The tall spire was constantly surrounded by ghostly, eerie sounds.
Thud, thud, thud.
Raven steadily climbed up the spiral staircase of the tall spire.
“We greet the master of Pendragon!”
Two heavily armed soldiers who stood at the top of the spire saluted after seeing Raven.
After nodding lightly, Raven looked towards a certain place. One of the soldiers took out a large key from inside his clothes and walked towards the door made of rusty, steel bars.
The steel door opened with an unpleasant noise, and a stale odor rushed out along with a blast of cold wind. But without paying it mind, Raven walked into the small space which only had a small window the size of his palm.
“Keep up the good work.”
“Yes, Your Grace.”
It was unbecoming to leave a noble young master alone in such a place, but the soldier bowed his head deeply before leaving.
At the sound of the door closing again, a person wrapped in an old blanket in one corner of the room slowly raised their body.
The half-naked man had a ragged beard, and as he raised his head, he met Raven’s eyes. The man’s eyes filled with fear as he faced the deep blue eyes that shone in the dim light. His shoulders started to shake pitifully.
On the other hand, Raven looked down at the man with an apathetic expression and took something out of his chest before throwing it on the floor.
The man’s eyes glowed with greed when he saw bread sticking out through the oiled paper.
As soon as Raven’s words fell, the man rapidly crawled towards the bread, and the shackles and chains on his ankles dragged along the floor, creating a shrieking noise.
As the man tore through the bread like a savage, Raven brought an old chair from the corner of the room and sat in front of him. After devouring the piece of bread in an instant, the man sucked on his fingers and scrounged for crumbs with a regretful expression.
“Is it good?”
The man’s face filled with fear and deference as he met Raven’s eyes again, and he lowered his head. It was a miserable sight. His thin limbs and scars could be seen through the tattered, torn clothes, and his hair was filled with dirt.
However, Raven’s cold gaze did not contain even a touch of sympathy. Rather, he was trying to repress his desire to end the man’s life immediately.
Raven called out the name of the man who was once a proud knight of a territory. Now, he had lost his land, title, and his son.
Tylen flinched. But he kept his gaze fixated on the crumbs that were on the cold stone floor while remaining in a kneeling posture.
“Do you know why you are still alive?”
“….I know. You are taking me to the imperial castle.” A hoarse voice came out of Tylen’s chapped lips.
Raven thought that Tylen would have lost his sanity after losing his son, but it seemed like he was still holding on to it.
“Good. Then you know what is going to happen there.”
“Keuk! My head will be chopped off after I testify.”
Tylen let out a hopeless laughter. There was no reason to keep someone who was directly involved in the crown prince’s assassination alive.
“You know well. You will die. It’s a shame I cannot kill you with my own hands.”
“Kh… I do not understand. You have nothing to do with the Valt family. So why do you hate me so much? What does a great noble from a duchy have anything to do with a family of knights from a small territory?”
Raven looked down at Tylen without a word.
Tylen did not know of his true self. This world had no human named Raven Valt. Therefore, it was as Tylen said. It did not make sense for him to avenge the Valt family as Alan Pendragon.
Nevertheless, Raven had a good reason to punish Ruv Tylen and those involved in the assassination attempt of Crown Prince Shio.
“Memories…. They do not disappear easily.”
Tylen was about to sneer at the mysterious words, but then he trembled. The sharp, cold, blue eyes contained an emotion that he himself knew very well. An emotion that he could have never known until a short time ago, a deep sorrow that only those who lost their family could experience.
“Y, you… What the hell are you….”
“There are two choices.”
Raven cut off Tylen’s confused words.
“First, you will die after a year of going through all kinds of suffering that can be inflicted on humans, not to mention any and all torture techniques you may know. Whether you spill it or not, I will make sure you suffer.”
“……!” Tylen’s gray eyes quivered.
Raven’s voice was calm and contained no emotions as if he was reading off a book, which added to the fear. Just as he had felt back in Sisak, the young man in front of him definitely was not a simple brat. He could not see any pretense that would be common in Raven’s age in the young man’s behavior.
Tylen could not understand how a young man, who was born as the heir to one of the five duchies of the empire and grew up while being pampered, could become such a man.
‘He’s killed a lot of people…’
However, it was different from the cruelty that some nobles and knights possessed. Tylen was certain.
‘He has crossed the boundaries of death…. As many times as the number he’s killed…’
The Pendragon Duchy’s master had a temperance that the others did not have. His blue eyes, which were like a calm lake, reflected a deep aura of self-restraint.
Tylen gulped as Raven continued.
“I will kill you as soon as you testify, without any pain. I will personally request it from Ian.”
Tylen’s head fell helplessly. He had held onto a tiny sliver of hope, but it seemed to be ill-founded. However, Raven had not finished speaking.
“And I will not charge your relatives with the same crime.”
“Ah…!” Tylen raised his head.
Rebellion was a crime that could incriminate not only the person responsible, but their blood relatives, even their cousins. Although he had lost his son, Tylen still had siblings and cousins. By now, they would also have been stripped of all their titles and been taken away by the imperial army, locked up in a dungeon, or suffering great hardship.
But Alan Pendragon said that he would not accuse them of any crime. Even though they were the relatives of a sinner who committed the worst crime possible -- treason through attempting to assassinate the crown prince.
“I, is that true? Are you saying you are going to let all of my siblings live?”
“All those that are directly involved in this matter will die without exception. Every single one of them. Their bodies alone will fill an entire cemetery. However, if we hold their relatives accountable, we would have to build a mountain with the dead bodies. Why, is that what you want?”
“…….!” Tylen trembled.
Alan Pendragon must already have a rough idea about those who attempted to assassinate the crown prince using the Valt family.
“No need to say anymore. Choose one of the two paths. Whether you suffer pain without being able to die or die in comfort after telling me the names of the ones behind you.”
“Ugh….” Tylen lowered his head. He did not have a choice. There was only one way for him. “I will tell you everything… in the imperial castle.”
“Good. I will have Ian pardon your relatives right away.”
“T, thank you… Keuk!”
Tylen tightly grasped Raven’s feet and bowed his head while shedding tears. But Raven’s eyes were still cold as he looked down at the man whom he wanted to kill right now.
“You do not have to thank me. A war is not won after taking care of a single pawn.”
“D, do you know what kind of people are behind me?”
“I have some ideas. Duke Arangis, Count Sagunda, and…”
Geoffrey Aragon, who would be the next emperor in Raven’s previous life, was most likely included in the plot, but Ruv Tylen was just a small, disposable pawn. He would not be aware. But there must have been someone who gave orders and instigated Ruv Tylen, and Raven had a few potential candidates in mind.
Therefore, Raven spoke the name of the most probable candidate in a quiet voice. The man who would most likely be related to both, the fall of the Valt family and the fall of the Pendragon family.
“The imperial army’s wild dog. Commander of the demonic army, Toban Baltai… isn’t that right?”
Tylen eyes tore open with shock, “H, how.. how did you…”
“Do I need to explain that to you?”
Tylen slowly lowered his gaze after staring at Raven in disbelief. He seemed to have been shaken immensely, as his body trembled greatly. Feeling rather thrilled, Raven stood up from his chair.
“We depart for the imperial city in 15 days. I will give you proper food until then.”
“H, how.. how did you… him….”
But Tylen did not respond, continuing to mutter to himself in a quivering voice.
Leaving Tylen behind, Raven turned.
“Keep up the good work. And give him two meals a day from now on. Give him some blankets so he does not freeze to death.”
Leaving the saluting soldiers behind, Raven climbed down the stairs.
Whooosh! A cold wind from below wound around his body, and his hair and cape fluttered. He started to tremble. But it was not because of the cold. It was because the faintest prediction, which always seemed to be covered by dense fog, had finally gone beyond speculation into reality.
The die was now cast.
When he took Tylen to the imperial castle and revealed the truth behind the attempted assassination of Crown Prince Shio, the Royal Batallium, as well as the entire empire, would be thrown into turmoil. And it was clear that those behind the incident were already preparing for it. Their target was the empire, and the Pendragon Duchy, which might be the most powerful sword of the imperial family.
“Anarchy… is it…”
Raven had a hunch that the path he was about to tread down was as much as, or perhaps even more difficult than the path he walked as Raven Valt when he served in the demonic army.
But Raven was not afraid. He was no longer alone. With Soldrake at the forefront, the entire duchy was behind him. Above all, he knew the future. He did not know everything, but knowing who, when, and what awaited in the future would give him a huge advantage to turn the world upside down.
“I will decide my future. Even if that changes the future… I will grab onto the twisted future with my own hands.”
A cold glance that seemed capable of piercing the abyss headed towards somewhere beyond the far mountain range, where the sun was starting to disappear into.
The Pendragon Duchy was turned upside down.
An announcement with the official seal of the Pendragon family was posted on the walls of every village, starting with Lowpool. It stated that York Village would be renamed York Town, and that it would be rebuilt into a huge fortress city.
They were recruiting all sorts of workers, starting from simple laborers to blacksmiths, carpenters, masons, and other skilled workers. Those who had recently come to the Pendragon territory, as well as the existing residents, became thrilled at the news.
In addition, merchants and nobles of other territories also turned their attention upon hearing the news. It was hard to tell how many people and how long the construction would take, and how much resources would be spent on constructing a fortress city. Indeed, it was a huge business that could be considered a huge imprint on the duchy’s history, as well as the empire’s history.
When three or four people gathered, the topic of the conversation was about York Town, and those that were smart noticed the opportunity to make money and headed for the Pendragon territory. In the end, York Village had to deal with a massive influx of untimely visitors, even though the construction, or even the making of the blueprint had not yet begun.
And among the visitors, there were some people that even the oldest resident of York Village had never seen before. It was the Pendragon Duchy’s master, Alan Pendragon, armed knights and soldiers, and two beautiful ladies. The group of influential figures visited York Village, which was a small village located at the far ends of the territory.Previous Chapter Next Chapter