The fifty paladins from the Church of the Eternal Dragon were already on the island. The situation was now stable, so the warriors from the branch families who were kept behind didn’t dare to try and put up any new resistance. Their biggest backer in Baron Sua had been sent running with his tail between his legs, what could they do? Earl Goliath still had his representatives here, but as always they remained neutral and watched on silently.
When Erwin was brought into the study, Demi and Richard’s other two siblings stood to his left while Fuschia was on the right. Richard was sitting peacefully, reading some information he had on hand. Erwin’s face was white, but his expression showed that he was willing to throw caution to the wind and challenge him.
Richard only put down the papers after a few minutes, asking solemnly, “Erwin… Did Marquess Gaton do anything to let you down?”
“Did the Archeron Family do anything to let you down?”
Before Richard could even ask the third question, Erwin suddenly erupted, “I KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO ASK! There is no why… If you really want reasons, I should be the one asking the question! Why is it that all the wealth, status, power, and beautiful women are with you? Why do I have to work so hard for all of you, to kill in planar wars? Yes, you gave me training and equipment, but isn’t that just because you want me to fight? How am I inferior to you nobles? If not for your daddy Gaton, what gives you the right to sit here?!”
Richard suddenly laughed and shook his head, pointing to his siblings, “Look. They’re Gaton’s children as well, but they can only stand there while I take the seat… Forget it, you won’t understand this… Or should I say you wouldn’t admit it even if you understood? You’re just someone who feels entitled to what others have, but you never stop to wonder whether what you want should belong to you. Alright now, let us look at this…”
Richard held up the documents and read through them line by line, “Sama, 49 years old, titled knight. Territory Wormwood Manor, 0.2 square kilometres with a population of 300. Wife Laney, 42, daughter of Sir Endor Archeron. A knight from a branch family, none in his line actually unlocked any bloodline abilities. Sir Sama has three children: Erwin, 22. Lisa, 17. Cindy, 16…”
“What are you doing?!” Erwin suddenly screamed, trying his best to rush towards Richard. However, the guards were well-prepared. They immediately sprang into action, punning him firmly to the ground. Erwin struggled with all his might, his eyes bloodshot as he yelled loudly, “If you touch a single hair from my family, I won’t let you off for the rest of my life!”
Richard didn’t feel anything at the sound of this threat, speaking nonchalantly, “It looks like you’re quite concerned about your family. Still, do try to recall how Norland treats traitors who lead rebellions. Is the extermination of the family not the only way?”
“You dare!” Erwin had already used up all his energy, but he still tried to get up from the ground. One of the guards immediately stepped on his lower back, sending him back down. The stomp immediately knocked the wind out of him.
“They’re just puny soldiers. Even if there’s twice the number, why would I be afraid?” Richard said mockingly.
Erwin’s anger immediately dissipated. “Richard,” he said in a low voice, “Kill me and let my family go!”
“Do you think that’s an option?” Richard’s question caused the knight’s face to turn white. He struggled on the floor, bestial noises escaping his throat. He knew that his sentencing would follow.
Richard looked at the information sheet, “Destroying your family would be letting you off easy. Your parents are still very healthy, I’ll send them to the lowest levels of the mines to dig until they die. As for your sisters… Hmm, I have their portraits on hand, they’re rather pretty. Tch, it would be such a waste to kill them… I think I’ll turn them into slaves and sell them off to businessmen. What do you think? Oh, as far as the rest of your relatives are concerned, I’ll just save the hassle and kill them off.”
Screeching sounds rang out through gritted teeth as blood poured down the side of Erwin’s mouth. He was well aware of what would happen to his sisters if they became slaves, just as well as he was aware of the cruel and tough life in the lowest levels of a mine. The slaves placed there rarely if ever survived longer than a year. Richard’s punishment was far more cruel than the direct extermination of his bloodline.
“It looks like your masters from behind the scenes have no intentions to save you, Erwin. Well, I know you would be even crueller if you had managed to get your hands on Demi and the rest. I have always lived by the principle of giving back twice what I get; in this case, it’s only equal retaliation. You should feel lucky.
“Now then, is there anything else you would like to say?” Richard asked coldly.
Erwin struggled in his bonds, “I already sold the offerings, but I can give you whatever I got! Please spare my family, I will tell you who instigated me to do all this! They’re the true culprits that deserve death and punishment!”
Richard laughed, “That won’t be necessary. I know who they are, it isn’t exactly a secret. I have no plans to take them on as of yet, but at the same time, they cannot act against me. Are you disappointed that I can’t fight them in a battle to the death?
“As for the offerings… If I’m not wrong, you had no choice but to sell your share to those masters. If you didn’t, they would have slaughtered you like a dog. Alright, time is precious, the only reason I wasted so much time on you is that you’re very malicious and unlikeable. I don’t hate those who are instigating you, because those plots are normal even if they result in some casualties.
“You’re different. Want to know why? Compared to invaders, accomplices and traitors are far more vicious.” Richard stood up, picking up a dagger on his desk and pacing back and forth. His tone turned mild, “Don’t worry, I won’t kill you or your family. Death would be a quick escape and I’m not that generous. I will torment you forever, lock your soul in an eternal struggle.”
Finished talking, Richard gestured to one of the guards. He opened the door of the study, pushing Coco in.
Coco let out a cry of alarm the moment she saw the situation in the study, covering her mouth as her face turned white. For his part, Erwin started to grow violent the moment he saw her, cursing furiously at Richard.
Richard turned towards him, “Every word of scolding from now will be a cut on one of your family. Trust me to remember this.”
Erwin was taken aback. He stared venomously at Richard, but didn’t dare to utter another vulgarity. However, it was evident that he was still cursing in his heart.
Richard then shifted his attention to Coco. The weak, delicate girl started trembling uncontrollably under his gaze, both arms jumping up to cover her body. She subconsciously tried to avoid his sight, tears long since flooding her eyes.
Richard sighed, “The founding emperor of the Sacred Alliance, Heavenly Emperor Charles, once said this: I can forgive mistakes, but I cannot accept betrayal. Take a look at this…”
Coco discovered that the paper Richard handed her contained details about her relatives and family members. She thought over it for a while before realising what it meant. Her small face immediately turned pale, both hands starting to tremble as she stuttered out, “R-Richard… I… I didn’t betray you. It’s the truth! I still belong to you, you can… You can check…”
Richard lifted his head in surprise, “If you put it that way, you didn’t completely betray me. I had all the intent to give you a chance to prove yourself when I left. If you really had abided by the rules, you shouldn’t have met in private. I was planning to grant you your freedom based on your contribution and sincerity, but… Pity, you didn’t show me the qualities I wished to see. There are eyes and ears everywhere on this island, there’s no way to hide your actions.”
“So… sorry,” Coco said softly, her head lowered.
“Alright then, wasting time is wasting divine grace. It’s time we finished up.” Richard switched the topic, throwing the dagger in front of Erwin before saying icily, “We’ll talk about your punishment after this, but right now I’m sick of your relationship with Coco. If you want your family to live, cut off your filthy dick!”
Coco wanted to cry out in shock, but under Richard’s sharp gaze she had no choice but to swallow her words.
The guard who was stepping on Erwin loosened the pressure. The youth stood up, face pale, and picked up the short blade. “Will my family be free from harm?” he asked as he stared at Richard, “Can I live on?”
“Why would I let you off so easily? You will be charged for organising a rebellion, your family will be enslaved, but I will not make them mine workers or prostitutes. They will live out the tired and miserable lives of ordinary slaves, but as long as they do their jobs well they will survive. As for you, you will need to fight for me. You will lead be at the head of every charge, at the tail of every retreat, and at the front of the line for the most dangerous and difficult tasks. Satisfy me, and your family will have a more comfortable life.”
Erwin nodded quietly, gritting his teeth and turning around to undress.
“Wait. Turn around and face everybody! And you, Coco, raise your head!”
Erwin’s hands trembled, as did the rest of his body. He had thought that he was vicious enough, but right now it felt hard to proceed. Two intentions were warring in his heart. The first was to run straight to Coco, killing this woman who had confused him with a single stab of the blade. She was even letting Richard inspect her! The other was to do as Richard instructed. At least that way, he would still live.
Eventually, the second thought won. The dagger fell down in one quick swoop!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Styles
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA