The Amber Sword - v5c48

It was already late when Freya returned to the manor. Amandina, however, waited until now after sending the teenager away.

After listening to Freya’s story, she finally understood what was going on. She was a little surprised at the coincidence of what had happened. She was quick-witted and smart, and she immediately figured out that the people who’d been caught by the lord were the same group of outlaws that Dean had met. She asked Freya to wait for a moment and went into the house to get a shawl and the necklace without the pendant. Then, she went to meet up with Brendel.

By the time both of them arrived at the campsite, the Patrol Knights had wasted another two or three hours as they still couldn’t get a word out of the cultists. After searching the campsite over and over again, they finally found a sixteen-page book which had a black cover, named “Code of All Things”. It had a wooden Ouroboros sculpture carved on it. It seemed like the sculpture had been often used in various rituals as the surface was worn smooth and it was very clean. Eugene immediately threw the Code of All Things aside the moment he held it as the Holy Cathedral of Fire had strictly forbidden him to read it and spread the information. It was as if he was afraid that the book would come to life and bite him and cause him trouble.

His men, on the other hand, were more cautious. They flipped through the pages of Code of All Things to make sure that there wasn’t anything in it and felt around its cover. They then used their sword to rip through the cover and found a thin piece of parchment, but unfortunately, it was blank. The Patrol Knights tried all sorts of ways to make the text on it appear, such as dripping some potions on it, burning it with fire and putting it under the moonlight. Brendel had even tried a few magic tricks, but all their methods were to no avail. So, they just ended up putting it aside.

The young Patrol Knights were enthusiastic at first as they wanted to impress their beloved count, but they ran out of steam after a few hours. It was as if those cultists were made out of special materials as they wouldn’t utter a word no matter how much the Patrol Knights tortured them. They’d even killed one of them to threaten them to say something, but the rest of them just trembled with fear and clenched their teeth. Apparently, they were more afraid of the torture after their death compared to dying. These people had already dedicated their souls to the Devils and twilight. If they revealed something and went to hell, they would face consequences that were worse than death.

After the gloomy Moa sank below the horizon among the mountains in the east, Tadesha, which only appeared in the autumn night sky, was halfway through its journey as the stars in the northern and southern skies shifted. It was almost dawn and everyone was exhausted and empty-handed. Eugene looked at Brendel apologetically but Brendel wasn’t angry as this outcome was what he’d expected. Brendel looked at the dispirited young man, and although he knew that he was just trying to impress him, he was still very satisfied with his efforts. He planned to search the campsite for one last time at dawn and he would think of another method if he still couldn’t find anything. These people would always leave some traces. 

At this moment, Freya and Amandina finally arrived at the campsite.

Amandina was smart. When she saw the mess and the Patrol Knights who looked like they hadn’t slept for at least a week, she knew that the lord was doing this for her. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have cared so much about these cultists. He wasn’t Praguesse’s sheriff, and even if he was, he wouldn’t deal with this trivial matter himself. She bowed to Brendel before asking him about the whole story. She looked at the cultists to make sure that she hadn’t met them before and then proceeded to examine the bits and pieces that they had found at the campsite. When Brendel mentioned the blank parchment, she looked at him and said, “My Lord, you should let Captain Eugene send these outlaws away first. I’m sure you know that they wouldn’t utter a word."

Brendel looked at her. They had been working together for quite some time, so he could tell that she was hinting something to him. He nodded.

The Patrol Knights quickly tied the cultists up, no matter whether they were dead or alive. It was their achievement for capturing these cultists, and since the Count had already offered them the credits, they would gladly accept it. Although these credits might not be much of a use to them, they could receive a large sum of bounty for capturing them.

As the Patrol Knights were busy doing their work, Amandina pulled Brendel and Freya aside and whispered, “My Lord, I think I know what they’re here for."

Brendel was stunned by her words as he looked at her confusedly. Amandina then told both of them about Dean’s encounters. Lastly, she asked, “My Lord, do you remember my father’s will?"

He nodded.

“Marsha, I’m probably going to die soon. If I’m dead and someone is lucky enough to come across this will, I would like to legally transfer all my possessions to this person. Besides that, I have ancestral property, and I would like to divide this fortune into thirds. A third of it is for this person, another third of it is for my wife, Sidey, and the rest of it is for my daughter…"

Amandina recited the will word for word, as if she was reading it. "If anyone reading this will is interested in having this fortune, please pass the will to my wife along with my token and tell her about the date at the Baden Ball, she’ll know what to do."

She then paused for a moment before reciting the last line. “Last but not least, I’m sorry, Sidey. May Lord Marsha punish me."

Brendel looked at her. He knew that she wouldn’t say something pointless at this moment, so he waited for the rest of her story. She took a deep breath and said, “There was a period of time where my father was very poor, and it was at that time where he met my mother at a ball, and they soon fell in love. At that time, they bought a mansion in an old city in Praguesse, and my father bought a larger courtyard when he’d earned some money after I was born. I think I know where my father kept his inheritance."

Brendel burst into laughter. Amandina always took things seriously. He was short of money at that time, which was why he’d valued the will that was left by her father. But now, Bokenelson’s inheritance wasn’t enough for Trentheim at all as he was just a noble. “Amandina, since you remember where your father’s inheritance is, why don’t you find a way to get it and keep it as a souvenir?” He suddenly stopped talking and looked at her in surprise. “Wait, do you mean that these people are after your father’s possessions?”

She nodded gently.

It would partly explain why these low-level cultists would be interested in that small amount of money. They’d probably heard of it and wanted to make a fortune. But then, it didn’t make sense if Teste and Magusk were coveting it as well. Perhaps they were interested in something else, but as Brendel looked at the two deserters from the White Winged Cavalry, he felt that their relationship with Magusk was clearly not a coincidence and what he surmised was incorrect.

If only they would talk, but unfortunately that was impossible.

Amandina saw Brendel furrowing his brows. She then said softly, “My Lord, I think I might have a clue about that blank parchment."

“You do?” he asked.

She shook her head. “It’s just a guess, I need to have a look at it first to be sure."

The parchment was placed together with the Code of All Things and it was sandwiched between the pages. Brendel asked a young man to bring the book over. Amandina opened the book, took out the piece of parchment and laid it flat. After hesitating for a moment, she said, “My Lord, this is a letter. I think I can make the texts appear, but… but I have to do this job alone."

"A letter?" Brando was slightly stunned. He looked at her in confusion, but then he eventually nodded.

"Thank you, my Lord.” Amandina was grateful. Brendel didn’t ask her what she wanted to do at all. His trust in her made her feel satisfied and relieved. She excused herself, went into a wooden hut with the parchment and took off the necklace that was on her neck. The necklace had the key to the house at 52 Gravedigger Street. She placed the parchment and the necklace together on the floor, kneeled down, bit her finger and let her blood drip into the part where the pendant was initially located on the necklace. At this moment, something miraculous happened. The blood droplets trickled downwards, stopped in mid-air, and formed into a crystal. The blood crystal shimmered and Amandina shone it on the piece of parchment. The texts on the parchment soon emerged line by line.
Amandina looked at the text and let out a long sigh. Once the necklace stopped glowing, she put away the parchment, put on her necklace, and covered it carefully with her shawl.

Brendel waited for her outside the hut. When she finally came out, she handed him the parchment. “Did you manage to do it?” he asked. She nodded gently.

He surveyed her as he thought to himself that she might be keeping a secret from everyone else. But he trusted her and knew that she would never hurt him, so he didn’t ask any more questions. Everyone had their own secrets and he respected her choice. He unfolded the parchment, skimmed through the first two paragraphs and raised an eyebrow.

He read the purple text on the letter.

'Dear Parminder, my brother,

We’re so close to finding out the truth now. I can see that the fragmented puzzles are finally coming together to form a complete picture, and I’ve already taken care of The Marshall's possessions. Next, I’ll be heading out to find the truth. I believe that one day, me, you and everyone else will get the justice we deserve. It has been thirty years, the nightmare that you and I had witnessed in that place is still circling in my mind all the time. But I’m sure that the choices we made that day were made for righteous and selfless purposes, and I’ll prove that to you soon.

I think The Marshall may reject the princess' request, but there are still some things that we must accomplish. Ciel, you, and I have agreed to keep this promise, and I’ve been given the honour to preserve some of the evidence, which I’m sure it’ll be a great testimony in the near future. I’ve kept a few pieces of evidence in the same place and it’ll be a part of my inheritance for my descendants as we both know that this job is full of risks and uncertainties. If I meet my doom one day, at least these puzzles can still be preserved in the hands of my wife. Oh, by the way, I forgot to tell you that I’m married. My wife, Sidey, is the most beautiful girl in the world. I love her as much as I love myself, my parents and the people I respect most in the world. I really hope that you can meet her one day if that’s possible. You’ll like her.  She's quiet, gentle, sensible, intelligent and shy. Sometimes I wish that she's the only princess in the world, and I'm the knight who protects her. But, I'm often away. I owe her too much and I often feel very guilty about it.

Sidey and I have a precious daughter. We named her Amandina, which means flower of hope in Elven. My daughter looks a lot like my wife, but I believe she’ll become a knight like me in the future. She’s very smart and I can see it in her eyes ever since she was a kid. I’ve only seen such wisdom in the eyes of the princess. I've often thought how compatible it would be if Lord Scott had a son who would marry Amandina, they would surely be the brightest stars of Aouine’s future. Haha, you might think I’m being ridiculous, but I’ve heard that Scott is married as well. He’s married to the beautiful and gentle Cardiligial whom we’ve met before, but unfortunately, I never knew where they stayed, otherwise, I would’ve definitely gone to their wedding. What an honour it would’ve been!

Last but not least, may you always be healthy and as fit as an ox. And may all the things we’ve done be worthy to The Marshall, the Royal Highness Princess, and all those who were involved in it.

May the black pines be evergreen, may Aouine live on forever; may faith shine still as always, may the longswords be as sharp as ever.

From your brother, Cipard, who has missed you immensely since the Year of the Ocean Harp.'

After reading the last sentence carefully, Brendel looked at the lady in front of him. Amandina’s face was slightly flushed, it was obvious that she’d read the entire letter beforehand. She bit her finger anxiously and said softly, “Please don’t mind it, my Lord. That’s just my father’s wishful thinking. You'll be engaged to the Royal Highness Princess, and Miss Romaine… please just take it as a joke, I…"

This letter was initially not a big deal anyway, anyone could tell that it was just a family letter and the contents in it were just a joke between the family members. But since Amandina was the one who revealed the texts, there might be something fishy going on. Amandina had an uneasy feeling and thought that Brendel might think that she’d purposely added that into the letter. Though he didn’t care about that matter at all. Instead, he was more interested in the other contents of the letter. He looked at Amandina and smiled bitterly, “Amandina, this is the letter that your father has left behind, right?"

His words startled her. She nodded.

"Do you know this Parminder guy?"

Amandina shook her head. She furrowed her brows and was deep in thought. But a while later, she shook her head again.

"Your father's real name is Cipard, right?” asked Brendel. He’d never heard of this name before. After all, this story was from forty or fifty years ago and it was only briefly mentioned in the game.

Amandina quivered and then nodded gently. “I think so, he may have mentioned it to me once or twice. My father was a Seiferan and the people there usually have names with two syllables. In private, the family members would often address each other by their nicknames they were given when they were a child."

Brendel thought for a moment. He looked at the letter in his hand and had a rough outline in his mind. It seemed like his grandfather probably had a superior-subordinate relationship with Amandina's father. And by the look of the names in the letter, he was probably born in the same generation as his father and Ciel, and that Parminder was one of the sergeants, and he was most likely a close friend of his grandfather's men. This was greatly unexpected as he'd never thought that there was such a connection between him and Amandina. He’d never believed in fate before, but now he did. It was as if there was an invisible thread that connected him to Amandina.