Across the rain-soaked woodland, Brendel met Archbishop Wood while accompanied by Freya. This was the second time he had seen this Archbishop of the Holy Cathedral of Fire since Ampere Seale. When he saw Mephisto standing beside Archbishop Wood, Brendel hurriedly curtsied, "Teacher."
Although Sanorso passed down the Nine Luminaries Sword Art to him, Mephisto had also taught him quite a few practical combat skills. Nominally they also had the status of teacher and student, and the Wind Empress didn't object to this.
Archbishop Wood looked slightly surprised at Mephisto, "So that’s how it is, you have admitted a good student."
Brendel raised his head and saw several Paladins in red robes, and couldn't help but squint, guessing what Archbishop Wood was coming for. But Archbishop Wood had incurred him a big loss using the name of Tulman, a lesson Brendel would never forget.
Seeing Brendel's expression, the Archbishop of the Holy Cathedral of Fire smiled awkwardly, "It seems that Mr. Brendel has become prejudiced against me." He held back the shock in his heart. Williams had brought ten Paladins and even if the Konolia fleet was stopped by Aouine’s royal fleet, they wouldn’t have been wiped out instantly, not to mention they had the White Winged Knights’ assistance. Even so, all he had seen were the Kirrlutz people who were tied up and looked dejected, and the White Winged Knights’ banner that was thrown into the muddy water.
Not knowing whether the Holy Cathedral had long been too covetous for an easy life or whether its enemies were too powerful, Archbishop Wood looked at the young man in front of him and a deep unease welled up in his heart.
"The proverb that elves 'each do his own' is clear in the Lord Archbishop's mind," Brendel replied.
"Haha," Archbishop Wood laughed bitterly. "So today, I’m here to taste the bitter fruit that I planted last time. But Mr. Brendel knows it in his heart that it is not a preconceived notion that the Holy Cathedral always needs a stable Aouine."
"So you've chosen the northern aristocracy?" Brendel said in an aggressive tone. Even his eyebrows were raised. In the position of a Kirrlutzan, what Archbishop Wood said was right, but Brendel didn't have to put himself in the position of an enemy. He didn't have that kind of a heart. "Kirrlutz or Aouine citizens, they are all descendants of the Flame King and have to maintain the glory. The Seifer royal family lost their throne long ago. After the O'Casey siblings lost the Lionheart Sword, the nobles made a vow to abdicate Hessian the First and promised that his heirs would no longer covet the throne. Therefore Aouine today has no heir other than Prince Haruz."
"I admit that the Holy Cathedral could have put more consideration into this matter and that Archbishop Moros was a little too bent on the matter for me to stop him." Archbishop Wood replied with a sigh.
Brendel watched as Archbishop Wood sullied the name of the already dead Archbishop Moros. Archbishop Wood and Williams were not the same. It was the move of a typical pragmatist, but the other side had backed down in a way by saying so. This made him feel somewhat alarmed, as the Holy Cathedral of Fire had compromised almost unnecessarily.
He stared warily at Archbishop Wood.
The Archbishop of the Holy Cathedral of Fire smiled again bitterly, "You do not have to be so suspicious. It is in place of the Holy Cathedral of Fire that I have come to ask for peace from Her Highness Princess Gryphine."
"Ah." Behind Brendel, Freya couldn't help but let out a soft whimper.
It was really Brendel's turn to be surprised, Is it just for the Konolian fleet? But isn't the reputation of the Empire more important than a local fleet? They would make for a formidable opponent if the Kirrlutz really thought so. But another possibility occurred to Brendel.
"Williams is dead."
"Did he die by your hand?" Wood was stunned.
"Exactly." Brendel nodded, it was a secret he couldn't hide, and besides, Mephisto was on the sidelines, and he wasn't worried about the Kirrlutz turning their backs against him.
The Archbishop of the Holy Cathedral of Fire went silent, "It is indeed a problem," he muttered, "But it is not out of the question that Williams was short-tempered, arrogant, and never listened to other people which ended up causing his own death."
"What?" Brendel almost thought he had misheard.
"Brendel, the Kirrlutz people just don't have the skills to go around biting people, like the dog that fell into the pond for a bone, and they can't even protect themselves. However we also have a problem, but now you can tell them the terms." Mephisto finally spoke, and as soon as he did, the knight behind Wood glared at him.
"Can’t even protect themselves?"
"Mr. Brendel, I wish for the Princess to give up the pursuit of the Konolian fleet." Wood said.
"That's impossible," Brendel refused forcefully, though he paused and asked again, "What about the terms?"
Wood smiled, and sure enough, as he had expected, the real mastermind on the Princess' side was this young man. But what made him feel uneasy was that he and they were the same human beings, and only the Holy Cathedral was going to bleed greatly this time. "We can get the nobles of the north to cede Ampere Seale."
"You mean we also have to make peace with these attempted usurpers? If we wipe out the Konolian fleet, we can ride north just as well."
Wood was already well aware of the way people like Brendel ran things; they must have considered the outcome before giving such an order, so he would not use the retaliation of the Holy Cathedral of Fire as vain intimidation, it would be pointless. He thought about it for a while and said, "As you said, the Covardo royal family should continue to hold the throne, but there are many aristocrats in the north and it will take time to eliminate their suspicions. It is better for Erik to be able to unite the country peacefully than to confront."
Brendel looked at the Archbishop of the Holy Cathedral of Fire in a surprised manner as he heard his underlying meaning. Wood meant to acknowledge the rule of the Covardo royal family so that the north would have no de facto basis and the civil unrest in the kingdom would disappear.
But this is a bit too easy, and the Holy Cathedral will compromise so thoroughly? If the remaining troops in the north are not strong enough to fight the princess, it will be a failure, since the Kirrlutz people would still be stubborn. Is this another trap? He couldn't help but heavily doubt it.
"Mr. Brendel, you have no need to suspect that this is another deception. I'll tell you the reason why and once you listen you'll understand that the reason lies upon Archbishop Moros."
"You should know that he killed Princess Magadal."
"No, wait," Brendel suddenly reacted, and a very frightening possibility occurred to him. "Wasn't it because Princess Magadal saw through your secrets that led to her being silenced?"
Wood gave off a ghastly expression. "How could the Holy Cathedral do such a thing, not to mention she never knew about the Holy Cathedral’s plans. Williams was transferred from the Main Cathedral along with a request for Imperial reinforcements. But it was a spur of the moment decision according to Moros's letter, no outsider knew it except Moros himself."
"That is to say, what if what the Princess saw through was another secret?"
"I'm afraid that's exactly what's going on," said Wood with a full gaze, "Mr. Brendel, I'm afraid that Moros is an undercover agent for the All for One organization."
"Ah!" Brendel couldn't help but exclaim. "So you're saying you guys opened the Door of Flame of the Holy Cathedral within Ampere Seale’s Port?" Seeing that Wood was looking at him with a serious expression, he understood that he didn't need to continue.
At that moment, Brendel felt as if his head had been doused with cold water.
Things are getting serious.
He finally understood why Wood had come to him to negotiate for peace. Turns out the whole thing was a huge conspiracy. If Moros had been a spy for the All for One organization, then he had known for a long time that the Holy Cathedral of Fire would place the Door of Flame in Ampere Seale, and perhaps he might even be the one who guided it to this outcome, as All for One’s targets were those Doors of Flame.
The Door of Flame was a giant teleportation array. The core of the teleportation array specifies the target of the teleportation, but the array itself has no intelligence and can be used to connect to other places with a few modifications to it.
For example, the Devil's Lair at Sulfur River.
Brendel felt shivers down his spine.
“Romaine said she discovered a trap and that she wanted to come to help you.” At the time, it was what Amadina first said when meeting him. He thought she was talking about the Holy Cathedral’s ploy. He was angry at her childishness, but at this moment he suddenly realized that Miss Merchant probably knew what she was up against—she knew about the plot that he was not aware of.
For the first time, Brendel felt extremely uneasy. A certain kind of thought even arose that he was in danger of forever losing that lovely person who stood unwavering by his side.
This thought, once thought of, could not be suppressed, making him feel colder every moment he stood in the rain. Starting with Bucce, Brendel knew there was at least one person in the world who would be with him forever, and he could unabashedly pinch her cheeks and call her a fool, and she would give him an angry look and raise a cheeky temper.
But he would never forget that promise that she had said to him that night.
"Why don't you go over there?" It had looked as if Miss Merchant was still sitting on the rock with her hands clutching her bag sitting on her leather-skirted knees, a pair of round-toed leather shoes swinging back and forth.
"They don’t even like me."
"Auntie and I are both strange people in their eyes. Besides, when have you seen ordinary girls who want to be businessmen? So it's normal to be unappealing."
"I haven't seen them, my aunt has been by my side for as long as I can remember. Auntie said, ‘Little Romaine, when you grow up, you must repay me well!’"
"So that’s why you want to be a businesswoman?"
"That's a weird way of thinking."
From that moment on, Brendel understood that he was deeply in love with that eccentric maiden. Because they shared a certain quality, even though he was not an eccentric person in the eyes of people around him, they both shared a common goal.
She's going to be a big businessman, and he's going to save Aouine. These are all weird goals that regular people can't imagine, but it’s okay—
It’s fine as long as the promise has been made.
"Brendel, Romaine is…" echoed Freya, the simple-minded girl from the Bucce country worried about her best partner even before Brendel did.
But Brendel gave her a reassuring look, though he was feeling shivers all over his body,
"Archbishop Wood, are you able to control those Doors of Flame?" He asked with the hope of getting lucky.
"Mr. Brendel, there’s no need to speculate, we lost them just before rushing here. All for One will connect them to the area under Jorgendy Ridge. You should know where that place is."
"The Sulfur River," Brendel replied through gritted teeth. "So what do I do? Order a halt to the pursuit of the Konolian fleet, and then turn around again to engage the demons of Jorgendy Ridge, here, in the land of Aouine?" He couldn't help but blurt out, "Look what you did, Kirrlutzan bastards! What kind of bullshit is the Holy Cathedral of Fire?"
It was the first time Freya had seen Brendel so angry and she was so scared that her face went pale. The last time he had gotten so mad was in Riedon Fortress (glossary was the other way around), but she hadn’t been there.
"That’s a proper scolding," replied Mephisto, "You’re finally showing signs of manliness."
Wood was speechless, and it was an indisputable fact that the Holy Cathedral of Flame and even the Four Holy Cathedrals had been infiltrated by the cultists. It was just that the state of affairs had never exceeded their anticipation as it had today, and this time the Holy Cathedral of Fire was truly a disgrace to the heavens, even bigger of a disgrace than the Kirrlutzan fleet being defeated by Brendel. "We will fight alongside you." That was all he could say.
Brendel let out a suppressed laugh, he didn't trust these Kirrlutz people at all. If he had known earlier that Moros was the undercover spy of All for One, he might have guessed the other's intentions the first moment he saw those portals. It's just a shame that throughout history Moros missed out on this opportunity so no war took place in Ampere Seale and that the Kirrlutz didn't build the Doors of Flame in Aouine until after his tenure.
Later, Moros had returned to Kirrlutz, and Brendel also went north to Sanorso and the Great Priest Farnezian. Then news of the Holy Cathedral of Fire gradually faded from his memory.
And he had also forever missed the opportunity to identify Moros.
"Alright" Brendel concluded, "I will convince Her Royal Highness to call off the pursuit of the Kirrultzan fleet, but you must also convince the Northern Coalition Army to join our camp. If the situation is allowed to develop in this manner, you know better than me what kind of situation will arise near Ampere Seale."
Pointing to Wood again, he said, "I hope you will remember what was discussed today, otherwise you will regret the words that came out of your mouth today."
Wrath blazed in Brendel's heart, but right now he was only worried about Miss Merchant’s safety, and if Romaine had the slightest injury in Ampere Seale, he would definitely make the Holy Cathedral of Fire pay for it.
This was far from being an empty threat.
As he turned around, Wood vaguely heard Brendel muttering, ''I hope the number of demons teleported over by All for One is not too large.'' The Archbishop of the Holy Cathedral of Fire froze for a moment before reacting.
This young man seems to know too much?