“Brendel, do you want me to let Romaine…”
“No, there’s no need for that Freya. I’m used to it. Let her do whatever she wants; she knows the limit. By the way, just make sure that she doesn’t come back crying to me again.”
This conversation took place against the backdrop of the verdant avenues of the Gladys Forest. The long convoy made its way through scattered patches of light. The knights, dressed in gold and red robes, proceeded in an orderly fashion - all except for one. The merchant lady, clad in snowy armor and armed with the Azure Lance, ran around the convoy shouting without shame.
This was already the second time she had done so this week, and it was a good thing that the knights were already familiar with this 'lovely countess'. At any rate, as long as they got out of the way, they would at least be able to avoid being bowled over. Even if the merchant lady was clumsy, at least she wouldn't hit the carriage, right?
Freya looked back and couldn't help but gently sigh. She had thought that Brendel would be able to at least restrain Romaine a little after she went to the Royal Cavalry Academy. However, it was apparent that it was nothing more than just wishful thinking now.
At least, so far no one could successfully rein in this lady.
She looked at Brendel and nodded to him, before lowering the curtain. She then directed her horse over to Scarlet, who was at the front. The mercenary lady looked around at her surroundings with familiarity. Unlike Freya, the South was as close to home to her.
“Lady Freya.” Scarlet turned back and acknowledged her respectfully.
"Scarlet, I've told you many times already that you can just call me Freya. I'm not a noble, and before I became a knight, I was just like you, from the southern countryside." Freya frowned.
Scarlet was slightly sheepish. "Freya, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have given Miss Romaine the Azure Lance… I didn't think she was so..."
She suddenly felt that she was being a little rude, but she couldn't find a better adjective to describe Romaine’s current state. Freya saw her struggle and comforted her. "It’s alright. She's not exactly a pampered lady, so it’s fine… She's just the way she is." She sighed somewhat weakly. "I grew up with her as a child. I really admire myself for surviving to this day… but Romaine is actually a very nice person. She’s just a bit childish.”
Scarlet looked over at that spot again and couldn't help but feel a deep understanding.
But when she turned back, her gaze still inevitably directed itself to the carriage.
Brendel lowered the curtains. After nearly a month of observation, he could basically confirm the state of the Holy Lance of Heaven. The Holy Lance in Scarlet’s hand was clearly not the full physical form of the legendary star-striking Holy Lance, and the fact that the Holy Lance had multiple seals on it was one of the possibilities he had already thought of.
It was just that Brendel didn't know if these seals were deliberately put in place by Ovina so that Scarlet could successfully handle the Holy Lance, or if these seals had originally been on the Holy Lance.
But without a doubt, even under the heavy seals, the Holy Lance of Heaven was worthy of being a divine artifact.
Its own attack was more than double of Halran Gaia’s. Its accompanying skills were even more frightening. The key point here was that as a divine weapon, the Holy Lance also had a special divine characteristic; the terrifying 'Undefeated Destiny' was so powerful that even Brendel had rarely seen it in his life.
But Brendel did not reveal this secret. On one hand, he could not really find a good way to explain the fact that he could directly see the properties of the equipment in Vaunte. This was the job of high-level Astrologers and Alchemists, and they also had to go through many trials before they could finally determine the purpose and usage of magic equipment.
On the other hand, the weaker the Azure Lance was, the better. The lower its profile the safer it was for the current Aouine.
The merchant lady was fooling around with the Azure Lance, but it was actually something that he had intended. Everyone knew her temperament anyway. Waving the weapon around blatantly like this wouldn’t draw much suspicion as to whether it was the genuine thing.
Who would use the Azure Lance as a toy?
Even William would not dare to be so brazen. However, Brendel had been feeling a little unsettled lately, and he had a sneaking suspicion that Ovina's reappearance later would just kill him.
He fretted and turned back to the siblings across the room. To be exact, the heir to the first throne of the Aouine Kingdom at the moment and his sister, the half-elf princess.
It had been nearly another month or so since the Holy Lance of Heaven had claimed Scarlet as its master, and the climate south of Ampere Seale had become hotter by the day. Ever since the first battle of Ampere Seale, every overt or covert activity carried out by the princess's forces in the port had been going quite smoothly, but the final whereabouts of the Azure Lance was a bit unexpected.
The Bugas suddenly decided not to take the Lance with them. According to William's words, they thought that might be better for the legendary relic to remain in Aouine, but Tania had also mentioned that the Bugas would probably send one or two mages to the kingdom to study the Azure Lance’s power.
It was unclear what the Bugas were thinking, but all of that was an afterthought for Brendel; time was running short, and it was unlikely that he would be able to wait out the arrival of the new ambassadors on the mages’ side of Ampere Seale and the like, so after seeing William off, he left the port with the princess, passing through the Royal Cavalry Academy and heading straight for the Trentheim region.
The princess was eager to see her dear friend Magadal, while she herself must now set about preparing for the future of Aouine.
After a week's journey, the carriage was now finally approaching the Glas Banks.
Arriving here meant essentially the same thing to Brendel as coming home. In the past half-day, he had already met several of the old members of the Red Bronze Dragon Mercenaries. Sue had finally been able to meet her father, Red Bronze Dragon Leto, and it was the first time Brendel had ever seen the daughter of that tough barkeeper tear up.
The meeting between Carglise and his father was, naturally, another story, and since Brendel was officially recognized, Sir Mirtai was spared the embarrassment of imprisonment. However, the old-fashioned nobleman apparently did not necessarily approve of his precious son's actions and scolded the first commander of the White Lion Legion who was under Brendel.
This naturally became the butt of jokes for the group of young people from Trentheim.
Regardless, it was still an uplifting thing for everyone to return home. However, no one would ever forget those souls who would remain in Ampere Seale forever.
Brendel silently thought about these trivial matters until the princess in front of him gently opened her mouth. The half-elf maiden looked up at the young man across from her, the dappled sunlight from the curtains falling on her face. Scattered golden spots of light cut straight lines of uneven lengths down her beautiful face as if she was wearing a natural veil, adding a bit more mystery to her out of thin air.
But Princess Gryphine's appearance was very calm. She considered her thoughts for a moment before quietly asking, "Mr. Brendel, the royal spies have news that Radner seems to have met with Arreck, just as you suspected. In order to fight us, they will, by contrast, form an alliance. Although Duke Anthony and the Highland Knights have both agreed to fight in the war, I'm still a little worried..."
"Worried about what?"
"I fear for Arreck, Mr. Brendel. My father knows him well as a man. The Arreck family has been operating on the plateau where they have ruled firmly for generations to subvert the kingdom, and the Duke Arreck of today is undoubtedly the most cunning of their family's succession," the princess replied softly. "Archbishop Wood told me that he had proof that Arreck was also in cahoots with All For One, but throughout the war, he only sent Devard the Hawk to show up at the end-
"As soon as the war was over, he hastened away from Ampere Seale before the Holy Cathedral had gotten hold of him, but did not return to his own dominions. Instead, he went to Magitan to make an alliance with Count Radner.
"He never fights battles that he is uncertain about, so I suspect he must be up to something."
Brendel nodded, but that was actually what bothered him. Wood had written to tell of the events leading up to the day of Arreck's escape before the princess was tipped off, but he had a keen sense that the Holy Cathedral seemed to be withholding some crucial information, not the least of which was, Brendel knew that an order of knights from Kirrlutz had secretly entered Aouine. However, he did not know which legion it specifically belonged to.
This order of knights could not be here to deal with him, and naturally, they would not be here to oppose the eldest son of the king in the North, so the rest of the possibilities pointed only to this fellow Arreck.
But what value does Arreck have to be so important to the Holy Cathedral? Even if they were colluding with the cultists, it would be nothing more than a joke, and honestly, how many of Aouine's nobles did not collude with the cultists?
Although there weren’t many who acquiesced to All For One’s views like Duke Arreck, there were some noble families which harbored shady, suspicious fellows within their ranks.
If the Holy Cathedral was going to use this as an excuse, Brendel would not even feel like listening.
There must be some kind of conspiracy on Arreck’s part, but the question was what the conspiracy actually was. Radner's primary target must be him and the princess. A war between the two sides was inevitable, and while the Holy Cathedral of Fire was looking for trouble with Arreck, it might not necessarily be him and the princess.
The Kirrlutz had suffered a big loss in Ampere Seale and might retaliate. The crux of the problem was that the situation in the North and South was already stabilizing, so the Holy Cathedral of Fire might not be happy to see the princess unify the South so quickly.
Moreover, Wood's letter also mentioned that the high-ranking imperials coveted the Azure Lance, and if it was confirmed that this holy relic was still in Aouine, it could be a huge problem.
That was the true troubling matter.
After giving it some thought, he felt that the priority should still be to take out the alliance between Arreck and Radner first. However, it was obviously not realistic to uproot the power of the Arreck family on the Arreck Plateau in a short period of time. On the contrary, Count Radner himself was the weak link in this evil alliance.
However, he and the princess alone were not enough to accomplish such a thing.