The Territory of Kailas has joined the coalition, Your Grace!”
“Lord Frau and the Knights of Ron have also…”
Blida, the main castle of the Arangis Duchy, was in turmoil.
The deep wounds of the recent storm were still fresh in the duchy, and the nobles and the vassals of the duchy were at a loss with the continuous delivery of shocking news. The same held true for Arigo Arangis, the Arangis Duchy’s heir.
Arigo slammed the desk with an enraged expression.
The nobles and knights standing in front of him also had miserable expressions. They knew all too well why their young lord was so angry.
“You dare to pay back grace with betrayal! Those fucking worthless scum!”
Arigo swept through the desk in anger while yelling, and all kinds of rare items fell to the floor as if representing his fury. However, not one of the dozen people gathered in the office dared to speak up. They quietly observed the scene.
Someone carefully spoke. There was only one person who could express their opinion when Arigo Arangis was furious. It was Manuel, the duchy’s advisor.
Arigo answered while plopping down on his chair. He could not ignore Manuel’s words, not when the man had been serving the duchy for generations.
“Even though many families in the South have turned their backs against us, we still have more than 10,000 troops, and many lords and knights along the coast and on islands are on our side.”
Arigo nodded, his anger subsiding partially.
“Moreover, the southern families could come back to us at any time. I am sure that many of them were left with no choice. Pendragon and the coalition hold the cause and public sentiment in their hands after all.”
From an objective standpoint, no fool would abandon a relationship built on decades of exchange in such a way. There were still many lords in the South who were still loyal to the Arangis Duchy.
Blago’s turn was painful, but there were still several powerful territories remaining, including Annaba and Cesse.
The faces of the nobles became somewhat bright. Nevertheless, Arigo’s expression did not loosen.
“But there is no excuse to advance to the South. As was with Toleo, everyone believes that it was Oran who initiated the fight.”
The nobles’ expressions hardened once more.
“Besides, it is even worse this time around. The Knights of the Red Wheel, who maintained a close relationship with our family, attacked when the coalition was heading towards the Great Forest to take care of the monsters. Rumors are spreading that it was a cowardly ambush.”
Silence ensued once more.
A noble carefully raised his hand.
“Your Grace, now that things have turned out this way, what if we attack El Pasa with a large army? If we take El Pasa, the supplies for the coalition and Pendragon will be cut off, and then…”
Arigo Exploded with anger, and the noble drew in a sharp breath before cowering.
“Are you a fool? Attack the city of the governor without justification? You realize the governor represents the emperor, right? Do you think the imperial castle will just stand by and watch?”
“Do you actually think that the 7th and the 11th regiments are the only forces of the imperial army? Don’t you know that even three regions combined will make things difficult for us? Now that the southern families under our influence have turned their backs on us, victory is not guaranteed!”
“I, I apologize…”
“If you know to apologize, then shut your trap! Stop spouting such nonsense!”
The noble cowered even more at Arigo’s words. The others began feeling pity for him. He stepped back with his head lowered.
No one dared to speak in such a situation.
‘To think that even His Grace, who always maintained a cool head, would become like this…’
Even Manuel stayed silent while inwardly shaking his head at Arigo’s extreme anger. Arigo had changed due to a series of bad luck and defeat. An unprecedented storm had swept through the coast of Crete Island, and Toleo and Oran had died. Above all, his pride was wounded when Iriya Mandy sided with Duke Pendragon, especially when Arigo had put so much effort into obtaining her.
The aggregations of the various situations definitely impacted Arigo. Even though Arigo maintained a cold judgement, his irritation and impatience had increased in frequency as of late.
A monarch was a man of no shame.
There was nothing wrong with Arigo getting angry with the lords. After all, he would one day rule the great territory of the Arangis Duchy.
However, those that were gathered here were his closest aides. He would have to work with them for decades after becoming a duke. They were closer to companions rather than subordinates.
In addition, most of them had been with the Arangis Duchy for a long time. With the passing of generations, they assisted the Arangis Duchy in a militaristic relationship formed by blood, not of subordinance.
No matter how badly things were going, and no matter how angry Arigo was, treating them disrespectfully was never going to be beneficial for the duchy.
In fact, it was obvious that Arigo’s actions and words had seriously damaged the pride of some of the nobles here, although they could not express it openly.
‘There is no other choice…’
Manuel sighed inwardly, then attempted to speak out once more.
He was the only one who could appease Arigo’s anger and console the nobles at the same time.
“But Your Grace…”
The moment Manuel started to speak,
“Sir Bursa has a point as well.”
A low-pitched voice resounded.
Everyone turned their heads together, then widened their eyes in surprise.
There was a middle-aged man standing in front of them. He looked to be around fifty years old, and he adorned a purple robe decorated with gold embroidery. His half-white hair was combed neatly over his forehead.
The middle-aged man’s eyes sparkled coldly under the platinum crown embellished with various jewels. The nobles of the office fell on one knee and prostrated before him.
“My lord! I greet Your Excellency Duke Arangis, the Exalted Ocean King!”
The voices of the nobles were powerful even in the desperate situation. The middle-aged man was Duke Arangis, the Ocean King, who was known as the monarch of the south.
When Duke Arangis walked into the office with several knights wearing blue-coloured armor, Arigo hastily stood up with a flustered expression.
His father had gone into seclusion after leaving most of the duchy’s workings to him. He had Arigo brief him through private meetings in the meantime. However, the duke had finally broken the long silence and appeared at the gathering of the duchy’s nobles and vassals.
However, Duke Arangis slowly walked forward without sparing Arigo a glance, then sat on the chair where his eldest son had been sitting.
“Raise your heads.”
The nobles stood up one by one at the solemn voice.
“It has been a long time, everyone.”
“Yes, Your Excellency!”
Their eyes filled with joy and admiration at finally seeing their lord after several years. He was their true monarch, the one who had stood by their side for decades.
Manuel approached. His face was crumpled with various emotions, almost as if he were trying to contain his tears. Even as the long-time advisor of the Arangis Duchy, he had not seen the duke in almost a year.
He could not help but feel emotional.
“You have grown older, Manuel.”
“Please don’t say that, my lord. Your faithful servant can still serve the duchy for another 10 years.”
“I am grateful for your loyalty, but I am not a despicable man who would work an old man for another 10 years. You should start looking for a successor. Yes. It might be good to start training Geiden. He should develop further if he works for his father, don’t you think?”
“Y, your Excellency…”
Manuel cried out in an emotional voice.
As his eldest son, Geiden was still inexperienced and lacking in many ways to serve as an advisor to the duchy. As such, Geiden had been building his career in a vassal family of the Arangis Duchy, which the duke had remembered.
In addition, the duke had spoken of taking Geiden into the duchy’s center, Castle Blida. He could not help but be moved by the duke’s kindness.
The other nobles also nodded with respect as they looked towards the Ocean King. The duchy was at its strongest throughout the history, and it was all built up by the current duke.
But Arigo was restless ever since Duke Arangis entered the office.
“Excuse me, father…”
Arigo carefully opened his mouth.
Arigo showed his confusion, and Duke Arangis said coldly while looking straight at his successor.
“Call me with the appropriate title. This is an official place.”
“…Yes, Your Excellency.”
Arigo bowed his head while biting lightly on his lips.
Although Arigo was already 30 years old, married, and had children of his own, it was still difficult for him to deal with his father, the current duke.
“Your Excellency, you mentioned a moment ago that the words of Sir Bursa have a point as well. What did you mean by your words…?”
“It is as he said. Now that things have turned out this way, taking El Pasa could be the best solution.”
Arigo did not dare question his father’s words in public, so he silently licked his lips. In the meantime, the scolded noble raised his head proudly.
“But fat… Your Excellency. Under the current situation, we will be labelled as traitors by the imperial castle the moment we lead our army to El Pasa. Then the imperial army will start to intervene and…”
“How long will you be afraid of the imperial army?”
Duke Arangis interrupted Arigo’s words, and Arigos frowned at the response. However, Duke Arangis did not explain immediately. Instead, he turned to the nobles gathered in the office.
“All the lords except Manuel, please retreat to the palace for a moment. I will be there shortly.”
“As you wish…”
The dozens of nobles and knights left the office with their heads bowed. Soon, the doors closed, and only Duke Arangis, Arigo, and Manuel remained in the office.
Duke Arangis stared at his eldest son with a cold gaze and spoke.
“I ask you. Who did we designate as enemies when we first implemented the plan?”
Arigo became surprised at the unexpected question, then answered while bowing his head.
“First is the royal family.”
“The current Emperor, Shio, and Ian.”
“That is right. Shio has been eliminated, and the emperor has long lost his vitality. In the end, only Ian is left in the imperial castle. What about the second one?”
“Lindegor. But we decided to deal with them after we entered the mainland in earnest, after fully recognizing whether they would be allies or enemies.”
“It is hard to know what Lindegor is thinking. Above all, the existence of an angel is a huge variable, which is why I wanted to leave them alone for the time being. Now, who was the third one?”
Arigo bit his lips hard without realizing it, then answered softly.
“It was the Pendragon… Duchy.”
“Yes. And what did I tell you about the Pendragon Duchy?”
“You said that they were the weakest… but could become the most troublesome enemy.”
Duke Arangis stared at Arigo for a moment before answering.
“Yes. And now, that is what has become.”
Arigo was unable to lift up his head at the calm voice of his father.Previous Chapter Next Chapter