Volume 2 – The dust laden kingdom
Chapter 1 – The burning city.
The time was the year of bustling flowers and summer leaves, the morning of the second day of the sixth month.
Freya quickly reached ‘number 51’ at the market with the assistance of Sue, the bar’s owner’s daughter. She took a look at the Ponoa’s market area. Even though it was morning, there were a decent amount of people in this place. Torches were lit everywhere, and the brightness more or less made people feel safe—
She prepared to move, but Sue suddenly grabbed her arm: “Stop, there’s someone hidden in the alley.”
The young girl with braids stood between the edges of the shadow and light in the street’s corner, her hand against the wall and observing the outside area in alertness.
“Are they soldiers?” Freya’s heart jumped.
“I don’t know. But these faces are unfamiliar, they are definitely not people from this city’s region.” Sue shook her head and answered quietly.
Freya brought a clenched fist to her lips, pondering anxiously. If they appeared in the Ponoa market now, they were most likely the soldiers of the White-Mane army.
[Brendel have predicted this would happen. They really went to find hood. Have they talked to him? Should I still continue to meet with him?] Freya furrowed her brows.
[… Wait, Brendel said that it was okay even if I discovered the soldiers. Without knowing our relationship, they won’t act immediately as they want to capture all of us.]
Freya took a deep breath. She turned her head and asked: “Sue, can you answer me a question?”
“What is it?”
“How do you know when someone is lying?”
The dark-skinned girl laughed: “Did you ask this question because I help out at the bar?”
Freya flushed a little, she was indeed eyeing Sue’s vastly superior experience compared to hers. Most of the citizens and her naively thought that the nobles would act and save them if anything happened, but Sue pointed out the truth within a couple of lines during their conversation.
In Freya’s heart, this slightly cold girl was very sharp and assertive.
“No problem. I help people everyone out once in a while,” Sue smiled: “Freya, look at me.”
“Your friend that says that Fortress Riedon will be conquered, what is his name?”
Freya was momentarily taken aback as she did not know why she asked this question. She panicked a little in her heart, and her eyes darted about: “B-Brendel.”
Sue’s eyes glinted: “You like him, right?”
“N-no, Brendel, he, likes Romaine.”
“Eyes, Freya, look at me.” Sue’s deep brown eyes was a pool of still water as it reflected Freya: “And who is Romaine?”
Freya’s face looked like it has been set ablazed by fire. Her eyes swam about and did not dare to look at Sue, and tried to explain with stuttering in her words, but she did not where to begin with. She suddenly felt she was the biggest fool under the sky, and wanted to find a crevice and hide in there.
“Understand?” Sue asked.
“Y-yes.” Freya lowered her head, while nodding hard.
She took another deep breath to calm herself, her fingers on the sword’s hilt and ready to move out, but she suddenly turned back and grabbed Sue’s arm. “Sue, can you wait for me for a while?”
Sue paused for a while, but she nodded her head. Freya felt a little mystified by her actions, but she kept feeling Sue was like Brendel, and it gave her a little more confidence.
She walked out of the alley and acted like there was no one around her and did not pay attention to her surroundings, like she always came to Ponoa’s number 51. She hesitated a little when she felt two pair of eyes on her back, but quickly knocked on the door.
The bangs on the door felt like they came from her heart. Freya waited for a while and the door opened with a creak, showing a man who was hunched over and bald, and it was difficult to ascertain his age. When he saw Freya, he stopped moving for an instant, then retreated a step back as he recognized her.
(Freya, look at me.)
Freya noted the miniscule change in his expression. A somber, icy feeling rose from her heart.
[Brendel said I should note his reactions and decide…]
“Who are you, what is your matter with me?” The hunched man asked after a while. Freya stood there in silence for a minute, and stared him coldly. Just when the man wanted to retreat, she suddenly pulled out her sword with a singing flourish and placed it on his neck.
At that moment where the unexpected happened, Sue saw a few people on the streets jerked visibly, but they soon resumed what they were doing. Their actions were subtle, but the girl hiding in the alley saw everything.
Freya did not know what happened behind her at all. She merely tried to hold her sword calmly and spoke steadily: “Are you the witch’s ally?”
“Don’t kill me, they forced, for—, witch?” The hunched man was terrified over the sudden change, fell onto his butt, before finally understood what the stoic girl said.
[Ciel also said something about her Romaine’s aunt having to do something with witches… I didn’t think I was able to come up with something—] Her mind was actually blank when she drew out her sword. She continued to speak: “Her name should be ‘Jennie’, but never mind…… It doesn’t matter since it seems I need to give you a lesson first.”
She raised her sword as she spoke, and Hood immediately shrieked in pitiful sobs: “Wait, wait, ser, I-I have nothing to do with her…… Ah, no, I mean, to say, I’m not her ally or anything, I’m just a relative to her, no, no, I mean distant relative!”
“It’s true, it’s true! Please believe me, believe me, she’s just an occult who comes to the fortress occasionally to buy stuff! And she just buys some weird things! She lives with her niece in Bucce!”
Freya glared at the man while repressing her hate for him. She hoisted him up in the air: “But my informant told me that she entered the city a few days ago. You better not be lying, as a…. wizard, I can rip out your memories!”
Hood was delirious from the sword on his neck, and could not pick out what was wrong with Freya’s words: “I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you everything! She left two days ago and went to the north of here.”
Freya looked at his eyes and threw him away in disgust. She sighed a little when she heard Sue’s whistle.
[Damn it. How much time did I waste here, the men outside must have noticed something when I drew my sword. Maybe I overdid things when I raised him up… I need to leave.]
She ran outside.
[Aunt Jennie isn’t here. The north of Fortress Riedon is Bruglas, what is she doing there? This man doesn’t seem he’s lying.]
She gritted her teeth as she hesitated what she should do next.
…………………………………………………………………………………… (TL: Timeline changes to the seventh month, in case people are going to get confused.)
The afternoon’s sunlight poured through the room’s arched-shaped windows, and it was decorated with care was lit up brightly. The youthful princess who was dressed entirely in silver sat down in a chair with a high back support next to a dainty round table.
She sat down in a proper posture with her hand holding on to a cup of red tea, while her other hand was holding on to a spoon. She did not move at all, and her silver eyes looked straight ahead as if she was lost in thought while listening to the story.
Her hair was a pretty silver color with ringlets. Her half pointy ears peeked out amongst her hair with pale tips. She was Oberg’s the seventh’ favorite daughter, and recognized as the most beautiful lady in Aouine. (TL: Google Ringlets, kind of hard to explain.)
If she was in Brendel’s era, no matter if it’s a NPC or player, they would call her the ‘Regent Princess’. If there was anyone who could compare to the fame of the Goddess of War, it would be her, except her age was a little tender now. (TL: Regent = a person appointed to administer a state because the monarch is a minor or is absent or incapacitated.)
“The little girl is quite smart. Everyone in the Everton family is indeed capable.” After a while, the princess placed her teacup down, and asked: “And what happened next, Lord Oberbeck?”
Standing in front of her was a stern looking middle-aged man, and if Brendel was here, he would have recognized him. This man’s appearance was the true ‘Earl Dunn’. There were not many who recognized this man even within the nobles’ circle, but there was a famed nickname that was more recognized:
‘The Wolf Lord’ Oberbeck. (TL: How exciting. Anyway, that Earl Dunn in Fortress Riedon is a fake. Read on.)
He was a close aide to the king, and one of the key members in the royal faction, and had a good relationship with the Everton family.
Oberbeck observed the princess. He knew that she was not simple and could not casually end things, especially when she was the king’s favorite.
This time he borrowed the family name of ‘Lais Bruman’ Dunn to go to Fortress Riedon as a antiquarian. The two men were similar because they loved to collect antiques. Even though they were quite different in appearance, there was not too much of a problem because not many could identify him. It was especially true since he had to do a secret mission for Oberg the seventh.
He paused for a while to recollect his thoughts, then suddenly realized that the princess had asked him a question: “Of course, the daughter of Lord Everton, it looks like she is as brilliant as her father, but it’s a pity…….”
He wanted to say ‘it’s a pity she’s a woman’, but he realized he was speaking to the princess, and quickly swallowed the later half of his words.
(TL: At the beginning of the next chapter, it states that Freya is the daughter of that Lord Everton. I kind of had to check things up because things are becoming complicated and wanted to make sure for sure. I’m like, ‘what? has the earl has come back to life?’, ‘and who is that daughter, exactly’, yup.)
The girl before him obviously knew what he wanted to say, but did not pursue it. She merely asked another question: “But Lord Oberbeck, I am puzzled about your story. It’s strange that you created trouble for that young man.”
Oberbeck’s mind thought she was asking a rhetoric question, but he still replied politely: “I was merely worried about his actions. He is a highland knight, and together with his wizard squire, with Everton’s daughter at his side. My lady, you do know that Karsuk’s white knights do not stand on the same path—”
“I do, but they do not object his actions.”
“Precisely because of that, I thought of testing him. Since that person is only my double, I thought it was more important to make sure of the Karsuk’s knight’s intentions. I will even do it myself for the sake of the king.” Oberbeck answered
(TL: Okay, so in case it’s not clear enough. The real Dunn went along with fake Dunn, ordered him to test out Brendel’s intentions, Fake Dunn died, Real Dunn went back and is speaking to the princess. So right now it’s not Freya’s timeline now, but somewhere in the seventh month. I think. Does real Dunn know about fake Dunn’s connection to the big bad faction? I have no idea.)
“I will thank you in my father’s place, Lord Oberbeck.” The princess knew that his father and Oberbeck was planning to do something to Karsuk, but she did not think it would succeed. She had guessed what they were planning and it was just bound to fail.
She continued to ponder for a while and thought that there were a few more names that had to be added to the royal family’s ‘Basta Calvary Academy’. She wanted to hint something to Oberbeck, then stopped herself as she thought of her current status.
Finally she changed the topic: “What happened next Lord Oberbeck? I wish to listen to the story next. I still have a couple of hours before my history lesson starts.”
“It would be my pleasure.”
TL: Future chapters will jump between Freya/Brendel’s timeline and princess’s timeline. If there is anything confusing, please ask questions in the comment section. Phew. This one took a longer time than expected.