TL: Alright guys, last updated regular chapter for this month. Time for me to study some art notes. Sponsorship highly appreciated in the meantime.
Chapter 36 – Princess Nun
=============== Princess POV ==============
“Ampere Seale?” Magadal said.
She was sitting on a tall chair and looked at her close friend, Gryphine, with shock. The latter was also sitting down on an identical chair, with her long silver strands of hair collapsing gently onto her dress, her lithe body sculpted like a doll.
The half-elven princess with silver eyes seemed to be filled with patience and mercy, appearing to be meek, but she was well known for her unyielding personality amongst the nobles.
She carried a short silver sword outlined with emeralds carved into runic patterns on her belt; it seemed like it was only decorative, but Magadal was absolutely certain that Gryphine was capable of easily subduing a male adult, and perhaps that was still an understatement.
Gryphine was famed for possessing exceptional swordsmanship, and even a formal knight was not her match.
Both of Magadal’s hands were placed on both her knees while she sat elegantly. She was also a princess from the Manticore Duchy and had known Gryphine when they were young.
Magadal was a little envious of the latter who naturally showed off her assertive side, and every action seemed to show how she acted for herself.
In comparison, Magadal had grown up under strict upbringing for nobles. Even though she was widely learned, outsiders treated her like a gentle and quiet noble lady that was the very model of an aristocrat’s daughter.
But she hated this praise. She wanted to pursue a life of freedom, although she did not know exactly how it felt like, and her responsible nature meant that she had to accept her fate. The Manticore Duchy was only a small kingdom from the north of Aouine, and a girl of her status had her fate already decided from the beginning.
“Why do you want me to go to Ampere Seale, is it because of the war?”
The half-elven princess nodded.
Sudden roars and cheers came outside the balcony; the knights were having a competition in the courtyard. But the voices quickly died down and did not affect their conversation for long.
“Has the situation became this tense?” Magadal lowered her voice.
“What do you make of the situation? My older brother has moved faster than what I imagined. Many dukes have joined him and they have formed a coalition army. Even though that old fox Arreck is still hesitating, I think he would make his decision very soon.” Gryphine spoke unhurriedly, as though it had nothing to do with her.
“Perhaps the situation is still able to change?”
“It’s not as simple as you think. Arreck is an ambitious person and either he chooses to stand with my beloved brother, or he stands with us,” Gryphine paused for a moment before she said wistfully, “I don’t mind a marriage with him, but I’m afraid it would hurt Haruze.” (TL: Haruze is Gryphine’s younger brother.)
Magadal did not speak further and looked silently at Gryphine. She knew Gryphine well and understood that the latter would not topple because of this problem.
Otherwise, Gryphine would not be recognized as Aouine’s brilliant star.
“In truth, I’m more worried about Count Randner,” the half-elven girl said, “Arreck might be the dark clouds gathering over the northern skies, bringing about violent storms and lightning, but if the wind is right, he might not be our enemies and instead become our allies. The count, however, might bring out a dagger behind our backs.”
A flash of amusement streaked across Magadal’s brown eyes, and she abruptly spoke: “I have heard of something recently; you might be interested in it.”
The Manticore Duchy’s princess brought her body a little closer: “I have a letter written in sealed magic from a friend in Randner’s territory. The Count seems to be in some sort kind of trouble because there’s a rebellion in his territory. I think he doesn’t have the time to care about things outside his territory.”
“Your friend is from the Cathedral?” Gryphine asked solemnly.
Magadal nodded lightly.
Gryphine took a serious look at her close friend. Even though the latter did not have Elven blood, she was regarded to be just as beautiful. She had a different air about her, with her soft golden locks reflecting the light around her to give her a saintly sheen, accentuating her gentle and tranquil appearance.
Magadal was called the ‘Frowning Angel’, and she was so beautiful that Gryphine could not help but recall an ancient fable about a human queen who captivated everyone. But the queen’s ending was an unhappy one, and Gryphine knitted her eyebrows for an instant before she discarded her stray thoughts.
Magadal was extremely pious and had excellent terms with the Cathedral of Holy Flames. She even had personal friendships with the Cathedral’s local bishops in various territories, yet this was also the reason why she was ridiculed by some nobles and called as the ‘Princess Nun’.
Even the Cathedral’s High Priest had praised her devout faith, which in turn assisted her to go relatively untroubled despite her beauty. Between nobility and faith, people would be inclined to pursue the former, but the latter made them feel awe and distance themselves away from her.
“Do you remember the joke when we studied etiquette back then? In Aouine, a lord wouldn’t be a true lord until they settle one or two uprisings.” Gryphine asked.
Magadal gave a faint smile in response, Gryphine was most likely thinking about the peaceful days.
“It’s roughly the same anywhere,” Magadal replied.
“Yes, while I hope Count Randner gets his hands tied down by this rebellion, we can’t put our hopes as to what happens to him because there are things that we can do right now.”
“What would you like me to do?”
“I’m afraid that the merchants would be swayed by the profits offered by the nobles in the north. I hope that you can use your relationship with the Holy Cathedral and convince the merchants in Ampere Seale to deny lending their harbors to the coalition army to travel south. The Cathedral of Flames have the ability to protect the harbor, so the merchants don’t need to worry on that. ”
“I do know of a local bishop in Ampere Seale; I can try persuading him,” Magadal recalled for a moment before speaking, “but when do you want me to go?”
“There’s no need to hurry. Once you leave my territory, I believe the dukes will immediately receive the news of your departure. My request is dangerous, so I want you to think about this carefully. You are my close friend and I don’t wish to trouble you—”
“Precisely because we’re close friends, that I want to help you.”
Another round of shouting and hurrah rang out again from the courtyard, and Gryphine looked towards the balcony. Someone had won again, and a glint appeared in her eyes.
“Let me pick a few of my people to guard you. They can ensure your safety and accomplish this task alongside.”
“Then, I want Ser Maynild,” Magadal showed off a rare cunning side of her, which she would only do so in front of Gryphine, “if she’s there with me, I’ll have some to chat with and relieve my boredom.”
Gryphine smiled in response: “You’re certainly taking advantage of me for going after my best knight so quickly. Very well, if that’s the case I can only let her go with much pain in my heart— but you do need to care of Maynild’s whims; her temper is much worse than mine.”
“Naturally.” Magadal blinked several times.
In truth, the three of them were close friends who knew each other well. Even though Maynild had an indifferent personality, she was not one to vent her temper.
Another round of delightful roars came again and lasted for a long time. The two girls understood that the final match amongst the knights was about to take place.
Gryphine stood up, her attention taken away by the cheers: “Let’s take a look and see which talented youths have the fortune to travel with you—”
Magadal stood up as well and nodded.
============== Freya’s POV ============
Freya’s hands were full of perspiration, and her heart was pounding intensely. If the crowd got closer to her, they would be able to see clearly that her face was like a ripe apple and was gasping deeply for air. Her sweat was dripping off her sharp chin, and her uniform was already soaked long ago. The consecutive matches that she had were making her feel that her stamina was about to run out.
The number of opponents she had defeated had gotten the audience’s attention. As the newest member amongst the competitors this year, her performance could be seen as outstanding.
And in the other arenas, Bennett and three other newcomers formed the brightest existences this term.
(TL: Bennett used to be Bretton, and I changed it because the name is too close to Brendel. He was a rival of the old Brendel and quite near the start of the series, in case you can’t remember.)
She wiped away her perspiration from her chin. She would certainly be considered the least prominent out of the five.
Bennett had defeated a reserved knight with just three strikes. When Freya saw his match, she realized that the once immature and rash youth was becoming more level-headed, and his skill in the sword was improving by leaps and bounds.
Freya could almost imagine his talent shining brilliantly through his sword, and he had found where he was supposed to belong to. This was the best stage for him.
And in comparison, she felt a little lost.