The Amber Sword - v5c57p1

Brendel had prepared Prince Lenarette’s accommodation in the east of Valhalla, which was a palace formed by hollowed-out tree trunks. This was one of Valhalla’s abilities. As long as magic was cast in the town hall, the Tree Fortress could generate an unlimited number of hollow spaces in it. Of course, decorations and furnishings were needed to turn these hollow spaces into rooms. Brendel instructed Amandina and Odum to design Valhalla’s guest room like the Coldwood Castle. This luxurious guest room was now occupied by the eldest son of the Kirrlutzian king, with the Folded Sword Knights being on guard twenty-four-seven outside his room.

Most of the Folded Sword Knights knew Brendel. After obtaining Lenarette’s permission, they guided him inside respectfully. The entrance of the palace was cleverly designed. It was located on a terrace, connected by a path of vines. The other end of the path was connected to the second level of Treetop Square. The entrance was very remote and it was guarded by the Tree Elf Archers. Right in front of the terrace was the main trunk of the giant tree, where the Tree Elf Archers were stationed. Although there were tree houses between the branches, the beautiful scenery in the distance could still be seen. It was a perfect design as the place was safe and the owner could enjoy the wonderful scenery at the same time.

There were vines with turquoise leaves hanging down from the tree walls at the entrance, forming a curtain. The back of it was the main hall of the palace, which was also semi-open-aired. There was a giant crystal hanging from the ceiling of the hall, which could filter the light from outside, so that the sunlight or moonlight would turn into liquid and drip onto the Magic Fountain in the center of the hall, causing the sparkling spring water to ripple over the pebbles. As Brendel and Amandina entered the hall, the eldest son of the Kirrlutzian king was standing by the fountain while looking at the glistening stream of water. It seemed like he was pondering on something.

“Your Highness Lenarette, are you satisfied with your stay?” greeted Brendel as he walked towards him and stopped at a distance near him.

Lenarette turned his head and looked at them. He then nodded without saying anything, waiting for them to speak.

This guy is boring as ever, Brendel thought to himself. He then took the initiative to start the conversation. “Your Highness, the Wind Elves have started a war at the Wilderness of Four Realms and the Goldenmanes are gathering their armies as well. The Holy War has begun, so what are your thoughts on this?"

Since the Holy War had begun, Silver Queen Constance had no choice but to rely on the military nobles in the empire, and most of these nobles supported the eldest son of the emperor. Lenarette nodded and said, “According to the customs, the Holy Cathedral of Fire should’ve already summoned the envoys from each kingdom to Lusitar. I haven’t had the chance to congratulate you, Mr Count, on being appointed as the head of the diplomatic mission."

“Your Highness has been staying in Trentheim for quite some time already. I’m sure you’ll have to return to the empire soon, right?"

Lenarette raised his head and looked at him with his light blue eyes. His cold eyes seemed to be saying, “Don’t tell me that you, an insignificant count in Trentheim, would also want to interfere in the heirship of the empire."

Brendel waved his arms and smiled. "Your Highness, it's not that I want to act as a cat's-paw and it’s nothing like that. I have no choice but to interfere in the internal affairs of the Kirrlutzians, especially the most troublesome dispute over the royal family. But now that things have come to this point, I have to find some ways to protect myself. This matter is beneficial for us, but there are disadvantages for me as well, so I hope I can get some advice from you."

“What kind of advice?” asked Lenarette.

“I need to know who would spare no effort to support you in the empire."

Lenarette furrowed his brows, contemplating the value of this meeting. After a moment of consideration, he made a gesture to Brendel and told him to continue the conversation inside. He then turned around and walked towards the study room. It seemed like Brendel had expected this. He brought Amadina and followed along with him. There were a few  Light Spirits in the study room waiting for Lenarette’s orders. He instructed them to clean up the room and prepare some black tea and snacks. Although these Light Spirits obeyed Brendel’s orders as well, Brendel was nice enough to let Lenarette exercise his powers, though his power was only limited to within this palace.

A few moments later, after the Light Spirits flew out of the room, Lenarette said solemnly, “Mr Count, House Octavia is my wife’s family, so Duke Ludwig will support me unreservedly."

Brendel didn’t expect that the eldest son of the Kirrlutzian king already had a wife at such a young age, but this kind of marriage of convenience was beneficial in Vaunte as this would mean that House Octavia and Lenarette would be bound together for good or ill. So, Duke Ludwig was someone that Lenarette could completely trust in Kirrlutz. “Who else?” he asked.

“House Nona is my ally."

“What's this about?” asked Brendel.

"Marquis Innon has publicly opposed the late king's passing of the throne to the queen mother, and thus had enmity with my mother, which would not resolve with time, so the one who is most keen to have the queen mother to abdicate is House Nona. I have a secret agreement with House Nona, and Marquis Innon has promised to give me a part of the shares of the mines and to support me unreservedly to ascend the throne," Lenaret replied calmly.

It suddenly dawned on Brendel. No wonder Mangrove was in such a hurry to head to Trentheim before this. The empire was divided into four regiments. Marquis Innon Mangrove was the current Black Blade Squad Leader and Azure Legion was now in the hands of House Ereshik. Whereas House Nigel, who was blood-related to the Royal Family, controlled the White Legion on the borders of Haiza and the Red Legion on the borders of Sanorso’s side. These three families were the typical representatives of the northern military nobles and they generally favored the eldest son of the emperor to succeed to the throne. But according to Lenarette, only House Nona was willing to put in the effort and contribute.

Brendel made a note of this and asked, “Anyone else?"

“Prime Minister Nedwin."

“Prime Minister Nedwin?” repeated Brendel. He couldn’t believe what he’d just heard. The Kirrlutzian Prime Minister, Nedwin, wasn’t an ordinary person. He was more than 150 years old now and he was the minister to three emperors in this empire. He was the one who’d helped the former Kirrlutzian Prime Minister to regain power from the hands of the Holy Cathedral 100 years ago. If there were any legends in Kirrlutz, it was most probably him.

With his status and wisdom, why would he pick sides so easily?

Brendel looked at the eldest Kirrlutzian Prince suspiciously. Lenarette then replied calmly, “The queen mother favors the Pratt family so that she can use the power of the local nobles to suppress other forces in the court. The military nobles in the north rarely intervene in political affairs, so everyone is well aware of her intentions, including the prime minister and the Holy Cathedral. The prime minister knows that the queen mother is not interested in him, so he obviously won’t side with her."

“But he may not be on your side either.” Brendel thought to himself, The empire has a lot of princes and princesses, so it wouldn’t fall apart just because they’ve lost the eldest prince. But there is one thing that the prince was right about, that is, no matter which prince or princess is chosen to succeed to the throne, the prime minister will never side with Silver Queen Constance.

And that was enough.

Brendel calculated quietly in his mind. Among the three forces that Lenarette had mentioned, which were the royal family’s distant relatives, military nobles, and the general nobles, the most hardcore party was probably Duke Ludwig from House Octavia, followed by House Nona. Prime Minister Nedwin could only be seen as a potential ally or not as an enemy. He still remembered that he’d offended the Kirrlutzian Prime Minister’s precious granddaughter once before, so he would try his best to not provoke him as much as possible.

Kirrlutz had several forces, such as the royal family, military nobles, local nobles, and the Holy Cathedral.

These four forces basically controlled most of the empire’s land, population, resources, and military. The empire’s land, population, and resources were of little significance to Brendel, the military was the key to his plans. Among the empire’s military, the four traditional legions were controlled by the military nobles, two of which were controlled by the royal family by means of marriage. Whereas the patrol knights from each region and the local garrisons had been the sphere of influence of the local nobles, which also included the newly emerged navy. The local nobles were divided into two groups, where each of the groups was controlled by the royal family and the Royal Cathedral respectively. The royal family had a closer relationship with the autonomous grand duchies in the north, whereas the Royal Cathedral mainly had control over the lords in the south. And lastly, the Holy Cathedral had a powerful military, such as the Bishop Squad and the Compassion Flame Knight Squad.

Suddenly, Brendel realized he’d missed something out.