Chapter 130

“I deeply appreciate your reply. I, Iron Elven, will remember what has transpired today as a knight and governor serving the empire.”

Elven showed courtesy and bowed politely with his hand placed on the handle of his sword. Then, he sat back down. 

The sight of the Governor-General of Edenfield acting on the side of Alan Pendragon was enough to shock the nobles that were present. Edenfield was an important stronghold and a fortress that connected the southwestern territories to the imperial castle. 

“The situation is turning rather strange.”

“I know. I did not imagine that Governor-general Elven would turn his back on Count Louvre and in such direct fashion. Especially in Edgel…”

“Isn’t it because His Grace Pendragon is heading to the imperial city? Anyways, the situation is definitely turning favorably for His Grace Pendragon.”

No matter how brightly the sun had been shining on the Pendragon Duchy, it was simply impossible for Alan Pendragon to overpower a High Lord, especially in a territory that was nowhere close to his own. Even with his strength as the master of the Pendragon Duchy, he simply had not enough strength, status, nor connection to be able to suppress a High Lord in their own territory.

There was one difference between a High Lord and a Duke in terms of status.

High Lords ruled their territories on behalf of the emperor, and they swore allegiance to the current emperor. Dukes were masters of their own territory, and they had a close relation to the Aragon family. Thus, High Lords had to show absolute loyalty towards the emperor, as the emperor represented the empire. Regardless of their true thoughts or intentions, High Lords could not openly support any other members of the royal family except the emperor, as such thoughts or actions could be constituted as treason.

But dukes were a little different. If the current emperor was judged to be shaking the foundations of the empire and harming the existence of the royal family, one or two duchies could agree to publicly support certain figures of the royal family and declare their intentions to enthrone the new figure. Of course, tyrannical, repressive emperors were very rare, so such incidents had occurred very seldomly in the history of the empire, where the public and the High Lords all turned their backs on the emperor.

As such, that was the only difference between High Lords and Dukes, which could be substantial or insignificant depending on the situation. 

Thus, even a Duke could not easily throw their weight around in territories beside their own. They could not easily overpower or claim authority in front of the High Lords. That was why most of the nobles had thought it rash when Alan Pendragon revealed his status and intervened in the situation. They had judged him to be premature. The young man’s naïve intentions to prove himself would result in a great humiliation for the entire Pendragon Duchy. But their expectations were completely off the mark. 

Alan Pendragon had turned the situation around and taken the justification while creating a reason to intervene. Now, he had even obtained support and goodwill from Governor-General Elven, an influential figure of the empire.

“Hmm, I don’t know if he’s bold, or if he’s lucky…”

“Luck or not, the flow belongs to His Grace Pendragon. If he recounts his story with the backing of Governor-General Elven, Count Louvre won’t be able to do anything about the matter.”

The visiting nobles chattered while looking around the stadium, which was gradually becoming noisy. The crowd’s reactions were not important to them. What they were paying attention to was how this event would change the position of the Pendragon Duchy, and how Count Louvre would respond. It was obvious that today’s events would have a significant impact on the condition of the empire, and possibly on their own positions as well.

“Louis Slynne! If you confess right now, I will spare your life. In addition, I will ask his imperial majesty to protect your family. So decide. Will you continue to protect the wicked devil who was masked as the territory’s heir? Or will you confess bravely in front of everyone!?”

Louis had been shivering pitifully until now. As Raven roared, his lips started quivering as well. Then, heckling and shouting burst out from the crowds.

“Booooo!”

“Tell the truth! Louis Slynne!’

“What crimes did Morgan Louvre commit!”

“Confess! Tell the truth!”

The people were even more infuriated after hearing the story of the knight who had lost his two daughters. They felt the sorrows and the rage that Ryan Dawson felt towards the two perpetrators when he raised his head towards the sky and cried out, admitting his shameful and desperate mistake.

“Say it, you dirty bastard!”

“Booo! Speak the truth!”

Even though they were in the presence of the High Lord and armed soldiers, the anger of the crowd could not be dispelled easily after being ignited. Some men even attempted to jump over the stands into the arena.

“Q, quiet! Everybody, silence! Quickly! Do something!”

The general became startled at the response and shouted, and knights and soldiers hastily rushed in. Fights broke out between the soldiers and the crowd here and there. The drinking of the festival overlapped with the sense of injustice and created a huge disturbance and chaos. 

As the venue became noisy, Raven drew his face closer to Louis and whispered, “You idiot. Don’t you know that this is an opportunity for you to put down all the sins of Louvre?”

Louis raised his head urgently.

“What, what…?”

“A dead man speaks no tales. This is your only opportunity to survive.”

“Ah…”

Louis’ eyes took on a conflicted gaze at Raven’s tempting words. That was right. The dead did not speak. It was better to live and roll in a field of horse shit than to die. He had already lost his honor and power with how the situation was turning out. He had no other choice if he wanted to live, if he wanted to lessen his crimes.

“Shut up, everybody! Shut up!” Count Louvre shouted in anger.

The threat of the knights and the soldiers combined with the anger of the High Lord caused the pandemonium to slowly subside.

“Yes, Louis Slynne. Go ahead and speak. Tell me about my son with your own mouth.”

Louis gulped several times facing the gaze of Count Louvre which was filled with killing intent. He eventually avoided the gaze and looked down.

“It, it’s true. His Grace Morgan… He ordered me to attack the travelers. Then he violated the women in front of the men, then… then killed them all… Keugh! I, I was responsible for cleaning up the mess…”

Louis told his story while groaning with pain, but it was clearly transmitted to the ears of the people around him and the nobles.

“Huh!”

“I can’t believe it…”

“H, his Grace Morgan really…”

 Groans and sighs were heard from all over the place.

“Uhg……uggghhh! That cannot be true! It can’t be!”

Count Louvre threw his gold crown to the ground and went berserk.

“Louis Slynne! Do you realize what you are saying right now!? Oh, kuha, yes! You were in the same boat as them! Everyone conspired to kill my son, and now you are going as far as to dishonor his name with your slimy tongues! Kuhehe!”

Everyone became speechless at the sight of the High Lord going on a frenzy after losing his reasoning. But there was one exception.

“Will you continue to act so disgracefully even after clear evidence has been found? Watch yourself, High Lord of Alice!”

Count Louvre jerked his head around to the source of the quiet, but powerful voice and stared with a vicious expression.

Keugh…..!”

The moment he faced the deep, cold, knife-like blue eyes, Count Louvre felt the sensation of cold water pouring over his head, and he barely snapped back to his senses.

‘It’s over…’

His eldest son was dead. He had died in a duel, and now he was labeled as a vicious criminal. All that remained was for Count Louvre’s family to take the fall. His territory and vassals would remain, but it would be impossible for Count Louvre to enter the heart of the imperial politics in his generation. Who would continue to seek a relationship with the Louvre family, that had a deceased heir who raped and murdered countless women? 

“Keuu…..”

Count Louvre raised his head with a groan filled with grief. He was neither a fool nor a villain. He never failed his status as a High Lord. On the contrary, he was a High Lord who handsomely rewarded and strictly punished, though forgiving and generous towards small mistakes. He was a great lord. Although he had lost his reasoning for a while due to the death of his beloved son, whom he had favored since he was a child, the sense of responsibility and judgment of the High Lord had not completely disappeared. 

“But…” Count Louvre spoke in a vicious tone while looking towards Alan Pendragon, the man who was responsible for causing the situation.

“Morgan was the successor to the Great Territory of Alice. No matter what sins he committed, one cannot easily judge the life of a great territory’s heir unless he was treasonous. A life, at the least, will be required to be paid back. So, Your Grace Pendragon, you will need to provide a life.”

Count Louvre’s gaze slowly shifted from Raven. He met the gaze of Argos, who was barely standing with the help of Leon.

“Do not think that your children's lives are equal to that of a great territory’s heir, old man. Only when you die, then will it balance out.”

“….Do as you please.”

Argos had lost his child, but he knew that the other party was also a father who had lost his child. He answered bitterly and closed his eyes. Count Louvre lifted his sword and was about to take a step when Raven interrupted.

“Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen.”

“What do you mean…?”

Count Louvre turned his head. His eyes seemed to be on the verge of shedding blood. 

Raven turned his gaze towards the nobles, each who had a complicated expression, and spoke to one particular person.

“You there, your name was Gale Lambert, right? You were there when Morgan applied for a duel, weren’t you?”

“Ah! Well, yes, but…”

The young nobleman who stood up in surprise was none other than Gale Lambert, the one who had tried to flirt with Irene and Lindsay at the restaurant a few days back.

“Tell me what I bet on the outcome of the duel with Morgan Louvre.”

“Uh, we, well…”

Gale Lambert stuttered in bewilderment with the countless eyes on him, then continued in a feeble voice.

“One man’s… life.”

“Speak louder.”

Gale Lambert shouted in desperation.

“H, his Grace Pendragon and their group wanted one person’s life if they won the duel!”

“What…!”

Count Louvre’s eyes trembled. Raven turned to face Count Louvre and continued, “We won the duel, so I have the right to claim my bet in return for our victory. I, Alan Pendragon, would like the life of Argos, the victor of the battle.”

Keugh….”

Clang!

The sword finally fell from the hand of Count Louvre, whose eyes were turning moist. Raven turned away after briefly observing the count, who seemed to have grown ten years older in a moment.

Raven nodded lightly to the old fighter who was shedding tears from his swollen eyes then turned to the nobles.

“The commotion was long. I also had not expected for it to turn out this way because of my retainer’s duel, but I could not overlook the matter as a knight, and as a Pendragon. I hope you understand, sirs and ladies. Then.”

Raven saluted lightly to the nobles. 

Governor-General Elven was the first to stand up. He took off his hat and bowed.

“I greatly appreciate the wise actions of Your Grace Pendragon.”

Surprisingly, almost half of the nobles also stood up from their seats and showed courtesy to Raven. After making eye contact with all of them, Raven turned around.

“Let’s go. I think the festival is over now.”

Irene, Lindsay, and Leon, who was helping Argus, followed behind him. 

Then, the knights and the soldiers, who were still circling around them, stepped back and gave way to Raven and his group. With countless eyes on him, Raven left the venue with neither slow nor quick steps, away from the concluded festival. 

*** 

Less than three days later, the incident that occurred in Edgel’s stadium spread throughout Alice. And after Raven and his group completely exited the territory of Alice, the story had spread to the major cities and other great territories, as well as the islands. 

Many nobles cut ties with High Lord Count Louvre’s family. The Great Territory of Alice, which was considered one of the best in the empire, was greatly dishonored by the evil deeds of Morgan.

Contrastingly, the reputation of the Pendragon Duchy once again soared in the empire. Everyone praised the wisdom and virtue of Alan Pendragon for helping the righteous revenge of a father, who lost his child, and punishing a wicked criminal, regardless of their status and position.  

But it wasn’t as if only positive outcomes stemmed from the incident.

The other great nobles, especially High Lords, became more wary at the actions of Alan Pendragon in someone else’s territory. Several High Lords even secretly exchanged letters with the Great Territory of Alice, which had become greatly damped by the incident. It was to keep Prince Ian and the Pendragon Duchy in check.

Of course, not everyone raised their guard. Several High Lords, including High Lords of Seyrod and Sisak, secretly sent people to the Pendragon Duchy. 

Everything seemed peaceful on the surface, but the conflict in the imperial city was also intensifying with the truth behind the attempted assassination of the crown prince being revealed. The High Lords had to be conscious of the fight for the position of crown prince, and they struggled to occupy the highland and to make judgments accordingly. 

In other words, the empire’s power struggle, which had been subsurface until now, had finally become turbulent due to this incident.

And the starting point was none other than Alan Pendragon. This incident proved him to be a resourceful and prominent man. Naturally, there were some people who disregarded it as luck, and in fact, luck had played a rather big part. But great work tended to belong to those who were lucky.

In the end, Alan Pendragon was judged to be a man who had both luck and ability.

A fierce momentum. Alan Pendragon’s fierce momentum spread throughout the empire and headed towards the imperial castle. 

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