“Double check all your personal belongings and drinks!”
“Make sure you have the salt!”
It was quite hectic since morning with 1,000 people getting busy preparing for departure. Even if they were a scouting party, having so many members meant it would take longer to get ready. The soldiers had proud expressions, but hints of anxiety could be seen on their faces as well. After all, they were in charge of a grave mission - the first important operation of the United Southern Army.
The remaining soldiers at the base had regretful expressions as they observed the busily-preparing members of the scouting party.
The disappointment wasn’t only limited to men either.
“Your Grace, this…”
Lindsay held something out. Unlike the noisy outside, it was relatively quiet inside the tent. As she tied a red handkerchief around the left scapula of the White Dragon Armor, a small smile appeared around Raven’s mouth.
It was something that a fiancée or a married woman would do before their beloved left for battle.
Raven patted Lindsay’s head with one of his hands. The warmth of his touch was felt, as he had yet to equip his gloves.
Even though they had been together for quite a long time, Lindsay became shy at the affectionate touch. Raven was suddenly reminded of the expedition to recapture the family mausoleum.
She had always brought him water to wash with every morning and helped the soldiers in preparing the meals in the evenings, even when her hands became rough and filled with callouses.
Now that she married into the family, she did not need to suffer the same hardships as back then. Still, she always remained humble and true.
There was a shortage of cooks on the first day that the coalition stationed at the current castle, as they needed to prepare food for thousands of people. Not recognizing her identity, the cooks had brought her in to help out after they spotted her lingering around the kitchen.
On top of having a fair appearance, the lady did an excellent job with everything she was tasked with, so they were very satisfied. However, a maid belated recognized her identity and the kitchen was turned upside down.
Irene scolded Lindsay after the incident, and Lindsay did not act in such a manner afterwards, however, the news of the duke’s wife helping out with the kitchen work became a hot topic of discussion around the coalition for several days.
“At most, it might take around 10 days. I asked Leon and some of our friends from Ancona to guard your side, so everything should be fine. However, try to always remain by Irene’s side.”
Raven could not think of a safer place for her to be. They were surrounded by thousands of soldiers on all sides, and Leon would guard her side day and night along with four Ancona Orcs.
Nevertheless, Raven’s gaze towards Lindsay contained worry and affection. In the past, he might have felt embarrassed, but he was no longer the same, awkward man.
Lindsay was also very pleased with her beloved’s affectionate gaze.
“I will do as you say.”
Lindsay bowed her head with flushed cheeks.
Her appearance was more than enough to ignite the heart of a man who spent his entire life in misery and battle, and he was faithful to his feelings.
Lindsay let out a slight gasp when Raven lowered his hand from her head and hugged her gently. Her open lips were soon grazed by something hot and soft.
With their lips touching, Raven pulled her in with a strong force.
The soft scent of her perfume was transmitted, and it helped Raven calm down his mind and body. He had been a little bit on the edge from the upcoming departure.
Suddenly, he felt a desire to spend some more time with her. She would never refuse if he wanted to. She was always by his side, and she always showed unconditional love for him. Had her honest heart incited a change in him?
Raven left behind his disappointment and lightly took off his lips.
Lindsay opened her eyes gently. Her face was as red as a beet, full of embarrassment and heat. Raven gently smiled when he saw the remnants of regret in her eyes and facial expression.
They had spent a passionate time just last night, but it was clear from her expression that she shared in the same desires as him.
“What more do you want to do?”
“Y, your Grace…”
Lindsay became flustered at the mischievous words, and she lowered her eyes.
“I was just jesting. I should get going. Stay healthy until I come back.”
Raven lightly kissed her white forehead, then pressed down his helm. Lindsay brushed off his armor and cape with her hands, making sure it was free of dust, though it would certainly be dirtied very soon.
“Please come back safely…”
Please come back… Had he ever felt such joy at those words?
Raven nodded vigorously, feeling his heart become warm.
“I will. Get some more rest, there is no need to see me out.”
There were bound to be many knights and soldiers waiting outside, and Lindsay did not have the courage to go out alongside her husband. She nodded shyly.
Leaving her behind, Raven spread open the tent flaps.
Outside, there were dozens of people waiting for him. They were Irene, Mia, and the knights and soldiers of the Pendragon Duchy with Isla at the head.
Raven’s two younger sisters approached him with delight. Then they rubbed themselves against his arms and legs as if they had been waiting.
Raven patted Mia on the head as she tightly hugged his thighs. Raven was proud of his youngest sister, but also a little sad. Even though they had an iron-clad system of guards, Mia had left her mother’s side for the first time in her life and followed him to a faraway place.
“Please be careful, brother.”
“Yes. I leave Lindsay and Mia in your care.”
Irene spoke with tearful eyes, and Raven nodded in response.
“I’m witnessing something divine.”
The knights and the soldiers became enchanted at the interaction between the brother and his two sisters. It was as if they were looking at a painting.
As Raven looked down at his two sisters with warm eyes, he noticed something out of the corner of his eyes.
There was one more unexpected person.
It was Iriya.
“I sincerely pray that Your Excellency will come back safely…”
Iriya approached him with large strides before she attempted to hold something out. Then, she paused, her eyes remaining on the handkerchief which was tightly wrapped on one side of Raven’s scapula.
Feeling awkward and embarrassed, Iriya lightly bit her lips and tried to lower her hand which held a handkerchief. However, her attempt was nullified.
Before she could lower her hand, Raven grabbed her handkerchief. Then, he tied it to his other scapula.
“I hope you can continue to manage the supplies without a problem, Lady Mandy.”
Raven calmly spoke towards Iriya, who was looking at him with a surprised expression. She quickly came to her senses and bowed deeply.
“I will do my best, Your Excellency.”
A smile of joy appeared as she lowered her head.
“Then I will get going.”
“Yes, Your Excellency!”
With the exception of the three women, the rest of the people followed behind him.
“Phew! Damned earth be split… Ha…!”
Karuta breathed out a long sigh as he waddled beside Raven.
“Why are you sighing like that? The ground might really split.”
Raven asked with a frown, and Karuta looked up and down at Raven before letting out another sigh.
“One person has women crawling all over him even after he travels a millions miles from home, while one person does not even get a chance to hold an orc lady’s hand… Oh Earth God! Why do you continue to put your bravest, most confident child through such trials and tribulations?”
Raven slowly turned his eyes away, feeling a little embarrassed by Karuta’s words.
“Why are you being so noisy? It just happened to turn out this way.”
“Why am I being noisy? Noisy? Keung! Good! Good that you bring that up. Last night, the sound of scarecrows BREEDING could be heard all the way to the orcs’ tents. It was so loud that my orcs were telling me to go quiet it down. You’re pretty strong for a scarecrow, huh?”
Karuta spoke openly and without hesitation, and Raven almost tripped over his own foot.
Taking notice of Raven’s accident, Karuta rattled on even more.
“Keung! What? Are you feeling weak? Well, that’s completely understandable. You were going all out, breeding for hours without sleeping. No wonder you don’t have the strength to walk.”
The soldiers walking behind the two quickly covered their mouths and lowered their heads to stop themselves from bursting into laughter.
“N, no, what do…”
Raven stuttered. He had not been this taken back since he arrived at the South. Someone sneakily walked up beside Raven and commented.
“I, Elkin Isla, cannot help admire the lord for having an iron will to fulfil the responsibilities as the head of the duchy, regardless of whether it be day or night. My lord, I have no doubt that the future young master and the young lady will surely inherit that great will and go on to become remarkable figures.”
With Isla joining in on the attack, Raven could only stay silent with a red-hot face.
“Why are you in admiration? They only did it three times. If you are blessed by the Earth God and have an object as big as mine, even doing it ten times in one night is possible.”
“Hm, people of the world would call that groundless confidence.”
“What? You dare, you expressionless scarecrow? Do you know how jealous the orcs get after they come with me to the baths even once? Their eyes become wide open, and…”
“There are many kinds of surprises. Maybe they were shocked that it was so small.”
“What, what? Hey, you scarecrow bastard. Watch what you say. I, Karuta am destined to embrace dozens of Orc ladies…!”
“To think that one would declare his will to water the entire forest, when he has not even watered a single tree yet, I feel embarrassed at your words.”
“Hmm, I think he is right.”
Raven agreed with Isla, and Karuta became dumbfounded.
The mouths of the knights and the soldiers following behind the three men quivered endlessly, and their faces heated up. However, they did not dare to laugh in front of Karuta, the strongest Ancona Orc warrior. He had already earned himself the title “Red God of War” after all.
They tried desperately to hold back their laughter.
“Hey! You scarecrows are really…”
They soon arrived at the raining ground as they bickered with one another. The members of the scouting party had gathered already. Viscount Moraine greeted them.
“Something pleasant must have happened, Your Excellency.”
“Well… something like that.”
Raven evaded the question with a vague answer, then coordinated his expression before standing in front of the 1,000-strong scouting party.
Raven nodded as he looked over the scouting party. They seemed much stronger compared to the beginning, perhaps due to the harsh training and ample rest.
“Everybody listen up! As you may already know, we have three objectives! First! We will secure a safe supply route from the garrison to the entrance of the Great Forest. Second! We will destroy the smaller groups of monsters to promote the safety of nearby territories and villages. Third! We will have the demonic army completely assimilate with us!”
The soldiers answered at the same time, banging on the left chest of their cylindrical armor.
“If this mission is successful, all subsequent operations will be much easier for the coalition! Especially by concentrating the armies of widespread monsters into a few locations! It will relieve the burdens for allies to join us, and for us to act together, including Valvas!”
Raven continued to raise his voice towards the training ground, which was scorching with silent passion.,
“But to complete the mission, many of you may not be able to come back! But remember! Your struggle and sacrifice will save the residents of the South! Your parents and brothers will be able to continue to live on this land in peace and prosperity!”
A much louder shout reverberated throughout the training ground.Previous Chapter Next Chapter