Episode 287. The Never-Ending War (1)

Unlike before, Ophelia continued to stay angry. Since he was indeed guilty, Kim Seon-Hyeok tried everything he could so that she would stop being angry.

“I’m sorry, Ophelia. I was wrong, so don’t be angry.”

Whenever he was out on the battlefield, he was the war god and ruled over the field. But in front of his angry wife, his position was lower than an ordinary husband’s position might be.

“I came back perfectly fine. See? Look, no injuries.”

Only after he begged and pleaded for her forgiveness did Ophelia’s anger subside just a little bit. But it was still too early for him to rejoice.

“Can you promise me that something like this will never happen again?”

Kim Seon-Hyeok stiffened when she looked him straight in the eye and questioned him.

“Um… that…”

While the other dragon sub-species would find their own way home, as Goldrake and Bluegon had done, the Dragon wouldn’t. Since he had gotten sidetracked and had to return without even seeing the Dragon’s face, he would have to leave the capital at least once to see the Dragon.

“If that’s the case, then you should’ve returned after finishing your business. Why’re you here now?”

When she scolded him, Kim Seon-Hyeok carefully pointed at her round stomach.

“You’ll be giving birth soon. I couldn’t leave you alone, Ophelia.”

Her belly had gotten so big that it didn’t match her slender body and it couldn’t be hidden by the loose dress she was wearing. 

While he had been wandering the central region of the continent, her due date had gotten closer. 

“You’re saying you wouldn’t have returned if it weren’t for the child?”

Kim Seon-Hyeok had thought he was being frank, but the answer he got back was full of unexpected resentment.

“No, that’s not it. It had gotten quiet on the war front and I was planning on coming back anyway.”

“So you’re saying that if the war had continued to be intense, then you wouldn’t have come back?”

No matter what he said, he continued to get in trouble. So in the end, all he could do was say he was wrong instead of continuing with his lame excuses and reasons.

“I’m sorry, I was wrong. Don’t be mad. I won’t go out unless it’s truly important.”

He followed after Ophelia like a duckling behind its mother. 

“The most important thing for the central kingdoms isn’t justification but actual force. If we can convince them that the Adenburg Empire is willing to be their shield, then not just Tennessia but the other kingdoms will no longer be pushed into the war by the Holy Kingdom.”

Even though her stomach had gotten so big, Ophelia continued to take the lead as well as deal with the war situation. The Empire’s nobles seemed to have gotten used to such a sight because they accepted this as normal.

But even though they had gotten used to Ophelia and her big belly, they couldn’t get used to the Indomitable Grand Duke following the Empress like a puppy. 

“The nobles are angry because of you, Grand Duke.”

Who knew where Marquis Reinhardt had been because Kim Seon-Hyeok hadn’t seen him for a while since he had returned to the capital, but now, Marquis Reinhardt was chuckling as he spoke.

“What do you mean?”

“Her Imperial Majesty has always been difficult to deal with, but after your return, her temper has gotten even sharper. The nobles who have to see her every day are resenting you, Grand Duke.”

Now that he thought about it, the nobles who participated in the meeting always seemed stiff. He had ignored it because he thought the nobles were rigid since, even if the war had lulled, it was still a meeting dealing with a big war. But it seemed like they had a reason for it.

“Hmph. Well, I feel like dying too.”

“Tsk, so why do you keep going against her?

It’s not like he was doing it intentionally. So Kim Seon-Hyeok was displeased when the marquis continued to poke at him and annoy him.

“Outside the Empire, you’re considered the continent’s strongest knight or whatever and causing an uproar. But Grand Duke, you have remained the same since I first saw you.”

“Well, what can I do... I was like this from the start, and I'll continue to stay like this.”

Marquis Reinhardt chuckled at his blunt reply, then, his expression suddenly turned serious.

“Actually, there’s something I want to talk to you about, Grand Duke.”

“What is it?”

When Kim Seon-Hyeok changed his posture at the sudden change of attitude, Marquis Reinhardt spoke in a voice that was more earnest than ever before.

“Please convince Her Imperial Majesty.”

Marquis Reinhardt’s face was filled with concern.

“Her Imperial Majesty has declared that she will not use the Eternal Flower that you have brought.”

“What do you…”

His face turned stony at the Marquis’ unexpected words.

“Her Imperial Majesty said that instead of escaping from her short-lived fate, she intends to use the Eternal Flower on her soon-to-be-born child.”

***

“Why did you do that?”

For the first time, Kim Seon-Hyeok was angry with Ophelia.

“Ophelia, I’m sure I said that the Eternal Flower was yours.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok was genuinely angry at this stupidly stubborn and devoted Adenstein bloodline. 

“Ophelia, if you pass it down, and the child passes it down to the next generation… then, are you planning to keep it as the Adenstein’s heirloom? 

Considering how he was talking to the Empress who ruled the most powerful Empire on the continent, his tone and attitude were ridiculously disrespectful. But, Ophelia didn’t criticize or get angry at him.

“I simply thought it would be more important to the child that will be born than it is for me.”

Just like Theodore, she too looked like she had no regrets. But that was why Kim Seon-Hyeok was speechless.

“Right now, you and other talented people are supporting the Empire. But who knows what’ll happen afterward. That’s why I think the child will need more time to better themselves.”

It made sense. Right now, Kim Seon-Hyeok himself and many other superhumans were responsible for the Empire’s security, but there was no guarantee that the current prosperity would continue in the next generation. 

“What if you laid down the foundations for the Empire for a longer period of time? What if you turned the Empire into a powerful country that no one can beat, and have the child inherit that?”

“The previous king devoted his entire life to establishing the authority of Adenstein and only at the end of his life were we able to lay down the foundations for an Empire. The previous king was called the Wise King, and even he was only able to finish one task during his lifetime. There are not many things one person can do. I too will do what I can, but I cannot help but think about the future generations.”

As a monarch, there wasn’t anything he could fault in her answer, but it also wasn’t something Kim Seon-Hyeok could accept. 

Adenstein and the Empire. Ophelia was nowhere in the future she was describing. 

“Ophelia, you’re wrong.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok refuted her words more strongly than he had ever before. Her eyes widened when she saw a side of him she had never seen before. 

“You ended the grudge with Noctein that had accumulated over generations and overthrew the Demon Kingdom that was trying to devour the continent. You rescued the several thousand Qeishas and had them settle their roots in the Empire and incorporated countless foreigners in the Empire, making it impossible for anyone in the East to even think about conquering the Empire. You defended the frontlines of Iberia when it was on the verge of collapsing and finally, destroyed the unity between the central kingdoms by informing the entire world of the Holy Kingdom’s atrocities.”

This was truly a lot of achievements for one individual to have achieved. He directly denied Ophelia’s words by listing all the achievements that they had gained by risking his own life.

“Even with this, are you really going to say that there’s very little one person can achieve in their lifetime?”

Of course, he knew that not everyone could do so many things, so he understood what she was worried about.

However, that didn’t mean he sympathized with her. 

“Are you worried about the Empire’s future now that we’ve lost the riches? I’ll fix that. Are you worried about those who threaten the future of the Empire? I’ll deal with all of them. Are you worried about the nobles who’ll cause trouble in the children’s generation? I’ll make sure they’ll never dare to do so.”

He wasn’t speaking empty words. He really did have the ability to carry out his words. 

“If you can’t trust me because I’m stupid, then Ophelia, stay by my side and help me. Unlike me, you’re a wise and capable monarch.”

He didn’t care about any hypothetical failures. As long as the wise Ophelia was by his side, he could face everything with his power.

There was nothing that the dragon-bloodied knight couldn’t achieve if he drew on all his strength. 

Kim Seon-Hyeok had brought even the Demon King that one could stand up against to his knees, and even if it was just a fragment, the Chaos that had previously burnt the continent fled in the fight against Seon-Hyeok.

The things he had done since coming into this world were too spectacular for him to only talk about what was impossible now. 

“So don’t worry and take the Eternal Flower.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok looked Ophelia straight in the eye as he spoke strongly.

“And as for the Eternal Flower, I’ll beg the Qeishas and get another one. So, Ophelia, there’s nothing for you to worry about.”

Of course, seeing how the Qeishas worshipped the Mother Tree like a god, there was no way he would easily obtain the legacy of it. However, many of the things he had accomplished until now would have originally been impossible. Considering that, obtaining another Eternal Flower wasn’t just an empty dream. 

She must’ve been speechless after seeing him so strong and dependable for once because she didn’t speak for a long time. 

“Can I really depend on you?”

When she spoke again, her face didn’t show any of the worries she had about the future. 

“Trust me.”

Kim Seon-Hyeok didn’t try to persuade her anymore. She didn’t give him a definite answer either. But nevertheless, as if he had heard her answer, he didn’t seem worried anymore while her eyes were full of trust.

“I’m going to make Adenburg a name that no one can underestimate.”

This was the moment that Kim Seon-Hyeok, someone who had only dealt with problems as they came without any particular purpose, set a goal for the first time in his life.

Ophelia finally decided to absorb the Eternal Flower. However, she couldn’t take in the Eternal Flower immediately.

The mages had advised her that the strong energy from the Eternal Flower may have a bad effect on the fetus in her womb.

Even Kim Seon-Hyeok couldn’t do something about that, so he could only wait anxiously for the child to be born.

“What do you think about Victorius for the child’s name?”

“Victorius?”

Kim Seon-Hyeok repeated it when Ophelia asked him, burrowed in his arms. 

“It’s to remember all the glories you have gained as the Grand Duke as well as wishing the child victory in the future. Don’t you think the name fits well?”

“Um…”

When he finally realized the meaning behind the name Victorius, Kim Seon-Hyeok quietly repeated the name of the soon-to-be-born child’s name.

“Victorius Drachen Ro Adenstein…”

He liked it very much.

“It’s a wonderful name. I like it.”

“I’m glad. I’ve been thinking about it before you came back, but I was worried about what I would do if you didn’t like it.”

Come to think of it, Ophelia had been the one to give Goldrake his name. At that time, he was frightened by her naming sense, but when he said that to her, she explained herself in a sulky tone.

“I just thought it wasn’t very appropriate to give a creature the same name as a human.’

“Ah…”

Apparently, for her, the name Goldrake was no different than Blackie and Whitie from the other world. 

When Kim Seon-Hyeok finally learned the hidden meaning of Goldrake’s name, he had a complicated expression.

“Goldie, Bluey, Reddie...

He hadn’t been conscious of it before, but he finally realized that his powerful dragons were all oddly named.

“Ugh.”

He let out a sound of pain as he abruptly got up from his seat.

“Ah…”

He instinctively sensed that another of his missing dragons was nearby.

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