[What are they doing here?]
Brendel watched the nobles from Aouine slow down as they approached his camp. It appeared like they were studying him as well. The leader amongst them was a middle-aged man. His face was gaunt and he had a gait with an unsteady limp.
[If I recall correctly, that’s Count Austin, a high-ranking military officer in the north. The six men and two women behind him….. I don’t recall their names, but they should be members of the royal family, except they don’t wield any real power. ]
They were members of the Royal Faction or at least from a neutral party.
[But I feel something is odd here…… Ah, I see. Members of the Royal Faction appearing in Randner’s territory. Isn’t that strange? I should be seeing Randner’s men here instead.]
Brendel did not realize his actions had been recorded by Lord Oberbeck ever since the siege on Fortress Riedon. Oberbeck directly observed the battle between Ebdon and the youth, and he had been tracking the movements of the latter closely ever since.
But the nobles sent to the Dark Forest did not know who Brendel was, because they were tasked to search for the Lionheart.
Count Austin was certain that Brendel was a noble. His confident and elegant demeanor was not something that could be faked, and Amandina was even more striking, with every move graceful and assured. If the youth was partnered with such a lady of high pedigree, there was no mistaking his identity.
He glanced at the youths resting in the forest, secretly believing they were Brendel’s squires, before his eyes moved over to the Lizardmen and Elves. It was a messy composition.
He approached Brendel and said: “A citizen of Aouine?”
Brendel nodded, but he knew that these people were not here to have a friendly chat over their citizenship.
As expected, the short and plump noble who was beside Austin immediately interrupted them: “You’re that supposed noble?”
“Are you a supposed noble from Aouine?” Brendel raised his eyebrow upon hearing the rude tone.
The raspy voice from the short man allowed the youth to recall who he was. He was a famous conservative noble called Dolant, a seventy-odd-year-old man who had aged well. The humans in this world lived a long lifespan, and Dolant looked like he was still a middle-aged man, though part of his fetching curly hair that was combed to perfection had a layer of snow on it.
He was easily recognizable through his official silver uniform. His had was adorned with three golden leaves — An ordinary Count from Aouine should be wearing three silver leaves, and it was evident that the golden leaves were a special honor.
Dolant was stunned to have his identity questioned, and he bellowed in rage: “I have no need to prove my nobility here, you mewling churl! Answer me, did you offend the Kirrlutz Empire and bring trouble for the kingdom!”
Brendel’s eyes turned into an icy glare. These bast
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