Even though she was dressed in pants, Lindsay was beautiful. The naïve, young girl could no longer be found in her appearance.
While Irene still had a girlish charm, Lindsay was slowly becoming a woman.
“Please have a seat over here. I will bring some tea.”
Lindsay naturally hugged Raven’s arm before leading him to a sofa covered with fluffy fur, then brought a steaming teapot and a teacup.
Raven nodded inwardly at the sight.
It seemed that she had already prepared everything before his arrival.
It was not just her appearance that was becoming more mature, but her attitude also blossomed into one befitting the lady of a duchy.
“It is a little hot, so take your time with it.”
Lindsay sat right next to Raven while drawing the tea water. A mixture of plain polyscent and her body odor stimulated Raven’s sense of smell. A smile of indescribable comfort appeared on his face.
“How was everything today? No motion sickness?”
“Yes, I am fine. Rather, I am worried about you, your grace. You have been on deck the entire time, what if you catch a cold…?”
She knew better than anyone that Raven was not the same weak young master from a year ago, but her words reflected worries for her beloved.
“Why? Are you afraid that I will give you a cold?”
Lindsay became confused at Raven’s words, then quickly realized the deeper meaning and blushed. To transfer a cold between husband and wife meant…
“I, T, that was not what I was referring to…”
Raven smiled faintly at her flustered appearance and stroked her head in silence.
“It is just a joke. Everything has been comfortable?”
“Yes. I’m just sorry that there is nothing I can do to help.”
Lindsay lowered her eyes with an apologetic look in response to Raven’s touch.
“No. Rather, I should be apologizing for bringing you, Irene and Mia all the way here. Moreover, it should be getting quite noisy in four days… But I had no other choice to ensure your safety, so please understand.”
As he said, it was dangerous to leave them behind in Leus. Luna Seyrod had died even in his presence. He could never leave them in Leus.
He felt uncomfortable leaving them in Conrad Castle either.
Although it was protected by his knights including Killian and Argos, the enemy was skilled in sorcery and black magic.
It was impossible to predict how they would approach.
Above all, the opponent had information about this side, but it did not run vice versa. The only information Raven had regarding the enemy was that they were known as the Nameless Necromancer.
Therefore, he had to keep them close to him until he could at least get a clear grasp of the enemy’s identity. It would be safer for them to be with him as he dealt with the pirates and the island orcs rather than leave them to an ominous and obscure enemy.
“Noisy… Do you mean that there is going to be a battle?”
“Yes. But there is nothing to be afraid of…”
“We are not afraid, brother.”
Irene interjected while pushing aside a curtain from the inner areas of the cabin. She had a smile on her face.
“Yes. I am not afraid either, your grace. I know that you are here. Besides, Lord Soldrake will be here as well.”
Raven was a little surprised.
He was thankful that they were enduring the long voyage and the arduous times on the islands. To see their resolution before the battle, Raven felt a mixture of gratitude and apologetic.
“Brother, the women of Pendragon are not weak. We are a knight’s daughter, and a knight’s woman.”
“It is as the lady says, your grace. I am your… I am a lady of the duchy.”
The gazes of the two ladies were calm and determined. Raven nodded, feeling a little embarrassed.
The two were not just young and weak girls for him to cradle and protect. As women of Pendragon, they were clearly aware of their responsibilities and duties, and they were much stronger and mature than he could have ever thought.
“Yes. The two of you are women of Pendragon. I had forgotten. I will not worry too much anymore.”
The two ladies responded with a bright smile, and Raven continued.
“But as you know, Mia is still young. Leon will continue to guard and protect everyone, but you two still have to take good care of her.”
“As you say, your grace.”
Irene added on with a smile.
“The baroness and I will take care of her, but I am sure she will be fine. Brother, did you forget what Mia likes?”
“Since you mention it. I guess so, too.”
Raven smirked unconsciously.
Mia was definitely different from other girls her age in many ways. She was shy, but she was unafraid. She liked stories of knights and monsters. Mia had been the most excited when it was announced that they would be crossing the sea by boat.
“Anyways… I believe in you two.”
“Yes, your grace.”
Raven felt strange to see the two ladies, who were much younger than him, respond with vigor and determination. He was touched by an emotion that he had felt towards loyal knights such as Isla and Killian.
He was reassured.
Isla nodded softly while listening to the conversation of the three from outside the cabin. His choice to serve Alan Pendragon as his lifelong lord was correct. It held true for the lord’s lady and his sisters as well.
“I am truly lucky…”
A faint, rare smile appeared on the lips of the knight, the one who would soon claim his title as the Stormbringer.
“What is the situation?”
“They circled around three times before heading back. What persistent bastards.”
“They are not ones to be ignorant of the fact that we are keeping watch over them. It is obvious that by now, they would have realized we sent a message to the main force.”
At the words of the Swordfish, the pirates shared an anxious gaze. It was truly a relief that their ship was anchored in a deep cave on the island. It was a secret location only known to them, but they could be discovered by the 7th regiment if they were unlucky.
“Take turns and keep a watch on them. As soon as they set sail, we join the main forces as soon as we figure out the path they are taking.”
The pirates nodded their heads and jumped over the rocks, quickly exiting the cave.
“Everything is alright with your young master?”
“We will have 1,000 in just orcs alone. All you have to do is chase them towards the Latuan Strait. After that, our young master and the Arangis fleet will take care of everything.”
Swordfish’s eyes thinned at Yusuf’s gloomy voice.
‘So you are planning to use us as bait to distract the 7th regiment ships? Hoohoo. You want to blow your nose without touching it.’
The two combat ships of the 7th regiment would pose the most threat and work as the biggest variable in the plan. Even though the Latuan Strait was the backyard of the island orcs and the pirates, the 7th regiment was not a pushover.
Many pirate ships had underestimated the 7th regiment in the past when the imperial army was away from their home ground, the Merlade Sea, and countless pirate ships now lay at the bottom of the ocean after being destroyed at the hands of the 7th regiment.
It would be burdensome even for the Arangis Duchy and the island orcs to deal with the 7th regiment’s battle ships, especially when they were under the direct command of Viscount Moraine.
It was obvious that they were attempting to leave the hard work to the three major pirates, since it didn’t matter to them what happened to the pirates.
“Well, good. That was the plan from the beginning. But…”
Yusuf recoiled as the voice of the Swordfish became colder.
“Isn’t it only fair that the ones cleaning up the biggest shit should be rewarded accordingly? Surely the Ocean King should be that generous? Especially since he claims to be the master of the sea.”
Yusuf coughed with a shameless look. The Swordfish continued in an even icier voice.
“Give us 80 percent of the total gold. And whether it be a daughter or a mistress, we will take one woman hostage as well.”
Yusuf was shocked.
Alan Pendragon would be killed anyway, but the three accompanying girls were a different matter. As soon as the battle ended, the three girls were to be brought to Crete Island as hostages. Since they were ladies of a duchy that inherited the blood of the royal family, it would give them an advantage in negotiating with the royal family.
“No. The girls and the dragon’s wife come with us no matter what.”
Yusuf spoke in a firm voice, raising his tone.
It was not an issue if a commander was killed during a battle, regardless of their status, but it was different for women. If one were to kill a woman of a noble family, especially if they were a great noble belonging to a duchy, they would be criticized by the entire empire and the southern lords.
Even though they were not loyal to the emperor, the southern nobles also claimed themselves to be knights. The most dishonorable thing for a knight was to harm an unarmed lady of noble origins.
Even if they were hostages, the three girls’ safety had to be assured by the Arangis Duchy. So how could they leave the fate of a duchy’s lady in the hands of pirates, who treated human lives like dust and violated women, regardless of their age and status?
If the rumor spread, the Arangis Duchy would be criticized by everyone.
“If you do not comply with this request, we will act independently and make a separate plan.”
Yusuf snorted and laughed with a distorted expression, as if finding the request ridiculous.
“Hmph! Do you think that’s going to work now? You think the master will forgive you?”
Becoming hostile to the Arangis Duchy in the sea spelt a horrible end, especially in the southern sea. They would no longer be able to continue as pirates, and their very lives may be endangered.
However, Swordfish replied with a relaxed attitude.
“Whatever the case, your side is planning to engage them at the Latuan Strait’s exit. But what if we drive the 7th regiment ships and the Pendragon’s ships somewhere else?”
“We have at least six sailboats and more than twenty galleys. We might suffer more damage, but if we lure the 7th regiment ships with our sailboats and attack the merchant ships with our galleys, we are likely to succeed on our own.”
Yusuf jumped up in anger. But he stopped himself from swearing and sat down while gritting his teeth. He was angry, but the Swordfish was not wrong.
In the first place, the temporary alliance between the Arangis family, including the island orcs, and the three major pirates, was formed to completely guarantee the end for Duke Pendragon and the 7th regiment.
However, the pirates could also act on their own and take hostages and plunder the gold from the merchant ships before running away. With hundreds of thousands of gold coins, they could escape to another kingdom and build up their own forces. Even then, they would have leftovers.
‘John Myers. If it’s him, he could certainly act on his own. Most of all, this shitty rat is always by his side…’
Yusuf was boiling with anger, but he needed to calmly grasp the situation. Of the three major pirates, the Winter Storm was the most numerous and powerful.
If they gained hundreds of thousands of gold coins and hostages, they would be able to further expand their influence. Even the Arangis Duchy would be forced to become wary.
“Dammit! Fine. But our young master will decide which of the three you will get to take as hostage. Objection?”
The Swordfish shook his head lightly, then held out his hand with a polite smile.
“Then let us continue to maintain a strong alliance.”
“Hmph! Stop with the bullshit, and make sure you fight well. Fucking hell…”
Yusuf smacked the Swordfish’s hand, then turned around and walked away with an angry expression.
“Hoo-hoo! Get some rest tonight. We will be busy tomorrow from dawn.”
The Swordfish spoke in a sly voice. However, Yusuf’s expression was no longer angry as he waddled away.
Rather, a grim smile decorated his face.
‘Dirty pirate bastards… I was going to be lenient, but I guess it can’t be helped. Wait and see…’
Although they worked together, each had its own plans.
As if to predict the futures of the two forcibly united characters, strong waves repeatedly filled the cave and washed away vainly.
Early next morning, the three merchant ships and two battle ships set sail as soon as the wind died down. As they left the island, the seabird sent by the Swordfish spread its wings and flew away.
A note was attached to the seabird’s leg, and only one line was scribbled.
‘Begin Dragon Hunt’Previous Chapter Next Chapter