Ian widened his eyes with a frown.
“Are you crazy? Those scumbags are not humans. Even the captain of the unit is a total nut. What the hell are you planning to do with them?”
“Just tell me if it’s possible or not. Will it be possible for me to take command over them?”
A determined attitude. Ian could tell he wasn’t joking.
‘What the hell?’
Ian’s forehead creased.
He couldn’t understand the reasoning behind the request, but he could tell from Duke Pendragon’s attitude that there was something more. Moreover, he had a hunch that this ‘request’ could possibly aid in maintaining the relationship he had with Duke Pendragon in the future as well.
“Okay. I’ll take care of it. Kill them or save them, do whatever you want with them.”
“That’s the answer I was waiting for.”
Raven grinned after hearing Ian’s answer, showing his white teeth. However, Ian felt an unknown chill run down his back as he saw the man’s smile.
He thought that the nobles who attended today’s banquet might have been more shocked if they saw the same smile, even compared to Sagunda’s death. In addition, he sincerely sympathized with the unknown opponent who would come to face that very smile, which seemed to contain all the animosity and hostility that existed in the world.
Three days later.
Every city and village in Aragon Empire was notified of the treasonous acts of Leus’ governor general. A detailed report was hung on the boards of every town.
Count Sagunda was robbed of his title, and his entire estate and properties were confiscated. In addition, the direct relatives of Count Sagunda were exiled regardless of age and sex, and his distant relatives had their titles demoted by a level.
The knights of the territory were also unable to avoid the crime of serving the wrong master, and they were forced to serve five years as soldiers of the imperial army.
No one could mutter a squeak because the orders had come directly from the emperor. It was a rare show of authority from the ruler of the empire. All the noble families that had a relationship with Count Sagunda shrank back into their lairs, and even nobles that had no relations felt like they were walking on thin ice.
Finally, the imperial castle’s power structure also went through a major transformation.
Prince Ian, one of the two protagonists responsible for exposing Count Sagunda’s treason, quickly emerged as the most probable candidate for the spot of crown prince. Even though no official announcement had been made by the emperor, everyone had no doubts that Ian would become the next great master of the empire.
On the other hand, Geoffrey Aragon had to suffer the humiliation of being pushed down to the last place among the crown prince candidates. The same held true for Geoffrey’s mother, Baroness Angie. Although she managed to avoid being chased out of her palace, the designated homes of the emperor’s concubines, there were no nobles to look after her after Count Sagunda passed away.
Among the officials of the imperial castle, all of them who had ties to Count Sagunda resigned or were demoted a position, regardless of their status. The vacant spots were quickly filled by young, ambitious nobles who supported Ian, led by Elven, who had risen in position as an interior minister of the imperial castle.
Thus, the entirety of the Aragon Empire faced a great change that rippled from the imperial castle. Small and great territories alike faced the shockwave that stemmed from Count Sagunda’s death.
But the biggest and the most crucial aftermath of the situation occurred separately from all the other issues. Duke Pendragon had become a governor general of the empire.
It was unprecedented in the history of the empire that the master of a completely independent duchy had become an official of the empire. Becoming the Governor General of Leus was an enormous opportunity to gain huge wealth, as the city was considered one of the most flourishing in the empire.
However, as Duke Pendragon was responsible for uncovering Count Sagunda’s plot, no one raised an objection. In addition, Duke Pendragon was assigned to oversee Leus for only three years, while a 10-year term was usually given to governor generals who caused no major troubles.
Everyone quickly noticed that Duke Pendragon’s family was at the center of the typhoon that was engulfing the empire. Also, the quick-witted ones predicted that the Pendragon Duchy would develop further and accumulate wealth from the change, even more than what others expected.
Their assumptions were based on the existence of York Town, the free economic city that the Pendragon Duchy was ambitiously constructing.
“Greetings, Sir Ron!”
Vincent walked towards the York Town mission. The official embassy was a three-story mansion that could accommodate more than a hundred people, and it was finally nearing the end of completion.
The workers briefly paused when they saw Vincent and lightly nodded their heads before resuming their work. At first, everyone stopped whatever they were doing before bowing their heads to the nobles, including Vincent, but after it was banned, they all switched to giving a light nod.
There were no exceptions in York Town. Even if it was the pretty lady who came to the embassy every morning. She arrived a little earlier than Vincent in order to walk through the garden of the building.
“Good morning, Lady Seyrod.”
“Ah, Sir Ron. Hello.”
Luna had been quietly staring at one side of the lonely garden, which was already swept clean of all the fallen leaves. Her eyes seemed to reflect a sense of longing. At Vincent’s call, she quickly turned towards him.
Vincent was able to read the indelible loneliness in her eyes, and he sympathized with her. It wasn’t as if he was ignorant of who she was thinking about every time she made such an expression.
‘At times like this, I can’t say that the lord has much luck with women.’
Almost everyone was aware that Luna Seyrod admired Duke Pendragon. But according to the rumors, it was said that the princesses of the imperial castle, starting with Princess Ingrid, were also restless because of Duke Pendragon. Moreover, all the nobles in the capital were anxious to introduce their daughters and nieces to Duke Pendragon as well.
Any one of them would be considered incomparable beauties in all of the empire, the true ladies among ladies. Luna Seyrod wouldn’t lose out compared to the girls, however, given her status as the daughter of a high lord.
However, the truth was a little different. Although Luna Seyrod could compare to them in terms of strict status, there was a stark difference between the daughter of a low-ranking high lord and the ladies of the capital and the imperial castle.
Luna Seyrod was surely aware of the fact when she made such an expression of longing. But Vincent could not feel bad for her, and he had to feign ignorance to such matters. It was his duty as a knight in order to protect the beautiful, brave lady’s pride as she worked hard on behalf of her family to contribute to the building of York Town.
“You are a little late today.”
Vincent nodded at Luna’s smile.
“Yes. I was having breakfast with some merchants from Gapusa.”
“Gapusa... Isn’t that a trading city of the Kingdom of Mobia? I heard it takes months of travel by boat.”
Vincent smiled at Luna’s remark. She was certainly brilliant, possessing a different level of knowledge compared to the ladies of other noble families.
“You know very well. I was quite surprised as well. I didn’t think rumors of York Town would have reached that far already.”
“Isn’t the population of the merchants already over 20,000? Hundreds of merchants arrive every day from the port, so it’s not a huge surprise. It will soon become one of the best cities in the empire.”
“Until then, I hope Lady Seyrod will continue to help me.”
Luna Seyrod smiled bitterly and shook her head slightly at Vincent’s words.
“How would I be of any help? My family is also attempting to grab onto an opportunity here.”
“There are already quite a few southerners who are interested in the iron ore from the Seyrod territory. I will arrange a meeting for you, so you should have a talk with them.”
Vincent told the truth.
The Great Territory of Seyrod possessed a mine that produced high-quality iron and copper, most of which were sold with little profit to nearby lands or used up in their own territory. This was because transportation costs, including various tolls, were quite hefty in order to deliver the goods to the center of the empire.
However, York Town and Leus were connected via water, so it created an ideal condition to be able to sell iron ore to the central or the southern parts of the empire.
In addition, the Pendragon Duchy and the Seyrod County were relatives. The Seyrod family was given a bigger tax break compared to other families, so they could make quite a big profit if they were able to complete the deals.
“Thank you, Sir Ron.”
“Don’t mention it. It’s all thanks to Lady Seyrod’s efforts.”
“No, I would not have been able to do it without you, Sir Ron. I wouldn’t have been able to see such a sight as well.”
Luna gently smiled at Vincent’s humility, before turning and pointing to a specific place.
Luna recently came to learn that Vincent, who was already considerably reputable as the “Pendragon Raccoon”, was still underrated by the world. No matter how competent a merchant one was, they would have their souls sucked out of them after meeting Vincent in York Town.
Of course, Vincent never threatened them or profiteered for the Pendragon Duchy. He dealt with the merchants with a very simple logic, the very merchants that had been in the business for several decades.
“No one will stop you from doing business in York Town. However, you need to pay taxes when entering York Town or coming in through ports, income tax that will vary depending on the amount of transactions.”
The ripple effect of the simple ideology was great. Furthermore, the officials of York Town were nobles that had served the Pendragon family for several generations. They never took bribes. The mere sight of the ever-developing duchy was exhilarating for them, and the duchess and General Melborn were very fair people. They redistributed their wealth to the nobles. There was no reason for them to become greedy when honor and wealth would follow if they worked hard at their given tasks.
Furthermore, Vincent was a unique figure. Even though he had unprecedented talent in the ways of commerce, he had absolutely no interest in personal wealth.
Vincent overturned common sense. It was known that the greater the greed for wealth, the more successful one could become. The foreign merchants and the merchants of the Aragon Empire were at a loss to how to deal with Vincent. However, merchants were witty and quick-footed, so they were able to figure out how to deal with the unusual knight named Vincent Ron. The scene that was unfolding in front of the embassy was a result of the merchant’s quick thinking.
“Oh! Sir Ron! You’ve finally arrived!”
“I have been waiting since dawn! The contract you mentioned yesterday…”
“I want to open a branch of our Hartle Firm on the 3rd street of the north street…”
Dozens of merchants and nobles rushed to surround Vincent.
“Now, now. Let us go in one by one. I will take care of everything before lunch.”
As usual, Vincent greeted them with a truly carefree, friendly smile, slightly raising both corners of his mouth. Then, he moved in a very natural and cheerful gesture, reminiscent of a swallow catching a dragonfly. In an instant, all of the contracts and documents lay in his hands.
“Kyeaah! By the way, I heard that the construction of the fourth wall was completed yesterday, right? The skills of the construction engineers from the south are absolutely phenomenal, wouldn’t you say?”
“On my way from the port today, I saw that the irrigation canal project has progressed a lot. The cotton business that will start from next year will truly be humongous.”
There was a slight smile on the lips of Luna as she observed the back of Vincent entering the building with a following of merchants and nobles. But soon, her eyes dimmed slightly.
York Town was developing day by day, and it represented the growth of the Pendragon Duchy. However, her own family was barely managing to scrape together a small benefit…
“I have to… be stronger.”
“My lady! You were here again?”
The one who called out was Jane, a maid who had taken care of Luna Seyrod since she was a young child. She was the only person that Luna had brought along to York Town.
“What’s going on?”
“You have a visitor. Where was it… Southern Sigilah? He’s a noble from that area, but he said he is eager to meet with you and have a chat regarding copper.”
Jane had acted more comfortably towards her after Luna had gone through a change. Luna’s eyes slightly widened in surprise.
“Is that so? What was their name?”
“Ah, well, it was quite a unique name, just like his appearance… what was it…. Ah, I remember!”
Jane pondered for a moment before clapping her hands together and continuing
“He said his name was Baltai, Toban Baltai.”
Luna tilted her head as she muttered the name she heard for the first time in her life.Previous Chapter Next Chapter