The silence of the royal family made one thing clear to the angry nobles: the tree protecting them wasn’t nearly as sturdy as they thought it to be.
Duke Grasberg had unexpectedly gone silent and hidden himself away on the pretext that he was injured, no longer the ardent supporter he used to be. Rumours were about that Viscount Zim had entered hibernation, and though the public did not know why there were many who understood the unicorn bloodline well enough to realise he was in hibernation. Countess Katrina was now expecting as well.
All these things would normally only be a threat ten years down the line, but Richard’s brazenness made it clear that the throne wasn’t stable. Perhaps some changes to the rulership were in order…
Richard’s first stop was Deepcliff City. The city was glorious as ever, the ashen clouds around it giving it a sense of weight and pressure that few others had. However, Richard now felt like its towering majesty was all a farce.
The citizens didn’t recognise his army as they walked along the road. These farmers were only focused on harvesting the last of their crops before winter froze the lands, and their lives only consisted of work, food, and sleep. The invasions hundreds of kilometres away didn’t even reach their ears, and nobody bothered remembering the flags of the passing lords. It was almost like they lived in an entirely different world, more mundane but one in which they could find happiness.
A few cavalrymen rushed over from afar, slowing down as they approached the army. The young man leading them immediately jumped off his horse and looked up at Richard, “Lord Richard?”
“I take it you’re Toffler?”
“Yes, my Lord!” the youth cried out in excitement. The beading sweat and messy hair indicated that he had rushed over at full speed, but the road his squad had taken was small and rough.
“You didn’t come from the castle,” Richard commented, and the youth’s face turned red with embarrassment and rage.
“They… They didn’t acknowledge the will my father left before his death, claiming that you fabricated it. All of them sat together and decided to divide up my father’s lands, and threatened me to leave the castle. My mother was the daughter of a mere viscount, she didn’t have the power to protect me. Grandfather’s lands were even attacked by a large army recently, so I had no choice but to leave and settle down in a knight’s land.”
Richard smiled, “So they made you a titled knight, not bad. I thought they would’ve just left you with a house and nothing else. Anyway, I’m here now. Names.”
“Marquess Meecah, Earl Bounvilom, Earl Sossker…” Toffler started immediately, the humiliation clearly fresh in his mind. Half of the names were completely foreign to him, meaning they didn’t even qualify to enter his intelligence reports.
As they conversed on the way to the castle, Richard found that this youth was rather clever and prudent, and had a level of responsibility that made him an apt candidate to take over the Direwolf Duke’s estate. It was hard for someone to outshine a beacon like Bevry, but the man had left behind more than enough enemies to make ruling a problem.
As they approached the gates of the castle, Toffler suddenly stopped.
“Hmm? Is there a problem?” Richard asked.
“I…” the youth froze for a while, but eventually found the courage to continue, “I’m not allowed to enter the castle.”
“Huh. Well, you’re with me, it’s alright,” Richard said gently.
“No, they made it clear that I won’t be let in no matter who I’m with.”
“Then the ones who stop us will be dead,” Richard still didn’t lose his smile. These words caused his army to exude a frightening killing intent, finally alerting Toffler to their power. The youth sighed with relief.
The city guard had noticed Richard’s warflag from far away, but what alarmed them more was the sight of Toffler amongst the group.
“Halt!” a fat officer proclaimed from atop the walls a hundred metres away, covering the distance even without the aid of magic, “Toffler, who allowed you to come here? Go back to your fief! And those accompanying him, who the hell are you? I order you to dismount and prepare for inspection. This is the castle of the Direwolf Duke, you cannot enter and leave as you please!”
Richard didn’t change his pace at all, nor did the rest of his knights. Olar was the only one who urged his horse forward, screaming with rage, “ARE YOU BLIND? THIS IS VISCOUNT RICHARD ARCHERON, THE EXECUTOR OF DUKE BEVRY’S WILL. OPEN THE GATES OR BEAR THE CONSEQUENCES!”
*Crack!* The whip shot into the ground in warning.
The officer’s face soured. He had orders to deny Toffler entry no matter what, but how was he supposed to block Richard Archeron? Even though news about the twenty knights hadn’t made it here yet, those who served Duke Bevry or his vassals knew just how much of a wargod Richard was. He wiped the sweat off his face and forced a smile, “Lord Richard, I do not have the authority to let you in. Please wait, I will fetch Earl Sossker.”
Richard just waved lazily, “I don’t know who the hell Sossker is, but this city is currently mine. If the gates aren’t open by the time I reach them, you’ll have to stop my siege.”
SIEGE! The one word was enough to make the officer feel faint. Richard was only a few dozen metres away at this point, he wouldn’t be able to get the Earl here even if he had wings! The city guards were already nocking their arrows, pointing the bows towards Richard himself. However, Richard seemed to be completely unaware of the situation.
“You imbeciles!” the officer suddenly shrieked, “Who gave you permission to aim your bows? What if you injure Lord Richard? Go, open the gates. OPEN THE GATES!”
The scene caused Richard to raise his brow in surprise. Olar had already switched to his longbow and was about to fire, but this response left him stuck in his position. He was only here to intimidate, the presence of two grand mages in his party meant the guards on the wall would be burnt alive before they could so much as twitch.
As the city gates slowly opened, Richard nodded at the officer and got his name before proceeding to the castle.
“As per Duke Bevry’s last will, Viscount Richard Archeron is seizing control of this city and the castle until a new duke arises. All guards are to lay down their arms, and every noble with the rank of Viscount or higher is to report to the castle at once! Dissidents will be executed at once! Those who keep their weapons will be executed at once! Those who protest will be executed at once!” Tiramisu was sent ahead to announce his presence; the ogre’s natural voice combined with the power of magic would allow his words to resound throughout the mountain. Just his voice and the three death threats ensured that everyone thought twice about crossing their path.
In the end, there was no opposition as he took over the entire castle.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Translated By: Styles
Edited By: Theo
TLC'ed By: OMA