The Amber Sword - v5c51p2

There was a silver brooch in front of the Royal Highness Princess. She picked it up, admired it, and put it back down.

She still remembered what happened that afternoon.

The afternoon sun seemed to have a feeling of peace and harmony. The surrounding was quiet other than the rustles of the leaves. She stood on tiptoe and then lowered her heels gently. Her lips were icy-cold. Brendel stared at the princess confusedly.

“Brendel, I am truly grateful to hear that you're still going along this path. But, I still hope that you will consider our engagement seriously."

"Why?” asked Brendel while furrowing his brows.

“Aouine is a small country, so we have to combine the strength of the entire kingdom or maybe even restore the ancient system if we want to fight back against potential enemies.” Gryphine took a few steps back and looked at him carefully with her light silver-grey, bright eyes. “But I know this ancient kingdom, which has been ruled by House Seifer and my family, too well. The nobles who are under my father’s rule have different thinkings and are narrow-minded. There are a few of them who have dreams and beliefs, but we can’t trust all of them."

She shook her head gently, reinforcing her statement, “The kingdom must recentralize its power, re-establish the local taxation system that has been discontinued since Anson’s era, and weaken the military power of the nobles, but..."

Brendel suddenly realized the implicit meaning of her word ‘but’. The South already had the basis for the restoration of royal power, but the future of the South depended solely on him as he was the one who had to make the decision. If he supported the princess unreservedly, then the votes of Count Lantonilan, Duke Viero or Duke Grinoires wouldn’t change the final outcome at all, even if all of them opposed it. The Autumn War had displayed that Trentheim had such decisive military power.

But if he opposed it or maintained the status quo, then all the local nobles would follow his lead and nothing would change. It was true that Duke Viero was the princess’ grandfather, that Count Lantonilan was nominally her ally, and that the Highland Knights were above the fray, but there was obviously a contradiction between the local nobles and the Royal Family. Duke Viero would never risk losing his power to support his granddaughter, nor would Count Lantonilan. They were happy to have the Royal Family close to them, but they would never want to be inferior to them.

This was a natural conflict between the princess’ philosophy and the core interests of the dukes.

But what could he do about it?

The kingdom must recentralize its power, and Trentheim and Valhalla couldn’t be above the fray as they must bear the brunt of it. The princess wanted him to set an example to the others, but could he trust this half-elf? He’d built up Trentheim and Valhalla with his own hands, and the hopes and future of many people such as the Red Bronze Dragon mercenaries who’d gone through the Eleven Months War, the adventurers who were persecuted by Graudin, the villagers in Green Village, Amandina and Carglise all depended on him. This was the responsibility that came with his power, so how could he pass this responsibility on to others?

He weighed his options carefully in his mind. If he thought emotionally, he would be willing to trust the princess as she was able to hold on to her beliefs and sought mercy and justice. As the eldest princess of Aouine, she’d subdued countless players throughout history. But no one was perfect. She might be influenced by the noble’s mentality and compromised on being conservative, and this would affect the fate of many people. And if he thought rationally, he felt that the princess had a soft spot in her heart and being a reformer wasn't in her nature.

It all depended on her personality.

The past was already history; the present and future depended on his decision. Brendel was well aware of the difference between himself and the princess. His only ties in this world were his parents, whom he’d just met today, but Princess Gryphine had an inextricable relationship with the nobles. She wasn’t ruthless like Silver Queen Constance.

He looked at the princess who was standing right in front of him. She was half a head shorter than him. She lifted her head slightly and looked at him with her light silver-grey eyes while pursing her lips. Her silver hair shone beautifully under the sunlight and her pointy ears could be seen among her long hair, displaying her elven genes. Nobody would doubt the beauty of this princess, which was a mix of the elegance from the royalty and the nature of the forest.

Brendel definitely wouldn't forget that his lips still had her fragrance on them.

"I know what you're thinking, Brendel. But you're someone who can decide the kingdom’s future. If you’re too naive, it may not be a good sign for both of us,” said Princess Gryphine.

Brendel could tell that there was a hidden meaning behind her words, so he asked, “What do you think I should do then?"

Princess Gryphine looked at him. He could actually take the same path as Arreck, dethrone her and Haruz and make himself the king. He was actually much stronger than her, plus he was more capable and he had the time to do so. But if he did so, he would lose his reputation and his rightful status. If he only wanted a throne and supreme power, then he could certainly choose this path. But if he chose the latter path, he had far more to lose than to gain.

The princess’ eyes lit up slightly as she looked at the extraordinary noble in front of her and replied softly, “Marry me."

“I’m Haruz’s sister, so I’m actually in succession to the throne. And according to the kingdom’s tradition, you can manage and rule the kingdom rightfully if you’re my husband. By that time, Trentheim and Valhalla will become the Royal Family’s territories, and it is only right that Viero, Lantonilan, Grinoires and even Karsuk submit to you,” she paused for a moment, “… But if the throne is empty again during this dynasty, only Haruz or his descendants can inherit this position."

She was referring to Arreck. After listening to what she’d said, Brendel smiled bitterly and said, “Your Highness, but this doesn’t sound like you’re married to me. It sounds more like I’m married to you."

Princess Gryphine chuckled. She could tell that Brendel didn’t care about the power in his hands.

"But I already have a fiancée. Let’s just put this matter aside first,” replied Brendel helplessly.

“It’s okay, I’ll wait for your answer then.” Princess Gryphine smiled. She wasn’t annoyed at his reply at all.

Brendel could only flee from that situation.

Gryphine pressed on the brooch and stopped recalling her memories. She looked at the evening sky outside of the window. The sun was as red as fire, hanging below the golden clouds.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. She jumped. After listening to the movements behind the door, she said, “Please come in, Mrs Hill.” When the door opened, it was indeed her maidservant standing outside. The woman who was in her forties had an envelope in her hand. She greeted respectfully, “Your Highness."

“It’s already late. What brings you here?” asked Princess Gryphine while looking at her.
“There's a letter from Castle Vallendaren,” replied Mrs Hill.

 "Is it for me?"

 "Yes, it’s from Mr Oberwei."

Gryphine took the envelope and opened it. After reading the letter, she raised her eyebrows and the expressions on her face changed.

“I would like to inform Your Highness that Silver Queen Constance from Kirrlutz has recently granted a countess title by exception. According to reliable sources, this newly promoted countess is from Aouine and she has a close relationship with Count Trentheim."