Episode 136. Treasure of Adenstein (2)

Seon-Hyeok also found it undesirable to enter the capital with loud fanfare. He was, and had always been, uncomfortable with raucous victory ceremonies. In that sense, he welcomed King Theodore’s instructions.

The only thing bothering him was that he was unsure of the king’s intentions.

“His Majesty’s command…”

It was evident he would have to meet the person in charge to uncover the intentions behind the sudden order.

“Did you meet or contact anyone on your way here?”

Seon-Hyeok shook his head when he heard Sir Leverkusen’s question.

Since he traveled through the sky, he could not have encountered anyone on his journey in the first place. He had even taken breaks on the barren plains rather than in villages in an effort to spare random villagers from the terror of seeing a wyvern, and as such, the only ones aware of his journey were the people of Rheinperle.

“That’s a relief,” The middle-aged knight spoke briefly before staring at Seon-Hyeok.

“It seems like something’s complicated.”

Instead of answering, the knight looked towards Redvern. It looked as though he wanted to get away from the conspicuous monster before they spoke.

“Stay out of sight until I summon you again.”

Redvern stared at its master before flying up and away.

“Is that better?”

“Thank you. Since you’re the only wyvern rider on the continent, your presence here would be exposed if anyone saw your beast.”

As he spoke, the knight handed Seon-Hyeok a dark robe.

“It may be inconvenient, but please cover your face until we arrive.”

“As you wish.”

Seon-Hyeok put on the robe and raised the hood over his head. When he turned around, he saw that Asha Trail and Julian were dressed in the same way.

“Then I’ll guide you there.”

Seon-Hyeok jumped onto the horse prepared by the Royal Guards and followed them towards the capital.

As soon as they arrived, Seon-Hyeok was forced to separate from his party.

“Sir Trail. Please take care of Julian.”

Instead of responding, Asha Trail tightly held the young squire’s hand as she nodded.

“You really care about your squire.”

As they watched the group depart, Sir Leverkusen finally spoke up in surprise after being a silent guide all this time.

“She’s a nice kid. And talented as well.”

In addition, she was suffering from the aftereffects of the sea serpent’s poison because of him, and this had been increasingly on his mind lately. In reality, Julian was acting several times stronger and livelier than himself.

“I see.”

Perhaps it had just been a passing remark. The middle-aged knight did not follow up on his comment.

“This way.”

Seon-Hyeok was led beyond the garden where he previously shared tea with the princess and deeper into the castle.

“Hm…”

At some point, even the servants coming and going disappeared, and the knights standing guard were no longer visible.

“Could you wait here for a moment?”

Having been guided deep into the castle, Sir Leverkusen asked for his patience. When Seon-Hyeok nodded, the knight left him and disappeared.

“Hm.”

He took the time to look around while the Royal Guard was away.

The plainly decorated garden was quiet, and Seon-Hyeok felt as though he was alone in this world. However, he knew that this seemingly defenseless garden was more heavily guarded than any other place he had ever visited.

There were dozens of unseen forces all throughout the garden. If it was not for his wind spirit, he would not have noticed them.

Seon-Hyeok intuitively realized that this place was the deepest part of the royal palace.

Ugh. Why did they even bring me here?

Anxious, he kicked at the ground.

“Sir Drachen.”

A while later, the Royal Guards returned.

“His Majesty will be arriving soon.”

Seon-Hyeok took off his robe and tidied up. Moments later, King Theodore approached from afar, flanked by even more knights.

“Seon-Hyeok Rheinperle Kim Drachen greets King Theodore Tiberius Ro Adenstein, the sole ruler of Adenburg and head of House Adenstein.”

After dealing with royalty several times, Seon-Hyeok clearly had become used to royal etiquette even without realizing it. He naturally greeted Adenburg’s ruler in an impeccable manner.

“I’ve heard your voice from time to time through communication channels, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen you face to face like this.”

King Theodore’s imposing presence was the same as always. The quiet garden seemed completely full following his appearance.

“Seeing your healthy appearance…”

“Ah. There’s no need to follow etiquette you aren’t even familiar with. If I had intended this to be formal, I would have welcomed you in an official ceremony instead. Rise.”

Seon-Hyeok stood up and smiled. The king’s unchanging approach of emphasizing efficiency made his discomfort disappear.

“Thank you for your consideration.”

There was a hint of a smile in the king’s eyes when he saw Seon-Hyeok smile.

“You truly have grown beyond comprehension.”

The king briefly expressed his admiration before continuing.

“I know you do not enjoy large ceremonies, but I would like to apologize for letting a storied war hero enter the capital without fanfare.”

“I didn’t hope for hospitality, but is there a reason why I had to move so covertly?”

King Theodore had a troubled expression.

Seon-Hyeok momentarily wondered whether this was due to his sudden interruption and questioning, but King Theodore was not the type of person to take offense to that. It was clear he had a separate reason.

“There’s a course of action I would like to pursue, but the nobles are opposed to it.”

Seon-Hyeok looked in surprise at the blunt remark. He could not understand how the king, with his overwhelming charisma and dominant stature, could face stiff opposition from the noble class.

“I have promised you the greatest honor possible for a knight. You have done more than enough to deserve this, and I intend to keep my promise.”

Clearly, the opposition had something to do with this supposedly greatest honor. Seon-Hyeok was simultaneously worried and excited as he waited for King Theodore to continue.

“However, I felt the need to be on the same page with you first. It would look ridiculous if I offered you the reward in the face of opposition from the nobles, only to have you decline.”

The king paused and stared at him.

Again? Again?

Seon-Hyeok felt panicked at the sight of the clear eyes that threatened to read him inside and out. He nonetheless played the role of faithful servant as he calmly waited.

King Theodore stared at him for a while before suddenly beginning to laugh.

“So, my decision was correct. I am convinced, seeing you as you are right now.”

What is he so satisfied by?

Seon-Hyeok could not tell why the king’s words and attitude were so joyful.

“You’re worthy of the glory.”

With that, the king suddenly asked a seemingly random question.

“Is there a woman you have in mind?”

“Huh?”

What nonsense is this?

Taken aback by the unexpected question, Seon-Hyeok gave a brief and rude reply.

“I apologize.”

He belatedly realized his mistake and apologized, but the king did not seem to mind. This, however, made him even more uncomfortable.

“You are more foolish than you look.”

The king’s gaze was exceedingly mild and friendly.

“I will ask you again. Is there a woman you have in mind, or is there a family that has asked you for your hand in marriage?”

Seon-Hyeok felt uneasy with the persistent questioning. He tried his best to guess what the king was getting at, but he could not reach a conclusion.

“Seeing as you don’t have an answer; I will take your response to be a ‘no’.”

After interpreting Seon-Hyeok’s silence, the king laughed.

“Then there won’t be a problem.”

“What problem are you talking about?”

Seon-Hyeok blurted out, thinking something might happen if he remained quiet.

“Sir Drachen.”

But instead of answering his question, the king called on his subject with a dignified voice.

“Your brilliant accomplishments are unprecedented and beyond my expectations. I struggled to find a reward worthy of them.”

Seon-Hyeok wanted to tell his liege not to worry about the reward, but he could not bring himself to cut the king off.

“And as such, I stayed up for several days and nights, and finally found a reward I considered reasonable.”

Seon-Hyeok’s mouth went dry. He could not understand why he was so nervous about receiving this reward – after all, it was not supposed to be a punishment.

“I, Theodore Tiberius Ro Adenstein, would like to present to you the most glorious jewel among the treasures of House Adenstein.”

Seon-Hyeok quietly breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing the word ‘jewel’, but it proved premature.

The king was not yet finished, and Seon-Hyeok cursed himself for his hasty reaction.

“Ophelia Laurel Ro Adenstein, my beloved daughter, the princess praised by the people for her beauty. She is the highest honor I can grant you, and through her, you will become the inheritor of House Adenstein.”

Seon-Hyeok was dumbstruck. He could not process what King Theodore was suggesting.

Seeing the bewildered foreigner, King Theodore continued with his dignified voice.

“I am welcoming you into the royal family.”

Seon-Hyeok could not remember how the conversation developed since that explosive statement. When he finally came to his senses, he found himself staying in a room reserved solely for the royal family.

“What the hell!”

Realizing what had happened, he swore.

“Isn’t he crazy? Humans aren’t objects to be traded!”

He had made sure to watch his language whenever he visited the capital, but he could not hold back now.

“Who the hell gives his daughter as a reward?”

He forgot that he was in the deepest part of the royal palace as he ranted in agitation.

“And a child at that!”

He could not understand what the people were thinking, calling a child like her beautiful. Having been raised in the other world, a fourteen-year-old child was simply a kid who needed to grow up.

But her father was personally giving her as a reward. Seon-Hyeok found the situation absurd.

If it were anyone other than the ruler of Adenburg, he would have immediately and mercilessly punished that person. From his perspective, King Theodore’s proposal was little more than criminal in nature.

He barely managed to calm down after some time had passed. However, the situation remained unresolved, and he was in the undesirable situation of having to marry a 14-year-old child.

‘I will bring the nobles together tomorrow and announce my decision to the world. You will be present as well, and you are tasked with making sure that others do not try and dirty your name.’

The even bigger issue was that the powerful head of House Adenstein planned to make this an unretractable truth the very next day.

“Damn. I’m going to go crazy.”

Seon-Hyeok was bewildered by the unexpected prospect of marriage.

Knock. Knock.

“Who is it?”

After immediately answering in a sharp tone, he belatedly realized he was in the royal palace and repeated himself in a calmer voice.”

“Who is it?”

“Please excuse me for a moment.”

The voice was businesslike and formal. He opened the door anxiously and was taken aback to see a fully armed female knight.

Her golden armor indicated her position as a member of the Royal Guard, and specifically…

She was one of Princess Ophelia’s attendants.

“May I look around the room for a moment before the princess visits?”

Seon-Hyeok helplessly nodded at her question. It had been closer to a declaration than a request.

“Then excuse me.”

After quickly examining the room, the knight finished and gave a signal outside.

Step. Step.

“It’s been a while.”

Seon-Hyeok heard some light footsteps, followed by a refreshing voice.

“Seon-Hyeok Rheinperle Kim Drachen greets…”

He reflexively tried to offer the standard greeting, only to freeze in place. The royal princess looked drastically different from the girl he had met just a year ago.

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