For the residents in Praguesse, the period between the Month of Harvest and Month of Frost in the Year of the Sword seemed long but at the same time temporary. The horrible shadow left by the invasion of the Undead last year seemed to emerge once again with the pace of the Bloodstaff army. Along with the Vanmier Army’s continuous defeats, the situation deteriorated and some merchants and nobles even started to flee with their families to the Kirkuk region. First the news came that the combined forces of the Vieros, Lantonilans and Trentheims had stopped the Bloodstaff army in Slofavien, and it did not take long for the rumors of Bloodstaff’s defeat to be confirmed. The Undead retreated from the Cielmann region, and within a week the skeletons of the front line of Dragus and Vanmier had melted away; those who came from the south even confirmed that they were returning to the Bucce region without making stops. That was a time that passed faster than any moment, with new news coming in every day, as if the war had left far away in the blink of an eye.
The Bloodstaff, a name that was a scandal to everyone half a month ago, had now become a speck of dust in history and had lost its meaning for both Aouine and Madara. After another half a month, the army of Count Radner was defeated near the Dwarf’s Ring, east of Castle Kirkuk, south of the Sapphire Mountain Ranges. They had lost the chance to escape to Madara, and everyone understood that it was only a matter of time before the Count surrendered.
Some people were destined to make a name for themselves in this war. Almost everyone was talking about the army of unknown origin, and in almost every tavern there were poets singing stories about the soldiers. There was even a rumor (not quite a rumor actually), spreading around that said it had been seen with conviction that the late King Erik had returned with the White Lion Legion to save the kingdom in peril, and most of those who heard such a rumor believed it.
Because the Lionheart Sword shone brightly in the war, everyone witnessed the glorious victory.
After the defeat of the Bloodstaff, Brendel had let Freya take over his command of the Trentheim’s army. Count Jacques had no desire to fight for the credit after that battle, and the Lantonilan cavalry understood what kind of guy their leader was. Although Eikkel and his men hung around like buddies and had a reputation that everyone admired in the allied army, anyone who was not engulfed by a knight’s overwhelming faith would understand who was the real reliable person in this allied army.
Although on one hand, it was with the help of Trentheim army’s amazing performance in that war.
But the valkyrie from the Bucce countryside did not disappoint those who believed in her. After purging the Madara forces in the Cielmann region, she immediately turned north, accurately judged the movements of Radner’s army, and then wiped out all hopes the Count had in two clean battles. In the last battle, Freya used the Lantonilan cavalry to establish her reputation. She used the cavalry twice to feint the flank of Radner, but in the final encounter, she suddenly attacked and crushed his central position, which was a textbook example, perfectly reproducing the glorious victory of the Aouine against the Wind Elf army in the forever ongoing war.
He knew Freya would succeed because she had a serious and rigorous nature. He thought that with the advantage on the battlefield Freya would be the most outstanding commander of the age because her meticulous judgment and meticulous execution would allow her to maximize her advantage without making mistakes and letting the enemy take any advantage.
This future Valkyrie possessed an extraordinary talent in the use of cavalry, but he did not expect this talent to show itself so quickly.
History had shown that Freya had become famous in the war between the South and the North, also through her outstanding cavalry command, her riding skills were no joke. But at this moment, the history of the two lives seemed to reunite into one, and at that moment he saw Freya gleefully riding back from the battlefield, holding up the banner of Radner’s army as if it were an offering, waving it in front of him and shouting his name: “Brendel! “Brendel! Look at me, I did it!”
At that very moment he knew the historical Valkyrie had returned.
He could not help but smile with delight then.
Praguesse in the Month of Frost was completely cold, but the streets were still full of pedestrians, and after the threat of war was lifted, every day in the city for half a month seemed like a celebration. Ribbons and drapes were hung all over the streets, with wooden platforms built and piled high with wine and food, and the knights returning from the front line were treated like heroes, riding through the markets, ready to stop and receive the cheers of the people, and even the adoration of maidens.
As Brendel watched the scene, he smiled at Freya from his horse, “They are talking about you, Lord Valkyrie of Aouine, it seems.”
“Brendel–” Freya blushed, knowing that in fact the most important battle of the war was commanded by Brendel, but the world knew very little about the details of the battle that defeated the Bloodstaff. The allied forces had been under her command ever since and her fame and reputation had been far ahead of Brendel’s to the very end, which made her feel embarrassed and a little sorry for Brendel. But this was what Brendel was happy to see, he had always believed that the claws of the beast were to be hidden so it could make an appearance at its sharpest. Although during this war, Trentheim was forced to reveal a lot of its strengths that had been hidden all this while, Brendel still managed to carefully cover some core secrets about Valhalla and the Folded Knights. It would be best if he could hide them from the public.
“They do not understand, but Brendel, you know,” Freya blushed and whispered, she gripped the reins and bowed her head. As she heard the cheers around, she could not wait to find a crack to bury her head underground, “that I am the worst one among the cadets of the same class in the Royal Cavalry Academy. In fact, Carlo and the others are much stronger than me, it’s just that I happened to be in the right place. Bennett, Carlo and any of them would have done better than me in the same situation.”
Brendel laughed a little when he saw Freya’s ‘deceiver’s fear’ face and shook his head. This country girl from Bucce was a bit too much, indeed, she isn’t really the most talented commander in the future history of Vaunte. Compared to such geniuses as Rouka, Little Pero, Brund, and Yinstar Dragon, she lacked that talent but she had her own strengths. This future Valkyrie had a power to inspire and empower others, her persistence and earnest would touch everyone’s heart. No one in today’s Aouine who was more suitable for this honor than her. People like Carlo and Pero could be a talented commander, but Freya was destined to to become the pride of this ancient kingdom.
“Opportunities are an important part of life,” he said, shaking his head, “Freya, you need to be confident, not everyone can be the commander of an army, but if you can lead your soldiers to victory, then there must be something special about you. The fact that you and I survived the life and death ordeal of the Bucces proves a lot. Every Bucce is a good man, what Bennett and I can do, you can do, don’t disappoint Bucce.”
As if the sentence “don’t disappoint Bucce” had convinced her, the young girl nodded, “I understand, but they are upholding me up too much, the kingdom’s Valkyrie? This is too outrageous.”
Brendel secretly laughed, he could not help but glance to the side and met eyes with Amandina. The merchant lady looked at him somewhat prodigiously, because Brendel was the one who secretly arranged for this title to be spread out. If the shy commander girl knew about it, she would have endless complaints. Amandina smiled and did not say a word. Amandina only started to get in touch with Freya after the first battle of Ampere Seale, although the period was not long, but she had developed good impressions towards Freya. This female knight was as innocent as Romaine, but was not too hard to deal with compared to the merchant lady. Earnest people tend to give off good impressions anyways. This girl from Bucce had undoubtedly become one of the best in this category, though she might take things too seriously that she appeared nerdy.
“If you think people would have too much expectations on you, you just need to be firm in your convictions, you know you’re not fighting for those false fame, right?” Brendel pretended to get serious and replied.
“It’s not that,” Freya replied embarrassedly, “it’s just that I feel too much shame, and I’m afraid that Nemesis and Bennett will laugh at me if they know about it.”
“Is there such a thing? I think it suits you though, even Nemesis calls you that. I think it’s a good idea to let Her Highness give you a proper title.”
“Brendel!” This time Freya heard Brendel’s teasing tone and she glared at him in frustration.
Brendel, however, without any self-awareness, spread his hands and said, “Really, I’m not lying, if you don’t believe me, ask Amandina.”
The noble lady could not help but give her lord a blank look, chastising him for dragging her into the water. She hurriedly replied, “At least the lord has another saying that I agree with, not everyone can be the commander of an army, but if you can lead your soldiers to victory, then you must have something to offer. There have been many legions and commanders in Aouine throughout history, but there are only a few that can lead Aouine to victory.”
Praises from different people naturally have different effects. Amandina’s words made Freya blush and did not retort, but in her heart she could not help but sarcastically thought to herself. Amandina would naturally take your side.
It was a pity that the merchant lady could not read her mind at the moment, otherwise she would probably be the one blushing at this moment.
As Brendel saw Freya had stopped talking, he smiled and turned his head to look at the procession of knights being cheered on by the crowd on another street. Those people were mostly soldiers of the Vanmier Legion or some of the Lantonilans, because the Viero and Trentheim armies should still be stationed in the territory of Radner. With the successive defeats of the Duke Arreck and Count Radner, it was as if a series of problems plaguing the southern border of the kingdom had been solved, and with the support of the Duke Viero, Princess Gryphine had absolute dominion over the entire southern part of the kingdom for the first time ever. In the eyes of the people, Count Trentheim, who had made a name for himself in the war, was only a knight loyal to her and the Highland Knights had expressed their deference. Duke Grinoires, who had been greatly wounded in the war, had neither the will nor the power to stop the Regent Princess from rising in power and prestige.
It was as if the center of power in the kingdom had once again returned to the throne since the days of Anson. At least south of Ampere Seale, everything was moving in that direction.
The king’s party was rejoicing, but he himself did not stay in the coalition army to enjoy this victory that cheered everyone. In fact, after defeating the Blood Staff, he arranged for Carglise to stay behind to deal with the aftermath of the war, then let the Kirrlutzian Knights of the Folded Sword return from Chablis to the Firbur Group. However, he himself did not return the same way, but took Amandina and Freya to leave Cielmann and head for Praguesse.
The reason for everything was simply because of a letter.
Thinking about it, he could not help but frown. He then noticed that Antitina was looking at him with curiosity in her eyes. The letter was handed to him by her, and the contents were known to Amandina. But the person who sent the letter caught Brendel off guard, as it was sent by his mother – to be precise, the closest blood relative to whom half of Brendel’s soul was anchored. The arrival of this letter was almost completely unexpected and disrupted all his schedules. Since he came to this world, he had in fact never dealt with his relatives here. On one hand it was because he was afraid of retaliation and implication of his family when he was in Trentheim because he was not capable back then. On the other, he knew that the core reason was that he was not prepared to face his loved ones in this world.
About them, Brendel had deep yet vague memories, as if they were the closest people yet strangers to him at the same time. He understood that this was the result of the fusion of two very different souls in his body.
But in any case, at this moment, even if he did not receive a letter from his mother, he had a reason to go home nevertheless. He understood that the feelings and experiences could not be left there forever, something that if not faced head-on will only become a blemish on the soul. In fact, such a state of mind had begun to hinder him in the pursuit of power. He must now return to the land where he was born and raised to face everything that belonged to Brendel, as if this letter was an opportunity to bring him back to Praguesse.
But he understood another meaning in this letter. His own mother, who came from a noble family in Cardiligial, said in the letter that someone from her hometown had asked her to look for him and ask him to come home. Her hometown was in Cardiligial, the easternmost part of Karsuk, the birthplace of Highland Knights and Mages. So the person from her hometown must be a Highland Knight. There was a good chance that the person was the one behind this letter. What did those people want, and why did they not just come to him through the coalition?
He had dealt with the Highland Knights more than once in the coalition army, and even tested them before leaving. But the other party seemed to be unaware of the letter, which seemed a little exciting. He was even a little worried, although in his memory, his mother was a very knowledgeable woman, but that did not mean she might not be swindled. After all, he was now at a level that was completely different from that of his father and mother, not to mention that he was more worried about whether Madara was playing a role in it.
Because of all these reasons, he did not inform anyone but only brought Freya and Amandina along, arriving in Praguesse quietly. Amandina and Freya could be said to be from Praguesse as there were still a large part of people who escaped from Bucce were still living in the vicinity of Praguesse. It was natural for him to bring them along when he returned here. Freya had also wanted to visit her hometown more than once.
The three of them crossed the street in silence without attracting anyone’s attention. Brendel remembered that his home was in a manor outside the city, and he did not come from a poor background. His father was a miller, and his mother was a daughter of a small nobleman, which was even better than Amandina’s family. But he did not intend to go home immediately as the whole thing was strange. He wanted to find out more on the situation first, but before that, of course, he had to find a place to stay in the city. Praguesse had many inns, but were not safe. If this was indeed an enemy plot, it would be too easy to station spies in these places where people come and go.
Now the three of them could be said to be well-known in the kingdom so it was hard to not get recognized, especially for Freya.
The good thing was that Praguesse was also Amandina’s hometown, and Brendel had not forgotten that she had a few properties here, although they were a bit dilapidated, but they should be enough to stay. They soon passed the busy main street and turned into Gravedigger Street, which was the old town of Praguesse. The street looked cold. At this sight, Brendel suddenly recalled the scene when he first came here and dealt with Ian the cripple and came across the noble lady that the cripple had spoken of.
Thinking of this, he could not help but look back at Amandina.
The noble lady who was following behind was also looking at him, her eyes shining brightly, as if the encounter at that time was still in front of her eyes, as if all these led to so many wonderful stories afterwards. She remembered that her life seemed to change after that moment, and to this day, her destiny and this young man who seemed to have some wit and frivolity at that time have long been tied together, inseparable from each other.