The Amber Sword - v4c14

The carriage shook slightly as the wheels ran over the gap between the stone slabs, the slight vibration made continuous rattling sounds, then it was quiet. 

Princess Gryphine seemed to have understood Brendel’s question, and her silver-gray eyes showed a hint of confusion, “Magic? Mr. Brendel, Haruz has yet to begin his training in magic. I intend to let him mature a bit more before considering it, especially since Haruz is royalty…… I don’t really intend for him to get too close to the wizards.” 

It was a tradition in the world of Vaunte. Nobles often made their children practice magic, but the royal family rarely did so. Magic was related to mysterious and unknown forces, and an heir to the throne had to be as far away from unpredictable dangers as possible.  Even among more powerful noble families, eldest sons rarely became wizards. Even for Princess Gryphine herself, Fleetwood was no more than a teacher of the occult practices, witchcraft etiquette, and history. 

“Is that so……” Brendel stared at the sides of the Magic Triangle between Haruz’s thumb and forefinger, which was glossy and almost transparent, a phenomenon that was caused by at least one magical induced reaction, but it did not form a solid law like when he had put on the Wing Ring for the first time. There was only one spell Brendel remembered that would cause such a change, and that was Black Magic. 

“What’s the problem, Mr.Brendel?” Princess Gryphine frowned at her brother, and Haruz lowered his head in fear and put his hands between his knees. 

But Brendel spoke somewhat in a flat tone, “No, it’s just that Your Highness’ hands are more like those of a wizard’s than a swordsman’s. The average nobleman’s children would have been already practicing swordsmanship by his age, right?” As he said this, he saw Haruz look up at him in surprise. Brendel noticed that Princess Gryphine was not paying attention, so he winked at the young Prince, which frightened the young prince to quickly lower his head for fear that his sister might notice.

But the princess did not notice this, she felt her face turn warm. It was true that Haruz had started practicing swordsmanship a long time ago, but she couldn’t just say that her brother was a useless boy. He did not even have the courage to hold up a sword, much less practice swordsmanship. 

“Haruz, he…...because I haven’t had much time to take care of him since I left……” She finally sighed and took the blame on herself. 

“Sister……” Haruz said weakly. 

“You shut up.” Princess Gryphine said sternly. “You’re part of the blame too, and you should reflect on it.” Brendel chuckled, but looking at the brother and sister. He thought that perhaps the young prince’s cowardly side had something to do with this eldest princess, as Princess Gryphine had a stronger personality than that of a regular older sister. 

After Haruz was reprimanded by his sister, he buried his head and kept quiet again, like a trembling animal. 

But then Brendel asked despite knowing the answer, “There’s still Sir Oberwei and Sir Makarov isn’t there, and if I remember correctly, both of them are famous swordsmen of the kingdom.” 

He suddenly noticed Romaine who was standing at the side of the room feeding a biscuit to the white cat laying on her lap, he did not even notice when the little thing appeared. The cat held her head up and narrowed her eyes at him. On the other side of the room, Amandina noticed her lord’s gaze and she looked back curiously, reaching out to pet the cat’s head. 

Brendel turned back after he saw the cat closing its eyes comfortably. The Princess noticed it as well, but she had yet to grasp the purpose of Brendel’s question. Instead, she replied, “They have all taught Haruz before. But Haruz’s talent in swordsmanship……” The half-elf girl looked disappointed and somewhat helpless. 

A long time ago, nobles had to lead their people into battle to fight against demonic invasions and the strength of the nobles showed their capability of protecting their people. Though as civilization became widespread and peace settled in, a nobleman’s swordsmanship nowadays holds more symbolic meanings than practical usage, but as an heir to the throne, if he was incapable of swordsmanship, it would more or less affect his authority in the eyes of his people. 

“The talent in swordsmanship is only one aspect of the problem. A normal person enters the golden age of learning at the age of twelve, so it’s too early to make assertions. But for a qualified swordsman, the first thing he must have is the courage to overcome himself.” Brendel looked at Haruz as he said this. He did not know if this prince actually possessed natural talent, but he understood that the crux of the problem was not about talent. 

Rather, it was about courage. 

Princess Gryphine looked at him in surprise. The princess could tell that Brendel had more to say. “Mr.Brendel, what do you mean?” 

She had started to feel a little hopeless. Oberwei had taught Haruz the art of swordsmanship for a period of time, and although the Wolf Baron was patient, he was unable to help Haruz build up the courage to face his own sword. 

Brendel nodded. This was what he had originally thought. In his vision, a kingdom like Aouine would eventually move towards a polity similar to the oligarchy the Kirrlutz had around the second century. It seemed that the princess was aware of this as well. However, he did not want the last monarch of Aouine to be seen as weak and easily manipulated.

Moreover, if those players on the forum were right, Haruz had supposedly become an outstanding monarch. 

"Do you also wish for me to become Prince Haruz's teacher, Your Highness?" He thought for a moment and asked, "Though I don't have much experience, so I can't guarantee that I'll be able to teach the prince anything."

Brendel was not being humble, he was being precautious. Oberwei and Fleetwood had served as the young prince’s teachers before him, and he considered himself to be nothing more than a man with good foresight and was even lacking in some areas compared to other outstanding figures in this era.

In addition, he really did not have much experience either. However, he was inclined to use this young prince as an experiment, because even the worst possible outcome would not bring any negative consequences, and the outcome would be extremely rewarding if it was a success. 

Besides, a good relationship with the future king would help him gain a higher reputation, among both the princess and Haruz. Brendel knew very well how much the princess cared for her brother. 

Princess Gryphine’s thoughts were completely different from Brendel’s. The legacy of Sword Saint Darius alone was enough for Brendel to become the prince’s teacher and she was aware of the massive connections that came with the fact, not to mention that Brendel himself was an excellent and knowledgeable swordsman. 

She took a soft breath. It had really deepened her fondness for Brendel, and with great difficulty, she quickly restrained her feelings of surprise. She said to her brother beside her, “Haruz, greet your teacher.” 

But Haruz lifted his head and looked at Brendel a little fearfully and mumbled, “Sister……” he was still worried about Brendel uncovering his secret earlier. 

Princess Gryphine was unaware of the her brother’s thoughts and  she frowned like a strict mother, “Haruz, Mr.Brendel is the descendant of the Sword Saint Darius, and his swordsmanship is even better Mr. Bug’sa, not to mention Mr. Brendel is profoundly knowledgeable, and even Grandmaster Fleetwood and Garlock had praised him for that. What complaints do you have about having him as your teacher?” 

Her tone grew harsher, startling Haruz. Only then did the young prince reluctantly bow his head to Brendel and whispered, “Teacher.” The voice was faint and soft like a lamb’s, Brendel did not know what to feel about it. He could clearly tell though that the prince was respectful, but anyone would have greeted him under such pressure. 

The good thing was that he was not in a hurry, Haruz was just a weak child after all. If he could not even handle a child after living twice, he should just go home farm potatoes. 

Besides, Brendel had leverage over this prince. 

Brendel could not help but smile and shake his head at the thought. 

And then the two exchanged swords according to the customs of the Vaunte world, but of course, it was just ritualistic. Haruz first took his own sword and handed it to Brendel, then Brendel would turn around and give his sword back to the prince. In ancient times, this ritual symbolized the teacher’s gift of knowledge to the student. But nowadays this ritual has become a ceremonial formality. 

And after completing this ritual, Brendel and Prince Haruz had become teacher-and-student. In fact, Brendel had heard of this ritual as a player, though he did not know the details of it. Generally, a teacher would teach his students for an observation period, and the ceremony would only be officially performed when the teacher was satisfied, so of course, he was not aware that the princess had taken advantage of this and rushed him to perform this ceremonial ritual. 

In Vaunte, once the teacher-student status was established, it could not be easily removed. 

But the good news was that Brendel did not actually care about that. Rather, if Princess Gryphine found out that this knight only intended to use her brother as an experiment, she might stab him to death in this carriage with a sword. 

Unfortunately, both of them were plotting their own schemes, and neither of them realized what the others’ were planning. 

The carriage soon arrived at its destination- the entrance to a manor located in the Pasha Road District. The rebuilding of the Anderla Cathedral was far from complete, so Archbishop Wood was staying here for a while. Both Princess Gryphine and Brendel had heard that this land was supposed to be a property of House Seifer in Ampere Seale, but neither of them were narrow-minded people, so they didn’t mind. 

The carriage stopped in front of the courtyard, and it was obvious that Wood had prepared for the princess’ visit. A servant led everyone into the courtyard. As soon as they got off the car, Amandina quickly dragged Romaine to the front along with the princess, leaving Brendel and Prince Haruz at the back. 

This was actually a tradition, the princess understood that as a teacher, Brendel might have something to say to his student. But she admired Amandina for being so smart and capable that she was even one step ahead of her. 

These manners of the upper nobilities were not well known and even many noble families didn’t pay attention to such thins. 

She could not help but look at Amandina again as she thought of that. 

On the other side, Brendel did have something to say to Haruz. But as soon as he got out of the car, he saw Prince Haruz walking alone for at least two or three meters away from him. The young prince was quite aware of basic etiquette and did not dare to walk ahead of him and instead walked side by side with him. 

Brendel looked at the prince walking with his head down amusingly, he certainly knew what the other was afraid of, “Your Highness Haruz……”

Haruz was shocked and looked up at him, “Ye-yes....teacher?” 

“Does the princess not know yet?” Brendel asked. 

Haruz’s face went pale, “Tea-teacher, I……” 

"Who taught you that?" Brendel asked. He was, of course, talking about this young prince's practice of Black Magic. He had not brought it up in front of the princess at the time, partly because he wanted to keep it as leverage, and partly because he did not want to cause a commotion over this. 

A prince practicing Black Magic was natural in Madara. But in Aouine, a kingdom ruled by the Holy Cathedral of Fire, it was a big deal. Brendel’s first thought was that it was a conspiracy, but he did not rule out other possibilities. 

First, he would need to get answers from Haruz. 

But Haruz shook his head vigorously, "No, no one taught me…..."

It certainly did not sound like the truth. But Brendel was puzzled to see the young prince’s face all red, and it did not seem like he was lying, Brendel was slightly surprised. Could it be what I thought?  

He asked curiously, “What is going on Haruz? Now that I’m your teacher, you must answer my questions truthfully. I promise to not tell your sister.” 

This statement was obviously effective on Haruz. The young man looked up at Brendel doubtfully, but finally, he found the courage to say, “Really?” 

"I keep my words. Even the princess trusts me, will you trust me too?" Brendel replied a little sheepishly. He could not help but feel like scratching his face, feeling a little embarassed at his own words. It’s okay, I’m just placating a young kid. I’ll pretend this never happened.

Haruz considered it for a while and then nodded honestly, “Actually, I don’t know why, teacher.” 

“Huh?” Brendel was stunned, his answer was the same as if there was no answer. But he caught on and continued to ask, “You don’t know what’s going on either?” 

"It's just... I don't know if that counts as magic..."

"Have you been secretly visiting the royal library?" Brendel immediately pursued the question.

Haruz was slightly startled and a little scared, he looked at him and nodded. Sure enough, Brendel knew what was happening and asked, “Did you read the book inside?” 

He nodded again. 

“You mimicked what’s in there?” 

“Well……” He replied subtly. 

“How many times?” 

“Only must not tell my sister, Count.” Haruz pleaded in a small voice. In his eyes, Brendel was like a mind reading monster, he could not tell how this Count had guessed everything. 

It was the only time that he had inadvertently entered the forbidden zone before leaving the capital. And he thought no one else would know about it.

He could not help but look at Brendel with some fear.

Brendel was looking at his new student as well. He was sure that some of the things said on the forum might be true.