TL: In case you guys didn’t know, it’s CNY this month. I’m going to be helping out a relative with some simple IT issues for about 2 weeks (like a part-time job). I have translated up to ch 108 (unedited), so I don’t think the schedule will be affected, probably. Doesn’t mean that the next chapter will come tomorrow though, I’m currently working on IT stuff atm.
Chapter 102 – Trentheim and the young lord (2)
“What do all of you think?” Brendel suddenly asked.
His question was mostly directed to Raban and Cornelius who were conversing quietly a slight distance away. They were rubbing their hands a little with their breaths coming out in white mists. After Jana left, the two of them became even friendlier than before as they continued to work with each other.
Truthfully, the two commanders had known each other even before they met Brendel so they had no problems working with each other. They paused when they heard the question, but it was Romaine who replied almost instantly after Brendel asked his question.
“I find that the repairs of the city walls look wonderful. What do you think?” The merchant girl said, looking back at Brendel with big eyes as if she wanted to see if he agreed with her.
“It’s true,” Cornelius also said, “and it has surpassed my expectations. Even though it’s a little late to say this, my mercenaries and I participated in the middle of the repairs. We’re not familiar with this type of work, but Miss Amandina did a fantastic job directing us. While I wouldn’t say that it’s perfect, she surprised me—”
Everyone loved being praised.
Amandina could not help but take a second look at the attractive middle-aged man. Even though she looked like she was not pleased with his glib tongue, she could not help but agree with his assessment.
There were many issues in the beginning, and almost every small decision she made had some kind of unforeseen consequences. But it was also because she had handled the numerous incidents that cropped up that she became quick at resolving them.
“Indeed, it was surprising.” Raban did not use many words and got straight to the point.
Amandina secretly glanced at Brendel. In her heart, the youth’s opinions were more important than the rest of them. It was the first time she felt her heart beating this fast and was worried that there he would be dissatisfied.
Her eyes teared up when she saw Brendel’s unreserved praise in his eyes. She found her nose becoming stuffy and felt that her hard work had paid off in the past month.
She sniffled, turned her head away, and attempted to avoid crying in front of so many people, which would most certainly be an embarrassment to herself. She was still Brendel’s advisor and the city’s administrator; it would be unseemly if she cried like a little girl.
But she spotted Medissa passing a handkerchief discreetly to her when she turned her head, and she received it gratefully. This subtle action made by the Elven girl was not detected by anyone with the exception of Brendel, who shook his head with a wry smile.
“I apologize. What I really mean is this: ‘What do you think of that night?'” Brendel said.
Everyone else was momentarily silent as they thought back about that fateful night battle. They were hot-blooded and bold during that short duration, but it took days or even weeks, to fathom what they had done exactly.
Under Brendel’s encouragement, they participated in the battle to kill a lord recognized by the kingdom.
They would not have dared to think about it in the past, but to their disbelief, they had really murdered a lord. Whether it was because they were goaded, encouraged, or even threatened into doing so.
There was nowhere to run now.
After that night, one month passed by in the blink of an eye, but they did not break down mentally like they thought they would. Now that the wall was completed, it seemed like it was symbolizing something.
Perhaps under the youth’s leadership, they were no longer mere rebels, but people who were on the cusp of a revolution. Why would they have any doubts about the final results when the youth was so confident?
“You might not know this, but I really don’t think that much about the distant future. Perhaps you also believe that I’m a noble who could care less about your lives but I don’t think that way at all—”
He spoke sincerely, but it was a question how many people believed in his ‘truth’.
“I came here to inherit a land further south of Trentheim that belongs to my ancestors,” Brendel lied through his teeth with a hint of truth in it, “and I had not planned to kill a lord and take over his lands. However, the education that I received told me that the existence of nobles ought to fulfill something called ‘noblesse oblige’. We receive better education and privileges because we have the responsibility to bring the citizens under us out of a difficult situation.”
Brendel took a pause as he pointed at everyone: “Authority and responsibility go hand in hand. King Erik said this: Nobles define responsibilities. Power is responsibility; authority is responsibility!”
Everyone looked silently at him in slight confusion. His words were pretty and engaging, but they did not know what he was talking about.
Amandina had a strange expression in her eyes. She vaguely felt that the youth was pursuing King Erik’s ideals and was trying to get back the honor that Aouine had lost.
This was the most mysterious aspect about him and it was the reason why she was attracted to him. It was becoming almost fatal, as a fire lit in both her eyes.
Suddenly, it started snowing.
The snowflakes were very light at first and were almost undetectable. But when they landed on everyone’s faces, they felt like cold rain was drizzling on them. Everyone lifted their heads.
“Before this,” Brendel stared at the sky. The dark clouds signified the impending battles: “I have not been the lord of any land…… Neither do I have the experience of leading one. Amandina and all of you are the same.”
He lifted both arms up, allowing the snow to gather on him:
“We are not so different. Each one of us is learning how to handle everything, be it on how to run a region or to fight our enemies. We are all trying to learn how to walk and our first step might be difficult, but this isn’t a problem.
The problem is whether each of you is brave enough to stay behind and face what is to come. Our actions might look like they are insignificant, but they are shining as brilliantly as the first time when King Erik led his citizens out from Kirrlutz.
His actions have been proven they could cut through the darkness and that you should not be ashamed to pursue this dream!
This dream of ensuring that the citizens are not affected by the nobles’ greed and arrogance.
Regardless of whether you see this as an honor, or you’re here because you have made a promise to me, or the responsibilities to the citizens as a noble, you must stand here.
I ask you this question.
How much longer do you want to run away from the plights of these citizens?”
His palm gestured towards to the commoners who were watching from a short distance away from them. His voice raised to a yell, expelling his breath into a mist, making him appear divine and mysterious.
“I ask all of you. If you were to become Aouine’s new nobles in the future, would you still remember the things I said today? Would you still remember that nobles are the definition of responsibility?”
But no one answered him.
Raban could not believe his ears. He did not dare to think about the hidden meaning behind the youth’s words. He glanced at the man next to him, but Cornelius reacted by staring blankly at Brendel.
The latter also knew what Brendel was trying to do.
He was saying:
‘From now onwards, you’re my retainers, and you would gather under my House through thick and thin, regardless of good and bad times. You’re my knights and will act as my sword to expand my land.’
At that moment, Cornelius felt endless energy surging within his body. It was the first time his heart felt like it was being set on fire after working as a mercenary for decades of great struggle.
The chance he had been waiting for was right in front of him.
Every mercenary thought the same way, except Scarlett who felt it was enough for her to follow Brendel. Romaine did not need to think too much about his words either because she had already treated him like he was her world.
His summons naturally did not react as they were already loyal to him.
But Amandina bit her lips.
She did not understand why this youth who had almost no foundations to speak of would be able to be so charismatic with just confidence and dreams.
It was almost as though it was a power that captured everyone’s heart, and even when she saw through the outlines of his real plans for the future, she was already sinking in his dream. She closed and opened her mouth several times, but she did not find a response.
[Yes, he’s saying ‘become my retainers’, but that’s just part of it. He’s forcibly changing the rules of the game. He wants to create new nobles to replace the old ones.]