Chapter 158

“Sir Isla is right. Leon, You are not yet strong enough to protect Irene and Lindsay. In particular, there are countless variables in real life. Since Argos asked personally as well, I will train you in Leus for about three months.”

“Yes! Understood, my lord!”

At the last minute, Argos changed his mind about returning to his hometown and headed to the Pendragon Territory with the people of the duchy instead. Due to Leon’s lack of skills, he decided to escort the ladies for the time being.

‘I will surely grow stronger for the sake of teacher and my lord…’

“I see Leus, my lord.”

“Well, I guess that’s what it looks like in the day.”

The view of Leus as it stretched out below the hill was very impressive. Although it fell shy compared to the capital, the city was covered in a tall outer wall in the shape of an “L”, with the pier and the coast on the other side. The city was quite massive with six main roads connecting the entire city to a large central square, both small and large buildings filling the streets. 

Dozens of sailboats were anchored in the port, and a fortress-like tower was situated right next to the port. It was surrounded by tall, long walls with dozens of dozens of catapults designed to sink any enemy ships. 

“That must be the base of the 7th regiment.”

Raven narrowed his eyes as he observed the other side of the harbor. It was a small island that floated not too far from the mainland. 

While the sailboats and ships anchored in the port adjacent to the city had diverse appearances, four sailboats on the opposite side of the port shared the same appearance.

The island contained a castle and walls were erected around its circumference, and two ships that shared the same appearance as the four could be seen floating in its harbor. 

“Yes. They are battleships, my lord. They are best suited to battle in the inland sea. In the south, they engage in naval combat with similarly-styled ships.”

Raven nodded at the words of Isla.

“I see. Six ships in total, so the rest of the fleet must be placed near Ills and Lens.”

“That should be the case. The 7th regiment defends the waters near Leus and the entire region of Mulade.”

Ills and Lens were small cities that were about a day’s ride from Leus. Both cities had their own ports, but compared to Leus, the volume of shipments they processed was only about 10% of Leus. Rather than a city of commerce, both cities were labeled as resort cities. However, since both cities fell into the jurisdiction of Mulade and belonged to the empire, the 7th regiment was responsible for their defenses even though they had their own lords. 

“The 7th regiment… Viscount Moraine, huh…”

Viscount Moraine, the commander of the 7th regiment, seemed to be a reliable figure based on what Raven heard from Ian. He was not greedy for power, and he never returned to the imperial castle unless the emperor personally summoned him. He was a man who was true to his duty.

Above all, the 7th regiment was a naval-based regiment of the imperial army along with the 12th regiment, unlike the rest of the army. Therefore, they did not participate in the border defense, even though the other regiments all took turns. 

In the end, Viscount Moraine had no need to visit the imperial castle or the capital, and he had spent nearly half of his life in the waters of Leus and Mulade as an imperial knight.

‘But that’s just his situation…’

Viscount Moraine’s loyalty belonged solely to the emperor. No matter how much the emperor trusted Raven to make him the Governor-General of Leus, there was no reason for the 7th regiment and Moraine to be loyal to him. Moraine was a veteran warrior that spent many years in the sea and on the battlefield, even longer than how long Alan had been alive. It would be considered strange if he were to act friendly towards a fledgling governor who had barely come to age. 

‘Even so… I will have to turn him to my side somehow.’

It would be difficult, but it was necessary. He couldn’t become excited like a child just because he had become the governor of Leus. He still had long ways to go to achieve his goals. Still, Raven was unafraid. He had Isla by his side now. And soon, ‘she’ would arrive at Leus as well.

‘Soldrake…’

Raven clearly felt her energy in the imperial castle. For some reason, however, she did not come to meet him. What could possibly keep her away from him for months, her soul’s companion, even though they were close by? Dragons stood at the pinnacle of the world, thus they could act in whatever manner they wanted.

‘Perhaps he…’

Raven instinctively thought of one person.

Duke Lindegor.

He had made the biggest impression on Raven besides the emperor himself. He was a completely unknown person. Given the insightful emperor’s confidence, he must not be hostile to the emperor nor the empire.

Nevertheless, Raven had felt more than just favor in the eyes of Duke Lindegor. The unknown spirit that was felt from him was also problematic. Even though it was different from the Spirit of the Emperor he felt from Ian and Emperor Aragon, it was sufficient to cause him quite a shock. 

Duke Lindegor’s ability as a knight didn’t seem so great, but his strange spirit was enough to make chills run down Raven’s back.

‘If I felt that way, it might have been the same for Soldrake.’

Raven assumed this could have been the reason why Soldrake did not visit the imperial castle.

“I see the gates, my lord.”

Raven cleared his mind and looked up at Leon’s words. He could see the first gate of Leus’ wall, which was crowded with travelers.

‘Well, I will need to take care of the immediate issues first.’

Sooner or later, his curiosity would be satisfied when Soldrake arrived in Leus.

Raven rode his horse towards Leus, the land that was set to challenge him and ultimately serve as a stepping stone for revenge.

*** 

“Is that so?”

Vincent stood up with a frown.

“Yes. Suspicious men have basically occupied two villages outside the Bellint Gate. The inside of the gate is not faring so well either. Some free knights and mercenaries have rallied together and are now creating a ruckus.”

Jody spoke with a voice of concern. He had become the captain of the “Dragon Scales”, the intelligence division of the Pendragon Duchy. He continued.

“It all started when the ones we’ve been keeping a close eye on started to spread from one place to another. We have about 10 of them under our watch. Some of our men say that they could be the same group who went into Ancona Forest before.”

There had been an incident when Raven recaptured the mausoleum. A group of armed men accompanied by a wizard tried to infiltrate Ancona Forest in an attempt to bring the centaurs to their side. 

Upon hearing the story from Raven, Vincent investigated them in detail using the Dragon Scales, with Jody, Gus, and Scylla at its head. 

He had finally discovered that some of the mercenaries or free knights who recently entered the duchy had a connection to the group, either directly or indirectly.

“I am afraid so. Seeing their systematic movements, they must be acting under a meticulously laid plan. Anyways, good work so far. I will take care of the rest with Sir Killian.”

“Then what are you planning to do with York Town?”

Unlike his appearance, Jody was witty and quickly figured out that Vincent was at the heart of York Town. With York Town in its infancy, small and large problems could arise with the absence of Vincent.

Noticing Jody’s concern, Vincent grinned.

“You do not have to worry about that. The sirs from Conrad Castle are very competent. They will be able to run everything smoothly without me for around a month.”

“Ah, I see. Hehe.”

Jody smiled embarrassingly.

He had forgotten because he was so accustomed to seeing unbelievably great figures, from Duke Pendragon to his knights. 

When Jody first came to the Pendragon Duchy, he had thought that very few people, such as Duke Pendragon and Isla, were solely responsible for its greatness. 

But after spending half a year, he realized that he was wrong.

The reason that the Pendragon Duchy could endure for decades in troubling times was not simply due to one or two figures. With the former duke dead, the heir unconscious, and the mausoleum closed, the knights and the nobles of the Pendragon family had persisted with desperation while suffering humiliation and troubles. 

They were the backbone of the Pendragon family that people were unaware of.

“Order the harpies to hand out orders to the gate and the vigilante leaders of each town. Have the agents keep a close eye on the central figures as quietly as possible.”

“Yes, Sir Ron.”

After giving a big nod, Jody left the office.

Vincent was left all alone in the office. After sinking into thought for a moment, he walked behind his desk and retrieved a rather old sword and a sheathe from the wall.

It was a blade that was considered decorative by all the merchants who entered the office. It was only natural, as Vincent was considered the brain of the Pendragon family, an advisor to the duke. His nickname “raccoon” referenced his craftiness and wit that he displayed in economic affairs. No one thought that the smiling, small, slender man would be a ‘true knight’. However, the ‘decorative sword’ had been with Vincent for many years ever since Vincent left the tower, and it had experienced countless battles.

“You must be getting excited for the first time in a while.”

Vincent put on a strange smile and equipped the sword on his waist before walking away. It was a cold smile that would cause the merchants to no longer consider him a simple advisor, a smile that belonged to those who had known countless battles and experienced life-and-death fights.

“Ah! Sir Ron, are you heading somewhere?”

Vincent had been walking towards the griffons after giving instructions to all the nobles in the embassy. Someone called out towards him. He turned around and gave a slight bow with a friendly smile.

“Yes, Lady Seyrod. I think I will have to visit Conrad Castle for a while.”

“Is that so? I had something that I wanted to discuss with you…”

Luna slightly blurted the end of her sentence.

“Ah, really? What should we do… I don’t think I could talk for too long, I’m in a bit of a hurry…”

Vincent was truly apologetic. He wanted to be nice to Lady Seyrod, who always tried her best.

“Anyways, what is the matter? We can talk as we walk.”

He wanted to help out in whatever ways he could, so he asked as he continued his steps. Luna quickly replied with a brightened expression.

“It’s regarding the copper business you mentioned to me the other day. A nobleman from Sigilah came to see me…”

“Oh, that must be one of the people I have already talked to. There should be no need to worry, push ahead.”

Vincent remembered the presence of a noble from Sigilah who had been interested in purchasing iron and copper ore from the Seyrod family. He nodded with a smile. The noble must have visited Luna before he could arrange for them to meet. Perhaps due to the merchant’s short temper.

“I see, it’s as I thought. All right then. I am sorry to have stolen your time when you were busy.”

“Anytime. If you have any questions regarding business, feel free to send me a letter. Then I will be on my way.”

“Yes. Thank you, Sir Ron.”

After politely bowing to Luna, Vincent disappeared into the griffon barracks that was located behind the embassy.

Luna finally turned back with a relieved expression. However, she soon tilted her head with a slight frown.

“Maybe I should have told him the name of the noble…?”

As she hesitated, a griffon carrying Vincent squealed and flew high into the sky.

“Well, I guess I can’t help it. I can leave a letter and confirm with him when I leave for Leus.”

Luna observed the griffon as it grew smaller in the distance, before finally turning around.

*** 

The next day, Luna left a letter to Vincent before boarding a merchant ship to Leus with her first batch of copper.

“Ah! Lady Seyrod, welcome!”

Just like the first day she saw him, the nobleman named Toban Baltai from Sigilah greeted her with a large smile.

“This is a very large ship. Ah, the copper should already…”

“Haha! I am a merchant after all. I have already checked it thoroughly. Phew! The quality was very good, just as the rumors said! My lord will be very satisfied as well. Thank you, my lady.”

“Don’t mention it…”

Luna lowered her eyes at the pride she felt. 

Baltai clapped his hands as if remembering something.

“Oh my, I almost forgot! Let me introduce you. Hey! Come out and give your greetings.”

“Huh?”

Two people appeared from the cabins and arrived in front of the wide-eyed Luna. 

There was a boy who was around 13 or 14 years old with a cute appearance and a young man with a calm, reliable atmosphere.

“They are a servant and an escort I specially prepared for Lady Seyrod.”

“Ah, is that so…”

The boy quickly bowed deeply and greeted Luna when she showed a little vigilance.

“Hello, Lady Seyrod. My name is Rollo. I will do my best to serve you! Just let me know if you need anything!”

“Nice to meet you, my lady. I will keep you safe until we arrive in Leus. You can call me Carlin.”

She noticed that the boy looked quite smart, and the young man named Carlin also seemed decent. Her vigilance soon eased.

“Until you meet Duke Pendragon in Leus, these two will be serving you, my lady. Then…”

Baltai continued with a brighter and deeper smile plastered on his face.

“I hope you have a comfortable~ journey. Hahahaha!”

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