Chapter 318

But Iriya’s reality did not change. Even so, she could not open her heart to anyone. The only thing she could do was to silently and faithfully carry out her duties, and her duties were related to the transportation business.

Perhaps due to her skills and intelligence, the transportation business was starting to soar with wings, which caused the other merchant groups and mercenary groups to be wary of them. With sparks starting to fly between the different groups, her father, Karl Mandy, and his associate, Dos Giovanni, were forced to step up. As such, she was given another assignment.

That was also the reason why she had to head to Leus. The current Governor-General of Leus, Duke Pendragon, wanted to create a branch of the transportation business in Leus, and he could not think of anyone more suitable than her. He knew she excelled at her job.

It was the moment when she was rewarded for all her efforts and hard work. Moreover, it wasn’t just the duke who deemed her valuable. Duchess Elena judged Iriya highly as well, which was why Iriya was accompanying Irene to Leus on the flying carriage. 

Both of the ladies were well aware of the reason behind the duchess' decision.

It was a known fact that Iriya Mandy would marry into the Pendragon Duchy as the second concubine. But unlike Lindsay, she had not been able to capture Duke Pendragon’s heart. As such, the aim was to send Iriya to Leus while Lindsay stayed behind to give birth in order to develop a better relationship between Iriya and Duke Pendragon.

“Everything will be dependent on your actions.”

“…..”

Iriya was truly grateful for Irene’s words. 

When they first met, the eldest daughter of the Pendragon Duchy did not like her. Perhaps she had a distaste for the peculiar behaviors of a southern woman, or perhaps she was trying to defend Baroness Conrad. Or maybe she felt jealousy due to her great love for her brother.

But it was different now.

She was not a whining child.

After coming to admit the fact that the daughter of the Gold King would eventually be marrying her brother, she acted differently towards Iriya. Although she did not let down her guard completely, she was trying to view Iriya in a positive light rather than a negative one. Iriya could see it.

Although it wasn’t as if she was being considerate towards Iriya, the number of times she spoke thorny words or tried to pick a fight decreased significantly, and after they arrived in the mainland, Irene would even ask Iriya if there was anything she needed.

It was the same now.

Irene Pendragon was a woman who could do anything for the happiness of her brother and the Pendragon Duchy. In the current situation, being considerate towards Iriya was for her brother and the family, which was why Irene was being proactive.

“I will try my best…”

Iriya tightened her fist with resolve in her eyes.

“Hoho! Anyone might think that you were about to go into battle.”

As if finding her gesture humorous, Irene giggled. Iriya blushed with embarrassment, but soon, a smile blossomed on her face as well.

*** 

“When are they set to arrive?”

Raven spoke after finishing supper. Leo answered.

“According to the letter, they should be here before sunset tomorrow.”

“Even though they are using the air carriage, it is taking over a day.”

“Since they are having to follow the coastline, perhaps the wind is delaying their speed?”

“It must be. The griffons need rest as well.”

The flying carriage was slower compared to having the griffons fly individually. To ensure safety and comfort, six griffons needed to maintain an exact altitude and a distance from each other, which, in turn, caused the speed to drop to half of their usual flight speed. In addition, the flying carriage was several times heavier than regular carriages due to several reasons, including safety.

As such, even though griffons possessed great stamina and strength, they needed rest after three or four hours of pulling the carriage. To top it off, they did not fly at night due to safety.

But even taking all of these reasons into consideration, the flying carriage was still several times faster than regular carriages.

“Excuse me, Your Excellency. Is there a specific reason you called for the flying carriage from the duchy?”

Leo asked after contemplating for a bit. Raven answered while nodding.

“There is. It would not matter if it were just us, but a very important figure will be accompanying us to the imperial castle this time around.”

“…Ah!”

Leo exclaimed in relaxation.

“Perhaps… is it because of Duke Arangis and his successor?”

“Correct.”

Raven drank a sip of wine, then continued.

“If Duke Arangis confesses his treason in front of His Majesty, quite a few people will be dragged down as well, or at least put in distress. As such, if we were to travel along the Imperial Road, it is highly likely that we will run into all kinds of trouble.”

“So instead, the sky…!”

“That’s right.”

Leo exclaimed in wonder, and Raven grinned. Although Duke Arangis had already spoken the important truths in front of him and Ian, he needed to confess it in front of the emperor and the nobles. In such a way, the commands of the emperor would gain full justification after hearing the direct confession of the traitor.

This was exactly why the nobles and the figures related to Duke Arangis or those opposed to Duke Pendragon and Prince Ian would do anything possible to obstruct the confrontation between the emperor and Duke Arangis.

If anything were to happen to Duke Arangis on their way to the Royal Batallium, both Ian and Raven would be placed in a predicament. In the end, there were numerous figures who wanted to disturb their trip to the imperial castle.

“So we are going to be avoiding the Imperial Road entirely?”

“How could that be the case? It is only common sense to use suitable bait to catch stupid fish. Sir Isak and knights from the 7th regiment will be responsible for escorting Duke Arangis to the capital in the flying carriage, while we travel by road as planned.”

“Ah!”

Leo was lost in admiration once more.

Just as the lord said, if both Prince Ian and the lord traveled on ground while being accompanied by the appropriate figures, all of the attention would be focused on them. No one would doubt that Duke Arangis would be accompanying the two prestigious figures.

But Duke Arangis would be secretly transported to the imperial castle by Sir Isak and knights of the 7th regiment via the flying carriage.

It was truly a surefooted plan.

“At the shortest, it would take around 15 days to travel to the imperial castle using the Imperial Road, but it will only take three or four days with the flying carriage.

“Then we should contact the imperial cas…”

“Of course. Our Highness has already made the appropriate preparations.

Prince Ian had already sent a secret letter to the imperial castle regarding the transportation of Duke Arangis. If he sent an official message to the emperor, it would surely garner the attention of everyone. As such, Ian sent it to the most trustworthy person besides the emperor – Count Jean Granite. As the commander of the Royal Guards and the Captain of the Golden Lion Knights, he was a trustworthy individual.

“Anyways, what about Duke Arangis’ room?”

“It is being protected by four knights. Troops have been placed around the room where Arigo Arangis is staying as well.”

“Good.”

They would set off for the imperial castle in just a few days. In the moment that Duke Arangis stood in front of the emperor, the world would transform once more.

*** 

“…..”

Duke Arangis was seated in a chair with a haggard face. The only furniture in the room was a small bed and a chair, and not even a window could be found.

He sighed while mulling over the conversation he had with Duke Pendragon and Prince Ian. Then he tightened his grip around the armrest with sudden anger.

“How dare you…”

His fury was directed towards the Nameless Necromancer, Jean Oberon.

Even if he had been blinded by ambition, he was still a great monarch. He was the master of the Arangis Duchy, a family with hundreds of years of history. He could not suppress his rage at the fact that he and his great family had been trifled with.

But as he attempted to calm down, a part of him felt relieved.

The games were over. The last card he had been holding turned out to be nothing. It was just a part of a great scheme that had been ongoing for decades.

“Hoo-hoo…”

Duke Arangis stood up while laughing bitterly.

Cling.

His necklace made a small sound.

“Is this… the only thing I have left?”

Duke Arangis smiled bitterly while holding the necklace. It was an object that had been passed down in his family from the days when they were royalty. After losing the war, he was nothing more than a failed father who could not even see his son at will. This was the only thing he had left.

“Ha…”

Perhaps because he felt everything was over, a sudden wave of fatigue washed over him. He slowly sat down on the bed and laid down. The bed was hard. It was a simple piece of furniture that could be found in the home of any peasant. 

“Come to think of it, I cannot even remember the last time I got to sleep peacefully.”

He closed his eyes while murmuring. He only had a thin blanket and a wooden pillow, but it felt rather comfortable. As he slowly drifted off to sleep,

Ssssss…

He heard a sound similar to a crawling insect. Duke Arangis opened his eyes.

Then,

Cling!

Keugh!”

His eyes popped open as a suffocating feeling was accompanied by the sound of his necklace clanging. His eyes quivered without stop, and he lowered his gaze with a disbelieving expression. An empty hole could be found in the place where his necklace should have been.

“Uah…”

He lifted his head with all the strength he could muster. A very faint figure was shimmering in front of his eyes. It definitely belonged to a person.

“Ah…”

He reached out wide-eyed, but his hands only grasped empty air.

“You… I, I…”

Duke Arangis’ head hung limp as he felt all the strength drain from his body.

Sssss… Clang!

Strange, ominous sounds resonated once again in the room. Then, an eerie silence filled the room. A great monarch, the one who ruled over the South for several decades, breathed his last in a small, shabby room.

***

“What!?”

Ian burst out of his seat with a shout in the middle of breakfast.

“Please forgive us!”

Four knights of the 7th regiment hurriedly kneeled.

“How could that…!!”

Ian was overtaken by anger and restlessness. His whole body trembled and his grip tightened.

“Now is not the time. Let’s hurry.”

Raven was relatively calm compared to Ian. He hurriedly left the room, and Ian followed behind. Several knights and soldiers followed behind the two as they hurried to a detached house of the governor’s residence.

“Move!”

The soldiers guarding Duke Arangis’ temporary residence hurriedly bowed and moved aside at the prince’s anger.

Boom!

The doors opened with a loud bang, and Ian and Raven entered the room.

“…..!”

Both of them became wide-eyed with shock.

Duke Arangis was seated on the small, rugged bed. He looked peaceful as if he had fallen asleep in a seated position.

But the large hole in his left chest said otherwise.

Duke Arangis was dead.

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