Chapter 330

“So Ian and Pendragon are in Miles?”

Jamie Roxan folded the letter while muttering in a quiet voice. He was well aware that the two were heading to the imperial castle. In addition, they were moving at a slow pace as if they were on a tour.

The empire’s noble society and politics were in shambles due to the death of Duke Arangis, but the involved party was leisurely traveling around as if it were someone else’s business.

Such actions infuriated quite a few great nobles.

It would be the least they could do to head to the imperial castle as soon as possible, report to the emperor and try to discern the truth of the matter. Even if they were an imperial prince and a duke, their actions caused dissatisfaction among quite a few nobles. Many were even labeling the duke and prince as being arrogant.

And at the vanguard of it all stood the High Lord of Paleon, Count Jamie Roxan.

He was certain.

If he could make good use of this situation, he could strip Prince Ian of his power and influence. Then, even if he was made emperor, he would not be able to wield power recklessly like the current emperor.

With Roxan at the forefront, the power of the thirteen high lords would grow, and even the emperor would not be able to interfere with the internal affairs of the great territories nor suppress their power.

In particular, the imperial family would no longer be able to explicitly support certain families, which would cause the high lords to grow anxious. 

For example, the recent rise of the Pendragon Duchy.

“Hmm, I guess there is no need to try and solve everything in the imperial castle. It would not hurt to start now.”

After thinking for a moment, Jamie Roxan turned around while emitting a sharp gaze. He raised his voice while looking over the loyal, subordinate nobles of Paleon.

“Ready the griffons. I will be heading to Miles right away. And Everdeen, let Lord Rockefeller know he should head to Miles. Tell him I asked for him personally.”

“As the high lord wishes.”

The knights and nobles flinched before answering in one voice.

Today four of the empire’s thirteen great territories would gather in one place, to deal with a prince and a duke who were emerging as the eye of the typhoon…

*** 

“Quite a few nobles should be gathering.”

“Most of them should be vassals of Miles. It will definitely be difficult to get here within half a day.”

Ian spoke with a cup of tea in front of him. He had already sent away the servants and maids prepared by Count Wullian.

The tea was specially prepared by the count, and it was rich and soft in flavor, but the two did not drink it. They had already checked it for poison with the ring, but they avoided the drink to prepare for any contingencies.

“We are back, lord.”

Isla and Leo entered after opening the door.

“Good work. How was the situation?”

“There was nothing unusual. But they only showed us the common areas in the castle, so we were not able to figure out the movements of the knights and soldiers.”

“I figured.”

Raven nodded, then gestured toward the knights who were waiting. Some of them took off their helmets, which had been covering their entire head except the eyes.

“Phew…”

One of them gave a long breath, as if finally being freed.

“It must have been quite suffocating, right?”

“It was a little hot, but not too bad.”

The ones who took off their helmets were the Red Moon Valley elves, including Ellaja, Eltuan’s brother.

“The sun will set soon. Take action as soon as it gets dark. From now on, everything rests in your hands. Relax until then.”

“Okay.”

Ellaja nodded and took off his armor. The other elves followed suit, and silver clothing was revealed underneath.

“They will probably be relieved since Elkin and Leo already looked around the castle. We need to be aware of their soldiers’ movement in case of an emergency.”

“Hmph, if they don’t want to die, would they dare to pull out their swords in my presence?”

Ian spoke coldly.

It was as he said. It would be akin to treason to stage a demonstration of force in the presence of a prince.

“That is true. However, the location and the situation are problematic as well. Moreover, I heard that the high lord of Miles is in-law with Roxan. He may be planning to play tricks on us to empower the high lord of Roxan.”

“Well…”

Ian nodded at Raven’s words.

They did not know what awaited them. Things that would never have happened in the past were in the realm of possibility. By now, it was almost obvious how the atmosphere of the imperial castle and the high-ranking nobles would be. Some of the elders of the imperial castle were even secretly saying that the crown prince candidate needed to be reconsidered.

And behind them stood the most powerful of the high lords, including Roxan.

“Leo, always stand by Sophia’s side at the banquet hall just in case.”

“Yes, Your Excellency.”

Leo replied with a tense expression.

Sophia was the daughter of Sisak’s High Lord, Count Bresia. In addition, he had already publicly declared his support for Prince Ian and Duke Pendragon along with Seyrod.

Although Sisak was considered the weakest of the great territories, with the current situation, it was unknown what threats Sophia was facing as the daughter of Sisak’s high lord.

“Elkin, you should carry your spear as well. Since a prince has given his permission, even the high lord of Miles should not be able to complain.”

“Yes.”

Even if he did not have Ian’s permission, Isla had no intention of leaving Thorca behind. His mission was to protect his lord, Duke Pendragon.

“Anyways, Miss Reiner should have left the monastery by now, right?’

Ian spoke at a sudden thought.

“Right. She should enter the duchy in around ten days.”

Raven replied with a nod.

After promising her future with Isla, Raven had Serin Reiner head to Conrad Castle for now. Originally, she should have headed to the capital, where her parents were, but it was a long way to the capital. Anything could have happened to her on the way.

Furthermore, rumors would quickly spread, that the bride-to-be of Valvas’ king was living in a small monastery. Isla was just as renowned as Duke Pendragon in the empire.

As such, he could not let her stay in the monastery, so he had a knight from the 7th regiment and Eltuan escort her back to the Pendragon Duchy, which was relatively close by.

“The duchess will be pleased.”

“I suppose so. I think the Reiners are the closest to the duchess of the families that sent letters.”

“Well, would she be more pleased than the involved parties?”

“I am grateful for the grace of the lord and Your Highness.”

Isla bowed politely.

He was grateful. The two people found a carriage for his future wife and had the strongest elf warrior, Eltuan, escort her back to the duchy.

He did not say anything, but he had been worried that something might have befallen her if she stayed in the monastery. 

“It will take a month at the longest. I will host the greatest wedding for you and Miss Reiner.”

He considered other knights of the duchy precious, but for Raven, Isla was a little bit more special. Isla was the first knight he ever took in. In addition, Isla was originally the right-hand man of the Arangis Duchy and spread his fame throughout the empire, beyond the South.

Perhaps they would have met as enemies. However, fate allowed him to settle as a knight of Pendragon and become a loyal knight to Raven. That was why Isla was special to Raven. He wanted to do everything he could for Isla.

“She will be happy as well. Thank you, my lord.”

It was a simple remark, but Raven understood the heartfelt gratitude contained in Isla’s words. He patted Isla on the shoulder in response.

He could not be happier knowing that his knight would live happily with a wife.

*** 

Clap! Clap!

Two horses pulled along a small carriage down a narrow road. A knight dressed in light leather armor was sitting in the coachman’s seat, and two people were stationed inside.

“Excuse me, are you uncomfortable? I apologize, because of me…”

Serin spoke in an apologetic voice. Eltuan had been tossing and turning.

“No, it is all right. I am just not used to being stuffed like this.”

Eltuan was born and raised in the Great Forest, and as such, it was a bit of a struggle to ride in a carriage.

But there was no helping it.

Even though she knew how to ride a horse, she had never driven a carriage before. In addition, she did not know the way to the Pendragon Duchy. Moreover, Duke Pendragon had personally asked her to keep this good lady safe.

She had to endure it even if it felt a little uncomfortable and frustrating.

“But I have to admit that I was a little surprised that the elves were with His Excellency.”

Serin, who was bright and sociable by nature, spoke with a big smile.

“We met in the Great Forest. But was that such a surprise?”

Eltuna expressed her curiosity, and Serin responded with an even brighter smile.

“Yes, indeed. Besides, I had never seen an elf before. All of you are truly beautiful.”

After erasing the bizarre drawings, which were unique to the Red Moon warriors, Eltuan was a great beauty. Serin’s father was an official of the imperial castle, and her mother was related to the royal family. In the past, she saw the empress and the princesses from afar.

But she was sure that none of them had been more beautiful than the healthy, browned-skinned elf in front of her. Eltuan responded with twitching ears and a tilted head.

“I, is that so?”

After following Duke Pendragon out into the world, she had received the curious gazes and admiring eyes of the people. However, Serin was the first one to ever directly praise her beauty. Eltuan felt a little embarrassed.

As if she found Eltuan’s gesture to be likeable, Serin nodded vigorously.

“Yes. I heard you are very strong as well. You are truly amazing!”

“Hmm! Eltuan definitely fights well.”

She responded in a satisfied voice. Eltuan liked being complimented for her beauty, but she felt even prouder at being called strong. But as if something had suddenly come to mind, Eltuan spoke in a slightly dejected voice.

“But there are many people who are stronger than me in the Pendragon Duchy. I do not know why they call him so, but the one known as the one-egged devil is big and strong. The one paired with the one-egged devil, knight Isla, is even stronger. Moreover, the one who is always sitting at a desk and smiling seems unusual as well.”

Eltuan spoke with a sigh while recalling Killian, Isla, and Vincent in turn. She continued.

“However, the most powerful one except the duke himself is the ignorant urc. I heard that he was defeated by Duke Pendragon in the past, but no one knows what will happen if they actually battle with each other.”

“An urc… Are you referring to the orcs?”

“That is right. His name is Karuta. He is the leader of the orcs who reside in the Ancona Mountains in the duchy.”

“Ah…”

Serin nodded. She recalled hearing about orcs that resided in the Pendragon Duchy. She asked with a curious face.

“If you do not mind, could you tell me more about the Pendragon Duchy? Since I lived in a monastery for a long time, I know very little about the outside world.”

“Well... I have not been around for a long time either. Besides, I am not good at speaking.”

Eltuan scratched her pointy ears as if embarrassed.

“Anything will be fine. Please.”

At Serin’s following words, Eltuan eventually began stammering. She talked about the duchy she saw and experienced.”

“Um. First, there is the Lord Dragon. Her name is Soldrake, and she is good to us.”

“Wow! I heard about that before! I heard that she is enormous. Apparently, last year, half of Leus was engulfed in shadows when she made an appearance! But have you ever seen her in person?”

“Yes. She is a little scary, but it feels reassuring and comfortable to be around her. Maybe it is because of her mana. And…”

Eltuan continued to talk with growing excitement. It appeared that Serin had a talent for making people feel comfortable.

“Ah! And there are centaurs as well. Although they rarely make an appearance, it is because of them that there are such few bandits or monsters on the roads of the duchy. Come to think of it, there is a goblin and a harpy in Pendragon's castle.”

“Goblins? Aren’t they monsters that hurt people?”

Serin spoke with a bit of fright in her voice. Eltuan shook her head.

“No. The goblin and harpy who live in Pendragon’s castles are very obedient. Especially the goblin named Kazzal. The smallest Pendragon adores him. He is always by her side. He is incredibly ugly with protruding cheekbones and crooked teeth, but he thinks he is the second most handsome guy in the world. He thinks the duke is the most handsome, and the orc Karuta, who I mentioned before, is the third most handsome. I think he is a little crazy.”

“Hohohoho!”

Serin burst into bright laughter.

As Eltuan continued her story, Serin’s expectations and curiosity about the Pendragon Duchy grew.

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