Having confirmed the individual’s identity, Seon-Hyeok realized why the man named Fontaine seemed hostile.
The Griffindor Kingdom had lost two of its precious griffins, as well as their riders. The antagonistic relationship between him and the Griffindors was such that nobody would find it strange if their representative requested a duel here and now.
“You don’t have to look at me like that. What happens in war, stays in war. Such is the destiny of a knight. I am here as an envoy to congratulate you on your engagement, so please do not be so wary of me.”
His tone was still on edge, but Fontaine explained his position on the current matter. It seemed he thought he was being gracious and considerate.
Seon-Hyeok, in turn, found this distasteful.
“I still remember how the Griffindors backstabbed me back then. In any case, thank you for coming all this way to offer congratulations.”
The man’s expression hardened at once, as Seon-Hyeok sarcastically pointed out his pretentious attitude at claiming what happened before was an honorable act of war.
“You came from far away, so please enjoy yourself.”
Seon-Hyeok did not plan on humoring someone he had no intentions of dealing with.
“Then I’ll be on my way.”
He turned away without hiding his annoyance.
He heard the sound of teeth grinding behind him.
Seon-Hyeok felt as though Griffindor’s knights were all hypocrites. They were not people he wanted to associate with.
“Hm. Even if you have some acrimonious history with the Griffindors, he’s still an envoy from that kingdom. It would have been nice if you addressed him with a smile on your face.”
Marquis Rosenheim approached to admonish him.
It was as the marquis said. Regardless of previous circumstances, it was diplomatically unwise to humiliate an envoy offering his congratulations.
Seon-Hyeok knew this as well, but he remained adamant.
“His Majesty told me this.”
“Did he say something to you separately?”
When Seon-Hyeok mentioned King Theodore, Marquis Rosenheim immediately straightened up and fixed his posture.
“He said to keep this in mind if a Griffindor envoy seeks me out.”
King Theodore and Seon-Hyeok had already anticipated the Griffindor envoy’s presence when they decided on the engagement ceremony.
The vain and idealistic nature of the Knights of the Azure Sky was representative of the Griffindor liege, Victor Bertrand de Griffian. This mentality was a trend throughout the entire kingdom.
Given this, the Adenburg ceremony was a perfect opportunity for the Griffindor king to show his magnanimous side, and they knew that a congratulatory envoy would be present.
Their expectations proved correct.
“It is a virtue of the victorious to be magnanimous and embrace others, but this is simply one of many paths to choose from. Therefore…”
Seon-Hyeok glanced back for a moment. He could see the Griffindor envoy still glaring in his direction.
“Do as you wish. He said he would take responsibility for the aftermath.”
He provocatively smiled as he returned the envoy’s dirty look.
The eyes of the various envoys shone when they saw Griffindor’s Guillaume Georges Fontaine approach Drachen. They watched with interest how Drachen would deal with the antagonistic Griffindor envoy.
“Oh? He looked pretty gentle, but he has a toughness about him.”
It was customary to overlook past events. However, Drachen’s attitude towards the Griffindor envoy was firmer than anticipated.
Instead of embracing his former enemy, Seon-Hyeok openly returned the favor.
“He’s more knight than politician.”
Nobody would describe Drachen’s response as sophisticated. If an ignorant noble tried such a maneuver, he would immediately be subject to mockery.
At this moment, however, none of the gathered envoys dared ridicule Seon-Hyeok.
Rather, Drachen’s actions once again reaffirmed the victor of the previous war, and just how great his personal position was in the Adenburg Kingdom.
Until now, the Adenburg nobles had dealt with the Griffindor envoy diplomatically according to convention. However, soon after Drachen’s response, they completely disappeared from Guillaume Georges Fontaine’s vicinity.
This was indicative of the nobles’ consideration for Drachen’s reputation, and, consequently, Drachen’s position as a major figure and representative of the Adenburg Kingdom.
“We have something to report to our kingdoms. The Adenstein royal family has no intention of having Drachen simply be the husband to the next queen.”
The envoys’ eyes shone even more as they watched Drachen with greater enthusiasm.
The celebration reached its peak when Princess Ophelia, returning from a short break, danced with her fiancé.
However, all that is good must come to an end, and unable to physically endure a long banquet, the young princess soon left her seat. Likewise, Seon-Hyeok departed soon after.
Seon-Hyeok stretched and groaned as he arrived at his accommodations late at night. He had attended several celebrations as the guest of honor for his triumphs in war, but he had never been as tired as he was now.
The nobles endlessly approached him to establish a working relationship, and it was no easy task dealing with them. Likewise, he could not afford to deal with the other kingdoms’ envoys in the same disrespectful manner he treated Fontaine, and thus, he was completely exhausted.
“I can’t believe I have to go through this for several more days…”
But whether he liked it or not, the banquet was scheduled to last a week, and he was to be the main figure at these events. He could neither offer an excuse nor run from the celebrations.
In the end, he had to grit his teeth and suffer through the itinerary.
“This, too, will end if we endure…”
Clearly, Seon-Hyeok was not the only one struggling to make it through the endless banquet. The princess also muttered to herself, her face full of fatigue, and it was evident she hoped the event would reach its conclusion soon.
After all, it was hard for Seon-Hyeok, a veteran of countless battles and wars, to endure this grueling event. How, then, could he expect a young girl to do the same?
He looked at the princess with pity before calling on his attribute control.
The wind attribute, specialized in lightening the mind and body, and the water attribute, excellent for providing relief from fatigue and wounds, worked their magic on the young girl’s body.
The princess’ eyes grew wide as she looked around. She soon realized Seon-Hyeok had done something, and her expression became inscrutable.
“My body feels much lighter. Is that another one of the dragon rider’s abilities?”
She smiled when he wordlessly nodded.
“But that said, it would be wise to refrain from using your abilities inside the palace. The guards seem to be on alert…”
The knights and mages of the Royal Guard, positioned out of sight in the banquet hall, appeared for a moment before returning to their locations at the princess’ reassurance.
“Well, once can’t hurt.”
Seon-Hyeok laughed cheekily. The princess smiled back, having no intention of reprimanding him.
Since then, Seon-Hyeok took the opportunity to use his abilities whenever Ophelia looked tired. Each time, she admonished him with a stern look, but she never stopped him from continuing.
And finally, the long-awaited final day of celebrations arrived.
On this day, King Theodore and Princess Ophelia both attended the celebration from the beginning and stayed around, as did the nobles visiting the capital.
The festivities continued throughout the night, and during that time, Seon-Hyeok was required to dance with the princess several times. However, as this was the last day, both seemed energetic, and those present did not hesitate to congratulate them.
“And with this, the engagement between the princess and Earl Drachen has been finalized!”
The long, seven-night celebration ended with this final declaration from King Theodore.
The day after the engagement banquet, King Theodore summoned Seon-Hyeok separately.
“The griffins are your spoils of war, and the royal family has no intention of intervening on this matter.”
The griffins, captured alongside the Knights of the Azure Sky, were temporarily left in the capital on the condition that Seon-Hyeok was simply loaning them to the royal family.
It was in return for having the griffin riders take over his role as the singular aerial military force in the kingdom.
However, another group viewed the situation differently.
“It seems the Griffindor Kingdom has different ideas.”
The Griffindor envoy, Guillaume Georges Fontaine, had strongly objected to Adenburg’s decision.
“They raised no objections to having the defectors, Lafayette and Roland, remain in Adenburg, but they are demanding that the griffins be returned.”
Of course, they did not expect this for free. The Griffindors offered substantial compensation for the return of these symbolic beasts.
“Do you think it is worth the trouble?”
Seon-Hyeok was confused. The Adenstein royal family had seen firsthand the merits of dominating the skies through his achievements in the previous war. Thus, he could not understand why the royal family even humored such demands.
“One of the conditions they offered was quite tempting.”
As if anticipating his reaction, King Theodore added.
“The Griffindor Kingdom pledged to pay half of the promised compensation under the condition that the griffins simply be shown to them. Of course, the underlying implication is that the griffins be allowed to return if they show the inclination to.”
Only then did Seon-Hyeok realize why King Theodore had summoned him.
They already heard from the Knights of the Azure Sky that the Griffindor royal family had possessed the power to reign over the griffins for generations. Given this, Guillaume Georges Fontaine’s intentions were blatantly obvious.
“So they’re confident they can make the griffins bend the knee.”
It was clear they had a secret means of restoring the griffins’ allegiance back to their original owners. Without this confidence, they would not have offered that much compensation in return for just seeing the monsters.
“And so, I will ask you.”
King Theodore continued.
“Can you confidently say that your control is absolute?”
His domination over the attributes was so powerful that even spirits with pre-existing contracts had rushed to join him. Seon-Hyeok answered without hesitation.
“Yes, I can assure you.”
Seon-Hyeok confidently responded.
“It might be different if the Griffindor king himself was here, but I am confident of my control right now.”
“Your decision will significantly improve our kingdoms’ relationship.”
Guillaume Georges Fontaine grinned as he praised King Theodore’s decision.
“Bless the mercy of House Adenstein!”
He looked like he had already won back the griffins.
Knights and mages of the Royal Guard were gathered in this vacant area on the outskirts of the capital. With them appeared the griffins the Griffindor envoy had so desperately wanted to see.
Seon-Hyeok was present “just in case”, and the griffins cried out in happiness upon seeing their new master.
Fontaine gave a displeased look at this sight, but it did not last. He soon smiled again as he carefully examined the winged beasts.
“I heard they were severely injured during the war, but they’re in better shape than I imagined.”
Seon-Hyeok failed to suppress a snort when he heard this. It was as though the envoy was thanking them for taking care of his creatures.
“In that case, I hope that the word of the Adenstein royal family is worth its weight in gold.”
Hearing Fontaine’s confident words, King Theodore glanced at Seon-Hyeok.
Seon-Hyeok silently nodded in place of an answer, and seeing this, the king replied.
“The promise will be kept. I expect you will also keep your end of the bargain.”
At the king’s words, Fontaine approached the griffins.
Devon and Mionte, the two griffins, fiercely snapped their beaks as they glared at Fontaine. They looked like they would attack the envoy at any moment.
However, Fontaine showed no fear towards these aggressive monsters.
“Lord of the Skies.”
Fontaine took out something shiny from his pocket and placed it on his finger before giving the command.
“Submit.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter