“O-of course,” Haruz stuttered.
“Thank you.” The little girl thanked him, lifted her dress gracefully, and sat down beside the future King of Aouine.
But Haruz had little self-consciousness as the crown prince. His face was flushing almost as red as a ripe apple, not knowing what to do. He wanted to sit closer to the little girl, but he was afraid that it might upset her.
Brendel shook his head at the sight of it. The young prince was not behaving like a member of the royal family, and he probably could not even be compared to an ordinary nobleman’s son. How exactly did Oberwei and his sister educate him……”
But then he thought of an interesting question, if Haruz happens to like this little girl, what about the future of Eikkel and Youla's daughter, Ellara?
Will that change history?
Thinking of this, he could not help but narrow his eyes to stare at that little girl, and to be honest, he had a good impression of her. In this era of Aouine, most commoner's daughters would not be as elegant and poised, while most children of noble families were domineering and had long forgotten the manners of their ancestors.
In Brendel's mind, Faina was a typical example. But it was good that the girl was not bad in nature and did not cause him too much trouble. Instead, it was the other……
He felt a headache when he thought of that prime minister's daughter.
But while he was thinking nonsensically, he suddenly heard Laurenna ask with some concern, "Little girl, what's your name?"
The little girl looked up at the female knight and replied in a soft voice, "Originally mother said that names are not to be told to random strangers. But I know you're a good person, so I can tell you in secret—"
Then she leaned over and whispered into Laurenna’s ear, "My name is Mikaila."
Although she was whispering, at least half of the people present heard them clearly. Apart from the young prince and Ciel who had his strength reduced greatly, Medissa, Hipamila, Brendel, Freya, Scarlet, Maynild, and Filas all heard it clearly. After all, as existences with strength above silver, their perceptions were sharp enough to hear the whispered words of a little girl, in fact, very easily.
But of course, the mountain girl and Freya would not say anything, and Filas did not care much as he was salivating at the jar of honey next to Brendel.
Out of the four, only Brendel raised his eyebrows slightly.
The name sounded so familiar to him.
It alerted him instantly, and now he was extremely keen on such a feeling.
Because in the past, there were so many records about backgrounds, histories, and information in the game that everyone couldn't be omniscient, but most of the names and events with a certain level of popularity would more or less leave a trace in the player's heart.
The more profound such a trace was, the more important that event was. Whereas meeting an event like the Black Rose War, which was so ingrained in Brendel's heart, was an event that he would never forget.
A name he knew but could not remember meant two possibilities.
One possibility was that the name itself represented a less than stellar meaning, but held a place in history. The other possibility was that the owner of the name might be very famous, but had little interaction with him.
An example of the first possibility would be the replacements of some small local lords, and the second would be a master of a minor seat in the Buga’s Council of Twelve. Although the Silver Folks in the Council of Twelve were all terrifying, Brendel could not name any of them except for William and Tuman.
Surely just seeing the names might be enough to remember who the others were, but it would not be so easy to remember every detail.
With that in mind, he could not help but straighten up his posture a bit. And at the same time, he saw that the female knight opposite him, Maynild, also turned her somewhat serious gaze to that little girl.
But the little girl was more alert than he thought, and she seemed to notice Brendel's antics and looked up at him with some fear, "Uncle, what's wrong?"
Brendel almost spat out a mouthful of blood, as he would only be twenty-one by next month! I’m only twenty-one! How am I an uncle?
He took a deep breath and had a hard time calming down. Thinking to himself that he should forget it, being called an uncle wasn't a big deal anyway, given his other soul's age. He stopped for a moment and spoke in what he thought was the gentlest voice he could muster, "Little sister, did you say your name was Mikaila? What's your full name?"
Brendel was sure that his expression at that moment must have been the softest, never to be mistaken for a strange uncle that would abduct children. But he immediately realized that it was nothing more than his delusion.
Mikaila looked at him with some trepidation, suddenly sliding off her chair and carefully replying, "My name's just Mikaila, Uncle. My mother and father will be here soon, so I'll be off, thank you—"
Then she bowed to everyone and ran out the door.
"Wait……" Brendel was slightly startled and was about to reach out and call out to the little girl. But it was at that moment that he saw a man running in from outside the door of the inn.
As soon as the man entered the inn, he shouted, "Got it, my lord!"
It was only then that Brendel noticed the man's bright balding head, it was the innkeeper who had been sent out to get information for him, and at the sight of this guy, Brendel swallowed back the words that had reached his throat. He took a distant glance at the little girl called Mikaila, who had already run near to the counter.
Nevermind. Brendel sighed. There would be plenty of opportunities later anyway, and besides, his most urgent task was not to investigate the identity of a little girl. Instead, what mattered most to him right now was the news the balding boss had brought back.
There was no telling if he had investigated any useful information.
When he looked in that direction, the balding innkeeper was already panting and running to their side. He looked at Brendel with a look of utmost admiration and replied breathlessly, "You are good at predicting, my lord—"
"Straight to the results." Brendel tossed a gold coin over, knowing full well the guy's trick.
"I went to ask, those hunters did indeed go straight into the forest without any preparation. That's strange, I haven't heard of anyone so daring in all these years." The innkeeper smiled foolishly as he put away the gold coin and replied naggingly, "They didn't prepare their tools, they didn't even bring their supplies, they must have lost their minds."
"They're not insane," Laurenna's voice cut in, interrupting him, "It's because someone has prepared supplies for them."
“Who?" The innkeeper was stunned.
Apart from him, everyone who was seated looked at each other, even Filas, who had been slow to react.
Who would prepare supplies for those hunters?
Naturally, it would be that cunning fox, Arreck.
Because there were almost no records of caravans entering or leaving the country in recent times, Brendel was almost certain that Arreck must not have entered Shallow Water Town at all, except that they still needed a local guide. After all, not everyone could know the forest as well as he did.
He could therefore deduce that Arreck must have bypassed Shallow Water Town and had just sent someone to hire some local hunters, and then went straight into the forest.
As long as he had this clue, the next steps of tracking would be much easier. Brendel's eyes showed a sense of calmness as he put down the map and asked, "When did those hunters enter the forest?"
"A week ago, my Lord." The innkeeper took the money, and, naturally doing his best, replied without hesitation.
A week. Brendel stirred slightly. That’s not a long time, and it’s likely that Arreck hasn't crossed the northern part of the Anserra Forest by now.
He could not wait any longer. They had to leave immediately.
Of course, he would have to grasp more advantages before that could happen. He looked up, while the knights Laurenna and her fiancé Filas both looked at the lord somewhat admiringly, even though filtering out useful information from useless rumors was just a basic but necessary lesson for most senior adventurers and mercenaries. In their case, to the novices who had only left home for the first time, Brendel seemed like a man of wisdom.
At that moment Brendel pulled out a roll of parchment from under his cloak and threw it in front of that innkeeper: "You, read this."
"Me?" The innkeeper was slightly stunned by this sudden action of Brendel, in his previous impression, this noble young man was very competent, but the difference between him and those dandies wasn't too big. But it seemed as if all of a sudden, this noble lord opposite himself had changed as if he was as stern as a sword.
Brendel nodded at him while pointing at the parchment scroll.
Only then did the innkeeper fearfully pick up the parchment scroll, then slowly opened it. But he had only just finished reading the first row when he almost threw the thing out as he shivered.
"Ro-Royal Cavalry…My Lord you, you are a knight of the Royal Cavalry ?" The innkeeper looked pale and could not help but shiver a bit as he asked, wiping the sweat off his forehead as he did so.
Brendel nodded. This was one of the roles Princess Gryphine had appointed him to, and in fact after the battle of Ampere Seale, because of the support of the Holy Cathedral of Fire, the princess' forces could be considered the rightful power of Aouine. And apart from the northern nobles, Arreck who colluded with the All for One had already been declared by the Holy Cathedral as a wanted criminal.
As such, of course, he had to take advantage of this obvious identity reversal to his advantage. Brendel pushed the piece of parchment in front of the innkeeper and said seriously, "So now you are aware of our identities?"
“Lo-Lord…” The bald innkeeper replied as he sweated furiously.
"Don't worry, we're not here to trouble you," Brendel was a bit speechless as he saw how close the guy was to losing his mind. Having to go out of his way to reassure him, he said, "But I can tell you now that the guys who entered the forest that you were asked to investigate earlier were a bunch of vicious cultists—"
"My lord, are you saying those hunters are cultists?" With sudden courage, the innkeeper interrupted Brendel in surprise.
Brendel was momentarily speechless, "No, I mean the guys who hired them to go in."
"Oh no!" Hearing this, the innkeeper suddenly jumped up as if his feet were on fire: "So, those hunters who went into the mountains are in danger?"
Brendel let out a sigh of relief, he did not expect this greedy guy to worry about others, and could not help but show a sense of his. He nodded, "That's right, so you should find the families of the hunters—their wives, daughters, parents, and those who are familiar with them. They must know the path into the forest that those hunters are used to taking this time of the year."
He paused and continued, "We must catch up with those cultists before they do."
The bald innkeeper was slightly startled, and immediately nodded his head and patted his chest to assure Brendel that he would immediately bring in those relevant people. Brendel did not bother to pay attention to this guy and managed to dispatch him, but when he turned back, he saw Freya somewhat worriedly asking him: "Are those hunters really in danger, Brendel?"
“It is for sure that there is danger, but it’s not a big problem for now.” Brendel replied thoughtfully, "At least Arreck won't be able to do anything to them until they leave the Stained Frost Forest Labyrinth."
“Count, so you said that to get him to hurry and make use of time?” Laurenna asked, puzzled, “But wouldn’t that worry the hunters’ families for nothing?”
Brendel shook his head, “The sooner we can catch up with Arreck, naturally, the better. I'm afraid that guy will be too careful and waste unnecessary time, and besides, it's better to worry than for them to be dead."
"I see, you are right." The knights nodded.
Brendel turned to watch the innkeeper climb out of the doorway, his bald head stood out among the crowds in the street. He took a soft breath and looked down at the map spread out on the table again, his eyes subconsciously shifting to the area around Lantonilan, but suddenly he saw the familiar name of a place:
Something flashed through Brendel’s mind at that moment. He screamed in his mind, Fuck! Alucher Mikaila—
“That little girl is the future Queen of the Witches!”