Episode 230. Being One in Body and Spirit (1)

He was a prestigious knight who defeated the Red and Blue Wolves of the Noctein and caused the Knights of the Azure Sky, the pride of Griffindor, to surrender. The Indomitable Duke was a highly influential person that if he wanted, he could take the position of leader wherever he went on the continent.

However, the man who could command the most luxurious lifestyle gave up the honor and fame he could enjoy and instead, chose the battlefield over it. Right now, he was in a shabby barrack sleeping on a cot made of straw rather than sleeping deep inside the royal castle with the finest wooden furniture and bedding. 

Although it wasn’t a war in his own country, he continued to remain in the battlefield for over a year, even refusing to obey the command to return back to his country, because he was the first one to discover the disaster in the West. 

‘It’s said that he’s risked his life to stop the tens of thousands of monsters and demons in order to save the refugees?’

It was dumbfounding. Clearly, Kim Seon-Hyeok was someone who was unaware of his own position since he was risking his life to save burdens that were of no importance in times like now.  

This wasn’t the first time he had risked his life for someone else like this either.

Rumors of him risking death to protect a few civilians in the war against the Noctein had become so famous that it even reached the Holy Kingdom, a country that was far away from the Eastern regions. 

At that time, the Paladins and the Templar Knights who had heard the news talked of him as an inspiration for knights and praised him so much that their mouths became dry. 

However, the archbishop saw the Indomitable Duke as a reckless and foolish man. 

What an idiot. He doesn’t even know how important he is.

Of course, the archbishop wasn’t stupid enough to express his innermost thoughts. He knew very well what the world called people like the Indomitable Duke.

Hero.

The world called this kind of man who was devoted and willing to sacrifice himself a hero.

‘The Indomitable Duke is a true knight of this era.’

‘Who can say that they’ve devoted themselves to the continent more than the Indomitable Duke?’

The people praised and complimented this devoted man for the path he had taken with ornate words and called him a true knight.

The archbishop was one of them. 

He was more vocal than anyone else in praising the heroic Indomitable Duke and welcomed his return.

If he could get an outstanding knight such as the Indomitable Duke to fight in their war with cheap and empty words, then why wouldn’t he kneel down in front of him. 

Either way, the praise the man received was no different from the songs of praise a lamb would receive as it bled out on the altar.

Because he knew that better than anyone else, the archbishop praised him and raised him up. He knew how recklessly a man could act as he became intoxicated by the compliments and praises that lift his name up high.

But then, the situation changed. 

Adenburg issued a blatant warning to protect the Indomitable Duke. 

“If you enter the Western lands again and the same thing happens as before, I will press the Holy Kingdom and force them to send a large army to find you. Do you really want the Holy Kingdom and I to shoulder that burden?”

While it sounded like she was reprimanding the Indomitable Duke for being reckless and out of contact, it was in reality a warning to the Holy Kingdom. 

If this had been before the war had started, then the warning wouldn’t have been worth anything.

After all, the Holy Kingdom was a powerful country whose influence covered the entire central region. While the Adenburg Kingdom had risen to a high position by absorbing the eastern part of Noctine, it could not compare to the Holy Kingdom that dominated the central region. 

But right now, it was wartime. It was a great war in which the entire central countries had to stake their national destiny and fight. 

The full support of the eastern alliance was more urgent than ever. 

Eventually, the Temple set out guidelines – they had to pay special attention not to put the Indomitable Duke in danger.

Now, the archbishop was in a position where he had to stop the Indomitable Duke from going to the battlefield. 

He could only worry about the Indomitable Duke being hurt on the battlefield for a day or two. In the end, it was better for him to return home as soon as possible.

But if the Indomitable Duke was going back home, then the archbishop had to empty his pockets before sending him back.

At the very least, he had to somehow stop the Qeishas from joining Adenburg. If he couldn’t, then Adenburg would become a superpower whose influence could go beyond the East and begin influencing the central region once the great war was over. 

No country would be able to stop the already powerful Adenburg’s dominance if the Qeishas were added to it.

But of course, none of the faithful archbishops of the Holy Kingdom were willing to step forward and take on the responsibility for this job. 

Whether it went well or not, it was a mission that would inevitably lead to bad feelings between them and the Indomitable Duke. 

In the worst case scenario, they might not be able to stop the Qeishas from joining the Adenburg Kingdom and only earn the emerging hegemon’s ire. 

And if that really did happen, then the Holy Kingdom would definitely not protect the person who was responsible for it. Instead, it was highly likely that the kingdom would turn that person into a scapegoat by having them carry all the blame of having acted alone while the kingdom tried to salvage their diplomatic problems with the Adenburg.

For the high ranking people of the Holy Kingdom, this duty was no different than a chalice filled with poison. 

It was this archbishop who stepped up in such a situation.

He didn’t do it out of a sense of duty. No, if he wanted to protect himself, then he had no choice but to take on this mission. 

There had been an unsavory incident in the past when the Warrior had been picked by the Holy Sword - he had been injured by the Templar Knights who were under the archbishop’s command. 

At that time, the archbishop didn’t think he had done anything wrong because he couldn’t accept an unidentified stranger taking the Holy Sword, the Holy Kingdom’s treasure. 

Either way, the Warrior hadn’t died and it hadn’t been himself but the Templar Knights who had done it. 

But the Warrior thought differently.

After the Warrior returned, his eyes were filled with animosity. And in recent years, he had been openly hostile and at odds with the archbishop.

If they already had the worst possible relationship, what would happen once the Warrior defeated the Demon King? Then the archbishop’s position in the country would disappear. 

He had to find a way to live before such a situation came.

And after much thinking, the path he found was to have the Qeishas remain. 

As long as the Qeishas stayed and were fully absorbed into the country, then the uncomfortable relationship he had with the Warrior wouldn’t be a hindrance to his future. 

That’s how powerful the strength of one thousand Qeishas was.

“Since it seems like Adenburg doesn’t want you to get into any more trouble or do anything else that’s unnecessary, how about it? Our country will deal with it for you.”

And thankfully, it seemed possible.

Like all knights, the Indomitable Duke was a man who knew how to sacrifice himself for a greater cause and there were many such naive people in the country.

Such people were the Templar Knights, the Paladins, and the priests. Since the archbishop had used such people as his stepping stones to reach the position he was in now, he was confident he could use the Indomitable Duke as well.

Sure enough, when he started talking ostentatiously with reasonable justification, the Indomitable Duke could only listen quietly without being able to reply at all.

“You’ve worked so hard. I will never forget the loyalty you and our Eastern brethren have shown us, here in the central regions, no, the loyalty and faith that you’ve shown as you worked for the peace and well-being for the entire continent.”

A smooth talker is three times scarier than a sharpened blade.

“Thank you. Truly, thank you so much. On behalf of my brothers here in the central region, I sincerely thank you.”

Thinking that it was enough, the archbishop decided to start wrapping things up.

“Also, just as the East has done, the central region will not regard the tragedy that happened in the West as someone else’s problem and ignore it. Not only will we take care of the Qeishas, but we will spare no effort to save all the refugees from the West.”

Having spoken his part and outright drawn a line on the ground, the archbishop smiled profusely as if he was being extremely generous.

But it didn’t take long for such a pretentious smile to disappear. 

“So are you saying you’re going to help me? Or are you saying you wont?”

After staying silent the entire time, the Indomitable Duke finally opened his mouth. But his expression and tone were odd.

“As I have just told you…”

“You’re mistaking something.”

There was no dedicated knight who was willing to throw away his life for burdensome refugees as if they were a part of his own flesh and blood in front of the archbishop.

“Indomitable Duke? What do you mean I’ve mistaken something? Just what do you…”

“Didn’t you hear me? I said that you’re completely mistaken, Your Excellency.”

He was clearly using honorifics and speaking formally and politely, and yet, it didn’t sound like it. When he widened his eyes in surprise at the Indomitable Duke’s tone full of irritations, he finally saw it.

Disdain. 

The archbishop felt goosebumps all over his body when he saw the Indomitable Duke staring at him as he was looking at a bug.

“I came because I needed people to guide the Qeishas to the Iberian Alliance, not to hear your opinion on relocating the Qeishas.”

“And I’ve told you, this isn’t a matter for you to decide on your own. That is a matter that must be looked at much more broadly…”

He should have stopped then. If he did, then at the very least, he wouldn’t have prodded the Indomitable Duke’s temper.

But, the archbishop missed the moment to stop.

“Just how much are you planning to look down upon me?”

The archbishop’s mouth dropped open at the frank remark.  He was someone who oversaw a diocese and in the Holy Kingdom, had more authority than a lord would in the secular world, so where would he ever be treated like this?

“As someone serving God, how could I look down upon you...”

“So then why are you giving me something like that as justification?”

Now, Kim Seon-Hyeok seemed to have zero intentions of letting the archbishop finish as he cut him off in the middle.

“Ha ah.”

The archbishop could only laugh to hide his embarrassment.

“Archbishop, let me ask you something.”

“What is it that you want to ask?”

The Indomitable Duke approached as he spoke.”

“Are you[1] trying to suppress the Qeishas’ freedom?”

The archbishop stared at him blankly. He never imagined that the Indomitable Duke would ask such a direct and straightforward question.

But Kim Seon-Hyeok was just getting started and the archbishop’s suffering was only beginning. 

“Is this the opinion of the Holy Kingdom? Or is this your idea?”

It was the first time the archbishop experienced something like the Indomitable Duke’s style where he asked such sensitive questions that could cause diplomatic problems in a direct manner. 

“Just what is it that you want to ask?”

“You don’t understand what I’m asking?”

The Indomitable Duke’s expression turned cold as it hardened.

“I want to know whether what you’re[2] doing right now is what your country wants or if it's your own arbitrary decision making.”

The Indomitable Duke dropped the formality and talked to the archbishop rudely.

“Y, you?”

The archbishop’s eye widened at the unexpected disrespectful address.

“Let’s see, if you’re the archbishop, then how high are you in the country? Baron? Earl?”

The archbishop didn’t even have the chance to protest when the Indomitable Duke suddenly began to yell at him.

“Ophelia Laurel Ro Adenstein, the legitimate regent and the only heir to the throne of Adenburg, gave me the name Indomitable and appointed me the rank of duke. My authority is no less than that of dukes and princes!”

It was a dragon’s spirit that even fierce demons would backtrack when faced with it. It was impossible for the archbishop, who never stepped near a tough battlefield in his entire life, to handle the Dragon Fear when Kim Seon-Hyeok was purposefully exuding it. 

“Who do you think you are to be so rude to me as to not even get out of that chair of yours?!”

The archbishop trembling in fear as he looked like he was about to faint at any moment. 

“Answer me! Does the chair you’re sitting on have the authority to bypass the hierarchy between you and me? And can you tell me that the Holy Kingdom will let you keep that authority?!”

Different from how he had been quietly listening so far, the indomitable Duke was frightening as he pressed the archbishop.

Pityingly enough, the archbishop’s judgement had been wrong and the Indomitable Duke wasn’t a naive person who didn’t know his position at all. 

King Theodore of Adenburg had given Kim Seon-Hyeok political lessons early on, and he had argued, and won, against aristocrats who were eager to undermine him. 

That was when Kim Seon-Hyeok realized. 

He may not have the sly and crafty language skills that the nobles had been honing since birth. But he had a fierce war spirit that those who used their clever tongues as weapons would never have.

“Your decision will soon be the official position of Adenburg, so do what you want. Adenburg will support you.”

And unlike the archbishop who was at odds with the Warrior, the Indomitable Duke had a strong backing that was willing to support him. 

That was why he was not intimidated when he saw the knights of the Holy Kingdom entering at the noise.

“As the commander of the expedition and as a duke of the Adenburg Kingdom, I ask to meet with His Holiness!”

Instead, Kim Seon-Hyeok shouted boldly. From the start, it was the archbishop, who caused things to become bigger than they should’ve, at a disadvantage, not him.


1. Formal you

2. Informal you

Previous Chapter Next Chapter