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Chapter 88 – The gathering storm (2)
“Brendel?” Gryphine repeated the name she just heard.
Her thin eyebrows finally shook a little and a streak of astonishment flashed across her silver irises for a moment.
“That youth said his name is Brendel? Most people would hardly choose to reveal their name in that situation.” She said with a frown, staring at her guests intently.
“Most people,” Count Barre interrupted, placing his hand on his chest and bowed: “would do so, but I think he isn’t one. For him to have such a close relationship with the Silver Elves, I’m afraid he’s unlike most people, Your Highness.”
Gryphine interlocked her fingers to make a single fist and rested her chin on it. She pondered a little blankly.
[Golden Apple, Silver Elves, Dragon Magic, and Highland Knight…..]
“You said he’s a Silver-ranked Swordsman?” She said
“I believe so.” Makarov nodded.
“Twenty years old.” Gryphine’s mind was a chaotic mess as though a hurricane had gone through it. Oberbeck clearly stated that he was an Iron-ranked swordsman. She suddenly turned to Eke who became a little startled: “Isn’t that the same rank as Lord Eke?”
Buga nodded and replied: “That young man’s a true genius. But there’s one thing about his swordsmanship that bothers me……”
“What is wrong with his swordsmanship?”
“There’s a familiar shadow to his swordsmanship, like…… someone I’ve seen before…..”
“Please speak freely, Ser Buga.”
“Sword Saint Darius.” (TL: Darius Torbus Cadirosso)
“Sword Saint Darius? But you just claimed that he used Aouine’s Swordsmanship in a revolutionary manner. How can that be linked to the Sword Saint when he left this world a long time ago?”
“His stance and movements. Although I believe his techniques have surpassed the original Aouine’s swordsmanship, his foundations have the same origin as Darius—”
Gryphine’s heart skipped a beat when she heard the word “surpassed”.
“It’s indeed very rare to see a twenty-year-old swordsman reaching the Silver ranks.” Fleetwood chimed in, and his eyes went to Eke.
The youth lowered his head with embarrassment.
Gryphine nodded inwardly. There was also a number of excellent youths that appeared from the recent tournament.
[Sometimes I wonder if Mother Marsha still blesses our kingdom when there are so many talented youths in this kingdom, but why is the situation so difficult right now?]
She felt a little tired but immediately forced herself to turn her attention back to the group with her will. She took in a deep breath and her face even paled a little when she got to the crux of this topic:
“Grandmaster Fleetwood, you mentioned the Golden Apple. Is it true that it’s not Soulbound to him?” She asked with a serious expression.
“Yes, this old man swears on the honor as a mage who has worked for the royal family for decades. I am certain that it’s not Soulbound.”
The Golden Apple was said to be able to change a person’s destiny for the better. If she possessed the Golden Apple, would it be possible for her timid little brother to become Aouine’s true king?
[But why did that youth not eat the apple yet? Could it be that it’s a fake? But my teacher wouldn’t be wrong about this…… Perhaps the Golden Apple is the reason as to why the Silver Elves are so close to him? No, that isn’t the end. A Highland Knight possessing Dragon Magic?]
There were legendary tales about Highland Knights, Silver Elves, and Dragons. Her heart started to beat quickly and her eyes gleamed: “Is it possible to recruit him?”
The group of men turned silent. As someone who possessed the Golden Apple and had a relationship with the Silver Elves, they were willing to recruit him.
But Fleetwood’s arrogance, Makarov’s greed, and the threat of Count Barre’s men had offended the youth. Even Eke’s presence would be annoying to him, although he did not know that.
Even though Brendel seemed to favor the Royal Faction, this was hardly a point that they could use.
“That would be difficult.” Makarov who was the most practical person amongst them answered instantly.
“I’m not too sure about that—” The princess suddenly smiled, almost bursting into laughter when she thought about this matter: “If this is the same person that I know of.”
They looked puzzledly at her as she took the letter and stretched out her hand and prompted them to read it.
Makarov received the letter and began to read out loud.
“On the seventeenth day of the Month of the Autumn’s Twilight, I address this letter to Her Highness, Princess Gryphine Corvado Ordelis, from the city Firburh of the region Trentheim.
On the previous night, there was a movement of Madara’s undead army under the leadership of the ‘Black Lord’ Incirsta that launched an unexpected attack on Firburh. This assault on the city led to thousands of casualties, and in the battle, the previous Lord of Firburh, Baron Graudin, died in combat.
As a Pioneer Knight and the Lord of the Valhalla region, I had received Graudin’s warm reception during my travels. As one who is duty-bound to protect the ideals of the kingdom as well as to pay respect to my reception from Graudin, I took up the role of defending Firburh.
The undead was driven back after a night’s battle. However, in order to prevent the undead from attacking again, your humble knight shall take up the reins of leadership for a temporary period. I will handle the city’s defenses and administration, until the moment where Your Highness appoints the next lord for this city—”
Makarov’s expression suddenly contorted for a second, but he recovered quickly with a cough and continued to recite the letter’s contents:
“I hereby hold Count Randner responsible for the Madara’s invasion and demand actions taken for his culpability in this matter. He had known that Incirsta’s undead army was at the southern borders and allowed them to pass through our lands unchecked. In order to prove this matter, I have attached a Recording Crystal detailing the battle.”
Makarov raised his head.
“The Recording Crystal is with me, please continue,” Gryphine said without batting an eyelid.
“There’s no more, Your Highness.”
“No, check again, there’s one more word.”
Makarov’s eyes searched for that word and immediately widened upon finding it.
“Brendel.” He said with quivering brows.
A momentary silence filled the room, before he tried to make light of this incident: “I knew that Baron Graudin was derelict in his duties, but this young man is much too bold and…..”
It was clear that the youth was the one who slew Graudin and blamed the undead. He even pointed his finger at Count Randner.
“And……” Makarov thought for a moment but was unable to find a word for Brendel’s audacious behavior.
“Preposterous!” Fleetwood’s tone was sharp and cold: “This is a challenge to the kingdom. He has broken the nobles’ rules!”
Gryphine’s throat stiffened when she heard the words “nobles’ rules”.
Count Barre wonder if it was contempt that caused her to have a supposed lump in her throat.
“….. What does everyone think of the truth on this matter?”
“I believe in Ser Brendel’s integrity.” Eke suddenly said with a clear voice, standing up and bowing slightly: “I know him as a true knight.”
His sudden action surprised everyone.