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The cavalry wore black armor over dark blue shirts. White collars stuck out from their armor, held together by bronze buttons. They wore helmets - ones that reminded Brendel of the Spanish ones back in his old world. This was the standard uniform of the Aouine cavalry, which meant that they were part of the official army, not some random group of mercenaries or private guards. They did not bear any spears or halberds, but instead, longswords hung from the scabbards at their hips and crossbows were slung across their saddles.
This group of twenty men took up the whole street. Everyone else nearby stood at the side, as they did not dare to cross the soldiers, and even carriages had to stop to let them conclude their business.
Brendel quickly understood the situation. These soldiers had shot down their horses simply because the carriage did not bear the insignia of a noble, and the driver had not stopped the carriage fast enough. Brendel’s heart burned with frustration. He had refrained himself from insulting the likes of Duke Arreck and Duke Seifer during the conference, yet here he was being trampled on by a few lowly soldiers.
“They’re the cavalry unit of the Black Blade Squad.” Amandina squeezed his arm, alarmed at the situation.
Brendel had already identified the trash. The Black Blade Squad was originally the king’s Royal Guard, underneath the lead of Count Vitokin. And although Gryphine’s mother had done the Count lots of favors, the traitor still defected to House Seifer along with the eldest prince. To make matters worse, the Black Blade Squad had decided to follow him like a bunch of headless chickens. Even though they too had been treated well by House Covardo. Unfortunately for King Oberg the Seventh, he had raised a group of traitorous turncoats.
When Brendel saw the purple plume on the opposing group’s helmets, he knew that they were The Rangers, the elites of the Black Blade Squad. In fact, one could already tell by the Earth Drakes that they were riding on, that they were a prestigious Squad. These men must be the personal guard of Count Vitokin. Brendel narrowed his eyes, searching relentlessly for that bastard.
“You have gone too far!” Magadal helped the wounded driver to his feet while staring at the soldiers with rage.
“Too far?” The soldiers laughed at Magadal’s response. There were even a few of them who looked at both Magadal and Amandina lecherously. They did not dare to do anything reckless in front of the Holy Cathedral, but Brendel knew that these soldiers might employ any sort of underhanded methods. “Missy, we were just teaching him some manners,” replied one of the soldiers.
“You…! Very well-” Magadal’s face was flushed with anger. She was going to announce who she was, but Brendel acted. After determining that Count Vitokin was not present, he did not want to waste any more time talking to the trash in front of him. He rapped Halran Gaia against the ground, and the earth started to ripple. These ripples traveled through the earth towards The Rangers, growing larger with each passing inch.
Before The Rangers could react, the waves had already reached the ground beneath the Earth Drakes, causing them to lose balance. The riders soon collapsed along with their Earth Drakes. Some of them were even crushed beneath their massive mounts, resulting in broken limbs.
Earth Drakes were extremely precious to Aouine’s army. There were only three hundred of them in the entire Black Blade Squad. To The Rangers, the Earth Drakes were undoubtedly their most precious and valuable companion. Not one among them had imagined that their mounts would have fallen before a battle had started, at the hands of a random stranger no less. The Rangers were extremely enraged, preparing to gang up on Brendel to teach him a lesson.
Brendel looked on calmly as the soldiers unsheathed their swords. While he did not wish to take a life so easily, he told himself that he would not hesitate if they attacked. Just before the battle erupted, a voice cut through the air, “Everyone stop!”
The soldiers snapped out of their enraged stupor. Their swords were already out of their scabbards and their bodies poised to rush forward, yet that voice managed to make the soldiers sheath their swords. Brendel was surprised at the scene. He could tell that the voice belonged to that of a young man, so he knew it wasn’t Count Vitokin. To be able to command this group of soldiers so well… I’m afraid even Count Vitokin’s son wouldn’t be able to do it. Brendel thought to himself, commending whoever’s voice it was who held such authority.
Brendel knew that of the famous war heroes of Aouine in the future, most of them would start appearing at this time. Knowing that this person probably held great power in the army, if Brendel could remember that he would be a threat in the future, then he would get rid of him right this instant.
Steeling his resolve, Brendel looked up to see the approaching figure. The sea of soldiers parted to reveal, just as Brendel had guessed, a young man. Brendel found that the only way to describe him was beautiful. Since when did this generation’s genes become so superior? Brendel was slightly envious of this person. While he thought that his own looks were still serviceable, just looking at the newcomer’s features made him feel inferior.
The young man gave his soldiers a look before approaching Magadal. He bowed and said, “Princess Magadal, please forgive my subordinates' reckless behavior. They only acted as they did because there was no noble’s insignia on the carriage, so they thought you were commoners. Please accept my apologies.”
Brendel felt even more pissed off at his apology. So you’re telling me that it would have been fine as long as we were commoners?! However, Magadal was not fuming in rage like he was. She replied curtly, “Please tighten the leash on your soldiers. That is your duty. Do not bring shame to the name of Aouine, Viscount Von Dougning.”
After hearing her words, Viscount Von Dougning’s expression immediately darkened. He gave Brendel a hateful stare. “Then how should we deal with this problem right now? This man just injured my troops and my Earth Drakes. To attack the Earth Drakes of the Royal Guards is no light matter, princess. Would you care to explain?”
Magadal frowned, any slight goodwill that she had for this person immediately evaporated. She had thought he was a reasonable person, but apparently he was also a hot-headed and stubborn man. Brendel was her guest, so she would not hand him over. In fact, she was so kind that she would gladly do this even for a stranger.
Before she could form a reply, Brendel had already spoken with his eyes glinting. “Good sir, it seems that you won’t be letting this go easily. So, would you like to settle things privately or publicly?”
He had already identified who the newcomer was. Viscount Von Dougning was one of the nobles underneath Count Vitokin’s tutelage and a well-known genius in history who had found his fame during the war with the Lion Beastmen. He had risen to fame earlier than Brendel, and the Royal Faction had high hopes for him. Even Princess Gryphine had taken an interest in his feats. However, he had followed Vitokin and the eldest prince when they defected to House Seifer. This shining star of the future had instead become a weapon against the Royal Faction.
Freya had once told Brendel that the three most outstanding youngsters in Princess Gryphine’s Royal Cavalry Academy were Bennett, Rouka, and Enrique. The latter two would have been known as heroes alongside Freya. Freya would be known as the War Goddess, Rouka as Aouine’s Master Strategist, and Enrique, who would become a Sword Saint in the future, would become Gryphine’s personal guard as well. However, Enrique still had a long way to go before claiming that title.
Brendel did not expect for Bennett to be among the top talents within the academy. His war tactics were more mediocre than Rouka’s, just like his swordplay was compared to Enrique’s, yet his final score was better than the both of them. If Brendel hadn’t changed history, then Bennett would have died at Bucce. Such a talented genius perishing at the hands of Madara, it would have been such a shame.
However, what was even more pitiful was the relationship between Brendel and Bennett. Brendel knew that Bennett had feelings for Freya, but anyone could see that Freya only had eyes for Brendel. This had spurred Bennett to look at Brendel as his rival. What a pain in the ass…
However, those three geniuses would take time to grow, and as of right now, none of them could compare to Viscount Von Dougning. He already had a few years of battle experience underneath his belt, while Bennett and the others were always in the academy. Freya had once heard Maynild say that if there was a real fight, even she herself would barely be able to hold him off.
Brendel suppressed his killing intent. He knew that soon a mere country bumpkin would defeat ‘The Kingdom’s Greatest Genius’, and that would be the beginning of The Legend of Aouine’s War Goddess. This person would serve as Freya’s first stepping stone.
Brendel had no plans to get rid of the ignorant fool today.
“Oh?” Von Dougning paused for a moment. “What do you mean by that?”
“It means what it means. Didn’t you just say that I attacked the Royal Family’s Royal Guards? Perhaps I did, but I’d like to ask which of you down there are from that private army? If you can prove your identity, then I will willingly pay for the damages,” Brendel smiled as he replied.
Viscount Von Dougning’s mind went blank. Who is the true monarch right now? Unfortunately, this matter is supposed to be settled at the conference, and not by them. Though even if the monarch had been selected, the war would have started, so the Black Blade Squad’s hands would have been too full to deal with Brendel.
“... Perhaps we could settle this privately.” Viscount Von Dougning replied hastily, not wanting to offend his might-be rulers.
“Is that so?” Brendel took off his white gloves calmly, holding it out towards Viscount Von Dougning. “That would not be a problem either. However, your underlings wrecked my carriage, and I injured your Earth Drakes. For both our pride’s sake, let’s duel like most nobles do.”
“Ah?” Viscount Von Dougning’s expression turned sour immediately. He was only planning to make Brendel suffer a little bit by using the Black Blade Squad’s name. He never thought that Brendel would actually challenge him to a duel.
The Nun Princess could not refrain from laughing at Brendel’s antics. Brendel had already surpassed Gold Rank, and he was an Elemental Awakened swordsman. While other spectators might not have known about his true prowess, his skill with the sword was widely recognized. Viscount Von Dougning had definitely heard of him before. This was also the reason Brendel chose to challenge him to a duel, in order to show that he was not to be messed with.
Magadal could not think of Brendel as being arrogant, rather she thought that this Highland Knight’s methods were interesting. She was eagerly waiting for the scene to unfold before her.
Amandina, on the other hand, shook her head. Are these idiots really trying to pick a fight with Brendel? Brendel has never once taken an insult lying down.
Viscount Von Dougning’s reaction was as expected by Brendel. While he was considered a genius for his age, it was impossible for him, a Silver Ranker, to defeat Brendel. He would only be courting death if he accepted the challenge.
Yet he could not reject the challenge. To decline a duel in this manner would bring shame upon his name, and to make things worse, Von Dougning had also dragged the Black Blade Squad’s name into the matter. Viscount Von Dougning started panicking.
Brendel leaned on the Halran Gaia, looking at the poor fool leisurely. Those are some interesting expressions. The way his face changes color is just like that of a chameleon.
Magadal decided it was time to intervene. She knew that Brendel merely wanted to toy with Von Dougning, he wasn’t that serious about the duel. She looked at Von Dougning and sighed. You reap what you sow.
“Let it go, Brendel. This place is Saint Pino Plaza, the Archbishop of the Anderla Cathedral ordered the construction of this plaza to commemorate the peace between Aouine and Kirrlutz. No fighting is allowed here,” she reminded him.
“Exactly!” Von Dougning suddenly thought that the princess’s voice was extremely melodious. “Because of that, our duel cannot take place.”
“There’s such a rule?” Brendel looked back at Magadal, only to see her wink at him. Brendel chuckled to himself. So this princess isn’t so dull after all. “So be it. Since we can’t settle our feud now, we should take this matter elsewhere.”
Viscount Von Dougning went pale again, replying hastily, “Then let it be after the conference has ended.” He knew that the Conference of Ampere Seale would still take a very long time to conclude, so he could only drag this matter out for as long as possible. Furthermore, once the conference has concluded, the war would begin. He would not have to deal with Brendel once he had been sent to the army.
Knowing this, he dared not tally any longer. After finishing his sentence, he immediately ran away with his tail between his legs.
Brendel shook his head. “Youngsters…”
Amandina was rolling her eyes to the side. The auction house manager, who had arrived prior, finally walked up to Brendel. When he saw Brendel and Princess Magadal facing off against the Black Blade Squad, he did not dare to lightly step in between them. He knew that it was not right of him to stand by idly, after all both Brendel and Magadal were his esteemed guests. Therefore, he walked up to them and said guiltily, “Are the both of you fine? That person has always been arrogant, please don’t mind him too much. The VIP room has been prepared, would both of you like to enter now?”
Magadal understood his situation and didn’t want to burden him, so she looked towards Brendel. He nodded his head.