Chapter 174

“I am fine. Thank you for your concern.”

Raven’s faint smile – it provided unparalleled relief and joy for Lindsay.

“Your grace…”

Lindsay could not name the torrent of emotions that swept through her. All the tension left her body, and she leaned against Raven without meaning to.

Raven caught her.

A refreshing scent of her skin was conveyed with the subtle, sweet smell of perfume. Raven held Lindsay tightly to his chest and felt his heart warming up. Her small, voluptuous body was surprisingly soft and warm.

It did not take long for the warmth to turn into heat. Raven moved his hand to slowly lift her small chin.

Was it because of the warmth of the fireplace?

Her small face was dyed red, and her long eyelashes shivered shyly.

Raven’s gaze swept past her eyes and remained on the slightly open, plump lips. A moment of thirst overcame Raven, and he gently leaned his face towards her.

“Aah…”

A sound escaped her mouth. It was unknown whether it was a moan or an exclamation, but it riled up a greater thirst in him.

Raven could not hold back anymore. He grabbed Lindsay’s thin waist with one hand and brought her closer to him.

As the two lips were about to finally meet…

Knock knock!

“Heuk!”

The unanticipated sound caused the two to separate at the speed of light.

“My lord, may I come in?”

Isla’s voice called out from the other side. Raven coughed and gave a response.

“Ehem! Come in.”

The door opened, and Isla walked in.

“Hm?”

His eyes glimmered momentarily at the sight of Lindsay, but he did not express his thoughts. He bowed politely.

“Lady Baroness Conrad.”

“S, sir Isla.”

Lindsay hurriedly replied with a red face while straightening her dress. Her appearance and the sight of Raven licking his lips with an embarrassed expression caused a slight change in Isla’s eyes.

“Yes, Elkin. What do you need?”

Raven asked in an awkward voice. A meaningful look appeared on Isla’s face, then he lightly shook his head.

“Nothing, my lord. Come to think of it, it was not that urgent. I will report to you later. Then excuse…”

“No, no. You can go ahead, say it.”

Raven hurriedly waved his hand, and Isla replied with a rare, faint smile.

“It really is not that urgent. There is nothing more important for I, Elkin Isla, knight of Pendragon, than my lord bearing a successor. Please focus on what you were doing, my lord.”

It was like this sometimes.

Isla sometimes nonchalantly spoke of things that others would be ashamed of.

“Heut!”

Raven choked on air, and Lindsay’s face seemed to be on the verge of exploding.

“I, I ,I, I will get going…”

Lindsay could not contain her shame and quickly stood up and ran out the door. Being placed in an awkward position, Isla narrowed his eyes and turned towards Raven.

“Ah! My apologies, my lord. I will go and bring back Baroness Conr…”

“No! Not at all! It’s quite all right. C, come, sit over here.”

Even at Raven’s beckoning, Isla shook his head apologetically.

“Well, still…”

“It is an order.”

- A stern voice that left no room for argument.

“Yes, my lord.”

Eventually, Isla bowed his head before sitting down on a chair.

“Ehem! So, what do you have to report?”

Raven quickly delved into the matter as if to hide his awkwardness. Isla replied with a calm expression.

“I have received a message that the shipment from York Town will arrive in four days.”

Isla took out a small letter that was rolled up to the size of a man’s thumb and held it out.

“Hmm.”

Raven received the letter, then carefully scanned its contents. He soon nodded his head satisfactorily.

“Good, perfect. How about the galley production?”

“Ten ships should be finished in six days, and all of the work is expected to be completed within this month.”

“Sir Moraine will be glad to hear that. What’s that status of recruiting soldiers?”

“It is going very smoothly. Most of them are from Merlade, so they are used to sailing. They do not need to be taught sailing separately. In addition, many mercenaries have had less work to do since Sagunda died. They have applied as well.”

“That’s good.”

Young men applying to become soldiers needed to be trained for several months to fight, even if they already knew the workings of a ship. On the other hand, a mercenary in a port city should be an expert in combat and be familiar with sailing as well.

If the two groups were trained together in the imperial army, the training period could be shortened, and the efficiency could be maximized.

“What about the rats hiding in the holes?”

“They have not shown any movements so far. I think we should set out bait for them.”

Isla suggested cautiously.

But Raven lightly shook his head and replied.

“No, this is enough. They have been through hell and high waters. If we throw anything more, they will likely become suspicious.”

Raven went on after drinking a sip from his tea that had already gone cold.

“There are ten boxes full of gold coins. Besides, I have already thrown out enough rumors in York Town. From here on out, we have to lure them out and make them fret using other methods.”

“Hm…”

Isla showed confusion at Raven’s words, and Raven continued after emptying the cup at once.

“They should be considering the two other sailing vessels from York Town as camouflage ships. I purposely chose ships that looked similar.”

“Yes, they should be thinking that.”

“But it is likely that they still have their doubts. Rats do not believe in anything they have not seen for themselves. So as soon as the ships arrive in Leus, we need to give them confirmation.”

“By confirmation…”

“As you know, it will take a long time to navigate through the waters. To arrive in the South, it will take around a month. So how much water and food will be needed to feed the soldiers during that period?”

“We will need to fill up the warehouse of one sailboat at the least. We have a lot of personnel.”

The 7th regiment itself would sail with them with two war ships and around 1,000 soldiers. Add to that the crew of the sailboat, the orc warriors that were known for their insatiable appetite, and the griffons from the duchy - A truly enormous amount of food would be required to sustain everyone.

“Yes, they should be aware of that. When the sailboat arrives at Leus, we would need to resupply the vessels immediately. At that time, we will move the gold coins to another ship except for the amount to be distributed in Leus.”

“Huh? Then aren’t you showing them where the coins will be?”

Isla narrowed his eyes with confusion. Raven replied with a thin smile.

“That is why we need to get ready. Get boxes prepared beforehand, make it as similar as possible.”

“Hmm… Lord, perhaps…?”

Isla raised his head as if finally realizing Raven’s plan.

“I guess you got the hang of it now. We do not need to fight dirty rats fairly. Especially if they are trying to rob us of our gold and my head in the open seas.”

“Hmm!”

Finally seeing the entire picture, Isla gave a big nod.

“Distribute stones and oil in the boxes. Make sure to seal it tightly so that the smell of the oil does not leak. All will be loaded onto the ship with griffons.”

“I will obey your orders.”

“I will show them hell in the ocean, a hell without anywhere to run to. I will show them, who dared deceive me and made Luna so…”

A blue flame flickered in the eyes of Raven as he murmured in a quiet voice. Isla shuddered and felt a heat rising in his heart at the sight. It was clear that the lord had already buried the shock and confusion of Luna Seyrod’s death in his heart.

‘As expected, my eyes were not wrong…’

His lord, Alan Pendragon, possessed a strong mind and body.

It was true.

The man named Raven Valt had a sturdier heart than a boulder after surviving for more than a decade’s worth of battles. All he had left was to avenge Luna’s death a hundred, a thousand times, as he had told Count Seyrod.

Raven believed it to be the way to repay her last smile.

The spirit flickering like the cold flame gradually receded in the silence.

After regaining his calm, Raven sighed lightly and spoke.

“Anyways, the problem is the parliament. Did you deliver all the letters?”

“Yes. Leon is on it with a knight from the regiment. I am told that all of them are staying on the low due to the assassination attempt against the lord and the death of Lady Seyrod.”

Due to the overlapping of Sagunda’s death and the assassination attempt on Raven, the merchants and the leaders of Leus were all shrinking in fear, like reeds in front of the wind.

“We just need to make them come out. If money and safety are guaranteed, they will step up no matter what.”

Leus was a huge city.

Manpower was very important in running such a city. Even with the newly recruited officials and the addition of some nobles from the Pendragon Duchy, it was still insufficient.

Thus, regional maintenance was required to keep the whole city running smoothly. Just like a huge machine, both small and large gears needed to be well-oiled and running for the machine to function. The community leaders of the Leus could be called the backbone of the city.

However, due to Leus’ nature as a trading city, it was impossible to suppress them only by force. If they retracted their money and left for another region, it could be a huge blow to the city’s economy.

“Even if we gather them up, what if they get greedy?”

Isla was more ignorant about such matters than Raven. He carefully voiced his concern.

“No, that will never happen.”

Raven shook his head.

He had opened his eyes to management thanks to the advice of Vincent Ron. Having an unparalleled genius as his advisor had worked wonders.

Of course, he was not comparable to those who had decades of experience in administration.

But he was the Duke of Pendragon, as well as the ruler of Leus. His ability to read the flow of the great nation and his judgement had risen to an almost unparalleled level compared to before.

“They have been rolling around in Leus for decades. They must be aware of the value of the Pendragon coins in Leus. Moreover, they should have already heard about the additional recruitment for the 7th regiment and the production of the galleys. I have everything they could want, so if we make a moderate concession, everyone will bow.”

“Yes, I am certain everything will go your way, my lord.”

Isla spoke in a stern voice full of unquestionable loyalty. Raven smiled faintly at his loyal knight.

“Of course. But in order for it to be successful, your role is important. In particular, the success or failure of the sea operation will be determined by you and the griffons. We need to put extra effort into our operational plans as well as keeping them confidential.”

If the inland sea campaign succeeded, Isla will achieve his original title.

Stormbringer.

In the years to come, Elkin Isla, the knight of Pendragon will be revered in the seas.

“I will not let you down.”

Isla was truly trustworthy. Raven tapped him on the shoulder in response.

“Thank you. It is only because of you and the other knights that the Pendragon Duchy has come this far.”

Isla’s shoulders trembled at Raven’s touch.

It was the greatest pleasure as a knight to receive the trust of his lord.

“I, Elkin Isla, am only carrying out my duties as a knight of the Pendragon Duchy.”

Isla bowed with his hand on his sword. The lord and the knight exchanged trust toward each other in the short silence.

“Good. Irene and Lindsay are here, so let’s all have dinner together tonight. Tell Leon to come after finishing his work.”

“Yes, my lord.”

Isla turned away after saluting.

But he had only taken a few steps when he remembered something and stopped.

“My lord.”

“Hmm? What’s wrong.”

Raven was about to sit in a chair, then turned around at the calling.

“Since I have finished my report, I will tell Baroness Conrad to come to the office.”

Isla spoke with the same, expressionless face.

“…..”

Raven’s body stiffened on the spot.

“For the glorious future of the Pendragon Duchy, I have no doubts that the lord will accomplish his iron will with Baroness Conrad. Then, I will see you later.”

Isla spoke with a voice overflowing with sincerity, then turned around and walked out proudly.

“Accomplish… with my iron will…”

The words sounded profoundly meaningful, but Raven’s head was placed in a dazed state.

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DantheMan's Thoughts

Isla is best & worst wingman at the same time.