On the other side, Annan and Kafni had already circled the palace once.
Only Elizabeth’s personal maid was following behind them. Old Merlin had already rushed back when they were near the main hall to notify Dmitri of the big news quickly.
That’s right. For them, this was indeed big news.
Annan’s character was considered the most shy and timid among this generation’s Austere-Winter clan… He could also be described as the most reclusive.
Old Merlin had never seen Annan take the initiative to strike up a conversation with others, let alone whisking the royalty’s daughter away right under their eyes at the first meeting.
Old Merlin could also see that Kafni was not an ordinary person — she had the talent to be a wizard or a priest.
That sharp perception of a Transcended could perceive the essence of deities within mortal beings. For Transcendeds, it was indeed a great gift. She could always be at the forefront of the path of Transcended.
This was because of her ability to easily identify the key and essence within rituals and even curses.
But, for a child who had yet to set foot on the path of Transcended… That sort of endless hallucination would only bring trouble to her life.
Could it be that such an odd child could ironically find common ground with His Highness Annan?
Old Merlin knew very well.
Whatever the cause or ultimate response, they were not within his power to deal with.
He had to tell His Royal Highness Dmitri to have him decide.
Luckily, Her Royal Highness Maria was studying abroad and did not come along… Old Merlin sighed silently.
He glanced at the door.
Annan and Kafni were there, whispering to one another in an empty corner.
But both of them were highly conspicuous.
They would become the center of attention even while staying there.
However, those qualified to attend the king’s birthday party in person were not simple-minded individuals.
Even if they saw Annan and Kafni together, they would pretend not to see it.
Although they had never met Annan, his clothes were iconic. It was made from the finest Frost Beast fur that could remain dry and cool even in the hot summer. However, if an ordinary person were to wear it, they would fall sick from hypothermia.
That temperature was like having ice cubes stuffed in the interlayer of a down jacket. Only members of the Austere-Winter family could withstand it.
On the other hand, Kafni’s eccentric reputation had long circulated within the Noah Kingdom’s upper-class society.
This crazy little girl was deemed to walk the path of Transcended sooner or later. Hence, parents had warned children of her age to stay away from her and maintain sufficient distance and respect.
The reason was also straightforward.
If Kafni were to die later, all of what she had been through would possibly manifest into a nightmare. If someone were to enter that nightmare with ill intentions, they could learn the secrets of those close to her from it.
Those who had greater secrets would want to keep their distance further away from whoever might embark on the path to Transcended.
Nobles and officials expressed their delight in seeing the good relationship between Kafni and Annan.
Austere-Winter’s Grand Duke was too strict in their operations.
If Kafni could marry into the Austere-Winters and befriend them… That would be the best case. Austerians were known for their loyalty, competence, and unity. Many well-known mercenaries and guilds were formed or organized by Austerians.
For them, Austere-Winter’s young workforce was even more so an excellent one.
Some young people would head to neighboring countries to escape the winter years, but they would still return when it was the harvest years.
In other words, they were strong and hard-working. Long-term consumption of the flesh of Frost Beasts made the strength and constitution of Austerian young adults much greater than those of other countries. An Austere-Winter boatman could carry three times as many goods in a day compared to a Noah boatman of the same age. Such a level of labor could not even make them fall sick from fatigue.
After all, they didn’t have to withstand the never-ending blizzard while working. They were, in fact, overzealous in their work. This could also make them highly active, excited, even aggressive.
The flesh, blood, and fur of the Frost Beasts were also Austere-Winter specialties. The blood of the Frost Beasts was even a highly demanded material for Alteration Wizards, primarily as one of the main components to create a reliable adhesive.
This powerful adhesive was necessary for building tall stone buildings, bridges, and city walls. However, it could also be altered into a weak glue that could be used to build roads after it was diluted.
Plus, it was not limited to the Noah Kingdom’s own needs in building bridges, roads, and houses. There was an even greater demand for these two adhesives in the Papal Kingdom. These adhesives were also one of Noah Kingdom’s main exports.
A trade partnership with Austere-Winter Dukedom represented a lot of profits to be made.
In fact, not many people were willing to go to war at all.
This was also why the war between the two countries has never completely subsided, but constantly waged in continuous cycles instead.
The current king wanted to unify the five kingdoms and rebuild the Great Barrier. This was the slogan he had propagated since a young age. Many nobles supported him as they urgently needed a protracted war to get more benefits.
But when people realized that His Majesty the King was serious — he genuinely wanted to unify the five countries. He was not making empty promises, and people became reluctant to continue supporting him.
The five countries were originally one. Aside from the Underground Federation’s relative independence, no other country was separable from one another. All countries were also inseparable from the Underground Federation, mainly from the subways they built and managed.
It was the resistance from the Noah Kingdom internally that had been preventing the war from developing.
After the Noah Kingdom’s upper nobility realized that Kafni had managed to land His Highness Annan, they began to figure out ways to sell Kafni over to Austere-Winter reasonably.
—Kafni had no friends anyway.
Her mother was also similarly “traded” to her father, Albert.
Kafni’s father, His Royal Highness Prince Albert, would probably be the only one who would express concern for this matter.
But everyone knew that Albert was least likely to inherit the throne.
He doesn’t fight for the throne, he doesn’t offend anyone, nor does he want any power— he was simply passing through his days.
While it ensured his safety, it also didn’t give him much authority.
But what they didn’t know was that Annan and Kafni were discussing some terrifying topics.
“It is indeed a hexagram…” Annan drew the route in his mind.
To prevent alerting the enemy, he only walked around the palace with Kafni following the position she described and determined the position by simply looking around. This was to prevent them from being watched.
Kafni also confirmed this possibility with Annan, “Anna, someone was staring at us when we were near the kitchen earlier… The red-haired man, right at the door.”
She leaned into Annan’s ear and whispered in her signature fluttering, dreamy voice, “They want to kill us.
“They want to kill both of us… I can read their minds.”
Annan didn’t bother to correct Kafni’s increasingly eccentric way of addressing himself.
His heart simply wavered. He also leaned in and whispered into Kafni’s ear, “How many of them are there? How can they see us?”
The situation seemed to be getting serious.
Annan could no longer bother to continue with his child act.
Fortunately, Kafni was also not an ordinary person— she didn’t mind Annan’s somewhat strange inquiry.
She said indistinctly, “We all have a flesh scent that wolves can smell. Everyone has it… but you don’t.
“So, they can’t see you.” Kafni stared at Annan with her clear, almost transparent pupils.
She let out a childish voice and asked intently, “Can you… can you save me?”
…It is a blessing from the Mysterious Lady. Annan realized quickly.
It seemed that a strange ritual had unknowingly locked onto the people in this building, but the function was not accurate. Otherwise, they would have noticed something was off with Annan when they saw Annan and Kafni together.
Does that mean I would have to act alone after this?
But how could I get away from the maid and Merlin’s watch?
“Of course, I can. You may not believe it, but I’m very strong… I can protect everyone.” Annan paused abruptly. The corners of his mouth pursed slightly as he quickly suppressed his habitual confident smile.
Annan stared at Kafni. He gradually got rid of his disguise and replied without much thought, “Plus, this is what I’m here for.”
Credits to MindMatrix for editing this chapter and improving the readability.
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