Raven was greatly shocked when he heard Viscount Moraine’s words. However, his surprise soon transformed into an indescribable passion.
“I… I’m going to be a father?’
He had been a little skeptical when he first heard Soldrake’s hinting words, but it felt a little different hearing it directly from someone. His heart fluttered without rest, and everything seemed surreal. Suddenly, someone’s face came to mind.
His father, who died on his behalf. His father had taken care of him after his mother passed away early on. Raven could barely recall his mother’s face. Somehow, Raven thought that his father had made the same expression when he first saw Raven.
He must have been surprised. His eyes had been widened with shock, but his facial expression had been blank.
Viscount Moraine’s lips curled up in amusement, and the other knights also took on surprised expressions as they looked towards Raven.
“Haha! Are you that overjoyed? I have never seen the duke with such a large grin.”
Viscount Moraine spoke rather mischievously. At that moment, Raven came to a realization. He was sure that his father had put on the same smile as he turned around after telling Raven to come inside… He must have remembered the one who brought him the joy of being able to see his child.
The young knights were a little shocked as Raven sprang to his feet without a word. However, some of the others were able to relate. Including Viscount Moraine, a few of them were fathers. They reacted differently.
“Off you go.”
Viscount Moraine spoke with a warm, gentle smile. Raven nodded with a flush on his face before quickly exiting.
“Now he has one more reason to win his battles and return.”
The warm smile did not fade from Viscount Moraine’s lips as he gazed at Raven’s disappearing back. Unlike usual, the new father was moving with haste.
The women hurriedly bowed their heads towards Raven. They were surprised by the unexpected visit. However, Raven barely greeted them as he quickly strode towards them.
“Lindsay, no, where is Baroness Conrad?”
“She is resting in the women’s quarters.”
As soon as the answer came from one of the wives, Raven changed directions and started to walk away. Someone whispered into his ears as he made way.
“Your Excellency, pardon me, but the baroness…”
“I know. I am only going to talk with her.”
Raven opened the door to the inner chambers after cutting off the elderly woman’s words, nodding his head several times.
“His Excellency Pendragon should be getting busy from today, hmm? It has been such a long time since he reunited with the baroness, ho-ho!”
“Oh, come on. Do you think they would get right to it as soon as he returned?”
“Oh, how nice must it be? The baroness has such a handsome husband, and now she will give birth to their child!”
The married women whispered with sly smiles, and the maidens buzzed with flushed faces. Everyone competed to be the first one to stick close to the closing door. Then Cheyenne, who was looking at the closing door with a pleased expression, looked at the women with a stern face.
“Don’t you all need to prepare dinner? Who’s worrying about who? The number of people we need to feed has increased, so we will be much busier from today.”
The women quickly moved away from the door and busily moved their steps.
However, there was one woman with a rather gloomy expression.
After he returned, he had not spared a single glance towards her. Iriya sighed with a shadow cast over her face.
“Ah! Your Grace, you are here.”
Lindsay jumped up at the unannounced visit. She bowed with a blush. She was joyful at being able to spend some time with her husband, but she was also embarrassed after overhearing the ladies’ conversation outside. Furthermore, given the fact that he had been in such a rush, she was certain that he had heard the news.
As he called, Lindsay slightly raised her head, pressing down on her trembling heart.
His face was red, and his lips were pursed tightly. Lindsay felt her heart drop at his expression. He appeared to be rather angry. Even though she tried to deny it, dark thoughts had invaded her mind several times every day. His expression only agitated such thoughts.
Even though she was married to him, she was only a concubine. Children of concubines were never welcomed.
Lindsay’s tremor and unease were amplified as he approached her without hesitation. The large, rough hands grabbed her arms, and Lindsay was pulled into his wide chest.
Her eyes grew wide with astonishment.
Raven remained silent for a while, holding her in his warm embrace. Her heart beat wildly as she felt the heat of his body. As it started to calm down a little, a warm voice resounded in her ears.
“…Thank you. I’m sorry.”
Anxiety disappeared like a wave and tears of relief started to flow from her large eyes.
“I have made you come all this way… and you had to go through this by yourself… I am so sorry.”
“No, not at all.”
Putting her arms around Raven’s firm shoulders, Lindsay dug her face deeper into his chest.
Every word of her beloved was filled with love.
She had carried a small worry with her. But now she felt sinful that she had imagined, for even a moment, that he might turn a blind eye to herself and the child.
“I promise. My child. Our child will surely see their first sun in the duchy. It will be difficult until then, but please bear with me.”
How could she have doubted such a good, gentle man? Lindsay Conrad – a girl, a woman, and now a mother, cried and laughed in the arms of her husband.
The next morning.
After a simple breakfast, all the nobles and knights, led by Raven and Viscount Moraine, gathered in the castle’s hall.
Their rest had been short but sweet, and everyone possessed lively expressions. Their eyes were filled with vigor and they stood armed and proud, looking towards Duke Pendragon and the commander.
“All of you must already be aware, but the situation isn’t so good.”
Viscount Moraine spoke while looking around at nearly a hundred people.
“Quite a few lords and landlords turned to the side of the Arangis Duchy, and the prolonged war has also led to more residents blaming us. However…!”
Viscount Moraine’s voice grew louder as he spoke.
“The monsters and their king were threatening the South, as much as the Arangis Duchy or perhaps even more! But now we have defeated them! Soon enough, this news will spread all over the South! With it, everyone will recognize that we are the true guardians and saviours of the South!”
Boom! Boom! Boom!
After letting out a large shout, the knights struck the floor with their swords. After raising his hand to silence them, Viscount Moraine spoke once more.
“In addition, His Majesty the Emperor has dispatched a fleet from the 12th imperial regiment and the 3rd regiment towards the South in response to the rebellious actions of the Arangis Duchy! This means that we will not have to worry about the affairs of the sea!”
This time, the faces of the southern aristocrats and the landlords brightened. The 12th regiment, along with the 7th regiment, was the representative navy of the empire. Their forces consisted of two Aragon-class sailboats and more than fifty combat sailboats and galleys. It was truly a staggering force.
A single fleet from them would equal a single Aragon-class sailboat and combat sailboats and galleys. They alone would be sufficient to deal with the Arangis Duchy’s fleet. Combined with the 3rd regiment, there would be no need to worry about the safety of El Pasa and the coastal cities in the future.
“In the end, we only have to deal with the remaining small fries of the inland! It has come time for us to deliver justice to those parasitic cowards that only care for themselves while ignoring the safety of the South!”
The roar of the knights resonated throughout the hall. Viscount Moraine turned his head and nodded lightly, to which Raven nodded and stepped forward.
The atmosphere of the hall heated up even more as Raven stepped up. He was the hero who defeated the monsters of the Great Forest. As the noise faded, Raven started to speak, looking around those who were watching him with eager expressions.
“First, I want to apologize for making everyone worry. Of course, everyone already knows what I am like, so I assume you did not worry too much.”
Raven’s words caused light laughter to break out from several places. Only someone like Duke Pendragon could make such a self-confident joke. Such composure and dignity also contributed to the driving forces of the troops here, eradicating doubts from their minds and solidifying their confidence in victory.
“We will fight, and we will win without fail. Why? For the Emperor? No, we have a more important reason to win.”
Many people became flustered at his sudden words. Even Viscount Moraine frowned, wondering what Raven was talking about.
“We will fight, and we will win for us. Southerners will win for the sake of stability and peace in the South. Those of you from the mainland will fight to return home. Above all, we will be warriors fighting for ourselves to crush the Arangis family’s filthy ambition to devour the South and the mainland!”
It was something Raven had told himself when he was in the demonic army. Humans fought to protect their own. He who had nothing to lose would never fight fiercely. Even in the demonic army, those who were the first and most easily killed were those who already lost all they had to protect and lived without hope.
However, those with something to protect fought on and on. They wielded their spears and swords fiercely and violently until the moment they perished.
“Do you all want to be heroes? Then look at them.”
Raven pointed his finger to one side, and everyone turned towards it. Elven warriors were in place without any expressions, adorned in the same clothes.
“The warriors of Red Moon Valley fought to protect their home. But the victory they achieved with me saved the entire South, not just the Red Moon Valley tribe and the Great Forest.”
He spoke in a calm voice. However, everyone’s eyes were shaken because his words were an undeniable fact. Raven slowly unsheathed Widow’s Scream.
“Save yourself, save your family, and save your homes. Then all of us will achieve victory as not mere warriors, but as heroes! Let us fight!”
Raven shouted while raising the heirloom of the Pendragon family.
The shouts of the heroes echoed. The hall of Raxla Castle was engulfed in a burning passion, which swept through the hearts of the men like a violent storm.
After the Pendragon Duchy’s forces returned from the Great Forest, the entirety of the coalition departed from Raxla Castle. The news spread throughout the South within a few days, delivering ghastly shock to the nobles and landlords who had turned to the Arangis Duchy.
At the same time, news of the imperial fleet crossing the inland sea to El Pasa shocked the South. The imperial navy had departed to convict the Arangis Duchy for their military actions, which was clearly an act of treason. However, what was even more shocking was the identity of the commander of the fleet.
The commander of the reinforcement was neither the commander of the 12th regiment nor the 3rd regiment. It was Ian Aragon, the royal prince of the empire and a powerful candidate for the position of crown prince. He had personally stepped up to lead the fleet to the South.Previous Chapter Next Chapter