Chapter 347 - Volume 3

Chapter 126 – The scheme in the dark

“I’m so angry that I’m at a loss for words!” Faena kicked the wall of the Ember Tulips Inn, but her thin pointed eyebrows that were like thin sword blades immediately went up with regret: “O-ouch!”

She turned her head back to find Rono and another handsome youth. The latter wore a black uniform that was tailor-made to bring out his figure, along with a pair of comfortable gloves made from the hide of a mink. There was an eye-catching silver flower embroidered on the chest area of his shirt.

“Rono, Viscount Elman, what did the Lord Commander say?” She asked.

The young boy shook his head: “She warned us to keep a low profile.”

“That’s wonderful news,” she clapped her hands lightly once and looked relieved, “so she won’t be pursuing this matter?”

The slightly androgynous man listened to the contents of their conversation, and he looked at the boy next who was half a head shorter with a seemingly curious expression.

“Lady Faena, may I know what happened exactly?”

The Duchess was in a rare moment of fury and she rebuked the captains of the knights from the head to the bottom. It had to be related to the events of this afternoon, and the source was certainly from the lady in front of him.

He earlier suggested to Faena to tag along secretly when the Kirrlutz Empire sent the messengers to the Druids.

When it was discovered, Veronica did not openly oppose Faena’s presence because of the empress. Now that an incident had happened, Elman received the largest share of blame from Veronica because he did not meet his responsibilities as a guardian.

But he waited patiently and looked at Faena with a smile.

“Hmph, it’s all because of that country bumpkin,” she became angry and described the events while fuming.

“That man is incredibly accomplished in dueling. Count Cullens was defeated by him at the very first direct exchange. All the empire knights added together were also not his match.” Rono added to her story but he did not really dwell on their defeat.

After all, that man was someone from Aouine and unrelated to them. However, he was interested in the Crimson Blessing that the youth possessed.

“That’s because Count Cullens underestimated his enemy. Furthermore, the knights that came along with us are actually a bunch of coddled children because of their noble lineage. I even think they lose out to the knights stationed at our borders.” Faena disagreed with a ridiculing laugh.

Although Elman was also part of the ‘noble’ knights, he did not get angry and merely smiled in response to her sarcastic remark: “Aouine has a genius amongst them as well?”

“He has the capabilities to fight against our Knight Commander,” Rono said.

“That’s because the Knight Commander is unable to use the full extent of her abilities in this place. Also, the sword that man has is Halran Gaia. He’s cheating!” She was still unconvinced.

Rono nodded a few times: “Well, you might be right, but if you pick any of us, well, even standing up against the Knight Commander’s aura would be considered a good result.”

Faena whipped her head to the black-haired boy and glared at him: “Rono, why are you going against me every time!”

The boy’s eyes widened for a moment and blinked a few times. He thought about her question before he answered her: “I’m just stating the truth.”

She wanted to tear her hair out upon hearing his reply. She stomped her foot on the ground heavily and ceased speaking.

“I remember that Aouine in recent times isn’t faring too well,” Elman nodded with a faint smile with narrowed eyes with a light voice, as though the smile extended to his eyes, “but it seems like they haven’t received enough of a lesson.”

“Elman?” The boy turned his attention to his companion with a frown.

“There’s nothing to worry about, Rono. However, I won’t let this incident slide when Lady Faena has been insulted.” Elman said elegantly.

Faena’s heart skipped a beat upon the chance of hearing his words. Even though no one dared to go against the duchess, Viscount Elman was a rising star amongst the Empire’s political forum. He was even called ‘one of the new Eagles of Kirrlutz’.

Her father had praised Elman more than once about his intelligence and cautious nature, as well as his self-awareness in the political arena. He certainly thought him as one of the most talented youths in Kirrlutz.

It was rare for her father to praise someone this much, and it let her think that Elman might really have a way.

Regardless of what plan Elman had, the fact that he was willing to extend a helping hand at this moment made her feel very pleased. She took a longer look at him with admiration and expectation.

“What can we do without going against Lady Veronica’s orders. Even if it’s you, Viscount Elman, you can’t go against her, right?”

“Naturally. But there’s no need to report to Lady Veronica about every little thing that we do. The suggestion that I have shouldn’t be a problem as well.”

“But that man has the abilities of a Gold-ranked grandmaster swordsman, and possibly beyond that. None of us would be a match for him,” Rono frowned, “and even if we go against him with numbers, the Druids will interfere with this matter. They seem to treat him with great importance……”

Rono did not finish his words, but they knew what kind of grave consequences there would be if this matter reached Veronica’s ears again.

“It’s nothing as troublesome as that. Did you forget that Aouine’s ambassadors are here as well? Since that youth’s a member of Aouine’s nobles, then he’s probably part of their ambassadors. And even if he’s not, this matter should still be resolved amongst themselves.”

Faena’s eyes brightened slightly.

“Of course!” She agreed with Elman: “Why didn’t I think of that? Those cowardly appointed officials from Aouine will submit to the Empire if we launch a formal complaint.”

She scoffed lightly: “We have to get them to educate their men properly! …… But who among us should go?”

Elman shrugged. Although he was a viscount, he was officially the commander of the Imperial Knights. His position was not appropriate to allow him to meet up with other ambassadors from other kingdoms.

“I can’t do it either. The Royal Alchemists can’t be in contact with foreign ambassadors.” Rono shook his head as well.

“Y-you can’t possibly have me go personally, right? I-I don’t have the experience in this area.” Faena’s eyes widened as she placed a hand on her chest.

“Let me go,” a soft voice suddenly came from behind the three.

Faena turned to find a young woman wearing a purple dress walking out from the hall. The latter came up to them and did not speak any further, standing tall like a Moon Flower in the Darkness, and the air about her seemed mysterious and quiet.

That woman smiled pleasantly and glanced at Viscount Elman for a moment.

“Sister Delphine! Are you willing to help out? That’s wonderful! Do you have a way too?” Faena shouted in delight.

“Viscount Elman’s method is excellent. Didn’t you agree to it?”

“But you’re the prime minister’s daughter, the Empire’s Flower of Wisdom. I rather believe in you if I have to choose. Besides, everyone knows that you’re fond of him, who knows if you’re staying on the sidelines just to help him stand out. I can’t be sure if you don’t have a better method!”

Elman laughed lightly in response and looked at the woman next to him in a playful manner. Delphine shook her head in response with a laugh as well.

“Very well, perhaps we can get the Holy Cathedral of Fire to put pressure on Aouine too.”

“Oh?” Elman lifted an eyebrow. Delphine noticed his gaze and returned with a faint smile.

“The Holy Cathedral of Fire? Would they even hear us out?”

“I’ve heard that the Aouine man cast a spell that resembles the Sacred Church of Light’s Equipment of Gods. But the truth doesn’t really matter here, what matters is how we describe it.” Delphine brushed her fringe back past her shoulders.

Elman nodded with a smile: “A wonderful suggestion. I heard that the appointed leader from the Holy Cathedral of Fire coming to the Dark Forest is called Amman, who is known as the Bishop of Greed. If that youth encounters him, he would at least get his skin torn off even if he escapes death…… Indeed, we can even stir things further since there are other forces here, it wouldn’t be surprising if conflicts happen.”

Delphine concurred.

“Good!” Faena excitedly shook her fists as she imagined Brendel’s impending doom. She looked like she had vented her anger: “Then let’s get to it right away!”

But Rono was paid attention to the real reason why they came here when he listened in to the suggestions: “Come to think of it, there are more forces appearing in the Dark Forest than expected. Galbu’s wizards, the Cathedral of Fire, Aouine, and even Beastmen. The Lionheart is obviously our Empire’s sacred sword.”

Faena’s passion was suddenly cut in half when the pessimistic boy spoke up, and she sighed: “Why are you worrying so much? There’s nothing to worry about the Beastmen with Lady Veronica around. Galbu’s wizards are merely here to take part in the excitement. As for the Holy Cathedral of Fire, one can say that it has close connections to the King of Fire, and therefore close ties to us. As for the Aouine Kingdom, do we really need to care about these traitors who stole our legacy have to say?”

Rono nodded in regards to this assessment, but he spoke again:

“Hmmm, but does the Lionheart really have anything to do with the strange changes in the Loop of Trade Winds? Our Star Seers detected the Divine Resonance to be somewhere to Randner’s south and somewhere near Chablis instead.”

“It’s normal that we couldn’t find anything. The Divine Resonance’s impact is too powerful for one to find its exact location. We already searched Chablis and moved all the way to the Dark Forest.” Elman said.

“Is it possible that the bunch of undead took it away?” Faena recalled the undead army that they encountered along the way.

“The Holy Swords have divinity in them. The Lionheart, the Blade of Flames, or any weapons related to the Light would instantly reduce the undead to ashes upon contact. They will never be interested in these weapons.” Rono explained.

“Which is why the only place left is the Loop of Trade Winds,” Delphine added.

The topic changed from Brendel’s punishment to their real goal. As they discussed the finer points, a squadron of knights hurriedly entered from the outside.

They first saw Viscount Elman and immediately saluted him: “Captain!”

“What is it? What matter is so urgent?” Elman turned towards them and asked.

“T-there’s something of great urgency, captain! The Loop of Trade Winds has a sudden change!” The knight who replied was out of breath.