Brendel had mentioned the teenager to her before, so Amandina asked, “What’s the matter?"
Dean looked at her dubiously. “My lady, can you make decisions on behalf of Mr Brendel?"
"What do you think?" Amandina asked.
Dean hesitated for a moment as he looked at her carefully. He wasn’t sure whether he could trust her or not. He suddenly recalled something and said in surprise, “Ah, I remember, you’re the noblewoman who lives on 52 Gravedigger Street. I’ve met you once before.
"You've met me before?” Amandina didn’t remember seeing such a person.
"I happened to have seen you once from afar when those bad guys came to look for you, my lady,” replied Dean.
Amandina figured that he was referring to the moment where her creditors came to her house about a year and a half ago. The locals in Praguesse usually called these loan sharks “Nottres” and said that they were people whose souls have been charmed with money by the greedy Nottre Demon King. Based on what the teenager had said, he was obviously indicating that he was on her side. But these weren’t enough to flatter her as she wasn’t the down-and-out and rich noblewoman whom she used to be. She nodded her head and asked, “So, what’s the matter?"
"My lady, I’m sure you know that Mr Brendel has asked me to go home and pack my things so that I can leave Praguesse anytime with my mother. I’ve done it as soon as possible and waited for Mr Brendel to send someone over. But I suddenly remembered something, so I went back to 52 Gravedigger Street and I happened to see a group of bandits ransacking your house."
"What?” Amandina was alarmed. She didn’t know what Teste and Brendel had talked about, but she could recall that someone had broken into her house before. “What did those people look like?"
“They all dressed up as burglars, but I could tell that they were either bandits, fugitives, mercenaries or adventurers."
"When was this?"
“Quite some time ago, my lady. It took me a while to look for you and Mr Brendel,” replied Dean.
Amandina furrowed her brows. She then asked, “Do you know what were they looking for?"
Dean shook his head, and he quickly explained, “Of course, my lady, I’ll always do my best when it comes to the orders that are issued by Mr Brendel. There were around seven or eight people there, but if I’ve acted rashly back then and alerted the enemies, then I may not be able to tell you all this information right now. They were in the house and I didn’t know what they were looking for, but I followed them after they left the house and discovered something new. They went somewhere else after leaving 52 Gravedigger Street."
"You did the right thing.” Amandina comforted him as she knew what he was trying to explain to her. “Where did they go after that?"
“They went to 47 Juan District. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of that place before, my lady."
"Ah!” Amandina exclaimed. Nelson’s old mansion was located in 47 Juan District and she’d lived there when she was a child. But she had to mortgage the mansion later on to cure her mother’s illness, and she’d never gone back since then. Her face turned pale and she pressed her neck subconsciously. “They went there?"
"Yes, my lady,” answered Dean truthfully. Amandina kept her tone light, so he didn’t notice anything unusual.
"What were they doing there?" She asked carefully.
"They seem to be digging something in the courtyard there," he replied.
“In the courtyard?”
"Yes, the mansion seemed to be vacant and there was an old tree in the backyard. They dug under that tree for quite some time -"
“Did they dig anything up?” She suddenly interrupted.
“No.” Dean looked at her in a strange manner. “They left empty-handed."
Amandina felt relieved all of a sudden. A ray of light suddenly flashed through her mind. “The date at Baden Ball.” She recalled the words her father had written to her mother in his will. She should’ve thought of this earlier, those guys were after her father’s inheritance. Though she was a little confused as she didn’t remember her father having any relationships with such a group of bandits.
But she couldn't care less about it at this moment. “I must tell Brendel about this immediately. Can you get back to 47 Juan District as soon as possible?”
"If something happens along the way, can you find someone to pass us the message?” Amandina asked.
"No problem, I have a number of reliable friends around here,” he replied.
“Mountains of Chablis. Remember this code word and tell your friend to mention this code word when he passes on the message."
“Got it. I’ll get going then, my lady.” Dean got a silver coin from Amandina as a reward. I’ve made the right trip again, He thought to himself. He then turned around and dived into the bushes. As she saw the teenager disappear into the woods, she bit her lower lip and felt a strange feeling. Her father’s will brought the lord into her life a year and a half ago. She didn’t think that this matter would resurface a year and a half later when they returned to Praguesse.
She looked up at the night sky absent-mindedly.
Brendel walked in the direction where the sound was coming from. He passed through the bushes, stepping on the thick pine needles. After walking past a wooden shed, he arrived at the forest behind the sawmill and saw a figure of a young girl. She was wearing the uniform of Aouine’s cavalry. Her long ponytail swayed along as she swung her sword upward and downward repetitively. She was very focused and didn’t notice that there was someone around her.
Brendel stood still for a moment.
Freya had obviously arrived here earlier than him. He was here to find some memories of Brendel, but the young girl from Bucce was here to complete her mission.
She was Aouine’s past, present and future War Goddess. She had once carried the beliefs and dreams of all the players in Aouine, but not many of them knew that it wasn’t her talent behind her success, it was all her hard work and perseverance. Freya was the last place when she entered the Royal Cavalry Academy, and she was only a mediocre student among the cadets. She’d caught the Royal Highness Princess’ fancy because she was Everton’s daughter, but the fact that this ordinary girl had become one of the legendary generals in Aouine’s history due to her hard work and efforts had impressed the princess more.
The kingdom would fall once she was dead. She was the last hero in Aouine.
Brendel looked at Freya quietly as she swung her sword under the moonlight. A while later, she finally noticed something wasn’t right and stopped what she was doing. She was startled when she saw Brendel. “Brendel!” She panicked like a child who had just been caught stealing food. “Why… why are you here?"
"I used to practice sword art with my grandfather here. It’s been a long time since I last came here, so I thought I’d come by,” he replied.
“Well...” Her face flushed. He wasn’t sure whether it was due to the accelerated blood flow after exercising or because she was embarrassed. “I’ve heard you say… I, I was just a little curious about the place where Darius had taught such an excellent person like you, Brendel…"
Brendel froze. He then smiled and asked, “So, how’s it?"
Freya nodded gently and replied in a somewhat disheartened tone, "It's quiet here, I really like this place."
"Actually, it wasn't this quiet last time. This used to be one of the main roads to Fortress Riedon. Ever since Bucce…” Brendel suddenly paused and looked at Freya apologetically. She smiled reluctantly and said, “It’s okay, we’ll get it back one day. You’ve already defeated them, so I’m sure that we’ll get it back soon."
Brendel nodded, though he didn’t quite agree with it. Defeating Bloodstaff was indeed seen by many as a vengeance on the War of The Black Roses, but in fact, the war between Aouine and Madara had just begun. It wasn’t that easy to make such a huge dark empire retreat.
"Brendel, you seem to have gotten stronger again," She looked at him and said suddenly.
Of course, he’d become stronger after acquiring Sophie’s experiences and gaining so many extra levels. Although they were somewhat fragmented, it was equivalent to a career level of 57 or 58 when they were combined together. This level was comparable to Veronica’s level when she was at the Loop of Trade Winds, he just didn’t have her template of a special NPC leader. In fact, his attributes were actually similar to the Peak of Elemental Enlightenment. But his knowledge of Laws wasn’t perfect yet, so he was at the last threshold of the Elemental Activation stage now. Though this threshold wasn’t a problem for him at the moment as the two most difficult realms of Elemental Activation was to break through the Elemental Barrier and enter the Ultimate Plains. It was a matter of course to pass the other stages.
He was surprised by how observant Freya was as she didn’t have a strong sense of judgement before this. He looked at her and replied, “You’ve improved a lot as well, Freya. Everyone knows how successful you are."
Freya looked downwards. She couldn’t believe that she would have the opportunity to enter the Golden Realm. It was all like a dream to her. “Thank you, Brendel. I know that you’ve given me all of this. It was you who’ve given me the opportunity to enter the Royal Academy, and I can get to where I am today because you’ve fought for me in front of the princess. You also gave me that slate."
She sighed gently. “I don’t know why you’re so kind to me, Brendel, but I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. Aunt Ciel said that I’m a stupid girl, but I’ll never forget those who treat me well."
"Freya?” Brendel realized that she was acting a little strange.
“It’s nothing." Freya shook her head gently and lifted her head up. She then looked at him with her bright eyes. “Brendel, can I ask you a question?"
He looked into her eyes, vaguely sensing something. “Sure,” he replied.
“Brendel, did you already know about my origin a long time ago?” She looked at him and asked softly.
He stiffened for a moment. He then replied, “Did the Royal Highness Princess tell you about this?"
"What do you think of it?” he asked.
Freya didn't answer and had a forlorn look on her face.
He immediately understood what this silly girl was thinking. “Did you think that you’ve caught our fancy just because of your origin and status?"
She stared at him blankly. Her eyes were full of sadness, it was as if they were saying, “Isn’t it true?” When the princess told her about this matter, she immediately thought of Maynild, the princess, the care she’d gotten from the Royal Faction, and Brendel. She could still vividly remember Brendel’s words when they first met in Bucce.
“Freya. You’re Freya? Freya? Alicia, born in the Year of the Sakura, whose father is Everton?"
She thought that it was just a casual question back then. But now that she thought about it, she felt as if a knife had pierced into her heart.
Brendel was obviously also aware of this and he scratched his head. He knew that Freya’s origin had indeed caught the princess and the Royal Faction’s fancy. After the Frost Revolution, the Royal Faction fell apart. Everton took full responsibility for it back then and eventually died in prison. Whereas his wife and children were protected by the Royal Faction and managed to flee from Monsterros. Freya was then adopted by her aunt and uncle in Bucce.
Because of this, Everton was always the banner of the Royal Faction. He had a high reputation, and Oberwei, the Wolf Baron, was one of his many students during King Oberg the Seventh’s era. He was indeed very powerful.
So, the Royal Faction decided to take care of Freya. But since they were guilty about Everton’s death, they’d concealed her origins from her just in case she would hold a grudge against them. The Royal Faction never revealed her origins to the public before she was successful, so everyone would think that she became a War Goddess later on because she had no choice.
But Brendel didn’t understand how this had happened in advance.
After pondering upon it, he suddenly realized that it was his fault again. He had a conversation with the princess in the afternoon to clear all her doubts. Although he was willing to work towards achieving an ideal Aouine with the princess, he didn’t expect that she would tell Freya about her origins so quickly. Though he could roughly guess what her intentions were - she didn’t want to lie to Freya anymore.
This matter drove Brendel crazy. He would rather want the Royal Faction to continue keeping this as a secret from Freya as he knew that she was self-abased. She was only a country girl and now she was a cadet in the Royal Academy, standing alongside the young elites from all over Aouine, so there was always a gap between her origins and qualifications and theirs. It was all due to her hard work and perseverance that she could become so successful today.
But now that she realized that these achievements might be based on a lie and everyone around her was only interested in her origins and not her efforts, she was devastated. If she’d known about the truth later on when she was more mature and determined to fight for Aouine, then she wouldn’t be so affected by this. But she was only a young girl now, and Brendel could easily tell that she would be disheartened by this lie.
Of course, perhaps some people would be surprised instead of disappointed if they’d suddenly discovered that they were actually a noble all this while. But Brendel was very sure that the strong and independent girl in front of him wasn’t one of those people. He could tell that she was anxious and confused, and she came here to practice her sword art to calm herself down.
The evil we brought on ourselves were indeed the hardest to bear. Brendel wanted to slap his forehead. Of course, the princess’ intentions were good, but sometimes, good intentions could turn out bad for others.
He had to think of a way to fix the situation. “Freya, do you trust me?” Brendel suddenly asked in a serious manner.
Freya was stunned for a moment. She then looked at him confusedly. “Of course I trust you, Brendel."
He exhaled gently. Suddenly, an idea popped up in his mind. “Follow me, I’ll take you somewhere."
Before Freya could react, she felt a large and warm hand holding her hand. “Brendel!” His actions startled her. He then put his finger at his lips and motioned her to keep quiet, and dragged her towards Stag Forest.