It was especially quiet today in front of the Leus Gate, where cold winds swirled through and twirled around the carriages and the travellers.
A group of people hurriedly passed through the gates with stiff expressions at the words of a guard.
A horn trumpet resounded a long tone in the far distance.
“I think they have arrived.”
Sir Kyle Vaughn, one of the company captains of the 7th regiment, mumbled while turning his head towards the gate.
Then, a huge flag embroidered with the symbol of the city of Leus and the Pendragon Duchy descended from the wall.
At Kyle Vaughn’s cry, the soldiers of the 7th regiment rushed out and lined both sides of the gate. Simultaneously, the carriages that were lined up to enter Leus moved to the side of the road, and travellers were also directed by soldiers to the sides of the road.
“What the hell is going on? I’m so busy right now.”
A man mumbled grumpily. Another man quickly stepped forward with a response.
“Shhhh! A, are you trying to get yourself killed?”
“Huh? No, why? What’s the big deal?”
The peddler lowered his head and asked in a quiet voice. Everyone around him, including the man who responded, had turned their heads towards him at his very first remark.
“I guess you have not heard of the news yet. It is not just news, it’s huge news. The new governor-general was nearly assassinated, and the daughter of High Lord Count Seyrod, who was there with him, died.”
The peddler displayed enormous shock and let out a puff.
“And now it looks like the people of the Pendragon Duchy and High Lord Count Seyrod have arrived, so watch your behavior in front of the high lord who lost his daughter.”
The man eagerly explained. Then, the gate opened wide with the loud sound of the drums.
“It is the procession of the governor-general! Everyone, show respect!”
A group of horses and carriages appeared from inside the gate at the shout of the soldier.
Raven led the group along with Viscount Moraine. Raven was equipped with the White Dragon Armor without his helmet, and Viscount Moraine was clad in a breastplate decorated with the symbol of the 7th regiment. Imperial soldiers followed behind them, escorting a carriage decorated with gold.
A transparent glass coffin was placed on top of the open carriage like an altar, and inside it lay a girl in a white dress covered by exotic flowers and plants.
Everyone recognized her as Luna Seyrod, the lady who was killed in the horrific assassination attempt. People took off their hats and bowed their heads to pray for her soul.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
The sounds of the drums attempting to comfort the dead grew louder and louder, breaking the frozen winter air. On the far side of the imperial road, a large procession led by the flag of the wolf and the dragon gradually approached through the divide created by the travellers and their carriages.
The drums soon died down, and the procession stopped in front of Raven and Viscount Moraine. The dragon and wolf flags moved to the side in the fluttering wind, and someone came out through the middle on a horse.
It was a middle-aged knight with a black cape.
Seeing the soulless, vain expression of the middle-aged knight, Raven bit his lips tightly before dismounting his horse and walking forward.
The middle-aged knight also dismounted his horse.
The two came face-to-face in front of the silent gate, and Raven swallowed a sigh before opening his mouth.
“Your Excellency Seyrod, I am sorry.”
Raven spoke while putting his right hand on the pommel of his sword and bowing his head deeply. Count Seyrod’s shoulders trembled slightly at the duke’s sincere words. The duke did not have to bow to anyone except the emperor.
“Because of my incompetence… Your daughter has met such a fate. I am completely at fault.”
Raven said with sincerity. He knew better than anyone how losing one’s blood relatives felt.
Count Seyrod briefly glanced at Raven without speaking, then opened his lips.
However, words failed to escape his mouth, and he had to open and close his mouth several times before he could make a sound.
“…Not at all. How could this be your fault? My foolish daughter was tricked by the evil men and almost brought harm to you… I am responsible for raising my child wrong, so please raise your head.”
Raven looked up. He could not hide his bitterness.
Raven could not find anything to say to Count Seyrod as the middle-aged man looked at him with an expression that was neither crying nor smiling.
After a moment, the count slowly moved his gaze.
He saw his daughter laying in the glass coffin. It was as if she was simply sleeping in the cold light under the winter sun.
“My daughter… Luna…”
Count Seyrod walked towards the glass while mumbling in a trembling voice. His daughter had a smile that was mild and soft. She looked too peaceful.
Heavy tears eventually flowed from the father’s eyes. He sobbed silently while stroking the glass coffin with his rough hands. When the glass became blurred by the falling tears, he wiped it and continued to howl silently at the sight of his silent daughter.
Whether they had children or not, everyone’s eyes became red at the sight.
After silently shedding tears for some time, Count Seyrod slowly turned around. He spoke while staring at Raven with bloodshot eyes stained with tears.
“I am ashamed to have shown you such a sight. Although she was not born of my blood, I have raised her with my heart. Though she was a foolish and lacking daughter, please consider it a father’s sentiment at having to send his daughter away first.”
Even in this situation, Count Seyrod apologized to him. Raven clenched his teeth unknowingly.
It was not Count Seyrod’s fault.
Nor was it the fault of the dead Luna.
The fault was with those who deceived her.
If it was her fault for coming to Leus because of her love for him, because she wanted nothing more than to see him once, then all the crooks in the world deserved to be excused. If the same logic was followed through, the fault lay with the ones that were deceived.
Yes, the ones who deceived the girl and enticed her with love were to be blamed.
Raven’s teeth were clenched hard to stifle the rising anger. He managed to barely continue.
“Don’t apologize... It was not your fault… Nor was it your daughter’s fault.”
Raven’s voice was clearly heard by everyone nearby.
“Your Excellency Duke Pendragon…”
Raven continued with a voice full of anger while directly staring at Count Seyrod.
“I swear on my name… I swear on the honor of Pendragon that I will find those who brought this on your daughter. I will find them and pay them back a hundred, no, a thousand-fold.”
After saying so, Raven took out a dagger and split his palm. Red blood flowed and soaked his hand.
Without giving the others a chance to be surprised, Raven walked up to the glass coffin and pressed his blood-soaked palms on top of the glass.
Everyone’s gaze headed towards the bloody imprint.
“Before these bloodstains disappear, I will cut off the heads of all the bastards who have led to the death of your child and bring it before you. I promise on the name of Alan Pendragon.”
The words of the empire’s duke in itself were a valid promise.
However, the young duke had taken it even further and declared in front of everybody, even swearing upon his blood.
“Your Excellency Duke Pendragon…”
Count Seyrod smiled. He smiled while shedding tears.
The promise would be kept.
The wicked dogs that used his daughter, killed her, and attempted to kill the empire’s duke would pay for their sins with death.
After some time, Count Seyrod and his knights led the carriage containing Luna’s body and left. However, there was still a simple carriage and dozens of escorts left behind under the Pendragon family’s flag.
“Keung! Pendragon scarecrow!”
Karuta came towards Raven with an angry expression. Thirty orc warriors followed behind him.
For orcs, death was only a gateway to the earth god. The place where they died was the battlefield. Old orcs died fighting. Orcs that were old and knew of their coming death left to die hunting bears at the least.
It was the orc’s honor to fall fighting.
For such species, Luna’s death was a terrible disgrace that could not be washed away even by killing the perpetrators a hundred times. In addition, Luna was one of the first humans Karuta met when he left Ancona Forest, and she had shown favor towards him.
That was why Karuta could not hide his anger.
“Those fucking bastards deserve to be buried in the elves’ forest as fertilizer. Karuta will also be there when you kill them. Don’t say no.”
Karuta let out the worst curse for orcs with a furious expression.
Raven nodded with a stiff face.
“Even if you did not want to, I was going to drag you along anyways.”
“Keung! Leave it to me!”
People backed away with weary faces as Karuta thumped his thick chest that was wrapped in hard, steel armor. Due to its nature as a port city, Leus saw many orcs coming and going, but it was rare for the people to see an orc as large and hideous as Karuta.
At Karuta’s cry, the carriage with the Pendragon Duchy’s symbol neared the castle gate with the orc warriors.
“I greet my lord.”
Isla gave his greetings from the coachman’s seat before opening the carriage door. As three people exited the carriage, the surroundings seemed to light up slightly.
Irene and Lindsay called out Raven in trembling voices. Both had their hair fixed with golden pins and they were dressed in black dresses.
Mia stood beside the two with a gloomy expression.
“Yes, it is good to have you all here.”
Raven approached the three people.
And surprisingly, he began to embrace them one by one.
It happened so quickly that Irene stiffened with an open mouth, and Lindsay became flustered with her face dyed red. Only Mia returned the embrace by hugging her brother with a teary face.
“It is good to have you. How was everything on the way here?”
Irene was unable to respond to the shock. She had already been shocked by the death of Luna, but now her brother had done something unexpected.
The answer came from Lindsay.
“Ye, yes? Everything was fine, your grace. Sir Isla and Karuta were so attentive and took good care of us.”
“I see. Anyways, you must have suffered to come such a long way. Let’s save the formalities for later and get inside first.”
“Yes, Your Excellency. Now, Lady Mia.”
Lindsay answered shyly, then entered the carriage after fixing Mia’s clothing.
“Elkin, let’s head to the residence.”
“Yes, my lord.”
Isla bowed before getting on the coachman’s seat.
But one person was still standing stiff like a stone with a blank expression on her face.
“Lady Irene, let us go.”
“Ah! Yes, yes!”
Irene was quick to come back to her senses at Isla's voice. The knight was cold towards everyone, but his attitude softened when dealing with the ladies of the Pendragon Duchy.
‘Fool! Idiot! You should be ashamed of yourself!’
Irene rebuked herself for losing her senses at her brother’s hug, especially when Luna, whom she had been close to since childhood, had just passed away. She quickly boarded the carriage.
The Pendragon family’s procession passed through, and the gate of Leus started to take in regular carriages and travellers once more.
Most people travelled in groups of three or four, but there was a tall, conspicuous person who was walking by themselves towards the gate. The figure walked neither too fast nor too slow.
Passersby kept glancing towards the figure. The figure was wearing a thin, unseasonable white robe, and had a hood covering their face.
“Look at that person.”
“Wow! He’s so tall.”
“Don’t you see the sword at the end of the robe? It’s a knight, a knight.”
“Look at those shoes. He’s a knight for sure.”
Those who saw the boots of unknown silvery-white metal and the blade whispered to each other. However, no one was brave enough to get close to the figure.
However, the figure paid no attention to the crowd’s mutterings and calmly walked towards the castle’s gate
A strong gale happened to blow the hood off the figure.
Everyone, including those on foot and those on carriages, let out exclamations of wonder and opened their eyes wide at the unexpected sight.Previous Chapter Next Chapter