“What do you mean by that?”
Her voice was cold once more, unlike her true feelings. It was almost reflexive at this point, and she really couldn’t do much about it. It was natural for Luna Seyrod, who had never once held a lively conversation with a member of the opposite sex.
“Well, it’s just that I found out there are thieves right outside the gate. I’m planning to go take care of them tomorrow, but then that would leave the gate without enough defenses. That’s why I was wondering if Lady Seyrod and your knights could stay for a few more days.”
Her throbbing heart dropped in an instant, and her expression became more disappointed than her usual expression.
‘Of course. What else would this man… ask for. He’s really asking for me to guard his house?’
“Asking the Seyrod family to guard a fortress belonging to the Pendragon family… Wouldn’t it be bad for public image?”
No, the actual problem was…
“Why would that be the case? We are cousins after all. It’s not like I’m asking you to stay here permanently. It’s only for a few days. What do you think?”
Alan Pendragon asked while shrugging his shoulders. Luna silently stared at the man. She already knew through and through how different he was now, but she didn’t realize he was capable of making such absurd and shameless requests.
Looking at his expression, it didn’t seem like he was joking. It would’ve been weird in the first place if he came to visit for the first time in several days just to make a joke. That was when she realized that Alan Pendragon was completely serious, and his reason for visit was all business.
“Well if it’s troublesome, just pretend you didn’t hear it…”
“I will do as you ask.”
“Really? That’s really good t…”
“Except, I will be accompanying you on your expedition.”
‘What the hell is this woman talking about now?’
Raven frowned at her unexpected words.
“We’re not going out for a picnic. We’re headed towards battle.”
“I know. I think you’re mistaken because I have no intentions of riding with you into battle. I want to accompany you on the way to my family’s territory. I don’t want to stay even one more day in this place. I will take a knight and ten soldiers, and leave the rest behind to protect the gate for a few days. Any more will be troublesome.”
Raven sank into thought with a slight frown on his face. It made sense that she wouldn’t want to stay any longer in Bellint Gate, which was full of burly men. She was a lady of nobility after all. The suggestion was quite good, anyway. It wasn’t as if he needed all the soldiers that came with Luna Seyrod.
“Let’s do it then. There will be thirty soldiers and two knights left behind guarding the gate.”
“Yes, I will give them orders to return as soon as the expedition is over.”
“So… is that all you wanted to talk about?”
Luna asked with a slight hope, forgoing her embarrassment. But the man sitting in front of him was a man who had spent his life on the battlefield, and had almost no wit regarding the matters of women.
‘Is she telling me to leave? How inflexible.’
“Hm. I think I’ve taken too much of your time. Then I will be off.”
Raven stood up, gave a slight bow, then turned his back.
Luna stretched out her arm as if to grab something, but the door closed, oblivious to her actions. She looked at the door with bleak eyes, lightly bit her lips, and turned around.
At that moment, the sound of the door reopening resounded and she turned her head with a welcoming look.
“Excuse me, Sir Pendragon said that you might have a task for me…”
She quickly changed her angst expression as the doorway opened and a soldier appeared standing in the doorway.
“Please call Sir Breeden here.”
“Yes, my lady.”
The soldier left, and the room suddenly felt empty.
Luna tried to quickly shake herself out of it. It wasn’t time to be playing hooky. The Pendragon family had officially started taking care of their territory.
‘If they take care of the matters regarding the territory, and if they open the mausoleum and if…. he succeeds in contracting with the dragon...?’
Just thinking about it gave chills down her back. If ‘if’ came to pass, then the Pendragons would once again step up as one of the pillars of the empire. They would regain their gold, iron, and crystal mines. Their subjects who lived as farmers would be able to get better jobs in the mines. Ultimately, it would also lead to a massive change in life for the working class.
There was no guarantee that knights or mages who roamed the world freely wouldn’t head to the Pendragon family to swear allegiance after hearing the rumors either.
In a few years, the Pendragon family would regain all their past glories and become a true monarch of the land. The Seyrod family would be an ant compared to the Pendragon family.
But for ‘if’ were to come true, there were conditions that needed to be met.
“I need to see it for myself. How capable Sir Pendragon is, how competent he is…”
Luna muttered to herself and bit her lips.
“What? A part of the soldiers are going to stay back? And you’re going with them on the expedition?”
“Even if it’s your words, the commander of the soldiers that are here is no one else but myse…”
Breeden ranted on as if he found the whole situation ridiculous, then suddenly his voice subsided, and he continued speaking naturally.
“...myself, but let us do as you say. I will be your guard, my lady, and I will return to our territory alongside you, my lady.”
“No. Sir Breeden will stay behind and guard Bellint Gate with the soldiers.”
“I cannot agree. If you cannot agree to my words, then I will not allow any soldiers to stay behind. I am the commanding officer of the troops.”
Breeden shrugged his shoulders as if saying ‘what can you do about it?’.
Luna had already expected this situation and finally nodded her head after letting out a sigh.
“Alright then. But I beg of you, please don’t act rashly.”
“Of course, my lady. Anyways, I’m quite thirsty, could I maybe get a cup of…”
“Then we will leave tomorrow. Please let the rest of the knights and the soldiers know.”
Luna got up from her chair and even opened the door for Breeden.
“Alright. I will see you tomorrow. Haha!”
Breeden let out a hearty laugh and walked out the door.
The door shut in his face as if it was waiting for the moment, but Breeden kept his gaze on the door with a smile.
“I will wait a little bit more, Lady Seyrod.”
He muttered under his breath, then turned around.
“Well well, now the way back home will be pretty entertaining.”
Breeden’s smile faded away as he walked back to his quarters.
Killian stepped into the mess hall that could fit around fifty people and awkwardly sat down on a chair.
“Excuse me, are you alright, Sir Killian? I… heard about ‘it’…”
A soldier carefully spoke with an expression of sympathy. Any man who heard of the story would be filled with concern. ‘If I was in that situation…’ The soldiers shuddered at even the thought of it.
“I’m completely fine. Why don’t you grab me a beer.”
“Here it is, freshly brought from the village just yesterday. Please drink up.”
Killian laughed as if to assure the soldier, and the soldier brought forth a large wooden cup of beer. Killian took the mug and chugged it down in several gulps.
“Great! Great! Give me another one. Why don’t you all have one as well.”
Killian instantly downed the beer and put forth his cup. As his mug filled up once more, soldiers gathered around Killian.
“I see that even with one egg gone, the best drinker of Conrad Castle is still alive and kicking, eh?”
“Eggs are eggs, beer is beer.”
The soldiers burst out laughing at Killian’s joke.
Killian was quite popular with the soldiers. Even though he was a bit, no, even though he was infatuated with the girls, it wasn’t a big deal in the world of men. Sometimes Killian acted cocky, but he did not hesitate to drink and talk with the soldiers, unlike other knights.
“For me as well!”
After a few rounds, a slight blush appeared on the cheeks of Killian and the soldiers.
“So anyway, about Sir Pendragon…”
The whole place became quiet upon the mention of Alan Pendragon. The one who spoke was a soldier from Bellint Gate. Unsure of whether to continue, he looked around and spoke in a low voice.
“I’ve heard rumors and the stories. Even if he changed, don’t you think he changed way too much?”
Everyone glanced at each other and didn’t speak. Killian downed another mug of beer in one gulp and shrugged.
“He changed. He has become a completely different person.”
“Isn’t that strange? Even if he changed, to win against Sir Killian? He was a weakling in the first place, and to do that after laying in bed for three years? Is that humanly possible?”
The expressions of the soldiers from Conrad Castle hardened and they all glanced at Killian. It was unspoken, but everyone had the same question. There were even rumors that Alan Pendragon sold his soul to the devil.
The sound of a cup striking the table caused the soldiers to flinch, and they looked up at the face of Killian which had become serious.
“So what about it?”
Killian managed to remain relaxed with clear eyes unlike that of a person who had several drinks. His calm voice resounded through the heavy atmosphere.
“I know of the rumors that stem from Conrad Castle. Let me make this clear. Truth? Rumors? None of that really matters. The important thing is the truth that Sir Alan is no longer the boy he was before.”
“W, what do you mean by that…?”
Killian looked around at the soldiers with a small smile on his face.
“What do you mean? What do I mean? Do you think anything’s going to be different if you know the reason behind the change? Are you going to quit your job here and go somewhere else? Or are you going to run to the imperial city and tell his imperial majesty about what’s happening? Do you think that’s going to change anything?”
All the soldiers went silent. It was as Killian said. Even if they knew the truth behind Alan Pendragon’s drastic change, it didn’t change anything. Everyone here was born and raised in the Pendragon Duchy. Whatever the case, they could only continue working as soldiers.
“I’m not an idiot, and neither are the people of Conrad Castle. The moment he beat me up and personally broke off the engagement, everyone knew that the man was a different person from the Alan Pendragon we knew in the past. But even so...”
He paused and continued in an even more serious and calm voice.
“Pendragon is Pendragon… This truth does not change.”
The muttering of the soldiers stopped. They looked at each other in silent agreement and nodded their heads. Their eyes were resolute. Then Killian cut through the solemn atmosphere and spoke.
“And, even if … ehem! Even if one of my… things is gone, I prefer the current Alan Pendragon to the past Alan Pendragon.”
Killian seemed a little embarrassed at his own speech and raised his cup up high.
“Anyways, all thanks to His Grace Alan, my charisma is slightly reduced, and that means you punks get a chance now. Now you can have a better chance at competing for the women!”
“Puhaha! I would rather take my things off too if I was to ever lose to a man with only one egg!”
“Well spoken! In fact, all he did was go around and flaunt his thing, what charisma is there to even talk about?”
“What? My thing is probably still much better than yours anyway.”
“We already heard the rumors, sir. That your thing’s shrunk to half its size…”
“Hmm? Good, good! Alright. Why don’t we measure it then?”
Killian jumped up as if he was going to dance his pants off right away.
“Oh, oh! It’s a match! True men’s contest!”
“I will take you up on that! Let’s do it!”
Laughter and whistling sounds sprouted up from the crowds, and the atmosphere heated up once more. As one of the soldiers and Killian climbed up on the table to compete for their pride...
“E, excuse me… Sir Killian…”
“Take it off! Take it off!”
“E, excuse me…!”
A sharp, high-pitched sound sliced through the noise.
Everyone’s eyes turned to the voice.
“His Grace Pendragon wants me to bring Sir Killian immediately…”
Lindsay stole glances at the top of the table with a red-hot face.
Killian stopped himself, mid-dance.
“J, just me, alone?”
“Yes. Well, I, I will get going then.”
Lindsay hurriedly ran out the door.
“W, wait for me…!”
Killian ran like the wind after Lindsay’s disappearing figure.Previous Chapter Next Chapter