squabble and argue without rest, eventually settling for the best way to resolve disputes --- war.
Amusing Brendel mused to himself.
Brendel heard a voice call out his name. At first, he thought it was Orthylss, but when he turned his head, he saw instead Dilferi arriving at Rokshbe Hall. She was ready for the meeting, with her formal attire and the female knight Niya riding behind her.
She stopped in front of Brendel, glaring at him furiously. “The meeting is going to start soon. What are you doing here?”
Brendel hesitated. He had already decided to start a war, whether or not the meeting this time went smoothly did not concern him at all. And didn’t she say for us to go our own ways once they reached the palace?
Brendel looked at Dilferi in confusion.
Dilferi said through clenched teeth. “You are a vassal of my family. If you don't attend the meeting, you’re only causing us to lose face.”
Freya stared at Brendel with suspicion. Her eyes told Brendel a message. Didn’t you say you needed my help getting into the castle? Brendel noticed her innocent gaze. He was troubled by Freya’s persistence. However, he knew that it wasn’t the time to explain things, and now that Dilferi had spoken up, not attending the meeting would only cast more suspicion upon himself. He still had to stay in Ampere Seale for a few more days, so he could not let his cover be blown.
Brendel shook his head and walked towards Dilferi, He looked at Dilferi in the eye, asking, “Miss, are you insane? Are you not afraid that you might be labeled as an Evil Cultist too?”
Dilferi rolled her eyes, a hint of red appearing on her cheeks. “You’ve already brought me so much trouble already. Now that I managed to get you to the meeting, don’t tell me that you’re trying to bail out?”
“Could it be that you’re afraid of crowds?” Brendel took a look at Dilferi’s flushed face and asked.
“So what if I am?” Dilferi stuck her nose in the air. “You are a Sword Saint, after all. I feel safer with you by my side.”
Brendel took a deep breath, suddenly realizing that this meeting might be worth attending. The attitude of Arreck and the Holy Cathedral towards the Royal Faction had already deviated from the original history, so perhaps there might be some unexpected changes this time.
The Ampere Seale Meeting was famous throughout the world. Because it was implemented early in the game, only a few players could attend this meeting. Brendel used to be one of the bystanders, and he did not think that there would be a day when he would actually be attending the meeting.
The meeting was held in a circular hall. The tables were populated by famous, talented and influential people from the entire country. There was no light source in the hall, only the noon sun illuminated the chamber through a hole in the ceiling. The dust in the air reflected the sun’s shine, making it hard for Brendel to make out the nobles’ faces.
Brendel and Dilferi sat down together while Niya stood beside them as the bodyguard. After some time, Brendel’s eyes adjusted to the dark and he started to make out the faces of some of the nobles. Princess Gryphine and the Royal Faction sat all the way at the northern edge. When he saw her looking back at him, his heart shook a little.
On the other side of the room were the stone-faced Duke Arreck and his followers. This old fox sure is experienced, his facial expressions are not telling me anything. And beside him is Marquis Balta… But why is Balta looking so nervous??
There was another person that caught Brendel’s eye, a stern middle-aged man who looked like someone who would never yield to anyone. Brendel immediately recognized him. He must be Count Janilasu, commander of the Royal Fleet and captain of the Furlong Flagship. Count Janilasu was an avid supporter of the old king, yet he was not part of the current Royal Faction.
He wasn’t here in the morning. Brendel noted. Must’ve been tied up by some other engagements.
Brendel made a mental note to remember all the important nobles. He saw the bearded face of Count Vitokin and the greying Count Cordo. As his eyes continued to sweep the room, they stopped on a group of knights in green uniform.
“Shit,” muttered Brendel under his breath. Those were not normal knights, they were Highland Knights.
To make things worse, when Brendel looked at them, the leader of their group turned around to meet his gaze. The Highland Knight gave a slight smile. Brendel knew that his cover as a Highland Knight could trick nearly everyone, but that it wouldn’t work against the Highland Knights themselves. Brendel’s mind was racing, trying to figure out what the smile meant.
The Highland Knights were rarely seen outside of the Karsuk province. Duke Karsuk was a man who disliked politics, to the point where he did not want to come personally to attend the meeting, thus he sent a few knights to represent him. But why did he have to send Highland Knights? Aren’t the officials in Karsuk who are in charge of relations mostly mages? Brendel grumbled to himself.
The guilt in his heart caused him to shift his eyes away, only for them to fall upon Duke Viero’s envoys. The current Duke of Viero’s attitude was the same as Duke Karsuk. Duke Viero currently had a feud with Count Radner, which was actually caused by Brendel. He did not care whether the seat of power belonged to the Holy Cathedral of Fire or the Royal Faction. And even his envoys were a ragtag group of nobodies.
For the exact same reason, Count Radner was absent too. One could say that because of Brendel, two important people did not attend the meeting. Because of that, the meeting could already be considered a failure. This whole scene made Brendel feel a surge of pride.
I don’t know how things are like on the Holy Cathedral’s end, but I can say that history has been altered, right?
Duke Grinoires was present as expected, but Brendel knew he was only here to stir up some trouble. If Brendel did not remember about the object he had stolen from Duke Grinoires, he would have forgotten about the duke’s existence.
Duke Seifer was also present in person, as for Prince Luke, he was nowhere to be found. Brendel narrowed his eyes in suspicion. If House Seifer has arrived, then House Covardo should let the eldest prince represent their house. If he isn’t here, then that duty is automatically defected to Princess Gryphine. Why would House Seifer make such a mistake? Is it because of this morning’s incident?
That whole assassination ploy was set up by you guys, stop acting innocent! Brendel thought.
At that moment, the final three members arrived.
Brendel first recognized the consul of Ampere Seale, but he wasn’t surprised. It was expected that he would be present considering his job. What Brendel was more interested in was the Holy Cathedral’s chosen representative. First came the bishop who was presiding over the meeting. This person was of no importance, but the person who came after, the representative for the Holy Cathedral of Fire, made Brendel’s eyes go wide.
He’s finally here.
Brendel’s heart was thumping in his chest. The figure that walked through the door was the head of Anderla Cathedral and the Archbishop of Ampere Seale. But it was not Wood who walked through the door. Instead, Brendel saw a pair of sunken eyes and a hooked nose on a cold expressionless face. He was Archbishop Moros, representing the Holy Cathedral, and the man who would succeed Archbishop Wood in two months time.
How can this be?! How could Moros have reached Ampere Seale so quickly? Brendel had a sudden realization. He now understood why the Holy Cathedral had changed their stance. Since Moros was already part of Anderla Cathedral, it meant that Kirrlutz was ready to interfere with Aouine’s politics.
Wood must have run into some trouble. Brendel’s first thought was of Wood, but he knew that it wasn’t the time to be worrying about other people. The problem now was why did Moros appear so early? In the original history the Meeting of Ampere Seale was presided by Archbishop Wood.
Brendel could not comprehend what was happening. Why are things so different from before? What is causing this to happen?