Chapter 25 – Home of the fairies
“This person is certainly audacious to call himself a member of the royal family.”
The princess lightly placed her fringe of silver hair to the back of her pointed ears with her fingers, then took the porcelain teacup and gently sipped from it, smiling.
“The king slumbers within the valley when the twin moons can be seen— What do you think of the riddle, Lord Oberbeck?” She mused for a while before asking.
“The majority of the noble families in our kingdom have their own secrets, and this is an undeniable fact. But Ebdon mentioned about the oath to the royal family. It’s likely that the treasure has to something to do with the royal family.” Oberbeck replied.
“I think it goes slightly more complicated than that, Lord Oberbeck. The Holy Oath might have something to do with the first king, Erik.”
Oberbeck nodded. “The emerald lake in the pure white mountain — There are stories that the place is where a Saint took his eternal rest.”
“I see. May I know how it came about?”
“The fishermen in the region frequently stated that they saw the Knight of the Lake in the mist. He guards the Lake of the Goddess, located in the central island, and white boulders could be spotted within the island. That is perhaps the mountain to the riddle.”
“Thank you for the explanation, Lord Oberbeck. Do you have any idea what the two-faced statue means?”
“I’m afraid I have no idea what is that, my lady.”
“That’s true. A mysterious treasure like this is most likely unknown to everyone. It’s certainly a very interesting aspect in the stories about knights.”
She covered her lips and laughed: “I must have made you laugh for my childish behavior.”
“Not at all, my lady. I too wonder about the identity of this former Ebdon. As far as I know there isn’t a royal knight named Ebdon.”
“Perhaps his former name was something else.”
“Indeed, that’s my guess as well.”
The half-elf princess did not look at the middle-aged man, but she guessed that he must have done a careful investigation.
[Oberbeck seemed to be highly impressed with that young man… He must have reported to Father about this matter as well, but what exactly was he impressed about? Personal strength? It’s certainly a factor, but the most likely reason is the power behind that youth.]
The princess stroked her chin.
[Are the Highland knights so important? This kingdom needs a new power so that it could revitalize itself, but the Highland Knights, militia, or a new formal army are unlikely to be able to achieve that purpose. That young man…?]
She shook her head.
[No, that’s not possib– Wait… Am I jealous?]
For some reason she felt a little threatened by him and was slightly stunned when she thought about the issue. She shook her head again.
“My lady?” Oberbeck noticed her strange actions.
“Ah, I apologize. Please continue the events.”
Oberbeck cast a strange look at her as he nodded.
——————— Brendel POV —————-
The first moon had set in the west, while the second moon was still in the middle of the sky.
Fog had started to appear in the fir forest, bringing a frosty nip to everyone. Brendel looked down from the horse, confirming that the white deer had started to bring them into the lower grounds in the east.
A few minutes ago, Leto had came up to him to report the zombie army had stopped chasing their tracks.
[Looks like they discovered that Ebdon’s forces are gone. Medes has most likely called back his forces as a precaution.]
The valley was silent.
Two grand statues over thirty meters tall suddenly could be seen from the fog. Everyone except Brendel raised their heads up and stared in wonder at them without saying anything for a long time.
They did not think that there would be such a place after crossing the remote valley. They felt like they had caught a glimpse of history from a thousand years ago, and they felt a strange solemn feeling growing from their heart.
The statues had long robes and layered armor pieces, with war dresses attached beneath the plated armor. The helmet was of Elven-make as the two sides of it were of a winged design. One hand held a long lance, the other held a gigantic shield. Their gazes were peering into the distance.
They were recognized as the Holy Warriors from the Golden Races, where they fought against the Twilight Dragon in the Era of Darkness, until they finally rescued the continent from its grasp.
The statues represented the guardians of all sentient beings.
As they passed beneath the statues’ feet, they felt rejuvenated, as if all fatigue and dirt had been washed away.
Many people even stopped to check if they was somehow in an illusion.
Brendel did not tell them that this was Vaunte’s strongest protective barrier ‘The tenth Percept’. Its effects were very distinct on the people who gained their strength from darkness. A normal human being would enjoy the restoration of strength and purification when they passed through the barrier, but an undead would immediately be turned from extremely evil into extremely righteous if they managed to survive the statues’ test.
But that was exceedingly unlikely, as even Madara’s any of the 24 eternal undead lords would most likely be turned into dust.
Once they passed through under the statues and into the valley’s entrance, they found that the inner valley was becoming broader and broader, till the point it became an area of flat land. White fog surrounded both sides of the area and one could not see the edges.
There seemed to be some form of living spirit that was made up of white smoke, sometimes forming into an angel flying in the sky, or a fearsome gryphon, or a knight on a tall horse, but they disappeared within the blink of an eye.
No one dared to stray too far from Brendel’s side. The refugees had stopped talking long ago and merely kept watching at the ever-changing environment.
Freya who was in the rear felt things were becoming more and more surreal. This place looked like it was somewhere that a common man would not understand, but Brendel did not appear surprised or excited. She started to fret again after realizing that he was someone who was as mysterious as this place was. Even though she had constantly fought beside him, she felt that she could not follow his footsteps as she was just a normal girl.
She frowned and look at Romaine.
[Romaine’s aunt has her own secret ways and Romaine… Maybe someone like her is more suited for Brendel… They are the type after all…]
Freya became more and more upset as she thought about it, and in the end hung her head down and rode behind alone, far away from the rest.
Brendel did not notice anything unusual as he was handling Romaine’s strange questions.
“What’s this place Brendel?”
“Didn’t I tell you earlier? This place is the where the grave of the Holy Saint is.”
“But you didn’t mention where the grave is just now.”
Brendel’s headache grew a little. He turned his around to look for some help and saw Ciel with a serious expression.
[… Yeah right. He’s not going to be reliable at this moment. Urgh, never mind.]
He looked at Romaine again. She was filthy all over with mud as she sat proudly on the horse.
[This was something that can’t be helped… If she hadn’t stole a horse to learn how to ride on it, she wouldn’t become so dirty.]
When Brendel knew that this event happened a while ago, he was really scared as she might fallen and broke something. But when he ran up to her, he found that she had tied a robe to herself to the horse’s back firmly, running about with a puffed up chest.
He obviously pinched her ear and lectured her for a long time about the things that she could and could not do.
“The Grave of the Holy Saint is where the ancient kings and sages take their eternal rest. They used their spirits to make a new border, and named as the ‘Kingdom of Sanctuary’. where all their citizens would be blessed while any invaders would be trapped within forever.”
“Does that mean they are many places like this?” Romaine tilted her body towards the horse and looked at Brendel from the side.
Brendel took a deep breath to enjoy the air within this valley, and nearly choked with eyebrows nearly bundled together.
[This damn girl needs to go for a bath straight away after we’re out from danger. I can’t believe she can tolerate herself to be so dirty… Sometimes I really want to look inside her brain and what’s going on inside—]
“Are they all called Grave of the Holy Saint?”
The conversation between Romaine and Brendel had drawn the people around them a little closer. This place was filled with wonder and they wanted to listen to the youth’s explanation. The mercenaries were a little curious as to how Brendel know about it. Some of the more experienced members in their group had seen more than the common noble, but even so, they had never heard of the phrases that he explained to Romaine.
[I heard that this young man is a Highland Knight, but are they really so mysterious?]
Not only were the mercenaries puzzled, even Ciel felt a little strange. Even as a wizard’s apprentice, his knowledge regarding about this was limited. Even in the Black Tower, there were hardly a few wizards who are proficient in this matter, and certainly no more than five people.
[Where exactly does my master learn about all this information?]
Ciel did not voice out his questions. Anyone who was able to use the Cards of Fate was not someone simple.
Brendel shook his head when he heard Romaine’s question.
“They have their own names. Each grave has something to related with the person residing in it. This place which is filled with a strange fog that never seems to end, based on my knowledge, is called the ‘Home of the Fairies’…..”
“Home of the Fairies?”
“The King of Knights is one of the eleven ancient kings, a guardian of the human race even before the King of Flames, Gatel. The King of Knights made a promise with the Fairy Queen, and the queen allowed him to eat the Golden Apple to become king. After he died, his soul would return to this land and sleep there forever, and continue to uphold the promise—”
“This land is where chaos started. Time stops here during the night, and only when dawn breaks would time move again. Legend depicts that there is a Golden Apple Tree here in the center of the valley, where the Fairy Queen lives. If any common man sees her that she does not approve of, they will never be able to leave.”
A moment of silence happened, and Brendel turned his head to see why Romaine was quiet. She was looking at him with clear eyes.
“The Golden Apple?”
“What did you remember from the things I said? Only three words? The Golden Apple?” Brendel’s mood turned sour as he realized that Romaine did not pay attention.
Romaine nodded earnestly.
“Alright, I’m not going to talk about this anymore.” He was almost at a loss for words, but when he was preparing to lecture her about logic and reasoning, he suddenly stopped moving and looked to another direction.
Everyone turned their heads along with him to look at what Brendel was looking at.
A solitary tree in the distance.
[What… is that?]
Brendel was stunned.