Chapter 103 - Chapter 17: Test #2
It was already shocking that the sword duke had appeared at the court gathering.
Yet the sword duke had immediately spoken to one of the princes.
The meaning of this was enormous.
The 1st Prince, 2nd Prince, 3rd Prince and 4th Princess…
The sword duke hadn’t spoken to the previous four people. He had gazed at the 2nd Prince with interested eyes, but that was all.
He hadn’t greeted them or acted friendly.
Moreover, there was one important fact.
‘It's been a month.
‘How are you?’
The combination of everything and this short greeting resulted in only one conclusion:
9th Prince and the sword duke had met in the past.
Additionally, it had been during just this past one month.
Those who were participating in the court gathering weren’t stupid; most of them remembered the last court gathering.
The last court gathering...
The day afterwards, 9th Prince had headed to Thunderdoom Fortress.
‘How had the 9th Prince met the sword duke? Had the sword duke gone to visit 9th Prince?’
‘Moreover, it wasn’t somebody else but truly the sword duke?’
‘The sword duke?!’
These questions raised some doubts.
The shock caused an even greater impact.
1st Prince Baikal Ragnaros flinched. He wanted to look behind him.
3rd Prince Victor Nekrion, on the other hand, couldn’t endure it. He looked back with a confused and awkward expression.
4th Princess Anastasia Nekrion repressed herself, but she also revealed a slight shaking in her body.
It was just the 2nd Prince who didn’t seem to care. However, In-gong didn’t care about any of this. Everyone was busy looking between the sword duke and In-gong, while In-gong was struggling with the ripples caused by the sword duke’s greeting.
Felicia repressed an urge to press her hand to her chest and her stomach hurt like she had often read in the novels she read as a hobby. This was definitely something that hurt her stomach.
‘Sword duke! You are already getting too much attention!’
The sword duke had certainly said it at Thunderdoom Fortress.
He had said the fact that 9th Prince had combined Sura Heart Law and Divine Beast Authority into Divine Sura Authority should be concealed.
9th Prince was already receiving too much attention. If this fact was known, people would be even more wary toward him.
Then what was this? Was this the trial that often appeared in novels? Or perhaps, it was a test?
‘What is this bullying?’
There shouldn’t be trials or tests.
Felicia erased all the prideful things in her head, trying to calm her mind and maintain her composure.
Anyway, it was a situation where the sword duke had greeted In-gong.
There had to be a response.
How should he respond? Should he greet the sword duke? Or should he maintain his silence in front of the demon king?
It was not Felicia but In-gong who needed to respond. Even so, her stomach was hurting. It was really bad for her heart.
Only a few seconds had passed by.
During this period of time that was both short and long, Felicia was caught up in her pained thoughts while everyone was amazed.
“Oh, I was rude. I forgot this is the inner palace of the demon king.”
The sword duke spoke again. He bowed to the demon king in apology and the demon king accepted it with his usual face.
The storm had passed.
However, the calm after the storm wasn’t calm.
The atmosphere in the Demon King’s Palace was like trying to hide a mess with a big white cloth.
This incident didn’t take long to pass. It was thanks to Isabella, the organizer of the court gathering, remembering her duties.
“9... No, 5th Prince, Silvan Doomblade.”
It was a minor misstep but most people understood the mistake. No, there were many who didn’t even realize the mistake.
For example, Silvan who stepped forward. Additionally, Felicia, who was watching Silvan, felt an intense pain in her stomach and heart again.
‘Silvan! Your hands and feet should go together!’
Why was Silvan the one who had to go out first?
Silvan had received a very big shock because he had always wanted to be noticed by the sword duke. His steps were awkward like a man who had forgotten how to walk, but fortunately, everyone was still in shock. There were a few who noticed Silvan’s mistake, but Silvan was able to show the proper procedure when he reached the demon king. This was due to Silvan having been born as a prince and grown up as one.
Felicia sighed with relief, but she then became tense again.
“6th Princess, Felicia Doomblade.”
Why was she next after Silvan?
Felicia blamed the 3rd Queen Sylvia Doomblade for a moment, then stepped forward gracefully at Isabella's call stepping forward at Isabella’s call.
After that were Chris and Caitlin. Thanks to having some time to prepare, the two people were able to regain their composure and showed much more relaxed appearances than Silvan and Felicia had shown.
Chris was smiling confidently as always while Caitlin had a gentle expression on her face.
Then finally, it was In-gong’s turn.
“9th Prince, Shutra Ignus.”
In-gong’s steps coincided with Isabella’s call. It was like crossing a sea of gazes, but In-gong just smiled.
‘This is the third.’
The fact that humans were creatures of adaptation seemed to fit this perfectly.
As he stood on the right of all the royal children, In-gong got down on one knee before the demon king.
As usual, it was time to announce the merits of all the royal children who participated in the court gathering.
However, this court gathering wasn’t to announce the merits and appreciate the achievements.
After looking at all his children for a moment, the demon king glanced at the sword duke.
"Sword Duke, did you leave the sanctuary a while ago to meet Shutra?”
After the demon king’s question, everyone listened attentively. The fact that the demon king spoke in the court gathering had no great impact now.
Not only was the other person the teacher of the demon king, but the question itself was very interesting.
The sword duke had left the sanctuary.
Moreover, it had been in order to meet the 9th Prince.
Most people in the room didn’t know what the sanctuary was, but the important thing wasn’t the sanctuary. The important thing was that the sword duke had come personally to meet with 9th Prince.
Everyone paid attention to the sword duke’s answer. The sword duke laughed lightly and replied,
"That's correct. It was a short but pleasant meeting. There was the taste of being a teacher.”
It was a short answer, but they were words that absolutely couldn’t be missed.
The taste of teaching…
Felicia’s heart sank. Silvan froze with his mouth hanging open, while 3rd Prince Victor gritted his teeth.
One of the captains opened his mouth and said,
"Sword Duke, does that mean that 9th Prince is your disciple?”
It was Gallehed, the leader of the captains and a sura.
Among the sura, he was born with very rare blonde hair and was a handsome but gentle person.
If he only had a bright smile on his face,Gallehed would have been like the sun. However, for whatever reason, there was always darkness on one corner of his face.
He represented the captains, so they were also interested in the answer.
The sword duke answered the question coolly.
"9th Prince doesn’t use the sword. So, I could only teach him a few things.”
Someone swallowed their saliva.
The storm had ended only to reveal a larger storm.
According to his words, the 9th Prince would have become the sword duke’s disciple if he used a sword.
Even Gallehed, who had asked the question, was shocked. Of course, it had been one of the main possible answers but this was the sword duke who was saying it.
Silvan’s face changed again. Felicia was overwhelmed with the urge to hug Silvan, but she endured it. It was then that she realized the sword duke’s intention:
The sword duke didn’t want to drive In-gong into a crisis.
It was quite the opposite.
'It is a situation in which he is already attracting attention. He is thinking like us.’
It was inevitable that they needed to be vigilant. If so, it was better to make a bigger impression on the people, than the other children of the demon king. It would give In-gong a chance to gather people.
In-gong, Felicia and Chris, they all thought this.
Additionally, it was the same for the sword duke.
It was natural to be vigilant. It was also natural to be alarmed, however, one shouldn't irritate him.
Unless it was an emotional or extreme situation, they shouldn’t do a preemptive strike.
For most cases of preemptive attacks, the attackers were weaker than the defenders.
‘Simply put, he isn’t easy to deal with.’
The 9th Prince was such a person. He hadn’t been worth touching at all due to having no background.
However, 6th Princess and 7th Prince were now standing behind the 9th Prince. Additionally, the sword duke had revealed himself.
They couldn’t even imagine touching him.
Richard, the draconian among the captains, narrowed his eyes. Yecaderina, a nightmare and another one of the captains, gave a cold smile.
The demon king said. Then his next words focused all attention on Isabella.
Isabella unwittingly answered loudly and licked her lips. With a voice that was trembling slightly, she announced the purpose of this court gathering to everyone.
"This is happening in various places on the periphery of the Demon World.”
With those ominous words, In-gong opened a large light map of the Demon World.
In Knight Saga, the Demon World wasn’t a hell-like place.
It was a place inhabited by many species that could be called humans.
Of course, compare to it was a much more explicit zone compared to the Human World, so it was a land where ruthless and inhuman events often occurred. However, it wasn’t a barbaric land.
In fact, the true place that humans thought of as the Demon World was actually spread out north of the Demon World.
The land of icecaps that existed beyond the Northern Limit Line…
It was an environment that could only be seen as hostile and all types of creatures had adapted to live in this hell.
The biggest role of the generals was to keep the Northern Limit Line from spilling over to here.
Of course, it wasn’t just the land to the north.
Although it wasn’t directly in contact with the buffer zone, the area to the south was also a boundary. Just like how the lands beyond the Northern Limit Line waren’t worth conquering, the south contained multiple small tribes that were enemies of the Demon World.
The northern land, the Human World and the enemies on the periphery…
Was one of them moving?
Isabella explained in solemn tone,
"In the past two months, five areas on the periphery have been attacked by those surrounded by a purple aura. As a result, three of the five areas have become a patch if desert or wilderness.”
Among the five areas shown on the map, Enger Plains was present.
"The first attack occurred at Enger Plains. And like it had been announced at the last court gathering, 6th Princess and 9th Prince managed to block this attack.”
The other four areas were scattered all over the place, without any common ground.
"The last area that got attacked was Spider Forest near the lycanthrope territory. It is special because it isn’t on the edge of the Demon World but requires travelling inward to reach it. It was 5th Prince, 6th Princess, 8th Princess and 9th Prince who prevented the attack on Spider Forest.”
In-gong swallowed his saliva.
Without In-gong knowing it, the Death Knight had been attacking different areas in the Demon World. As a result, three of the five areas had become a patch of desert or wilderness.
‘The guardians were killed.’
Enger Plains had been created with Ainkel’s magic, so it was simple logic to think that it would become a desert if the magic was released.
However, what about the other places? Did the guardians have another role that In-gong didn’t know about?
Anyway, it was already happening. The Death Knight, who wanted the end, was attacking throughout the Demon World.
"There was a report that people with a purple aura appeared in Thunderdoom Fortress. As a result of the series of events, we have determined that this hostile force can’t be overlooked and have summoned you here to smash them.”
Isabella stopped talking for a while before snapping her fingers to transform the map. In addition to the desert and wilderness areas, some turned into a more prominent colour.
"These are the areas that are expected to be attacked. We have summoned the princes and princesses to the Demon King’s Palace in order to defend each region from the enemy’s attack and trace the enemy’s stronghold.”
If he took a step back, it matched the missions he’d had so far.
Isabella looked at In-gong.
"As 9th Prince and 6th Princess were the ones to first detect the enemy and fend off two attacks, they will be given first choice. Do you have an area that you would like to be dispatched to?”
It was a somewhat difficult subject to decide on the spot. However, this was typical for the Demon King’s Palace.
As the sword duke said, the Demon King’s Palace was very familiar with these challenges. They wouldn’t shrink back from a few sudden raids. Instead, it was a place to evaluate the demon king’s children.
In-gong looked at the map. In each area, there was brief information about the characteristics of the region and the troops dispatched to that area.
The ability to pick a region to defend would also be a factor in evaluating the children of the demon king.
In-gong recalled the information he had about each area from Knight Saga, having remembered the rough geographical features.
There was one good place to defend due to the area’s natural characteristics. On the other hand, another area was hard to defend because everywhere was open space.
In-gong laughed at his thoughts. It was a difficult place to defend, so he should avoid it, but his mind naturally went there.
It was the area he had been dispatched to after taking care of the Red Lightning tribe. Since a crisis was an opportunity, this might be the best chance to acquire General Vandal.
'Of course, that is only if I can win.’
It would be a challenge. In-gong took a deep breath to calm his mind and said,
“I will go to Evian.”
Some people were relieved by In-gong’s declaration while others questioned it. In the end, there were those who laughed at him and said he was only a child.
Evian wasn’t a good place for defense, nor was it very important.
Even Felicia wondered why In-gong chose that place.
However, there was only one person who thought differently.
This person had wanted to go to Evian the moment the map had been opened.
Zephyr narrowed his eyes as he looked at In-gong.