A sturdy body with a sword strapped diagonally and piercing eyes - that’s how Kim Seon-Hyeok had imagined the Sword Star Marek Schnail Roachim would look like.
But, the reality was completely different from his imagination.
The Sword Star’s long arms and legs looked more flexible than sturdy, and while his eyes were clear, it didn’t look piercing. On top of that, the Sword Star didn’t have his sword on him either.
Based on the way he looked, if someone told Kim Seon-Hyeok that the Sword Star was a prestigious scholar and not a renowned knight, he would have believed it. Seon-Hyeok couldn’t feel the strength of the man who was called the strongest in the kingdom from the Sword Star.
Nevertheless, even from the start, Kim Seon-Hyeok could not doubt the fact that the elderly man in front of him was the Sword Star.
While the Sword Star looked like an ordinary old man he would walk right by without remembering him later, Seon-Hyeok wasn’t disappointed. Rather, he was full of expectations.
As if he was looking down from the top of the world, the Sword Star’s presence was equal to the Demon King’s.
Without realizing it, Kim Seon-Hyeok was convinced of the Sword Star’s nickname - the strongest knight in the Kingdom of Adenburg.
“Have you finished staring?”
Unintentionally, he had been staring at the Sword Star. Kim Seon-Hyeok realized that he was being rude and quickly apologized to the elderly duke.
“Ah, it’s the first time we’re meeting and I was rude. I apologize. I’m Seon-Hyeok Rheinperle Kim Drachen.”
In consideration of his opponent’s age and status, he appropriately humbled himself, but that didn’t mean Seon-Hyeok’s attitude was servile or obsequious.
Unlike his polite tone, his attitude was quite challenging.
“And my name’s Marek Schnail Roachim.”
Considering how few dukes there were in the kingdom, the greeting between the two of them was too brief. Kim Seon-Hyeok sat across from the Sword Star.
“I’ll get to the main point.”
The Sword Star didn’t seem to like dancing around the topic too much. But even so, it was way too terse.
“I wish to cross swords against you.”
The attendant pouring tea into the teacup trembled in surprise. As a result, the spout of the teapot clattered against the cup and made an unpleasant noise.
“For, forgive me, sir.”
This wasn’t a regular conversation between nobles, this was a conversation between dukes. Pale-faced, the attendant hastened to apologize to them.
But neither of them looked at the attendant.
They continued to stare at each other.
“Whether it’s by sword or a spear, I don’t care, but I’d like to fight against you.”
Kim Seon-Hyeok clicked his tongue silently at the Sword Star’s unconventional way of speaking.
“Be careful. The Sword Star is a lunatic who doesn’t care about anything other than the sword. He’s not someone who’ll go easy just because of your status as the spouse of Her Highness the Regent.”
It was exactly as Marquis Reinhardt said.
The Sword Star was clearly a maniac who cared only about swords. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been possible for him to bring up such an awkward demand like that before the greetings were even properly exchanged.
“What would you do if I refused?”
Feeling a tad grumpy at the Sword Star’s attitude of ignoring common courtesy, Seon-Hyeok huffed.
“Then I’ll have to convince you to agree.”
The Sword Star was a formidable opponent.
The words themselves were simple, but the pressure they held was incredible. However, Kim Seon-Hyeok was just as impressive.
“Are you threatening me?”
“It would be better to term it as 'motivate'.”
The Sword Star responded calmly to Seon-Hyeok’s blunt words.
As he wiped the spilled tea from the table, the innocent servant trapped in this room trembled as he was unable to escape from the combative mood of the room.
Kim Seon-Hyeok ended up being the one to save the servant. When he saw the servant looked as if he would faint at any moment, Seon-Hyeok waved his hand and dismissed him.
Considering how he had just been challenged to a duel from the greatest swordsman, he seemed quite relaxed.
Kim Seon-Hyeok interlocked his hands and leaned back into his chair. He didn’t respond for a while.
The Sword Star didn’t rush him either. He merely held the cooled cup of tea and moistened his throat.
“I’ll send you my reply soon.”
After staying silent for a long time, Kim Seon-Hyeok finally answered.
“When is ‘soon’?”
The Sword Star asked another question.
“It won’t take long.”
Currently, the royal capital and the castle were busy with festivals and banquets, and he was the main character. By putting him in the front, Ophelia was trying to solidify the monarch’s authority in the kingdom while showing off their strength to the eastern kingdoms.
In such a scenario, it was impossible for the main character to leave.
But even if it wasn’t that, there were still things that he had to deal with first. His priority was to lift the curse on the Adenstein’s bloodline and resettle the Qeishas.
The duel was a problem after that since even he wasn’t sure if he’d be fine after the duel.
That’s how strong of an opponent the Sword Star seemed to be.
Just facing him like this was using up his energy.
While Kim Seon-Hyeok may look calm on the outside, he actually wasn’t.
The Sword Star was at least on par with the Demon King.
Of course, Kim Seon-Hyeok didn’t actually know whether the Sword Star was as strong as the Demon King.
The Demon King, who had swallowed up a quarter of the continent, was a once-in-a-lifetime calamity. However, the Demon King’s mental strength was much weaker compared to his physical strength. His mental state was so pathetically weak that he couldn’t even stand a small scratch on his body.
On the other hand, the Sword Star was someone who had reached his peak.
Without crossing swords, Swon-Hyeok was able to tell just based on the Sword Star’s spirit and presence. The Sword Star was someone who was physically and mental strong. He was so strong that Seon-Hyeok didn’t dare guess how strong he was.
Kim Seon-Hyeok was able to instinctively tell that he may have to put his life on the line for this duel.
Ha, it’s struggle after struggle.
Just as he thought he was far away from the monster named Demon King, another monster, the Sword Star, had popped up in front of him. The stronger he became, the stronger the opponents became. How could he not sigh?
“Then I’ll be waiting.”
After a long while, the Sword Star finally replied.
“I hope that my patience doesn’t run out while I’m waiting.”
The Sword Star stood up from his seat and looked Kim Seon-Hyeok straight in the eye as he added one more thing.
“If you disappoint me after all this…”
The Sword Star’s fighting spirit exploded. The Sword Star’s presence had been pressing down upon him like a mountain, but now, it was completely different. It was as keen as a sharply forged sword.
“Then I’ll have to hope that doesn’t happen.”
Kim Seon-Hyeok didn’t lose.
It was a fight of spirits. He instinctively knew that if he flinched before they even crossed swords, then he would be eaten alive by the Sword Star’s momentum.
“I’ll believe you.”
The Sword Star looked satisfied with his answer. He smiled and left with saying farewell. And Kim Seon-Hyeok, now left alone, sank back into his chair.
Who knew where such a monster came from?
The feeling of the backrest touching his sweat-soaked back was very uncomfortable.
The welcome banquet continued.
But Kim Seon-Hyeok was so preoccupied with his thoughts on the Sword Star that he couldn’t focus on the banquet. He greeted the nobles without much thought and repeatedly left the banquet on the pretext of being fatigued from his travels. At some point, the nobles no longer bothered him.
“Calm your fighting spirit. You look as if you’re on the battlefield right now.”
At Marquis Reinhardt’s words, Kim Seon-Hyeok realized that he was too biting and sharp right now.
“I’m feeling uneasy after meeting a monstrous old man.”
He tried his best to calm himself down by taking deep breaths, but his fighting spirit didn’t lessen when he thought about his soon-to-be opponent.
“Now that you saw him in person, how was he?”
“I’m sorry to say this, marquis, but I’m afraid I can’t believe that you’re fine after fighting against such a sword.”
Marquis Reinhardt didn’t get angry. He merely smiled bitterly.
“If I was any stronger, I probably wouldn’t have been fine.”
He had only survived because he was weaker than the Sword Star. The marquis knew very well that he wasn’t strong enough to draw out the full strength of the Sword Star.
“If you’re not confident, then withdraw from the duel. The Sword Star doesn’t like to cheapen his sword by fighting with an opponent who has no fighting spirit.”
Kim Seon-Hyeok shook his head at the marquis’ advice.
“It’s too late.”
It would be too difficult to push aside the challenge and pretend it never happened.
“I’ve already provoked him.”
Marquis Reinhardt looked dumbfounded. He never seemed to have thought that Seon-Hyeok would provoke such a monster even after meeting him.
“Why have you provoked such a monster…”
“And neither do I want to run away from the duel.”
Kim Seon-Hyeok’s eyes were filled with determination.
The foreigner who wanted to avoid fights and live like a loafer no longer existed. He had changed too much during the fights between life and death on the battlefields.
He had to acknowledge it now - he had already become a fighting dog.
He didn’t know whether it was because of the influence of the combative war dragon or if it was because he was addicted to the fight between life and death, but one thing was certain. He didn’t want to avoid the fight with the Sword Star.
After the last day of the banquet, Ophelia called in the Qeishas to discuss their future.
Negotiations proceeded quickly.
Ophelia didn’t ask them for anything unreasonable and sensibly, asked that Qeishas treat the royal family of Adenstein as the owner of the land. The Qeishas accepted all such demands from the royal family of Adenstein.
All they wanted was a plot of land where their clan could grow a new Mother Tree and as such, they accepted all the Adenburg’s conditions.
They even agreed to help should it be necessary for their coexistence in the kingdom.
Although they had only agreed to help defend, the thousands of fairy archers, whose strength was equivalent to that of high-ranking knights, had become strong allies of the royal family Adenstein.
Since then, the distinction between the aristocratic faction and the monarch’s faction became meaningless in the Adenburg Kingdom.
Even the most powerful nobles didn’t dare go against the royal family and it became the era of absolute monarchy in the Kingdom of Adenburg.
In the unprecedentedly stable kingdom, King Theodore realized that it was the perfect time and declared that the only heir to the kingdom should officially ascend the throne.
This was the moment a new queen was established in Adenburg.
Whether it was the central region or the eastern regions, all the kingdoms in the continent dispatched envoys to celebrate the establishment of the new queen.
Externally, as the leader of the Eastern Kingdom Alliance, Adenburg had a great deal of influence on the central kingdoms currently besieged with war and internally, Adenburg’s authority grew day by day as it coordinated the disputes and incidents within the allied countries.
Naturally, her coronation ceremony was held in such a grand manner that no other kingdom could compare.
“Queen of the Adenstein bloodline, state your name.”
King Theodore’s voice was powerful. At least for today, he seemed to be free from the curse imprinted on the Adenstein’s bloodline.
“As the eldest daughter of Theodore Tiberius Ro Adenstein, I am Ophelia Laurel.”
Dressed in a pure white gown, Ophelia was kneeling in front of her father.
“Ophelia Laurel of Adenstein. What is it that you want to protect as a monarch?”
“I want to give a nugget of silver to the loyal, a loaf of bread to the citizens, and steel to those who are wicked. That is what I want to protect, sire.”
It was the Adenstein’s royal oath that had been passed down from generation to generation.
“Do you have any doubts that your belief will bring glory and prosperity to the kingdom?”
“I do not.”
King Theodore spoke again in a solemn voice.
“Then swear. Swear that you will live your whole life for the beliefs you have declared here today.”
“I swear that I will only live for these beliefs.”
Ophelia answered without hesitation as King Theodore looked at her proudly.
“As the legitimate ruler of Adenburg and the head of Adenstein, I, Theodore Tiberius Ro Adenstein, hereby declare Ophelia Laurel will be upright, wise, and benevolent as the monarch of the kingdom.”
King Theodore placed the crown of Adenstein on Ophelia’s head.
“Long live Queen Ophelia Laurel Ro Adenstein!”
The kneeling nobles and envoys celebrated the birth of a new queen by shouting hurrah.
Ophelia raised her hand and calmed the loud and exuberant cheers.
When the ruckus quieted, Theodore gave her a small nod. And as if she had made up her mind about something, she looked around the audience with a determined look on her face.
Then, she shouted in a pleasant voice.
“In this place, as the new monarch of Adenburg, I declare that after today, Adenburg will be reborn as an empire, not a kingdom. Should there be anyone who does not agree to this, then raise a legitimate objection here!”
Until now, the envoys of the other kingdoms had been very excited by the coronation ceremony. But now, they turned pale.