Chapter 148 - Chapter 28: Demon King
The contents of the invitation didn’t change even though he read it again. The sender was the demon king, and the time was tomorrow morning. The place was the residence of the demon king, called the Black Castle.
Carack received the invitation from In-gong, and his eyes widened with surprise.
In-gong had just handed Carack something very serious. This was a natural reaction when it came to anything related to the demon king.
The demon king—the apex of the Demon World, and the strongest person in the Demon World.
He had called out to In-gong. This time, it wouldn’t be a public place like the court gathering. According to the invitation, it was an informal meeting. The other person was the demon king, and this fact preceded their relationship of father and son.
'This is the first time.’
An informal meeting with the demon king was something he had never experienced in Knight Saga. In other words, Zephyr was never invited in this way.
In-gong wondered why the demon king had called him. Why had he done such a disruptive thing at each court gathering?
In-gong took a deep breath, and many possibilities passed through his mind. The first thing he thought about was the Four Knights of the Apocalypse.
In-gong had reported that Gerard had been the Famine Knight. The reason In-gong had been able to find out the specific word, ‘Famine’, was because Gerard had said it himself.
In the cases of Death and War, it was a little more ambiguous.
Gerard had been the Famine Knight and had the power of Famine. There seemed to be a commonality between the power of those with the purple aura and the red power which the barbarian king had used. Additionally, the barbarian king had said the word ‘War’.
The keyword ‘Death’ hadn’t been said, but this was enough. If the Demon King’s Palace had information on the Four Knights of the Apocalypse, it would be easy for them to make the connection.
Did the demon king want a more specific report? Or had he realized In-gong was the Conquest Knight? Maybe it could be both. There might also be a reason which In-gong couldn’t guess. It could truly just be a father and son dialogue.
‘That is hard to imagine.’
Anyhow, the invitation had arrived, and there was no such thing as a veto. He could only accept the invitation.
Carack said with a serious expression. In-gong laughed bitterly and asked Flora,
"Flora, who brought the invitation?”
"It was a knight of the royal guards who was wearing a black cloak.”
The classification in the Demon King’s Palace could be determined based on the colour of their cloaks. Among the knights, only the guards of the demon king could wear black cloaks.
"As expected from the demon king’s invitation.”
Carack said with admiration. In-gong nodded.
The leader of the guards was Reinhardt, one of the five captains. He was a yaksha and didn’t belong to any of the factions.
‘The Silent Reinhardt. He is a good escort of the demon king.’
In Knight Saga, he had always been a difficult opponent to face. After thinking about Reinhardt for a bit, In-gong looked at Flora and said,
“Flora, keep this invitation a secret.”
“I will do so.”
Flora agreed without asking why. It was natural behaviour as a butler.
Carack blinked and asked,
"Prince, are you not going to even tell the princess?”
He was referring to Felicia more than Caitlin. In-gong slightly shrugged and said,
“She will only worry about it.”
It would be nice to talk to Felicia who was his political adviser, but she couldn’t give any advice regarding the encounter with the demon king. From the outset, he didn’t even know why the demon king was calling. It was better to keep it a secret because it would just worry Felicia. Moreover, the meeting with the demon king wasn’t in the distant future but tomorrow morning.
In-gong summarized the situation roughly and said to Carack and Flora,
"Let’s take a break until tomorrow. And Flora, make dinner a little later than usual. Additionally, Amita, Daphne, Nayatra and Karma will be joining us.”
"I will follow your words.”
He had been so busy since returning to the Demon King’s Palace that he hadn’t been able to rest. It was necessary for him to think about some things.
“Carack, I’ll be resting in my room until dinner. You don’t have to come along since I’ll be hanging out alone.”
“Understood. Then I won’t be in the same room.”
Carack responded with an exhausted face, and In-gong smiled back at him. Carack truly was very helpful.
‘Then I will take a break.’
After the 3rd Queen’s tea ceremony, there were many things for him to think about. So, he would rest and delay his training until after dinner.
However, that plan had to be modified the moment In-gong opened his bedroom door. The long day wasn’t over just yet.
"You came later than I thought.”
The 4th Queen Elaine Moonlight was sitting gracefully on a small sofa in his bedroom. As always, Ludwig was behind her.
As he thought about the current situation, In-gong suppressed the desire to close the door and pretend not to see anything. Why was Elaine here? And why didn’t Flora tell him about Elaine’s visit?
"I came in secret. You should pay more attention to security.”
In-gong smiled and closed his bedroom door.
"It is nice to see you again.”
"This is an informal place, like the tea party, so there is no need to talk like that.”
Elaine was the one to relax the formalities. She invited In-gong to sit in the opposite chair, and he didn’t refuse. He pushed back his fatigue as he faced Elaine.
“Did something happen?”
He suppressed it as much as possible but a little bit of displeasure showed. Elaine seemed to catch a glimpse of it and made an apologetic expression.
"I couldn’t talk to you properly at Sylvia’s tea party. Shutra, you know why I came to the Demon King’s Palace, right?”
It was just like how Sylvia couldn’t talk about the fairy.
In-gong nodded instead of answering, and Elaine let out a long breath.
“Gerard Moonlight. My dear brother, whom the lycanthropes were so proud of.”
In-gong was a little bit disconcerted by the affection which dripped from her voice. Did she have a grudge against In-gong like Felicia was worried about?
However, fortunately, it was groundless. Elaine waved her hands and said,
"There is no need to stress. I want to thank you. It is a really funny story, but... I’m glad. Once again, I don’t have to risk my life fighting against Gerard.”
Her brother had gone crazy. She had known there was no way other to stop him, other than to kill him. However, even so, he was her brother, and even now, pleasant memories rose when she closed her eyes.
Elaine was good at hiding her feelings, but not this time. She gave a low sigh as her eyes became damp.
In-gong didn’t dare say anything and just waited. Elaine hid all her emotions with a smile, and In-gong felt in awe as he looked at her.
"You are becoming stronger really quickly. Like Caitlin said, you are completely amazing.”
At the end, Elaine smiled brightly in a way which was different than normal. However, it really suited her. She looked just like Caitlin, so In-gong flinched involuntarily as she spoke in a manner similar to Caitlin.
‘Master, do you like the word ‘amazing’ that much?’
Green Wind whispered into his ears. As a result, In-gong regained his spirit and fixed his expression quickly.
Elaine just laughed. She let out a long breath once again and stared straight at In-gong.
“I just wanted to thank you, Shutra. Thank you very much.”
It was just like Sylvia at the tea party. Elaine had an innocent, pure heart.
However, that didn’t last long. Elaine restored her confident expression and leaned back against her chair.
“This isn’t enough. You have helped resolve a longstanding problem of the lycanthropes. If you have something you want, tell me. If I can do it, I will try hard to give you the appropriate compensation.”
It was a very pleasant speech but confusing as well. In-gong faced Elaine as he started thinking, and the first thing that came to mind was being hit by Divine Beast Authority.
‘Be reasonable, reasonable.’
It was a very attractive reward, but there was no way to convince Elaine. Being hit as a reward… nobody would be crazy enough to make the suggestion.
It was at that moment—
"Do you want to be hit with aura?”
Elaine asked playfully, and In-gong flinched reflexively. Then Elaine’s expression became one of embarrassment.
"Uh, did you really think of that?”
In-gong was equally embarrassed and couldn’t answer right away. Elaine became more embarrassed as he stayed silent.
“Uh, um. Yes. I respect your taste... Yes, I respect you.”
“Ah, no! That’s not it!”
In-gong stood up and waved his hands.
"I would like to learn Divine Beast Authority a little deeper. I would like a spar with Queen Elaine and the leader of your guard. I was thinking about the spar and became surprised when I heard you mention aura.”
Ludwig narrowed his eyes at In-gong’s clarification, and Elaine laughed. As In-gong sat down again, she said,
"Hmm, it isn’t hard, but it isn’t really a reward. You will learn it anyway. A spar with Ludwig is too heavy as a reward.”
Elaine was troubled for a moment, then finally, she sighed.
“It can’t be helped. I will think about a separate compensation. I thought it would be easy, but it has become more difficult than I thought.”
However, there was a subtle pleasure on her face. It seemed like the process of thinking about a present was fun for her.
As the story about the reward came to a close, Elaine pulled out a new topic.
"Shutra, I saw your report to the Demon King’s Palace. Gerard was the Famine Knight?”
"Yes, he said so.”
In-gong studied Elaine’s response. Based on her frown, she didn’t know anything about the Famine Knight.
"I am currently collecting information. Gerard was able to escape from the Grey Tower because he had become the Famine Knight. If I find anything, I will let you know.”
It wasn’t just information sharing. In-gong realized that this was the support he hadn’t received in the past. Maybe the dark elves also had some information to tell In-gong.
"I think it is time to go back. Sorry for breaking into your bedroom.”
“It is okay. Just don’t do it often.”
Elaine laughed at In-gong’s careful answer.
"I really can’t say anything.”
As though it was punishment for the joke, Elaine kissed him lightly on the forehead like he was her own child.
“Oh, and Shutra, can I ask one more question?”
In-gong looked up at Elaine. Elaine came closer with a wicked expression and asked In-gong,
"Between Caitlin and Felicia, who do you think is cuter? Well, it makes no difference if they are cute or pretty.”
Who was prettier? What type of question was this?
However, Elaine was quite serious.
"It isn’t a joke. I’m serious.”
In-gong was unable to answer. Then Elaine clicked her tongue and increased the distance.
"I am satisfied with just that answer. It is obvious, but I am looking forward to getting to know you better. Then I’ll see you next time.”
Elaine knocked on In-gong’s shoulder and walked out of the bedroom. It seemed like she was going out the front door, unlike when she came in.
Flora was shocked to see her, but saw her off. In-gong apologized to Flora briefly before lying down on his bed.
The long day was over, and a new morning shone.
In-gong had gone to bed early and started the day with his usual routine. An informal meeting with the demon king was an extraordinary event, but it was important to maintain his composure.
In-gong postponed meeting Felicia and Caitlin at the Merits Department to the afternoon and left his house with a calm mind. He travelled to the Black Castle, the demon king’s residence, in a carriage.
Carack said what In-gong was thinking. He had visited the Black Castle every time for the court gathering, but it felt different today. The invitation had only stated that the location was the Black Castle, so In-gong thought someone would come out.
As expected, there was someone waiting for In-gong.
“It has been a while. In the meantime, you’ve become stronger.”
In-gong had thought a guard would be waiting for him, so he was full of pleasure at the surprise. The sword duke sent him a relaxed smile.
"I heard about your activities. Everyone at the court gathering was astonished.”
The sword duke was suddenly standing right in front of In-gong. In-gong couldn’t grasp the movement and stared with admiration. He still had a long way to go before he would reach the sword duke’s level.
"It is just a little trick, so don’t be surprised. Frankly, Prince is more amazing from my perspective.”
The sword duke had grasped it almost immediately. In-gong’s current strength was no comparison to when he had been at Thunderdoom Fortress.
"I’d like to talk to Prince more, but unfortunately, I have to give priority to my mission. From now on, stay focused as I guide you.”
The sword duke then spoke to Carack,
"Please stay here. You won’t be able to follow any further.”
Carack looked at In-gong instead of replying to the sword duke. In-gong nodded once.
“Understood. I’ll wait here.”
Carack replied to In-gong with a determined expression, but he couldn’t hide his worried gaze.
"I thought it before, but Prince really has a good aide."
The sword duke laughed before stepping forward. The surrounding landscape changed instantly.
In-gong focused his mind like the sword duke had said to do. In-gong was sensitive to magic and could feel the strong torrents of magic power rushing around like a storm. If he was just a little bit distracted, he would get lost in the torrent of magic power.
The sword duke continued walking, while In-gong triggered his quad-core. This process of moving along with the sword duke seemed like a test to see if he had the minimum qualifications.
Some time passed by.
The surrounding landscape then became fixed.
There was a white building, reminiscent of a temple under a dark blue sky. Other than that, the darkness was so thick that In-gong couldn’t see anything other than the building. In-gong and the sword duke were standing on the stone stairs leading to the building.
"I can only go with you up to here. The demon king is there.”
The sword duke pointed to the white building.
Taking a deep breath, In-gong took a step forward.
Then finally, beyond the staircase, the demon king was there, standing in the middle of the building.
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