The hills to the north of Ampere Seale connected the gently sloping terrain around the bay with large pine forests on rolling hillsides and densely packed woodland. The woodland edged downward and the view from the slope was extremely wide. If you looked towards the huge and dusky harbor today, you would see a scorched piece of land, with three huge portals standing on it like three great golden rings of fire.
Peering through the portals, you could see a world of flowing lava. To be precise, that was the Sulfur River beneath Jorgendy Ridge, in which some legends believed that it was connected to the Scorched Prison of the Fire Elemental Plane.
Numerous devils swarmed around the portal, including red-skinned imps and the more fearsome Longhorn Devils. These low-level devils of lesser status and intelligence fought each other by the portal while tearing at the human limbs in a sickening fashion.
Then Brendel also saw hundreds of Hellhounds resting on the side of the hill, led by a couple of Hellhound leaders with three heads. There were also several Devil Warlocks by the portal with reddish-purple skin that looked almost like humans except for the long horns on their heads. These more cunning and higher-ranked devils were watching with interest as the lower-ranked devils fought each other.
Such a fight would often turn into a bloodbath and sometimes, one side would brutally kill the other. However, that wasn't something uncommon among the devils. On the contrary, it was a sight that they were used to.
They were a bunch of chaotic and twisted devils after all.
Brendel, wearing the cloak handed to him by the princess, hid in the bushes and calmly observed it all. He was the only one who didn't need Brass Binoculars to see the whole port of Ampere Seale very clearly turning into hell.
He sighed quietly, not having too much attention to pray for the souls of the departed even though those who died at the hands of devils also had family, friends and even romantic partners. But to be honest, one would be more or less indifferent to the suffering of others if they were not the ones experiencing them. It was not human nature, but a creature’s instinct to protect itself. To be honest, Brendel himself was not someone who overflowed with compassion, but he was here to try to protect the things he cared about.
He'd told himself that history had brought him back here and that his goal was to save the old kingdom from that tragedy. If he gave up on this goal, Brendel feared that he would be completely swallowed up by this huge world.
All his confidence came from the half-elf princess who was looking towards the port with her silver eyes, a hint of sadness tingeing them. "What exactly have we done wrong?" Gryphine couldn't help but mumble.
Brendel couldn't relate to that kind of confusion because this kingdom didn't have any historical meaning to him, only a future. Just as the princess would prefer to put herself in danger in order to protect the Anderla Cathedral, he would tear it down just to ensure her safety.
However, he could fully understand it. To him, there was no right or wrong choice between himself and the princess, just completely different views.
"The Aouine people have done nothing wrong, but it is the Kirrultz people who have. Little Princess, the justice that Mother Marsha represents is nothing more than wishful thinking on your part," Babasha cackled as she spoke. "the Supreme being will not punish someone for being evil, only provide a result based on the cause, and that is justice."
For anyone living under the rule of the Holy Cathedral of Fire, this was simply heresy.
The Princess's lips opened and closed as she softly mumbled, but in a rare occurrence, she did not retort. Her heart was soft as water yet hard as iron at the same time. Her hatred for the Kirrultz people had already made her doubt the teachings of the Holy Cathedral of Fire since the beginning, but she knew that she could not take sides.
Brendel actually agreed with Babasha's statement. Marsha represented absolute order. The Holy Cathedral of Fire understood it as narrow fairness. The Sanctuary of Light understood it as serious self-discipline. The Wind Elves thought that things should be left unchanged as they respected the rule of law. The Eleranta people believe that going with the flow was the true way.
The truth was that Marsha herself was relevant to everyone yet also irrelevant to everyone, and the witches understood this the most. They had never worshipped Marsha as a true god. They simply did so out of respect.
However, Babasha's use of the opportunity to undermine the princess's self-confidence made him feel rather disdainful. Furthermore, witches themselves were also trouble. Who in this world could really break free of their destiny? Babasha was merely leaning on the fact that she was older and more experienced. "Babasha, put the crystal ball on," he gave a faint reminder. "If you have anything to say, you can wait until you survive this."
The old witch smiled awkwardly. She knew that her thoughts had been seen through by the Lord Darkness Dragon, but it was not unexpected. She took out a crystal ball from under her robe then placed it on the ground. Brendel was really suspicious of where she had kept the crystal ball previously.
The crystal ball quickly lit up.
Wood's unpleasant old face appeared on it. Brendel didn’t really have a good impression of the Archbishop who had played a trick on him.
"Mr. Brendel, Your Highness, how far have you progressed?" This Archbishop of the Cathedral of Fire didn't look like he was in the mood to beat around the bush so he just got straight to the point.
Brendel felt that the question was very ambiguous. What did this old man want by asking this question in front of him and Her Highness?
But the flash of light from the explosions in the crystal ball periodically illuminated Wood's wrinkled face. His wrinkles seemed especially deep due to what was happening. Although a spell had blocked out the murmurs from outside, it wasn't hard for Brendel to imagine how intense the battle there must be, and he couldn't help but worry about Freya, Carglise and the others. When he thought of Freya, he also thought of the merchant lady whom he hadn't heard from so far. His thoughts of lighthearted jesting dissipated at that.
"We have arrived," Brendel replied succinctly. "We are no more than two kilometers from the portal. But there are a lot of devils over there. I'll drop the anchor point down. You guys try to think of a way to teleport the men I need."
At this point, he suddenly remembered to ask. "I might need a few Paladins. What's the situation over there? Can you spare any men?”
"It’s fine, as long as you don't teleport the entire First Fleet," Wood said with a grin. "We’ll probably last a while."
When he said that, Brendel knew that the battle there must be very hard. With the pride of the Kirrultz, they would never admit to being so dependent on the Aouine fleet, so you can imagine the battle on the other side is on its ropes.
Brendel knew that Wood didn't want to put any more pressure on him, but he still had a heavy feeling that time was running out.
"So Mr Brendel, what kind of men do you need?" Wood got serious and asked.
"I need men who have no fear of death, Lord Archbishop."
Garlock stood on the side of HMS Victory, watching the battle weave through the ground without saying a word. Amidst the slanting rain, the Dragon Cavalry, Kirrultz’s Pegasus Cavalry and Eagle Demons fought each other. The fire from the explosions lit up nearly half the sky. The old wizard stood in the very center of the battlefield. Every time the light of a spell flashed in his hand, it was as if an invisible ripple swept across half the battlefield as countless Eagle Demons were smashed to pieces.
Soon, someone called out behind him. "Mr. Garlock is it?"
Garlock turned back, alert. As the chief sorcerer beside Duke Seifer, the Duke’s disappearance had given him a whiff of danger, so he volunteered to take part in the battle to avoid being implicated in that huge whirlpool of trouble.
"Exactly." He nodded.
"Can you come with me?" asked a beautiful female officer. Garlock had an amazing memory. He remembered seeing her once by Count Janilasu’s side. Now the commander of the fleet should be with the Kirrultz people, so what did they want him to do?
He hesitated for a bit then nodded his head.
On top of the different ships, the same scene was repeating itself. A fully armored knight appeared next to Sword Grandmaster Fiery Nicholas. "May I ask if this is Master Nicholas? " he asked in a respectful tone.
"Are you Count Yanbao? Please come with me."
"Miss Amandina, your lord has asked for you to see him."
Soon, the seven candidates were already within the flagship command room of HMS Victory. Other than Amandina, Ciel and Dilferi, the other four were all strong Elementalists, with Nicholas and Garlock being experts of Elemental Enlightenment.
Brendel did his best to choose the Aouine people because with the exception of a clear-headed cleric like Wood, it was hard for the Kirrultz to really put themselves in the kingdom's shoes. On the other hand, Nicholas and Garlock had been enemies not long ago, but they were more reliable.
Besides, Brendel knew that they were not members of All for One, and would do their best even if it was to prove their innocence. Of course, he was bound to have shadier plans because if he failed, the nobles of the north would lose at least two of their true powers. If so, Freya and the rest of the southern Trentheim forces might be a little better off.
Of course, this was just him consoling himself. At least it was better than nothing.
"Brendel, you want me?" Hearing Brendel's request, Amandina was still able to maintain her composure. She had actually known that Brendel might borrow her knowledge in alchemy and magic, but the Countess of Yanbao just couldn't help but be stunned.
“What do you mean, I want you?” Brendel couldn't help but sweat profusely, but he didn't expect the Countess to look as if she was delighted. "No, no, I, I’m not trying to refuse but… but I'm asking, can I really help with something like this?"
"Of course, teleporting takes magic, does this look like a moment where you can just waste magic?" Brendel retorted, somewhat at a loss for words. "You were asked to come because you are better than the others and can play a role that no one else can play at this time."
There were some things that Brendel didn’t say because everyone understood the danger of this mission, and there was a good chance that the people going with him might not survive. He did not hold back his praise for those who could face death head-on.
In fact, any compliment would pale in comparison to their actions.
"So, are you willing?"
"Yes, I would very much like to. Lord Archbishop, Mr. Brendel, thank you very much for choosing me!" The expression on Dilferi’s face was not fake in the slightest and Brendel knew that the young lady was so naive that she would be able to fake it either.
Still, is this something to be happy about? Brendel couldn't help but be slightly puzzled, wondering if the lady had been brainwashed with the idea of chivalry, like Eikkel.
Looking at the Countess' wistful blush, he was too embarrassed to continue undermining her self-confidence. He turned his gaze to see Garlock and Ciel talking at the side.
"You're Ciel of the Peloche family?" Garlock didn't seem the least bit worried about what was going to happen next. Rather, he looked nonchalant as he asked this.
"Exactly," Ciel replied nonchalantly as well.
"Genius of the Highlanders, I've heard of you, but it is a pity that you're a Highland Wizard. I would have had you as my apprentice otherwise. Unfortunately, Aouine people don't get to choose their own destiny." Garlock said softly.
"It's all in the past now, and I'm no longer that Ciel. I am dead, but I now have a new life," Ciel replied and smiled slightly. "Besides, the Aoine people may not necessarily be unable to choose their own destiny.”
"Is that so? I heard that you did end up back in the mountains of Alkash, what did you see there? What exactly did the Lord Marshal end up seeing back then?"
Ciel smiled. "That doesn't matter, does it?"
"Indeed." Garlock seemed to have thought of something. He froze for a moment, before nodding slowly. Hearing their conversation, Wood frowned slightly as he turned back to Brendel.
"Brendel, I've gathered all the men you asked for, except for Mr. Nigel, who unfortunately has been killed in battle," Wood replied.
Really? Brendel was slightly startled. He didn't expect the famous Unshakeable Sword to die here. History said that the old general would only fall after the Second War of The Black Roses.
It was only at this moment that he deeply felt the change in history. He looked at the two remaining Paladins and was about to nod, but it was at this time that a voice came from the other side of the crystal.
"Since the Unshakeable Sword is dead, then as a soldier from the same era as him, I will be the one to take over his task, right?"
It was a loud, old voice that said that, and then a tall figure pushed open the door. "What do you think, Archbishop?"
Wood looked up, surprised to see the former leader of the White Lion Legion, but the old man had removed the White Lion's armor and was merely wearing an ordinary uniform.
"As I said, I'm no longer the head of the army, Archbishop."