Chapter 123

“What? Then that means…”

Gale Lambert was dumbfounded as he stared at Raven’s table. His expression changed gradually.

“You… you lowly clown. You dare play a trick on me?”

Gale’s face turned redder with uncontrollable anger, his intoxication amplifying his emotions. Morgan gently pressed on Gale’s shoulders and stopped him from bursting out of his seat. 

“I will take care of it. It’ll be quite a show, so feel free to follow me and enjoy.”

The nobles rose to their feet following Morgan’s lead.

*** 

“Hmm? Brother, those knights over there keep staring at us.”

Irene whispered while munching on food with her mesh slightly removed. Raven turned his head slightly.

‘Morgan Louvre…’

His appearance was a pure coincidence. Raven had not expected it. And now, Morgan was showing interest.

‘Is this an opportunity? Or…’

Raven thought for a moment. Many thoughts passed through his mind. Then, he picked out a few of the most feasible options. 

‘If I come into contact with Morgan Louvre right about now… it’s entirely possible.’

Raven turned to Irene and spoke, “Don’t worry about it. Anyhow, I have someplace to go afterward, what do you want to do? Do you want to head back and rest early, or do you want to see more of the festival?

“You must be tired, why don’t we retire early today, Lady Irene?”

“Sure. If you won’t be with us, Brother, then I will just head back.”

“Okay, do as you wish. Leon, escort them back to the inn.”

“Please rest assured.”

Leon nodded. He had purposefully stayed away from the wine.

“Huh? Brother, over there…”

Irene’s eyes opened wide and she gestured with her gaze.

“Why?”

After turning his gaze, Raven narrowed his eyes. 

Morgan Louvre, Gale Lambert, and their group of knights and nobles were walking this way.

“Your Grace…”

Lindsay and Irene felt uneasy and looked towards Raven. The group of men were walking towards them in a staggering manner, with a clear sneer on their faces and a lack of manners.

“Don’t worry.”

Raven’s expression and eyes became even colder.

‘Should I provoke them first? No, I should just keep an eye out for now.’

Before long, Morgan stood in front of Raven’s table. Despite receiving everyone’s attention, Morgan began to look at Raven’s group one by one. He had eyes filled with greed when looking at Irene and Lindsay, and he looked at Leon with open mockery and contempt. Finally, his gaze came to rest on Raven, and Morgan squinted his eyes while stroking his chin. 

Irene and Lindsay frowned at the man’s disrespectful behavior. But Raven returned the gaze with a collected expression. 

After looking through the whole group, Morgan spoke with a smirk on his face, “Hello. I am a knight named Morgan Louvre.”

“……..”

Raven stayed silent, and Morgan frowned. 

The High Lord’s heir took the initiative and revealed his identity in Edgel, his own land. But the opponent had not reacted in the slightest and kept staring at him with a calm expression, which caused Morgan’s mood to slightly worsen. But tonight’s entertainment was about to begin, so Morgan continued with a deeper smile. 

“The silent type, huh? Do you mind if I sit?”

Without waiting for an answer, Morgan sat down on a chair.

“Look here, Sir!”

Irene tried to speak up towards Morgan’s rude behavior.

“Irene.”

“….Yes.”

She closed her mouth at Raven’s gentle, but firm words. Then Morgan spoke while grinning from ear to ear. 

“Haha, I’m fine with it. I could imagine the lady’s beauty just from hearing her lovely voice.”

“Hmph!”

Although she was furious at the blatant advances, Irene turned her head without saying anything. She could not make a scene in front of her brother.

Then Morgan’s companions raised their voices with a glare, as they did not know of Irene’s true identity. 

“How dare you act so rude towards Sir Louvre!”

“You pretentious…!”

“Ah, don’t worry about it. Beautiful roses have more thorns, and the truly elegant roses are ones that struggle against the thorns and break through.”

It was the first time in Irene’s life that anyone had talked to her in such a manner. Irene’s shoulders started trembling at the blatant insult, and a calm voice shattered the tense atmosphere.

“Hey, cut the crap and speak. Why are you here?”

“…..!”

Raven’s voice was as cold as the northern winds, and the words caused Morgan to be astonished.

“You… how dare this man!”

The Cosmos Knights and nobles surrounded the table in agitation. But Morgan raised his hand to stop them, and slowly turned towards the owner of the voice. 

A young brat with a pale, white, girly face was staring at him while twirling a wine glass in his hand. Morgan disliked the man from the first glance. 

‘This bastard…’

Normally, he would have pulled out his sword right away. However, the annoying blue eyes displayed such calm that it pulled at his side. To act in such a manner while knowing his identity meant that he was confident in his own status. 

“Hoo-hoo. So your precious selves are from the imperial city?”

“You could look at it that way.”

Morgan narrowed his eyes at the answer. As heir to the Great Territory of Alice, he frequently visited the imperial castle. He knew of all the members of the imperial household, and the man in front of him definitely wasn’t one of them. 

Above all, there was no reason an esteemed figure to be traveling with a lowly clown, without any guards or servants. 

This meant that Morgan had sufficient status to handle the person in front of him, even if he turned out to be a noble.

‘This little ignorant brat, not knowing how scary the world is…’

He suppressed his urge to smash the cocky brat’s face and gave a smile.

“Haha! Then you must be on your way to the imperial city, is that right?”

“Am I obligated to tell you that?”

“Ah, don’t be like that. You may not know, but I’m the son of Alice’s High Lord. Ah, right. Your precious selves come from the imperial city, so is the Alice territory beneath you? You know, it’s still a pretty well-known place.”

Raven answered in an indifferent voice to Morgan’s invidious remarks.

“As you say, the Great Territory of Alice seems to be quite nice. But… I just found out that I can’t say the same for its heir.”

“……!”

Morgan’s eyes glared fiercely. But he quickly hid his expression.

“Haha! Did I offend the precious imperial noble?”

The answer came from someone besides Raven.

“Yes. You know that but you continue to act in such a disrespectful manner. What are you trying to do?”

Leon spoke in an enraged voice, and Morgan turned his eyes towards him. Morgan grinned as he looked at Leon, who was trying to repress his anger.

“Are you the one from Count Johnbolt’s family?”

“That’s right…”

Leon became a little nervous at Morgan’s smile and blurted his words.

“Now, now! What an honor to meet someone so famous! Three years ago, I had the privilege of personally witnessing Count Johnbolt’s tricks in the imperial city! It was great. It was really amazing.”

“Hm…!”

Leon’s eyes trembled. He had hoped no one would recognize his family, but it seemed he was unlucky this time around. 

“Are you Sir Johnbolt’s son? Ah! Come to think of it, I saw your tricks as well. Yeah! That little trick of curling into a ball, that was truly astounding! Hahaha! I remember now, I remember!”

“…..”

“Yes, now that we’re on the subject, how about you show us a trick. I’ll treat you quite well, I know it’s not cheap to hire the imperial family’s jester. Hahaha!”

Leon’s face turned ghastly pale as Morgan continued. His entire body trembled with shame and anger, but Leon stayed silent.

“Pff! A mere clown, a count…?”

“A passerby goblin would laugh at that.”

“An imperial noble? Puhaha! I guess even the jester count is still considered a noble.”

The mocking laughters of the crowd riled Leon even further. His heart started to beat faster, and his eyes became bloodshot. 

“Aghh!”

In the end, Leon couldn’t stand it anymore and prepared to jump up from his seat.

“Leon Johnbolt, always remember who you are, and never forget who stands behind you.”

The short sentence pierced through Leon’s ears like a sharp icicle and dominated his mind.

“…..”

As Leon met gazes with his lord, who looked at him with an indifferent expression, his bloodshot eyes regained their light.

“Leon Johnbolt, I appoint you as a squire of the Pendragon Duchy.”

‘That’s right. I’m… a member of the Pendragon Duchy.”

Just remembering those words caused his heartbeat to accelerate, and Leon looked at Morgan while brooding over his lord’s words. 

“What? Do you feel insulted, Lord Count Clown?”

“You have insulted me and my companions, Sir Morgan Louvre.”

“Hahaha! Insult? I merely told the truth. But I guess if you felt that way. Well, not that I can do anything about it. So…”

Morgan shrugged and wiped the smile off his face.

“What are you going to do about it? Are you picking a fight with me? You lowly clown.”

Shhhhh….

A unique spirit started to rise behind Morgan, belonging to a few chosen, masterful knights. 

“Gah…”

The surrounding nobles stepped back with pale faces. The spirit that came from a knight who was familiar with murder was not something ordinary people could face. It was the same with Leon, who had received the spirit head-on.

“Ugh…!”

Leon bit his lips and forced himself to stop his knees from wobbling.

“I’m amazed the more I see him.”

Raven rose from his seat with an apathetic expression. 

“Hmm?”

Morgan frowned at the unexpected sight. Even among the Cosmos Knights, there were only a handful that could resist his spirit head-on. The spirit was a blessing from heaven. Regardless of their skill with the sword, facing a strong spirit would suppress the opponent both mentally and physically. When facing an opponent with similar skills, the addition of a spirit could often lead to a victory. But the young brat looked calm and unconcerned facing his spirit. It was unbelievable for a little brat who was acting aloof because of his clown companion. 

‘This brat, what the hell is his identity? Don’t tell me… does he have any artifacts?’

A rich merchant family could afford to spend fortunes on buying rare magical treasures. Morgan himself had a body armor that protected the wearer from black magic, and he heard of special objects that could resist even the killing spirits of orcs and trolls.

“Hey, stop with the useless act, and let’s get down to business. You insulted my group and Leon Johnbolt. And you asked with your own mouth if we wanted a fight. Can I take that as a challenge for a duel?”

“What…?”

Morgan took on an astonished expression, but then laughter burst out from everywhere soon afterward.

“Puhaha! What a crazy guy!”

“He’s out of his mind. Haha!”

“A duel with Sir Morgan Louvre, the greatest spearman in all of Alice territory? Gahahahaha!”

Morgan stood dumbfounded in the midst of endless laughter, then also burst out into laughter.

“You, are you asking me for a duel?”

He never thought there would be anyone insane enough to challenge him to a duel. Him, Morgan Louvre, the next High Lord of Alice. 

“I don’t know what you are talking about. You’re the one who asked for a fight. What are you going to do? Are you asking for a duel, Sir Morgan Louvre?”

Raven maintained his unshakeable gaze and an arrogant attitude. Morgan realized that his opponent wasn’t out of his mind or merely playing games.

“…You must be eager to die. Well, I, Morgan Louvre, challenge you to a duel. Tell me your name.”

The atmosphere cooled in an instant. Everyone silently gulped in the tense atmosphere, and Raven slightly turned his head.

“I’m sorry, but I won’t be the one to accept the duel. Leon Johnbolt here is the one who took the greatest insult.”

“What?”

“…..!”

Leon’s eyes widened at Raven’s words.

“Ah!”

“B, brother!”

Even Irene and Lindsay, who had been silent until now, displayed their shock. Telling Leon, who had the skills of a regular soldier, to fight one of the greatest knights of the Alice territory was essentially sentencing him to death. 

But Raven ignored them and continued, “But he could not possibly fight you with his skills. So, I’ll have a proxy fight in his stead.”

“Proxy…?”

Proxy -- A person who fights in place of someone else. Not all male nobles were talented in swordsmanship. There was far more male nobility that were not knights. Therefore, when nobles who were unskilled in combat had quarrels with others, they recruited proxies. 

Usually, a proxy was the most reliable and skilled fighter from among the noble’s relatives or acquaintances. Naturally, proxies were paid a great sum regardless of the outcome of the duel, and there were cases where a noble would invest a large amount of money to recruit famous mercenaries. It was because the results of the battle would either bring honor or shame to the family. 

“Kaha! Good, good. At least you are honest. So, which famous knight will you be inviting to fight in his place?” Morgan asked confidently. 

In Edgel, or rather, in the territory of Alice, there were no knights stupid enough to participate in a duel with himself. But Raven pretended to sink deep into thought, then spoke with a clap.

“Let’s see… Ah, right, the winner of the duel competition should suffice.”

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