Brendel even prepared his own carriage, but what he was not expecting were four stationary carriages already parked by the street the moment he got to the courtyard. The tinted carriages were branded with the Coldwood range crest. There were only a few households within the castle that uses horse carriages, which meant this was more than likely prepared for him.
But he found it peculiar that someone cared enough to ready these carriages for him. Could it be Medissa? The Silver Elf princess seemed nice, but I don’t think she be bothered with what she’d surely consider a servant’s job…
Only after circling to the far side of the carriage did he finally discover the one that he was looking for. Amandina stood by the door, head hung low, rolls of sheepskin scrolls still in her embrace clearly awaiting his arrival.
“Milord, the carriages are well prepared for your trip to Port Gris,” Amandina respectfully mentioned, her arms crossed over her long skirt.
“In the carriage drawer are some biscuits and cakes, knowing you probably won’t have time for a proper meal, I told the kitchen staff to prepare beforehand. On the lower shelf of the desk are some intel documents on the kingdom, even though there aren’t many, I thought it’d be of some help to you, milord.”
As she stoically murmured along as if it were all memorized, Brendel felt the warmth from within. After all, who would have arranged a carriage for him anyway? Who else but Amandina? He was a little taken aback by how he never thought of her earlier.
The only person that could get his chaotic life in such order, and the only one that could lecture him to his face, always reminding him to keep his life more tardily. To think that this girl was a noblewoman herself, had a proper education, and here she is putting herself in such a position, this young, introverted girl…
There was only her.
“Thank you Amandina,” Brendel stood right across the head butler, while Shitah was close behind, still sucking on his fingers as he cracked a smile at her.
The late summer breeze blew across the castle walls as leaves rustled.
A flock of birds weaved through the gaps between the tree where rays of sunlight shone through, the fluttering of their petite wings seemingly evading the aimless conversations below. Amandina nagged a little, before looking back up at Brendel, her dark pupils sparkled ever so slightly before she shyly dulled her head again.
“This is my responsibility anyway,” She mentioned, yet lightly lamented, “If it was Miss Romaine, I’m sure you wouldn’t have thanked her so courteously, right…”
Brendel bizarrely stared back at her rosy cheeks, now red as a tomato as seemingly gathered all her courage to utter the words just said.
He contemplated deeply on her words, the underlying meaning was like an everflowing song, muted nonetheless, yet filled to the brim with emotions. He then reached out for the door handle and hopped up the carriage, seemingly evading each other’s eyes.
Brendel then added, “I sure wouldn’t,” He freed his hand, cranked the other door open, and faced the staring Amandina. Stoically he replied, “But I wouldn’t be telling her to hop on will I, Miss Head Butler. C’mon, let’s go on a spin to meet with the Kirrlutz Kingdom envoys.”
Right then, Amandina froze at her spot.
The wind seemingly muffled, clouds instantly seemed to crawl through the azure blue sky. Time, for a split second, seemed to be moving backward.
His lips cranked up by the edges, “Or are you waiting for me to lift you, dear miss?”
“Oh, it’s fine…” Amandina’s head sung even lower, elegant was her stance yet her face was blushing red, “There is so much left to do in base, and the documents that I have yet to arrange. No, I...won’t be going, I’ll leave it to you, milord…”
“Aren’t the documents already in your arms? C’mon now, we can always handle it during the ride. From here to Port Gris is a half-day ride, we’ve got plenty of time. The view in Trentheim between the transitioning seasons of summer and fall is worth dying for, and I’d love to see it with you. The lands that belong to us.”
Brendel cut her off as he hopped off once again. Despite the carriage doors all wide opened, Amandina was still in much hesitation, yet her heart took the final decision as she awkwardly aboard the carriage.
She could finally see that her Lord Commander actually understood her feelings.
And that was more than enough for her. The young maiden placed both hands on her lap, nonetheless tightly clenched, her head hung so low almost attached to her chest. Never once in her life could she have expected their relationship to reach this stage.
Brendel allowed the lady to enter first, then promptly hopped back in before Shitah shamelessly squeezed his way up last. In the carriage, all three were dead silent. In the silent air was a faint scent of blossoming lavender by the end of summer, and the thoughts of a nervous maiden.
The horses began trotting along, passing by the castle gates, over the door bridge, past the bustling streets and ultimately leaving Coldwood castle in hindsight. The crowded scenes gradually morphed into fields of green, rolling hills, lush green paddy fields, then on to faraway forests, windmills, and the weaving rivers shimmering from the mid-noon sunlight.
As the carriage strode along the shady path, lined by invigorating forests, and onwards across a white stone paved bridge, Trentheim from a distance seemed like a series of paintings to adore.
Brendel sat quietly by the door window, silently immersing himself into all its glory, a sense of warmth promptly erupted from within.
For the first time ever, he was no longer alone in this world.
He was the sole reason many were choosing to live for, and for many he himself too, and that was the connection that humans have with one another, and that is how a civilization could proceed and prosper. Warmth, love, and relationships, like the blood circulating within each one of us, sustain mankind.
It is ever-flowing and incessant. It was a question that Milos and Korfa had. What was the purpose of this dark, muddy, pathetic civilization, and what had it to do with Order? What was its true meaning?
Sure, in many ways, it was not as heroic as the prehistoric era, or as relentless and gallant as the Silver ages, but that was not what this era represented.
It was compassion.