Annan didn’t know how much Albert understood, but he nodded anyway and indicated that he would seriously consider it.
But as Albert had said, even if he was willing to communicate with Nicholas, Nicholas might not reciprocate the same desire in the Noah Kingdom.
With the expulsion and imprisonment of the Rotten Man’s clergy, the Third Prince would inevitably suffer heavy losses. The Princess Royal, who the Rotten Man Church suppressed previously, would have a more obvious advantage. In addition, the king’s physical condition was getting worse. More and more officials and nobles would side with her as time went by.
She was originally designated to be the king’s heir.
The balance created between the Princess Royal and the Third Prince would collapse instantly.
If the Third Prince tried to survive in this situation, he had to ally with Albert. Only then would he have a chance to contend against the Princess Royal.
Of course, Albert would undoubtedly be unwilling to ally with the Third Prince. After all, he just learned that the Third Prince had planned to sacrifice not only the Old King and the Princess Royal but also a humble and low-profile prince like himself.
However, it would be uncertain whether Princess Royal would believe it or not.
Her Highness, born in the military, treated both the Silver Sire Church and the Rotten Man Church as threats and political instability to the Noah Kingdom. They were “outsiders” who intended to snatch power in the kingdom.
For her, the Third Prince being close to Rotten Man Church and the Fourth Prince being close to Silver Sire Church were both enemies that needed to be eliminated and suppressed. Moreover, Albert’s presence would become stronger than the Third Prince, who had completely lost power.
Therefore, Albert had actually fallen into a tough spot after the Rotten Man Church lost power. The other two royal heirs who had not paid attention to him at all would now be hostile to him, trying to kill him.
When the Rotten Man church used him like a marionette, he could live safely as a mediator of the situation.
If it were the past, Albert would completely abandon the connection with Silver Sire Church and surrender to the Princess Royal in a lowly manner to beg for his life. Indeed, he would do such a thing given that he wasn’t fond of political power and he was timid and lazy.
But things have changed now.
Albert learned that his daughter Kafni’s sole curse was to succeed to the throne.
Even Albert, who didn’t know much about the Transcended world, knew that violating a curse would bring tremendous harm, possibly even death.
Even so, he still didn’t have the determination to fight for the throne.
He only planned to “go back to the capital and have a look before making the decision.”
Thus, he didn’t completely sever the relationship with Silver Sire Church but put some distance between them at the same time.
When he learned that Annan needed to go to the royal capital at the end of spring, he made a bold move.
He wanted to leave Kafni in Roseburg for the time being, so he would go back and see for himself the situation there.
“I’m not sure whether the expulsion of the Rotten Man Church will result in all of their members being arrested immediately at once under the work of a divine miracle, or if the arrest would take some time.”
Albert sighed and said to Annan with some worries, “If it is the latter case, I have every reason to believe that we can’t capture all Rotten Man believers. We can only give priority to control those who are in high positions.”
For example, his wife.
Until now, Albert knew why he and his wife had been married for so long, but there was only one child, Kafni. He didn’t even have an illegitimate child.
He might even be able to guess when his wife began to believe in Rotten Man.
Four and five years after Kafni was born, his wife was pregnant twice. Unfortunately, she miscarried even under the care of the royal family, and he couldn’t find the reason for it. In hindsight, it seemed that there was only one answer. The root cause was his wife herself.
After that, his wife never became pregnant again. Due to his guilt and sympathy, he didn’t try to marry another wife again.
“But I am worried that they will guess that this matter is related to me. I can almost be certain about it.” Albert sighed, “As long as I’m extra careful, I think I can protect myself. In the worst-case scenario, I will stay in the Royal Capital Church and not go out, but the situation will be different for Kafni.
“Besides the Rotten Man Church who will be keeping a close eye on her, the Hermetic School people will put extra care on figuring out her whereabouts too. I may not have the ability to protect her in the royal capital.”
As Albert spoke, he glanced secretly at Bishop Daryl.
Although Bishop Daryl was being inconspicuous, Albert had already noticed the bishop’s respectful attitude toward Annan. It was just that he was tacit and didn’t point it out directly.
Leaving Kafni in Roseburg for a few months was his last resort.
In actual fact, he didn’t like leaving his beautiful daughter at such a distant place away from him.
After all, he only had one daughter.
If Albert decided to sit out from the fight for the throne, Kafni would be in danger. However, if he decided to go back to fight for the throne, Kafni would also probably end up with a bad fate if they stayed in the capital.
She had only one way to survive out of this.
Staying in Roseburg was the safest option.
Bishop Daryl’s identity was mysterious, but Albert knew that the bishop was familiar with his grandfather — the previous King Noah.
This at least told Albert that Bishop Daryl’s actual age was very old, far beyond the lifespan limit of ordinary people. Moreover, he wasn’t a Transcended at all, yet he looked like a middle-aged man in his forties.
This “middle-aged man” could invite the Silver Sire to come in person, yet he held a respectful attitude toward Annan.
Adding to Annan’s real identity, Albert realized that leaving Kafni here was the safest idea.
If he could attain the throne, then the friendship that Kafni had forged with Annan at this time would foster the relationship between the countries to live in peace, especially after Annan inherited the throne as the Grand Duke.
Unlike the belligerent king and the harsh Princess Royal, Albert, who was closer to the people, could deeply understand that the Noah people hated war and preferred peace.
More importantly, their lives had improved rapidly in the years after peace returned.
Hence, if the event unfolded with Albert taking the throne, it would undoubtedly be great for the country’s development.
His father’s plan to unify the five countries and rebuild the Great Barrier was naturally a good idea.
Unfortunately, there was a problem.
Their enemies would be the populous, dark Underground Federation, the Austerians who were accustomed to the long and cold frosty winds in the North, the United Kingdoms of pirates who were combat-proficient, and the most technologically advanced Papacy.
The Noah Kingdom didn’t have much advantage aside from fertile lands and rich mineral deposits.
What would they use to fight the wars?
It felt more like the Noah Kingdom was a defenseless sheep ready for others to prey upon them.
Albert knew the situation very well: Don’t get angry easily.
Once he got angry, he would use his true power. Enemies previously afraid of him would realize that his real power was nothing to be concerned about.
Likewise, it wasn’t wholly impossible to unify the five countries. This matter was meaningful to the world.
But the Noah Kingdom shouldn’t start this war.
Otherwise, they, who had the best geographical advantage, would be surrounded by enemies and get bullied.
The old king was indeed a nobleman. He just wanted to rebuild the Great Barrier but forgot the greed of other people.
Currently, only the Austere-Winter Dukedom, the Noah Kingdom, and the United Kingdom needed the Great Barrier’s protection.
The Underground Federation had adapted to life in the underground world and the Gray Mists couldn’t go below the surface.
As for the Papacy, they had solved the problem of the Gray Mists once and for all.
They built countless Sky Towers soaring into the clouds, building their city in the sky.
They also had barriers, but their barriers were to purify the high-altitude air so that residents could survive in the sky.
Indeed, the Gray Mists weren’t unlimited. It had its height limit.
The Underground Falteration chose to flee downward, and the Papacy decided to escape upward. The problem was that they all succeeded.
Even if the Gray Mists completely bury the world on earth, it had nothing to do with them.
Therefore, they wouldn’t support the unification of the five countries.
At present, the Noah Kingdom hadn’t yet been invaded by the Papacy due to their position in the far east of the Yaselan continent, while the Noah Kingdom resides on the far west.
Also, the Papacy didn’t have the spare resources to build another set of floating islands.
They looked down on the Noah people and even anyone on the ground.
Albert wasn’t stupid. On the contrary, he was pretty clever.
But at the same time, he was also lazy and a little timid. He knew that his character wasn’t suitable to become a king.
However, Kafni was different from him.
“Will she be Noah’s future queen?”
After Albert left, Annan looked at Kafni, who was holding his sleeve in deep thought.
It doesn’t feel like that…
Either way, with this matter coming to an end, Annan knew what he should do first.
Yes, he should reward players who “participated in the main questline”.
Credits to MindMatrix for editing this chapter and improving the readability.
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Hmm every time I’m reading about this “gray mist” in this novel, it reminds me of the classic game “Legend of Legaia” in PS1 xD “Monsters in the mist”
maybe Kafni doesn’t need to become the queen of Noah, maybe marrying into Austere would be enough for the curse