TL: One thing that I used in the TL, Earl and Count (One is British, one is European). These two are the same ranks, but I probably used the ranks interchangeably. I’m going to use Counts from now onwards. Also, the true medieval addressing are actually quite annoying and I’m actually doing it wrong, so if you’re an expert on it, just remember to go with the flow (cough).
Finally, I am wrong on a certain bit. Rhun is most likely Duke Lantonrand’s given name (the raws is confusing because the author put the Rank + region and Rank + name). I might have TLed them as two different people? Can’t remember. I’ll check again when I get there.
PS: Rushed this a little. May have Engrish.
Chapter 87 – The gathering storm (1)
================ Brendel’s POV ===============
The silver obtained from Schafflund restored some life to Firburh.
At the same time, the gains that Brendel received from the Rune Dwarves’ Haven were beyond his expectations, and the youth believed that he had enough strength to take on a bigger challenge.
At this point in time, his eyes were cast to the north and he was prepared to give the nobles an announcement—
A new force is on the rise.
[The letter to Gryphine should reach her any moment now, and so is the news of Lord Macsen’s defeat to Lord Palas. Count Randner will get the news of the defeat in a few days.]
Beneath his palm were a few written pages assessing the number of troops that he had and the terrain around Firburh.
[The things to consider next would be Randner’s reinforcements to Lord Palas. He might send in ten thousand men from his own region, but he’s unlikely to send in Gold-ranked fighters since that would be his core strength; what he really wants is to show his hand to the other nobles so he will present a large army. There’s also the consideration that Madara worked with Graudin, so I should expect undead enemies. In addition, when I look at the Palas region on the map —]
His eyes narrowed. There were densely populated areas consisting of Highland natives.
[The plan is certainly to have an all-out war, but there’s the possibility of my men being outnumbered ten to one…… In conclusion, there’s a need to secure more men of my own. Delaying for a while would be good here. Hmm, doable.]
His mind began to spin as he began formulating an overall strategy and the plans to support it.
In order to prove to himself to this old kingdom, he needed to have a complete victory in order to warn his future enemies and gain the trust of his possible allies. It was also imperative that he did it as soon as possible.
================== Gryphine’s POV =============
Gryphine was sitting down on a comfortable chair with a high back that was decorated with laces before a mahogany table covered with documents.
She wore a set of specially made army uniform that was silver in color. While it gave her a strict and sharp look, it also brought out her lithe figure that could only belong to a soft and gentle girl.
Her thin but dense eyelashes were flickering quickly as she scanned through the two documents in front of her; a letter and the day’s report on the important information—
Gryphine tapped the table’s surface thoughtfully as she blinked her silver eyes, and finally lifted up her head. It was rare for her to put her full attention to read.
Maynild and Oberbeck were not there. It was another group of people, and she knew only one of them.
An elderly man who wore a scholar’s long robes bowed respectfully before the princess. He was the royal court’s archmage Fleetwood, and he currently did not have the arrogance when he faced Brendel.
Gryphine was his best disciple and also a hope to revive the kingdom. Even though he was strict during his lessons when he taught her, he was now respectful to her as a courtier.
Gryphine smiled in return, and her eyes moved on to the others. Even though she did not know personally, she was able to guess their identities.
The only young man in the group who had a rosy appearance and a little lost would be Eke.
Beside him was a middle-aged man. Even though he had a weather-beaten appearance, he still kept an air of nobility to him. She recalled meeting him when she was very young, the cunning fox Makarov, and the person who once led the royal faction.
The third person was a man who had a robust figure with hands full of calluses. She thought it was certainly Buga.
The final person was undoubtedly the lord of the Matthiola region, Count Barre. Even though she had not seen him before, she heard that he was a noble who did things in a unique way.
Her eyes paused on each of them for a few seconds, using the information she had gleaned from the reports she received in the past and managed to guess all her guests’ identities with her own eyes.
Fleetwood did not even need to introduce them.
[Today’s guests are quite famous. Duke Lantonrand’s son, the Cross Sword’s successor, the leader of the former Royal Faction, and the next person to be called Cunning Fox after Makarov.]
Even though the Lantonrand region was small and situated beside Ampere Seale and the Arreck region, Duke Lantonrand’s support was critically important to the princess. It was good that history of the past Dukes of Lantonrand and Dukes of Arreck did not get along, and this generation’s dukes were sworn enemies.
Her gaze landed on Eke for a while longer.
The young man’s face started to turn red when he felt her eyes. He still had not adjusted his identity— perhaps anyone who turned from a nameless mercenary to the son of a duke would be stunned even now.
Eke had not expected the princess to be this beautiful.
As a half-elf, she was touted as the brightest gem on Aouine’s crown. Her aloof elegance that came from her Elven blood seemed to be mixed in with a human’s warmth, and anyone who met her for the first time would easily be infatuated with her.
Even though she was young, she already possessed the potential for anyone to fall in love with her appearance.
“Lord Eke, Lord Barre, Lord Makarov, and Ser Buga. I’m pleased to meet you, and I thank you for still supporting the Corvado royal family.”
The group was quite surprised to see her point their identities out correctly.
Makarov was feeling slightly glad. The princess was just as excellent as the rumors had stated. Hope was not transient as it appeared when the Corvado royal family had a successor like her.
He believed that talent was the most important thing, but loyalty and resources were equally as important. The first prince was aggressive and impulsive, and Makarov disliked him. However, he was feeling much more relieved with the princess.
But he suddenly recalled another youth and the oath that he made. He quickly shut his eyes and shook his head inwardly, tossing out the memories of the past.
Count Barre, on the other hand, did not get moved by the princess’s polite attitude, neither was he interested in it. The rumors about her capabilities would be grossly inaccurate if she did not have this amount of insight.
He instead glanced at the two reports on the table. She had been focusing it with strange intensity when they came into the room. The strangest thing was how she looked at it and smiled at the same time, and he was certain that she did not notice it herself.
Naturally, he did not point that fact out, nor was it his turn to speak. He turned his gaze to Fleetwood.
“There’s no need to be so polite, Your Highness. We should apologize for being late— There was something that we encountered along the way,” Fleetwood bowed and raised his head, “may I ask what is the situation to the north?”
“The dark clouds are filling the sky.”
Gryphine turned her head and looked past the window, describing the movements of the northern armies of the various dukes.
“Their speakers have reached Ampere Seale and they are starting to convince the greedy merchants.”
“Are there no plans made to counter them?” Makarov asked.
Everyone’s eyes fell on him. After becoming a mercenary for a decade, he had become more practical and cared less about the rules amongst the nobles. Under normal circumstances, it was not yet the turn for him to speak.
But Gryphine’s silver eyes glinted. She was more appreciative of people who spoke up instead of holding back.
“I’ve asked Princess Magadal to assist in this matter and she would be setting out soon. She has close ties to the Cathedral of Flames and her contacts are many. There’s a chance to turn things around,” she said.
“Would it be the princess who’s very devout?” Fleetwood asked.
“Does she have proper guards? At this stage, our actions are closely watched to the point where they might as well be transparent to the enemy. Once Princess Magadal leaves, she would most likely encounter assassins.”
“Naturally. Maynild is the leader of the guards protecting her.”
Buga’s eyebrow was raised. Maynild was Lady Ida’s daughter and had family ties with Duke Lantonrand. He had met her when she was still young, but her talent in the sword was already blossoming and he was certain that she had become an excellent swordsman.
He nodded slightly to Makarov’s questioning looks. The latter had also heard of her name, but he still questioned the princess’s decision: “Even though Lady Ida’s daughter is an excellent swordsman, but she is still someone who has not left the Academy. I believe that you need a more experienced leader.”
Gryphine nodded: “Which is why I waited for everyone to arrive here and delayed Magadal’s departure.”
Makarov’s eyes widened slightly at her answer and exchanged glances with the rest of the group. They bowed their heads to the princess.
“We’re grateful for your trust and would be glad to escort Princess Magadal,” Fleetwood said.
The room turned silent.
There was still a secret contract to be settled between Duke Lantonrand and the Corvado royal family, but the group felt that it should be the princess who should initiate this topic. While it was possible for them to talk about pleasantries, no one had the mood to do so when the pressure from the north was so great.
In the end, the princess spoke again with a small smile:
“Everyone should take a seat. Perhaps we can talk about things that are more relaxing. I’ve been hearing bad news day after day. I believe Lord Eke was a mercenary for a few years? It is quite remarkable and interesting even amongst the nobles.”
Her eyes also went to Makarov for a moment, bringing him into the topic.
Eke was suddenly taken aback as the attention focused on him. He started to stutter several words out before the princess spared him.
“Ah, yes, and I also recalled that teacher Fleetwood said that you encountered some trouble. You have always been on time when it comes to appointments, do you mind telling me what delayed you?” She continued to ask.
Fleetwood nodded and said: “Yes, to tell the truth, this has to do with the Golden Apple!”
Gryphine’s felt her heart beat violently and her pupils dilated a little. While she still kept her expression, as usual, Count Barre saw that minute reaction.