With the little female dragon gone, Brendel regained his freedom. He hurriedly created a water orb and threw it in his own face. The cold water calmed him a little, and he put on a jacket and rushed out.
When he stepped outside, he saw Amandina sitting on a stone chair in the courtyard reading a geography book, but her mind was clearly not on the book.
“The princess seems very angry,” Amandina commented worriedly while greeting Brendel as he stepped out. She then lowered her scroll. “It’s nothing,” Brendel sighed, “Where’s Aloz?”
“My Lord, you’re talking about that young lady from the dragon tribe? I didn’t see her. Did she leave?”
“No, forget about it,” Brendel turned to chase after her. “Wait,” Amandina stood up and grabbed him, and when she saw her lord turning back with a face of confusion, she thoughtfully reminded him, “Tidy yourself up, my Lord.”
Brendel didn’t usually put much thought into what he wore, so he had casually put on a jacket and ran out. Amandina blushed at the sight of his disheveled appearance, and reached out to fix his collar.
Brendel didn’t put effort into his appearance either in Trentheim. If it hadn’t been for his demeanour, his status as a noble would have been in doubt, although a commoner would not be so knowledgeable and well-rounded as he was. In fact, it had always been Ferlarn who had helped him tend to the finer details of his daily life—the loud and brash young lady merchant couldn’t even take care of herself, let alone bear the responsibilities of the lord’s fiancee—which was why the elder of the two Wild Elves sisters was dubbed by the mercenaries as the ‘The Lord’s Head Maid.’
But if Ferlarn was the head maid, then Amandina’s role was similar to that of a butler. She helped Brendel straighten out the corners of his clothes, lightly dusting off the black velvet cloth. She said with slight annoyance, “If only my Lord would notice the majesty of his own appearance.”
Brendel had never believed in things such as innate majestic auras, nor did he care about them. It wasn’t the first time Amandina had helped him tidied up his appearance, and honestly, he himself could not see the difference. He felt that it was a pointless endeavour, but he did not refuse her. Instead, he asked, “Amandina, how long have I been unconscious?”
“We have been staying in Ampere Seale for half a month now, my Lord,” Amandina replied, fastening the buttons in front of his chest. She examined him for a moment, before nodding her head in satisfaction.
“That long?!” Brendel was shocked. He thought he had only been unconscious for two or three days. “Well, what happened that day after I was unconscious? Where’s Duke Seifer and all his minions?”
“The Duke is dead.”
“What?!” This news was completely unexpected, and Brendel had never dreamt that one of the most important figures in Aouine’s history was dead.
He froze for a moment before asking, “Amandina, what exactly happened after I fell unconscious that day? How did the battle turn out? Tell me more about it.”
The endless demons seemed to surge from the darkness. It was like being caught in an endless nightmare with no way to wake up. The rain poured down in torrents, lightning running along the droplets and sketching brilliant silver chains along the horizon.
Princess Gryphine’s face was ghastly pale.
“Mr. Stephen…” Leider coughed, “…… Her Highness is in your hands now.”
“Mr. Leider, I promise you, in the name of the knights.”
“No, Sir Leider! I order you not to do this. I’m staying here!” In the midst of the nightmare, she screamed. But the stern old knight grabbed her shoulders and threw her into the air. She flew up lightly, over the demon’s head. The last thing she fixed her gaze on was the lion of the kingdom, facing the north, proud and undaunted in the rain.
Those great mossy plains, now covered with ice and snow, was where the White Lions’ honor truly lay.
It was the battlefield in which countless White Lions have fallen into eternal slumber, the resting place of the souls of generations of heroes. Perhaps those knights’ spirits would return to their homelands in death, but the White Lion will protect this battlefield forever.
This was the legend passed down by their predecessors since ancient times. The knights made their oaths by their swords, and lived by their words.
The great lion armor of her kingdom was now covered in scars, but the rain quickly washed away the blood on it. Tears poured down Princess Gryphine’s face. Stephen, the Paladin, grabbed her hand and cut a bloody path through the demonic army, leading her to safety.
“Why won’t you let me die there, my people are there!” She remembered shouting like she had lost her mind.
But Stephen looked back at her, “I am not Aouinen, your Highness. But if everyone falls on this battlefield, then your kingdom will one day repeat the same mistake as it has now.”
“Please value your life. You are not living on for yourself anymore.”
He was right.
Princess Gryphine walked quickly out of the sanctuary, briskly for a few steps before slowing again. She suddenly stopped and stood still at the marble staircase, as white as if it were made of snow, before sighing quietly, He’s right. Gryphine, what kind of tantrum is this? You’ve even lost all your usual calmness and self-possession.
“Your Highness, please watch your step,” The female officer who caught up behind her warned breathlessly. “Triniyss, let us wait here for the Count to come out.” Princess Gryphine turned around and replied, sighing.
“What’s the matter?”
The princess did not answer. The Holy Cathedral’s courtyard was as white as snow, the light reflecting off of it almost piercing. She squinted, her pretty eyes looking like a silver thread. Triniyss soon noticed that her Highness seemed to be a little lost in thought.
It was a rare thing for the princess.
Gryphine was indeed lost in thought. Her gaze crossed the distant horizon, as if she had returned to the battlefield that day through this same blue sky. The clashing of blades and swords, and the stench of iron and blood together, weaved a long and solemn poem.
Perhaps dying on the battlefield at that time would have been a relief instead. Those who survived would carry an even heavier burden than they did before, inheriting the grief from their dead comrades too.
The living had no right to choose. Gryphine bit her lip—too many people have died already.
The last leader of the White Lion Battalion, the alpha lion of the kingdom, the highlander’s greatest swordsman, Leider, was dead. His death was in the midst of a battlefield created by the civil war.
Duke Seifer, the man she had so bitterly hated, had died too. He was the manipulator of the first Titan. He died at the hands of the merchant lady, and not even his corpse was left. Gryphine had thought she would be happy when she heard the news, but she had lost even the feeling of excitement.
Marquis Balta, Marquis Yoakam, Count Vitokin, the great swordsmen of the Arreck, Devard, and the chief sorcerer of the kingdom, Grandmaster Fleetwood too. It didn’t matter what faction they had belonged to in life, they were all Aouinens.
There were even countless students of the Royal Cavalry Academy there, who didn’t even get the chance to make a name for themselves yet. No one knew the stories of these dead students’ lives. No one knew how much their friends and family would grieve at their deaths.
It was only when she saw Freya holding up Bessie’s corpse, crying in agony—only then, did she feel that cold stab of pain.
It was enough.
It was time for the civil war to end.
But the nobles up in the north were still waiting to pounce, having lost the appeasement from House Seifer. The future situation was even more chaotic and unstable; Duke Arreck’s whereabouts are unknown, but he definitely would not go down without a fight, Count Radner had an ambiguous attitude, and there were two more Dukes who were probably just waiting for things to settle down before trying to wring something out of the situation for themselves.
Although it looked as if Aouine was getting a new lease on life after the war,, it was actually already at the edge of a cliff. Princess Gryphine helplessly realized that perhaps even the situation before was better than this.
At the very least, the kingdom had not been in danger of disintegration.
She didn’t even know how they had managed to get through this half month. There was the army of Silver Elves stationed in Ampere Seale, the dragon tribe, whose illustrious name had deterred all forces from attacking again and scared them into inaction, and also the Tulmans, whose arrival in Ampere Seale had shown them the next step to take. She understood that the link behind all these seemingly unrelated forces was one man.
The man crowned with the title, ’Miracle’.
She suddenly realized that the fate of the entire Aouine was in the hands of one person. However, that person was neither her nor her brother.
“Are you telling me that Duke Seifer was killed by Romaine with a single punch? Hmph, he reaped the seeds he sowed.” Satisfaction filled Brendel’s heart. Half of the blame for Aouine’s demise in the future was on this guy. It would have been understandable if he was doing it for his own power, but he hadn’t expected the guy to be a cultist.
The very thought that the future princess’ and the Valkyrie’s tragic fate was all because of a cult’s insane plan made Brendel fume with rage.
But he quickly fell silent. What really worried him was Amandina’s physical condition. During the detailed conversation earlier he had carefully asked Amandina about her ‘return from the dead’ on the battlefield, but everyone, including AMandina herself, was in the dark about what exactly happened.
He was beginning to suspect that the demonic item he had gotten on the battlefield was responsible for it, but Amandina quickly ruled that out after she brought that item out. Although it was still unclear what the thing was, Brendel could tell at a glance that it seemed sealed up. There was no way it could have done anything.
And Amandina herself had proven that she had no self-regeneration abilities. Her blood was a normal, human red, proving that she wasn’t a part of the bloodlines with gold or silver blood. The time it took for her wounds to heal was no different from ordinary people either.
But this situation made Brendel felt uneasy. He did know of some special abilities that could resurrect someone, but those weren’t anything safe. Some of them even burned lifespans to operate.
But Brendel did not reveal this information to Amandina. It was, in a sense, a white lie. He nade up his mind to investigate it himself.
“He reaped the seeds he sowed?” Amandina raised her head at Brendel’s words.
“It means that he deserved it,” Brendel explained. Amandina gave him a glare, “My Lord, stop using weird phrases, you’ll be laughed at. You’re so educated, but despite that you still like to use such rudimentary phrases.”
“Only a civilian would say that.”
“I didn’t invent that,” Brendel couldn’t help but laugh. It had been over a year since crossing into this world like a dream, but some of his vocabulary were hard to change. Especially those idioms with historical background—except for the small portion that overlapped with the history of Nine Phoenixes, which most of them interpret as slang from some rural area.
But there was no way around it. While one could adapt quickly to a new environment, it was hard to change ingrained habits. He had lived in this world for one year, spent seventeen in-game years, and a full thirty years in the other world.
However, Duke Seifer was dead and such a historically prominent family had disintegrated just like that. Without the restraint of this powerful force in the north, the nobles there have become ambitious, right? No wonder Her Highness had come to find me in such a hurry.
He hadn’t expected such a famous figure in history to die just like that, There was also Marquis Yoakam and Count Vitokin; even Marquis Balta and Grandmaster Fleetwood were all dead. Grandmaster Fleetwood had died from the surprise attack of another demon king, but had managed to save the shipload of men from the First Fleet’s flagship of the Imperial Navy, HMS Victory.
Enrok, one of the Aouine’s Three Elites, was also dead. Brendel sighed as he remembered the young man who loved smiling and laughing as much as Carglise did. He had been determined to protect them, the future of this kingdom.
“That guy Benninger even gave the little prince back,” replied Brendel, gritting his teeth, “DId he think he’d be forgiven by doing that?”
“No, it was not him who sent Prince Haruz back,” Amandina helped him straighten the buttons on his sleeves and took a step back after, looking relieved. “It’s done, my Lord.”
“Thank you, Amandina,” Brendel asked, “So what is actually going on?”
“I heard that it seemed to be a Medusa who sent him back. I’m not sure what happened myself, perhaps you can ask Her Highness,” Seeing that Brendel still wanted to speak, Amandina quickly interrupted him, “Well, don’t keep Her Highness waiting too long. My Lord, you are now a Count of the kingdom.”
“What? Count? Then which fiefdom am I getting?” Brendel was slightly startled, this was something he had not expected at all. He didn’t actually care much about it, he only asked from hearing it so out of the blue.
“Count of Trentheim, my Lord.”
“So nothing’s changed,” Brendel quipped.
He got a glare for that.
The rebuilding of the Holy Cathedral of Ampere Seale was only half complete. He had seen crumbling walls and scaffolding in many of the cloisters he passed, the handiwork of the Ciel, although Brendel would never admit that.
Brendel had only just stepped out of the cathedral, when he saw her highness waiting outside.
Princess Gryphine turned to him and nodded in satisfaction at his attire, “How is the Count’s health?
“I’m fine…..Your Highness……” Even before Brendel could finish his sentence, Princess Gryphine interrupted, “Mr. Brendel, the nobles of the north intend to support my brother’s ascension to the throne. The Holy Cathedral of Fire also intends to facilitate peace talks between us and the North, what do you think of this?”
Brendel was surprised. Isn’t this a good thing? But then his thoughts caught up. “They have conditions, right?”
“No, they have no conditions, they just want us to promise that the kingdom can maintain the status quo,” Princess Gryphine replied quietly. Brendel fell silent. The kingdom maintained the status quo? Which status quo? This half-dead status quo?
This was unacceptable to him and to the princess.
The nobles in the north were still trying to maintain the semi-independent status quo that had been in place since Ain VII. In Brendel’s opinion, these guys were dreaming.
He put away his previously easy going attitude and asked coldly, “What if we don’t agree? Are they about to start a rebellion again? Will the Holy Cathedral of Fire support these people?”
Her Highness shook her head, “I’m afraid not, but even if so it is still unacceptable. The North is facing the threat of war…...Leider…… the old captain handed the White Lion Legion to you. You know that, right?”
“What?!” Brendel almost jumped up, “He gave me the White Lion Legion? Did the others agree?”
But he suddenly stopped talking. Marquis Balta was dead, and Leider had died on the battlefield, and if this was truly the will of that old lion, the White Lion Legion might actually end up in his hands.
This was good news.