3. Truce or war

As Raelynn and Laurier entered the castle, they met two of the ministers from the Lord's court, who were walking towards the court hall. These were the type of men who held contempt and looked down upon women, even if they were more brilliant than them and this was what exactly made them feel annoyed. To them, women were only meant to dress up and be presentable in social gatherings, and once they were inside the four walls, they were only allowed to cook and take care of the children. Heavy and strenuous works like being a Commander or a minister in the Lord's court were all meant for men.

Thus, Raelynn being a part of their environment irked them whenever she was around or even if she was mentioned in any of the topics of conversation. To them, she was a taboo whom they wanted to avoid at all costs. So, as soon as they saw Raelynn sauntering proudly with Laurier beside her, they scoffed at her arrogantly before walking away with their chins held high.

Raelynn was not the one to care about what people talked about her, no. She knew who she was and that was all that mattered. She could notice the disdain their eyes held for her whenever she saw them and this was enough to make her laugh secretly. She did not care what they felt about her as she was not here to impress anyone, not even the Lord.

Moreover, she could perceive why they were behaving that way. It was because she was better than those egoistic men in many aspects. If she had not been a Commander, she would have excelled as a minister in the court given her brilliant brain. But fortunate enough for them, she had chosen to become a soldier much to the men's relief. Otherwise, she would have slayed them with her words just the way she did to her enemies with her sword on the battlefield.

Laurier too could not help but chuckle seeing the two men's scornful gaze. He was all too familiar with it as he had seen it a lot of time whenever he was with Raelynn. And this made him admire her all the more as she did not even bat an eyelid at their behavior, treating them as roaches. Raelynn gave him one meaningful glance before they followed the two ministers to the courtroom. If they were not wrong, this was a combined meeting of the army commanders and the intellects who worked for the Lord, and neither Raelynn nor Laurier had to guess what the topic of conversation would be.

They entered inside casually and took their seats with the other commanders and knight commanders. Just like the other men, they too just glanced at Raelynn before turning their gaze away from her. They were not that keen on speaking to her, unlike the way they behaved with other male commanders. Raelynn did not mind it either. To her, it was a waste of time speaking to those brainless idiots who would only repeat the same thing over and over like a rooster. She preferred to stay silent and conserve her energy rather than arguing with them and ending up with a migraine.

Laurier too stayed silent, but occasionally, he would give a reply or two when other men approached him. Though he did not like the fact that Raelynn was being completely ignored by them, he could do nothing too. He could not go around cleaning all the brains that were filled with nothing but dirty water. His thoughts completely matched with his friend's on this. So, he let them be. 

The courtroom had been filled completely, with all the men and Raelynn occupying their assigned seats. Barely a minute had passed since the last person occupied his seat, the Lord, Eldrick Kharal entered with pomp and splendor, with two of his guards following closely behind. Everybody rose up as a symbol of respect and waited until he had taken his seat before they occupied their seats once again.

Eldrick Kharal was a man in his early thirties, yet he looked young with all the training he was doing daily to keep himself healthy. Also, there was a maturity in his eyes which made people look up to him with ease even if he seemed inexperienced and young.

He was one of the kindest and most loved rulers of the kingdom and this was one of the reasons for the people to respect him more. Though he was kind, he could also be fierce when the situation called for and his fighting skills were among the best in the kingdom. The Lord of Kingdom Volar swept a glance around the courtroom making eye contact with everyone present in front of him before it halted on Raelynn who was sitting at the end of the room, behind the men. His expressionless face broke and he cast a smile at her, taking everybody else in the room by a storm, including Laurier.

Raelynn too returned his smile with grace before both of them went back to being expressionless. They knew how shocked the people around them were, but they gave a blind eye to it. The Lord did not have to explain to anyone and in turn, Raelynn too could stay at peace.

Seeing that everybody was looking at him curiously, the Lord only smirked before he nodded his head. The guard who was beside him started speaking immediately. "We are gathered here to discuss our next course of outcome given that our enemy Kingdom of Hollis has sent our Lord a threat letter. Although they have not yet declared war on us openly, this is nothing but provoking us and we have to give them a befitting reply lest they should forget their places once again."

"Gentlemen and lady," The Lord started once the guard was finished with whatever he was supposed to say. To the men, it looked like the Lord was belittling Raeylnn by addressing her after them. However, that was not the truth. The Lord was emphasizing the fact that she was the only lady here and from the tone he had used, it was clear that he preferred her over all the other men. But nobody other than Laurier could sense it and once again he was shocked. Laurier could sense the favoring tone the Lord held for Raelynn, but he was not sure about it.

"I would like to know what your opinions are regarding this matter. How should we solve this issue? Do we ask for a truce or declare war on them?" His questions immediately caused an uproar in the courtroom and people started to murmur among themselves trying to come up with a unified solution.

While the Lord waited for one of them to step up and speak, his eyes fell on Raelynn whose gaze looked bored. It felt like she did not belong to this place with the way she was staring at the walls blankly. To others, it seemed as though she did not know how to tackle the situation and was thinking hard to come up with a solution. But only the Lord knew that this was not the case. He was sure that she would have already come up with the best plan to completely eliminate the threat, their enemy. She was just waiting to see how others would attend to it. She wanted to know how well the egoistic men's plans would be.

'This would be interesting.' Eldrick thought to himself imagining how Raelynn would rip off all the men's, excluding him, heads once the discussion started.

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