Chapter 27: Reunion 1

“Mother!?” Lady Euphemia spoke as she stood at the only door to the audience room

She could, unlike anyone else in the room, see a distressed look on her mother’s face. She had never seen her mother look like this before.

“Euphemia!?” Duchess Rania spoke

Duchess Rania could think of one reason her daughter had arrived in the audience room. They sought an audience with Edwin. She could only sit back and see how this turn in events would play out.

Lady Euphemia walked in, followed by her two companions. Princess Louise and Princess Siraye.

Eve and Hitomi were leaking bloodlust when the three of them entered the room.

“Mother, I have returned to Vidfamne.”

“Greeting Duchess Rania Teresa Alumet Vidfamne.”

“Likewise it’s an honor to meet you again Duchess Rania Teresa Alumet Vidfamne.”

Lady Euphemia, Princess Louise, and Princess Siraye curtsied as they gave their greeting to the duchess.

“Umm…welcome back Euphemia. Princess Louise, Princess Siraye, you are welcomed to my duchy.”

“Thank you Duchess Rania” they replied in unison

Now that their greetings with the ruler of the duchy were complete, they turned their attention to Edwin.

[Is this really that Edwin?]

[He looks different from before!]

[What is this mana I am sensing? It doesn’t feel like mana a human would normally produce. It feels purer and stronger. Edwin Von William Highland, just what have you become?]

Lady Euphemia, Princess Louise, and Princess Siraye all evaluated Edwin in their minds.

“King of Highland, Edwin Von William Highland. We offer our greetings” Lady Euphemia said, as she and the other princess curtsied.

Edwin was silent. It felt like years were going by every second he didn’t reply.

When Edwin first saw them, he had fallen in love at first sight. He wanted more than anything to live a long prosperous life with them by his side.

But it was never to be.

Right now, in front of him were the women who married another man.

Women whose actions caused a civil war in his kingdom.

Women whose actions cost him his father.

Edwin knew that simply putting all the blame on them would be a cowardly thing to do. If the Highland royal family was powerful from the get-go, their actions would have had no impact on the kingdom.

Edwin took a deep breath - he didn’t have time for the past, only the future.

“Thank you for your greetings Lady Euphemia, Princess Louise, and Princess Siraye. I hope that you and your husband Hero Hans Varma Saifuddien are doing well.”

His reply took them by surprise. It was a clean proper response without a hint of malice in his words. However, the girls could help but have wry smiles when he mentioned their husband.

“We are your majesty. Thank you for your concern for our well-being” she answered on their behalf as they remained in a curtsy.

“Well if you will excuse me. I am sure you have matters to discuss with the duchess so I will take my leave.”

“Please wait. I and the others wish to formally apologies for our past actions. We caused you unimaginable difficulties by our actions. Please forgive us and do not hold it against our nations.”

“Do not fear, I do not hold any grudge against your nation as a result of your actions. Now I need to take my leave.”

The three girls rose from their curtsy after he uttered those words. They couldn’t feel any ill intent from his speech. Did it mean he had truly forgiven their actions?

Lady Euphemia felt that might not be the case. She was taking glances at her mother who in turn was glancing at her.

This was the first time neither could tell what the other was thinking.

Lady Euphemia and the princess's objective was to prevent Edwin from using them as an excuse to wage war on Jarodor and Everwood. For that reason, they sought to apologize and hopefully put the matter to rest.

From Edwin’s words, it would seem that they have succeeded in this regard.

In the presence of the Duchess of Vidfamne, he had admitted to harbor no ill feelings towards their actions of abandoning their engagement to him.

Neither one of them assumed he would say those words so easily.

Princess Louise was relieved.

Princess Siraye was confused.

Lady Euphemia was concerned. If he truly harbored no ill feelings towards them then why was her mother looking so troubled? However, she brushed aside these feelings. There was still another objective remaining.

“My apologies King Edwin, but may I inquire if Highland will partake in the push against the demons?”

Lady Euphemia asked the question. She hid her trembling nerves as she looked directly at Edwin.

The second objective would have Highland commit its new military power behind Hero Hans Varma Saifuddien.

They knew that the possibility of this was very low, but if they could achieve this then their standings as the hero's wives would rise, if not replace the scantiness and the two heavenly beauties of the empires.

Duchess Rania who realized this the moment she heard Lady Euphemia's question couldn’t help but think, [Are you fools...Why would you aim for such a thing? This is bad… won't Vidfamne be dragged in these girls' foolish fantasy. Do they think he still has feelings for them or are they so madly in love with the hero that they can't see past their own feet? Euphemia, what are you thinking? Didn’t I raise to be smarter than this?]

“We are not. Highland has too many internal issues that require my attention. I cannot have the army march too far from the Kingdom”

“But with those flying things, wouldn’t it be easy for the Highland army to move?”

Lady Euphemia asked this obvious question, and her observation was correct. Edwin specially designed the spirit planes for this very purpose. With them, he could theoretically move his forces anywhere without having to worry about distance or terrain.

“Your observation is correct, but that doesn’t change the fact that I need the forces to stay within arm’s reach.”

“But isn’t that selfish on Highlands’s part. Across the continent, everyone is mobilizing behind the hero for the common goal of defeating those demons. Highland can’t simply turn its back on that.”

Duchess Rania's eyes widened, she couldn’t believe what she had just heard Lady Euphemia speak.

Edwin frowned at her words.

“Have you quickly forgotten Lady Euphemia that Highland not so long ago went through a civil war? Have you forgotten the many knights we sent in aide of Everwood and Jarodor, only for them to never return?”

His sharp words silenced her.

Edwin may have forgiven the girls for abandoning the marriage, but that didn’t mean that they were allies on equal footing. Everwood and Jarodor had betrayed Highland, and the three princesses were the trigger for that betrayal.

As the saying goes, ‘to be forgiven does not mean that your sins have been forgotten’

Everwood, Jarodor, and the three ladies were in no position to point a figure at Highland.

Vidfamne had just been saved by Highland. They too could not accuse Highland of being selfish especially if you factor in their past treatment of Highland.

As for the alliance which was mainly ruled by the two empires and the holy kingdom. Despite receiving reports of the civil war happening in Highland and the connection of Everwood and Jarodor to that war, they had remained silent - either because Highland was not a member or because they simply didn’t care. Regards of which reason it was, they too couldn’t now start pointing fingers at Highland for not committing to the war effort.

“Forgive me from speaking out of line King Edwin,” Princess Siraye finally spoke up. She could feel the pressure Hitomi and Eve emitted the moment she spoke but it was not enough to put her on edge. “But if you are unable to partake in the war, will you not at least sell that military equipment to the alliance.” Princess Siraye asked calmly.

Edwin stared at her for a few seconds before speaking,

“I cannot take the chance that the weapons will not end up in the hands of my enemies.”

His words made the princess hearts race.


What Enemies?

Didn’t he just say there were no ill feelings towards us?

“May inquire to which enemies you are referring?” asked Princess Siraye with a serious expression

“A mercenary by the name of Theodemar Inanala”