Chapter 315

“…..”

A silence descended in the room as if they had come to a funeral.

“A madman.”

Ian spoke casually. But the bloodshot eyes clearly showed how angry he was right now.

“In the end, that bastard was the one who planned the assassination of Brother Shio?”

Ian had been using an honorable tone of speech until now, but it suddenly changed. But Duke Arangis could understand, and as such, he simply nodded somberly.

“That is right. However, as I said, the purpose did not lay in assassinating the crown prince. Rather, it was because he judged that the imperial castle and the entirety of the empire would fall into greater chaos with the assassination of Crown Prince Shio…”

“Ha! Hahaha…!”

Ian burst into laughter. It was a type of dry, woeful laugh. Raven realized that Ian’s laughter contained a plethora of emotions – animosity and admiration for Jean Oberon, the Nameless Necromancer, as well as anger directed towards himself. Everything had happened the way the Nameless Necromancer wanted it to after the incident with Crown Prince Shio. If Shio had left the world then, it was clear that the emperor and the empire would have anointed Ian as the new crown prince without a second thought.

It would be better to quickly concentrate power on Ian to nip chaos in the bud and unite the nobles of the empire under one banner. However, the situation became precarious when Crown Prince Shio did not die, but wasn’t left in a functioning state either.

What would they do if he miraculously recovered and returned to his former self within a year or two? After he would wake up from the crisis of death, his younger brother would have taken his place. Moreover, it wasn’t just any position either. The position of crown prince was an essential step to ascending as the master of the huge empire.

It would not end with a simple fight between Shio and Ian.

Ian was a meticulous character as much as he was unpredictable. Considering his personality, he would have laid the foundation for power secretly and firmly if he became crown prince. To become a strong emperor and properly rule the empire, he needed to have many nobles and high lords on his side.

But one day, what if Shio suddenly woke up?

Ian would feel confused due to his great love for his brother. He might even think of giving up the seat of the crown prince to Shio. However, one could not simply pass off the crown prince’s seat. It wasn’t just a simple matter, but a matter of great deal that encompassed the whole Aragon Empire.

Above all else, what about the nobles who had sworn allegiance to him? They would have had no doubts that Ian would rise to the throne as emperor. They would not stand idle if Ian gave way.

Ambition could transform humans into monsters. Such a turn of events would not be tolerated by those who held the rod of power since birth.

Ultimately, they would try to instate Ian as emperor however possible. There would be a huge battle between the supporters of Ian and the old nobles who valued tradition and justification – those who had already been relegated to the back seat due to Shio’s fall. It represented a war great enough to push the whole empire into chaos.

Therefore, the emperor could not easily come to a decision regarding the coronation of his second son, Ian, as the crown prince. Rather, it was a much better choice for him to wait and keep an eye on Shio’s condition under the pretext of gauging suitable candidates.

“What a ridiculous story. So that means Geoffrey’s sudden rise as a candidate to the throne was something that the damned sorcerer and you wanted, doesn’t it?”

“…That is right.”

Duke Arangis bowed his head with shame.

They had helped advocate for Geoffrey Aragon as a candidate for the crown prince through the former governor of Leus, Sagunda. This was also to continue the chaos.

“During that time, you would re-establish the Arangis Dynasty in the South? Ha…!”

“…..”

Duke Arangis could not raise his head.

If confusion and quarrels started to increase over the establishment of a new crown prince, the imperial castle would not have enough time to care about the South. Duke Arangis had been aiming to create a complete, sovereign kingdom in the South using the opportunity. He would have grasped the South in his hands.

“Stupid. How stupid. Did you think I would lose to someone like Geoffrey? Did you not think that the first course of action I would take would be to destroy you and the Arangis Duchy when I became emperor after crushing him?”

Ian spoke bitterly at Duke Arangis, not bothering to hide his hostility and anger.

But the answer came from someone else.

“That would have been difficult.”

“What…?”

Ian turned his head to the sound of the subdued voice. Raven continued in a quiet, subdued voice while receiving a look full of fury.

“Think about the situation you were placed in before you met me. What did you have?”

“…..!”

Ian’s eyes quivered.

That was right. Geoffrey had been on equal standing with him as the candidate to become crown prince. He held the cause and justification, but Geoffrey had a much larger following. Of course, he had a considerable following of his own, but most of them were older nobles who had been pushed aside or young nobles who were ambitious and dreaming of reform.

Some of the key figures of the imperial castle had been impartial, while others were on the side of Geoffrey. However, the situation changed rapidly as Duke Pendragon joined his side.

Since Duke Pendragon delved into the truth behind the assassination attempt on his brother Shio, everything had changed. He shed the light on Governor-General Sagunda’s involvement in the betrayal, then took the position of Leus’ Governor-General as his own. Since then, Ian had been able to consolidate power as the strongest candidate in name and reality. 

“Huh! So that’s why the Pendragon Duchy was also targeted by the Nameless necromancer…”

Due to his rather lacking knowledge of politics, Viscount Moraine had been listening without saying anything this far. He finally spoke for the first time as if something had come to mind.

Raven replied while nodding.

“Yes, it is just as you say. Before attempting to poison Crown Prince Shio, the Nameless Necromancer must have planned everything out. My younger self failing to establish a contract with Soldrake, placing a lich on the way to the family mausoleum, the gradual downfall of our family. All of this must have been within the Nameless Necromancer’s arrangements.”

“Huh…!”

Viscount Moraine’s eyes trembled in response to Raven’s conviction. All things put together, it was a huge, elaborate conspiracy. If everything had happened according to Jean Oberon’s plans, the empire would be facing unprecedented chaos by now.

The power struggle birthed in the imperial castle would quickly spread to the territories. The lords would be divided on which faction they supported, and the divide would call for territorial wars. Then what about the people whose lives would be ruined by the conflicts?

They would wander around like flowing reeds or even riot in the worst-case scenario. 

No, it would be rather fortunate for them to stop at riots.

A large group of rioters could gather to form a new force.

Bandits? Robbers? No. After growing their forces to a certain degree, they would start a “rebellion” that would fuel the war even more.

“This is really… Ha… Haha…”

Viscount Moraine felt chills running down his back the more he thought about it. Ian’s mouth was slightly agape and his eyes were filled with shock.

“However.”

But Raven’s cold voice brought them back to reality.

“Everything changed when I woke up and succeeded in establishing a contract with Soldrake.”

“…..!”

Raven looked around at the two flabbergasted men before turning to Duke ARangis.

“Is that not right? It must have been at that moment when Jean Oberon started revising his plan.”

“…..”

Duke Arangis stared at Raven in silence for a moment, then slowly nodded his head.

“That is correct. Our plans went awry due to Duke Pendragon.”

Duke Arangis continued in a sighing manner.

“In fact, everything was still fine even when Duke Pendragon succeeded in establishing a contract with the White Dragon. The tide had already turned. Moreover, the Pendragon Duchy had been on the decline for many years. I was certain that it would take quite a long time to bring the duchy back to its glorious days.”

“But the Pendragon Duchy was different from any other territories.”

He nodded at Raven’s words.

“Yes. The mines within the Pendragon Duchy are all linked to the authority of the White Dragon. Everything returned to normal after the mausoleum was reopened. But that did not pose a huge threat either. The operations of a few mines would not be enough to lift the duchy to its feet.”

“…..”

The three people agreed without saying a word.

No matter how much money one possessed, it would take at least a year or two to return a huge territory from the abyss to its former glory. In addition, this would only be the case if all of the duchy’s focus was shifted to its internal matters and recovery.

“As such, it was when you first arrived at Leus that Duke Pendragon became a real threat to him and me. When Toleo and the island orcs were defeated, when the nearby territories of the Pendragon Duchy, including the Seyrod Territory, started lowering their tails… That was when everything started to go awry.”

“One question. Then why did you not plan on removing Duke Pendragon since then?”

Duke Arangis answered with an even heavier gaze at Ian’s sharp comments.

“I had lost touch with the Nameless Necromancer. At the time, he was…”

“Creating the Troll King in the Great Forest and turning Biskra into a Bone Dragon. Isn’t that right?”

“…..!”

Surprised by Raven’s words, Duke Arangis nodded bitterly.

“That’s right.”

In response, Raven turned to Ian.

“In the end, the Nameless Necromancer had been planning my removal ever since I established a contract with Soldrake.”

“Hmm…!”

Ian gulped loudly, though he had nothing to fear in the world.

Jean Oberon.

No one knew how long the Nameless Necromancer had lived for. However, the more he thought about it, the bigger Ian’s curiosity became.

Why in the world…

“What the hell is his purpose in trying to drive the empire into chaos…?”

Everyone closed their mouths at Ian’s crucial remark. But Raven had a vague guess as to Jean Oberon’s purpose. Before he reopened his eyes as Alan Pendragon, Soldrake had been prepared to die. He did not know why she had come to such a decision, but it must have had something to do with the actions of Jean Oberon.

“The New World…”

Duke Arangis spoke in a whisper. He continued while looking around at the three figures.

“What he dreams of is a new world.”

“New world? What the hell is that?”

He spoke after turning to Ian.

“He spoke of the world in which the Pendragon Duchy and Soldrake were gone. Dragons would not become involved in human history, and only the gods and the powers they allow would coordinate the world… He spoke of the coming of this so-called new world.”

“…..!”

The eyes of the three grew larger with shock.

The New World.

It was crazy.

Even for a sorcerer who reached the realm of transcendence, to dream of a world without dragons? To plan to create such a world?

“This is really…”

Ian could not finish his words, perhaps in shock. Viscount Moraine was stunned into silence.

However, a cold, clear voice penetrated into the ears of the two.

“What a nut job. Isn’t he stating that he will become god?”

The Spirit of the Dragon began to flutter in Raven’s eyes as he looked around at the three.

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